Watson’s Weekly 23-11-2018

This is an amalgamation of the “best bits” of the daily weekday newsletter/blog woven together to form a concise and coherent view on the things that matter in the commercial and economic news of the week. 

THE DAY IN BRACKETS REFERS TO THE EDITION WHERE THE STORY APPEARED IN WATSON’S DAILY. Clicking on the day will take you to the appropriate edition of Watson’s Daily.


  • Apple – and anyone associated with it – suffered this week from fears of peak iPhone (Monday). Given that Apple no longer gives details of unit sales, investors will focus on its suppliers for some kind of steer – but it’s not looking good. There has been talk of disappointing sales of new models (Tuesday) and its Taiwanese mega-iPhone-assembler Foxconn announced that it would cut billions in costs and shed 10% of its non-technical workforce (Thursday)
  • Meanwhile, over in China, Tencent signed an Asia distribution deal with Singaporean company Sea (Tuesday), which should go some way to making up for the troubles it is having in China due to the government there clamping down on gaming companies by not issuing commercial licences. Mind you, it turns out that another income stream is coming in very handy at the moment as it turns out that Tencent just made a third of its profits in investments (Friday)!


  • …what with Renault-Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn getting arrested (Tuesday) and then dumped by the Nissan board (Friday) for allegedly using company cash to fund a lavish lifestyle
  • Tesla decided to take the tariff hit in China (Friday) instead of passing it on to customers in order to stay relevant in a market that expected to take off in electric vehicles and cut prices of its cars there
  • Catalytic converter company Johnson Matthey saw a big share price hike (Thursday) as it benefitted from stronger orders due to tightening emissions regulations


  • Gap announced that it was going to cut weaker stores (Wednesday). Fears of rising wages (because of a tight labour market), narrower margins (in an attempt to stay competitive with e-tailers such as Amazon) and higher freight costs are hitting the retail sector as a whole in the US and there are worries that, potentially, rising inventories could be a precursor to retailers having to sell off too much stock at a discount in the coming months
  • Ikea announced that it was going to cut staff numbers as it continues to evolve its format (Thursday). However it did say that a rollout of new smaller-format stores over the next two years will actually result in more jobs being created net-net
  • There’s scepticism about UK “offline” retailer performance for Black Friday (Monday) as it is expected to benefit e-tailers more
  • Kingfisher – owner of B&Q plus others – announced that it is pulling out of non-core markets (Thursday) and will concentrate on turning around its French business while improving in the UK via B&Q and the more successful Screwfix


I must confess that Darts players let rip as they accuse each other of f@rting during match (Sky News, Ajay Nair https://tinyurl.com/ybqmatqv) made me laugh the most and Body part-shocking device is here to stop Japan from nodding off at the wheel, work or school (SoraNews24, Katy Kelly, https://tinyurl.com/ybx7742s) made me think “WTF” the most, so I think I’ll leave you with something that frustrated me the most in There’s a star hidden among over 150 Christmas trees in this brain teaser – can you spot it? (Insider, Talia Lakritz https://tinyurl.com/ycu9nkch)

I hope you have a great weekend!