Forex & Commo Market News

Jul 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices extended gains after Saudi Arabia pledged to curb exports from next month and OPEC called on several members to boost compliance with production cuts to help rein in global oversupply and tackle flagging prices.
- Gold prices held steady, after hitting a one-month high in the previous session, buoyed by political uncertainty in the United States, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve meeting for clues on monetary policy.
- London copper struck its highest level since mid February after a unexpected strength in China's economy and a weaker dollar fanned upside technical momentum.
- U.S. soybeans rose as much as 2 percent to hit a near two-week high after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said more of the crop had been damaged by recent dry weather than expected.
- Relations between the US and Mexican governments might be warming a bit, but with Nafta's renegotiation slated to begin in less than a month, most Mexicans view President Trump very darkly, a new opinion survey suggests. Nearly 9 of every 10 Mexicans view Trump unfavorably and only 3% favorably, according to the in-person poll of 1,200 people nationwide conducted for the El Financiero newspaper. The poll has a 2.8% margin of error.
- The benchmark IPC index closes up 0.2% at 51,665.6 points, while the Mexican peso weakens against the US dollar, as investors adopt a cautious stance ahead of this week's US Federal Reserve policy decision. America Movil gains 2.1%, while bread-maker Bimbo closes up 1.6%. The peso, closes in Mexico City at 17.7025 to the dollar, up from 17.6480 Friday. The Mexican currency recently hit a 14-month high against the greenback as the Trump administration softened its stance on Nafta.
- There's a generational divide when it comes to how Americans feel about CEOs speaking out on social and political issues, according to a new report by Weber Shandwick. Among the more than 1,000 US adults surveyed by the communications firm, 47% of those between ages 18 and 36 said CEOs have a responsibility to speak up on issues important to society, while only 28% of Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers agreed. Millennials also outpaced older generations in their awareness of CEO activism and their likelihood of buying from a company whose CEO speaks out on social issues--51% said they'd buy from a business led by someone who takes a position they agree with.
- Venezuelans who are against President Maduro are also widely opposed to economic sanctions that the Trump administration is threatening to level against Caracas unless it halts plans to rewrite the constitution, Torino Capital says. It cites a poll it conducted in partnership with Venezuelan pollster Datanalisis, finding 52% of opposition supporters against potential US sanctions. The poll also finds 63% of respondents saying Maduro's detractors should not promote US sanctions as a way to topple the government. A little more than half rejected the opposition's lobbying efforts to convince international financial institutions to blacklist Venezuela. While oil sanctions could be devastating for the Maduro administration, analysts warn they could also backfire by further crimping food imports and providing fuel for Maduro's routine accusations of a Washington-led coup.
- Venezuela's opposition begins the second and final week of what it calls "Zero Hour," as it tries with street protests to convince President Maduro to cancel a planned Sunday vote that could lead to a new Constitution. US President Trump is threatening sanctions that may include an oil embargo if Maduro doesn't cancel the vote, which many view as an attempt to create a permanent dictatorship. In a weekend Twitter message, Maduro indicated a willingness for a last-minute deal, saying "I recognize the opposition, and I know they have political strength." Saying his message was aimed specifically for opposition leader Julio Borges, Maduro urged "a peace deal."
- Fresh political issues in DC, and its resultant impact on the dollar in recent days, should soon take a back seat, says Michael McCarthy at CMC Markets. Data from the US and Japan this week "could dominate market thinking." Release include both economic and a pickup in the US earnings season. Then, of course, there's the FOMC. "The outlook for markets may change considerably, especially if recent US economic weakness persists."
- As the euro hits fresh 2-year highs versus the dollar, helping not just is US political worries but the prospect of ECB easing back on bond-buying, says Toshihiko Sakai at Mitsubishi UFJ. He notes ECB officials have said nothing regarding the common currency's strength, fueling speculation for central-bank tapering there. The euro got as high as $1.1684, according to EBS, and is currently around $1.1675, up 0.1% from late-Friday levels in New York.

Jul 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices gained after a steep fall the session before, buoyed by expectations that a joint OPEC and non-OPEC meeting later in the day may address rising output in Nigeria and Libya, two OPEC members so far exempt from a push to cut production.
- Gold prices touched their highest in four weeks, supported by political uncertainty in the United States that pushed the dollar to its lowest in over a year.
- London copper was marking time near its highest since early March on Monday ahead of the release of a spate of global manufacturing reports, underpinned by extended weakness in the dollar and prospects of tighter mine supply.
- U.S. corn futures fell 2 percent to hit a one-week low as forecasts for rain eased fears of potential production losses.
- Any US sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry will increase the country's chance of a debt default, Venezuelan bond traders say. Venezuela has resorted to ad hoc measures like drastically reducing its food imports to make its debt payments. The US is a key source of cash for Caracas, buying about half of Venezuela's exports. While the South American country in recent years has increased oil shipments to Asia, it can't rely on allies like China because much of the oil Venezuela sends there is used to pay down existing debt, which would not provide immediate funds for the cash-strapped Maduro administration. Lowering oil revenues would also further hinder President Maduro's ability to continue providing economic benefits to government factions.
- With the Trump administration threatening sanctions against the country, Venezuela's government seems more likely now to deliver on the creation of a so-called constituent assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution, Eurasia Group says. For President Nicolas Maduro, "backing down now would look like he is kowtowing to Washington," the risk consultancy says. Venezuela has not been a priority for the Trump administration, Eurasia notes. But while targeted sanctions against individual officials are likely to come first, Trump may not shy away from greater sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry. "He will likely deliver on those threats if the threat alone doesn't work," it adds.
- Luis Almagro, General Secretary of the Organization of American States, says he backs US plans to level targeted sanctions against Venezuelan officials, but doubts the measure will deter the South American government from going through with its controversial effort to rewrite the constitution. Almagro told that to US senators this week as the Trump administration warns of upcoming penalties against Venezuelan individuals and possibly even stricter measures to curtail the oil-export revenues Venezuela depends on. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been among the loudest of US voices calling for tough sanctions against Venezuela but it remains unclear if Washington will implement any kind of oil embargo as Venezuela remains the US's third-largest foreign supplier.
- ING says U.S. dollar weakness is "economically unjustified," but more falls are likely because of U.S. political concerns. The latest in a series of bad news to come out of Washington relates to Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian inteference in last year's election, with media reports suggesting it could extend to President Donald Trump's finances. "In this environment, it's hard to see anything but the dollar staying on the back foot," says ING. The U.S. dollar is down against the euro and sterling on Friday, with EUR/USD up 0.1% and GBP/USD up 0.2%, although EUR/USD is also driven by broad euro strength.
- Up modestly by midday in Asian trading, the dollar has slid to session lows as European action has gotten under way as the currency continues to get roughed up. The WSJ Dollar Index set a fresh 9 1/2-month low Thursday as the euro logged its best level in late New York trading since January 2015 at $1.1632. The euro is now above $1.1665 while the WSJ Index is off 0.1%. Trump investigations continue to weigh, analysts say. "US political uncertainty is now having an outright dampening effect on investor sentiment," says Viraj Patel, forex strategist at ING in London. ANZ strategist Irene Cheung adds White House issues "could draw its focus away from economic reforms."
- Only a realistic possibility of an impeachment in the US could significantly derail stock markets there, says CMC Markets' Ric Spooner. Still, he cautions that possibility is still a long way off. Meanwhile, disappointment on Trump's stalled policy agenda is already priced in, contends Spooner, even as US stocks remain at record highs. "I think stock markets haven't in my view got much expectations that there will be any tax reform and stimulus."
- Nucor's CEO says there's strong support from the Trump administration for sweeping tariffs on imported steel, even after the administration missed its self-imposed deadline for completing its investigation by the end of June. "Our elected officials and the administration are beginning to have a better understanding of the consequences of imports." John Ferriola tells analysts during a conference call "What we are advocating in Washington is a very broad-based [tariff] ruling that will include virtually all of the steel products." The administration is
considering invoking a little-used provision of the 1960s-vintage Trade Expansion Act permitting tariffs on imports if they undermine national security. US steel companies argue that a flood of cheap foreign steel has weakened their ability to provide steel for defense and national security infrastructure.

Jul 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices were little changed ahead of a key meeting of major oil producing nations next week, sitting below the $50 per barrel level that was briefly breached for the first time in 6 weeks in the previous session.  
- Gold held steady near a three-week high and was on track for a second consecutive weekly gain, underpinned by a weaker dollar and U.S. political uncertainty.
- A weak dollar helped lift copper prices in early Asian trading, reversing an overnight dip.
- U.S. corn edged lower, but the grain was on track to post a weekly gain of around 3.5 pct as forecasts for continued adverse weather stoked fears of production losses.
- Up modestly by midday in Asian trading, the dollar has slid to session lows as European action has gotten under way as the currency continues to get roughed up. The WSJ Dollar Index set a fresh 9 1/2-month low Thursday as the euro logged its best level in late New York trading since January 2015 at $1.1632. The euro is now above $1.1665 while the WSJ Index is off 0.1%. Trump investigations continue to weigh, analysts say. "US political uncertainty is now having an outright dampening effect on investor sentiment," says Viraj Patel, forex strategist at ING in London. ANZ strategist Irene Cheung adds White House issues "could draw its focus away from economic reforms."
- Only a realistic possibility of an impeachment in the US could significantly derail stock markets there, says CMC Markets' Ric Spooner. Still, he cautions that possibility is still a long way off. Meanwhile, disappointment on Trump's stalled policy agenda is already priced in, contends Spooner, even as US stocks remain at record highs. "I think stock markets haven't in my view got much expectations that there will be any tax reform and stimulus."
- Nucor's CEO says there's strong support from the Trump administration for sweeping tariffs on imported steel, even after the administration missed its self-imposed deadline for completing its investigation by the end of June. "Our elected officials and the administration are beginning to have a better understanding of the consequences of imports." John Ferriola tells analysts during a conference call "What we are advocating in Washington is a very broad-based [tariff] ruling that will include virtually all of the steel products." The administration is
considering invoking a little-used provision of the 1960s-vintage Trade Expansion Act permitting tariffs on imports if they undermine national security. US steel companies argue that a flood of cheap foreign steel has weakened their ability to provide steel for defense and national security infrastructure.
- The CEOs of drug makers Merck and Pfizer and glass maker Corning appeared at the White House with President Trump today to announce new GLW glass packaging for drugs and vaccines, vials that MRK and PFE helped develop and may use for some of their products. The companies say the new glass packaging has improved strength, durability and damage resistance compared with older products. Development of the product predates the Trump Administration, but the companies said a White House American innovation office facilitated the collaboration. Trump tested the new Corning vial by using a machine to apply pressure to it. It didn't break.
- Former Utah Gov Jon Huntsman would step down from Caterpillar's board if is he confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Russia, the company said. The White House announced Mr. Huntsman's nomination on Tuesday. "His service as a trade ambassador, a popular governor of Utah and his ambassadorships to Singapore and China provide the experience needed in a complex global environment," CAT said. "As a member of Caterpillar's board of directors, Gov. Huntsman has offered invaluable wisdom to our executives."
- United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams says the union will launch its own "Buy American" campaign soon, starting with a public contest around Labor Day to generate ideas for radio, television and social media spots. The UAW, whose anti-trade stance jibes with President Trump's America first agenda, has long pushed for consumers to buy American made products to support local jobs. Williams, speaking to reporters in Detroit, points to the Trump Administration's "Made In America" initiative which started this week highlighting US-built products as evidence of the buzz around the topic right now. "Consumers have power," Williams says. "They can't be lazy about this. If they want America to flourish and bring back good jobs, they have to be a part of this, as well."
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau enjoys a sizable lead over his political opponents and his government's approval rating is close to 50%, in part because Canadians are more confident about the economy, according to a poll from Ottawa-based Abacus Data. Nearing the Liberal government's two-year anniversary, the poll says 43% would vote Liberal if the election were held today, versus 31% for the Conservative Party. The approval rating of the Liberal government stands at 48%, compared with a 34% disapproval rating. Abacus says Trudeau's relatively strong performance is tied to country's improving economy, which in 1Q posted the best growth among G7, and prompted BoC to raise rates for first time in 7 years.
- The dollar extends losses after Bloomberg reports that the probe into ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia is now looking at transactions involving Trump's businesses, citing people familiar with the matter. The ICE Dollar Index is down 0.7%, compared to a decline of 0.2% before the story was released. The dollar has extended losses against the Japanese yen and euro. Jefferies' Brad Bechtel said the report "just increases the uncertainty" surrounding the administration and its pro-growth agenda.
- Gold prices reversed losses and are now up 0.4% at $1,246.40 a troy ounce after a Bloomberg report that the US special counsel investigating ties between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia in last year's election will also review transactions involving Trump's businesses as well as those of his associates. The dollar fell on the news as well, further bolstering gold's gains.
- For the first time in nearly a decade, members of the House and Senate aren't tussling over amendments seeking to benefit competing technologies intended to save flight data and cockpit voice recordings in the event of airliner accidents. Legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration's powers past September calls for the agency, rather than lawmakers, to determine the benefits of various approaches. By the end of the decade, Airbus is committed to start installing what are called deployable recorders -- designed to pop out of an aircraft's tail in a crash -- on the assembly line. Rival Boeing and some FAA managers, who consider such systems unnecessary and prone to potentially hazardous malfunctions, instead favor streaming data off planes. International safety standards permit options.
- Indian outsourcer Wipro posted flat net profit for the quarter ended June 30 as it, like its local peers, faces challenges from a changing technological landscape and scrutiny of its use of the U.S.'s skilled-worker visa program. Net profit for was 20.8 billion rupees ($322 million), compared with 20.5 billion rupees a year ago. While Indian outsourcers are trying to offer clients the more-sophisticated services they seek, President Trump has criticized the companies' use of the H-1B program, on which they depend to send workers to the U.S., their
most important market.
- Gold prices are slightly lower, down 0.26% at $1,237.72 a troy ounce, coming off gains made in the past week amid a minor rally in the U.S. dollar. That decline results from golds antagonistic relationship with the dollar, which is up after traders bought into the currency after it had been weakened by a week of politics-driven pressure. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of other currencies, is up 0.23% at 87.23, although remains 0.78% down on-the-week. The dollar's earlier losses came after traders questioned President Donald Trump's ability to push through his legislative agenda, said Mr. Govett, pointing to the failure of Senate Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Jul 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices held steady, hanging on to gains made the previous session when falling U.S. crude stocks lifted the market, as analysts offered mixed supply outlooks for the commodity ahead of a key OPEC meeting next week.
- Gold prices edged lower, with the dollar steady as markets looked to a meeting of the European Central Bank later in the day for clues on the outlook for its stimulus programme.
- London copper marked time near its highest since early March, underpinned by brighter prospects for China's economy but awaiting a U.S. jobs report for cues on near-term direction.
- U.S. wheat fell more than 1 percent to hit a three-week low, weighed down by ample global supplies despite lingering fears for high quality crops.
- The euro held near a 14-month high against the dollar as investors look to hints from the European Central Bank on tapering of its stimulus, while the yen barely budged after the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold.
The fate of Japan's monetary policy is now dependant on Trump and the US economy, some analysts contend. "If Trump makes no progress in his economic policy (because of scandals), the US economy could start weakening again," notes Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at SMBC Friend Securities. She adds expectations for additional BoJ easing could heighten if such concerns mount. "Because the Japanese economy depends on external demand, it will likely get hit if the US economy begins staggering."
- Though the Nikkei remains above 20000 this morning, investors are looking for downside protection amid the sharp drop in Abe's support, says Kyoya Okazawa, head of global markets for BNP Paribas in Japan. "His weak political capital could impact markets." Among investor concerns is that deflation will return, the yen will appreciate and the Nikkei will see corrections. These are potential tail risks, Okazawa says, although if Abe was to resign "the magnitude would be the same as Brexit or Trump's election."
- In the first half, Japan's trade surplus against the US dropped 5.4% on year to Y3.2 trillion ($28.6 billion). The surplus also shrank in 2H last year from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance says. Still, the surplus has come under the spotlight after President Donald Trump named Japan one of the countries contributing to the US trade deficit, along with China. Japanese exports to the US rose 2.9% in the first half from a year earlier, backed by demand for SUVs and automotive components, while imports increased 10.7%, as Japan imported more liquified natural gas and grains.
- Leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association are stepping up the fight against legislative proposals to reduce mandatory flight-time requirements for newly hired first officers. The Senate Commerce Committee already has voted to allow more new copilots to start flying passengers with less than 1,500 hours in their log books. "ALPA will not relent in our drive to beat back" such provisions, says Tim Canoll, the union's president. The House is expected to side with ALPA, and union officials are increasingly optimistic of eventually reaching a compromise with GOP Senate leaders. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has vowed to block any bill weakening the 1,500-hour requirement, which currently can be reduced only for ex-military pilots and college graduates.
- Proposals for an import tariff won't prompt auto makers to shift production to the US unless the duty is set above 40%, the author of a new study says. A border adjustment tax of just 15% would boost average vehicle production costs by $1,025, but not shift manufacturing from Mexico, the study says. "To force people to change the supply chain pro-actively, it's probably [a border adjustment tax rate of] 40-50%," Xavier Mosquet, a managing director at Boston Consulting, tells reporters. The study, which was commissioned by the Motor & equipment Manufacturing Association, an industry lobby, finds auto makers would pass along costs with higher sticker prices and reduced advanced technology content in vehicles.
- Two of the Trump administration's top financial nominees will move closer to Senate confirmation next week. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a July 27 hearing on the nominations of Randal Quarles to become the Fed's point man on financial regulation and Joseph Otting to head the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, according to a Senate aide. A spokewoman for the committee, which has yet to publicly announce the hearing, declined to comment. The hearing is typically followed by a committee vote to confirm nominees.
- United Technologies says layoffs for its Carrier plant in Indianapolis are continuing as planned. Some media outlets recently questioned whether UTX was living up to its fall deal with Trump, who spent months criticizing plans to move more than 2,000 jobs to Mexico. UTX agreed to a $7M incentive package from the state to keep about 800 jobs in the state with the remainder going to Mexico. It will also have 300 headquarters and engineering jobs still in the state. The layoffs will hit 600 workers over the next several months with about half of them leaving tomorrow.
- Rep. Debbie Dingell (D., Mich.) sounds an urgent need to keep the US ahead on developing self-driving cars during a legislation markup today. "Automated vehicles are going to be developed whether we like it or not," she says, adding that the question is whether the US will cede testing and development advances to China, Japan or the European Union. Auto makers, including GM and Ford in her home state, contend that onerous regulations and conflicting rules could send testing elsewhere. She takes pains to portray the current bill as putting "safety first and foremost as it must." The bill requires companies to submit safety certification assessments to regulators, but forbids the US Transportation Secretary from conditioning deployment or testing of automated vehicles on review of those assessments.
- Some Democrats on House Energy and Commerce subcommittee look to slow self-driving car legislation, flagging concerns over curtailing states' regulatory power. Democrats urge Republicans delay full-committee consideration of bill set for next week until bi-partisan deals are reached on those aspects. "I cannot endorse this legislation" absent bi-partisan agreement, says Rep Jan Schakowsky (D, Ill) during subcommittee markup. Bill aims to limit states' ability to enact patchwork of regulations that would potentially conflict with US rules, a key provision lobbied for by auto makers and tech companies. Bill also aims to buttress National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's ability to exempt vehicles from U.S. safety standards with demonstration safety not being sacrificed. Bill heads to House floor in September at earliest.
- Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said in his remarks on the Wall Street firm's earnings call that "US corporate taxes are too high." He added that "if the administration and Congress can achieve a sensible realignment of tax rates," with other developed economies, it would be a "clear positive for our business and corporate America." Earlier, at a recent industry conference, Gorman said that reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% would result in a 15% increase to MS's earnings.
- U.S. Senator John McCain introduces legislation to repeal the Jones Act, which requires all cargo ships travelling between U.S. ports to be American. The Act, which dates to 1920, mandates that such vessels be U.S.-made, U.S.-flagged and U.S. owned as well as being crewed by .U.S. citizens. This means such vessels operate at a cost at least three times higher than non-U.S. ships, which is passed down to cargo owners and consumers. "I have long advocated the repeal of the Jones Act, an archaic law that hinders free trade, stifles the economy and ultimately hurts consumers," McCain said after introducing his so-called Open America's Waters act of 2017. But supporters of the Jones Act have repeatedly fenced off such efforts citing national security risks and large scale layoffs at American shipbuilding yards.

Jul 19 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices fell after a rise in U.S. crude inventories and ongoing high output from OPEC producers revived concerns of a fuel supply overhang.
- Gold prices held steady, not far from the over two-week highs hit in the previous session, as the dollar crept up from multi-month lows even as fading prospects of a U.S. monetary tightening continued to pressure the greenback.
- London copper consolidated near four-and-a-half month highs, weighed down by a slightly firmer dollar but supported by a pick-up in China's industrial activity that helped drive second-quarter economic growth.
- U.S. corn edged lower, though losses were checked by fears that dry weather across a key producing region could stoke further production losses.
- Canada's chief envoy in Washington, David MacNaughton, says a dispute-settlement mechanism must be part of a renegotiated Nafta. The Trump administration is seeking to repeal the scheme in place, known as Chapter 19, so the ambassador's comments have already emerged as significant disagreement between the US and Canada ahead of next month's Nafta talks. "We think that it's critical to have some kind of a dispute resolution mechanism incorporated," MacNaughton said in an interview with Canada's CTV Network. "Whether or not that dispute resolution mechanism can be improved or modernized, I think we're up for discussions around that. But there needs to be some kind of a dispute resolution mechanism."
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry says at a Washington press conference a cleaner environment and a strong, prosperous economy will go hand in hand by using an "all of the above" energy approach that includes oil, clean-burning coal, natural gas, renewables and more. Speaking with the head of the International Energy Agency, Perry says the US won't chart the renewable-centric course proffered by allies like Germany. "Germany, in its current share of renewable energy, was driven to a surcharge in electric rates," he says. "German households now pay the highest electricity prices in Europe, as much as three times what we pay in the US."
- Harley-Davidson's disappointing 2Q retail sales and layoff announcement are dimming prospects of a so-called Trump bump for the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker. After Trump's election last year, analysts thought HOG could benefit from a proposed border tax on imports and more purchases from construction workers who benefit from plans to overhaul the nation's aging infrastructure. HOG executives and union leaders have visited the White House as Trump mulled ways to boost US manufacturing and promote American-made products. "In terms of perception that would clearly benefit a company like Harley-Davidson, but clearly we're not seeing it," Wedbush Securities analyst James Hardiman says. Plans for a border tax and an overhaul of the US tax code have yet to materialize. Nor has an infrastructure-spending plan. HOG declined to immediately elaborate on how many workers it would lay off and at which US factories. HOG falls 8.1% to $47.75.
- The Trump administration didn't specify a clear plan for the investor arbitration system in Nafta when it published objectives for the pact's renegotiation on Monday. Today, House lawmakers got an earful from companies that want to keep the controversial provision, known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. "Even if ISDS is never used, it serves as an important insurance policy," said Dennis Arriola, executive vice president for corporate strategy at Sempra Energy. The chief executive of Kansas City Southern, Patrick Ottensmeyer, said his company needs the arbitration system to protect his firm's $4.5B in Mexican investments.
- Venezuelan bonds are steady after President Trump's threat late Monday to issue additional sanctions against the government if it makes good on promises to re-draft the constitution with the help of a new assembly July 30. Stuart Culverhouse of Exotix says extending existing sanctions--which now are mainly targeted at individuals--to include oil exports could precipitate a default "although it may not be immediate as the government finds ways around them and relies more on its friends." Bond prices would drop in the case of a default but prices will find support with the anticipation of an orderly restructuring under a new market friendly regime, he says, with recovery value at 70 cents on the dollar in a best case scenario.
- The euro and the Australian dollar are major beneficiaries of U.S. dollar weakness, both reaching 14-month highs. Unless U.S. data improve, the euro is headed for $1.16 and the Australian dollar for $0.80, says Boris Schlossberg, Managing Director of FX Strategy at BK Asset Management. The euro rises 0.85% to $1.1585; the Australian dollar jumps 1.56% to $0.7924, having earlier hit $0.7943, according to Factset. The U.S. dollar dropped after two Republican senators withdrew support for the bill to replace Obamacare. Mr. Schlossberg says the news exacerbated "already negative" dollar sentiment. Reserve Bank of Australia minutes overnight also boosted the Australian dollar, with the RBA estimating a neutral nominal cash rate around 200 basis points above the current level.
- Many of the provisions to renegotiate Nafta released by the US on are vague, including rules of origin. Mexican officials have said that they are open to reviewing rules of origin, as long as proposed changes don't threaten to hurt investment by making it easier for manufacturers to bypass Mexico if they're unable to import certain components from outside the region to make products bound for the US.
- During a call with analysts, UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley generally steers clear of discussing the furor around Republicans' start-and-stop efforts to pass a broad health overhaul. He refers briefly to uncertainty around national and state policy as a headwind for 2018 but says "at this stage in the national conversation, speculation about any outcome here would be just that." He also reiterates the company's opposition to the Affordable Care Act's health-insurance tax, which he said was a specific headwind for next year and which he said would, if not cancelled, "further destabilize the market, which is already fragile." UNH reports 2Q earnings that came in ahead of expectations and revenue that was roughly in line. UHN off 0.8% to $185.04.
- A set of simpler provisions for labor markets within Nafta could become a key tool to garner support from Democrat lawmakers and US labor groups, Mexican observers say. Mexico's low wages and the wide wage disparities between the two countries have long been criticized by Nafta's detractors. "A labor agreement within Nafta would only have teeth if it includes trade sanctions and clear enforcement rules" that go beyond national government jurisdiction, said Carlos Heredia, an activist and professor of Mexico's CIDE university who has long opposed Nafta's labor provisions.
- The USTR's objectives for Nafta negotiations are positive for Mexico as the US seeks to maintain duty-free market access for industrial and other goods. "They obviously went along with a free-trade discourse," says Carlos Vejar, a trade attorney at Holland & Knight. "That means there is no intention to impose tariffs or go into what Mexico was always afraid of - of moving back into a tariff system," he adds. The peso is slightly stronger against the US dollar at 17.5240 in Mexico City, near a 14-month high, but several analysts express surprise there wasn't a bigger reaction. Still, the peso is up 26% from its record low hit in January.
- The Trump administration's goal of eliminating Nafta's dispute-settlement system-- which allows Canada and Mexico to challenge anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by Washington--could prove to be a "dealbreaker" for Canada's Liberal government says Ottawa-based trade consultancy Export Action Global. The firm thinks the system, also known in trade circles as the Chapter 19 provision, is a crucial component of Nafta because it ensures US law "cannot be applied in a protectionist manner to block otherwise fair two-way trade." The dispute-settlement mechanism was key for Canada when it reached the 1988 free-trade pact with the US, or Nafta's predecessor. "It was a dealbreaker a generation ago for Canada and remains so today," firm adds.
- US home builder confidence fell to the lowest level in eight months amid rising costs for materials, fallout from the Trump administration's trade policies. National Association of Home Builders housing market index slipped two points to 64 in July, the trade group says. That was the worst reading since November. "Market prices increased due to lumber trade policies," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. The Trump administration in April proposed a 20% tariff on Canadian lumber imports and in June said it was considering another layer of duties, factors behind higher prices.

Jul 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices were stable, supported by strong consumption but weighed by ongoing high supplies from producer club OPEC and also the United States.
- Gold prices rose to a two-week high as the dollar dipped to multi-month lows amid fading prospects of further rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve this year and doubts whether President Donald Trump would be able to push through healthcare reforms.  
- Copper prices edged up in early Asian trading, extending gains in the wake of strong Chinese economic data that boosted the outlook for metals demand.
- U.S. corn climbed 2 percent as forecasts for hot, dry weather across a key producing region stoked fears of further output losses.
- The Trump administration on Monday published its long-awaited negotiating objectives for a planned overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta. The objectives, required for a rewrite of the law, allow U.S. officials to begin formal talks with Canada and Mexico in as little as 30 days. The move also opens up what's expected to be a spirited debate in Congress, where majority votes would be needed in the House and Senate to pass any new deal. Here are some major takeaways:
- TPP By Another Name :
The Nafta objectives include a number of items already negotiated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Trump killed on his first full workday in the Oval Office. They include rules covering state-owned enterprises, e-commerce and financial services. These should be easy parts to negotiate, since all three nations already agreed to such measures under TPP.
- Environment and Labor :
The administration says it wants to make environmental and labor disputes subject to Nafta arbitration panels -- meaning that alleged violations can be punished by the imposition of tariffs. They would replace weak labor and environmental panels that were added to Nafta after the main accord was negotiated as a way to win congressional support for the trade pact. Businesses in all three countries are likely to object.
- Currency :
The administration wants to make Nafta the first U.S. trade pact to police "currency manipulation." That would be a big deal -- and one that may be easy to reach, because neither Canada nor Mexico face such accusations, which are usually leveled at Asian trading partners. The goal would be to establish this as precedent for future trade pacts.
- Tougher Enforcement :
One area where the plan does embrace the trade warrior agenda is a proposal to scrap a special Nafta provision that has made it easier for Canada and Mexico to avert U.S. trade sanctions, the so-called "Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism" that allows Nafta partners to challenge duties before a special Nafta tribunal available only to them. Canada in particular has made keeping Chapter 19 a priority. Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics says the Trump administration's general focus on tougher enforcement will likely push Canada to dig in on keeping Chapter 19, making this one likely flashpoint of the talks.
- Investor Protection :
There is no provision of Nafta -- or other trade deals -- that irks critics more than the ability of investors to sue governments in arbitration panels over policies they deem antibusiness. A loss of sovereignty, the critics say. A necessary alternative to corrupt legal systems, counters business. The U.S. seeks a middle-ground that may not exist: The U.S. wouldn't eliminate the panels, but would constrain their power in the U.S.
- Who's Nafta For ?
The document does acknowledge some winners from Nafta -- notably "farmers and ranchers" who got "much needed market access" from the pact. That's a nod to the (heavily Republican) farm-state lawmakers who have made clear to Mr.Trump he'd better not mess with their success. It largely portrays the pact as a raw deal for "American workers," slammed by factories lost due to outsourcing. The broad goal is to help companies "grow their exports." Left unmentioned: American consumers, who, economists say, have gained tremendously from the pact through cheaper prices and greater variety.
- Which Trump Faction Won ?
All Trump trade pronouncements are scrutinized for which faction of his advisers won: the economic nationalists who shaped his campaign platform, or the globalists who run his economic team. The quick Kremlinology says it's the globalists, led by Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. president running the White House National Economic Council. That said, the battle isn't over. Many of the provisions remain vague. And Mr. Trump has reserved the right to pull out altogether -- the goal of his nationalist advisers -- if he's not pleased with the final result.

Jul 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices rose, supported by a slowdown in the growth of rigs looking for crude in the United States and because of strong refinery demand from China.
- Gold rose as investors sought higher returns in alternative asset classes as the outlook for further interest rate hikes in the United States dimmed following softer U.S. economic data last week that also pushed the dollar to multi-month lows.
- London copper edged up to its highest in two weeks, supported by a weaker dollar and an upbeat second quarter for China's economy which brightened demand prospects for metals.
- U.S. wheat fell 1 percent to hit a 17-day low as rains across a key producing region weighed on prices, though forecasts for continued dry weather provided a floor to losses.

Jul 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil markets dipped, pulled down by high fuel inventories and improving industry efficiency, but were still on track for a solid weekly gain.
- Gold prices were largely unchanged as the dollar steadied ahead of key U.S. economic data, but the metal remained on course for its first weekly gain in three.
- London copper was marking time at the top of its recent range, with encouraging import data from China and improved prospects for the global economy supporting prices.
- U.S. wheat rose nearly 1 percent to move away from a two-week low touched in the previous session, but prices remained under pressure from forecasts for cooler temperatures that could help crops.
- A top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee calls for the elimination of a pricing system used by stock exchanges that creates conflicts of interest for brokers. Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) tells SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in a letter that the SEC should prohibit the system. Known as "maker-taker," exchanges pay a rebate to traders who provide standing orders to trade, while charging investors who trade against those orders. Exchanges say it rewards traders who add liquidity to their platforms, while charging those who benefit from it. Critics say maker-taker pricing encourages brokers to send orders to less transparent private venues, which tend to charge lower fees than exchanges. They also claim rebates have enticed some proprietary traders whose activity adds little value.
- Nike chairman Phil Knight donated $100,000 to the House Speaker Paul Ryan's reelection committee this year, according to receipts filed with the Federal Election Commission. Knight, 79, also donated $5,000 to the Prosperity Action super political action committee, which lists its honorary chairman as Ryan. The NKE co-founder further pledged $33,900 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the period. Knight, a registered Republican, has been a prolific donor to political candidates including more than $330,000 in donations to Oregon House Republican candidates last fall, according to the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard. His individual contributions stand in contrast with disbursements from the Nike Inc. Federal PAC, which awarded roughly $22,100 in to Democratic-affiliated candidates and $14,500 to Republicans during the first five months of 2015, per the FEC.
- Even though possible catalysts for bank growth haven't panned out yet, that hasn't stopped Charlotte-based Novare Capital Management from getting overweight on large bank stocks. With an expectation for higher rates and following JPMorgan Chief James Dimon's calls for tax and regulatory reform, "we have a view we like in the space," says James Harlow, a vice president at the firm. "We need clarity out of politics in Washington," adds Brian Rudisill, a senior portfolio manager. Then there's an expectation that companies will spend money making acquisitions or expanding. Novare owns about $3M of JPM.
- A tariff on imported steel could raise costs for US auto makers, RBC Capital says. President Trump this week reiterated his plan to impose curbs on steel imports, without giving specifics. RBC says Ford, GM and FCA mostly use domestically sourced steel. A tariff or quotas on imported steel could lead to higher prices of domestic steel. It also could curb the price of foreign steel, creating a wider disparity in steel costs between US and foreign auto
makers, RBC says. "This could eventually lead to a reduction in U.S. built vehicles and U.S. auto jobs," opposite of the administration's intentions, the bank says.
- Tapping experienced NASA hand Scott Pace as executive secretary of the White House's newly revived National Space Council isn't likely to end the Trump administration's gridlock over space issues. Lacking a NASA administrator, new funding priorities and a clear-cut plan for getting astronauts to Mars in coming decades, NASA's career officials remain severely constrained in charting a different course. The agency soon will announce plans for more unmanned rovers to land on the surface of Mars, but money for eventual manned exploration of the Red Planet still hasn't been identified or earmarked. Reducing launch costs for national-security satellites is another longstanding, thorny issue confronting the policy group.
- The July reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index underscores a recurring theme: consumers have growing doubts that policy makers in Washington will achieve success in revitalizing a US economy that has grown slowly in recent years. The University of Michigan says the preliminary reading of its consumer-sentiment index was 93.1 in July, down from a June reading of 95.1 and a May reading of 97.1. Another widely-watched index of consumer confidence--the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index--crested in March and has declined in recent months. "The data indicate that hopes for a prolonged period of 3% GDP growth sparked by Trump's victory have largely vanished," says Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, in a statement. Curtin says the level of the consumer sentiment index is consistent with a growth rate "just above 2%."
- Euro corporate bond spreads have tightened significantly from April onward, as Emmanuel Macron beat far-right Marine Le Pen in the French presidential race, but such a rally is unlikely to happen again in 2017, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists say. And valuations should be an impediment to euro credit performance in 2H. Euro investment-grade spreads are now tighter versus dollar spreads, having been level in mid-March. This could spur some global investors to switch from euro to dollar corporate debt, BAML adds.
- President Trump nominates Russ Behnam, an aide to Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Behnam is the first Democratic nominee for the CFTC put forward by the Trump administration. Two Republicans have been nominated for open commissioner slots, and Acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo's nomination to be permanent chairman recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee by a 16-5 margin. Current Democratic Commissioner Sharon Bowen has announced her intent to step down in the coming months, so Trump will need to nominate another Democrat soon. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (Kans.) has expressed a preference to proceed with all the commissioner nominees at once. Bipartisan pairings typically make it easier to pass the nominees expeditiously through the Senate.

Jul 13 - DJ Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices were stable as strong demand from China eased concerns of an ongoing fuel glut.  
- Gold prices rose after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would only gradually tighten monetary policy, curbing speculation that interest rates would rise more than once this year.
- Chinese copper futures rose in early Asian trading, buoyed by a weaker U.S. dollar.
- U.S. wheat fell 2 percent to hit a two-week low after the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its estimate for U.S. production this season, easing fears of tight supply after recent dry weather.
- The Trump administration notifies South Korea it wants to hold talks next month on amending a five-year-old bilateral trade pact, seeking ways to cut the US's $27.6B goods deficit with its Asian ally. Trump's trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, sends a letter to his South Korean counterpart calling for a special session to discuss amendments to be held within 30 days in Washington to "resolve several problems regarding market access in Korea for US exports, and, most importantly, address our significant trade imbalance." His letter didn't specify which sectors would be discussed, but the American auto industry in particular has complained about what it considers ongoing trade barriers in South Korea. The move is one of many taken by Trump to revisit American trade pacts. The review of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement is likely to come around the same time the US opens talks in mid-August with Mexico and Canada to renegotiate Nafta.
- After another death linked to rupture-prone Takata air bags and an expanded recall this week, two Democratic senators write Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the acting NHTSA head urging all devices with drying agents be recalled. They also seek rupture rates for all affected vehicles. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Edward Markey (D., Mass.), longtime critics of traffic-safety regulators and auto makers, express alarm that a subset of air bags with drying agents meant to help prevent explosions are now deemed risky. "NHTSA has been much too generous in allowing Takata until 2019 to prove that ammonium nitrate inflaters with a drying agent are not at risk of rupturing," they write. "Knowing now that even desiccated ammonium nitrate inflaters pose a safety risk, it seems obvious that ammonium nitrate, whether desiccated or not, should not be used as a propellant in any air bag."
- The health-insurance industry, which has generally taken muted stances on the Republican health-overhaul bills, is coming out with guns blazing against a provision proposed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The Cruz plan would let insurers that sell plans that conform to the Affordable Care Act's regulations also sell policies that don't. A letter from America's Health Insurance Plans says the setup "would create an un-level playing field that would lead to....unstable health insurance markets." The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association calls the plan "unworkable as it would undermine pre-existing condition protections, increase premiums and destabilize the market."
- Silicon Valley's campaign to defend net neutrality rules is at odds with many carriers' past policy positions, though telecom's heavy hitters are hardly downplaying the media blitz. Tech companies organized Wednesday's "Day of Action" to defend FCC rules designed to protect internet providers from meddling with their customers' bits. AT&T, though it opposes FCC rules on the books, said Tuesday it would "join" the campaign and wants rules for internet providers to come from Congress. Verizon stays on the sidelines but says the consumer protections at issue "deserve to be written in ink, not pencil," another appeal for legislative action.
- Asked directly whether she would stay on for a second four-year term as Fed chairwoman during congressional testimony, Yellen says that's "something I would discuss with the president." So far, according to Yellen, that hasn't been an issue. Yellen's term as chairwoman expires in February.
- Would Janet Yellen stay at the Federal Reserve if Donald Trump asked? The chairwoman hasn't answered the question before, and she wouldn't answer it today when asked during testimony before Congress. "What I've previously said is that I absolutely intend to serve out my term," she said. "I'm very focused on trying to achieve our congressionally mandated objectives, and I really haven't had to give further thought at this point to this question." Though Trump is likely to replace Yellen when her term expires in February, he hasn't ruled out asking her to stay on.
- Although revelations about communication between Donald Trump Jr. and Russia's prosecutor general further suggest an attempt to influence the last year's election, markets don't seem too bothered. "The pressure-cooker anticipation for the events" kept US stocks little changed Tuesday, says Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Group. Stock markets in Asia lack clear direction Wednesday ahead of Yellen's Capitol Hill appearances. Gold, a traditional risk hedge, is only up modestly.
- The supposed cloud cast over markets the past 12 hours in the wake of the Trump/Russia probe comes as "markets have recently been reluctant to take defensive action against possible, as opposed to probable, risk events," notes Ric Spooner of CMC Markets. "This reflects the supportive macro background for shares created by low interest rates and improving world economic growth. However, there are concerns that the US administration is becoming increasingly mired in day-to-day difficulties, limiting the political capital it needs to achieve difficult economic reform and stimulus."
- New emails disclosed concerning Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer fill in details that could be legally problematic for the president's son, say legal experts. The emails reveal two key pieces of information that had been obscured or contradicted by Trump Jr.'s previous accounts of his June 2016 meeting in New York City with Russian defense lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who represents Russian state-owned corporations. The president's son knew that he would be meeting with a foreign national and that she was essentially a messenger for the Russian government. Federal election law makes it a felony to accept or solicit a campaign donation from a foreign national or foreign government. A donation can be "anything of value." The new emails don't amount to a slam-dunk indictment of Trump Jr., the legal experts say, but could help build a criminal or civil-enforcement case.
- The left-leaning activists at Fed Up were one of the strongest voices demanding a minority appointment for Atlanta Fed president, and that happened. Now the group is targeting the Richmond Fed's top slot, vacated in a leak scandal by Jeffrey Lacker last spring. Fed Up wants a minority in that slot too, and says it's especially important given that it views Lacker as insensitive to the concerns of minorities. The group also points out the Richmond Fed slot is the only current Fed gig not open to control by the Trump dministration, which has several governor slots to fill.

Jul 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices rose more than 1.5 percent, extending gains from the previous day as the U.S. government cut its crude production outlook for next year and as fuel inventories plunged.
- Gold edged up for a third day on a weaker U.S. dollar while investors awaited testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and central bank officials expressed caution about further interest rate hikes.
- Copper prices climbed in Asia to the highest in more than one week amid a weaker U.S. dollar and concerns about industrial action that could further crimp mine supply.
- U.S. corn retreated from a one-year high touched in the previous session as traders squared positions ahead of a widely watched U.S. government report, though losses were checked as dry U.S. weather stoked fears of production losses.
- New emails disclosed concerning Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer fill in details that could be legally problematic for the president's son, say legal experts. The emails reveal two key pieces of information that had been obscured or contradicted by Trump Jr.'s previous accounts of his June 2016 meeting in New York City with Russian defense lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who represents Russian state-owned corporations. The president's son knew that he would be meeting with a foreign national and that she was essentially a messenger for the Russian government. Federal election law makes it a felony to accept or solicit a campaign donation from a foreign national or foreign government. A donation can be "anything of value." The new emails don't amount to a slam-dunk indictment of Trump Jr., the legal experts say, but could help build a criminal or civil-enforcement case.
- The left-leaning activists at Fed Up were one of the strongest voices demanding a minority appointment for Atlanta Fed president, and that happened. Now the group is targeting the Richmond Fed's top slot, vacated in a leak scandal by Jeffrey Lacker last spring. Fed Up wants a minority in that slot too, and says it's especially important given that it views Lacker as insensitive to the concerns of minorities. The group also points out the Richmond Fed slot is the only current Fed gig not open to control by the Trump Administration, which has several governor slots to fill.
- US stocks end mostly unchanged, bouncing back from losses suffered after Donald Trump Jr. released emails about meeting with a Russian lawyer to discuss allegedly incriminating information about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. The Dow closes up less than a point to 21409, the S&P sheds less than two points to 2426 and the Nasdaq--helped by tech companies--gains 0.3% to 6193. The Dow had fallen more than 100 points late Tuesday morning after Donald Trump Jr. released the email chain on Twitter. Crude gains 1.6% to $45.10 and energy companies were the best performing sector in the S&P 500. Gold gains 0.2% to $1216 and 10-year Treasury yields settle at 2.356% compared with 2.371% Monday.
- Brazilian senators are poised to approve by a wide margin changes to the country's labor laws, according to analysts at Eurasia Group. Labor reform will bring relief to the corporate sector and its approval would suggest that other business-friendly reforms are still possible despite the country's political turmoil. However, its approval wouldn't necessarily help President Temer. "While the administration will spin a likely victory as a sign of strength, in reality the approval only suggests that lawmakers are responsive to the need of approving reforms able to generate conditions for an economic recovery," Eurasia says.
- The news about Donald Trump Jr's emails gives a boost to the bond market and bond prices are now headed for a second consecutive day of gains--a reprieve following a two-week selloff. "The more bad news for the Trump administration," the less likely he will be able to get any of his stimulative growth policies enacted, says Mary Ann Hurley, vice president of fixed-income trading at DA Davidson. "Investors should be concerned about their equity weighting" if the news about Russia link with the US elections continue to unfold, she says. The 10-year yield is 2.355%, down slightly from 2.371% Monday.
- US agricultural groups warn Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that new trade barriers to steel and aluminum imports could boomerang on the Farm Belt. "US agriculture is highly dependent on exports, which means it is particularly vulnerable to retaliation," say groups representing US farmers, dairymen, cattle ranchers and hog producers. Many nations that sell steel to US buyers are big customers for US-produced grain, milk and meat, and "the potential for retaliation from these trading partners is very real," the farm groups say. The Trump administration earlier this month missed its own deadline for finishing a major probe of steel imports, amid pushback from business groups worried about higher costs and trade reprisals.
- An index tracking news coverage of the global economy falls for the third consecutive month. Absolute Strategy Research, which compiles the ASR/WSJ index, says its measure dropped to 54.7 in June compared with a 57 reading in May and cites the inflation component--which has fallen 53 points since the start of the year--as "the biggest drag," on the index. In contrast, ASR says the labor component of the index still shows above-trend readings. Overall, ASR says its newsflow indicator has yet to reach levels consistent with a negative equity-to-bonds return ratio. In a nod to the global political climate, ASR adds that elections have kept policy uncertainty high, "even as uncertainty around protectionism or tax policy has fallen away."
- US stock indexes fall shortly before noon, with several traders pointing to the release of Donald Trump Jr.'s emails as the catalyst for the latest moves. In a statement describing the emails between Donald Trump Jr. and publicist Rob Goldstone, Donald Trump Jr. says he was offered a meeting to discuss information about Hillary Clinton that he "thought was political opposition research." The S&P 500 is down 0.4%, the Nasdaq Composite loses 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 0.4%. Major indexes had largely traded in a narrow range prior to the release of the email.
- A bout of risk off positioning is hitting the markets at the moment after Donald Trump Jr releases email chain on setting up meeting with Russian lawyer. The news pushes down US stocks and helps the bond market recoup earlier losses. The 10-year yield is 2.368%, down slightly from 2.371% Monday.
- Global investment in the electricity sector has exceeded combined spending on oil, gas and coal supply for the first time in 2016, says the International Energy Agency, reflecting increased investor focus on renewable sources of energy. The growth in electricity investment also come as the share of clean-energy spending reached a record 43% of total supply investment, the agency says. It expects investment in upstream oil and gas sector to stabilize in 2017, led mainly by the US while the rest of the world remains largely stagnant. For 2016, total energy investment fell 12%, in its second consecutive year of declines.
- Regulation expert Neomi Rao will soon move to the Trump administration from her current post as associate professor of law at conservative George Mason University. The Senate confirmed her nomination to head a powerful federal office which reviews and assesses the costs and benefits of government rules. Rao has written and talked about what she sees as an overly broad delegation of authority to regulators, a philosophy that sorts well with the deregulatory agenda of the current White House. Already, Trump has moved to roll back a number of Obama-era regulations on energy and financial regulations, and Rao's office will likely assist in that effort. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Rao's appointment will give corporations more power over DC rule-making and cripple the agencies' ability to enforce consumer-friendly laws and rules.

Jul 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices edged up, lifted in part by a strong demand outlook for the coming weeks, but overall market conditions remain weak on the back of ample supplies and a more subdued outlook for long-term demand.
- Gold edged lower on a firmer dollar and equities as the market awaited cues on the path of interest rate hikes in the United States ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony on Wednesday.
- Copper held largely steady in Asia amid modest support from investors after losing ground overnight on fresh signs of oversupply.  
- U.S. wheat rose nearly 1.5 percent as forecasts for further crop-damaging weather across a key growing region pushed prices towards a two-year high hit last week.
- The Pentagon finally sends its annual updates on the cost and performance of big weapons programs to Congress this week, providing a potential opportunity for the kind of "Trump tweet" that hasn't rattled the industry since the president took a swing at the new Ford-class aircraft carrier's catapult back in May. Crucially, the reports peg performance at December 31, providing runway for the type of "improvements" the White House has already cited in relation to the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Air Force One replacement led by Boeing.
- A defamation lawsuit filed against President Trump by a onetime contestant for the "The Apprentice" shouldn't proceed while he is in office, attorneys for the president said Friday in a motion seeking to dismiss the case. The motion, filed late Friday in New York state court, based its arguments on the US Constitution's Supremacy Clause, which establishes that the constitution and federal laws hold primacy over state laws. The clause bars the state court from handling the lawsuit, brought by restaurateur Summer Zervos, the motion stated. Gloria Allred, who represents Zervos, had no immediate comment Friday. She has previously said that no man is above the law, including the president.
- The national debate over where Americans can carry guns has landed, quite literally, at the courthouse door. This year, lawmakers in Arkansas and Oklahoma passed bills expanding the right to bear arms to court buildings, for state employees or elected officials. Another bill, pending in Ohio, would allow any gun owners with concealed-carry permits to come armed into courthouses and other gun-free zones without facing criminal charges. Since 2013, more than a dozen mostly Republican-led states have considered measures easing courthouse restrictions, although generally guns are still banned inside individual courtrooms. Proponents of these eased laws say they are about securing the rights of law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves in public places. But the more expansive bills have met resistance from people concerned that allowing firearms in courthouses would invite trouble.
- Trump to Appoint Fed Bank Regulator (WSJ)
President Donald Trump plans to put his first mark on the Federal Reserve by nominating Randal Quarles, an investment-fund manager and former Republican Treasury official, to be the central bank's top official in charge of regulating big banks.
     The choice of Mr. Quarles, expected for months and confirmed by a White House official Monday, would put a more industry-friendly voice in perhaps the most powerful U.S. bank-regulatory post: Fed vice chair of supervision.
     That job was created by Congress in 2010 and was never filled during the Obama administration, although former Fed governor Daniel Tarullo filled the role de facto. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Quarles would take a lead role in carrying out the Trump administration's goal of rethinking many financial regulations adopted during the Obama era.
     Mr. Quarles would also weigh in on monetary policy as one of seven members of the Fed's board of governors, now short-staffed with only four members. His views in that sphere could put him at odds with his new colleagues, notably because he has criticized the Fed's policy of keeping interest rates near zero for years following the financial crisis, and advocated for a monetary-policy rule, or formula, to guide rate decisions.
     The Fed board has three vacancies, and the White House hopes to offer two more nominees as soon as possible, the official said. The administration has also begun the search for the next Fed chairman, though Mr. Trump hasn't ruled out nominating Chairwoman Janet Yellen to a second term, to begin when her current term expires in February.
     Mr. Quarles has donated to Republican candidates for years and served in the Treasury Department in both Bush administrations, working on both international affairs and as undersecretary for domestic finance, a senior job that involves coordination with the many U.S. agencies that oversee the financial sector.
     He left the government in 2006 and was a managing director at the Carlyle Group private-equity firm, investing in troubled banks. He is now managing director at Cynosure Group, a Utah investment firm.
     Mr. Quarles, in a March 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed that he co-wrote, said he didn't support "arbitrarily taking an ax to big banks and irreparably damaging the economy." He endorsed a review of postcrisis regulations but warned that "the consequence of a dramatic increase in bank capital is an increase in the cost of bank credit."
     Analysts and government officials have said nominating Mr. Quarles, an establishment Republican, would be a sign that the White House favors more incremental rather than radical changes to the Fed, an institution that has long engendered mistrust among the economic nationalists who backed Mr. Trump during his campaign last year.
     Mr. Trump's team has advocated a rethink of Wall Street rules but has few officials in place at financial regulatory agencies. If confirmed, Mr. Quarles would immediately take over the job of overseeing the Fed's regulatory staff, which supervises some of the largest U.S. financial firms including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
     He could push for changes in the way the Fed oversees those firms, but he couldn't change the rules on his own. For that, he would need the support of other members of the Fed's board and other agencies.
     The choice of Mr. Quarles "shows that we're looking for a change to the heavy-handed approach to regulation from the prior administration," the White House official said Monday. Mr. Quarles, the official said, "has a track record of working well with others to implement public policy."
     Obama administration officials have said stricter curbs on financial risk-taking were warranted in the wake of the financial crisis.
     Mr. Quarles would find some familiar faces at the Fed. He has worked before with Fed governor Jerome Powell, who is now the point person on the Fed's regulatory efforts and also served in the George H.W. Bush administration and worked at Carlyle Group.
     Mr. Quarles is married to Hope Eccles, who is a relative of Marriner Eccles, the New Deal-era Fed chairman whose name is on the building where Mr. Quarles would have his office.
     Ms. Yellen is set to testify on Wednesday and Thursday on Capitol Hill, where she will likely be asked about Mr. Quarles and the Fed's agenda. In the past, she has said she is open to changing some bank rules but not what she regards as core changes adopted after the 2008 financial bailouts. Ms. Yellen has objected to proposals to require the Fed to use a mathematical monetary-policy rule, an approach popular among some conservatives who argue central banks have too much discretion and should be more accountable to the public.
     Mr. Quarles said in the 2016 op-ed that low-interest-rate policies have "led to a rise in speculative positions" across the financial system and that a monetary-policy rule would reduce the incentive for big banks and smaller firms to take dangerous risks.
     The White House has been searching for a candidate with experience in small, locally focused community banks for the third opening, as a result of a law requiring that someone on the Fed board have experience in that industry.
     But finding a nominee has been difficult in part because of federal ethics rules that require Fed officials to divest of their interest in financial firms. Once a regulatory nominee is selected, the process for security and ethics reviews has been taking about two months.

Jul 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices recovered some losses after a 3 percent fall in the previous session, but markets remain under pressure from high drilling activity in the United States and ample supplies from producer club OPEC.
- Gold inched lower as the dollar steadied and as Asian equities firmed following stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data late last week that reinforced expectations of another interest rate hike in the United States.
- London copper inched up after a solid U.S. jobs report buoyed hopes that an economic recovery is taking root in the world's top economy, spurring appetite for riskier assets.
- The dollar was on solid footing, after a bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. jobs suggested the Federal Reserve would stick with its tightening plans for the rest of this year.
- U.S. corn futures rose more than 1.5 percent to hit a one-year high as forecasts for soaring temperatures raised fears of potential crop losses.
- New York cocoa on ICE Futures dropped the most in 2-1/2-weeks on Friday, under pressure from currency-driven selling and broad-based commodities weakness, led by sliding crude oil prices.
- Malaysian palm oil futures hit their highest in a month and a half in early trade, aided by gains in rival oilseed soy on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and China's Dalian Commodity Exchange.
- A new report by A.M. Best highlights the growing importance of Medicaid in the bottom line of the health-insurance industry -- and the risk of that burgeoning role as Republicans debate bills that would cut back the program substantially. Managed Medicaid revenue and enrollment have grown consistently--for enrollment, 31.7% in 2014, 13.2% in 2015 and 4.1% in 2016. So has Medicaid's share of total premium, from 10.2% in 2007 to 26.5% in 2016. But margins have actually thinned, to 0.8% in 2016 from 2.4% in 2015 and 2% in 2015. The A.M. Best analysts suggest the dropoff in margins may partly reflect that new enrollees were seeking more medical services as time went on.
- A bill loosening Brazil's labor regulation is set to be voted at the Senate next week. If approved, it would indicate that economic reform sponsored by President Temer still has some support in Congress even after he was charged by the attorney general with taking bribes, something he denies. Pundits believe the labor reform will pass, but the political environment has been too volatile for comfort. The bill changes about a hundred of the labor code's 922 articles. Among other things, the reform backs up contracts signed by labor unions and employers and which now are constantly ruled against by judges. If approved, the law goes for Temer's sanction.
- Turnout will be key at the two important upcoming votes in embattled Venezuela. On July 30, President Maduro has called for a vote to elect an assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution, a move polls show most of the country is against. But on July 16, the president's detractors are planning their own unofficial referendum to delegitimize the constitutional redraft. The referendum faces severe logistical challenges, in that it won't have any backing from national electoral authorities. "But in a country with 19.8 million registered voters, turnout of several million would send a very strong signal," Eurasia Group says. It adds, however, that tension are likely to only rise given that president's plan is seen as his last chance to hold on to power democratically.
- The G20 summit is more than just a marginal issue for investors as the influence of politics on financial markets has increased since the financial- and debt crisis and since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, say Helaba economists. The most important issues Helaba economists look out for at the meeting are whether political gaps will be bridged or whether new cracks emerge, and whether there will be a trade war with the U.S. or whether signals emerge that point to a relaxation in trade tensions Helaba economists say. "The most recent speech of Trump in Warsaw has nevertheless given little hope for that," Helaba says. The summit of the world's 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies takes place in the German city of Hamburg on July 7-8.

Jul 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices fell by more than 1 percent, with U.S. crude futures dipping below $45 per barrel as news of a rise in U.S. production added to earlier reports that OPEC output was also on the rise.
- Gold fell, set for its biggest weekly loss in two months, as investors sought higher returns from a firmer U.S. dollar and rising Treasury yields and awaited American non-farm payroll data later in the day.
- Aluminium retreated in early Asian trading after a positive showing overnight, with investors focusing on robust global supply.  
- U.S. wheat fell 1 percent as prices continued to retreat from a two-year high touched earlier in the week, though the commodity was still on track for its fifth straight weekly gain.
- North Korea tensions include a bigger tail risk than usual for global markets, says Greg Gibbs, currency strategist at AMP in Denver. From a forex viewpoint, he contends the climate builds a case in favor of the euro over the greenback and Asian currencies as Europe is relatively well-placed to avoid disruption and may benefit from closer relations with China. Gibbs thinks China and Russia may see North Korea as a wedge issue they can use to drive a bigger gap between the US and its traditional allies, in particular Europe. Meanwhile, relations between the US and China threaten to deteriorate and may already be weighing on Asian currencies, he adds.
- Pledging to reorient the U.S.'s space programs and particularly reinvigorate NASA's human exploration efforts, Vice President Mike Pence used an appearance at Florida's Kennedy Space Center to assert that his boss, President Donald Trump, is committed to championing a new era of space endeavors. But the speech, devoid any scientific, policy or budgetary details or initiatives, raised a host of questions about how the White House seeks to accomplish that goal. While NASA and congressional leaders have been tussling for years about whether astronauts should return to the surface of the moon, the vice president declared without elaborating or identifying any timetable: "Our nation will return to the moon, and we will put American boots on the face of Mars."
- The decision by Brazil's police to shake up the team overseeing the sprawling Car Wash investigation, after reducing the number of top officers dedicated to the probe, undermines ongoing efforts to fight corruption, prosecutors in the southern city of Curitiba say in a note to the press. Earlier Thursday, the Federal Police announced it would integrate the Car Wash police task force into a larger antigraft group. The Federal Police denies any attempt to weaken the investigation, which has involved several high-ranking politicians and businessmen.
- Interior Dept. Sec. Ryan Zinke issues an order to speed up the federal permitting process for developing energy on government land, and he vows to hold more lease sales for oil and gas drillers. The department cancelled 11 lease sales last year, but the law requires them to be hold at least quarterly, the secretary says. He also cites an average 257-day wait to get permits to drill or build associated infrastructure like roads on federal lands--a wait he says will come down to 30 days. Interior's moves to streamline processes is aimed at generating more energy at home instead of relying so much on foreign countries. "It's better to produce here under reasonable regulations that watch it be produced overseas with no regulations," Sec. Zinke says.
- The May trade deficit with Mexico reached $7.3B, the highest since October 2007, when the deficit hit $7.5B, according to the US Commerce Department. The figures, not adjusted for seasonality, cover US trade in goods. One reason behind the widening trade deficit could be the strong dollar, which, despite weakening in recent months, remains relatively strong and makes US goods to other countries more expensive while foreign goods become cheaper internationally. Trade figures carry political implications as President Donald Trump seeks to revamp US trade deals with other countries.
- The jump of 10-year German government bond yields above the 0.5% level eats into what little is left of the so-called Trump reflation trade. The gap between 10-year Treasurys and bunds jumped to over 230 bps last December from around 165 bps before U.S. Presidential election in November. But the gap has gradually eroded, in line with decreasing confidence in President Trump's ability to push through a reflationary economic agenda. The gap stands at just 183 bps after the move in bund yields Thursday, compared with around 189 on Wednesday.

Jul 06 - Trump Travels to Poland, Germany and Other Events to Watch Today (Dow Jones)

- Oil prices recovered some ground on strong demand in the United States, but analysts cautioned that oversupply would continue to drag on markets after a steep fall in the previous session.
- Gold held steady, after hitting an eight-week low in the previous session, as the Federal Reserve minutes released on Wednesday showed the central bank was split on how inflation might affect the future pace of interest rate hikes.
- The dollar steadied against its peers after the Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes took the wind out of its advance, with the market awaiting comments by central bankers and U.S. data for its next cues.  
- London copper steadied near one-week lows as the dollar eased back from highs triggered by a Federal Reserve meeting that clouded the outlook for the pace of future interest rate rises.
- U.S. wheat fell 3 percent, snapping a six-day rally in which prices soared more than 20 percent, though concerns over widespread damage across key U.S. producing regions due to hot, dry weather kept the grain near a two-year high.
- President Donald Trump departs on foreign travel to Poland and Germany. While in Poland, he will meet with President Andrzej Duda to discuss bilateral and regional issues; meet with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic; deliver a "major speech;" and attend the Three Seas Initiative summit. Vice President Mike Pence participates in phone calls with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (10 a.m. ET) and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (10:30 a.m.) from the White House. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly begins trip to Mexico City to meet government officials.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and China's President Xi Jinping pledged to boost economic cooperation between their countries as they met ahead of what is expected to be an unusually tense international summit on Friday. "We are very happy to see that thanks to efforts from both sides, Chinese-German relations have entered a new phase," Mr. Xi said Wednesday, according to a German translation of his remarks. U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" policies, his threats to crack down on abuse of free trade, and his withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord have brought Germany and China, two of the world's largest exporters and both defenders of the climate agreement, closer together. This new closeness is expected to feature prominently later this week when Ms. Merkel chairs this year's G-20 summit of the world's largest economies, which will force her into a delicate balancing act between her commitment to the Western alliance and her professed aversion to Mr. Trump's international agenda. "Economic relations between China and Germany are of course very important," Ms. Merkel told a joint press conference with Mr. Xi. "We don't only exchange goods, but we're also cooperating more and more in technological areas."
 If the value of exports and imports are combined, China beat the U.S. and France to become Germany's leading trading partner for the first time last year. Germany exported EUR76.1 billion ($86.4 billion) of goods to China, making the Asian giant its fifth-largest export partner, and imports from China reached EUR93.8 billion, making it Germany's biggest supplier.
 The two-day G-20 summit starts Friday in Hamburg. European delegates have said they would confront Mr. Trump on his trade stance and on his decision to withdraw from the Paris accord.
  Ms. Merkel said she expected difficult negotiations.
  "It's not easy to bring together all 20 countries with all their developments and positions," she said. "I don't know yet what the final result will look like."
  Apart from conflicting views on free trade, climate protection is seen as the main stumbling block at the G-20 meeting. China, the world's largest emitter of carbon ahead of the U.S., has said it would stick to its commitments under the Paris deal, which saw more than 190 countries pledge to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.
  In separate comments published Wednesday, Ms. Merkel also took direct aim at Mr. Trump's trade policy. The U.S. view of globalization, she told the Die Zeit weekly, was "not about a win-win situation but about winners and losers... Not just the few should benefit from economic progress. Everybody should participate."
  Several commercial deals were signed on Wednesday, timed to the meeting between Ms. Merkel and Mr. Xi. These included an agreement between car maker Daimler AG and BAIC Motor Corp. to develop electric cars; strategic partnerships between industrial conglomerate Siemens AG and Chinese companies; and a Chinese order for 140 aircraft from Airbus SE. No figure was given for the value of the contract.
  Ms. Merkel also pledged that Germany would participate in China's planned revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes from China to Europe if the tendering process was transparent. Ms. Merkel didn't elaborate on what form this participation would take.
  The project to improve infrastructure along China's main international trade channels is expected to generate more than $900 billion in investments in roads, ports, pipelines and other projects.

Jul 06 - Brexit & Beyond: French PM Warns of Debt 'Volcano', Poland Preps for Trump, Eurozone Economy Speeds Up (Dow Jones)
  French Prime Minister Warns of Cuts to Tame Its 'Volcano' of Debt: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday warned that the country is reeling under an "unbearable" debt burden and pledged austerity measures in a speech outlining policies for President Emmanuel Macron's five-year term in office.
  Poland Prepares 'Absolutely Huge' Welcome for Trump: Poland is working to put on a hero's welcome for Mr. Trump as he prepares to give a major speech to thousand of Poles in a Warsaw square. Behind that effort is a recognition across the continent that Mr. Trump has the potential to change the balance of power in Europe.
  Italy Formally Takes Control of Monte dei Paschi: The Italian government took control of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena on Tuesday, injecting EUR5.4 billion ($6.1 billion) into the troubled lender as part of a broad plan to bring one of Europe's weakest banks back to health.
  Eurozone Economy Picked Up Speed in Second Quarter: The eurozone's economic recovery likely accelerated in the three months to June, according to business surveys that have been a good guide to growth in the past.
  U.K.'s Economic Engine Loses Momentum: The engine of U.K. growth slowed in June as uncertainty over the general election and concern about Brexit negotiations held back spending, according to a survey on Wednesday.
  ECB Hasn't Discussed Halting Easy Monetary Policy, Says Key Board Member: The European Central Bank hasn't discussed making changes to its monetary policy, a key member of its executive board said, underscoring the central bank's patient approach to normalizing its expansionary programs.
  Legal Case Revives German Angst Over ECB Bond-Buying: For many in Europe, the European Central Bank's bond-buying program has played a key role in stemming the financial crisis and returning the region to solid growth. But some in Germany remain worried, writes Todd Buell.
  EU Promises Italy More Aid for Migrant Crisis: The European Union's executive branch Tuesday promised Italy an extra EUR35 million in a bid to quell tensions in the bloc over how to respond to an increasing number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya.
  New EU Digital Chief Expected to Forge Ahead With Tough Tech Rules:  A Bulgarian politician is set to begin a two-year term next week as the European Union's new digital chief, during which time she is expected to forge ahead with plans by the bloc's executive body to push through tough new rules that could constrain how American tech companies operate in Europe.

Jul 05 - The dollar slipped against the yen (Reuters)

- Oil dipped, pulled down by another rise in OPEC supplies despite a pledge to cut production, but geopolitical tensions in the Korean peninsula and the Middle East put a floor under prices.  
- Gold prices edged up as tensions on the Korean peninsula stoked safe-haven demand for the metal, while the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting was also in focus.  
- The dollar slipped against the yen on concerns about rising tensions between the United States and North Korea while the Canadian dollar held firm after the nation's central bank chief backed an interest rate increase.
- London copper was treading water amid heightened risk aversion in Asia following a North Korean missile test, while strike threats at a South American copper mine lent support to prices.

Jul 05 - Sterling More Likely to Fall to $1.25 Than Rise to $1.30, ING Says (Dow Jones)
Sterling trades down 0.15% at $1.2900, having failed to sustain a rise above $1.30 following comments from Bank of England policymakers, including Governor Mark Carney, suggesting a near-term rate increase was possible. But ING analysts say the discrepancy between U.K. and U.S. data means the pound is more likely to drop to $1.25 than rise back above $1.30. "The combination of weak UK macro data and a US data-driven recovery in USD sentiment would suggest that GBP/USD's short-term gravitational pull is more like 1.25 (rather than 1.30)," it says in a note. A move below $1.2850 this week could confirm this view, it says.

Jul 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices retreated in Asian trade, halting a run of eight straight days of gains on signs that a persistent rise in U.S. crude production is running out of steam.
- Gold edged higher, supported by a ballistic missile test by North Korea and an easing dollar, but was still sitting near seven-week lows hit in the previous session.  
- The yen gained broadly after North Korea's missile launch deepened geopolitical concerns, while the Australian dollar slipped after the Reserve Bank of Australia wrongfooted speculators who had bet it would switch to a hawkish stance.
- Shanghai zinc futures opened more than 1 percent higher, tracking similar overnight gains in the London market amid expectations the metal's fundamentals had turned a corner, thanks to a robust outlook for Chinese steel.
- Israel Aerospace Industries appears to have the inside track to build the replacement for Spacecom's Amos-6 commercial communications satellite, destroyed last fall when a SpaceX rocket exploded during routine ground tests a day before its scheduled launch. AIA is in talks with Spacecom about a more-advanced configuration to replace the AIA-built Amos-6, according to industry officials, and the final design is expected to have some national-security capabilities. The discussions coincide with high-level deliberations between Israeli government officials and the country's leading aerospace companies over potentially enhanced taxpayer support for satellite research and development. As part of the policy debate, Israel's space agency also is likely to enjoy a funding boost.
- Analysts surveyed by the Bank of Mexico keep their growth forecast for Mexico this year unchanged at 2%, according to the median estimate of the 37 economists surveyed. Despite Trump's protectionist rhetoric, Mexico's economy showed a remarkable resilience in the January-March period, but analysts see an economic slowdown from 2Q. For 2018, economists are expecting a 2.25% growth. Economists see annual inflation ending this year at 6%, up from 5.9% in the previous survey in May. The Bank of Mexico has raised rates seven consecutive times since September to contain inflation, but indicated in June the tightening cycle has ended for now.
- Mexicans living abroad sent home $2.6B in May, a 4.5% increase from a year earlier, the central bank reports. In the January-May period, remittances were up 6.3% at $11.5B, a record for the period, although in Mexican peso terms the rate of growth has slowed as the currency has recovered 21% from record lows reached in January. Banorte sees remittances boosted in part by the tougher migration policies of the Trump administration that could have prompted migrant workers to send more money home, fearing a greater probability of being deported. "We continue to believe that the flow of remittances will be influenced by Trump's anti-immigration policy," Banorte says.
- Germany's DAX closes up 1.2% at 12486.29 after Merkel says tax cuts will be part of her party's agenda after September elections, fueling hopes consumer spending will boost the economy. The remarks come alongside strong June eurozone PMI data. Volumes were normal, despite the start to the school holiday season in the state of Hesse, and ahead of the US July 4 holiday Tuesday. Thyssenkrupp leads the blue chips to close up 4.9% after a report the company will decide on a merging its steel operations with Tata Steel Europe by end-September. Financial stocks also gain, with Commerzbank up 4.3%, and Deutsche Bank ending 3.7% higher. On Tuesday, investors will eye EU producer prices, German new-car registrations and the start to a meeting of G20 finance chiefs and central bank deputies.

Jul 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices rose, lifted by the first fall in U.S. drilling activity in months, although gains were capped by reports of rising OPEC output last month even as the group has pledged to cut supply.
- Gold edged lower as investors shunned safe-haven assets for equities, with Asian stocks remaining near two-year highs, and as the dollar rose from a nine-month low, reducing the demand for bullion.
- London copper was supported just below the $6,000 level, the first trading day of the second half of the year, as brighter factory demand from China underpinned prices.
- Chicago wheat futures jumped 2.7 percent to hit their highest in two years as forecasts for continued dry weather in key U.S. growing regions stoked fears of production losses.
- Nomura says regime change in Venezuela isn't a matter of if, but rather when. With the political and economic crisis weighing, the bank expects some kind of transition. "However, it is difficult to quantify whether it's within 6 hours or 6 months," the bank notes. With government deploying tanks into the streets this week to thwart an alleged call for rebellion by a security officer, Nomura say Venezuela's political stalemate could be reaching a breakpoint. The alleged defection also suggests more supporters of the ruling Socialist Party are likely to break ranks as President Maduro moves ahead with his controversial plan to scrap the constitution with the creation of a supreme governing body on July 30.
- The Trump administration's decision to delay the conclusion of its investigation into additional tariffs on imported steel likely slows down a parallel probe into tariffs on imported aluminum. The administration's action on steel duties has always been viewed as a road map for revising US trade policy for the aluminum industry, which has been suffering from the same global oversupply conditions as the steel industry. The aluminum industry is urging the administration to take a more limited approach to duties than the across-the-board duties being considered for the steel industry. The Aluminium Association says it's "following up with key decision makers in the Trump administration to keep the focus on China to remedy trade issues facing aluminum." The aluminum industry wants Mexico and Canada spared from any duties to protect key trading relationships.
- Facebook is punishing users who share a lot of fake news. Friday, FB said its research revealed a "tiny group of people" who regularly share a lot of posts containing "clickbait, sensationalism, and misinformation." FB has identified those spammers and will demote some their posts in the news feed. The posts affected will be links to individual articles -- not videos, photos, status updates and other posts. Publishers who see a lot of traffic from those types of users could see a drop in distribution, FB said. This is part of FB's effort to find technical solutions to root out misinformation. FB's efforts have been underway since the U.S. presidential election.
- The odds of the US slapping aggressive, across-the-board tariffs on imported steel appear to be weakening as President Trump heads to the G20 summit in Germany where other world leaders are expected to relay their opposition to tariffs. "Given Trump's apparent tendency to change his opinion after discussions with US allies, we would argue that any conclusions that 20%-25% tariffs are a done deal may be overly presumptive," says Axiom Capital Management. Commerce Department missed its self-imposed deadline today for making a recommendation on tariffs after acknowledging the complexities of the move and the effects on US trade. Axiom says the run up in US steel prices lately from the threat of additional tariffs could quickly evaporate if the Administration changes course.
- Brazil's Central Bank President Ilan Goldfajn reaffirms that austerity measures, particularly one reducing social-security entitlement, are the key to restoring stability after a historic recession. But pundits are increasingly ruling out any meaningful pension reform before next year's general election. A bill sponsored by President Michel Temer is unlikely to be touched by lawmakers before the Lower House decides whether to put him on trial for corruption, a discussion started yesterday and likely to last several weeks. Temer may also come out of this process too weak to advance such an unpopular matter, analysts say. Meanwhile, the budget deficit reached 9.2% of GDP in May, and gross debt jumped to 72.5% of GDP.
- Brazil's fiscal performance worsened considerably in May. Central-bank data shows a deficit of $9.3B in the primary result, which excludes interest payments to highlight the country's ability to pay down debt. That is a sharp reversal from a $3.9B surplus the month before and an ominous sign as economic reform meant to save taxpayer money is stuck in a Congress swamped by political crises. Policymakers are already talking about raising taxes later this year if it becomes clear fiscal targets won't be met, with potentially harmful consequences for an economy forecast to expand less than 0.5% in 2017 after two years of contraction.
- Americans became less confident about the economy in June, but not quite as much as we previously thought. The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment was 95.1 in June, down from 97.1 in May--but up from the preliminary June reading of 94.5. That would suggest the hit to sentiment following former FBI director James Comey's June 8 congressional testimony, which had been flagged in the early report, faded somewhat in subsequent weeks.
- When the University of Michigan reported a preliminary June consumer-sentiment reading of 94.5, down from May's 97.1, it noted a sharp decline came after former FBI director James Comey's congressional testimony on June 8. "The recent erosion of confidence was due to more negative perceptions of the proposed economic policies among Democrats and the reduced likelihood of passage of these policies among Republicans," survey chief economist Richard Curtin said at the time. Watch the final sentiment reading for June, due out at 10am ET, to see if that trend held up for the month as a whole. Economists surveyed by WSJ expect a final reading of 94.4, down just a bit from the early estimate.

Jun 30 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Crude oil futures were on track for their biggest weekly gain since mid-May, ending five weeks of losses with prices underpinned by a decline in U.S. output.
- Gold held steady, supported by a plunging dollar and declining stocks but hawkish comments from major central banks suggesting a shift toward tighter monetary policies kept the bullion shy of major gains.
- The euro traded near a 14-month high and was on track for its best quarter in nearly 7 years, lifted by growing expectations that the European Central Bank is preparing to scale back its monetary stimulus.
- London copper was steady near the key level of $6,000 a tonne and looked set to rack up a 7-percent gain in the first half of the year, with prices supported by a weaker dollar and brighter factory growth China.
- U.S. spring wheat rose for a seventh straight session, trading near last session's three-year high as fears of output losses in key growing areas of the United States pushed the market towards its biggest monthly gain since 2010.
- Trump approves a pipeline that will carry refined petroleum products from Texas to Mexico. NuStar Logistics' New Burgos Pipeline received a presidential permit Thursday, according to the State Department. Trump had announced his approval of the project, without naming it, during a speech at the Department of Energy, saying it would run "right under the wall." The new line will deliver as much as 108,000 barrels per day of refined products, including liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas liquids, from Edinburg, Texas, to the Pemex Burgos Gas plant in Reynoas, Mexico. The new line runs along the same right of way as NuStar's existing Burgos pipeline. The Burgos line and NuStar's Dos Laredos pipeline, which also crosses from Texas to Mexico, also received permits Thursday, allowing those lines to carry a broader range of products.
- Is Trump really helping the oil industry with his continued promotion of oil exploration and development? He reiterates promises Thursday to increase offshore exploration, and unshackle oil and gas development from years of burdensome regulations, moves that could certainly boost jobs and economic growth in the short term. But it may also lead to more oil production amid tepid demand, leading then to more surpluses of supplies and lower prices that ultimately reduce jobs and GDP growth. Oil prices have fallen 20% since inauguration day to $45, and some say that's partly due to oil production surges in places like Texas that felt invigorated by Trump's election and support.
- Brazil's Supreme Court decides that plea bargains at the core of the country's historic anticorruption drive can't be modified by a judge, unless in extreme cases--for instance, if it becomes clear that the agreement was obtained under torture. Benefits offered by the prosecutor may also be erased if it is shown that the defendant didn't provide all the promised information and evidence. "It's a historic decision that makes plea deals much stronger," Attorney General Rodrigo Janot says to reporters after the vote. Earlier in the discussion, the court seemed to be leaning toward allowing judges to change the terms after the confession at will, which could make plea deals unworkable.
- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says that after Census Bureau Director John Thompson retires on Friday, two longtime bureau employees will lead the agency on an interim basis. Ron Jarmin, the current associate director for economic programs, will perform the duties of director and Enrique Lamas, the associate director for demographic programs, will act as deputy director. "The Census Bureau, along with the 2020 Census, are in good hands with these two men at the helm until the Senate confirms new leadership," Ross says in a statement.
- Trump's energy speech was heavy on talk of ending the "war on coal" and bringing back American jobs, and light on references to energy-generating technologies like solar and wind power. One reference to renewable energy came when the president mentioned revitalizing nuclear power. In March, wind and solar accounted for 10% of total electricity generation in the US for the first time, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
- President Trump says a "golden era of American energy is now underway," as he details a six-point energy plan:
1) To revive and expand the nuclear energy sector;
2) Treasury will address barriers to financing of highly efficient overseas coal energy plants;
3) Building a new petroleum pipeline to Mexico that'll go "right under the wall.";
4) Facilitating for a major US company to sell more natural gas to South Korea;
5) Energy Dept will approve two long-term applications to export additional natural gas from a Louisiana LNG terminal;
and 6) Will unlock offshore areas currently closed to development by creating new offshore oil and gas leasing programs.
- Trump announces plans for the Department of Interior to restart its process for approving areas for offshore oil and gas drilling, including potentially allowing exploration in Alaska's arctic waters and off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Under Obama, the department had moved to block drilling in some of those areas as part of a five-year process of evaluating potential leasing areas. The administration will now begin a process that could last a year or more to reevaluate all the potential leasing opportunities, according to Trump and administration officials.
- President Trump says in a speech today he's ushering in a "new American energy policy" that moves beyond mere American energy independence and leads to "American energy dominance." He says his administration is also ending "intrusive" EPA regulations that have reduced American jobs. Trump says a key plan is to significantly boost US energy exports. "We will export American energy all around the world and all over the globe."
- The EU has filed an appeal against a recent World Trade Organization ruling on large commercial aircraft subsidies. The case involves subsidies the EU says Boeing has received from the US and is the counter-case to an earlier one the US brought against European country support to Airbus. The appeal, widely expected, is against the WTO ruling that the US removed some, though not all subsidies to BA. The appeals process could drag into next year.
- The Senate Agriculture Committee advanced the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo to be chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by a 16-5 vote on Thursday. All five dissenting votes were from Democrats, though Giancarlo won the support of others including the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D, Mich). The nomination now proceeds to the full Senate, though no vote has been scheduled yet. CFTC currently has just two members, and Democratic Commissioner Sharon Bowen recently announced her intent to step down, citing the slow pace of work on the commission.
- Investors should watch what Trump does rather than what he says--and his actions suggest he wants to bring capital to the US and enhance innovation, says Catherine Wood, CEO of US-based ARK Investment Management, during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China. "I think he's a negotiator. I'm much-more optimistic as I see the nuances in his remarks." She added that Trump's tax-cut plan and meetings with fintech executives mean a lot of campaign rhetoric which caused fear about protectionism may not be carried out.
- Global equity markets are caught between improving fundamentals and constraining valuations, but should offer positive returns in 2H and into 2018, says David Lafferty, chief market strategist at Natixis Global Asset Management. Based on slightly better relative valuations and less "Trump risk," Natixis retains its modest preference for European and emerging markets. But the remainder of this year will likely offer some negative surprises--which could include a Trump tax disappointment, a US debt-ceiling debacle, new evidence of slowing growth in China or geopolitical missteps in the Middle East or North Korea--and increased volatility, Lafferty says. Such political setbacks may provide a chance to rebalance into better valuations, assuming they don't undermine the upward trend in
economic activity, he says.

Jun 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Crude oil rose for a sixth straight session to its highest since June 19 on a decline in U.S. output, but ongoing worries about global oversupply continued to drag.
- Gold edged higher as the U.S. dollar weakened against other currencies on bets that central banks in Europe were preparing to scale back monetary stimulus, but the bullion's gains were capped by a surge in equities.
- The dollar wallowed at one-year lows against the euro and slipped against sterling in Asian trade as investors priced in tighter monetary policy in Europe.
- London copper punched through a key technical level as falling supply and a weaker dollar lifted prices to their highest since April.
- U.S. spring wheat futures hit a three-year high as dry weather threatened to reduce U.S. spring crop production, while Chicago wheat futures rose for a third consecutive session.
- The fate of Brazil's President Temer could start to be decided any day now in the Lower House. The country's Supreme Court says corruption charges pressed on Monday by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot against Temer will be sent straight to the House, skipping a potential defense hearing, which now is likely to happen at the Chamber. Lawmakers need to OK the charges, which haven't arrived yet, before a trial is launched. Temer has said he did nothing wrong. His survival will depend on a fractious Congress where support for him is showing signs of waning.
- Brazil's Federal Police late Tuesday said they had to suspend issuing passports due to a lack of funds for migration control and travel documents. One of the prosecutors leading Brazil's massive Car Wash graft investigation accused President Michel Temer, who is currently under investigation for corruption, of trying to suffocate the Federal Police, which carry out the country's many graft probes. The lack of funding could be harming ongoing investigations all over Brazil, the prosecutor said. Temer's office declined to comment.
- Textron appointing Lisa Atherton, head of its military helicopter business, to lead its defense unit following planned nomination of incumbent Ellen Lord as the Pentagon's chief weapon's buyer. Lord, an advocate of streamlining the arms export sales process, would become the second industry executive to join the Pentagon leadership, with former Boeing supply-chain chief Pat Shanahan nominated as deputy defense secretary. Senate Armed Services Committee approved Shanahan's nomination despite giving him a rough ride in his confirmation hearing last week.
- It wasn't so long ago Bank of Canada Gov. Stephen Poloz was warning about the risk posed by US trade-policy uncertainty, given Trump's push to revamp Nafta, and how that justified a cautious approach on rates. BoC's messaging has evolved this month, and that was evident in Poloz's comments on Nafta in CNBC interview. He says there could be a negative shock from a massive rewrite of Nafta, but it's "impossible to quantify." He says the Nafta overhang did fuel uncertainty among firms in 1Q, but nevertheless the economy grew 3.7% annualized. "We can't deny the data and just weigh it against something completely unknown thing. So we have to deal with what we have."
- Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is claiming in a federal lawsuit that the New York Times defamed her when it published an editorial--since corrected--suggesting she helped incite the 2011 assassination attempt against former Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords. In a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee says she seeks "to hold The Times accountable for...publishing a statement about her that it knew to be false: that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011." "We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously," a Times spokeswoman said Tuesday evening.
- California on July 7 will add glyphosate -- the key chemical in Monsanto's widely used Roundup weedkiller -- to its list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, according to a notice from the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Monsanto has challenged the move in court, arguing that California's decision relies on a flawed assessment of scientific research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which in 2015 deemed glyphosate probably has the potential to cause cancer. Monsanto lost a court decision in the matter, and though the company's appealed, there's been no court order to delay the California listing. Monsanto, citing reviews of U.S. and European chemical regulators that found no cancer link for glyphosate, says it will continue to fight California's move.
- As the EPA proposes to rescind the Obama administration's Waters of the U.S. rule, farm groups hail the downfall of a regulation that many had held up as an example of federal overreach and bureaucratic red tape, and an issue that helped turn out farmers for candidate Donald Trump in November. "We are thankful this Administration is working to draw clear lines in terms of what is and what is not jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act," says Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, saying the EPA's move give farmers a freer hand to manage water quality on their own.

Jun 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil markets were steady to lower after a report of rising U.S. fuel and crude inventories underscored concerns that a three-year supply glut is far from over.
- Gold prices firmed as the dollar struggled and shares weakened after a vote on U.S. healthcare reforms was postponed and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted the ECB could trim its stimulus this year.
- The euro hit a 10-month high after the European Central Bank chief hinted the days of the ECB's aggressive stimulus are numbered, and as the dollar was pressured after a vote on U.S. healthcare legislation was delayed.
- London copper eased from near three-month highs hit the previous session, as prices consolidated after rising alongside a weaker dollar, with a tighter supply side underpinning gains.
- U.S. wheat edged up to extend two-day gains to more than 1 percent, with concerns that dry weather would hit crops in key producing regions.
- A barrage of environmental regulations on coal doesn't deserve the credit it gets for bringing down the industry, says Jamie Heller of Hellerworx. In a speech at the EIA Energy Conference in Washington, he says two other factors--competition from natural gas that helped collapse prices, and coal companies' "colossally bad decisions" several years ago to overspend on coking coal investments--are what really did in the industry. "While the environmental groups claim credit for having shut down a number of coal-fired power plants, and President Trump claims that with policy changes he's going to bring back the coal industry, I think this is all posturing."
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's attempts to remove a rebellious attorney general will only deepen the country's constitutional crisis and help an eventual political transition, Eurasia Group says. Venezuelan law says only congress--now controlled by the opposition--can remove Luisa Ortega Diaz, the fact that Maduro seems prepared to ignore as he pushes ahead with lawsuits against her. "Her removal will serve as an additional rallying cry for the opposition ... helping to prompt an eventual transition," the firm says.
- Potential changes to the US's H1B-visa policy for specialty workers would result in a short-term impact on Tata Consulting's business in the country, Girish Ramachandran, the president of the Asia Pacific region at Tata Consulting. "Of course, there would be an impact," Ramachandran said at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of  the New Champions in Dalian, China. Tata Consulting, a unit of Tata Sons Ltd, has in the past years focused on hiring more local talent, Ramachandran said, a trend that is being mirrored in other markets that Tata Consulting is operating in.
- Exemptions from US motor-vehicle safety standards "are not willy-nilly," says Mitch Bainwol, head of a Washington lobbying group representing a dozen auto makers, in response to questioning from Rep. Debbie Dingell (D., Mich.) during a congressional hearing on self-driving cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently allows companies to avoid complying with existing US regulations under limited circumstances in an effort to balance safety with encouraging testing and innovation. Bainwol pushes back against suggestions the process isn't rigorous. "You have to submit evidence to NHTSA. The notion that this is just the wild, wild, west is just not accurate," he says. Some critics have expressed skepticism, though. "Stop relying on voluntary guidance," says Alan Morrison, associate dean for public interest and public service at George Washington University's law school. "If the federal government doesn't get involved, the states are going to fill the vacuum." Auto makers' and tech companies' biggest concern is different self-driving-car regulations across state lines.
- States setting their own different standards for self-driving cars would be a "disaster," says David Strickland, the former head of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during the Obama administration, who now represents car and technology companies as partner at law firm Venable. During a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing, Strickland cites decades of federal standards preventing safety gaps across US. He testifies that "50 mini NHTSAs" could spell doom for the auto industry, which relies on uniform standards for testing and selling vehicles. Strickland represents Ford, Volvo, Uber, Lyft and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Waymo.
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau says at Ottawa press conference he has no qualms about running bigger-than-expected budget deficits. He says when the Liberals came to power in 2015, they sensed Canada was of falling into general malaise among households, and that threatened to put advantages the country holds -- such as diversity and inclusiveness -- at risk. "Something had to change," he said, "the middle class didn't feel good about their economic future or their [children's] future." Canada has bolstered spending on infrastructure on a multiyear plan, and cut tax rates for the middle class, but pledged to hold annual budget deficits to C$10B. Budget deficit for Canada's federal government expected to hit nearly C$22B for FY16-17, and C$25B in FY17-18.
- Democrats on Capitol Hill highlight a lack of leadership at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and tag emerging legislative effort on self-driving cars as partisan during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. "Once again we have no one to testify here from the administration," Rep. Frank Pallone (D., NJ) says, pointing to a "leadership vacuum" at agency. "NHTSA must have an active role for self-driving cars to be actively deployed on our roads." The NHTSA head departed at the end of the Obama administration and hasn't been replaced. Rep. Doris Matsui (D., Calif.) says she's "disappointed" with the current legislative process. "We ought to be working together on bipartisan legislation rather than these piecemeal bills," she says. Intimating legislation could undo safety efforts in California, she says NHTSA should have resources to "fill the void." Funding for the agency is a longtime partisan battle. Current legislation envisions keeping regulation of self-driving cars with NHTSA to avoid a patchwork of state rules that car and tech companies want to avoid.
- Policy efforts from Canada's Liberal government to invest in infrastructure and cut tax rates for middle-income households are "bearing fruit," PM Justin Trudeau tells reporters. He cited the level of Canada's unemployment rate, at 6.6% in May from above 7% when Liberals took office, and the creation of 317K jobs over the past 12 months. At press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau asked why the government doesn't boast about impressive economic data, like Trump White House tends to do. He said he won't get too excited with month-over-month changes in data, and is more focused on what longer-term trends are indicating. He said the spending government is undertaking to improve job prospects and incomes "will take a long while to kick in."
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry says "we're done" with allowing energy policy-making driven by political agendas. Speaking at the EIA Energy Conference in Washington, he says people liked to "say they were for American energy independence and domestic energy development, they just didn't want to drill for it or mine for it, and they didn't want to transport it and they didn't want to sell it." This led to exploration on federal lands dropping, and exploration permit requests that "withered on the vine." But now, he says: "Those days are over, we're done with that type of approach. We want policies -- better yet, we want action -- that makes America safer, stronger and freer."
- The lumber market is sharply lower with the US Commerce Department announcing preliminary anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber up to 7.72%, below expectations. The duties are part of an escalating trade dispute with Canada. Futures are down 5.4% at $355.50 per 1,000 board feet. Tall Tree Lumber Co says expectations were at 10% and that the news is seen as bearish.
- Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Canada PM Trudeau says he's developed a "constructive and productive" relationship with the Trump White House, and hopes that will translate into a negotiated settlement on the decades-long softwood lumber row. On Monday, Commerce Department said it would issue antidumping duties that would mean some imports of Canada lumber would face duties as high as nearly 31%. Trudeau said Canada is ready to begin trilateral talks on Nafta, and in the meantime is focused on a possible agreement on softwood. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he was "optimistic" the two sides could reach lumber settlement, but until then Washington would apply duties and "stand up for American companies and their workers."
- The Conference Board at 10am ET will release its index of US consumer confidence, and economists surveyed by WSJ expect a June reading of 116. That would be the third consecutive decline after the gauge in March touched its highest level since the end of 2000. It would also follow the softening trend in the University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment index, which fell to 94.5 in early June from 97.1 in May. The Michigan survey noted a sharp decline in sentiment after former FBI director James Comey's June 8 congressional testimony, so watch today's Conference Board report for any hint that political tension in Washington is weighing on consumer onfidence more broadly.

Jun 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Crude oil futures rose for a fourth consecutive session as investors covered short positions, though worries over a festering supply glut kept a lid on prices.
- Gold held steady supported by an easing dollar, with investors looking to a speech later in the day by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for clues on the outlook for U.S. monetary policy.
- The dollar rose to its highest level against the yen in nearly five weeks ahead of comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that are expected to underline her positive view of the U.S. economic outlook.
- Copper prices eased in early Asian trading, hurt by weak U.S. durable goods figures and a firm dollar.
- U.S. soybeans rose half a percent, extending gains into a third session after the U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged the condition of the crop below market expectations.
- In a speech in Washington, Energy Secretary Rick Perry reiterates that as head of the Department of Energy, he encourages open-mindedness when it comes to issues like climate change and other controversial topics. "It's okay for us to ask questions, to be skeptical about information," he says. "Let's dig into this a little deeper, let's find the other side and talk about it." He adds that creating more energy, more jobs and a booming economy doesn't have to be bad for Mother Nature. "You can have economic growth and you can take care of the environment at the same time."
- Two separate hecklers have interrupted Energy Secretary Rick Perry in the early minutes of his speech at the EIA Energy Conference in Washington, calling him a climate denier. Perry tells one that she is wrong about him being a climate change denier. "I said I don't think it [carbon dioxide emissions from human activity] was the main dial [of climate change]. What are you? Are you one of those 100 percenters?" Perry says to her. She and the other heckler are eventually shouted out of the room by members of the audience, and Perry continues on. "We're gonna power through this" speech, he says.
- US Energy Secretary Rick Perry is set to speak this morning at the government's EIA Energy Conference in Washington, where he may provide details on the Trump administration's efforts to make changes to the Department of Energy. At the conference Monday, Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden said modernizing the department was important since it was created back in the late 1970s. "A lot has changed since the 1970s, and it's time to have a 21st Century Energy Department...I understand you'll hear it from Secretary Perry himself."
- On PBS NewsHour, Buffett again backs the US moving toward single-payer health care, saying that is "probably is the best system" for the country. He contends it would bring down costs, which the Berkshire (BRKB) chief has criticized. "We are such a rich country. In a sense, we can afford to do" go single-payer, he said. The longtime Democrat campaigned for Hillary Clinton but has mostly refrained from criticizing Trump since the election.
- The Supreme Court partially revives Trump's executive order suspending travel from six countries and halting refugee resettlement. But the court also says the travel ban "may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." What is a bona fide relationship? It's not entirely clear. Legal experts and even some of the justices said court's emphasis on a "bona fide relationship" would be fought over in the lower courts in the months to come.
- The Supreme Court's decision to review and allow partial enforcement of Trump's executive order banning immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries inspired dueling narratives that hinted at litigation likely to unfold over the summer. For Trump, the order amounted to a "clear victory for national security" that "allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective," according to the president's statement after the ruling. Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants' Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing groups challenging Trump's directive, said the high court's order, "properly construed, should really allow for only the narrowest implementation of the ban."
- The resilience of US equity markets to the distractions of the Trump administration is a positive backdrop for risk-sensitive AUD, Westpac says. Chinese markets are of course less helpful as the deleveraging push continues, but the uptrend in steel prices suggests potential for recovery in iron-ore prices, it adds. The rebound in Australian job creation keeps RBA rate cut talk at bay. But Westpac expects the ongoing rise in US interest rates to chip away at AUD/USD, leaving it around 0.73 by 3Q.
- Health-care delivery is of vital social importance, but the more important legislative initiative for investors remains tax reform, says David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial. To get there, the Trump administration first has to work through healthcare so its effect on the budget can be determined, Joy says. The transition to working on tax reform won't necessarily be derailed should health-care reform fail, but "clearly, legislative momentum would be lost and the room in the budget for tax reform would be diminished," he says. Success in health-care reform, on the other hand, "could re-energize enthusiasm for tax reform, and provide the boost to stocks that has been set aside since March," he says.
- The newest addition to the Senate Republican health bill is probably good news for insurers but not for hospitals, analysts say. The new provision says that if consumers haven't maintained coverage continuously and want to buy a plan, they need to wait six months. The idea is to prod healthy people to remain insured, which helps insurers, which fear an unhealthy pool of enrollees. But "it will do little to help hospitals," writes Sheryl Skolnick of Mizuho Securities. "Think about it: I don't buy insurance, I get sick, can't get coverage, so I go to the ER, resulting in a no-pay, high-cost outcome."
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) wants to accelerate the permitting process for exporting natural gas to countries that don't have free-trade agreements with the US. His office announces the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, aimed at boosting liquefied natural gas flows out of the US. The legislation seeks to amend the Natural Gas Act to expedite non-FTA export permits, treating them the same as free-trade nations. "Expedited LNG exports will strengthen our position against current and potential foes of America, and benefit our friends and allies around the world," Cruz's office says. The current review process for an application to export LNG to non-FTA countries can take years. One Texas company that filed its initial application in October 2012 didn't receive Dept. of Energy approval in April. The US is already expected to be a net natural gas exporter by 2018, as more LNG shipping terminals come online in Texas and Louisiana. Earlier this month, the first LNG shipment from the US arrived in Poland, which traditionally is supplied by Russia.
- There's persistent talk about a possible increase to the gasoline tax to fund infrastructure improvements, especially after President Trump said several weeks ago he was considering it. But House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden says he isn't seeing anything concrete. "There's a lot of talk about 'How do we fund the nation's infrastructure?' Who should pay for it? And how do we pay for it?'" the Republican congressman says at the EIA Energy Conference in Washington. "I don't hear that [a fuel tax] coming as a refrain out of the administration or the House of the Senate, at this point. I wouldn't rule anything out."

Jun 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices rose more than 1 percent on a weaker dollar, but another rise in U.S. drilling activity stoked worries that a global supply glut will persist despite an OPEC-led effort to curb output.
- Gold prices edged lower as investors remained cautious ahead of a flurry of U.S. data due this week, with firmer Asian stocks also weighing on the market.
- The dollar drifted as U.S. Treasury yields stayed low amid fading expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates again later this year.
- London copper eased but remained within reach of the highest in more than two months, after expectations of the U.S. interest rate hike trajectory were tempered which weighed on the dollar.
- U.S. wheat futures fell 0.5 percent, retreating from a one-year high, although fears of global production losses underpinned prices.
- A draft of a Trump executive order on drug pricing is "a strong signal ... that the pharmaceutical industry will emerge from the current debate on drug pricing unscathed," Height Securities says. The draft includes policies "on the pharmaceutical industry's wish list," such as strengthening patent protection overseas and spurring government health programs to sign contracts that tie the price of a drug to how well it works in patients. And the draft is silent on what Height calls the "biggest lever to reduce drug prices"--allowing the federal Medicare health program for the elderly to directly negotiate drug prices.
- The International Federation of Accountants is calling upon G20 leaders to use an upcoming summit in Hamburg in early July to renew their commitment to international tax and accounting standards. "Unfortunately over the past years, some of the consensus has fallen away. On a regional and national level, these regulations are often not followed through," IFAC CFO Russell Guthrie says. One example is the introduction of rules on base erosion and profit shifting by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development aimed at reducing tax avoidance. Earlier this month, more than 70 countries and jurisdictions signed an agreement limiting the ability of multinationals to exploit divergences between tax treaties, a practice known as treaty shopping. The US, however, wasn't among the signatories. "The current administration is going its own way, without much regard for international organizations," Guthrie says. "The US has not made a move on any of the BEPS-items," he adds.
- The euro looks "cheap" according to UBS, which says shrinking political risks within the eurozone make the currency look attractive. In particular French president Emmanuel Macron winning presidential elections and securing a majority in the parliament sweeps away fears of far-right parties gaining further momentum, which could impact the euro. "EUR/USD should grind higher over time, as Eurozone political risk has been reduced." Since the first round of the French election, EUR/USD has rallied 4% to $1.1189. But UBS is bullish on EUR/USD only from a long-term perspective, given resilient eurozone growth. Short-term it would rather "focus positions elsewhere" because "near-term risk-reward has  deteriorated." Long-term, UBS sees EUR/USD rising toward its estimate of fair value at $1.25.
- The upcoming federal election in Germany should ensure Deutsche Telecom issues new bonds to finance a potential T-Mobile US/Sprint merger instead of going for a rights issue, Commerzbank analyst Patrick Kohlmann says in a note. The reason is that the German government won't be "keen to justify a substantial U.S. investment" ahead of the election. The federal government holds 14.5% of DT and state-owned development bank KfW owns a further 17.5%. Instead, Dr. Kohlmann thinks a senior unsecured debt-financed merger or a 50% senior/50% subordinated debt-funded deal are more likely. The German election is due September 24.
- With the eurozone looking like a haven given political uncertainty in the U.S. and the U.K, buying long-dated Italian government bonds to pick up yields of 2-3% seems a "decent bet," AXA Investment Managers' fixed income CIO Chris Iggo says in a note. Italian government bonds start yielding more than 2% from 2028 onward and more than 3% from 2044, based on Tradeweb data. Even though Mr. Iggo and his colleagues "do worry about Italy," things should be calm over the summer.
- State-run Korea Gas Corp. , or Kogas, confirms its chief executive will accompany South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Washington next week, where more purchases of US shale gas by Seoul are likely to be discussed in the backdrop of the Trump administration's growing complaints about a widening US trade deficit. Kogas, the world's largest corporate buyer of liquefied natural gas, signed a deal 5 years ago with Texas-based Cheniere to import 2.8 million tons of LNG annually for 20 years starting this summer. South Korea posted a $23 billion surplus in trade with the US in 2016.
- The American Hospital Association had little to say about the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare--none of it good. The powerful trade group urged the Senate "to go back to the drawing board and develop legislation that continues to provide coverage to all Americans who currently have it." The Senate unveiled a bill that would delay a rollback of the law's Medicaid expansion as proposed by the House GOP, but would likely make steeper cuts to federal Medicaid financing overall, say hospital and physician group officials.
- The repeal of the health-insurer tax is "a key positive" for managed-care companies, according to Credit Suisse, though it warns the individual market still may have problems. Some are skeptical that a Medicaid cutback set for 2024 will ever take effect, they write. The bill contains "a harsh cut in 2024 that we don't see as feasible to enact and maintain," writes Sarah James of Piper Jaffray. She suggests it will be "punted each year" the way that cuts to doctor payments under Medicare under a previous payment methodology once were.

Jun 23 - DJ Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil edged up, recovering some of the steep falls earlier in the week, but crude is still set for the worst first-half decline in two decades despite ongoing production cuts.
- Gold prices edged higher as the dollar softened and risk aversion due to geopolitical events buoyed the safe-haven appeal of the metal.
- Copper and other major base metals were little changed in early Asian trading, with investors marking time ahead of next week's U.S. inflation-linked indicators.
- Chicago corn was poised for its biggest weekly decline in a year with the market falling for a second consecutive week, weighed down by forecasts of crop-friendly weather in the U.S. Midwest.
- Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure says on CNBC a merger between his company and T-Mobile would create stronger competition for AT&T and Verizon. "This is a scale game," he says, standing outside the White House after a tech and telecom summit arranged by Trump. "If the government were to allow us to combine, we would still be No. 3." Claure says a combined company would have synergies of $30B-$40B in net present value. The companies contemplated a merger in 2014 but backed down in the face of regulator opposition. Talks have resumed recently, but the sides remain far apart on many issues, according to people familiar with the discussions.
- Initial response to the Senate healthcare bill from groups representing doctors and patients is negative, echoing the groups' reaction to the House bill. The American Psychiatric Association, which represents 37,000 physicians, urges the Senate to reject the bill, saying it "rolls back Medicaid expansion, caps the Medicaid program significantly...and removes protections for people with pre-existing health conditions." The American Lung Association said proposed cuts to Medicaid would hurt many adults and children with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung conditions. Shatterproof, a nonprofit that advocates for better prevention and treatment of substance abuse, says it will continue to pressure senators to reject the bill, which it says will have "devastating effects for Americans with substance use disorders."
- CAC-40 closes 0.1% higher after US Senate Republicans release their healthcare bill. Drugmaker Sanofi closes up 2.4% at EUR88.65, as health-spending cuts in the bill proved more modest than expected. Investors are watching for detailed French GDP figures on Friday at 0845 CET.
- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says Amazon hasn't done anything that would trigger antitrust concern. According to a transcript from Fox Business Network's Varney & Co., he says acquiring Whole Foods is a "clever move ... . But I surely don't see any anti-trust implications in that." He adds  it's hard to predict the response to anything in a populist climate, "but I don't believe that Amazon has been using predatory pricing or any such thing to compete unfairly. And it seems to me what America is all about is competing fairly." AMZN said last week it was acquiring WFM for $13.7B, including debt, its first major foray into brick and mortar.
- Mexico's annual core inflation holding around 4.8% in mid-June is "a tentative sign that the effect of last year's depreciation in the peso is starting to fade," Capital Economics says. "Provided this continues, today's rate hike could prove to be the final move in the tightening cycle." The firm shares the consensus view that the Bank of Mexico will raise the overnight interest rate target by 25 bps to 7%. CPI rose 0.15% in the first half of June, carrying the annual rate to 6.3%, its fastest since early 2009.
- US policy makers' efforts to ease a series of post-crisis rules are aimed primarily at making the federal rulebook more "efficient," rather than a plan to broadly kill the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, Jay Powell, the Fed's point man on financial regulation, tells Senate lawmakers. "I don't think what we're talking about here amounts to... broad deregulation," Powell says in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. The panel is drafting bipartisan legislation to make post-crisis regulations less burdensome on Wall Street in a bid to spur lending and generate economic growth.
- Shares of health-related companies are leading gains in the S&P 500 again as Senate Republicans roll out a bill that they hope will allow them to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The S&P 500 health-care sector is up 1.4%, jumping past the broader S&P 500's 0.1% gain. At the top of the group: shares of biotechnology firms and drugmakers. Gilead Sciences jumps 4.6% to $70.62, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals adds 2.5% to $535.10 and
Bristol-Myers Squibb rises 2.8% to $57.66. Drugmakers' shares have rallied in recent sessions, as news reports have suggested the Trump administration --which has promised to address drug pricing-- will push for largely industry-friendly changes.
- The risk that the Federal Reserve may be moving ahead of the curve in its interest rate-rise path, given declining inflation rates and a shift in political risk from Europe into the U.S. argue for a tighter yield spread between 10-year U.S. and German bonds, Rabobank says. In fact, the Dutch bank says it wouldn't be unreasonable to reach a spread of 165 bps - a level last seen before the U.S. presidential election in November. The gap currently stands at 191.3 bps, down from 233.38 bps in late December. Yields move inversely to bond prices, so a tightening U.S-German spread means Treasurys would outperform.
- The resignation of several French ministers over the alleged misuse of European Parliament funds is unlikely to stall reforms, Barclays economist Philippe Gudin says in a note. Given that the party of President Emmanuel Macron, La Republique En Marche, commands a majority in parliament, the government will likely get the green light for a fast-track process when it comes to labor market changes. The bond market doesn't seem concerned about early setbacks for the Macron government either, as the gap between 10-year French and German government bond yields remains tight at around 33%, according to Tradeweb.
- The potential for Saudi Arabia to cut more oil production is stronger under Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi's freshly installed crown prince and force behind Amarco's planned IPO, says consultancy FGE. "The current policy of market management as well as market share is managed under MBS' watch, so we should be prepared for Saudi Arabia to do whatever it takes to keep the prices above $50 a barrel." It thinks that could include cutting daily production back to the November 2014 level of 9.4 million barrel. Last month's average was 9.94 million, based on OPEC data.
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asks for South Korea's cooperation in imposing further economic and financial sanctions on Pyongyang in a phone call early Thursday with South Korea's new finance minister. Kim Dong-yeon reaffirmed that Seoul won't tolerate any development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in North Korea, promising to cooperate closely with the United States and the international community in addressing the issue, a finance ministry statement says.
- The House Financial Services committee approves the final pieces of a flood-insurance overhaul plan, sending the package to the full House. Starting last week, the committee advanced a series of measures meant to lift the National Flood Insurance Program out of a deficit and revamp how the insurance program works, including getting private insurers to offer flood coverage. Republicans and Democrats are divided on many of the possible changes, but did agree in a bipartisan vote to pay out claims faster and raise penalties for fraudulent claims. The Senate banking panel is preparing its own plan to address the program, perhaps adding parts from the House plan that received bipartisan support.

Jun 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices rose after U.S. crude and gasoline stockpiles fell, but worries over whether OPEC-led output cuts would be able to rein in a three-year glut continued to drag.
- Gold prices rose for a second straight day, supported by an easing dollar and weakness in U.S. Treasury yields.

- London copper held on to hefty overnight gains, spurred on by data showing the metals's shift to global a supply deficit.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session as the market took a breather after climbing to a one-year high earlier this week, with traders pausing to assess damage from unfavourable weather across the United States and Europe.
- Canadian PM Justin Trudeau tells lawmakers he spoke with Trump last week over the phone about why Canada should be exempted from any curbs on steel imports his administration may implement. The White House is expected in the coming days to reveal findings of a months-long probe into whether to halt steel imports from certain countries due to national-security concerns, through a rarely-used 1962 trade law. Trudeau says during the Canadian legislature's question-period session Canada "has no business" being viewed as national-security threat, given the close trading ties between the two countries. Two-way trade in steel between US and Canada reached roughly $8.8B last year.
- Traders bidding up biotech stocks as though the threat of significant drug-price regulations are moot following a New York Times article on Wednesday that says Trump administration is considering executive order that is largely pro-industry. Quantitative hedge funds playing big part in "leading the rally," which is also fueled by encouraging recent study data from Clovis and positive reaction to stock offerings from CLVS and AveXis, says Jefferies healthcare trading desk. And while "machines likely driving a lot of this move today," actively managed funds could become more aggressive "if investors get a sense that the rally here is sustainable," Jefferies says. "We think Biotech continues to climb here given the technical trading nature ongoing." Nasdaq Biotechnology index up 3.6%.
- The Trump administration's pullback on federal environmental regulations probably won't give a big boost to the oil and gas industry. Fitch says proposed rollbacks and delayed implementation of a number of environmental regulations--including rules on methane emissions and flaring--is likely to have "only a small effect" on oil and gas activity in the short term. The agency says a federal pullback also comes with the risk that state and local governments will push back, as some did following Trump's decision to quit the Paris climate accord.
- US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer tells Congress that if China were granted "market economy" status by the World Trade Organization, "that would be cataclysmic for the WTO." China is currently branded a non-market economy by the Geneva-based organization, making it easier for the US and other countries to block cheaper Chinese exports. China has filed complaints at the WTO demanding a shift in that status. "This is without question the most serious litigation matter we have at the WTO right now," he said in response to a question about the matter during testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. China filed its complaint last December and it will likely take several years to work its way through the WTO legal system.
- Trump's trade czar says the administration hasn't come to a decision yet as to whether it will seek to negotiating binding rules to prevent currency manipulation as a part of an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement. "We're still debating the issue of whether to put a currency manipulation provision in here," US trade representative Robert Lighthizer tells the Senate Finance Committee. "I'm still in discussions with the Secretary of the Treasury and members of this committee and certainly the Ways and Means Committee" in the House of Representatives, he says. In the past Treasury officials have worried such rules could reduce the options for setting US monetary policy, but proponents of currency provisions say the rules would be tailored to allow quantitative easing and avoid limiting US policy options.
- President Trump's trade czar tells US senators the US trade deficit suggests structural problems with the global trading system which the Trump administration is seeking to change. "The president's view and mine is that when you see a trade deficit in hundreds of billions of dollars... one must then be concerned that the deficit represents structural problems in global trade," said Robert Lighthizer, the newly confirmed US trade representative. Most economists say the US trade deficit stems from economic imbalances, especially US investment and savings levels, but the Trump administration hopes new deals with trading partners and punitive steps against countries blamed for violating trade rules will lead to more balanced imports and exports.
- President Donald Trump's top trade policymaker reiterated a pledge that the administration will ramp up enforcement actions against trading partners, saying that "we have a number of potential cases under review as we speak." Robert Lighthizer, in a prepared testimony before the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday, did not specify what sectors the cases involved. Mr. Lighthizer also noted that the administration's proposed budget seeks extra funds for trade enforcement.
- The Trump administration's top trade official told Congress Wednesday "we intend to move very quickly" on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer provided the Senate Finance Committee new details on the planned timetable for rewriting the 24-year-old pact with Mexico and Canada. Mr. Lighthizer said the administration would publish its negotiating objectives on July 17, timing that would allow officials to launch the formal renegotiation in mid-August, according to congressional requirements. Mr. Lighthizer also said that due to high public interest, the USTR will hold three days of public hearings on the Nafta renegotiation from June 27 through June 29. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the panel, warned Mr. Lighthizer against moving too quickly, saying "I'm all for being swift, but I'm also a firm believer that you get results before you set a cutoff date," adding that there's a "serious danger that an artificial deadline" will weaken the American negotiating hand.
- The S&P 500 health-care sector index is up 0.9%, the best-performing group in the S&P 500 so far in the session, while the broader S&P 500 inches up 0.1%. Health stocks took a hit last year as scrutiny over drug-pricing tactics sent shares of biotechnology firms and drugmakers sharply lower, but have since rebounded to emerge as the second-best performing sector in the S&P 500 in 2017. But moves on Capitol Hill by GOP representatives to push forward another health-care bill could rattle the sector again.
- The city of San Bernardino, Calif, has emerged from bankruptcy after nearly five years. City officials said in a press release on Monday, adding that they've begun paying past debts as part of the chapter 9 process. The city of roughly 200,000 people, located outside of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy in 2012, suffering from double-digit unemployment and lower tax revenue from fallen property values. Throughout the case, San Bernardino officials found ways to save money aside from cutting the amount of debt it faced.
- President Donald Trump's administration is taking a much different tact with manufacturer's than its predecessor, Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said Wednesday, ahead of introducing Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta at his trade group's annual conference. "Much needed change has finally come to the department," Timmons said. During President Barack Obama's administration, businesses had "a rough relationship" with the Labor Department he said. "Regulations coming out of the Department of Labor were not good for business, they were not good for investment and jobs in this country."
- The Labor Department will have less of a role in designing and administering apprenticeship programs, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta tells the National Association of Manufacturers. He points out that the Education Department doesn't directly accredit colleges. Similarly, he said his department shouldn't need to register every apprenticeship program. "We are going to work with a variety of third parties, like trade and industry groups, companies and unions, and empower these groups to design the apprenticeships," Acosta says, reiterating plans the White House announced last week. "We're saying you know more about what you do that we do." He said the department, however, will maintain some oversight to ensure quality.

Jun 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices dipped, trading around multi-month lows as investors discounted evidence of strong compliance by OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers with a deal to cut global output.
- Gold inched up after hitting its lowest in five weeks in the previous session, buoyed as equities fell and the U.S. dollar eased from one-month highs following a tumble in crude oil prices.
- London copper was trading flat in early Asian trade, capped by a stronger dollar that pushed prices lower overnight.
- U.S. wheat edged down for the first time in five sessions to retreat from a near one-year high touched the previous day, though concerns over potential yield losses in France and the United States helped limit losses.
- The pound fell below $1.26 for the first time since Theresa May called the snap election.
- Saudi stocks opened higher in the wake of news that the king has named Prince Mohammed bin Salman--architect of Saudi Arabia's ambitious reforms program to reshape the kingdom's oil dependent economy--as the new crown prince and index compiler MSCI saying it will consider adding Saudi stocks to emerging-market measures as early as next year. The opening of the kingdom's stock market to international investors, to attract more foreign capital, is part of measures undertaken by Prince Mohammed. An emerging-market classification by compilers such as MSCI can help attract billions in additional inflows from funds which track such indexes. The main Tadawul stock index is up 1.8% at 7078.
- The naming of Mohammed bin Salman as Saudi Arabia's new crown prince could prove to be a bullish driver over time for the oil market. The 31-year old is the main architect behind the ongoing effort of taking Saudi Aramco public. As such, he would likely implement measures to lift oil prices in order to have a higher valuation before the IPO, rumored to occur next year. However, a persistent glut of oil and high production from non-OPEC nations still stands to counter the cartel's ongoing effort to push prices up. Oil prices didn't move after the announcement and remain down slightly on the session in Asia.
- One less risk factor for markets is Republicans keeping an Atlanta-area House seat in the most-expensive such election in US history. Traders were watching the race for a sign of a Trump backlash in a long-Republican district. Despite soft approval numbers for the president, Democrats to date have been unable to turn that into electoral gains.
- Donald Trump's tweet on North Korea may also be weighing on South Korean equities and the won in addition to an MSCI decision on China shares, says Sean Callow, a senior currency strategist at Westpac. The Kospi is down 0.8% with the USD/KRW down 0.1% at 1141.60 won. "Korea is the biggest story of the past couple of hours," says Callow. "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out," Trump tweeted. The message implies Trump is ready to change policy and take a harder line, Callow says.
- Canada faces significant competitive constraints in the medium term due in part to policies the Trump administration is ushering in, says Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management. In a blog post, Lascelles cites possible changes to US tax, environment and banking policies as working against Canada. Meanwhile, some regions in Canada are tightening labor laws, and the rise of US shale has undercut Canadian crude prices. "It's not an outright disadvantage for Canada, but it's all tilting toward the US's favor," Lascelles tells WSJ. He adds it's leading him to anticipate below-consensus growth over the next several years, starting with 2% this year and 1.5% expansion in 2018.
- Another day, another task force, but the new one on the futures of US sanctions convened by the Center for a New American Security includes a couple of notable corporate appointees presumably blessed by their internal compliance departments. Alongside the usual parade of financiers--looking at you, Goldman Sachs --and energy companies such as Chevron, there's GE's senior counsel Karan Bhatia, a Bush-era trade and transport official. And while Boeing has been at the tip of the spear in commentary on trade policy, the think tank has tapped Airbus Americas head of compliance Patricia Dudley, who's flying the industry flag.
- Brazil's government-supported labor bill had a surprising setback today at a Senate committee, where the bill, which reduces regulation, was rejected by 10-to-9 votes. It now goes to another committee tomorrow before moving to the voting floor, likely by next week. After the vote, Sen. Romero Juca, who supports the bill, says the result doesn't change its prospects. "The reform is important and we will approve it," he says. But markets didn't like the news. The Ibovespa stock index dropped to 60826 points after the vote from 61584, and the Brazilian real weakened to 3.34 to the dollar from 3.31.
- A number of environmental groups that have been accused Exxon Mobil of knowing about the harmful effects of climate decades ago and sowing doubt about the science didn't welcome the news that the company has joined a coalition of big industrial companies backing a carbon tax. The groups, which include 350.org, pointed to a provision in the carbon tax proposal that they say would give a form of immunity to energy companies for past advocacy efforts or pollution. Exxon has denied sowing doubt on climate change.
- An unexpectedly rough ride for former Boeing supply-chain chief Pat Shanahan during Senate confirmation hearing as nominee to become deputy defense secretary. Sen John McCain rails on Shanahan over arming Ukraine, and morphs a mini tirade into concerns over defense industry consolidation. "I am concerned that 90% of defense spending is in the hands of five corporations, of which you represent one," McCain says. "Frankly I'm not overjoyed that you came from one of the five." Shanahan says he'll recuse himself from any decisions involving BA, unless granted a waiver, though that still leaves his role in some acquisitions unclear as Boeing pursues big upcoming deals in missile defense and military jets.
- Many of the world's biggest oil companies today revealed their support for a carbon tax proposal authored by GOP stalwarts James Baker and George Shultz, both former Secretaries of State and Treasury in Republican administrations. Founding members of the Climate Leadership Council include BP Plc, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total SA, and the group also includes Johnson & Johnson, General Motors and other blue chip companies. The proposal, which would set a price on carbon and return the proceeds to taxpayers in the form of quarterly dividends, currently does not have widespread support in the Republican-led Congress.

Jun 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil markets held around seven-month lows as investors focused on persistent signs of rising supply that are undermining attempts by OPEC and other producers to support prices.
- Gold inched higher, supported by global political uncertainties, after touching a five-week low earlier in the session as a key U.S. Federal Reserve official reaffirmed its hawkish stance on interest rate hikes.
- London copper traded little changed, supported by upbeat sentiment over the global economy after confidence at Japanese manufacturers rebounded, but prices were capped by a stronger dollar.
- Chicago wheat futures rose 1 percent, gaining for a fourth consecutive session with prices underpinned by a further decline in the condition of the U.S. spring crop following weeks of dry weather.
- Top trade officials from the US and UK says they're eager to explore a bilateral free-trade agreement between the two countries -- but any possible deal is likely at least two years away from taking shape. "We're not allowed to conclude any negotiations as long as we're still part of the European Union," Liam Fox, the UK's international trade secretary told a US government-run investment conference just outside  Washington, in a joint appearance with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Fox says that means no pact before March 2019. But Fox made clear he was eager to begin exploring the prospects, adding that "we have a trade working group already set up" to explore post-Brexit trading relationships. "From the US side, we've made clear we're prepared to begin as soon as the UK is ready," Ross says.
- Of the 97 proposed changes including in Treasury's financial regulation white paper last week, 62 can be enacted simply through rulemaking, Goldman Sachs analysts say. And with 19 of 22 key regulatory leadership positions opening up over the next 18 months, the administration will get a chance to prove its "personnel is policy" line. The areas most dependent on congressional action are changes to the Volcker ban against proprietary trading and private-fund sponsorship, as well as any dismantling or reorganization of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Whether they approve or disapprove of Trump and his policies, Americans appear to be giving CEOs broad latitude to work with the president and most want them to work with him at least some of the time. According to a survey of more than 800 adults by public-affairs firm Global Strategy Group, 26% say companies should work with Trump "all of the time" and 22% say they should never work with the president. The remainder say corporations should work against the administration some of the time and, on other occasions, with it. Both Democrats and Republicans say the businesses that pick and choose when to work with the president are responsible and fair.
- Political polarization in US and Europe is weighing on decision-making processes and could affect some advanced economy sovereign ratings, according to S&P Global Ratings. Disagreements between US political parties have stymied legislation in congress, especially on the fiscal side. The lack of a clear majority in UK government is likely to affect Brexit negotiations, S&P says. An anti-European party winning in the upcoming Italian general elections would weigh on country's financial and market stability. There is little appetite for major reforms to the architecture of monetary union in key Eurozone members despite pro-European victories in France and the Netherlands,  S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Frank Gill says.
- The US government switches sides in a case set to go before the Supreme Court this year on whether employers can require workers to sign arbitration agreements in which they must waive their right to collective action when pursuing work-related legal claims. The Justice Department under Obama had chosen to represent the National Labor Relations Board's position that such requirements are illegal. But in that case, NLRB v. Murphy Oil, Trump's acting solicitor general now reverses course and files an amicus brief saying it supports Murphy. The Supreme Court will take up three cases involving arbitration agreements with class-action waivers. Of the three, the government is only a party in the Murphy case. The NLRB may choose to take over the defense of its prior position from the DOJ, but the agency is now under Republican leadership and it may decline to do so.
- Energy Sec Rick Perry says on CNBC he believes climate is changing and man is affecting it. But he says it's okay to question how much impact man is having. "This idea that science is absolutely settled, and if you don't believe it's settled then you're somehow or another a neanderthal, that is so inappropriate," he says. "Being a skeptic on some of these issues is quite alright." Asked whether he believes carbon dioxide is the primary control knob for the temperature of the earth and climate, he says: "No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in."
- Might investors need to start considering a possible changing of the guard in Japanese politics? Abe's "unchallenged leadership" since 2012 is starting to show some weakness, contends Amir Anvarzadeh at BGC Partners. The PM is pushing unpopular measures like casino legalization, changing  Japan's pacifist constitution and restarting nuclear-power plants. "Although we are a year away before new elections start to come into the market's view, his recent slip in the polls is indeed worth keeping a close eye on." Not to forget the BoJ's likely starting to taper next year, Anvarzadeh adds.
- The probe into links between the White House and Russia is reminiscent of the twists that the investigation into President Clinton took from Whitewater to Monica Lewinsky, says AMP Chief Economist, Shane Oliver. His view remains that the Democrats may find something to impeach Trump on when they get control of the House of Representatives after the November 2018 mid-terms, but in the meantime the Republicans are unlikely to impeach Trump. Rather anticipation of the likely loss of control of Congress after November next year will see Republicans pull together to pass their pro-business agenda including around healthcare and tax reforms, he adds. The shooting of Republican Congressional members only adds to this.

Jun 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices dipped, weighed down by a continuing expansion in U.S. drilling that has helped to maintain high global supplies despite an OPEC-led initiative to cut production to tighten the market.
- Gold edged lower to touch a near four-week low as the dollar held firm, with the market waiting on comments from a top U.S. Federal Reserve official after last week's soft economic data.
- London copper traded little changed as broader financial markets gave no directional cues, with the potential for inventory builds as the monthly prompt date comes due potentially keeping a lid on prices.
- Chicago wheat futures slid as the market took a breather after rallying around 5 percent in the last two sessions on the back of dry weather hitting U.S. yields.
- Sterling held steady ahead of the start of Brexit negotiations, with investors also awaiting comments from a top Federal Reserve official to see whether the U.S. dollar's recent rise can be sustained.

- Mining company Gold Reserve says it has received its first $40M payment as part of the $1B that an arbitration court said Venezuela's government owes them for expropriated gold assets. Venezuela--short on cash and amid persistent debt default concerns--will pay off the remainder in installments over the next two years, the Spokane, Wash., miner says. But it notes that under an amendment to the settlement agreement, some of the payments may be collateralized with Venezuelan sovereign bonds, which markets currently rate as one of the riskiest debt classes in the world.
- "Today's moves actually limit the possibility for positive change on the island and risk ceding growth opportunities to other countries that, frankly, may not share America's interest in a free and democratic Cuba that respects human rights," Myron Brilliant, the chamber's executive vice president, said in a statement. "We remain committed to working with all relevant parties to remove the antiquated policies that hinder the empowerment of the American and Cuban people."
- Venezuela central bank's reserves are back to around $10B, meaning the cash-strapped country has all but completely used up the cash injection it received in late May after Goldman Sachs' asset management division bought Venezuelan bonds for $865M. Nomura also added $30M. Both banks paid less than a third of the bonds' nominal value. There are still $100M worth of those bonds unaccounted for and it is unclear if the government sold them. Opposition lawmakers have warned that they may not honor the debt if President Maduro's embattled government falls and they take over.
- Trump and cabinet officials are reportedly considering an executive order on pharmaceutical drug pricing, but it's still likely a "few weeks away," and when it comes it may be "quite vague," Evercore says. The administration isn't planning "broad action to curb drug pricing," and if anything "should be good news for the pharmaceutical and bio [technology] industries and investors because" nothing close to sweeping action is being considered, the investment bank says. Since transformative policy changes have to go through Congress, the president likely to seek a "quick 'win,'" such as by ordering the health secretary to consider "value-based pricing," arrangements touted by the pharma industry, where manufacturers get paid based on how effective they are in improving patients' health. Traders aren't paying attention to Evercore's rosy outlook, with the Nasdaq Biotechnology index down 0.5% on Friday, vs. a 0.2% decline in the S&P 500 and 0.3% slide in the Nasdaq Composite.
- At a conference in Ottawa, former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney relays to attendees a bit of what President Trump told him during a dinner in February at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, regarding Trump's thoughts on PM Justin Trudeau. Mulroney says Trump told him, "I got along great with Justin, and I think we can do marvelous things together." He says this bodes well for Canada as it enters Nafta renegotiations in August. Ahead of the talks, his advice for Canada negotiators is to "keep our heads down and our mouths shut, and don't take the bait," on rhetoric from Washington. "Canada is not going to win a damn thing if we win a war [in the media]."
- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra cautiously lauds EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's signal that the state's waiver to set tougher vehicle emission standards are safe from attack. Pruitt's comments are "good news for all Californians, and I hope Administrator Pruitt is good to his word," Becerra says. "If at some point down the line our efforts to combat air pollution are threatened, I am prepared to take any and all action necessary to defend our progress." Pruitt Thursday during a congressional hearing said the waiver was "not under review" and said the EPA was committed to recognizing role of states in tackling air quality. Many other states follow California's standards, including New York, making up large portion of US auto market. The Trump administration earlier this year reopened a review of US emissions standards, a move California decried.
- US House Speaker Paul Ryan will give what his office is billing as a major speech on tax policy June 20 to a group of manufacturers in Washington. Ryan's speech comes almost exactly a year after he and other House Republicans released their tax policy blueprint for lower tax rates and a broader tax base. That plan, especially a border-adjusted corporate tax, is under sustained attack from companies and from Republicans in the House and Senate. Ryan is attempting to revive momentum for that plan while also reaching a deal with senators and the Trump administration.
- A California waiver to set tougher vehicle emissions standards than the federal government suddenly looks safer after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signals revoking it isn't on the agency's agenda during a Thursday congressional hearing. "Currently, the waiver is not under review," Pruitt said in response to a question from Rep. Ken Calvert (R., Calif.). "It's important we recognize the role of the states in achieving good air quality standards. That's something we're committed to in the agency and the waiver is not currently being reviewed by the EPA." Revoking the waiver would be an unprecedented action likely to spark litigation. The issue became hot after the Trump administration reopened a review of US car emissions standards that the EPA had closed in January just before inauguration. California and the US for now are aligned on tough standards that auto makers are looking to ease.
- Former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney, who helped craft the North American Free Trade Agreement, says renegotiation of Nafta presents an "absolutely crucial" moment for the country, adding the Liberal government's political fortunes could be at stake. At an Ottawa conference, he says he's confident PM Justin Trudeau has put together a top-flight team to defend and champion Canada's interests, led by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Freeland, he says, "performed acrobatics" to get the EU-Canada trade deal finalized after it hit a potential unraveling. "We are not some pushover little country that you are going to ambush," Mulroney says. "We have a C$2 trillion economy with 36 million people. We have the strength to say no."
- US households' confidence dimmed in early June, and Washington might be the cause. The University of Michigan says its preliminary June reading on consumer sentiment was 94.5, down from May's final figure of 97.1. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a preliminary June reading of 97.0. There was a large decline in sentiment observed since June 8, according to Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, which is when former FBI director James Comey testified before Congress about his firing in May. Curtin noted the largest confidence drop was among independents, followed by Republicans; Democrats saw the smallest decline.
- Gauges of US consumer confidence jumped after the November presidential election and have come down only a bit since then. That trend is seen continuing today when the University of Michigan releases its preliminary consumer-sentiment reading for June. Economists surveyed by WSJ expect an overall index of 97.0 -- which would be little changed from May's 97.1, April's 97.0 and March's 96.9. Still, a partisan divide lurks under the seemingly placid surface. In May, the survey's chief economist noted, pessimistic Democrats were "expecting a recession" and optimistic Republicans predicted "more robust economic growth." The latest report, coming at 10am ET, may reveal if that split has narrowed at all headed into the summer months.

Jun 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices were not far off six-month lows, held down by an ongoing supply overhang that persists despite an OPEC-led effort to cut production and prop up crude markets.
- Gold edged lower to hit a three-week low and was on track for a second weekly fall, dragged down as upbeat U.S. economic data supported the dollar.
- London copper edged up but was still eyeing its biggest weekly drop since early May as markets priced in a higher U.S. interest rate environment that would support the dollar.
- Chicago wheat climbed to its highest since early May with the market on track for a second week of gains as dry weather in parts of North America threatens to reduce yields.
- Wesley Batista, CEO of embattled Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS SA, steps down from the board of Pilgrim's Pride, the US poultry processor majority-owned by JBS, as efforts continue to contain fallout from Brazilian corruption scandals. Colorado-based PPC says Batista resigned effective immediately and will be replaced on PPC's board with Denilson Molina, CFO of JBS' US foods division. In late May Batista's brother Joesley also left PPC's board, after negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors in Brazil related to corruption investigations involving politicians there, including President Michel Temer. PPC down 1.8%, but shares have soared 26% so far this year thanks to fat profits in the chicken business.
- White House budget director Mick Mulvaney says he hopes the Federal Reserve is able to successfully manage the reduction of its $4.5T portfolio of bonds and other assets. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen outlined plans Wednesday to start later this year allowing assets to mature slowly without reinvesting the proceeds. "She said she didn't think that would restrict their ability to still conduct monetary policy. I hope she's right," Mulvaney says during a briefing with reporters. "The growth of the balance sheet was an unprecedented experiment so the reduction of the balance sheet is going to be the flip-side of that same coin. And I hope they will manage it efficiently."
- Shares of Nucor fall 3.2% after the steel company gave a gloomy outlook for the current quarter, forecasting EPS of $1-$1.05, below analysts expectations of $1.22. NUE blames the 2Q profit warning on declines in its steel mills business and a slowdown in construction markets linked in part to foreign steel imports. Headwinds should clear soon, however. Steel imports to the US are already down over the past five months amid open trade probes by the Trump administration, NUE says.
- Canada's chief envoy in Washington, David MacNaughton, tells Canadian senators in Ottawa the fate of the Nafta renegotiations will depend on how quickly the US wants to move and how many issues it wants addressed. Washington is in the midst of a 90-day consultation period, and talks could begin as early as mid-August. "We can probably all agree fairly quickly on some things the three countries can do to modernize" Nafta, says MacNaughton, who's viewed as key Canadian player on Nafta. "The more issues you put on the table, the longer and more complicated the talks can become. We'll see how much US wants to put on table." The US would like talks completed by the end of 2017, with aim to avoid talks dragging on and affecting Mexico presidential election next year.
- The Senate Finance Committee advances Trump's nominee for Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, ex-Bear Stearns chief economist David Malpass. The veteran of the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush administrations wins broad bipartisan support, with the exception of two Democratic senators. Malpass is expected to take a more critical view of multilateral institutions than his recent predecessors, but former Republican colleagues say he'll also see a pragmatic use for them in projecting US power abroad. The committee's greenlight bodes well for full chamber passage.
- The path to rate renormalization and the Fed's balance-sheet reduction, will be shallow and gradual, says Rich Taylor, client portfolio manager at American Century Investments. A few days ago, there was a 55% chance of another increase in September; now, there's a 20% chance of a September increase and 32% chance of a December hike, Taylor says. With economic fundamentals basically unchanged and consistent with 2% growth, and core inflation still running below the Fed's 2% target, the rates market continues to be range bound. With a strong likelihood of continued political stagnation in addition to global geopolitical risks, "there are too many headwinds to achieving above trend growth and inflation in the near term," which should keep rates range bound for a while, he says.

Jun 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices wallowed near their lowest levels in seven months early, hurt by high global inventories and doubts over OPEC's  ability to implement production cuts.
- Gold edged up from a near three-week low hit in the previous session, supported by softer U.S. economic data and a fall in Asian shares following a report that President Donald Trump was being probed for possible obstruction of justice.
- London copper dipped to its lowest in a week after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates for the second time this year,  boosting financing costs for industry.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a second day, while corn edged up after easing in the last session as ample supplies from South America and forecasts of rains in the U.S. grain belt weighed on prices.
- The dollar nursed losses, after weak U.S. inflation data left investors wondering if the Federal Reserve would be able to  follow up its latest rate hike with another later this year.
- The Senate Finance Committee advances Trump's nominee for Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, ex-Bear Stearns chief economist David Malpass. The veteran of the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush administrations wins broad bipartisan support, with the exception of two Democratic senators. Malpass is expected to take a more critical view of multilateral institutions than his recent predecessors, but former Republican colleagues say he'll also see a pragmatic use for them in projecting US power abroad. The committee's greenlight bodes well for full chamber passage.
- The path to rate renormalization and the Fed's balance-sheet reduction, will be shallow and gradual, says Rich Taylor, client portfolio manager at American Century Investments. A few days ago, there was a 55% chance of another increase in September; now, there's a 20% chance of a September increase and 32% chance of a December hike, Taylor says. With economic fundamentals basically unchanged and consistent with 2% growth, and core inflation still running below the Fed's 2% target, the rates market continues to be range bound. With a strong likelihood of continued political stagnation in addition to global geopolitical risks, "there are too many headwinds to achieving above trend growth and inflation in the near term," which should keep rates range bound for a while, he says.
- Argentina's former president Cristina Kirchner launches a new political party organization, the Citizens Unity Front, which she is expected to use to compete for a seat in the Senate this October. In a series of tweets, Kirchner criticized President Mauricio Macri's government, but she stopped short of formally announcing her candidacy. Pollsters say Kirchner would be a good candidate, with a solid 33% approval rating, likely enough to get elected in the province of Buenos Aires. But with a nearly 48% disapproval rating, according to consultants Management & Fit, Kirchner would be a weak presidential candidate in 2019 and she represents little political threat to Macri. Kirchner faces multiple corruption investigations but would obtain congressional immunity if she took office.
- Yellen says she's open to looking at ways to reduce regulatory burdens surrounding the Volcker Rule, as recommended by a report from the Treasury Department released Monday. Yellen notes the Fed has already suggested exempting small banks from the rule, as Treasury also did. But she said she was pleased to see the report--required by an executive order from Trump--endorsed a restriction on proprietary trading. "We do have some ideas for how we might simplify the rule, and certainly it's something we are quite open to looking at," she says.
- Does Janet Yellen want to stay on as Fed chairwoman after her term is up at the end of February? She wouldn't say today and, in any case, said, "I have not had conversations with the president about future plans." President Trump said earlier this year Yellen was doing a good job, though last year he said he would probably replace her when her term is up. Yellen did say the administration has been "working hard" to fill three vacancies on the Fed board. "I do very much hope that there will be nominations in the not-too-distant future and that the Senate will take those up expeditiously."
- Highmark Health's Delaware insurance unit is seeking a 34% rate increase for its Affordable Care Act marketplace plans next year, according to the state's insurance regulator. Highmark, which is expected to be the only exchange insurer in the state after Aetna's announced withdrawal, asked for the increase assuming the federal government won't make cost-sharing payments or enforce the individual mandate for most people to have insurance, the regulator says. Rate filings for ACA plans are being closely watched around the country as the Republican Congress tries to pass a health-care bill.
- The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing next Thursday on the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo to be chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Giancarlo has been serving as the acting chairman since former Chairman Timothy Massad left at the end of the Obama administration. The CFTC currently has just two members, Giancarlo and Democratic Commissioner Sharon Bowen, three short of its full complement. The Trump administration has nominated two additional Republicans for commissioner positions, and is in negotiations over a Democratic nominee. Commissioner nominations typically proceed as bipartisan pairings.
- Farm groups are appealing to Congress to beef up funding for USDA's lending arm, with demand for farm loans in 2017 expected to match or exceed last year's record. Nearly two dozen farm groups penned a letter to congressional appropriators, requesting additional funding for the Farm Service Agency, which provides direct and guaranteed loans to US farmers. Last year, record loan demand prompted lawmakers to increase FSA funding by $1.4B, and farm groups anticipate demand will be every bit as strong--or stronger--this year, thanks to languishing farm incomes. "The outlook for 2017 grain and livestock prices appears to be no better than in 2016, likely meaning FSA loans will be even more vital to the financial viability of farm and ranch operations," the letter says.
- The Trump administration is using its budget proposal to put multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF on notice, says US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in prepared remarks to a House Appropriations subcommittee. "Treasury's international budget request should send a message that the international financial institutions need to operate more efficiently," Mnuchin says. "Just as our federal government is streamlining, so too must these entities." That may mean cuts beyond the proposed 15% reduction in promised funding for a key World Bank lending unit. "We will preserve investments where they make sense, but we must balance priorities in order to fund other parts of the government," he adds.
- IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that though she's happy to see strong economic data from the United States, she's worried about a combination of market enthusiasm and financial deregulation. She said she worried about asset valuations "probably pushed by a degree of exuberance that is difficult to explain at this point in time and proposed financial regulation modifications which if generalized to the entire banking sector in a country like the U.S. would be a cause for worry." She said some regulations could be eased for small banks, but she cautioned that going far beyond that "would be a factor of concern" when combined with the strong economy and asset prices. She was speaking at a conference in Frankfurt.

Jun 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (Dow Jones)
- Oil prices fell around 1 percent after data showed a build in U.S. crude stocks and OPEC reported a rise in its production despite its pledge to cut back on output.
- Gold inched up as the market waited for direction from the outcome of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, with the central bank expected to hike interest rates and give indications on its monetary policy for the rest of the year.
- Copper prices eased in early Asian trading, with investors cautious ahead of the outcome of a two-day meeting where the U.S Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates and give clues on its policy outlook for the rest of the year.
- U.S. spring wheat futures rose 2.2 pct, with the market poised for its biggest two-day rally in as many years on concerns over dry weather hitting yields in the United States and Canada.
- The dollar eased with investors looking past an expected U.S. rate hike later in the day for clues on Federal Reserve policy for the rest of the year.
- Investors may be warming back up to Canadian markets after recent comments from Bank of Canada officials that signal a potential rate hike in the coming months. While some economists now expect a rate hike much sooner than previously expected, Scotiabank's Derek Holt notes that BOC Governor Stephen Poloz didn't provide a strong rebuttal to his deputy's recent comments. That could mean the BOC is still waiting for evidence of a business investment rebound amidst uncertainty stemming from the US election, as well as a much more robust Canadian export outlook. Also worth noting is the impact low rates have played on Canada's housing and household finances, which would be highly vulnerable if monetary policy tightens.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says his agency can fund the government "through September" if Congress fails to lift the federal borrowing limit before August. That seemed to be a shift from his comments Monday that Treasury can fund the government through "the beginning of September." The administration has offered few details on when it expects to run out of cash to meet the government's obligations. Congress leaves for a five-week summer recess July 28. He urged them to raise the ceiling before then to "send a message to the rest of the world and the markets that we take our credit very seriously."
- The expected tax overhaul by the Trump administration may end companies' ability to deduct their debt interest payments from their tax bills. "What we are hoping is that the interest deduction is grandfathered, says Harris Corp. CFO Rahul Ghai, speaking on the sidelines of the WSJ CFO Network in Washington D.C. Companies made the decision to take on debt under a different tax regime and with the assumption of certain benefits, he says. "The right thing to do is to make sure old interest is grandfathered irrespective of the future," he says.
- Duke Energy opposes proposals to pay for tax reform by cutting companies' ability to deduct interest payments, says CFO Steven Young. The utility borrows in debt markets to pay for grid and plant upgrades. If it couldn't deduct the interest, customer rates would rise, he cautions. "It's very critical to us," he says.
- Individual investors in the US say geopolitical risks ranks as the top threat to the investment climate in the coming year, according to a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey of 1,005 adults with total savings and investments of at least $10,000. Three-quarters of investors were "very or somewhat worried" about flare-ups in tensions around the world, while 69% said they were concerned about the political climate in the US and 49% said they were worried about the economy. "Given recent headlines, it's not surprising that investors are more concerned that geopolitical risks pose a greater threat to their investments than the economy. While the news may be concerning to investors, we advise clients not to let those anxieties impact their investment plan because that doesn't change the underlying positive fundamentals of the economy," said Brian Rehling, co-head of global fixed income strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
- Where next for Transdigm after the aerospace part maker's Monday selloff following a CNBC report that Sen. Elizabeth Warren had written to the Pentagon about its sales practices ? Except Warren's office declined to release any letter, or confirm its existence, unlike two House members who had already raised similar concerns. TDG sold off more than 4% at one point on heavy volume, ending a four-week rally that drove it to a seven-month high. Short sellers have been circling the company all year, and investors will now be wary of further shots from lawmakers across TDG's bows.
- Amgen finance chief David Meline said he is "very encouraged" by the prospects of the Trump Administration's plan for lower corporate tax rates but that efforts to implement it are behind schedule. "We are slipping on the schedule," Meline says at the WSJ's CFO Network annual meeting in Washington, DC. He said he considers a proposed 15% corporate tax rate just one scenario that he will weigh when making capital allocation decisions.
- Eastman Chemical supports tax reform but is worried about how it's going to be funded, finance chief Curtis Espeland says on the sidelines of the WSJ's CFO Network Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. One possible way of funding the tax overhaul is scrapping bonus depreciation that allows companies to accelerate deductions for capital investments. "Eliminating bonus depreciation won't support manufacturing growth in the United States," Espeland says. "It will incentivize people to build plants outside the US."

Jun 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices edged up, lifted by statements that Saudi Arabia was making significant supply cuts, although rising U.S. output meant that markets remain well supplied.
- Gold held steady as investors remained cautious ahead of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that is likely to provide hints on the central bank's interest rate policy for the remainder of the year.
- London copper eased from near a two-month high ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate decision due later in the week, while China zinc premiums surged on healthy demand and limited supply.
- Chicago wheat futures bounced back, rising nearly 1 percent as the condition of the U.S. spring crop was pegged well behind market expectations, stoking fears of production losses.
- The Canadian dollar rose to its highest level in nearly two months, buoyed by hawkish comments from Canada's central bank, while worries about UK political uncertainty dented sterling.
- US Commerce Secretary Ross is concerned about outsourcing high-tech products to foreign countries, including China. "I'm very worried about the semiconductor industry," he said at WSJ's CFO Network annual meeting in DC. Such shifts could leave the US vulnerable to interruption in critical supply chains. "Where are you going to get your product from?" he asked. "We have to be very careful about technology."
- Qatar is a major producer of helium, often used as a cooling agent in making semiconductors and fiber optics. But helium circulation has been hit after Saudi Arabia and others closed their borders to Qatar. Japan industrial-gas companies Iwatani and Air Water have said the helium they produce in Qatar hasn't been able to leave the tiny Persian Gulf country since the rift. The duo ship helium to the UAE through Saudi Arabia over land, where it's shipped by sea to Japan. "With the severance of diplomatic ties, that's become impossible," said Iwatani spokesman Masaaki Kichise. It still has a month's inventory and is considering securing more helium from the US, another major producer, he added. Air Water is planning to secure helium from the US and Australia, said spokesman Koji Aratani.
- Legg Mason & Co., a Baltimore asset manager, is not worried about Britain's exit from the European Union and the potential loss of so-called passporting rights allowing for easy access to Continental Europe. "We are not too fuzzed about Brexit," says finance chief Peter H. Nachtwey at the WSJ's CFO Network Annual Meeting in Washington. Legg Mason already has subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Dublin.
- Earlier this year Argentina eliminated a 35% tax on computer, laptop and tablet imports, leading prices to plunge. But the government has no plans to similarly cut import taxes on TVs, air conditioners or other appliances, meaning prices of such items will remain exorbitantly high. Taxes on such items mean these goods can cost up to three times more than in neighboring Chile or in the US. That stifles consumption and depresses retail sales. Cabinet officials, though, say the government could cut import taxes on smartphones later this year. "Cheaper TVs won't boost productivity but cheaper cell phones would," one official says.
- Argentina's economy appeared to strengthen in May, according to an index of leading economic indicators published by Torcuato Di Tella University. The index suggests that the odds the economy will fall back into recession have slid to 9% from 12% a month ago. Nine of the 10 indicators measured by the university, including a gauge of stock prices, are up from the previous month. The index seems to confirm government assertions that Argentina's economy is now back on track and will grow this year and each of the coming years, even if at moderate rates of about 3% annually. Such numbers, while not spectacular, will still benefit President Mauricio Macri as he tries to overhaul tax and labor regulations.
- The most powerful US retail lobbying group sends a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer outlining the industry's top priorities in the expected Nafta renegotiation between the US, Canada and Mexico. The list includes keeping the agreement trilateral, making sure tariffs on all goods remain fixed at zero and not imposing new measures to origin rules that would disrupt the global supply chain. "Under no circumstance should the United States seek to impose new duties on imports from Canada or Mexico," Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation says. The group also seeks to discourage changes to Nafta's enforcement protocol based on bilateral trade balances, quotas on goods such as winter fruits and vegetables imported from Mexico, or customs duties on electronic information transmissions.
- For a long time, Peruvians said crime was their biggest concern. But that appears to have changed following a large graft scandal involving Brazil's Odebrecht that has led to corruption allegations against a former president and other government officials. A survey by Peru's statistics agency INEI says that 48% of the population identify corruption as the country's biggest problem, followed by crime, poverty, lack of employment and the quality of public education.
- Last week's trade deal that limits the amount of refined sugar Mexico can send to the US is expected to raise US prices, while greater supply in Mexico is likely to have the opposite effect at a time when inflation is at an 8-year high. Domestic sugar prices in the CPI peaked up 41% last August, and were up an annual 23% in May--Citi notes. Although sugar has only a 0.18% weighting in the index, items that use sugar, especially soda, account for 1.9% of the CPI. The fact Mexico didn't bring high-fructose corn syrup imports to the negotiating table "reinforces out takeaway of the agreement leading to potential excess supply of sweeteners in the Mexican market," says Citi.
- A lawsuit filed Monday by attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia allege government payments to President Donald Trump's hotels and other businesses violate the US Constitution. The lawsuit, similar to one filed in New York by a government watchdog group in January, pivots on Trump's decision to place his business assets into a trust, rather than divest upon taking office.
- The head of a US Department of Justice division that monitors the country's bankruptcy courts told Congress last week that reclassifying marijuana wouldn't make the division more lenient on companies in the marijuana industry that file for bankruptcy. At a hearing, US Trustee Program Director Cliff White emphasized that as long as the drug is illegal in the eyes of the federal government, his office will try to block companies with marijuana assets from using the bankruptcy system to get a fresh start. White said his office has seen an increase in the number of companies in the marijuana industry file for bankruptcy in recent years.
- Government lawyers said Friday that the US Constitution permits President Donald Trump's hotels and other businesses to accept payments from foreign governments, in response to a lawsuit alleging such payments violate the Constitution. Instead of divesting after he was elected president, Trump put his business assets into a trust and let his two adult sons run the Trump Organization. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that tracks corporate influence in politics and public policy, seized on Trump's refusal to divest in a January lawsuit filed in federal district court in Manhattan, one of several cases targeting Trump's business ties and conduct during his presidential campaign.
- Kansas' move last week to put an end to four years of extensive tax cuts is good for the state's credit, according to a report by Moody's Investors Service. The cuts had contributed to a $500M budget gap that led the state to put off pension contributions and draw on rainy day funds, according to the report. Those moves were "essentially policy choices, not acts of desperation driven by economic hardship," the ratings agency says.

Jun 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices rose as futures traders bet the market may have bottomed after a recent steep fall, even as physical markets remain bloated by oversupply, especially from a relentless rise in U.S. drilling.
- Gold inched up as Asian stocks fell and the dollar eased ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting that could give clues on the pace of interest rate hikes over the rest of the year.
- Copper prices climbed for a forth consecutive session, underpinned by strong demand from top consumer China and concerns over tight supplies from Chile.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session, giving up some of last week's gains as the U.S. government forecast higher production.
- Sterling steadied as British Prime Minister Theresa May scrambled to pick up the pieces and reunite her Conservative Party after a disastrous election that could disrupt Brexit negotiations.
- A Brazilian electoral judge finishes an exposition he started Thursday morning showing how millions of Brazilian reais skimmed from state oil company Petrobras were used to finance the winning Rousseff-Temer ticket in 2014 presidential election, an allegation both deny. The judge, Herman Benjamin, called for the election to be nullified and Temer, who replaced Rousseff last year after she was impeached, be overthrown. But at least four of the court's seven judges have signaled they aren't convinced, and pundits are expecting a final ruling later today keeping Temer in the presidency, which could breathe life into his economic-reform agenda.
- London shares close higher, with the FTSE 100 index up 1% at 7527.33, benefiting from falls in the pound after the UK election resulted in a hung parliament, with no one party achieving an overall majority. This leaves uncertainty over the make-up of the next government and over Brexit negotiations. Resultant sterling falls boost the stocks of internationally-forcused companies in particular. Fresnillo and Antofagasta rise more than 3.5%, while Standard Chartered gains 2.8%. This is offset by falls in domestically-focused companies, such as housebuilders, retailers and domestic banks. Taylor Wimpey loses 3.3%, RBS is down 2.4% and M&S down 1.8%.
- Germany's DAX ends up 0.8%, nudged higher by building economic optimism and market hopes for a less disruptive Brexit after the UK election. HeidelbergCement leads the pack, gaining 3.3% on analyst rating increases. Lufthansa gains 2.2% on expectations the UK's indecisive vote makes it more likely the country will remain closer to Europe's single market after Brexit. RWE falls 1.3% and E.On slips 0.3% after strong gains this week on news of a multibillion euro tax refund.
- Nordic markets close higher with Sweden's OMXS30 index ending the day 0.7% higher and the pan-Nordic OMXN40 index up 0.8%. "The major European stock benchmarks rose as UK stocks gained on a slide in the pound after the surprise UK general election result," Saxo Bank says in a note. "Former FBI Comey's testimony to Congress offered little evidence on alleged obstruction of justice by President Trump." Crude oil got a small bounce from shortcovering while the risk of Middle East tensions escalating further also attracted some demand ahead of the weekend, Saxo added. Oslo's oil-heavy OBX index rose 0.3%.
- China's steel exports decreased 26% in May from a year earlier, as stronger demand from domestic steel users discouraged producers from sending steel out of the country. May exports were up 8% from April and Jefferies predicts that 2H exports will probably increase amid seasonally slow domestic demand. But the firm notes the "continuation of materially lower exports highlights a structural shift driven by supply-side reform and mounting global trade barriers." Imports of Chinese steel to the US have plunged over the past year because of steep tariffs. The EU Friday levies duties on imported Chinese steel for what it says are unfair government subsidies on steel exports. The EU already has antidumping duties on Chinese steel, but it's the first time the EU has deployed antisubsidy duties against Chinese steel, which now accounts for just 4% of imports of hot-rolled coiled steel into the EU, Jefferies says.
- Over the next 12 to 24 months, the UK's march toward its withdrawal from the EU in March 2019 will have hurt the nation's economy and lead to heightened volatility in its financial markets, says Peter Donisanu, investment strategy analyst at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. The firm has a bearish view on UK bonds and currency, but a neutral view on UK stocks, reflecting the positives of better-than-expected European economic and earnings fundamentals, balanced against the negatives of historically stretched equity-market valuations, Donisanu says. The British pound, which had strengthened against the US dollar heading into the election, is likely to weaken through year-end as interest-rate differentials continue to expand when the Fed tightens monetary policy as developed-market central banks abroad generally stick with accomodative monetary policy, he says.
- Brazil's Federal Police says it raided the offices of the group of embattled meatpacker JBS Friday as part of an investigation by the country's market regulator into possible insider trading, according to a statement. Brazil's market regulator CVM has been investigating suspicious trades made by the group before the revelation of a plea deal by its main shareholders involving prominent Brazilian politicians. JBS denies any irregularity in its financial operations.
- Trump tweets his support of House Republicans' passage of a Dodd Frank repeal-and-replace bill a day earlier. "Congratulations to Jeb Hensarling & Republicans on successful House vote to repeal major parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law. GROWTH!" the message said. The bill is unlikely to become law. Trump has criticized Dodd Frank broadly before, but his administration hasn't provided many details. That could change early next week when it is expected to release a Treasury department report evaluating bank rules.
- The UK general election results create an uncertain political environment, but don't fundamentally change the UK outlook in the shorter term, says Noland Carter, chief investment officer and head of Heartwood Investment Management. The asset manager is underweight UK stocks as it believes that other developed markets hold more attractive
value, and is taking no immediate actions in portfolios, Noland says. From the market's perspective, a worst-case scenario of "a high-tax, high-spend economic program, which would create an unfriendly environment for UK-based corporates," has been avoided, he says. Markets are taking the news of a hung parliament reasonably well, and there's been no "knee-jerk reaction" so far, he says. Within the UK market, the manager's bias is toward large companies, which have performed well over the last year and benefited from the depreciation of sterling, he says.
- Treasury yields have drifted higher, as some uncertainty is lifted with the Comey hearing, ECB meeting and UK elections in the rear-view mirror, and as debt auctions loom early next week. After a lengthy price rally, the 10-year yield seems to be stabilizing around 2.2%. That is still a low level for the postelection period, especially considering expectations that the Fed will raise rates next week. Hopes for fiscal stimulus are at a low point, and it could take a run of better economic data to lift growth and inflation forecasts again. The 10-year yield was recently 2.211% vs. 2.195% Thursday.
- Safety trades won out this week as investors geared up for several potentially market-moving events including the UK election, former FBI Director James Comey's testimony, and a European Central Bank meeting. Investors piled $16B into bond funds in the week through Wednesday, the biggest inflows for bond funds in 122 weeks, according to EPFR Global. Meanwhile, investors withdrew $1.3B from equity funds and put in $0.8B into gold funds--marking the largest inflows for gold in 11 weeks, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
- US stock futures rise in morning trading, rebounding from overnight lows. Traders say global markets aren't panicking because Brexit is still going to happen, albeit with a weaker UK negotiating hand following the failure of Conservatives to win a majority in Parliament. That's leading both the pound and UK companies that rely on exports lower. The FTSE 100, which generates more than two thirds of its revenues overseas, is up 0.6%. US stock futures are up, which John Brady, of futures brokerage R.J. O'Brien, attributes to continued support from central banks. "It's hard to argue stocks are cheap here, but they're not majorly, maniacally expensive. With the lack of other alternatives, and with central banks remaining so cautious, there's no reason not to buy risk assets," he says.

Jun 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices stabilised following steep falls earlier this week, but they were still pressured by evidence of an ongoing fuel glut despite efforts led by OPEC to tighten the market by holding back production.
- Gold edged down ahead of the UK election verdict with early results suggesting no clear winner which could push the country into a new bout of political turmoil before Brexit talks.  
- Copper firmed in early Asian trading, helped by supply concerns in Chile and recent data pointing to robust import demand from China.
- Chicago wheat futures edged higher with the market on track for its biggest weekly gain in eight months, underpinned by hot and dry weather threatening to reduce production in North America.
- The pound fell sharply after British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority in a general election, throwing the country's politics into turmoil and potentially disrupting Brexit negotiations.
- The latest positioning data available for fast-money investors like hedge funds showed they weren't as negative on the pound as earlier this year. Leveraged funds slashed their negative sterling positions in the 2 months through May 23, when the number of net-short futures and options contracts on the pound hit the lowest level since shortly before the Brexit vote. The latest data, as of May 30, showed a slight uptick in the number of net bearish contracts, though it remained well below 2017's highs. Data released later Friday will provide a more-accurate picture of pre-vote positioning. Leveraged funds have been net bearish on the pound almost continuously since late 2015, CFTC data has shown.
- In the wake of Tories poised to not keep its parliamentary majority, PM May's "hard-Brexit strategy has failed and the public has rejected her popularity," says Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets UK. The pound dropped sharply, briefly breaching $1.27, and he says sterling could test $1.22 in coming weeks. "The outcome has created maximum uncertainty, and it is only going to get worse from here if we do not get any clarity." Aslam is focused on the spread between Treasurys and UK gilts, the latter falling as results come in. "Investment wisdom dictates that the Brexit negotiation process is going to be an uphill battle," says Aslam. "This means opportunity is knocking as the yield gap would widen further. The gap is already at its record level and we expect this to build more steam from here onwards."
- Instead of the UK election, Japanese institutional investors remain focused on ECB, says Daiju Aoki, regional CIO for UBS. While policy makers didn't do anything unexpected, "they are focused on inflation." Meanwhile, investors are looking at "policy momentum" rather than uncertainties between the UK and eurozone. "It's a pound issue rather than euro," Aoki adds. Japanese investors remain positive on the euro, he says, with euro-selling this morning in Asia "no surprise" following the ECB meeting. The euro has pulled back below $1.12.
- Volatility to persist for the pound with PM May likely to not "have the last say" on Brexit, says Chang Wei Liang, a forex analyst at Mizuho in Singapore. It's "an outcome that is not only bitter to accept but could potentially risk fracturing her Conservative base." The currency slumped from around $1.2950 before the release of exit-polling data to $1.2720 afterward before rebounding to $1.28. It subsequently fell below $1.27 in the past hour before bouncing
back to just under $1.28.
- Chart support for the pound is at $1.2709, and the currency nearly got there in the initial knee-jerk selling after the release of UK exit polls. Sterling has rebounded a bit since and remains above that technical level. Only "a clear break below this support would indicate deepening market concern over the election result," says Rick Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC. That as more broadly, he posits, "The possibility of a reduced Conservative majority or even a minority government is unlikely to have a significant impact on broader global markets. The biggest market moves are likely to be confined to the UK economy." The pound has eased in recent minutes, falling to $1.2720.
- If the exit poll's prediction comes true and the UK election delivers a hung Parliament, the result would be "a very bad" deal for Britain in its ongoing divorce with the EU because it would weaken the British negotiating position in Brussels, says Stephen Gallo, European head of currency strategy at BMO. That would further hit sterling, he added. The pound fell nearly 2% versus the dollar after the exit-poll release to around $1.2750. "Confirmation would
open up a door to $1.25 as soon tonight."
- The pound's 1.5% drop right after the release of the UK election exit poll may have been exaggerated, according to Stephen Simonis Sr., chief currency consultant for FXDD Global, because "this move happened at 5 pm NY time after markets have closed.," which is "an extremely illiquid time." He adds: "this move seems extreme. Certainly, electronic stop losses were triggered along the way to further exaggerate the move." Also: "we don't think a minority government will hurt Prime Minister May's position at the Brexit negotiations. The Tories still have the most seats in Parliament and she will negotiate aggressively on the UK's behalf."
- Many analysts and investors predicted the pound would fall to $1.20 if the UK election delivered no clear majority for any party. So far, it's only fallen to $1.28 from around $1.30, after the exit poll suggested this is the likely outcome, but a bigger drop may still happen. "Should the poll prove accurate, it is likely that the pound will give up the bulk of its post-election announcement gains. After this, retreating back to the low 1.20 levels versus the [dollar] is a very real possibility," says Dean Turner, economist at UBS Wealth Management. "Nevertheless, sterling has steadied following the initial sell-off and there are few signs that anxiety has spread into other markets just yet," he adds.
- New Zealand shares fall in early trading after an exit poll showed the governing Conservative Party could lose its majority following the UK election, adding to global political uncertainty. The NZX-50 index was down about 0.2% to 7443 on a morning that was light on local company news. Among the biggest movers were outdoor retailer Kathmandu, which was 1.5% lower to NZ$1.95, and retirement-village operator Metlifecare, which was 1.4% lower to NZ$5.46.
- With the exit poll showing the Conservative Party will win only 314 out of the British Parliament's 650 seats, this situation could be reminiscent of 1974, says Nomura analyst Jordan Rochester, when the Labour Party formed a minority government. "This could be a 1974 scenario with a true hung parliament and failed coalition talks with the Conservatives attempting to govern with a minority but let's wait for the real results before diving too deep into that scenario," he says. That government, under Prime Minister Harold Wilson, only lasted between February and October, when a second election delivered a narrow majority for the Labour Party.
- The British pound weakens nearly 2% after an exit poll suggests Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party may have lost its majority in the general election. "The market is not in panic mode, but it is shell shocked by this result," City Index says. The firm says uncertainty over the results, which won't be confirmed until Friday, is likely to put further downward pressure on the British currency overnight. She sees $1.253--which would mark a 1.7% slide from current values--as a key level. "The outcome of this election is impossible to predict, and we can't see how the pound could stage a recovery on the back of this," she says.
- The Brazilian electoral court judge who is overseeing a trial that could oust President Temer agrees there was an "abuse of economic power" in the 2014 elections, adding further to expectations he will vote in favor of canceling the leader's mandate. Justice Herman Benjamin is set to cast the first vote against Temer as early as Thursday night but analysts say the president still has a good chance of being absolved by the majority of the court. Temer and Rousseff, who won the 2014 election with Temer as her running mate, are under investigation for illegal campaign financing. They both deny wrongdoing.

Jun 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Crude futures edged up in early Asian trading following heavy losses in the previous session after official data showed that U.S. inventories rose for the first time in 10 weeks, reawakening concerns of a supply glut.
- Gold edged lower as investors awaited cues on market direction amid a number of geopolitical events later in the day that could boost the safe-haven demand for the metal.
- London copper rose to a one-week high after China trade improved in May which alleviated concerns over the health of the world's second-biggest economy.
- Chicago corn rose for a fifth consecutive session and traded near a one-year high hit in the previous session as concerns over dry weather across the U.S. Midwest triggered short-covering.
- Sterling traded near a two-week high, supported by expectations that Prime Minister Theresa May's party will win a majority in Britain's general election, while the euro held steady ahead of a European Central Bank policy announcement.
- From gold to industrial metals, investors are trading cautiously early in a day lined up with key events. But this could well be the lull before the storm leading to near-term volatility. Though former FBI director James Comey's prepared statement has been released ahead of his Congressional testimony, investors are probably waiting to see if there's anything more in the actual testimony later this evening that could implicate US President Trump, says OM Financial's Stuart Ive. He expects the ECB to broadly maintain monetary easing later Thursday, while the UK election may too fuel some uncertainty. Any hint of further weakness in China in its latest trade data could also drive down industrial metals.
- London spot gold prices ease marginally Thursday as the markets await key events. Investors will be closely monitoring the UK elections and the ECB meeting before taking positions. Analysts see a strong upside potential for gold to breach above a psychological threshold of $1,300 per oz, having already pushed past $1,280/oz this week to hit a 7-week high. Next week's Fed meeting will also be a crucial determinant of near term gold prices because of an expected rate rise and direction on monetary policies for the year. Spot gold is 36 cents lower at $1,286.40/oz.
- Former FBI director Comey's inquisition may now turn out to be the least interesting event for markets, NAB says. The prerelease of his prepared testimony overnight suggests while he will confirm Trump leaned on him to end the inquiry into National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, he will stop short of suggesting the president may have obstructed justice. Still, the broader Russian probe will run and run, and this particular millstone around the neck of the Trump administration looks unlikely to be lifted anytime soon, NAB adds.
- The Sierra Club blasts a memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordering Justice Department prosecutors to halt extracting payments to third-party groups as part of settling ​future ​corporate wrongdoing cases. The memo has been interpreted to mean terms such as Volkswagen's agreement to invest $2B in electric-vehicle charging stations as part of its emissions-cheating settlement would be forbidden in the future--a relevant rollback given the Justice Department's pending civil case against Fiat for similar alleged transgressions. ​Daimler's Mercedes is also facing government scrutiny on diesel emissions. ​​"Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are once again undermining critical policies that benefit the public through cleaner air and water​," said Sierra Club Environmental Law Program Director Pat Gallagher. ​Sessions's memo is "nothing more than an effort by the Trump administration to let companies like Fiat​ ​Chrysler and Mercedes off the hook.​"​ ​Memo leaves untouched policy of seeking payments to government for environmental remediation​.
- The Mexican peso firms in Mexico City to 18.2295 to the US dollar from 18.2490 Tuesday on continued momentum from the US-Mexico agreement in a sugar trade dispute, and Sunday's ruling-party election victory in a key state that for now lowers perceived risk of a less market-friendly candidate winning 2018 presidential elections. "It is unlikely for the market to be concerned about the presidential election until perhaps April-May of 2018," Nomura says. "We think political risk premium is now significantly lower than before this past weekend." The IPC stock index rises 0.1% to 49,275 points.
- When the White House earlier this week announced Joseph Otting as the nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, a top banking regulator, its official statement said he is "a graduate of the School of Credit and Financial Management at Dartmouth College." A spokeswoman for Dartmouth says an education program by that name once rented space at the Ivy League school, but it doesn't have any official affiliation with Dartmouth. Don't be surprised if Senate Democrats ask Otting about this issue during his confirmation hearing.
- Gold prices extend losses and settle lower following the early release of former FBI director James Comey's testimony to Congress, after three straight sessions of gains. Comey is scheduled to testify Thursday, but a dearth of revelations from the documents eased some investor concern about further political turmoil, and led riskier assets higher. Gold rose to six-month highs this week, trading at levels not seen since before the presidential election, on political uncertainty ahead of central-bank meetings, the UK election and Comey's statements. Gold is "now again paying attention to upcoming Fed meeting," RBC says, since central bankers are expected to raise short-term interest rates.
- Three insurance M&A deals that were "at a handshake" ahead of the US presidential election "went pencils down about a week or two after," due to uncertainty about taxes, said John Purcell, co-head of North American insurance at JPMorgan, at an S&P Global conference in New York. "The velocity of deal activity has slowed a bit," he says. But he's still working on insurance deals, he says, especially with companies that are shrinking.
- On the banks of the Ohio River, President Trump promises lofty infrastructure improvements -- including a facelift for US waterways critical to the nation's grain industry -- but remains vague on details. Trump points to decaying US locks and dams, which ferry crops to ocean ports, and tells a gathered crowd they are "going to see some amazing things happen over the next long period of time." But some farm groups worry about the particulars, including that a proposal by the administration to impose fees on grain traders and other river users as a means to fund repairs could result in lower prices paid to US farmers for their crops.
- The only criticism Trump's proposed top financial diplomat, David Malpass, faces during his short Senate nomination hearing was on the administration's dollar policy. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, says mixed messages from Trump and Mnuchin leave the public bewildered. "Is the administration for a strong dollar or a weak dollar?" Wyden asks rhetorically. "Nobody knows," he answers himself. Malpass didn't comment. But he says in his opening remarks part of his mandate is "protecting the trustworthiness of the US dollar." And for many years Malpass has advocated global exchange-rate stability. What that will mean in practice, however, is still unclear.
- David Malpass, Trump's candidate for top financial diplomat, faces little questioning in his Senate confirmation hearing, signaling his nomination should face scant opposition when lawmakers decide to approve him. Although the world is wary of the administration's America-first approach to economic policy and he favors downsizing some multilateral institutions, Malpass is viewed by some as more of an internationalist within the Trump team. Malpass tells the Senate Finance Committee he'd help "domestic industries remain competitive while encouraging foreign investment in the US that creates more jobs here," and that Washington's "international policies need to work toward broader prosperity."
- United Continental President Scott Kirby says he doesn't have any idea what would happen to international travel demand if the US banned passengers' carriage of electronic devices in aircraft cabins. "It will depend on what the rules are and what the government says about it," he says, speaking at a Deutsche Bank conference. "I don't think I have the right clearance level to know what the risk is," Kirby says. "We would always defer to people who have better intelligence." He says one big effect would be operational, as airlines would have to go through all the carry-on bags to weed out personal electronic devices. "I certainly wouldn't not take a trip if I can't take my iPad with me," he says, in reference to a global trade group's study that says 15% of business travelers would reconsider their travel.

Jun 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices dipped, with Brent crude futures around $50 per barrel, as fuel markets remained oversupplied, although tension in the Middle East and falling U.S. inventories lent some support.  
- Gold edged lower, although still holding near its highest in seven months, supported by a weaker dollar ahead of key political and economic events that are expected to stoke bullion's safe-haven appeal.  
- London copper edged higher in early trading in Asia as some investors switched into commodities from equities.
- Chicago wheat gained more ground, trading near last session's two-week high on worries about dry weather threatening production of high-protein wheat in the United States.
- The longer-term outlook for the dollar-yen may well depend on how much it can recover after congressional testimony from former FBI director James Comey later this week. Against many other major currencies, the dollar has already given up the gains made on hopes for fiscal stimulus since the U.S. election. The dollar's fall against the yen overnight put the pair below its important 200-day moving average around 110.42. Without a quick recovery above that, the pair is likely to fall more amid concerns about U.S. political instability, a factor that could further dent investors' hopes for U.S. fiscal stimulus. The USD/JPY is at 109.49, slightly up from 109.40 late Tuesday in New York.
- Rising political uncertainty continues to provide support for gold. Thursday remains key, with former US FBI Director James Comey set to give testimony about his dealings with Trump, while voters head to the polls in the UK, ANZ says. This comes as the diplomatic crisis in the Middle East involving Saudi Arabia and Qatar intensifies. This has seen a continued rise in safe-haven buying of the precious metal. A weaker USD is also playing its part in pushing gold higher.
- Minor early losses for New Zealand's NZ50 index, which is down 3 points to 7491.67, as investors brace for a trio of risk factors Thursday. "While it was a relatively quiet overnight session for data, there was a risk-off feel," ANZ says. On Thursday, the UK goes to the polls, there's an ECB meeting and former FBI director James Comey will give public testimony on the agency's Russia investigation. Overnight there were also rumours that China was ready to buy more US Treasuries under the right circumstances, ANZ says.
- USD remains under downside pressure against most major currencies and US 10-year Treasury yields fell by roughly 4 basis points to 2.14% in US trading. CBA says doubts about the Trump administration's ability to deliver an aggressive fiscal stimulus package through the US Congress anytime soon will continue to undermine the USD and US Treasury yields. With no policy-relevant US economic data releases the rest of the week, the USD focus is on former FBI Director James Comey's questioning by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday into alleged ties between Trump's 2016 campaign team and Russia, CBA adds.
- Is there a constitutional right to follow President Donald Trump on Twitter? It's a question that no one thought to pose until recently. Pushing the issue are the First Amendment advocates at Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute, a months-old research, education and litigation center. The free-speech institute says it sent a letter to the Trump administration claiming that a number of individuals have been blocked from Trump's @realDonaldTrump account because they "disagreed with, criticized or mocked," the president. The institute offers examples of prolific anti-Trump tweeters who say they were blocked from @realDonaldTrump in recent days. The institute says the Constitution requires those accounts to be unblocked. The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.
- Powering through worries of a renegotiated Nafta, Mexico's light-vehicle production and exports both jumped in May. Production at the country's foreign-owned assembly plants surged 17% compared to a year ago and exports rose 14%. Through the first five months of the year, both production and exports also are up more than 14%, compared to 2016. Mexico's Nafta partners continue taking most of the exports, with greater than 3/4 of exported vehicles sold to US consumers and nearly 9% more to Canadians.
- An index tracking news coverage of the global economy falls for the second consecutive month and is now back to pre-US election levels. Absolute Strategy Research, which compiles the ASR/WSJ index, says its measure dropped to 57 in May compared with a 59.1 reading in April and believes the decline suggests news relating to the reflation trade has subsided. "We think disappointed expectations around policy could have played a strong role," ASR says. The move is historically consistent with a fall in the equity-bond returns ratio, ASR says. A measure of 50 tends to be associated with stock returns keeping pace with those of bonds year-over-year, according to ASR. The analysts add that the stimulus newsflow component of the index shows market "chatter" particularly around fiscal policy, has fallen into negative territory, which signals a tighter stance for the first time since October.
- GM CEO Mary Barra says the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord hasn't changed GM's plan to reduce emissions and other environmental commitments. "We understand the science and believe in the science," she says ahead of GM's shareholder meeting. She cites increased use of renewable energy at GM's factories and development of green cars like the Chevy Bolt. "We're going to take these steps regardless. We have voiced that opinion to the administration even prior to their decision." Barra is on Trump's business advisory council.
- Time to ponder a sub 2% yield again? Jack McIntyre, of Brandywine Global Investment Management, says he would not rule out that the 10-year yield could fall to as low as 1.8%. "With the uncertainty of fiscal stimulus, political uncertainty in general and concerns over the growth and inflation outlook, this will get investors wanting to own Treasurys," he says. Some traders say from a technical view, the yield has room to slide. The 10-year yield has fallen below its 200-day moving average around 2.17% and investors using historical patterns to trade could buy and push the yield to 2% or lower. But some are skeptical whether a sub-2% yield would stay for long, saying US fundamentals don't support the yield moving below 2%.
- Risk aversion boosts perceived safe-haven currencies, taking USD/JPY to a six-week low around JPY109.56, and EUR/CHF to a four-week low around CHF1.0844, according to Factset. Markets are wary before Thursday's European Central Bank meeting, U.K. election and testimony from former FBI Director Comey before U.S. Congress. John Hardy, head of forex strategy at Saxo Bank, says falling U.S. bond yields since Friday's weaker-than-forecast U.S. jobs data have pushed the dollar lower against the low-yielding yen. But he also notes yen strength unusually coinciding with relative strength in emerging market currencies and strong global risk appetite. "The apparent theme is that the market is celebrating the lack of policy tightening as the inflationary threat is failing to materialise, while refusing to fret over the risk of economic weakness."
- If political fissures widen between Qatar and Arab states, buyers of Qatar's LNG may reconsider their ties with the gas producing nation, says Bernstein Research. In such a case, US, Australia and some other emerging global gas hubs such as Mozambique would stand to benefit. So far, gas and oil exports out of Qatar have not been affected by the severance of diplomatic ties.
- With geo-political tensions continuing to provide support, London spot gold nudges higher from six-week highs. OM Financial's Stuart Ive says focus this week will be on ex-FBI director James Comey's testimony that could increase the political heat on US President Donald Trump, possibly driving gold prices higher. He says the uncertainty over UK elections as well as Middle East tensions are additional factors aiding gold's momentum. Investors are not reacting to a marginal increase in proposed tax rates on gold jewelry under India's looming goods and services tax. Spot gold is up 0.3% to $1,282.40/oz.

Jun 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices fell for a third day, hit by concerns that a political rift between Qatar and several Arab states would undermine an OPEC-led push to tighten the market.  
- Gold touched its highest in more than six weeks as Asian stock markets and the U.S. dollar weakened ahead of a UK national election and a European Central Bank meeting scheduled for Thursday.
- London copper was steady, supported by a weaker dollar, although signs of slowing growth in China and the U.S kept a lid on prices.
- Chicago wheat rose for second session and spring wheat prices hit a one-year high as adverse weather in the United States, Canada and the Black Sea region threatened global supplies.
- US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says US and Mexican officials are close to resolving a dispute over Mexican sugar exports, in what's been seen as a warm-up to the upcoming Nafta renegotiation. "Obviously these negotiations are tough, they've been tough, both sides have been very firm in some of their requirements," Perdue says during a trade visit to Canada. "I'm hopeful that both sides understand it's in both our interests to come to a resolution on this rather than reintroduce tariffs which confound and distort the market in other ways." Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier he was confident a sugar deal would come Tuesday, after extending a previously-set Monday deadline for negotiations.
- The International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN body, says security and safety risks must be balanced when considering restrictions on fliers' personal electronic devices in aircraft cabins. The body's president, speaking to a big airline industry trade-group meeting in Mexico, says ICAO has established a cargo-safety group to consider the combined safety, security and facilitation aspects of the possibility, which is under consideration by the US Department of Homeland Security to reduce risk from improvised explosive devices hidden in laptops or tablets. The US government has said some sort of expansion of an existing and limited ban on electronics is likely, but it hasn't said when or on what routes.
- The US Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform is renewing a campaign to require plaintiffs to disclose third-party financing arrangements in all civil cases filed in federal court. Lisa Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform, sent a letter late last week to the office of the US courts asking the committee on rules of practice and procedure to consider baking in such a disclosure requirement to the federal rules. The proposal would require revealing any agreements that would give a person other than the plaintiffs' attorney "a right to receive compensation that is contingent on, and sourced from, any proceeds of the civil action, by settlement, judgment or otherwise." The would-be rule is identical to one proposed by the Chamber in 2014, which didn't advance very far in the rule-making process.
- Bill Ford says President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord won't "change anything for us." Ford, an outspoken environmentalist and great grandson of the Ford's founder, says he isn't fazed by Trump's protectionist policies, noting that the 114-year-old car maker is "pretty good at navigating choppy waters." Speaking at an event in Washington DC, Ford says the company is actively "weighing in on issues" and has a place at the table with both the Trump administration and congress. "Being in business for well over 100 years we've had to deal with every kind of regime possible."
- Imports of foreign-made steel to the US rose 24% in April from a year earlier to 2M tons, suggesting that importers may be building inventories in advance of additional US tariffs on steel later this year. Imports of semi-finished steel, which is primarily consumed by domestic steel mills, rose 86% in April and were up 84% during the first four months of 2017, says Bradford Research. April shipments of steel from domestic mills rose 0.7% from a year earlier, but were down 3.4% from March.
- White House and congressional proponents of putting a nonprofit corporation in charge of the nation's airways stress anticipated efficiencies and faster system. Compared to Canada's privatized system, they assert the Federal Aviation Administration spends proportionately nearly three times as much on what typically turn out to be less advanced improvements. But Paul Rinaldi, president of the union representing US controllers, sees uncertainty from looming budget battles on Capitol Hill as an even stronger reason to make the switch. "The status quo or doing nothing is unacceptable" he argues.
- Peru's Finance Minister Alfredo Thorne denies pressuring Comptroller General Edgar Alarcon to approve a government contract for an airport project in exchange for a budget transfer. A television program broadcast a recording Sunday where Thorne is heard telling Alarcon that the comptroller's office can help authorities advance the project with a positive report on the Chinchero project. He says President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was holding off on transferring funds to the comptroller's office until the men spoke. The conversation was held before the comptroller's office issued a report last month citing irregularities in the contract, which led the project to being put on hold. Thorne says he has nothing to hide and that the recording was edited. Delays to construction projects caused by corruption concerns have led to a sharp slowdown in Peru's economy.
- Chile's central bank says the economy will likely grow 1%-1.75% this year, while adding that further cuts to its benchmark interest rate are unlikely. The central bank says the growth forecast takes into account weaker-than-expected economic activity in 1Q due to a mine strike. Next year, it sees growth of 2.5%-3.5%. The central bank adds that its current interest rate is compatible with inflation at 3%, the midpoint of its 2-4% target range. "In the most likely scenario, new movements to the rate won't be necessary." The rate was cut a quarter percentage point last month to 2.5%.
- It's like the rally never happened. Bank stocks are now cheaper versus the overall market than they were before the election, as investor exuberance at the prospects of tax reform and deregulation have hit a political reality in which neither seems near-term likely. KBW Nasdaq index, down 2% this year, is trading at 72% the S&P 500 on a price-to-earnings basis, versus 76% on Oct 31, according to KBW. The KRX index of smaller, regional banks is at 87% versus 91%. KBW smells a bargain: "It is hard to argue for further underperformance for the sector, [given] interest rates are higher and regulation isn't getting worse."
- Marc Kasowitz, the lawyer tapped by President Donald Trump to represent him in the investigation into possible Russian interference in the election, has been his legal bulldog for years, called upon to address grievances involving journalists, a reality-TV contestant and former business partners. But as the president again turns to the 64-year-old New York litigator, this loyal advocate will face a task unlike the legal fights he has waged for Trump in the past, in a political city that's unfamiliar territory.
- Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement won't change long-term energy and industry trends, according to research from MSCI. A reduced regulatory burden could help the US energy sector in the short term, but a focus on increasing domestic production will likely lead to continued global oversupply of oil and natural gas, MSCI says. Meanwhile, renewable power generation will continue to get cheaper and is still expected to fall below the cost of coal power by 2020. The auto sector will continue to move towards more efficient vehicles, despite the US's more permissive stance, because Europe still accounts for a fifth of global light-vehicle sales, the research says.
- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has set today as the deadline for solving a longstanding dispute over sugar trade with Mexico, threatening to slap on punitive tariffs on Mexican imports if the two sides fail to reach agreement. A Commerce spokesman said early Monday that Ross "remains hopeful there will be a negotiated solution," adding that Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo was in town for previously scheduled business meetings, and was also talking with Ross on the subject. Some US sugar producers have accused Mexican producers of unfairly dumping their products in the American market. The negotiations have been cast as an early test of the tenor of bigger trade talks pending: renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is scheduled to start in August.

Jun 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil markets rose more than 1 percent, pushed up by tensions in the Middle East where top crude exporter Saudi Arabia and other Arab states cut off ties with Qatar, and as signs of falling OPEC supplies tightened the market.
- Gold held steady after hitting its highest in over six weeks earlier, buoyed by disappointing U.S. jobs data that appeared to dilute the prospects for an aggressive string of interest rate hikes in the United States.
- London copper was steady, supported as the dollar weakened following a disappointing U.S. jobs report, while zinc and nickel prices tracked renewed weakness in steel markets.
- Chicago wheat futures rose for a second session, with prices underpinned by forecasts that hot and dry weather could hit U.S. production.
- Joining the chorus of US companies criticizing Trump's decision to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, Citigroup global public affairs head Edward Skyler writes in a blog post the bank was "outspoken in our support for the US to remain" in the agreement, and is "disappointed President Trump chose to leave." Skyler says the bank remained committed to providing $100B in financing for clean energy, infrastructure, and related tech projects. Previously, CEO Michael Corbat had been among a group of chiefs who signed a letter urging Trump to stick with the pact. In January, Corbat was also among the banks publicly criticizing the president's travel ban executive order.
- Cybersecurity and healthcare experts in a report to Congress call for incentives to retire aging and insecure medical devices. The report, required by the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, makes multiple recommendations to boost cybersecurity in the nation's $148B medical device market. New incentives could be similar to the 2009 "Cash for Clunkers" program, which offset the cost of new cars with federal vouchers for drivers who traded in older, less-fuel efficient autos, the report says.
- Hedge funds and other speculative investors cut bullish bets on the dollar to their lowest level since mid-September in the week through May 30, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data shows. Bullish dollar bets fell to $7.9B this week from $8.9B the week earlier. Investors have lately been unwinding their bullish dollar bets, which totaled $26B at the start of the year, amid uncertainty over the US economy and President Donald Trump's stimulus plans. In other currencies, investors added to bets on a stronger euro.
- A new foreign-exchange system unveiled by Venezuela's cash-strapped government this week officially devalued its bolivar currency yet another 64%. President Maduro had presented the new measure as a solution to the country's chronic dollar shortages that have led the local currency's value into a steady free fall. But the system in its first week appears to be more of the same: a discretionary and opaque method of dollar distribution that appears unlikely to satisfy the needs of the crippled economy. The government sold less than $30M in its first hard-currency auction.
- The US manufacturing sector shed 1,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reports, breaking a five-month streak of factory employment expansion. A weakening automotive industry and a still-high trade deficit are colliding with the enthusiasm for manufacturing that accompanied the Trump administration into office in January. "While the administration has initiated several trade reviews that could level the global playing field, they have yet to bear fruit," says Scott Paul, president of Alliance for American Manufacturing, a lobbying group with ties to the United Steelworkers Union. Workers and company executives alike continue to wait for the president to follow through on pledges to invigorate domestic manufacturing with more spending on public infrastructure and pro-employment tax reforms. Paul says these initiatives are beginning to look like "a fading possibility."
- The Justice Department said the executive branch can ignore congressional requests for information made by members of the minority party, in an internal opinion released Thursday that gives the Trump administration legal justification to withhold records from Democrats seeking to conduct their own inquiry into Russia-related and other matters. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, a unit that answers legal questions for government agencies and the White House, said congressional authority to oversee the executive branch may be exercised only by committees and subcommittees controlled by the party in power. Democrats have been sending White House and executive branch agencies letters on a near-daily basis on issues ranging from the Russia investigation and ethics issues to health care and environmental concerns.
- Oil prices are 3% lower since Trump said the US is leaving the Paris climate change deal, which begs the question: Is this why oil companies like ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips wanted the US to stay in the accord? The conventional wisdom view was XOM, COP and others wanted the US to stay in the accord because they recognized climate change was real, and wanted the US to have more sway in global decision-making on fossil fuels they profit from. But maybe they just feared a reduced focus on renewables and climate change, combined with increased oil pumping, could keep oil prices low, hurting company's profits even more.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has filed to offer Affordable Care Act plans in the state for 2018, according to the Oklahoma state insurance regulator. The insurer's moves are being closely watched because Blue Cross is the only ACA insurer left in Oklahoma, after others exited. Blue Cross parent Health Care Service Corp. earlier this year said it hadn't made final decisions about its ACA exchange footprint. Many insurers are struggling to make calls about participation amid uncertainty about the ACA's future. Regulators are worried about the possibility of bare regions around the country, where no ACA plans will be available. Already, 25 counties in western Missouri are likely to be in that situation, after Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City said it doesn't plan to offer ACA plans next year.
- Under Armour chief executive Kevin Plank criticizes Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, saying "climate change is real" and that "we at Under Armour are disappointed by the administration's decision." The sportswear executive came under fire in February after expressing support for Trump, who he called an asset to the nation as a business leader in a television interview with CNBC. Plank has previously participated in a White House summit of manufacturing executives with the Trump administration. UAA didn't immediately respond to questions regarding whether Plank's disagreement with the Paris withdrawal would affect his decision to meet with Trump in the future.
- The Trump administration's decision to exit the Paris climate accord may encourage companies to postpone the business decisions needed to adjust to future needs, and will likely have negative economic implications, says Jens Peers, chief investment officer, sustainable equities and fixed income, at Mirova, an asset management company owned by Natixis Asset Management. Other countries could choose to add a carbon tax on US imports, making investments in any export-orientated production capacity potentially less attractive, Peers says. In addition, research and development spending on low carbon solutions may slow in the US, which could put US companies four or more years behind those of other nations if the economic model really goes low carbon for climate or financial reasons, he says.
- President Trump isn't the only US leader with a beef against Germany. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he doesn't appreciate being lectured by Germany about the Paris accords on climate change when the country is pulling out of nuclear power and in some cases replacing it with coal-fired power. At a recent meeting in Rome, "the Germans were very adamant about Paris and staying in Paris, yet their emissions are headed in the wrong direction. They're taking nuclear plants off, they're backfilling with coal-burning plants," says Perry in a WSJ interview.
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry wants four nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina by Southern Co. and Scana to be completed. But he says it's the job of Toshiba and its US nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric, currently under chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to make it happen. In a WSJ interview, Perry declines to put pressure on Toshiba, saying "I shouldn't be telling them how to run their company." He refrains from turning the matter into a political issue, saying he has had good talks with Japanese officials and "everybody's appropriately focused on it."

Jun 02 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices dropped amid worries that U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon a global climate pact could spark more crude drilling in the United States, stoking a persistent glut in global supply.
- Gold fell to hit its lowest in a week, with stock markets climbing and the dollar firming after upbeat U.S. private sector job figures appeared to boost the prospects for an interest rate hike this month.
- Copper and nickel prices inched down, undermined by concerns over weakening demand and oversupply.
- Chicago wheat futures lost more ground with the market poised for its biggest weekly loss since late March as forecasts of dry weather across the U.S. grain belt are expected to boost the harvest.
- The US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord may have handed China an unprecedented opportunity to lead global climate affairs, says Wood Mackenzie principal consultant power and renewable Frank Yu. "We are going to see closer cooperation between China and the European Union in accelerating the energy transition into a low-carbon economy," says Yu. China would accelerate the development of its national carbon trading market, while lending more support to climatically-vulnerable countries, he adds. Many US companies would also likely relocate their renewable technology centers to Asia, a move that could lead to the cost of renewables falling faster in Asia and displace dirty fuels such as coal, Yu says. He adds that green capital funds are also likely to sharpen their focus on Asia, benefiting nations like India, Indonesia and Vietnam in meeting their renewable goals.
- BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink also disagrees with Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord but will remain a part of an administration's advisory forum Trump has turned to for advice on policy and economic matters. "I believe there is the potential to have a positive impact," with Fink adding in a statement that "I do not agree with all of the President's policies and decisions, including today's announcement." Earlier this year, BLK said the disclosure of climate risks would be among its key engagement priorities with executives. The world's biggest money manager was among the large investors which earlier this week backed a shareholder proposal at Exxon that called for the company to share more information about how climate change and regulations could impact operations.
- Tim Cook has joined the chorus of business executives criticizing Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Accord. "Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it," he said in a note to Apple employees obtained by WSJ. Cook added he spoke with Trump on Tuesday and encouraged him to keep the US in the climate agreement.
- Australian mining and energy giant BHP Billiton adds to a chorus of companies expressing disappointment at the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but adds the move doesn't impact its long-held support for the agreement. It says the Paris deal provides a solid foundation for a global response to climate change. "We have been clear in our actions and commitments," says a spokeswoman, adding BHP believes the dual objectives of limiting climate change and providing reliable and affordable energy are essential to sustainable development.
- Agricultural giant Cargill calls President Trump's move to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord "extremely disappointing," and says its own efforts to address climate change and emissions will continue. "Exiting international accords like the Paris Agreement will negatively impact trade, economic vitality, the state of our environment, and relationships amongst the world community," says Cargill CEO David MacLennan. Cargill, sometimes under pressure from environmental groups and sometimes in collaboration with them, has taken steps to curb deforestation and generate more power for its food plants from renewable sources.
- Mark Zuckerberg lambasts Trump's decision to quit the Paris climate accord. The move "is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk," the Facebook (FB) CEO says in a post that didn't name Trump. Zuckerberg has criticized Trump's immigration policies and isolationist tendencies in the past.
- Investors concerned the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement may signal "further anti-renewable action," may want to invest in solar and wind companies with global exposure to dampen domestic risk, says Garvin Jabusch, chief investment officer at Green Alpha Advisors, a money manager focused on investing in solutions to climate change, resource scarcity and other systemic risks to the global economy. "Stepping away from the accord now puts the US at a disadvantage four years down the road when the next set of Paris negotiations take place," Jabusch says. "It also threatens the long-term prospects of US businesses." Despite the decision to withdraw, however, wind and solar will remain a driving force in the nation's energy development, he says.
- Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says removing the US from the Paris climate accord will support domestic manufacturing employment. "The US's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord is this administration's bold commitment to promoting pro-growth principles and rebuilding America's manufacturing base, which was under siege by the Paris accord," he says. Manufacturing was an important source of job growth early in the recovery, but gains have slowed sharply. Manufacturing employment rose just 0.3% in April compared to a year earlier, versus a 1.6% increase in overall US payroll. May figures will be released Friday. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka denounced the move, calling it "a decision to abandon a cleaner future powered by good jobs."
- Sheryl Sandberg is a little behind on her reading. The Facebook COO was asked to respond to comments by former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton about fake news on the social network during last year's election. Her response? "I haven't seen the transcript (so) I can't react to the specific comment." Sandberg, one of Clinton's most ardent backers, adds FB is doubling down on fighting fake news and users don't want those stories on the social network.
- Trump says the US will withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord, citing disadvantages to US workers and the blocking of the development of "clean coal" technologies. In response to the announcement from the White House, World Coal Association CEO Benjamin Sporton says, "this decision is the result of a failure to build a genuine coalition on climate action that recognizes the role of all technologies, including low emissions coal, to achieve climate objectives." However, in the US coal has been primarily edged out by innovations in shale oil drilling that have unlocked an abundance of cheap natural gas, driven down energy prices and forced several coal producers out of business.
- In President Trump's remarks as he pulls out of the Paris Accord he avoids altogether the debate over whether climate change is a real problem, or just a "hoax" as he once called it. Instead, he frames his decision around the fairness of the deal itself, using the same type of language he's used regarding trade deals like NAFTA. "The bottom line is the Paris Accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States," Trump says. For example, he says India makes its participation in the Paris deal "contingent upon receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries," while China can do "whatever they want [in terms of emissions] for 13 years. Not us."
- Trump says the US will withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord, which is aimed at curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, believed to be a key driver of climate change. But Trump says the US will try to negotiate a deal that "is fair to US workers." Trump says the current agreement "blocks the development of clean coal in America."

Jun 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil futures rose from a three-week low touched the previous session, buoyed by expectations the United States could pull out of a global climate accord and by a report that showed U.S. crude stockpiles had fallen more than expected.  
- Gold held steady, after hitting a five-week high in the previous session, supported by geopolitical tensions and a weaker dollar, but expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates this month weighed on prices.  
- Nickel prices fell further to hover around 11-month lows, dragged down by worries about oversupply and fears of tepid demand from steel mills in top metals consumer China.  
- Chicago soybean futures edged higher, rising for a second session as a port strike in Argentina threatened to disrupt supplies from the world's third largest exporter of the oilseed.
- The Australian dollar tumbled on Thursday after a private survey showed China's manufacturing activity unexpectedly shrank in May, casting a cloud over the global economic outlook.
- Brazil's political turmoil made a major appearance in the central bank's rate decision today. The Selic benchmark rate was cut to 10.25% from 11.25%, extending a cycle that began in October. But now that President Michel Temer could be ousted pending an electoral-court decision coming up next week, markets fear for his fiscal-reform agenda, which is key to tame long-term inflation, economists say. In a statement, the central bank says "high levels of uncertainty regarding the evolution of reforms and adjustments in the economy can have detrimental effects on economic activity."
- Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, threatens to quit White House advisory councils if President Trump decides to leave the Paris Agreement on climate change. "Don't know which way Paris will go, but I've done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain," Musk says on a Twitter post. Asked what he would do if the president decides to leave the accord, Musk responds, "Will have no choice but to depart councils in that case." While Musk has faced past criticism for working with the White House, he has said he wants to use the position to advocate for his point of view with President Trump.
- The Fed's latest beige book report notes worker shortages "across a broadening range of occupations and regions." One point of interest from the San Francisco Fed: "Recent changes in immigration policy created substantial labor supply shortages for low-skilled workers in the agriculture sector; as a consequence, some growers discarded portions of their harvest."
- ​From stalled tax reform to an uncertain geopolitical landscape, there are plenty of reasons for companies not to do deals. But corporate chiefs "still feel pressure to grow and position themslves, and M&A is an important part of that," Goldman Sachs Co-Chief Operating Officer David Solomon says. "CEOs by nature have to act. They have to take the current environment." He says internal GS data about the M&A pipeline "feels a little bit better the last month or two than it did in the beginning of the year." Global M&A is about flat YTD at $1.3T, down about 11% in the US. GS is the top-ranked adviser, landing on 140 deals worth $340B, according to Dealogic.
- A shareholder resolution seeking to pressure Exxon into disclosing more about how its assets would be affected by climate change passed with 62% of votes cast, a strong signal that major asset managers are concerned and interested in the topic. More than two thirds of investors approved XOM's pay practices, and the company's directors were elected with 93% of the vote.
- As President Donald Trump leans toward unwinding emissions reductions the US agreed to as part of the Paris climate accord, there's already backlash from environmental advocacy groups. Public Citizen says such a decision would be "an epic blunder," while the Sierra Club's executive director calls it a "historic mistake." Bradley Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation says it "puts the US on the wrong side of history and at odds with nearly 200 other countries that understand the threat climate change poses." The president tweeted earlier today that he would announce his decision on the accord over the next few days.
- Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan is latest Canadian official to condemn Boeing's  decision to push the Commerce Department to launch a trade probe against Montreal's Bombardier on allegations it received government subsidies. In response to the Commerce probe, Canada says it's reviewing potential deals with BA--most notably the possibility of purchasing 18 of the company's F/A-18 Super Hornet jets. The BA aircraft would help meet Canada's short-term air-force needs given an aging fleet. "The interim fleet procurement requires a trusted industry partner," Sajjan says in prepared text of speech delivered at a Canadian defense and security conference. Pursuing trade action against Bombardier "is not the behavior we expect of a trusted partner. We call on Boeing to withdraw" its trade complaint, Sajjan adds.
- Exxon Mobil reiterates its view of how climate change will affect its business, saying even under scenarios where carbon emissions are severely restricted, $11T in oil and gas spending will be required. In such a scenario, XOM believes it is positioned to win out over other companies. Climate activists have questioned that conclusion, also reached by other big oil producers, noting it can't be true that everyone will be the "last man standing."
- Defense analysts have struggled to interpret how the State Department managed a total $110B in potential arms sales to Saudi Arabia which was announced during the recent presidential visit. But Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson gives some insight. Hewson tells an investor event that the $28B in potential business for her company includes support deals stretching out 30 years. "If we saw everything... we could see new business potential of up to $28B over the life of these programs," she says. "None of it will be really near term."
- President Trump says in a morning Twitter message he'll be deciding soon on the Paris Agreement, a landmark climate accord among nations that was signed by former President Obama to reduce carbon emissions. "I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" he says. The tweet comes after a report earlier in the day from new outlet Axios that cited sources saying Trump had decided to withdraw from the accord. If the US were to pull out of the accord other nations may eventually follow, some say. But other analysts say it would only rally stronger support for the deal among other nations, leaving the US as a "rogue" on climate change.
- Finance chiefs at multinational firms are altering their tax plans or delaying decisions amid potential changes to the U.S. tax system, a survey by Taxand, a global network of tax advisory firms, has found. In a survey of finance chiefs and tax directors during a conference in Frankfurt, 55% said U.S. reform plans have resulted in them changing course or postponing decisions. According to the participants of the survey--a total of 136 finance and tax chiefs working at  multinational companies in the Americas, Europe and Asia--the transition towards a new tax system to be the most challenging issue international firms face.
- The pound has found some support in Asian trading following a selloff stoked by the latest YouGov poll in the UK showing the Conservatives' lead having shrunk further ahead of next week's election. A YouGov poll last week had a sharply narrowed gap between the Tories and Labour, which sent sterling lower then as the result raised questions about how big PM May's party may win. She called the snap vote amid presumptions that a new election would strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations. Instead, it appears the reverse may happen. That, as a result, has some of the recent bullishness regarding the pound getting unwound. It's broadly 0.3% lower, but the pound has rebounded some in Asia after the initial post-poll selloff about 3 hours ago.

May 31 - Trump is pulling U.S. out of Paris climate deal (Axios.com)
- U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Axios news outlet reported on Wednesday, citing two unidentified sources with direct knowledge of the decision.
- Trump who has previously called global warming a hoax, refused to endorse the landmark climate change accord at a summit of the G7 group of wealthy nations on Saturday, saying he needed more time to decide. He then tweeted that he would make an announcement this week.
- Fox News also cited an unidentified source confirming the pullout.
- The accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the pact, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
- Axios said details of the pullout are being worked out by a team that includes EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The choice is between a formal withdrawal that could take three years or leaving the U.N. treaty that the accord is based on, which would be quicker but more extreme, according to Axios.
- The decision to withdraw from the climate accord was influenced by a letter from 22 Republican U.S. senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for an exit, Axios reported.
- Former President Barack Obama, who helped broker the accord, praised the accord during a trip to Europe this month.

May 31 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Gold fell for a third day, set for its first monthly drop since December, as U.S. economic data boosted the case for an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve next month.
- Better-than-expected China manufacturing data pushed London copper higher in early trading, reversing overnight losses.
- The British pound dropped after a new poll found that British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party risks falling short of an overall majority in the June 8 national election.
- U.S. wheat rose as much 1.3 percent after the U.S Department of Agriculture pegged the condition of the crop below market expectations, though ample global supplies provided a ceiling to gains.
- Cocoa futures in London and New York vaulted higher on Tuesday, posting their largest one-day gains since 2012, as expectations that producers in top grower Ivory Coast have sold ahead a large chunk of their 2017-18 crop stoked buying.
- Malaysian palm oil futures rebounded from a one-month low hit in the previous session, lifted by expectations of rising exports, but traders expect the market to resume its downtrend on a stronger ringgit and weaker related edible oils.
- Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard says the Trump administration will need to fulfill the expectations that have driven the stock market higher. Washington does have to deliver at some point, Bullard says. ANZ says it concurs. "Our eyes are on government and fiscal policy and less on monetary policy. Policy uncertainty is high and, if it remains high, growth will eventually be impacted and market volatility will follow," ANZ adds.
- Brazil's Planning Minister Dyogo Oliveira says the country's vast corruption scandal, which has implicated some of the nation's biggest construction groups, will create more space for foreign investment in local infrastructure projects. "There will undoubtedly be an increase in the participation of large foreign companies," Oliveira says at a government-sponsored event for investors in Sao Paulo, citing growing interest from European and Asian companies. Brazil currently has 55 infrastructure projects in the pipeline, largely related to energy, highways, sanitation, ports, and oil and gas, he says.
- Second-quarter earnings and growth are likely to disappoint, BlackRock Chief Laurence Fink says. Speaking at a Deutsche Bank investor conference, the head of the world's largest asset manager says he's hearing from corporate leaders that business was weaker than expected in April and May. "It would probably tell me that markets are fully priced at this moment," he says. While some industries such as energy have benefited from Trump's executive
orders, others are still waiting for more clarity on tax reform and infrastructure spending, he says. "Overall now we're probably anticipating more than we're going to get," from equity markets, Fink says.
- The head of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia, pledges support for President Michel Temer and vows to help push through the government's labor and pension reforms. Speaking at a government-sponsored event for investors in Sao Paulo, Maia calls Temer "courageous" and says the house's agenda was aligned with that of Temer. "The agenda of the lower house is the reforms," says Maia, a long-time ally of the president.

May 26/30 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- A run by U.S. oil prices towards $50 a barrel ran out of steam as persistent concerns of oversupply outweighed signs of a strong start to the American summer driving season. Gold edged up to touch a one-month high, with investors turning to the safe-haven asset as geopolitical tensions sapped their appetite for risk.
- London copper drifted after a long weekend, as markets awaited top consumer China to resume trading later this week when its factory data is also due for the next directional cues.
- Chicago soybean futures lost more ground with the market dropping to a more than 13-month low as record supplies from South America added pressure.
- The dollar firmed against a basket of currencies as the euro and sterling were pressured by political uncertainties in the UK and eurozone, even as it surrendered ground against the perceived safe-haven yen.
- Joesley Batista, the embattled chairman of Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS SA, resigns as a director of US chicken processor Pilgrim's Pride. It's been a tumultuous month for Batista, who is deeply enmeshed in a Brazilian corruption probe that has led to bribery allegations involving Brazil's past three presidents; JBS also faces multiple probes related to recent trading activities. Pilgrim's, the second-largest processor of chicken meat in the US, appointed JBS's global marketing president Tarek Farahat to replace Batista on its board, noting in an SEC filing that  Farahat has "no family relationships" with anyone else on the company's board or management team. Pilgrim's shares are down 9.2% over the past month.
- Groups on both sides of workplace-discrimination regulations are lining up against the Trump administration's proposal, included in Tuesday's budget, to merge the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employer groups say the merger could lead to more burdensome regulation due to combining the powers of the two agencies, including the kinds of damages they can pursue. Civil and workplace rights organizations say they believe the administration would defund and de-fang OFCCP, which monitors federal contractors' labor practices, by placing it under a different agency, leading to less enforcement, according to a letter 73 groups sent to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta Friday. The original idea had been floated to the Trump administration by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
- Lobbying groups for the oil industry sought to withdraw from a lawsuit in Oregon challenging the federal government's environmental policies, a surprise move that came on the same day they were due to file a court document revealing their position on the science of climate change. The motions filed late Thursday by the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers came days after a third trade association, the National Association of Manufacturers, asked a federal judge in Oregon for permission to exit from the 2015 suit.
- Moody's Investors Service spelled out the bad news for hospitals in President Donald Trump's federal budget plan and the newest Congressional Budget Office score for the American Health Care Act. The White House and the AHCA would slash federal funding for Medicaid, leavings states to pick up the cost or make Medicaid cuts of their own. State cuts are likely, said Moody's in a report on nonprofit hospitals. States may squeeze what Medicaid pays hospitals, the rating agency said, or shrink Medicaid enrollment. Both are bad for hospitals, which could see an erosion of cash flow and more uninsured patients, Moody's said.
- Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods joins the ranks of major US corporate leaders who have urged President Donald Trump to stay in the Paris climate pact. Woods wrote Trump in a May 9 letter that the US is "well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris agreement," due to its abundant supply of low cost natural gas and innovation in the industry. Woods also echoed the stated position of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his former boss at XOM, that remaining in the agreement will give the U.S. "a seat at the negotiating table," in future climate discussions.
- A border tax targeting imported goods would raise the cost of buying a car by an average of $1,800 per vehicle and could put up to 45,000 US manufacturing jobs at risk, a global auto parts supplier trade group says. The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, an auto parts maker lobby, said a border adjustment tax (BAT) as proposed by House Republicans may force car makers to "de-content" vehicles in order to keep prices from spiking, resulting in a 3% drop in component use and the potential loss of jobs, citing a Boston Consulting Group study it commissioned. "The BAT would put a large number of jobs at immediate risk," MEMA CEO Steve Handschuh said in a statement. The trade group said offsetting the impact of a border tax would lead auto makers to shed value-added components used in advanced driver-assist and safety features such as lane keeping and emergency brakes.
- The University of Michigan says that the partisan divide among respondents to its consumer confidence survey remained sharp. Democrats expect a recession while Republicans predict robust economic growth. Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, said that unlike age, education, or income groups, one's political party doesn't reflect actual differences in one's own prospects for employment and income. Instead, respondents are showing their differences in policy preferences through how they respond to survey questions. Curtin said the partisan divide may continue until major federal policy proposals are deemed either inevitable or impossible.
- Brazil's president fights bribe allegations, the country's stocks and currency selloff sharply, and days later, investors pile right back in. Data from EPFR showed that flows into Brazil equity funds over the last week were the highest since 2012. While the rush into Brazil may represent investors establishing short positions, there may be another explanation, says Cameron Brandt, EPFR Global's director of research. "Investors have been conditioned in recent years to see any sell-off as a buying opportunity that will disappear quickly," Brandt writes in a note to investors. One analogous situation is Russia. While investors initially fled Russian assets after it annexed Crimea in 2014, those funds posted a 20% gain in the following three and a half months,  Brandt writes.
- Investors put cash into bond funds while extending a streak of outflows for US equity funds in the week ending Wednesday, according to data from EPFR Global. Global bond funds posted $7.8B in inflows, marking their 21st week of inflows out of the past 22 weeks, while US equity funds posted their fourth consecutive week of outflows--the longest streak since 2Q 2016. Bond funds have come back into favor this year while an initial streak of inflows into US
equity funds following Election Day has given way to outflows as investors have pared back expectations for tax cuts and fiscal stimulus from the Trump administration, which some hoped would supercharge economic growth and inflation.
- German car stocks are in view Friday following media reports U.S. President Trump complained about the country's trade surplus, Frankfurt traders say. Several German media outlets reported Trump said Thursday that Germans were "bad, very bad" because the country sold more cars to the U.S. than it imported. "They're not really new, but they're hardly helpful either," a Frankfurt trader says of Trump's comments. "German car companies appear to be a thorn in the eye for Trump," Commerzbank analyst Ulrich Leuchtmann says.
- Time for Vice Adm. Mat Winter to pay attention to Twitter as he takes over as military head of the F-35 combat jet program. The former chief of naval research will be central to shepherding a huge deal for as many as 450 jets with Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies. All under the watchful eye of President Trump, who's taken a keen interest in the Pentagon's largest program.

May 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices fell as a relentless rise in U.S. drilling undermined an OPEC-led push to tighten supply.  
- Gold held near its highest in four weeks after rising almost 1 percent in the previous session, buoyed as geopolitical tensions boosted its safe-haven appeal.
- Copper pulled back from the previous session's three-week high on Friday as momentum sparked by a strike at one of the world's biggest copper mines, Indonesia's Grasberg, eased ahead of the long weekend break in China, the U.S. and Britain.
- U.S. soybean futures fell to a 13-month low on Friday while corn and wheat each gained more than 1 percent on spreading and position squaring ahead of a three-day weekend, traders and analysts said.
- The dollar edged higher against a basket of currencies, moving away from last week's 6-1/2-month lows and shrugging off news of North Korea's latest missile test as investor attention turned to the Federal Reserve's expected interest rate hike next month.

- Funds had been net buyers of the pound for 6-straight weeks, with net shorts falling a further $400 million to $100 million per the latest CFTC data. There hasn't been this lack of negativity against the pound since shortly before the Brexit vote in June, notes ANZ. But a tightening in election polls hit the pound Friday, after the CFTC data's latest week ended. As such, the 6-week run of falling shorts could be coming to an end, the bank adds.
- The pound should remain under pressure to start the week, following Friday's slide, as further opinion polls show a decline in support for the ruling Tories and a resurgence for Labour party. While a Conservative win still looks like the most-probable outcome, the recent polling has raised concerns about the possibility of a smaller working majority for the party or even a hung Parliament. A weak government would make it harder for Brexit negotiations, notes National Australia Bank. Versus the dollar, the pound had its worst day Friday in 4 months, falling 1.1% to $1.2803. It's little changed in early Asian trading.
- The Trump White House's 10-year US$1 trillion infrastructure spending proposal included in the 2018 budget is based on only $200 billion of Federal government infrastructure spending initiatives, says CBA, and includes $800 billion of infrastructure spending assumed to come from non-Federal funding.. Trump's budget has also come under heavy criticism because of "double-counting" and extremely rosy economic growth projections of 3% a year to
2027. By way of comparison, growth has averaged only 2.1% since 2009, CBA adds. Doubts surrounding the infrastructure plan are high and will keep the USD weak, CBA adds.

May 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil extended falls after tumbling in the previous session when OPEC and allied producers extended output cuts but disappointed investors betting on longer or larger supply curbs.
- Gold prices held steady after dipping slightly earlier in the session as Asian stocks eased following an extension of output curbs by OPEC and other producing nations that left investors hoping for bigger cuts disappointed.
- London London Metal Exchange copper hovered near its highest in three weeks, supported by supply concerns after news of further disruption at Indonesia's Grasberg, one of world's biggest copper mines.
- Chicago soybean futures dropped to a more than six-week low and were poised for a third weekly fall as a deep fall in crude oil prices and plentiful world supplies put pressure on the oilseed.
- Sterling fell after a poll showed a narrowing lead for British Prime Minister Theresa May over her opposition ahead of elections next month, while weakness in oil prices dragged on commodity-linked currencies.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina says it's seeking a 22.9% average rate increase on its 2018 Affordable Care Act plans. The biggest driver in the hike is uncertainty surrounding the federal payments that help reduce health-care costs for low-income ACA enrollees, the insurer says. If those payments were guaranteed, the requested rate increase would be only 8.8%, according to the company. Indeed, Brian Tajlili, a Blue Cross executive, says the ACA marketplace in North Carolina is stabilizing, with new enrollees in his company's plans appearing healthier. Blue Cross would need a "legally binding" commitment that federal payments are coming next year, likely meaning an appropriation passed by Congress, to be confident that the money was coming, he said.
- The Vice President's office will be an advocate for changing Dodd-Frank's provisions for handling financial firm failures, Mark Calabria, the vice president's chief economist, makes clear. He says the provisions, which are under review by the administration, amount to a bailout. "If you find yourself insolvent," he said to financial firms, "I would really suggest you go find yourself a good bankruptcy lawyer and not an army of Washington lobbyists, because I won't be returning your," phone call.
- Banks' hopes of changing the debit-card swipe fee rule just faded. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) decides to remove the repeal of the Durbin amendment from the Financial Choice Act, according to a House Financial Services committee spokeswoman, after a whip count in which Republicans weighed the act's chances of getting through the House with or without repeal. The amendment capped the fees merchants pay large card issuers when consumers shop with their debit cards and has remained a controversial issue between banks and merchants since then. Hensarling acknowledges Durbin repeal is contentious among Republicans in an emailed statement. He thinks "it belongs in the Financial Choice Act" but "we won't let this one provision hinder passage of an important priority bill that will end bank bailouts and help renew healthy economic growth for all Americans." But Molly Wilkinson, executive director of the Electronic Payments Coalition, calls the amendment "a crony handout that has generated unearned billions for the Big Box retailers."
- Colombian officials sought to quell the massive protests in the Pacific city of Buenaventura, which have halted several hundred thousand tons of cargo in the country's largest Pacific port this week. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sent a special commission to meet with community leaders of the port city, where residents are demanding better services since many of them lack basics like running water and sewage systems. So far the protests have halted some 25,000 containers and 229,000 tons of cargo. They have also blocked roads and prevented perishable goods like coffee beans from arriving to port. The government expressed optimism it would be able to reach an agreement by Thursday.
- According to the minutes of the May 2-3 FOMC meeting, several officials "expressed concerns that a possible easing of regulatory standards could increase risks to financial stability." The comments come amid the Trump administration's plans to scale back the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law put in place in the wake of the financial crisis. At the most recent FOMC meeting, policy makers also noted that real estate values were elevated in some sectors of the commercial real estate market, and that "a sharp decline in such valuations could pose risks to financial stability, and that potential reforms in the housing finance sector could have implications for such valuations."
- USDA's Sonny Perdue is in the hot seat again over the administration's commitment to rural development. Addressing the agriculture secretary a day after President Trump unveiled a budget proposal eliminating the agency's rural development program, House appropriators on both sides of the aisle expressed concern over losing funding for rural housing, clean drinking water and small business development. "Many of us feel the president made a lot of promises to farms and rural Americans and that the budget is a betrayal of that," says Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Perdue tries to reassure Congress--again--over his own commitment to rural America, calling his recent move to do away with USDA's undersecretary for rural development "essentially a nomenclature issue."
- US steel executives argue their sales of commercial-grade steel have been so weakened by cut-rate imports that their ability to supply steel for military programs and homeland security infrastructure is being undermined. "Commercial viability is a prerequisite for national security," Tom Gibson, president of American Iron and Steel Institute, says at a Commerce Department hearing. The Trump Administration is considering broad-based duties on foreign steel on national security grounds, though the defense industry accounts for about 3% of US steel demand.
- House appropriators wade into thorny debates over food stamps as USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue appears before them after the Trump administration proposed slashing $193B from the SNAP program over a decade. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro calls the proposed cuts "cruel and inhumane," and questions whether Perdue's previous statements about having no proposed changes to SNAP himself still hold true. Perdue says they do, but says SNAP is something Congress will "deal with and have a legislative stamp on." The secretary also says the key to eradicating hunger is "turning the economy around with good job dignity."
- Some 21,000 people gathered in front of Brazil's congress in the early afternoon, police say, an indication demonstrations against President Temer today could be among the largest in recent years in the capital. The protest is organized by labor unions and other groups. They want Congress to vote down labor and pension reform Temer sponsors as a way, he says, to rekindle a moribund economy. But since the president became the target of a corruption investigation last week, calls for his ousting have increased. The demonstrators want him out and new elections to be called as soon as possible. Temer has vowed not to resign and his allies in Congress are promising to move economic reform for a vote later this year.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Martin Gruenberg pushes back on efforts by congressional Republicans to repeal the Orderly Liquidation Authority, a bank resolution mechanism for systemically important financial institutions that is part of the Dodd-Frank Act. "If we didn't have that authority, there would be potentially broader consequences" in the event of a large firm failure, he says at a press conference. Trump issued an executive order last month to review OLA, and its repeal was included in the administration's FY18 budget proposal that was released this week.
- In the wake of President Trump's proposal to sell down America's emergency oil stockpile, some argue that the hoard of crude known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is outdated and point to its dilapidated infrastructure, which weighs on efficiency and will be costly to repair or upgrade. The SPR currently contains roughly 688M barrels of oil held in 60 underground caverns located at four sites along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. It is run by a vast network that includes 5,435 valves and 172.5 miles of offsite crude pipeline owned by the Energy Department, as well as other pipelines for things like brine disposal. Many of those assets, officials have said, are beyond their design life.
- The Trump administration aims to decide by the end of next month whether to go forward with sweeping protection of the American steel industry against imports in the name of "national security," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says--a much faster timetable than required by law. Trump announced April 20 his administration was dusting off a little-used 1962 trade law to consider whether to apply new protections on US-made steel if a formal investigation shows imports pose a national security threat. The law requires a conclusion within 270 days, which would push a conclusion to January. But Ross says at a public hearing on the probe that "we have no intention of taking 270 days. Our hope would be to complete the report by the end of June."

May 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices rose by one percent ahead of an OPEC meeting that is expected to extend output cuts into 2018, adding at least nine months to an initial six-month cut in the first half of this year.Gold held steady to keep most of its gains from the previous session, with the dollar slipping after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting downplayed the chance of more aggressive interest rate hikes.
- Copper was trading flat, steadying a day after dropping on concerns that slowing economic growth in China could hit demand from the world's top metals consumer.
- Chicago wheat futures rose for a second straight session with short-covering by funds and concerns over excessive moisture in the U.S. grain growing areas underpinning the market.
- According to the minutes of the May 2-3 FOMC meeting, several officials "expressed concerns that a possible easing of regulatory standards could increase risks to financial stability." The comments come amid the Trump administration's plans to scale back the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law put in place in the wake of the financial crisis. At the most recent FOMC meeting, policy makers also noted that real estate values were elevated in some sectors of the commercial real estate market, and that "a sharp decline in such valuations could pose risks to financial stability, and that potential reforms in the housing finance sector could have implications for such valuations."
- USDA's Sonny Perdue is in the hot seat again over the administration's commitment to rural development. Addressing the agriculture secretary a day after President Trump unveiled a budget proposal eliminating the agency's rural development program, House appropriators on both sides of the aisle expressed concern over losing funding for rural housing, clean drinking water and small business development. "Many of us feel the president made a lot of promises to farms and rural Americans and that the budget is a betrayal of that," says Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Perdue tries to reassure Congress--again--over his own commitment to rural America, calling his recent move to do away with USDA's undersecretary for rural development "essentially a nomenclature issue."
- US steel executives argue their sales of commercial-grade steel have been so weakened by cut-rate imports that their ability to supply steel for military programs and homeland security infrastructure is being undermined. "Commercial viability is a prerequisite for national security," Tom Gibson, president of American Iron and Steel Institute, says at a Commerce Department hearing. The Trump Administration is considering broad-based duties on foreign steel on national security grounds, though the defense industry accounts for about 3% of US steel demand.
- House appropriators wade into thorny debates over food stamps as USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue appears before them after the Trump administration proposed slashing $193B from the SNAP program over a decade. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro calls the proposed cuts "cruel and inhumane," and questions whether Perdue's previous statements about having no proposed changes to SNAP himself still hold true. Perdue says they do, but says SNAP is something Congress will "deal with and have a legislative stamp on." The secretary also says the key to eradicating hunger is "turning the economy around with good job dignity."
- Some 21,000 people gathered in front of Brazil's congress in the early afternoon, police say, an indication demonstrations against President Temer today could be among the largest in recent years in the capital. The protest is organized by labor unions and other groups. They want Congress to vote down labor and pension reform Temer sponsors as a way, he says, to rekindle a moribund economy. But since the president became the target of a corruption investigation last week, calls for his ousting have increased. The demonstrators want him out and new elections to be called as soon as possible. Temer has vowed not to resign and his allies in Congress are promising to move economic reform for a vote later this year.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Martin Gruenberg pushes back on efforts by congressional Republicans to repeal the Orderly Liquidation Authority, a bank resolution mechanism for systemically important financial institutions that is part of the Dodd-Frank Act. "If we didn't have that authority, there would be potentially broader consequences" in the event of a large firm failure, he says at a press conference. Trump issued an executive order last month to review OLA, and its repeal was included in the administration's FY18 budget proposal that was released this week.
- In the wake of President Trump's proposal to sell down America's emergency oil stockpile, some argue that the hoard of crude known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is outdated and point to its dilapidated infrastructure, which weighs on efficiency and will be costly to repair or upgrade. The SPR currently contains roughly 688M barrels of oil held in 60 underground caverns located at four sites along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. It is run by a vast network that includes 5,435 valves and 172.5 miles of offsite crude pipeline owned by the Energy Department, as well as other pipelines for things like brine disposal. Many of those assets, officials have said, are beyond their design life.
- The Trump administration aims to decide by the end of next month whether to go forward with sweeping protection of the American steel industry against imports in the name of "national security," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says--a much faster timetable than required by law. Trump announced April 20 his administration was dusting off a little-used 1962 trade law to consider whether to apply new protections on US-made steel if a formal investigation shows imports pose a national security threat. The law requires a conclusion within 270 days, which would push a conclusion to January. But Ross says at a public hearing on the probe that "we have no intention of taking 270 days. Our hope would be to complete the report by the end of June."
- USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue faces skeptical lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee, who worry about the Trump administration's proposed deep cuts to the agency's budget, including for farm, nutrition, and rural development programs. "You can't squeeze blood from a turnip and the budget submitted yesterday attempts to do just that," said Congressman Sanford Bishop (D., Ga.), noting Perdue had previously pledged to support rural America. "We both know this budget does the exact opposite of that." Perdue tells committee members they shared "similar priorities," and vowed to make the agency's final budget "go as far and be as beneficial to American citizens as possible."
- Opposition continues to grow louder against a Republican proposal to repeal "Orderly Liquidation Authority," the authority in Dodd-Frank for the government to take over a failing financial firm. Large banks have spoken out against it, and on Tuesday about 120 academics signed a letter decrying the repeal as a "grave mistake". Rep. Jeb Hensarling's "Financial CHOICE Act" bill, set for a vote in the house sometime this summer, repeals the authority. He calls it a taxpayer bailout.
- The federal stockpile of crude known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve doesn't often get much attention. But the Trump administration's proposal to sell 270 million barrels of oil from the SPR over the next decade has brought out a lot of opinions. Analysts at Bernstein have come out on the side of keeping the crude. Selling down the stockpile, they said, leaves the risk of a 4 million barrel per day disruption within the next decade "at a coin toss." The sales could also lead to more price volatility upon their completion, Bernstein analysts said. They ultimately predict rational minds will prevail.
- Trump administration proposals can spark controversy, and plans to keep slashing the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserves are no exception. Critics pilloried the proposal as short-sighted, even if a doubling of US oil production might suggest giant, emergency stockpiles aren't needed anymore. But JBC Energy suggest the debate is a tempest in a teapot. The plan's volume targets seem to be set in terms of money raised from the sales, it says, with targets rising gradually over 10 years. "Taking our 2018 Brent price forecast of $52.72/bbl, this would mean next year's sales would be roughly 25,000 bpd...so this would actually imply a reduction in SPR sales from current levels" of 75k bpd.

May 24 - Top banks' Q1 commodity revenue slides 29 pct to 11-year low 

Commodities-related revenue at the 12 biggest investment banks fell 29 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017 to its lowest in more than a decade, mainly due to weakness in the energy sector, a consultancy said on Wednesday.Revenue from commodity trading, selling derivatives to investors and other activities in the sector fell to $800,000 million in the first three months of the year, financial industry analytics firm Coalition said in a report. Click here to read full stories.

May 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices were stable, supported by confidence that an OPEC-led output cut aimed at tightening supply would be extended to all of 2017 and the first quarter of next year.
- Gold held steady, after slipping in the previous session, as investors awaited cues on the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate hike stance from the minutes of its last meeting.
- London copper edged lower after credit ratings agency Moody's downgraded China due to its massive debt, with muted trade expected ahead of minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting later in the session.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a second session while corn edged up after closing lower the previous day, with easing concerns over planting delays in the U.S. grain belt adding pressure to grains markets.
- The dollar held firm, having rebounded from 6-1/2-month lows against its major peers helped by a rise in U.S. Treasury yields, while the yuan eased after Moody's cut its sovereign rating on China due to concerns over the country's soaring debt.

- The Trump administration has set an aggressive timetable to complete renegotiations of Nafta, eyeing completion by end of December. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tells reporters on a conference call Canada's negotiators won't be rushed. "We will take the time it needs to take," she says. History shows it can take years before trade pacts are finalized, as was the case for the EU-Canada trade pact. Even the predecessor to Nafta, the US-Canada free-trade deal, took over a year from start to finish. From Canada's perspective, talks need to proceed "with great care and great attention to detail," Freeland says, "with the principle that we do no harm."
- Trump's budget proposal includes a provision for future revenues in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but opening the area for development isn't a sure thing. "Congress has to approve so nothing here is etched in stone," Tudor Pickering says. Still, environmental groups are worried. The budget item means Trump's administration has "declared war on one of the last pristine, untouched wild landscapes in America" and is "prioritizing the oil lobby," says Lydia Weiss, director of government relations at the Wilderness Society.
- Trump unveils a largely status-quo 2018 budget proposal for NASA, with one glaring exception. The $19.1B spending plan trims nearly $60M from commercial cargo and crew transportation, a move that prompted strong blowback from proponents of those programs. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the primary trade association for that segment of the industry, contends that congressional approval of such a cut could have significant programmatic and symbolic consequences. The group worries it could reduce safety studies of proposed commercial crew taxis, or potentially shift a future cargo mission to an Orion deep-space capsule.
- USD recovered overnight supported by the Trump administration's budget. Trump's blueprint for fiscal year 2018 proposes spending cuts of US$3.6T and aims to balance the budget by 2027. The USD rallied and US 10-year Treasury yields rose by roughly 5bps to 2.29% because Trump's budget proposal includes an infrastructure plan to support US$1T in private/public infrastructure investment. According to the budget blueprint, the infrastructure plan will be met with a combination of new Federal funding and incentivized non-Federal funding. If approved by Congress, this massive infrastructure spending plan is pro-growth and may force the Fed to increase the pace of interest rate hikes which in turn would bode well for the USD, says CBA.
- Brazilian senator Paulo Bauer, a staunch ally of President Temer's, says there's still hope the embattled leader will remain in power through the end of his term, which ends Dec. 31, 2018, even after Temer was put under investigation for corruption last weak. He denies wrongdoing. Bauer said most lawmakers still want to pass economic reform, and only reluctantly acknowledged it's getting hard to move up an agenda associated with the struggling president. "It's been a contretemps," he says.
- Ecuador's President-elect Lenin Moreno names his cabinet, which includes some business executives--a change from the cabinets of outgoing President Rafael Correa. Carlos Perez, an executive at Halliburton, will become the hydrocarbons minister and real estate businessman Pablo Campana will be the trade minister. The finance minister will be Carlos Alberto de la Torre, an economist at Catholic University. Moreno's cabinet has a number of holdovers from
Correa's administration, including Cesar Navas as interior minister and Maria Fernanda Espinosa as foreign relations minister. Moreno takes office on Wednesday.
- The Pentagon's request of $434M in its 2018 budget towards developing replacement jets for Air Force One, represents a drop--though officials didn't quantify it--from the original expectation. The request reflects cost reduction efforts by Boeing, the prime contractor, which was lambasted by now-President Trump last December about the price of the planes. Air Force officials say there's been no change in the content of the aircraft, though the revised budget estimate does reflect recently-agreed changes in requirements.
- Trump's proposed FY18 budget contains about $608M for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which produces closely watched reports on US economic activity including the monthly jobs report. That's little changed from the current year, and Labor Department officials said this afternoon no BLS programs or surveys are expected to be cut.
- Amazon will continue to engage in politics when an issue impacts the company, CEO Jeff Bezos says. "It's very important that Amazon in my opinion not oppose or favor any president or elected official, that's not our job," he says. He points to the immigration ban, which affected a large number of his employees. When it's time, "we'll engage with the president, we'll engage with congress ... and we'll engage with the courts," he says. Bezos has had one
of the more publicly fraught relationships with President Donald Trump, in part due to his ownership of the Washington Post, and AMZN being one of the first companies to participate in a court case opposing Trump's original executive order on immigration.
- Trump budget proposes to boost the solvency requirements for states' unemployment-insurance funds. Nearly eight years after the recession ended, fewer than half of states have sufficient reserves to weather a single year of recession, budget documents said. When states run out of unemployment insurance funds, as was common in the recession, they typically borrow from the federal government. The budget proposes to impose a penalty on states that don't have 6 months of necessary reserves. Currently such penalties, called credit reductions, only occur when states borrow. Better solvency of unemployment funds would save the federal government $12.9B over ten years, the budget estimated. It's possible stiffer requirements could encourage states to offer less generous benefits.
- US defense stocks reverse early losses to reach modest session highs -- up around 0.5% - in the wake of the formal roll-out of a 2018 Pentagon budget request. Much of it is unlikely to survive in its current form because of Congressional changes and the need for compensating non-military spending cuts. For example, it calls for 70 F-35 combat jets -- in line with what the Obama administration sought -- but Congress has in recent years boosted the request, a lift for main contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and United Technologies.
What's really missing is the five-year outlook for spending, which the Pentagon has yet to formulate, something particularly important for long-life programs like the Columbia submarine being developed by General Dynamics.
- "There's no sugarcoating what we will face," USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue tells USDA staff in a video message after the Trump administration unveiled a budget proposal that would slash the agency's budget by around 21%, alongside reductions in Farm Bill program funding. "Such budgetary restrictions could possibly mean a reduction in staff," Perdue warns the USDA's roughly 100,000 employees, saying any reductions would initially come through "normal
attrition, early retirements, and other least-disruptive means." Perdue says Trump is following through on campaign pledges to realign government spending, and advises USDA rank and file that "when you get in a bind, don't whine."

May 23 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)

- Oil prices fell after U.S. President Donald Trump proposed the sale of half the country's strategic oil reserves, even as producer club OPEC and its allies cut output to tighten the market.
- Gold was steady with investors staying on the sidelines following an explosion in the English city of Manchester that left at least 19 people dead and over 50 injured.
- London copper held near its highest in three weeks as the dollar fell, with focus shifting to an upcoming monthly breakdown of China trade data.
- Chicago corn futures ticked lower as the market took a breather after climbing to a three-week high in the last session on concerns over wet weather delaying U.S. planting.
- The pound slipped against the yen after a suspected terrorist attack at a concert in Britain's city of Manchester, while the euro hovered near a six-month high against the dollar after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the currency was "too weak."

- A forensic expert hired by the lawyers of Brazil's President Michel Temer says recordings prosecutors are using as evidence of corruption can't be taken as authentic. Ricardo Molina says the recordings contain "more than 50" points at which there could have been some sort of illegal editing, but stopped short of labeling the tape adulterated. He says, however, that it has enough problems, including too much noise, to be discarded as evidence. The recordings are at the core of recent graft accusations fueling calls for Temer's ousting. Temer's defense declined to comment how exactly they will use Molina's findings.
- Food-industry officials and advocates are bracing for the Trump administration to unveil a proposal Tuesday to cut food-stamp program spending by $193B over a decade. "The program still plays an important role in providing a safety net to those in need, including families with children, the elderly, and disabled," says Greg Ferrara of the National Grocers Association, which represents more than 1,300 independent grocers. The SNAP cuts would represent a 29% reduction in funding from levels estimated in January by the Congressional Budget Office. The US spent nearly $71B on SNAP last year.
- Banks surveyed by Banamex raise their growth forecast for Mexico this year to 1.9% from 1.8%, according to the median estimate of 24 banks surveyed. Despite President Donald Trump's protectionist rhetoric, Mexico's economy has shown a remarkable resilience in 1Q, as manufacturing exports benefited from a weak peso and domestic consumption was steady. In the January-March period, Mexico expanded at an annualized rate of 2.8%, higher than expected, the national statistics agency says. Banks are almost unanimous--19 out of 24--in expecting the Bank of Mexico will raise interest rates again in June, after six consecutive hikes.
- Visa CEO Al Kelly says at a conference that he met with House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling about a month ago to discuss the efforts to repeal the Durbin amendment, which in 2011 placed price caps on the fees merchants pay large card issuers when consumers shop with their debit cards. The repeal is included in Hensarling's Financial Choice Act. Kelly said "it's more likely than not that the repeal comes out of the bill" but suggested the company is reviewing the upside on the off chance that Durbin gets repealed. "We've kind of been playing it out and doing our own game theory on it," he said. "Every member of the House is being pressured big time by every community bank in their district to repeal, and they're being inundated by merchants in their district to have Durbin stand."
- Mark Zuckerberg might look like he's on a politician's listening tour, but the Facebook CEO says he isn't running for public office. Zuckerberg and his wife are traveling throughout the US this year, meeting small-town mayors, community activists and entrepreneurs--and sparking debate about his intentions. Sunday, Zuckerberg attempted to end that speculation: "Some of you have asked if this challenge means I'm running for public office. I'm not." Instead, he says, he's trying to gain a "broader perspective" to build products for FB's nearly 2B monthly users and inform his work at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The denial may not work since being coy is a textbook political move.
- Brazil's economy would suffer more if embattled President Michel Temer is impeached, than if he resigns, writes Alfredo Coutino, Director at Moody's Analytics in a note. "The worst case scenario for the country would be that of an impeachment, mainly because the length of the process would increase uncertainty and volatility for markets and the economy," he writes. Given that the impeachment last year of Temer's predecessor Dilma Rousseff took eight months, Temer's impeachment would likely only be concluded next year. "The country would be put [under] tremendous stress."
- A new paper published today by the NBER finds that the nationalistic rhetoric of the Donald Trump presidential campaign had a clear impact coarsening the nation's political dialogue. The paper's authors write "we identify the causal effect of Donald Trump's rise in political popularity on individuals' willingness to publicly express xenophobic views." They found that "increases in participants' perceptions of Trump's popularity... eliminate the wedge between private and public behavior," and emboldened study participants to give public voice to otherwise controversial or ugly ideas.
- More US cities and states are reducing their reliance on cash bail, rejecting the longstanding notion that money should determine whether arrested individuals are locked up until trial. The movement is upending a cornerstone of the American criminal-justice system and threatening to deal the most severe blow to the multibillion-dollar bail-bonds industry since it began in the late 1800s. New Jersey began a statewide bail system that essentially eliminates cash bail, compelling judges to detain or release defendants before trial based on their risk to public safety. Voters in New Mexico passed a similar amendment to the state constitution late last year. In California and Texas, lawmakers have introduced bills that would significantly change their bail systems. And starting July 1, judges in Maryland will have to consider alternatives to cash bail for nonviolent defendants.
- One concern from President Trump's pledge to boost the US energy industry by reducing regulations so oil production can surge is that it would anger rival producers like Saudi Arabia. But Phil Flynn at Price Futures says Trump's weekend energy deals in the kingdom proved the opposite. "Instead of a production war, Trump's pro-energy agenda has warmed the Saudis' heart. The state oil major, Saudi Aramco, signed contracts with a dozen US energy firms including Schlumberger, Halliburton," and others to develop local production, Flynn says. Such agreement could help balance his efforts on US soil that focus more on jobs. "Put one in the win column for all."
- Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann urges a return to more normal monetary-policy conditions, but only when the time is right. "It's decisive that the central bank tightens the reins on monetary policy at the right time, when it is necessary with a view to price stability," he says according to a copy of his speech, which will be delivered in Bochum, Germany. "We cannot put off policy normalization out of consideration of finances of some states or because of possible losses of individual market participants." He says, however, that currently, there was no dispute that an expansive monetary policy was appropriate.
- A new study by PwC commissioned by the National Association of Realtors says comprehensive tax reform could have wide-reaching consequences for the housing market. Homeowners with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 could see an average annual tax increase of $815, while nonhomeowners would see a reduction of $516. Home prices nationwide would fall 10% in the short term, the study says. Republicans aren't proposing to eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction, but to double the standard deduction and eliminate deductions for state and local taxes, which mean that many moderate-income households will be less likely to itemize.
- Nordic markets close little-changed with Sweden's OMXS30 index ending the day flat, and the pan-Nordic OMXN40 index and Oslo's oil-heavy OBX index less than 0.1% higher. "European stocks logged modest gains aided in part by a merger deal in the chemicals industry," Saxo Bank says. "Relative calm on the US political front helped as well, after troubles there last week weighed on regional benchmarks." Also on the radar later in the European session was the start of a meeting between eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund, with investors watching whether they can agree to provide debt relief to Greece after the country agreed to new austerity measures, it added.

May 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices rose, supported by reports that an OPEC-led supply cut may not only be extended into next year but might also be deepened to tighten the market and prop up prices.
- Gold prices edged lower as Asian stocks gained, although political worries surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to keep supporting appetite for the metal as a so-called safe-haven asset.
- Shanghai zinc and nickel surged on the back of a sustained crackdown in China's polluting steel industry, which fuelled worries about steel supply and lifted the prices of its raw materials.
- Chicago corn futures rose for a second straight session, climbing to their highest since May 10, while soybeans gained more ground with cold and wet weather expected to delay planting in parts of the U.S. Midwest.
- Canadian bond-prices edge down aided by solid economic data and a broader move to riskier assets following the large flight-to-quality trade earlier in the week. Canadian retail sales rose 0.7% in March, beating the consensus forecast of 0.3%. Investors also tried to move past a series of damaging reports related to President Trump following his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last week. The yield on the Canadian 10-year bond is 1.474% vs. 1.446% Thursday, while the two-year yield is 0.684% vs. 0.674%.
- Hedge funds and other speculative investors had rebuilt some bullish dollar positions before this week's political turmoil sent the US currency tumbling. Investors were holding a net $14.3B in bullish dollar positions as of Tuesday, compared to $11.8B the week earlier, CFTC data show. On Wednesday, the dollar plunged on reports Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to back off an investigation into Russian ties. Bullish bets on the dollar had swelled above $28B after Trump's election. Investors now fear the political upheaval will derail administration policies seen as pro-growth and expected to support the dollar.
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is "making it clearly known" to Trump administration its displeasure over Commerce Department probe of alleged subsidies and unfair discounts of passenger jets at Montreal's Bombardier. In response to the probe, which could lead to tariffs on Bombardier's CSeries aircraft, Canada says it will review defense deals with Boeing, chief among them a plan to acquire up to 18 of company's F/A-18 Super Hornet jets. "We will always be resolute and firm in how we stand up for Canadian interests," he tells reporters in suburban Vancouver. He described Commerce's decision to launch a probe into Bombardier following the BA complaint as an "unfortunate" threat, and isn't contributing to stronger US-Canada ties. Trudeau says CSeries production is benefiting US producers of aerospace components used in CSeries manufacturing.
- The National Association for Fixed Annuities is continuing "its full-court press" on President Donald Trump's administration to further delay the fiduciary rule, and is indifferent to what method the administration uses, it says. NAFA is talking with members of Congress and coordinating with industry trade groups, and more than 2,200 of its members have written to the White House urging Trump to stop the rule from taking effect, it said. A lawsuit brought by the trade association to challenge the rule is on appeal, and it's urging the Labor Department to consider invoking a provision of the Administrative Procedure Act which allows the delay of any administrative action that's being challenged in court, it said.
- Shares of Pilgrim's Pride decline as S&P puts the US poultry processor's credit rating on watch with negative implications amid heightened corruption concerns in Brazil. Here's the connection: Brazilian media reported Brazilian President Michel Temer was taped encouraging Joesley Batista, chairman of Brazilian meat company JBS, to bribe a potential witness to a corruption scheme. JBS is the majority owner of PPC. S&P, which has placed JBS's own credit ratings on a similar watch, says PPC's access to financing could be weakened by "reputational risks." PPC down 0.4% while the Dow zooms higher.
- President Trump has garnered much public support for his infrastructure-spending promise "to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels." Regular people see it as a plain-and-simple, fair way to spend taxpayer money on things the general population needs, while creating good-paying, government jobs in the process. But comments from Carlyle Group President Glenn Youngkin suggest Trump's infrastructure plans may have more to do with PPPs, or public-private partnerships. "It's a new way to think about infrastructure," the executive tells CNBC, using the example of his firm's winning bid to invest $180M in 23 fancy, roadside service plazas in Connecticut, because the old, roadside gas stations "were scary."
- It will soon be cheaper to buy insurance against defaults by European investment-grade companies than comparable US firms as political risk reverses, German bank LBBW writes in a note. Fears of surging populism in Europe dropped further after centrist Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential election and now the market's focus is on the Trump administration's woes. Both the iTraxx Europe and the CDX index of North American credit default swaps trade at a spread of around 63 bps currently, according to Tradeweb. But LBBW expects the European CDS tracker to end up trading tighter due to elevated political uncertainty in the US.
- Investors poured $90B into the US equity funds tracked by EPFR Global between the second week of November and the third week of March as enthusiasm for a Donald Trump presidency grew, but those flows reversed late in the first quarter as a string of missteps by Trump and his administration sapped investor faith in Trump's reflationary promises, the fund tracker says. Investors pulled $8.9B from US equity funds in the week ending May 17 amid the political fallout from Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, marking the seventh time in the past nine weeks that investors have pulled money from the funds, EPFR Global says.
- Political risks surrounding the Trump administration keep German government-bond yields within the range that has persisted since November, but once investor focus turns back to the economy, yields could break through the upper end of the range, RBC Capital Markets says. Bund yields have fluctuated between 0.15% and 0.5% ever since Trump won the US presidential election. But the European recovery is getting stronger, justifying a less accommodative stance by the European Central Bank and giving investors fewer reasons to hold on to haven assets, like bunds.
- Bank of Nova Scotia economist Derek Holt suggests Canadian economic growth could hit close to 5% annualized in 1Q. The call comes after reviewing retail-sales data for March, which suggested sales volume surged 1.2% in month. That means volumes rose 8% annualized in 1Q. "In all humility I'm amazed at the strength of the consumer, not least of which because it is occurring despite falling inflation-adjusted wages," he says. Were it not for weak inflation,
trade-policy uncertainty in Washington, and worries about whether debt-laden consumers can keep up the pace, rate "hawks would be having a field day," Holt adds. Even with strong data, Scotiabank expects BoC to remain on hold until mid-2018.
- Economists at Goldman Sachs believe President Donald Trump's myriad problems mean the $1.75 trillion tax cut they expected will likely be smaller and hit $1 trillion instead. The firm expects some sort of tax cut to still happen, despite Mr. Trump's scandals, simply as a matter of Republicans' "political self-preservation" and desire to have a least one policy victory going into the 2018 election.
- Former US Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose history of exchanging sexually explicit messages ended his political career, is expected to plead guilty today to a single count of transferring obscene material to a minor, according to people familiar with the matter. Weiner, a New York Democrat, turned himself in this morning to federal authorities and will enter a plea in Manhattan federal court around 11:00 AM, a person familiar with the matter said. The charge has no mandatory minimum prison sentence, but carries a sentence of up to 10 years. It is unclear whether he will be added to the sex offender registry, the person familiar said.

May 20 - CYBER ATTACK .WNCRY ( continued )
- as you may already know, our servers have been attacked by WannaCRY last Friday, May 12th ( as some 300,000 PCs worldwide )
- despite our best efforts, the serveur hosting all our swap calculators cannot be cleaned, and therefore will be discarded. We already bought a new one, from OVH Private Cloud. Full installation and setting-up and tests might take a week.
- ALL physical Cash Energy & Freight calculator including Oil Products / Natgas / LPG / Power / Emissions / Coal / Tanker and Dry Bulk prices/rates were restored on dedicated PCs, enabling us to update on demand ( 3 to 4 times a day )
- ALL physical Cash Agri / Softs / Metals pages have not been affected therefore running as usual.
- once again we apology for all inconvenience.

May 19 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil futures rose to the highest in nearly a month on growing optimism that big producing countries will extend output cuts to curb a persistent glut in crude, with key benchmarks heading for a second week of gains.
- Gold prices edged up and were on track for their biggest weekly gain since mid-April as the dollar eased and Asian stocks weakened amid ongoing political turbulence in the United States.
- London copper was set for a slightly higher close as dollar weakness cushioned prices, but the outlook was tainted by investors in China cutting exposure to metals which has hurt demand.
- Chicago soybeans were on track for their biggest weekly decline since late March, with a steep fall in Brazil's currency encouraging farmers there to boost sales of this year's record crop.
- The White House's inability to-date to proceed on tax reform has investors worried since it's the key policy that's "really priced in" to markets, says Kyoya Okazawa, head of global markets for BNP Paribas in Japan. Although market fundamentals haven't changed, politics has started to play a bigger role--almost as much as economic policy. "We used to say markets is policy-driven, but it is a politically driven market now." This week's developments in the US, as well as Brazil, threaten reforms those countries. "Compared to fundamentals like economic policy, politics is more difficult to predict," he adds, noting tail risk is Trump being unable to implement corporate-tax cuts.
- Brazil's most recent scandal--President Temer allegedly caught on tape condoning bribery--didn't surprise Council of the Americas' Brian Winter. "It was always possible that [the graft probe] Car Wash would end with the collapse of the entire political establishment," he said, moments before Temer took to the airwaves to deny the allegations and vow not to resign. Winter adds that Temer's economic reform, which markets cherish, is at risk. "It was always the danger of Brazil's political establishment relying on Temer to push the reform," he said, and that the now increased likelihood Temer is ousted bodes well for the left wing. "The great irony is [former President] Lula emerges from all of this stronger."
- Executives are bracing for changes to their workplaces due to immigration reform. Some 63% of 1,229 C-suite executives, human resources professionals and in-house counsel polled in February and March by law firm Littler Mendelson report they expect immigration reform to affect their workplaces. Some 40% said the same in a 2016 poll. A majority of participants in the survey also says they're increasing their use of contingent workers. Over a third say they've done so to adjust staffing levels based on projects, contracts and seasonal hiring; 30% cited having trouble finding qualified full-time candidates. One out of 10 say their business model is based on using contingent workers.
- Iran's presidential election is tomorrow, just six days before OPEC's meeting to decide on extending production cuts, and Stratas Advisors warns of several potential ramifications if hardliner Raisi wins. "In a nutshell...Rouhani [the incumbent moderate] could lose re-election, complicating prospects for an OPEC-cut extension and increasing tensions between the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran." Stratas adds that a Raisi win would make foreign investors wary of long-term investments just when Iran really needs such investments since its aging oil fields are seeing a drop in recovery rates.
- Bank of Canada should keep its main interest rate unchanged at 0.50% at its May 24 policy decision, and hold it there over the next 6 months, according to the monetary-policy council at Toronto think tank CD Howe Institute. The think tank says Trump's "erratic behavior" dominated discussion among council voting members, who are economists from private-sector firms and academia. The political storm in Washington raises prospect that US economic and tax policy changes could lose momentum. The threat of trade protectionism also hovers, it adds. Members also said new housing measures in Ontario would reduce pressure on BoC to raise rates to restrain housing exuberance.
- Early signs suggest the nascent turnaround in user growth that Twitter posted in 1Q is not on track to continue in 2Q. Aegis Capital's Victor Anthony expects the number of TWTR's monthly users to decline 2%-3% in May from April. TWTR's CFO and COO Anthony Noto said on the earnings call in April that TWTR benefited from users following more political news.
- Many farm groups are cautiously optimistic as the Trump administration notifies Congress that it will reopen Nafta, which they constantly note has hugely boosted US food exports. But the National Farmers Union is gunning for an overhaul. "Nafta installed, and has since cemented, a set of trade parameters that have benefited corporate America and damaged rural American communities and economies," says Roger Johnson, the group's president. NFU says Nafta introduced rules, such as an arbitration procedure enabling foreign companies to sue governments in international tribunals, that have given big companies too much power when dealing with US crops and meat.
- Some investors say they are not freaking out on this week's political drama. "This is just a distraction and noise," says Eric Souza, senior portfolio manager at SVB Asset Management. The political news this week hasn't changed the growth picture, nor would it stop the Fed from normalizing interest rates as soon as June, he says. "For sure we are monitoring the developments," he says. But "I don't think anyone dramatically changes their investment strategy. It just generated a little bit of volatility in the markets." He expects the Fed to raise rates in June and September--matching the Fed's projections of three rate hikes this year.
- The economic-policy agenda pushed by Brazil's President Temer suffers its first concrete setback in the wake of fresh corruption allegations involving the nation's leader. Newspaper O Globo has reported prosecutors got hold of recordings in which Temer condones the payment of bribes to public officials, something he denies. The reports haven't been confirmed, but the country's simmering political turmoil came to a fast boil. As a result, Sen. Ricardo Ferraco, who is handling a labor reform approved after intense debate in the Lower House, says he is halting the process until the dust settles. Temer is expected to address the nation later today.
- The 7.375% 2027 bond of Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, is among the most heavily traded corporate bonds in Europe today as Brazil is engulfed in a political scandal. Trading volume on the US dollar-denominated bond amounts to $92.7M Thursday afternoon, based on data by Trax, a MarketAxess subsidiary. Bid yields on the majority state-owned firm's bonds are rising sharply to 6.8% from 6.02%, having touched intraday highs of 7.3%, according to Tradeweb. A Brazilian newspaper reported Wednesday President Michel Temer encouraged a top businessman to buy the silence of a jailed former congressional leader. Temer's office denied the report.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tells lawmakers he could support an ongoing role for the mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as long as any explicit guarantee of the companies is "paid for" with fees and "would hopefully never be hit." Though that position reflects a consensus view among the housing industry on the need for a continued government role in backstopping the companies, it is at odds with conservative Republicans like House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), who have repeatedly called for liquidating Fannie and Freddie and oppose a government role in the mortgage market.
- Wondering whether the Trump administration's political scandals are distracting from policy debates on Capitol Hill? The top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee warn Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "honesty is critical," and brought up reports that President Donald Trump urged then-FBI Director James Comey to back off an investigation of a top aide. Sen Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio) noted that lawmakers felt compelled earlier this week to ask several candidates for positions at Treasury whether they would put the law and Constitution over loyalty to the president. "You can't lead if we don't believe you," he said.

May 18 - CYBER ATTACK .WNCRY continue
- we are displeased to announce to our customers that our servers have been contaminated with WNCRY, following last week Cyber attack everybody heard about.
- despite our best efforts, the serveur hosting all our swap calculators cannot be cleaned, and therefore will be discarded. We shall have to buy a new one, this time from OVH Private Cloud. Full installation and setting-up and test might take a week.
- physical Cash Energy calculator including oil products / Natgas / LPG / Power / Emissions and Coal prices has been restored in a separate PC, updating 3 to 4 times a day.
- physical Cash Freight calculator including Tanker and Dry Bulk rates has been restored also in a separate PC, updating once per day.
- physical Cash Agri / Softs / Metals pages are safe and do run today as usual.
- once again we apology for all inconvenience, the less to say ? that WannaCRY has really made us cry !

May 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices dipped, weighed down by plentiful supply despite ongoing efforts led by OPEC to tighten the market by cutting production.
- Gold prices held steady after touching an over two week high, buoyed by political turmoil in the United States and tempered expectations for an aggressive string of U.S. interest rate hikes.
- London copper fell after political uncertainty in the United States hit hopes that President Donald Trump would be able to boost infrastructure spending.
- The dollar wallowed near six-month lows against a basket of major currencies as the U.S. political crisis appeared to deepen, and likely to delay any efforts by President Donald Trump to carry out his economic stimulus plans.
- Chicago soybeans slid 1 percent, down a second session as pressure from a weaker Brazilian real is likely to prompt farmers to sell their freshly harvested record crop.
- Frankfurt stocks are expected to open flat Thursday, amid mounting questions over the political and economic agenda of U.S. President Donald Trump. Lang & Schwarz expects the DAX opening at 12629, essentially unchanged from 12631.61. Merck KGaA's 1Q earnings, out this morning, are likely to get investor attention as the company beat estimates but the guidance remained too cautious, according to some market watchers. Shareholders will also follow Deutsche Bank's annual general meeting, starting 0800 GMT.
- Political turbulence in Washington D.C, is good reason for investors to seek the safety of German bonds, pushing yields lower, but this doesn't hide the fact that bund valuations look expensive at yields below 0.4%, Commerzbank strategists say. After all, the "crucial" European Central Bank monetary policy meeting is three weeks away. Analysts expect the ECB to give at least hints of a hawkish turn later this year. Yields on 10-year German government bonds are trading at 0.38% Thursday morning, based on Tradeweb data.
- South Korean stocks have mostly shrugged off North Korean provocations of late. But this time is different, Hong Kong-based Citi Research analyst Johanna Chua tells clients. She argues a more-unpredictable North Korea on the brink of major technical breakthroughs in its nuclear and missile program, combined with uncertainties in the White House, create a potent situation. "Financial markets need to care." Chua advises clients to prepare for the possibility of a crisis, which she said would trigger a steep stock drop and a rush into the yen, at least in the short-term. "Risks are higher now than in past episodes," she adds. "There are clear risks to supply chains and to global confidence, as well as implications for capital flows that could upset market equilibria."
- More declines are on top for Asian stocks Wednesday after U.S. equities logged their biggest drop overnight since last summer following weakness in Asia yesterday. Stoking the selling has been increasing concerns about the White House's ability to get its policies in place, which for investors has been focused in areas like taxes and infrastructure. Rate-sensitive financial and yen-sensitive exporter stocks are especially vulnerable to the changing tide. Nikkei futures opened down 255 points at 19515 on SGX.
- Australian shares are bracing for a wave of selling as investors increasingly question President Donald Trump's ability to carry out his economic agenda. Futures point to a drop of 62 points at the bell for the ASX 200, building on Wednesday's 64.5 drop to 5786. Wall Street cracked overnight, with the Dow industrials losing 1.8% as fresh troubles roil the White House and stir investor unease. Locally, the spotlight will be on the major banks, which carry a big weight in the market and have been under pressure the last few weeks. Fairfax Media will also draw attention after attracting a second private-equity takeover offer.
- It's been a period of risk-off emanating from the US and the Twittersphere going into overdrive over speculation around whether President Trump pressured James Comey--then FBI Director--to drop his investigation into Mike Flynn, former National Security Adviser, with Russia in the mix, NAB says. This news isn't going to go away, with the Democrats agitating for copies of memos. This all comes on the heels of the sharp dive in the US Economic Surprise Index, last week's further softness in US inflation, and now politics intervening to add more noise into a market already wondering whether the US economy is slowing or not, NAB adds.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will tell the Senate Banking Committee Thursday his department's forthcoming report on financial regulation will include relief for small lenders, according to a copy of the testimony viewed by WSJ. "Our initial report will contain recommendations to provide relief for community banks and make regulations more efficient, effective and appropriately tailored," the testimony says. Mnuchin is set to report to the White House on financial regulatory matters in early June.
- Apple lost $27B in market value today as shares fell 3.4%, reducing its market cap below the $800B threshold for the first time since May 11. Shares of Apple had risen 34% since the start of the year before today's market sell off. One of the big driver's of Apple's gains has been the promise of tax reform under the Trump administration and the potential for a one-time tax holiday that would allow AAPL to repatriate nearly $250B in cash held overseas. But potential for tax reform has been thrown in doubt by recent turmoil in Washington, D.C.
- USD has fallen sharply overnight as impeachment concerns lifted against US President Donald Trump. The SP500 fell 1.8%, and US 10-year Treasury yields declined 11 basis points to 2.22%. There was a similar, albeit not as large reaction across European markets. The yen strengthens the most against the USD, with USD/JPY down 1.5% overnight, and some 2.5% since early Wednesday. CBA says market participants figure that there is virtually no chance of any US company tax cuts getting through Congress while Trump is defending the allegations of obstruction of justice.
- EUR/USD has reached its highest level since the day of the US presidential election, blasting up to around 1.1150. The big move in EUR over the past month (+5%) has been driven initially by the market-friendly French presidential election result, followed by growing expectations of the ECB changing its policy guidance and now Trump's political woes have complicated the outlook for ECB policy. The governing committee will no doubt be factoring in EUR strength when it considers the inflation outlook and policy guidance next month.
- With no top tier data to focus on this week, it was inevitable that US President Donald Trump would regain the spotlight, BNZ says. And so it is, with the revelations of Trump allegedly asking FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe of his former national-security advisor--an impeachable offence, according to some. This follows the recent firing of Comey and reports of Trump passing on secret intelligence to Russia. "All this adds further distraction to Trump's pro-growth policy agenda, which has yet to, and may never, get off the ground," BNZ adds.
- Canadian bonds rise strongly amid investor concerns about the Trump administration that spilled over into Canada's financial markets. Canada's two-year bonds were yielding at 0.660% from 0.699% on Tuesday, according to electronic trading platform CanDeal. The 10-year bond was yielding at 1.457% from 1.570%. Canada's bond market actually shrugged off a disappointing manufacturing sales report early Wednesday as investors flooded into safe-haven investments. Canada's bond market should continued to be influenced by US activity in the absence of any major domestic drivers on Thursday.

May 17 - CYBER ATTACK .WNCRY continue
- we are displeased to announce to our customers that our servers have been contaminated with WNCRY, following last week Cyber attack.
- despite our best efforts, all our calculators were not fully cleaned this morning, and consequently ALL our SWAP pages are being discontinued until further notice ( and hopefully not more than a further day )
- physical Cash Energy calculator ( including oil products cash prices ) have been stopped too.
- physical Cash Agri / Soft / Metals pages are safe and shld run as usual today.
- we are making our best efforts to restore cleaned version on all our servers, hopefully before End of this Day.

May 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices fell after data showed an increase in U.S. crude inventories, stoking concerns that markets remain oversupplied despite efforts by top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend output cuts.
- Gold hit a two-week high as Asian stocks slipped and the dollar fell amid political uncertainty after a source said U.S. President Donald Trump asked the FBI to end a probe into his former security adviser.
- London copper traded flat, stymied by expectations of slowing growth in the economy of top metals consumer China.
- Chicago wheat futures edged lower, falling for three out of four sessions as storms in the United States caused little damage and global supplies remain ample.
- USD fell across the board in US trading to near a six-month low, retracing almost all of its post-Trump election gains. CBA says growing doubts about the Trump administration's ability to pass an aggressive fiscal stimulus package through the US Congress anytime soon undermined USD. US Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell warned overnight that any tax reform plan will have to be revenue neutral. In its current form, the Trump administration's tax reform package is not revenue neutral. Second-tier US economic data released overnight was mixed and weighed on the USD and US 10-year Treasury yields.
- The Canadian dollar extended gains the US dollar following a broad retreat away from the greenback as investors mulled reports that President Trump may have disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats. USD is now trading around C$1.3586 from C$1.3633 late Monday, according to CQG. It was another quiet day for the loonie, which reacted alongside its major FX peers amid new headlines that threaten the US's growth agenda. Scotiabank said the Canadian dollar's influence to external drivers is "likely to remain dominant in the absence of domestic releases, with limited near-term risk ahead of Wednesday's manufacturing sales". Economists expect Canada to show a 1.2% monthly gain in April factory sales on Wednesday, rebounding from a 0.2% decline in the prior month.
- Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman lose all of their earlier gains in afternoon trading in the wake of a report that the 2018 Pentagon budget proposal due next week won't boost the number of F-35 combat jets procured beyond the 70 envisaged by the Obama administration. Other defense stocks including marine specialists General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls swoon in late trade, even though Bloomberg reported the request will include an extra destroyer.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic policy chief Gary Cohn are heading to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a bipartisan meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee, Senate aides say. The meeting is expected to focus on tax policy. So far, the administration's ideas for lower tax rates for individuals and corporations have gotten little, if any, Democratic support.
- Argentina's slow economic recovery hasn't wooed heaps of investors, but that's not preventing President Mauricio Macri from enjoying better approval ratings on his home turf in the capital city, where a new poll says 55.4% of the population views him favorably. That's good news for Macri as he leads his "Let's Change" coalition into a mid-term election this October. Investors have long described the election as "critical" to Macri's future, but members of his coalition say it's not going to be that big of a deal. "We're a minority movement now and we will be after the election," says one member of Congress. "But we've got momentum one our side."
- The CAC-40 closes 0.2% lower at 5406. Electricite de France SA, however, ends up 7.1% after conservative lawmaker Edouard Philippe--a former Areva employee--is appointed Prime Minister. Wednesday, investors will watch out for the EU construction data at 0900 GMT and Japan's preliminary GDP 1Q numbers at 2350 GMT.
- A JPMorgan shareholder asked Chief James Dimon to step down from President Donald Trump's business advisory council at the bank's annual shareholder meeting. Dimon responded "no" and the shareholder, an New Jersey-based educator, said "great, we'll keep fighting back." The shareholder was one of several who spoke out during the meeting to protest JPM's financing of private criminal centers and jails, some of which are holding immigrants throughout the country. Dimon later said the bank has supported free and fair trade with Mexico, supports Hispanic groups and LGBT rights, and will "look into" the prisons that shareholders raised questions about. Dimon also reiterated that he's on Trump's business advisory council because "he's president of the United States; he's the pilot flying the airplane."
- A convergence of state and federal legislation could ease restrictions on carrying concealed firearms nationwide, a long-sought goal of gun-rights activists that their opponents say would threaten public safety. More states are giving their residents the right to carry a concealed handgun without permission from authorities--including two this year, bringing the total to 12--while Congress is considering legislation to make that right portable across state lines.
- JPMorgan Chief James Dimon reiterates the need for business and government to come together on public policy issues such as education, infrastructure and corporate tax reform, among others. Dimon, speaking JPM's annual shareholder meeting, also says that, during and since the financial crisis, there has been "thoughtful regulation." While Dimon reiterates that the bank isn't "looking to throw out the entirety of Dodd-Frank," it would like to "open up the rulebook," and "rework regulations that don't work well or aren't necessary."
- 3M Chairman and CEO Inge Thulin says pro-growth changes to US tax and trade policies may not come quickly--and that may be OK. Asked after a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York whether he was satisfied with the pace of changes out of Washington, Thulin says, "I understand it will take time, but I hope it will come rather sooner than later. But let's make sure that we do it in the right away."  Changing policies too quickly could come with its own perils, Thulin says, "I'd rather work with agility than speed, because [with] speed something can go very fast but you go off the road."
- 3M CEO Inge Thulin says he supports a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, even while the St Paul, Minn.-based manufacturing giant is a net beneficiary of the pact. Each year MMM saves $55M as a result of Nafta, which is generally "working well," Thulin says during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "If it can be even better, why not?" said Thulin, who called renegotiation "the right thing to do."  Thulin is among US corporate executives advising the White House on manufacturing, trade and other policy matters.  Thulin said President Donald Trump is "pro-growth," adding: "He is very engaged and he's listening."
- Membership of Agence France Locale, or AFL, is growing at a slower pace than originally planned and Societe Generale attributes it to the uncertainty surrounding this year's elections. State agency AFL provides loans to its members, local authorities, and raises funding in the capital markets. Its latest issue was a EUR500 million June 2024 bond priced at 25 bps over French government bonds. French local authorities have to apply for membership and contribute to AFL's capital to become eligible for loans. AFL loans are cheaper compared to the loans local authorities can get on their own. Centrist Emmanuel Macron has won the presidential elections, but France's parliamentary vote is scheduled for June.

May 16 - Alert CYBER ATTACK .WNCRY
- we are displeased to announce to our customers that our servers have been contaminated with WNCRY, following last week Cyber attack
- consequently ALL our swap calculators (and pages) are discontinued until further notice.
- physical Cash Energy calculator ( including oil products cash prices ) still working fine, but service will be interrupted for malware cleaning this afternoon.
- we are making our best efforts to restore cleaned version on all our servers, hopefully before End of the Day.

May 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices rose, extending gains after a joint announcement by top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia to push for an extension of supply cuts until the end of March 2018.  
- Gold prices rose for a fourth day as the dollar eased on signs of slower economic activity in the United States that dented expectations of an aggressive string of interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- London copper fell as worries about China's slowing economic growth and tighter capital markets in the world's top metals consumer triggered a wave of risk-off selling in metals.
- Chicago wheat slid for a third consecutive session to its weakest since April 25, with easing concerns about crop-damage from a snowstorm in the United States and plentiful global supplies weighing on the market.
- President Donald Trump's nominee for US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, was sworn in Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, helping pave the way for the administration to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Lighthizer was confirmed in the Senate last week and is expected to consult with key lawmakers and committees in coming days before the administration formally notifies Congress of its intent to renegotiate Nafta. The notification letter is required to be sent to Congress at least 90 days before formal talks on a trade agreement that's eligible for "fast track" consideration on Capitol Hill, with no amendments. At the ceremony, Pence said Lighthizer will help make the US prosperous again, while Lighthizer touted the prospects for Trump's presidency.
- The latest troubles afflicting NASA's deep-space Orion capsule and associated launch system could be precisely what White House officials need to push through bold changes in agency priorities. Career NASA officials hoped to find a way to accelerate the first Orion flight carrying a crew, but the Trump administration nixed the idea partly because it was projected to cost nearly $1B extra, according to industry officials familiar with the details. Now, NASA managers are waiting for a new agency chief and deputy to be nominated--perhaps as early as the end of May--who could persuade lawmakers to support dramatically different strategies to send astronauts toward the moon and eventually Mars.
- Whether and how the Trump administration delivers on its promise to boost the country's growth rate could influence the pace by which the Fed drains easy money from the financial system. If growth advances due to productivity gains, policy makers could keep interest rates lower for longer because productivity growth holds down inflation. If growth rises because it boosts demand without drawing in new workers or raising their productivity, the Fed could feel pressure to raise interest rates to prevent stronger inflation. "I've certainly urged Congress and the administration to consider policies that would boost productivity growth and raise the economy's so-called speed limit, or potential to grow," Yellen said at a March press conference.
- Because the US workforce is growing more slowly than it used to, economists say the Trump administration will need to see a big bounce in the productivity of US workers to get annual growth in gross domestic product up to 3% from its recent annual rate of 2%. The problem: Productivity growth has been moving in the wrong direction in recent years. Workers' output per hour in the nonfarm business sector has been increasing only 0.7% a year since 2010. "It's a mistake to say anything is impossible. If you flip a coin 10 times, you can't say it won't come up heads eight times, but eight would be a very odd forecast," Lawrence Summers, the Harvard economist who served as President Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary, tells WSJ. "The same is true of 3% growth. It's possible, but it should not be anyone's guess."
- White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney tells WSJ the economy is capable of growing faster even without allowing for more immigration--which has driven the net increase in the labor force in recent years--because the Trump administration believes there are millions of workers in their prime working years who aren't working but would like to do so. "If you created economic opportunity and jobs that they want, they would come back," Mulvaney says. "So I'm not worried about the tightness of the labor supply."
- Trump's economic advisers say that their tax-cut plans will pay for themselves by pushing the US economy's growth rate to 3% annually. To get there, economists say Trump will need to overcome two big challenges: a slower-growing labor force and slower growth in the productivity of those workers. When the US economy had consistent 3% growth in the 1980s, the population of workers between ages 25 and 54 expanded at a brisk 2.2% annual rate. Over the past decade, this population has grown at just 0.1% annually.
- Canada should wind down its main energy-and-pipeline regulator, National Energy Board, and split the board's current responsibilities in two new agencies, according to a government-commissioned report. Among the 46 recommendations from report's authors is to create a Canadian version of the EIA, and split pipeline oversight to a new commission. Report said consultations with Canadians indicate there's "crisis of confidence" in NEB's ability to balance need to secure shipment of energy to new markets and protect the environment. Government said it would take next few months to review report's advice and determine how to proceed. The report is part of Liberal government's efforts to ensure thorough environmental review of pipeline and energy projects.
- Monthly oil data Tuesday from IEA will draw more onlookers than usual since it will be OPEC's last look at industrialized nations' oil inventory levels before it meets May 25 to decide on extending production cuts. A month ago the IEA pegged OECD inventories at 3.06B barrels, just a bit less than 3.07B when the reduction deal was announced late November, and about 300M above the five-year average OPEC has been hoping to achieve. If inventories were to tick higher Tuesday, OPEC may consider not only extending the deal, but also deepening the cuts. Or OPEC may grow more frustrated with rising US oil production.
- In case you missed it last Friday, a US appellate court said it won't rule for at least 60 days on whether MetLife should be put back under federal oversight. Now the question is whether the Trump Administration will drop the government's appeal of a previous district court decision removing federal oversight of the company. That would effectively give MET a win.
- The possibility of Republicans and Democrats compromising on financial regulatory relief legislation will get dimmer unless the White House can stop creating political controversies, Cowen  analyst Jaret Seiberg says in a note to clients. The concept of a compromise "is premised on both sides looking for a political win. That was never a guarantee. It is even hard to see after the events of the last several days," he says.
- Turkish markets will watch President Erdogan's meeting with U.S. President Trump on Tuesday, which is crucial for geopolitical developments in the upcoming period, says QNB Finansbank. It notes that last week the Trump administration authorized the U.S. defense ministry to provide heavy weaponry to the Syrian Kurds, in spite of Turkey's strong opposition. USD/TRY is last down 0.3% at 3.5618.

May 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices jumped after the energy ministers of top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia jointly said that an OPEC-led crude production cut would be extended from the middle of this year until March 2018.
- Gold prices inched up as weaker-than-expected economic data from the U.S. and a missile test by North Korea over the weekend pressured the dollar.
- London Metal Exchange copper was treading water, not far from its lowest for the year, after more evidence that China's economy encountered a soft patch in April.
- Chicago wheat prices slid for a second session, pressured by abundant global supply.
- NASA's acting administrator belatedly pours cold water on President Trump's vague assertions that the US should aim to send astronauts to Mars by the middle of the next decade. In April, when the President first publicly discussed his view of manned Mars missions, he said "we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term," which would end at the beginning of 2025. Robert Lightfoot, the acting NASA Administrator, has now responded by unequivocally dismissing that notion and indicating NASA's leadership didn't take the suggested timeline seriously. Lightfoot also notes that the Trump administration continues to back NASA's plans, in place since President Obama's tenure, of humans landing on Mars no sooner than the mid-2030's.
-  Twitter executives seem to be trying to seize on the bump in activity TWTR has seen related to President Trump's use of the micromessaging service. On Friday, President Trump tweeted that it might be best to cancel future press briefings and hand out written responses instead, for the sake of accuracy. Twitter CFO and COO Anthony Noto responded, suggesting that such questions could be submitted and answered via Twitter. But this risks angering media professionals, who are also big users of Twitter.
- Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman exercised 212,000 stock options that were set to expire next winter for a profit of about $13 a share, or abut $2.7M before taxes, according to a regulatory filing. That brings his total profits to $11M from selling holdings since the presidential election set MS shares afire. He still has half of the 2018 options, which were granted in 2011.
- Hedge funds and other speculative investors cut bullish bets on the dollar to $11.8B in the week through Tuesday, the lowest level since early October, CFTC data shows. Bets on a stronger dollar had swelled above $28B in December on optimism about the Trump administration's economic plans. But investors have grown cautious since the start of the year amid uncertainty over the Fed's interest-rate outlook and the administration's ability to push through its agenda. Also in the week ended May 9, investors turned bullish on the euro for the first time since 2014 and pared bets against the British pound.
- Hedge funds and other speculative investors have turned bullish on the euro for the first time since May 2014, CFTC data shows. Investors held a net $3.1B in bets on a stronger euro as of Tuesday, compared to $226M in bets against the euro in the prior week. Euro investors were relieved by the outcome of this month's French election, which saw the defeat of anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen and eased concerns about the future of the currency. Some investors also expect the European Central Bank to begin reining in quantitative easing soon, which would likely support the euro. The common currency is up 4% this year against the dollar.
- Comments from President Donald Trump in The Economist about need for "massive" Nafta changes is going to keep downward pressure on C$ and keep Bank of Canada in an "extremely cautious" mode, BMO chief economist Doug Porter writes. The C$ currently trades near a 15-month low compared to USD, in part due to US trade policy uncertainty. Porter says Trump's focus on the trade deficits with its Nafta partners appears misplaced, explaining trade deficit with Canada accounts for about 7 hours of US economic output, which is running above $19 trillion on annual basis. "Until we are fully convinced that this stance is just bluster, the C$ will be on the defensive," and BoC Gov Stephen Poloz will be in no hurry to alter rate policy, Porter writes.
- Venezuela's political opposition is ramping up its lobbying efforts to convince world financial markets to block President Maduro's government from acquiring new financing. In a public letter to investors this week, National Assembly chief Julio Borges urged banks to refuse loans that use bonds as collateral and also bar the administration from selling the gold that makes up the majority of the central bank's remaining $10B in reserves. Last year the opposition warned investors that any deals signed with the government that were not approved by the president's rivals in congress would be illegal. Now the opposition is making more of a moral plea. "This government is on its way out," Borges writes.
- Trump's tendency to launch "undisciplined rants" on social media should be a wakeup call to Canadian lawmakers and businesses they can no longer take a business-as-usual approach in dealing with the US, Ottawa-based Earnscliffe Strategy Group tells clients. In weekly newsletter, the government-relations firm says Canada has much at stake from Trump's declining approval rating, which could decline further amid the fallout from firing James Comey as FBI director. "His desperation for wins as opposed to results is causing allies to fear they will become targets of his uninformed improvisation," Earnscliffe says. The firm cites Trump's interview with the Economist, in which he talked about the need for "massive" rewrite of Nafta and Canada's $15B trade deficit. That trade deficit is closer to $11B,
and is the lowest among America's top 14 trading partners, Earnscliffe says.
- Shipping traffic to Venezuela's two largest ports has fallen by more than half since 2014, according to figures from the ship-tracking service MarineTraffic. The numbers reflect the dramatic reduction in imports by Venezuela as the country undergoes a severe economic contraction that has generated widespread food and medicine shortages. Short on dollars, President Maduro's government has prioritized hefty debt payments while curtailing imports. But economists say the government may not have much room to cut further. A recent poll by three Venezuelan universities found most adults reported losing an average of 19 pounds in 2016.
- The Trump administration's agreement with China aimed at boosting exports to the world's second-biggest economy is reason for optimism, according to Helen Zhu, head of China equities at BlackRock. The 10-point plan released this week by the White House includes measures aimed at making it easier for agricultural, energy and financial services-related exports to enter China. "It's an early indication that the dialogue is going constructively," between the leaders of the US and China, she says during a panel discussion, adding there now appears to be less potential for a trade war between the two countries. While much of what was laid out in the plan was broad, she says, the agreement represents a positive step after tough talk on trade between the two leaders in the early days of Trump's presidency. "We can be less worried about counterproductive trade walls put up," Kate Moore, chief equity strategist at BlackRock, says.
- Investors are demonstrating newfound optimism for international stocks, pumping money into European and emerging-market stock funds and pulling it from the long-favored domestic ones. The French presidential vote for centrist Emmanuel Macron over far-right Marine Le Pen triggered a record $6.1B into European funds in the week ended Wednesday, according to BofAML. Meanwhile $2.4B has moved out of US stock funds over the past two weeks. EM funds have seen inflows for eight weeks in a row.
- G7 colleagues pressed US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for details on the Trump administration's tax plans at a confab Friday in Bari, Italy, anxious that Washington's fiscal policies could reverberate through the global economy. Mnuchin told them President Trump is still eyeing approval of his tax package this year, a senior Treasury official said. So far, many delegations are expressing relief about Trump's outlined proposal. Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan says he's "not worried" about US tax policy. "What they are considering now is a lot less worrying," another Italian official says.

May 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (Dow Jones)
- Oil prices were stable as traders expected OPEC-led production cuts to extend beyond the middle of this year, and as U.S. crude inventories fell to their lowest levels since February.
- Gold prices rose for a second straight session as political uncertainty in the United States following the sacking of FBI chief James Comey pressured the dollar and equities fell.
- Copper was flat in Asia as equities headed for a strong end to the week and the short-covering that pulled the contract higher overnight failed to re-emerge.
- Chicago soybean futures were on track for their biggest weekly decline since late March with bumper global supplies weighing on the market.
- Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson offers this advice to Washington on healthcare: "step back and ask the bigger questions." Tyson, speaking at the WSJ Future of Healthcare event in New York, lists the questions he considered most pressing. "Who is going to assume the risk of the cost of care for the American people?" Tyson says before posing a second question. "What do we need to put in place to incent and to drive the delivery of care reform?" Kaiser Permanente operates ACA exchange health plans in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.
- European satellite-launch provider Arianespace is stepping up its activities--including two planned blastoffs in less than a month--to compensate for delays previously caused by five weeks of public protests that blockaded its French Guiana launch facility. Company officials said that despite the disruption, Arianespace still expects to complete a dozen missions this year as planned. The company also expects the new government under incoming French President Emmanuel Macron to support, and possibly beef up funding for, work on a new generation of boosters intended to compete with lower-cost US rivals.
- Trump told the Economist magazine in an interview he'd like to get the US-Mexico trade deficit to zero at some point as part of a renegotiation of Nafta. The magazine had pressed the US president on how he would define a "fair renegotiation" of the 1994 trade deal. The US Trade Representative estimated the US trade deficit in goods with Mexico at $63.2B last year, and this month, statistics indicated that the gap is widening, primarily because of weakness in the Mexican currency. In the interview, Trump focused intensely on the deficit with Mexico, saying it was "a real deficit" that is directly attributable to Nafta. "Everything in Nafta is bad," Trump said.
- On the job about two weeks, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue unveils a reorganization of the USDA designed to make the sprawling agency run more efficiently, while adding some new functions. He creates an undersecretary for trade, responding to a Congressional directive from the 2014 Farm Bill, and places several US-centric sub-agencies under a domestically focused undersecretary for farm production and conservation. Perdue's plan doesn't involve trimming the USDA's roughly 100K staff, or change its planned spending.
- More changes are afoot at the nation's top regulator of federally chartered banks: Paul Nash, senior deputy comptroller and chief of staff at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is stepping down May 26. Nash was the chief of staff to former Comptroller Thomas Curry, but Curry was replaced by the Trump administration last week.
- Top US food regulators are sanguine about food safety under the Trump administration to date. Alfred Almanza, head of USDA's food-safety division, is pleased as punch over the selection of Sonny Perdue, a former veterinarian, as USDA Secretary. "I believe food safety is going to be one of the best worlds to be in these next four years," he told the audience at a national food-safety conference. Stephen Ostroff, FDA's acting commissioner, says there will likely be budgetary constraints, hiring challenges and new approaches to regulations. "But in the food safety arena, I think we have a pretty good story to tell," he says. "We haven't heard anything to suggest that doesn't resonate with the administration."
- Supply of euro corporate bonds continues Thursday, even after General Electric "floods" the market, as BayernLB puts it, with EUR8 billion of debt. And it's also yet another day featuring so-called reverse Yankees, euro bonds from U.S. corporates, as Paccar is offering a EUR500 million three-year bond. Investment firm JAB Holdings is also in the market with a dual-tranche offering of seven and 11-year debt, marketed at 100 bps and 130 bps above mid-swaps, respectively. Supply has been picking up after the French elections, following several weeks of muted activity.

May 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices rose, and Brent was firmly back over $50 per barrel, as a fall in U.S. crude inventories and a more severe than expected cut in Saudi supplies to Asia tightened the market.
- Gold edged up to hold just above an eight-week low hit earlier this week, with the U.S. dollar declining against the yen.
- Shanghai metals futures traded lower as investors turned to equities and oil, where a U.S.-led rally was spilling into Asian markets.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a second session under pressure from a key U.S. government report forecasting higher supplies.
- National Bank Financial says there's a nearly 50% chance Bank of Canada pushes up its timetable to begin raising its main interest rate to 4Q. At present, firm's current call is for a rate increase in 1Q of 2018. The firm says much will depend on what comes of President Trump's efforts to renegotiate Nafta and how effective White House is in pushing forward its tax-code overhaul. NBF has emerged as one of the most bullish forecasters in Canada.
- The ouster of James Comey as FBI director was sudden, ending his term with more than six years remaining. For the FBI, a tenure cut short has been more the rule than the exception since the end of J. Edgar Hoover's reign in the early 1970s. FBI directors are ostensibly appointed by the president to a fixed 10-year term. But they can be removed by the president for any reason. Since 1973, only one FBI director has stayed for a full term. There's a
complex relationship between FBI head and president. The director reports to the attorney general, a cabinet member, but the FBI also needs and often pushes for independence to pursue investigations that might be at odds with the administration.
- SEC Chairman Jay Clayton highlighted his interest in easing the ability of smaller companies to raise cash, in his first public remarks since he was sworn into office last week. "One of my priorities is for the Commission to focus on facilitating capital-raising opportunities for all companies, including and importantly, small and medium-sized businesses," the top US markets cop said in prepared remarks before an SEC advisory committee. The remarks signal what could become the theme of his tenure at the SEC. Clayton, who succeeds Mary Jo White, said at his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year that scaling back such regulations could prod more startups and smaller companies to go public.
- Morgan Stanley lowers the odds of a US recession over the next 12 months to 25% from 30% previously, citing "an upswing in investment on the back of stronger global growth and prospects for incremental regulatory ease." Some analysts have noted the US economy is in the late stages of the business cycle, which makes it more likely it will fall into a recession in the next couple of years. But a boost in global economic growth, as well as prospects of a US tax cut package--even while likely to be delayed--have lessened the risk of a downturn, MS says.
- Treasurys rallied overnight after a two-session pullback, as investors took advantage of higher yields and reacted to President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. The concern, as has been the case before, is that the Trump administration could get distracted from what investors want most: tax cuts and fiscal stimulus more broadly. Yields still have bounced off of overnight lows and could get some extra support from new data showing higher-than-expected import costs, which could be a sign of wider inflation. The 10-year yield was recently 2.383%, compared with 2.369% earlier in the morning and 2.405% Tuesday.
- Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son said his first priority in M&A talks is T-Mobile, though he wants to keep his options open. "The real important part ... [is] to look for the real first synergy, is really about looking into T-Mobile," Son said on an earnings call with analysts. "T-Mobile would be, in an orthodox manner, would be the first priority. And I would like to be very sincere in trying to start negotiation." Son said he believes the new administration will be more open to consolidation than Obama was. "I would like to explore a variety of possibilities regarding the industry consolidation going forward," he said.
- USD/TRY trades at 3.6086, down 0.3% on the day, after the pair earlier rose above 3.62 following the U.S. decision to arm Syrian Kurds, says QNB Finansbank. It notes that Turkey has strongly objected to a co-operation between the U.S. and SDF, which includes the Kurdish militia YPG, in Raqqa as the latter is seen as an extension of PKK. "In this context, yesterday's announcement is likely to draw backlashes from Ankara. The relation between the two countries might strain, which would translate into pressure on TRY denominated assets," says QNB Finansbank.
- Aussie banks came out swinging against the federal government's revenue grab with a levy on the liabilities that would hit the five largest lenders. Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Bankers' Association, criticizes the impost as a tax on the economy and a direct attack on jobs and growth, not just the banks. "It is naive and misguided and has already sent the wrong signals to global financial markets about the strength and stability of our banking sector," she says. And PM Malcolm Turnbull's response: "That's nonsense," he says in a TV interview.
- William Hinman, a former partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in Palo Alto, is named as the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's division of Corporation Finance. The division oversees the periodic disclosures filed by public companies and will likely assume a higher profile under the SEC's new chairman, Jay Clayton. Clayton has called for scaling back regulatory requirements faced by public companies in an effort to boost the number of listed US firms. Hinman has worked on a number of big stock offerings during his legal career including the IPOs of Google, Facebook, and Alibaba. The WSJ reported on April 25 that Hinman was likely to take the role.
- The new Comptroller of the Currency takes a deregulatory tone on his first week on the job, telling a group of employees "now is a good time to take stock of the rules implemented and actions taken" after the financial crisis, seeking to eliminate a regulatory burden "that does not make sense." The remarks from Keith Noreika, who is serving as acting chief regulator of US national banks, suggest he will look for ways to loosen rules while waiting for the president to nominate a new comptroller.
- An index tracking news coverage of the global economy had its biggest monthly fall in more than a year during April, dropping to 59.1 compared with a 61.3 reading in March, according to Absolute Strategy Research, which compiles the ASR/WSJ index. Of the sub-indices that make up the main index, ASR says the inflation component was "arguably the most striking," and is likely bad news for inflation bulls. "There have only been 4 occasions in the series' 27-year history where the month-on-month fall was greater," ASR says. The research provider adds that following the election of President Trump, its policy uncertainty index has returned to Global Financial Crisis levels where "uncertainty around politics appears to take precedence over economic uncertainty."

May 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil futures rose in Asian trading after Reuters reported Saudi Arabia would cut supplies to the region as OPEC battles against rising U.S. output that is threatening to derail its attempts to end a sustained global glut in crude.
- Gold edged up from an eight-week low hit the session before, with the dollar slipping after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly dismissed FBI Director James Comey.
- Copper edged up following a dip in London Metal Exchange stockpiles, although concerns over rising supply and disappointing Chinese import data continued to drag.
- U.S. soybeans were on track for their second consecutive session of gains, buoyed by a weaker dollar, though traders largely remained on the sidelines ahead of a widely watched U.S. government report.
- William Hinman, a former partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in Palo Alto, is named as the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's division of Corporation Finance. The division oversees the periodic disclosures filed by public companies and will likely assume a higher profile under the SEC's new chairman, Jay Clayton. Clayton has called for scaling back regulatory requirements faced by public companies in an effort to boost
the number of listed US firms. Hinman has worked on a number of big stock offerings during his legal career including the IPOs of Google, Facebook, and Alibaba. The WSJ reported on April 25 that Hinman was likely to take the role.
- The new Comptroller of the Currency takes a deregulatory tone on his first week on the job, telling a group of employees "now is a good time to take stock of the rules implemented and actions taken" after the financial crisis, seeking to eliminate a regulatory burden "that does not make sense." The remarks from Keith Noreika, who is serving as acting chief regulator of US national banks, suggest he will look for ways to loosen rules while waiting for the president to nominate a new comptroller.
- An index tracking news coverage of the global economy had its biggest monthly fall in more than a year during April, dropping to 59.1 compared with a 61.3 reading in March, according to Absolute Strategy Research, which compiles the ASR/WSJ index. Of the sub-indices that make up the main index, ASR says the inflation component was "arguably the most striking," and is likely bad news for inflation bulls. "There have only been 4 occasions in the series' 27-year history where the month-on-month fall was greater," ASR says. The research provider adds that following the election of President Trump, its policy uncertainty index has returned to Global Financial Crisis levels where "uncertainty around politics appears to take precedence over economic uncertainty."
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's decision to call a vote for a special assembly with powers to redraft the constitution could end up speeding up the collapse of his government, rather than delaying it, said Francisco Rodriguez, chief economist at New York-based brokerage Torino Capital. Although Maduro controls the electoral council and the courts, he could be overestimating his ability to win the vote, given his collapsing popularity, Rodriguez
says. "The fact that the government is scheduling an election of any type, and particularly one in which it is making aprominent commitment to direct and secret voting, suggests that completely bypassing electoral institutions is not in its choice set," he says.
- The US Commerce Department this morning announced John Thompson, director of the Census Bureau since August 2013, will retire on June 30. "As I pursue opportunities in the private sector, please be assured that I will continue to be supportive of the Administration's priority to have a complete and accurate 2020 Census," Thompson said. President Donald Trump must now nominate a new director to lead the agency into the next decennial census; the job is subject to Senate confirmation.
- Sturm, Ruger (RGR) tops its pre-election level for the first time after forecast-beating earnings and upbeat commentary from new CEO Chris Killoy, who says at its annual meeting that reports of the firearm industry's death have been exaggerated. Killoy says RGR hasn't seen any dip in valuations for potential M&A, preferring to build adjacencies such as silencers in-house, which has also freed up cash for buybacks and dividends. RGR recently up 13% at
$64.85, off its session high. Rival gunmaker American Outdoor up almost 7%, but still 20% below its pre-election level.
- The District of Columbia's insurance regulator is the latest to reveal proposed rates for Affordable Care Act plans for next year, and they follow a pattern similar to others. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield seeks a sharp increase of 39.6% for its HMO plans, and 19.7% for PPO plans. Kaiser Permanente, as it did in Virginia and Maryland, looks for a lower boost: 13% on average. CareFirst had previously said that its average requested increase across all
its ACA plans in the District was 29%. CareFirst has said it needed the increases because of the Trump administration's expected lack of enforcement of the ACA's coverage mandate, as well as previous underpricing and an increasingly sick and high-cost pool of enrollees.
- Sanofi's promise to limit its drug price increases in the U.S. follows a trend of self-policing in the pharmaceutical industry amid intense political scrutiny of the high cost of medicines. The French drug maker on Tuesday said it would not raise its prices above healthcare inflation in the U.S., which in 2017 would limit increases to 5.4%. It added that in 2016, its list prices increased 4% on average and that net prices- those after rebates and other concessions fell 2.1%. Sanofi's move follows similar pledges by Novo Nordisk and Allergan in recent months.
- Issuance of euro-denominated corporate bonds is picking up again, with a series of companies like WPP, Kellogg, ABB and Hella raising new debt Tuesday. Supply had remained dormant for several weeks, with market participants blaming the French presidential election, front-loaded funding earlier in the year ahead of political risk events in Europe and the 1Q earnings season. The lack of issuance gave technical support to euro corporate bond prices,
as the European Central Bank kept buying paper during this period. Some analysts now fear that a rebound in supply could hurt secondary market prices.
- Following a tepid reaction by French and US markets to Sunday's presidential election, Japan stocks are pulling back some after yesterday's pop. "It was an overreaction," says Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at brokerage Monex Securities in Tokyo. Macron's victory was largely priced in after the first round of voting 2 weeks ago. "That's why today's stock market is calmer--on the lower side." The Nikkei is down 0.1%.

May 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices gave up earlier gains, as concerns over slowing demand and a relentless rise in U.S. crude output undermined the impact of hopes that OPEC-led production cuts could be extended.
- Gold prices inched up, but remained near seven-week lows hit in the previous session as safe-haven demand ebbed in the wake of France's presidential election.
- London copper inched up after sharp overnight losses on fresh signs of a slowdown in Chinese demand.Chicago wheat futures slid with the market still under pressure a day after deep losses were sparked by improved weather conditions for the U.S. winter crop.
- The euro pulled back from recent six-month highs, but remained well-supported as fading worries over political populism and signs of improving economic conditions in Europe bolstered investor confidence.
- The FTSE 100 index closes marginally higher, up 0.05% at 7300.86, as investors react to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron's victory over far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in the French presidential elections with a buy-the-rumor, sell-the-fact attitude. UK stocks outperform other European indexes, however, which trade mostly lower. A rise in oil prices helps oil and utility stocks rise, while Centrica gains 1.9% after the company said it would report 2017 results in line with previous guidance. Retailers also trade broadly higher, with Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG, citing buyers ahead of a BRC retail sales survey due overnight, "on hopes that the recent weakness in consumer shopping habits may be reversed."
- A win by the New Democrat Party in Canada's British Columbia province could spell trouble for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, according to Tudor Pickering Holt. The NDP has been a vocal opponent of the pipeline, promising to make an effort to stop it if the party wins the election. However, pipelines in Canada are regulated federally, and with the expansion project already approved, it is an open question what the party could do to stop it. The party could also revisit the question of natural gas export projects and pipelines, another signal that an NDP victory could have negative implications for energy, Tudor Pickering says.
- The Fed needs to stick to its apolitical knitting, says Cleveland chief Loretta Mester, expressing concerns about some recent suggestions the FOMC should adopt more rules-based policy prescriptions. Rules are good for interpreting data. "I do have some concerns that some of the proposals to change the Fed may make us more vulnerable to these political pressures," Mester says at event in Chicago. "We need to stick to our knitting."
- Futures point to US stocks opening slightly lower after pro-European Union centrist Emmanuel Macron claimed victory in the weekend's French presidential elections. While fears that Macron would lose the election had put pressure on stocks, especially in Europe, global stocks are largely trading lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.3%, France's CAC 40 down 1% and S&P 500 futures down 0.1%. "The result removes one more piece of uncertainty which had worried global investors which should be positive for the global equity markets," says Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at EverBank. "But investors had expected this outcome, so market reaction will be muted as we open up trading this morning."

May 09 - Trump's Warrior For Trade Fights On (WSJ)
- The White House's most hawkish trade adviser, Peter Navarro, says the administration is still pushing to win concessions from trading partners even though the president has notably softened his positions on China and Mexico.
- President Donald Trump no longer talks of imposing steep tariffs on Chinese imports, as he did during the campaign, and he dropped his pledge to name Beijing a currency manipulator. He also recently discarded a proposal that Mr. Navarro helped shape to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- Mr. Trump's decision last month to kill the National Trade Council, created shortly after the election and led by Mr. Navarro, raised questions about how much influence economic "nationalists" still had over policies. Mr. Navarro's views have clashed with those of Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs Inc. president who is director of the National Economic Council. Mr. Cohn, of the administration's "globalist" contingent, has been a moderating force on trade issues, White House staffers and lobbyists say. "I don't worry about getting outmaneuvered," Mr. Navarro said in an interview. "I just worry about getting things done."
- Lindsay Walters, White House deputy press secretary, said all members of Mr. Trump's team are "working first and foremost for hardworking Americans by pursuing policies that will create jobs, boost wages, and grow our economy."
- At the start of the administration, Mr. Navarro loomed large in economic policy making. The University of California, Irvine, economist had helped shape the Trump campaign's trade threats. The NTC was initially viewed as being on a par with the White House's powerful National Security Council and NEC. In January, The Economist magazine said he was about to become " one of the world's most powerful economists."
- Mr. Cohn quickly staffed up the NEC, hiring two trade experts, and won the portfolio for infrastructure spending.
- Mr. Trump replaced the NTC on April 29 with the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, which continues to be housed in Mr. Navarro's spartan office across an alley from the White House and has two staffers -- Mr. Navarro and his deputy. Its agenda includes helping companies handle trade disputes, figuring out "Buy American" provisions and making sure the military has a strong industrial base. This is a more limited role than the NTC was expected to play. "Navarro has been marginalized," said University of Maryland economist Peter Morici, who has long pushed for a more aggressive trade policy. The White House reshuffling "acknowledges that the NEC has won" the fight over the trade agenda, resulting in a less confrontational approach.
- Mr. Navarro disputes Mr. Morici's conclusion, saying his clout is intact. Mr. Navarro, 67 years old, said he has started to meet one-on-one with Mr. Trump once a week for about 15 minutes. He said he advises Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and will also counsel Robert Lighthizer if Mr. Lighthizer is confirmed, as expected, as U.S. Trade Representative. "I know my role in the process, which is to help them behind the scenes wherever and whenever I can," he said. A spokeswoman for the USTR declined to comment. A Commerce spokesman said: "Many members of the White House senior staff have been giving us input on trade topics."
- President Trump took Mr. Navarro with him on a trip to Harrisburg, Penn., to mark the 100th day of his administration. There, he called Mr. Navarro "one of the greats trying to protect our jobs" and gave Mr. Navarro a pen he used to sign the order creating the new trade office. Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a steel-industry group, said Mr. Trump's actions indicate Mr. Navarro won't be bumped out of the White House, as some administration officials and trade lobbyists speculated. The administration has launched a number of studies focusing on trade barriers, the trade deficit and excess capacity in the aluminum and steel industries, Mr. Navarro said. Trade analysts say the studies could be used to lay the groundwork to impose protective tariffs. "While we have big trade deficits with many countries, each country requires a different strategy to reduce that deficit," Mr. Navarro said.
- But the administration has also backed off more extreme measures, cheering business officials who worried that Mr.Trump, aided by Mr. Navarro, would ignite a trade war. The shift in stance has disappointed trade hawks who want the U.S. to put trade objectives ahead of foreign-policy goals. "There is an ongoing tension within the administration between the campaign rhetoric and the reality of a very deeply interconnected global economy," said Josh Bolten, currently president of the Business Roundtable and a former White House chief of staff under President George W. Bush. "It's an open question as to which of those will prevail."
- Mr. Navarro came to prominence by urging confrontational policies toward China in books such as "Death by China." These days, he counsels patience. It would be counterproductive to call out a "prideful China" publicly during negotiations, he said. "The best time to judge this administration's China policy is going to be a year or two from now to see what has
actually happened," Mr. Navarro said. As to Mr. Trump's threat to leave Nafta, which was withdrawn the same day it became public, Mr. Navarro said he is satisfied by how it was received by Mexico and Canada. "It is now well understood that the president is serious about either getting a new and fair deal or getting out of Nafta," which is helping to move along negotiations on a revised trade pact, Mr. Navarro said.

May 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices rose as Saudi Arabia's energy minister said an OPEC-led production cut scheduled to end in June would likely be extended to cover all of 2017, although a relentless increase in U.S. drilling capped gains.
- Gold edged up on bargain-hunting after dipping to a seven-week low earlier in the session and as the euro strengthened after pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential election.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a third consecutive session as wet weather delays U.S. corn planting, opening the possibility of more farmland being used to sow the oilseed crop.
- The euro pulled away from highs hit early in the Asian session as investors took profits from its gains after centrist Emmanuel Macron's victory over the far-right Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election.
- Brexit, protectionism? German companies are currently unimpressed by a possible fallout from the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union and rise in protectionism under President Donald Trump, according to a survey published Monday. The poll of nearly 2,700 German companies conducted by IW economic institute in March and April showed that nearly half of the enterprises see their output growing this year and 40% want to hire new staff. IW also raises its German economic outlook to 1.5% compared with 1% predicted previously for 2017, adding that the slowdown from 2016's 1.9% growth is a result of fewer working days this year. It also predicted the economy to grow by 1.75% in 2018.
- Macron's victory gives markets a "much-deserved breather" from European politics, says Bill Street, head of investments for EMEA at State Street Global Advisors. But he contends the next notable leg higher is liable to not come absent accelerated ECB policy normalization unless Macron gets a working parliament and builds a partnership with Germany to launch meaningful reform. "That would deliver a substantial boost to markets by year-end" as such a scenario "is currently not priced in."
- The French election result sends a "loud signal" to investors that political risks in France and across Europe are receding--which is "undoubtedly" supportive of European equities and the euro, says Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital. But he adds that political risk in Europe is rather like a balloon: Squeeze one place and it pops up somewhere else. The next big political risk comes from Italy, says Wilson, while Greece remains an "open sore" on the eurozone. Meanwhile, he notes investors will look for what reforms Macron can enact to "supercharge" France's "sclerotic" economy, saying there's a lot of doubt on that front.
- The euro has given up the initial gains following Macron's win in France. He beat Le Pen, who ran on a plan to pull the country out of the euro but was seen as having scant chance of victory. But memories of the Brexit vote and the US presidential election made some participants wary of another possible surprise. The euro got as high as Y124.83 and $1.1040 but is now around Y123.85 and $1.0985, espectively. It stood late Friday in New York at Y124 and $1.10.

May 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices fell by as much as a further 3 percent, after prices had crashed to five-month lows in the previous session, as concerns about  global oversupply wiped out all of the price gains since OPEC's move to cut output.
- Gold inched up as the euro rose against the dollar, but was on track for its biggest weekly fall since November on receding political risks  in France and expectations of a U.S. rate rise as early as June.
- London copper edged higher after a second session of losses, but remained vulnerable to further sell downs amid concerns about rising  inventories and weakening consumption.
- Chicago wheat futures edged higher as the market took a breather following last session's deep losses, which were triggered by a crop tour forecasting above-average yields despite last weekend's snowstorm.
- German finance takes a skeptical view of Donald Trump, with little expectation of good news from his presidency, a survey by Frankfurt's finance groups shows. The survey by the Center for Financial Studies shows Mr. Trump's comments on protectionism and deregulation have rattled German financiers. "This uncertainty alone is damaging to global growth," CFS Managing Director Volker Bruehl says. German bankers are also worried financial deregulation will put U.S. banks at an advantage over more tightly-regulated German competitors.
- The two trade-groups representing prescription-drug companies react cautiously to the American Health Care Act's narrow passage in the House, a sign of the legislation's less-than-certain prospects in the Senate as well as the industry's fragile position in Washington. Both the Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America and Biotechnology Industry Organization say their priority was making sure patients "have access to the medicines they need," while the biotech group also reiterates that it never took a position on the health-overhaul that the AHCA seeks to repeal.
- Bank of Canada Gov. Stephen Poloz heard firsthand from Mexicans how much they are counting on Canada to stick with Mexico when Nafta renegotiations begin in earnest. "It's important you stay together with us and do the trilateral thing," says a man in attendance at his Mexico City speech. "You have to be our wingman. Don't leave the formation." Poloz once again used an opportunity at the podium to warn on the perils of protectionism, and how uncertainty over US trade policy is holding back growth. He cited the example of North America's integrated auto-parts makers as a sector that has thrived under Nafta. All together, Poloz says Canadian auto-parts producers employ roughly 167,000 workers in Canada, US and Mexico. "It is hard to imagine how interfering with open trade or implementing other protectionist policies would benefit these people."
- After a speech in Mexico City warning once again about risk posed by US protectionism to growth, Bank of Canada Gov. Stephen Poloz gets peppered with questions from the audience about another hot-button Canadian issue--real estate. He reiterates comments from previous weeks: that one-year house price gains in Toronto of 30% are fueled by speculative behavior and not sustainable; series of policies introduced in recent weeks and months will hopefully cool activity; and growth in household debt from mortgage borrowing remains a top financial-stability concern. Meanwhile, he was also pressed on the fate of Home Capital Group, a mortgage lender facing an exodus of deposits over allegations firm's executives didn't properly disclose extent of a mortgage-fraud problem back in 2014. He says he would "never comment" about individual lenders.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos finally cinched a meeting with Trump, set for May 18, during which the two heads of state will discuss efforts to combat narcotrafficking, the deteriorating political situation in Venezuela, and Colombia's peace process with Marxist rebels. The announcement comes a month after President Santos's main critic and leader of the country's opposition, former President Alvaro Uribe, managed to meet with Trump first--an embarrassment for Santos, the sitting president. In that meeting, Uribe blasted the peace deal and direction of the country. Now, it is up to Santos to defend his agenda.
- A group representing mostly non-profit providers of mental-health and substance-abuse treatment expressed "outrage" at the House's passage of the GOP health bill, saying it "puts the lives of those who rely on Medicaid for lifesaving addiction and mental health care in jeopardy." The National Council for Behavioral Health, based in Washington, DC, said the bill eliminates $880B from Medicaid funding over the next ten years. Medicaid, it notes, is "one of the most important payers of addiction and mental health services in the US, and states' most critical tool to tackle the opioid epidemic." The council has spent several months lobbying Republican senators in states hit hard by addiction against legislative changes that would undermine treatment coverage.
- The pharmaceutical industry's top lobbying group in the US takes a neutral tone in response to  House passage of the GOP health bill. "Ensuring patients have access to the medicines they need is our top priority. As Congress considers reforms to our health care system, we look forward to continuing to work with them to enhance the competitive market, ensure patients have access to affordable health care and foster the continued development of new innovative medicines," the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says in an emailed statement.
- Big food companies are applauding $3M in funding tucked into the pending federal budget bill that will promote products with ingredients using genetically-modified crops as safe for public consumption. The funding "will help counter the misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in social media and the public domain," the Grocery Manufacturers Association says in a statement. Pushback over GMOs have been a headache for the food industry, with companies trying to delay labeling provisions passed during the past administration.
- Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd says he'd welcome political action on the issue of repatriating corporate cash from foreign countries, a move many tech companies also seek. At the end of the last quarter, ORCL held $52.2B overseas, money Hurd says had been taxed by the countries in which it was made. "We want that ability not to pay taxes for our earnings twice," Hurd says during a meeting with journalists at ORCL headquarters. He believes the US would benefit from that cash being reinvested domestically. "The opportunity to bring it back and invest it in this country is a big opportunity," Hurd says.
- Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd says the giant software company welcomes trained immigrants to its workforce. In a meeting with journalists at ORCL headquarters, Hurd says he doesn't want "the company to become political." While co-CEO Safra Catz served on President Trump's transition committee, Hurd notes that ORCL was not involved in politics during the election. He says it makes no sense to welcome immigrants to American universities, but then turn away those US educated workers when they want a job. "We've been very supportive of hiring trained, immigrant labor," Hurd says. "We need talented people."
- AARP, the group representing 38m Americans aged 50 and over, sharply criticizes House passage of the GOP health care bill and promises to continue campaigning against it. "AARP will continue to oppose this bill as it moves to the Senate because it includes an age tax on older Americans, eliminates critical protections for those with pre-existing conditions, puts coverage at risk for millions, cuts the life of Medicare, erodes seniors' ability to live independently, and gives sweetheart deals to big drug and insurance companies while doing nothing to lower the cost of prescriptions," the group says in a statement. It adds it will use email, social media and other communications to inform its members 'how their elected Representative voted."
- The American Medical Association, which represents more than 200,000 doctors, slams the House's passage of the American Health Care Act. "The bill passed by the House today will result in millions of Americans losing access to quality, affordable health insurance and those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question," the group says in a statement. It adds, however, that "action is needed to improve the current health care insurance system," and it urges the Senate and White House to seek "bipartisan solutions."

May 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Crude oil lost ground, falling for a third out of four sessions and trading near its lowest since late March after data showed a lower than expected decline in U.S. inventories.
- Gold inched up, but the yellow metal held near a six-week low hit in the previous session as the dollar remained firm on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates as early as June.
- London copper fell after a big build-up in exchange stocks and as traders priced in two U.S. interest rate rises expected this year that could curb interest in dollar-denominated metals.
- Chicago corn futures were unchanged, holding on to last session's gains as recent wet weather across key growing regions raised fears that some farmers may need to re-plant recently seeded crops.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on May 18 to deliver a "domestic and international policy update," the panel says. It will be Mnuchin's first visit to Capitol Hill since his January confirmation hearing, which was before the Senate Finance Committee. On May 16, Senate Banking will also consider a handful of Treasury nominations: Sigal Mandelker, the nominee to be under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes; Marshall Billingslea, to be assistant secretary for terrorist financing; and Heath Tarbert, to be assistant secretary for international markets and development.
- Delphi Automotive's move to spin off its engine-parts operations is designed to unlock value, but the move may expose the auto supplier to increased trade-policy risk, its CEO says. The advanced electronics business, which accounts for about three-quarters of Delphi's current market cap, would be hurt more by the higher US tariffs on imports Trump has championed than the engine-parts supplying business, CEO Kevin Clark tells WSJ. The engine-parts business is highly automated and would easier to relocate than the electronics business, which includes labor-intensive wire harnesses mostly imported to the US from Mexico, Clark says. "A border tax would not be good for this industry," the CEO says, adding it would be "virtually impossible" to shift wire harness operations to the US without substantially increasing supply chain costs.
- Trump's election win may have put a damper on Tinder swiping in 1Q. In North America, Match Group dating properties saw muted activity starting in November and continuing through February, in what is typically one of the strongest seasons for online dating. Activity started to pick back up again in March and April, CEO of Tinder and its parent MTCH Greg Blatt says on his company's earnings call. "The best thing we can point to was that it was sort of a--the postelection was weird, and there was a lot of weirdness," Blatt says.
- Puerto Rico's request to enter a court-supervised bankruptcy-like process puts an end to attempts to work out a compromise, but it will still likely be years before bondholders know how much they'll get, says Matt Fabian, a partner with Municipal Market Analytics. The move to a court-supervised process "means bondholders will get to a solution sooner but it's still going to be a long road," Fabian says. Unlike in a US bankruptcy court, investors can sue over almost any decision by the board, and could dispute the payout the court allocates them, as well as whether the process was conducted correctly. "You name it, they could file on it and they probably will," Fabian says.
- In the IPO paperwork filed by ShotSpotter are a pair of potential federal measures that the gunfire-detection company says could harm its business. The company warns that the push to cut federal funding to so-called "sanctuary cities" would leave some cities--ShotSpotter's primary customers--with less money to buy its systems. Separately, it said a bill to make it easier for people to buy and sell silencers could make its technology less reliable.
- The New York Times adds 348K new subscribers in its 1Q, which it says was the best quarter for subscriber growth in its history. The newspaper company says total digital-only subscriptions rose 62% to 2.2M at the end of its 1Q. Still, the company expects growth in paid digital-only subscriptions to its news products to slow in 2Q than the prior two quarters. NYT, like others in the industry, has been working to offset declines in print circulation revenue with digital subscriptions. NYT said in February it saw a significant increase in the number of digital-only subscriptions following the 2016 presidential election, in which it often drew the ire of Donald Trump for its reporting and editorial positions. Shares are up 9.8% to $15.70.
- All the water-cooler talk about politics is affecting the workplace even more than before the 2016 election, according to a new survey released by the American Psychological Association. Among the 1,300 full and part-time workers surveyed in recent months, 26% said political chatter at work made them feel more stressed and tense, compared with 17% of those polled in September. More than half of respondents said they had discussed politics at work since the November election. For 40% of workers, it had caused at least one negative outcome--such as lower productivity or poorer work quality. About one in six said they had experienced strained relationships at work since the election because of political discussions with co-workers.
- Earnings expectations are picking up. The US posted the biggest improvement in its revision ratio--which measures the ratio of upward and downward earnings estimates by analysts--of all regions in April, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Analysts have also gotten more optimistic about multinational firms after ramping up expectations for more domestically-focused companies immediately after the election. "This likely reflects the improving trend in global growth and increasing skepticism with regard to domestic stimulus and tax reform," BofA says.
- Voters in New Mexico's capital city rejected a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in a special election Tuesday, handing a win to the beverage industry after losses last year in Pennsylvania, Colorado, California and Illinois. Santa Fe's proposed tax to fund early childhood education would have applied to sugar-sweetened beverages including soda, iced tea and sports drinks. Outside groups spent more than $3M on the election, according to the Associated Press. They included the American Beverage Association, an industry group that fought the tax, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supported it.
- The Trump team will "shortly" name someone to the job of Federal Reserve vice chair in charge of bank oversight, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says, adding that the administration is not necessarily going to pair it with nominees for two other Fed vacancies. Officials have said the appointment is coming soon before: "Let's get them filled as soon as we can." One candidate under consideration is former Treasury official and private equity executive Randal Quarles.
- The dollar firms ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision later in the day. Rabobank says markets will look for "clues about the timing of the next [interest-rate] hike and on how and when the Fed will shrink its balance sheet." EUR/USD down 0.15% at $1.0911, GBP/USD down 0.1% at $1.2925. Both the euro and sterling, however, remain within sight of key levels of $1.10 and $1.30, respectively. Weakness in U.S. ADP payrolls data on Wednesday, or a less hawkish tone from the Fed could help push them towards those markers. On the other hand, a TV debate later between French presidential candidates could pose risks to the euro if far-right candidate Marine Le Pen does well enough to diminish the prospects of her centrist rival and favorite in the polls, Emmanuel Macron. USD/JPY up 0.2% at 112.21.

May 03 - DJ Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Crude oil prices bounced back as a decline in U.S. inventories underpinned the market, although a dip in compliance with OPEC efforts to reduce output and near record supplies capped gains.
- Gold prices were near a three-week low hit in the previous session as investors sought higher returns from riskier assets and the dollar firmed as markets waited for cues that the United States may raise interest rates.
- London copper dropped from a three-week high hit the session before as the dollar ticked higher on expectations the Federal Reserve will signal a June rate rise later in the session.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second day, retreating further from a two-month high reached in the last session as abundant global supplies weighed on prices.

- Apple's cash pile rising to $256.8B in the most recent quarter. The total, most of which is held overseas, has soared on the back of the sale of more than 1B iPhones since 2007. Investors have been watching it closely to see what AAPL will do with it if the Trump administration moves forward with tax reform that offers a repatriation holiday. During an interview, Tim Cook declined to address tax reform. Investor Brian Fox, senior vice president at Boston-based Standard Life Investments, which counts AAPL among the $350B in assets it manages, said he would like to see some of that money used for M&A that boosts AAPL's services business.
- American Airlines (AAL) SVP Kerry Philipovitch grabs a lawmaker's softball at the DC airline hearing around regulatory changes she'd like to see. She flags changing carriers' ties with the big global distribution systems that still handle a big chunk of airline bookings made by travel agents. Timely, as AAL remains embroiled in a lawsuit with Sabre, one of the big GDS operators, over a six-year old contact. SABR reported 1Q profits Tuesday. Analysts reckon airlines would like to cut most ties with the GDS operators and just deal directly with all customers.
- Big question still hanging from lawmakers grilling airline executives is what they actually want to see changed? Rep Grace Napolitano (D, Ca) focuses on airlines' efforts at self-regulation, eliciting United CEO Oscar Munoz to pledge "a constant stream" of new initiatives to improve customer service. Alaska, Southwest and American chime in with comments on how customer service is constantly reviewed, with executive and staff pay tied to outcomes. Given dark threats of "one-size-fits-all" actions by Congress if airlines don't step up, hearing doesn't provide specific guidance beyond making things "better." Airline stocks off session highs, but all except Allegiant in positive territory.
- Greek stocks trade higher as the Greek government reaches a deal with the country's international creditors, keeping its bailout program going and paving the way for debt talks. The Athens General Stocks Index gained 3.1% to 733.93. On the banking sector, National Bank of Greece gained 5.9%, Piraeus Bank traded 11% higher, Eurobank Ergasias was up 13% and Alpha Bank gained 6.2%.
- Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) weighs into airlines at congressional hearing, questioning the level of competition and taking an extra dig at United (UAL), which he flies on to and from San Diego. Executives are a bit hesitant in defending industry structure, especially market share at their dominant hubs. Remember, of course, that almost all of the industry consolidation in recent years has been waved through.
- Shareholder advocates and an accounting-industry group are pushing back against a provision of the proposed Financial Choice Act they say would weaken protections for investors. The bill, which the House Financial Services Committee is marking up Tuesday, would exempt many more companies from an existing Sarbanes-Oxley rule requiring companies to have auditors weigh in on their "internal controls," their policies and procedures designed to prevent financial error or fraud. Opponents of the requirement think it's too burdensome for smaller companies, but in a letter to the committee Monday, the Center for Audit Quality, the Council for Institutional Investors and the CFA Institute argued auditor inspections help reassure investors that companies' financial statements are accurate, and thus helps those companies raise money in capital markets. Softening the rule, they said, "could have the unintended consequence of eroding investor confidence and the quality of public company financial reporting."
- Foreign investors bought a net $20.6B in emerging-market assets in April, a slowdown from inflows of about $30B in both February and March, IIF data shows. Investors have poured into emerging-market currencies, stocks and bonds this year, as worries over higher US interest rates diminished and growth in developing economies picked up. Last month, appetite for riskier assets was dented by the French election and escalating geopolitical tensions with North Korea. Still, flows into EM assets have been positive for five straight months. Developing Asian economies received roughly 80% of April's inflows, IIF data shows. Foreign investors bought a net $13.8B in debt and only $6.8B in equities.
- Martin Marietta Materials shares jump as the company expresses optimism about a "busy 2017" particularly in residential construction and infrastructure work. MLM says it's ramping up its labor force, increasing production and performing maintenance in anticipation of additional projects funded by the FAST Act, an Obama-era transportation-spending law, and state and local initiatives. While disagreement among Congress and the Trump administration poses a risk to its outlook, CEO Ward Nye says MLM's outlook doesn't "include any benefit that may accrue to us from the enactment of what could be record federal infrastructure spending that both Congress and the president have each said is a high priority." Trump's plan to inject $1T into overhauling American infrastructure has yet to materialize. MLM says 1Q net sales, which exclude freight and delivery revenue, rose 8% to $792M, while EPS fell 2c to 67c. MLM gains 9% to $242.95.
- House lawmakers grilling airline executives move on from overbooking to the vexed issue of ticket change fees, a big revenue earner for carriers. Executives from United and American avoid a direct answer when asked how much it costs an airline to change a booking. While carriers don't disclose the financial benefits of overbooking, they do provide data on fees from change fees, which can run into hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Airline stocks continue to rise in morning trade, led by a 4% rise at Delta following its upbeat April traffic report.
- Mexico and Canada are critical markets for US farm products ranging from soybean meal to corn syrup, and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is "deeply involved" in trade discussions on both the US and Mexico side as jockeying around Nafta ratchets up, according to the grain conglomerate's top executive. "We don't believe both countries are going into a trade war," CEO Juan Luciano says. "We think there's going to be a negotiation." ADM is "helping with data and our opinion" in both the US and Mexico, he says. ADM falls 7.7% to $42.24.
- Dismal gasoline demand is casting a shadow over oil prices even as many analysts expect OPEC to extend production cuts at the May meeting. 1Q gasoline demand declined, impacting earnings at filling stations at the beginning of 2017. This could influence the oil market even more than OPEC's plans for production if the decline continues, Commerzbank says. Another potentially bearish sign for gasoline emerged this week as analysts noted President Trump's comments he would consider raising taxes on gasoline. "If the demand outlook in the US were to deteriorate, we believe that this would weigh significantly more heavily on oil prices in the longer term than for example any failure of OPEC to agree on production cuts," Commerzbank says.
- Pfizer (PFE) CEO Ian Read says political uncertainty in the US and Europe may be deterring big dealmaking in big pharma. Read lists on an earnings call a variety of developments contributing to uncertainty in the industry, including the shape of tax reform and a health-care overhaul in the US and elections in France and the United Kingdom. Read says he expects the pharmaceutical industry to consolidate over time, but "the current market needs to stabilize to be an advantageous market for big deals."

Apr 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Capital Economics doesn't see the US's move to slap a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imports as a serious threat to Canada's economic outlook. Canada's softwood lumber production is estimated to make up just 0.2% of the country's GDP, far too small to be a significant threat to its economy, CapEcon says. The duties are also unlikely to affect domestic lumber production, unless the dispute will drag on for several years. While the bigger threat remains the renegotiation of Nafta, that also might also prove to be nothing more than political theater, CapEcon concludes.
- Mexico's 0.6% growth in 1Q GDP from 4Q confirms pessimistic business and consumer confidence surveys were overstating weakness in the economy, Capital Economics says. Despite lingering risks over Nafta, the firm raises its forecast for 2017 to 2.2% from 1.8%. Preliminary GDP was up 2.7% from 1Q16 (or 2.5% adjusted for a positive calendar effect), above expectations. "Barring a big surprise in the incoming data for March, we don't expect big changes in the final estimate," Capital Econmics adds.
- Newly sworn-in Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says his goal is to get Americans the skills they need to find jobs. At his swearing in he says jobs are available, but often require skills that many workers don't have. Supporting Americans ability to find good, safe jobs is a priority for President Donald Trump, he says. The apparent support for job training could run counter to the White House budget that seeks to cut federal funding for such programs. Acosta, the first Latino in the president's cabinet, acknowledged his Cuban heritage. He noted it was "amazing" for the son of refugees to take a seat in the presidential cabinet.
- This week's brief market panic sparked by news that President Trump was planning to pull out of Nafta should be seen as a premonitory symptom, notes Mexico's former Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda. The incident shows that the recent appreciation of the Mexican currency backed by optimism over a Nafta renegotiation has weak fundamentals. Trump's unpredictable moves will continue to fuel uncertainty over the future of Nafta and bilateral relations. Trump's "proclivity for 180-degree turns, whether due to a radical absence of convictions, or as a negotiating tactic, will continue," he notes.
- Trump's address to the National Rifle Association on Friday, the first by a sitting president since Ronald Reagan, represents a major victory for the organization and a symbol of its pull with the new administration. Trump's speech at the organization's annual meeting in Atlanta comes amid a buildup of legal power on both sides of the gun debate, and just weeks after the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the first of many pro-gun judicial nominees activists hope Trump will tap to serve on the federal courts. Emboldened by the 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Second Amendment lawyers said they planned to file more lawsuits challenging gun regulation. Meanwhile, on the other side of the debate, gun-control groups that have historically helped defend gun regulations are now searching for suitable targets to sue.
- February's pause in Canadian economic growth should come as no surprise after averaging 0.5% in the three months to January, according to BMO Capital. "The prior pace was unsustainable and some payback is reasonable," the investment bank says, noting the year-over-year gain of 2.5% is the best in two years. Firm points out two factors now threatening to weigh on growth expectations: a cooldown in real estate, after Ontario authorities brought in measures to curb escalating house-price gains in Toronto; and distress about the direction of US trade policy under President Trump. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz delivers remarks in Mexico next week, and Bank of Nova Scotia says "one might reasonably suspect that NAFTA risks will figure prominently in his address."
- President Trump has been a mixed blessing for the gun industry, with pledges on gun rights tempered by his election sending shares in listed makers American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) and Sturm, Ruger (RGR) into freefall on the prospect of lower sales. So Trump's Friday appearance at the NRA annual meeting -- the industry's premier consumer-focused trade show -- will be keenly watched. Industry executives split between whether the elevated sales during the Obama are the new normal, or a blip. Both stocks finally moved into positive YTD territory in mid-April, and are narrowly higher in a flat market early Friday.
- US government spending weighed on the economy in 1Q. The sometimes volatile measure was dragged down by defense spending declining at a 4% pace. Defense is one measure the Commerce Department has struggled to smooth out with seasonal adjustments, so a quick reversal may be in order. Perhaps more troubling, state and local spending fell at a significant 1.6% pace.
- US business investment has been a missing ingredient through much of the expansion. In the first quarter, nonresidential fixed investment advanced a healthy 9.4%. Spending on mining exploration, shafts and wells soared 449%, a record gain and a reflection of stabilizing commodity prices. Economists are hoping the pace of overall investment continues to lift the economy alongside corporate tax cuts and infrastructure spending promised by the Trump administration.
- Arthur Lau, head of Asia ex-Japan fixed income at PineBridge Investments in Hong Kong, warns against changing portfolio positions based on comments from President Donald Trump. Reuters is reporting that the president has threatened to terminate the free trade deal with South Korea. "You don't want to trade on noise," he says, pointing to how Trump's comments start on an aggressive note and often moderate later. That was the case with his U-turn on the North American Free Trade Agreement this week. Lau has bought Korean corporate bonds this year, reducing his underweight position on the country. "Honestly, when we cut the underweight in Korea, it was not about Trump. We were thinking about Korean macroeconomic data...exports are very good," he adds.
- Maybe Trump comments don't have quite the market punch they used to. The president telling Reuters he will renegotiate or terminate a US free-trade pact with South Korea because of a deep trade deficit with Seoul only budget the won slightly. It barely moved outside of its usual daily average and was recently down 0.3% on the session versus the dollar. Jeffrey Halley, a senior market strategist at Oanda, says markets understand that Trump's controversial comments aren't necessarily policy, adding the trade gambit is akin to "coming out with something controversial, find something in the middle and then mollify it." Meanwhile, Korean stocks eased slightly and are barely in the red for the session.
- The Korean won fell to fresh session lows against the dollar after Trump told Reuters he will renegotiate or terminate a "horrible" trade deal with South Korea and make the ally pay for the $1 billion anti-missile Thaad system. Below KRW1,130 earlier in Asian trading, the dollar got toward KRW1,134 and is now back around KRW1,132, up 0.1% on the session. Korean stocks, meanwhile, have given up modest morning gains to sit essentially unchanged from Thursday's closing levels.

Apr 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices rose but were still on track for a second straight weekly loss on concerns that an OPEC-led production cut has failed to significantly tighten an oversupplied market.
- Gold was little changed and poised for the biggest weekly fall in seven weeks as investors sought out higher returns than those from holding the non-interest bearing yellow metal by buying into riskier assets.
- Copper tracked modestly higher with traders saying some investors were active buying on price dips, but warning at the same time that broader industry sentiment pointed to a weaker outlook.
- Chicago wheat futures were on track to end the week with the biggest gain since early February, with prices underpinned by concerns over freezing temperatures threatening the U.S. winter crop.
- The dollar edged up in Asian trading but was on track for a losing month against a basket of currencies, while the euro shed some of its monthly gains after the European Central Bank maintained its easing bias.
- Trump's tax proposals are unlikely to pass Congress in their present form, says CBA. The plan will face opposition from Republican fiscal conservatives and Democrats. The Joint Committee on Taxation said in a letter to House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan that a corporate tax rate of 20%--5 percentage points higher than Trump's proposal--would create deficits in the long run if the tax cuts were implemented for only three years. Arguments that the tax cuts will pay for themselves through higher rates of economic growth are unlikely to find support, CBA adds. Legislators also assume that companies will use repatriated earnings to invest in the US, despite already being cash rich. Corporates will more likely use repatriated earnings for share buybacks and enhanced dividends, CBA adds.
- The US dollar continues to languish after the Trump administration unveiled a small, one-page outline of its tax plans, CBA says. The Trump administration's tax proposal is roughly in line with Trump's campaign promises, including a cut in the corporate income tax to 15%. CBA said it doesn't expect any material effect on the USD or US yields until there are more specific details on the tax package. This won't be forthcoming in the immediate future. The continued delay in releasing the details of the tax package isn't helping business investment: durable goods orders for March disappointed again. CBA expects US 1Q GDP to be weak.
- President Trump's tax plan may cause America to become a nation of renters, says Stephen Breitstone, partner at Meltzer, Lippe. A reason: doubling the standard deduction may result in fewer people using the mortgage-interest deduction (which you may get when you itemize your tax return). Eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes may also crimp home buying especially in high-tax states such as New York and California, he says.
- Moody's affirms Mexico's A3 credit rating but keeps the outlook negative, saying while financial risks at state oil company Pemex have decreased and progress has been made on fiscal consolidation, external risks such as trade relations with the US remain. Moody's expects only moderate changes to Nafta, but the negative outlook "captures the possibility that negotiations go awry and that a scenario different from Moody's baseline, in which growth falls still further and debt ratios do not stabilize by 2018, materializes." On the other hand, the firm would consider putting the outlook back to stable if the outcome of trade talks has little effect on Mexico, or if reforms start generating more economic growth. S&P and Fitch also have negative outlooks for Mexico, but rate the sovereign an equivalent notch lower at BBB+.
- While Trump's election boosted confidence among small firms that his presidency would result in a better business climate, a majority of small and midsize businesses now believe his administration isn't doing enough to help them, according to a survey of a 1,000 business owners. Conducted by Wakefield Research for TriNet, a provider of human resource services, the poll finds while 51% say they voted for Trump, 92% say he hasn't helped them enough, particularly on health care and simplifying regulations. Three quarters of the business owners say they thought he had prioritized the interests of big business over theirs, according to the survey. The survey was conducted in April but before the White House presented its corporate tax-reform proposal this week.
- Canadian bonds were mostly flat with the back end underperforming the rest of the curve following the likelihood that Nafta wouldn't be immediately terminated. Canada's two-year bonds were unchanged at 0.736%, according to electronic trading platform CanDeal. The 10-year bond was yielding at 1.575% from 1.573%. Canadian fixed income was down early on Thursday after President Trump announced late Wednesday night that he will not direct the US to terminate NAFTA. Bonds eased back toward positive territory amid concerns about Canada's non-bank mortgage lenders and upward oil prices. Markets will focus on GDP figures released Friday with Canadian bond yields expected to go modestly higher on the back of the data.
- The Canadian dollar was little changed, erasing all gains made after investors reacted warmly to the loonie following media reports that renegotiations of a Nafta deal would be tempered. The USD is now trading around C$1.3626 from C$1.3618 late Wednesday, according to CQG. The greenback traded as low as C$1.3530 during the overnight session after President Trump said he wouldn't terminate Nafta and would look toward a fairer solution that would involve Canada and Mexico at the negotiating table. Looking ahead, the loonie is expected to react after the release of February GDP figures early Friday. A report above the 0.1% gain consensus should lead to further consolidation in USD/CAD, said TD Securities.
- The Mexican peso recovered some of the previous day's losses after the Trump administration dropped the idea of pulling out of Nafta, seeking rather a successful renegotiation with Canada and Mexico. The peso was quoted in Mexico City at 19.0350 to the US dollar, compared with 19.1715 Wednesday. The IPC stock index closed down 0.3% at 49,441 points. Cemex shares rose 0.9% after the company reported a big jump in 1Q net profit, while broadcaster Televisa shares fell 4.7% on a 7.8% drop in 1Q ad revenue, which contributed to a revenue slowdown and decline in
operating profit in the quarter.
- Ontario government politicians are taking the day to trumpet its first balanced budget in a decade. While the province's deficit was up as much as C$19B during the height of the global recession, the ruling Liberal Party has etched away at reducing that shortfall over the past several years. Thanks to a consistent economic engine that outpaced G7 countries with 2.6% GDP last year, incoming taxes were up a whopping C$19.8B more than previously forecast in the last fiscal year. That outperformance comes from higher personal income taxes, while taxes generated through the sales of an overheated housing market also was a strong contributor.
- For years, Ontario has been lambasted for its mounting debt load, recently highlighted by S&P's move to downgrade the province's credit rating down a notch amid a sputtering economy. The province's net debt is projected to be C$301.9B in its current fiscal year, down C$6.4 billion from the last fiscal forecast. "Debt is being managed. The first step to managing your debt is balance," said Finance Minister Charles Sousa. Low interest rates and strong demand for Ontario provincial bonds is expected to help drive the province's long-term borrowing program to C$96.5B over the next three years, up from previous projections of C$78.5B. Interest on debt payments is also expected to be sharply lower over the next two fiscal years.
- Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa says that the ability for the government to balance its budget will give it the "flexibility" to help manage any impact felt from changes to US trade policy. Sousa told reporters that 28 US states rely on Ontario, Canada's most populous province, as its first or second-biggest marketplace, and that the province will continue to support free trade policies. The budget document, however, does note that uncertainty on US economic policy, as well as potential restrictions on global trade, could diminish productivity and dampen business sentiment.
- Facebook describes in a report a concerted "Information Operation" by unknown actors to push false narratives on the social network in late 2016. This politically motivated disinformation campaign was different from the social network's "fake news" problem, which tended to be financially motivated. The reach of this information operation was small, too, accounting for "less than one-tenth of a percent of the total reach of civic content on Facebook," the company says. The remarkable thing here, however, isn't that FB is quantifying this phenomenon, but that it is talking about it at all. Other companies--Twitter, most notably--also have a disinformation problem. But FB is the only one that's made such a detailed public statement about it, a sign that it hopes to put an end to this misuse.

Apr 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Singapore shares are flat after 5 straight sessions of gains, amid profit taking and subdued cues from Wall Street after the the Trump administration outlined its tax plan that lacked details. The Straits Times Index is up 0.03% at 3,174.80. Some real estate stocks are trading lower, with City Developments down 1.3%, while Frasers Commercial Trust is 2.2% lower. Ascendas REIT is down 0.4%, while UOB is down 0.2%. Singapore's third biggest bank will report its 1Q earnings before market hours Friday.
- Softness in US equities may carry through to Japan shares Thursday, after markets slipped following Trump's tax announcement, which some investors felt did not outline adequately how the administration planned on working through legislative hurdles. Investors will be closely watching a BOJ monetary policy announcement later in the day. Although no major changes are expected, analysts warn any tweaks to its bond-buying outline could cause short-term yen strengthening. Nikkei futures opened down 85 points. The Nikkei ended up 1.1% at 19289.43.
- Financial adviser Bob Phillips is telling clients the overall effect of Trump's tax plan should be income tax reductions or transfer payments for the vast majority of people who pay federal income tax. There's currently is no way of knowing how people from high income-tax states like New York or California will fare with the elimination of the deduction for state income taxes, the Indianapolis adviser says. The loss of that deduction could offset the benefits of lower rates. In turn, he's telling clients to sit back--he's relatively sure the final product will look much different than the proposals once the horse trading is done.
- The proposed Trump tax cuts would be a boon for hedge funds, who typically pay much higher rates on their annual management-fee income, says Mike Laveman, co-chairman of the New York tax practice at EisnerAmper. "I'm trying not to tell my wife about the huge tax break we are about to get," Laveman says, referring to the benefits for private partnerships like accounting firms, too. One unexpected cost, though, could come if the cuts do away with hedge funds' ability to deduct the interest levied on leverage, he says.
- More farm groups raise alarms over reports that the Trump administration is mulling a withdrawal from NAFTA, which many crop and livestock producers say has underpinned years of growth in exports. "Closing that door would be a terrible blow to the US wheat industry and its Mexican customers," says the National Association of Wheat Growers, noting that Mexico buys more than 10% of all US wheat sold overseas. Ron Moore, an Illinois soybean farmer and president of the American Soybean Association, calls exiting NAFTA "a terrible idea" that would only heap further economic difficulties on already-struggling farmers.
- Mexico's peso fell to its weakest level in over a month on reports the Trump administration is considering a threat to pull out of Nafta. The peso was quoted in Mexico City at 19.1715 to the US dollar, versus 18.8870 Tuesday. The rate briefly reached 19.2990 intraday. "So far the news has been seen as an effort to put pressure on trade partners (Mexico and Canada)... but the order opens the door for the US to actually leave the trilateral agreement," says Banco Base. The IPC stock index fell 0.5% to 49,565 points. America Movil shares gained 3.4% after a strong 1Q earnings report.
- Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) introduces the Regulatory Accountability Act with support from two moderate Senate Democrats, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The bill, which requires cost-benefit analysis and extra scrutiny of major regulations, is worth watching because it might have a better chance at passing the Senate than, say, bills gutting the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.
- Farmers wielded influence in the election of Donald Trump, and now they aim to use that influence to defend agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada, which the National Corn Growers Association says would be imperiled if the Trump administration were to pull out of NAFTA--as some press reports Wednesday suggested is in the works. "Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture," says NCGA President Wesley Spurlock. "This decision will cost America's farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover."
 - Canadian bonds rise as fixed-income investors reacted warmly to news that the US is considering withdrawing from Nafta through an executive order from Trump. Canada's two-year bonds were yielding at 0.738% from 0.758% on Tuesday, according to CanDeal. The 10-year bond was yielding 1.477% from 1.519%. Canadian fixed income outperformed modestly following a move to safe havens amid a soft retail-sales report and the growing likelihood Nafta will be renegotiated days after a tariff was announced on Canadian lumber producers. Markets will continue to focus on US developments for guidance ahead of GDP figures released Friday.
- Railroad companies are some of the most eager proponents of Trump's tax plan--unsurprising, because their corporate tax rates would plunge significantly. The Association of American Railroads says major freight railroads pay on average a 33.5% federal tax rate, and 37% overall when including state taxes. The trade group says lower tax would lead to more investments in the network that moves goods around the country. "To spur economic growth and unleash innovation, we need a simpler, fairer tax code that works for American businesses," AAR CEO Edward Hamberger says.
- Per a Trump executive order, national monuments created under the Antiquities Act since the start of 1996 that are greater than 100,000 acres will be subject to review. But the measure is likely to be challenged and may have little immediate impact, although conservation groups worry it could eventually open protected federal lands to exploitation of natural resources. "If any of these areas has the protections removed from them, people will be moving as quickly as they can to take out the oil, gas, minerals, fish--whatever else," said Peter Shelley, senior counsel at the Conservation Law Foundation.
- Universal Health Services CEO Alan Miller told analysts earlier today he didn't expect a vote soon on the American Health Care Act, the House Republicans' proposal to dismantle  Obamacare. An AHCA vote was scrapped in March after conservative and moderate Republicans balked. "I don't think they'll even get to a vote because they learned that it doesn't make sense to bring it up to a vote if you don't have the votes," Miller said. But hours later there was a new twist as holdout conservative Republicans threw support behind the AHCA, with the House Freedom Caucus saying, "While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people."
- Oil prices dipped, weighed down by a general sentiment of globally bloated markets, though traders said that prices seemed to have found support around current levels.
- Gold prices edged down on ebbing geo-political worries but scepticism over U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed tax reform curbed further losses.
- London copper drifted as markets were underwhelmed by the Trump administration's proposed tax cuts and as focus shifted to China manufacturing, where growth is expected to slow in April.
- Chicago corn futures edged higher as the market took a breather following deep decline in the last session on concerns over exports to Mexico should the United States withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- The dollar held gains against the yen after U.S. President Donald Trump's tax plan offered no fresh surprises, slowing the greenback's rally, while the market awaited the European Central Bank's upcoming monetary policy decision.

Apr 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Bank of Canada will take note of the new US tariff on Canadian softwood lumber, which is likely to reinforce its cautious view of the economy and keep the central bank on the sidelines for the foreseeable future, Bank of America Merrill Lynch says. The investment bank thinks the countervailing tariffs along with the Trump administration's comments on Nafta "increases uncertainty regarding trade policies for the North America region, which will likely delay investment." BoC has highlighted tepid business investment as a concern, and reason to focus increasingly on downside risks. BofA Merrill Lynch adds that the "active" trade policy from the White House now puts downside risks on its call for 2.3% growth in 2017.
- A federal judge in San Francisco rules that Trump's executive order threatening to pull funding from sanctuary jurisdictions is unconstitutional, siding with two Northern California communities. In an order granting a request for a preliminary injunction by San Francisco and Santa Clara County, US District Judge William Orrick says the jurisdictions successfully proved they are likely to face immediate, irreparable harm absent court action. Judge Orrick says the executive order likely violates the constitutional separation of powers, as well as the Fifth Amendment right to due process and Tenth Amendment prohibition on commandeering local jurisdictions to carry out federal law.
- President Trump is expected to highlight plans to cut the corporate tax rate to 15% on Wednesday. Trump is expected to emphasize that tax reduction should take primacy over deficit concerns. But this may make it more difficult to get a fiscal package through Congress because most Republicans are staunchly against widening budget deficits, says CBA. Meanwhile, Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, warned "a complete proposal won't be ready until June." CBA said that until an agreement is reached on an aggressive US fiscal stimulus package, the USD will struggle to recover.
- The IPC index of leading issues closed up 0.8% at 49,808 points, setting intraday and closing highs. America Movil shares closed up 1.2% ahead of the company's 1Q results, while cement maker Cemex shares rose 2.9%. Cemex plans to report Thursday. The peso weakened against the US dollar and was quoted in Mexico City at 18.8870 versus 18.7320 Monday. Concerns about protectionism by the Trump administration reemerged as the US Commerce Department moved to place a preliminary 20% duty on imports of Canadian lumber, which it considers to be unfairly subsidized.
- The Canadian dollar fell to its lowest level in a year following the White House announcement of steep tariffs on Canadian lumber. The USD is now trading around C$1.3567 from C$1.3498 late Monday, according to CQG. The greenback traded as high as C$1.3627 before settling below the C$1.35 level. The loonie sank late Monday evening and carried on its descent throughout the day. While CIBC says it's unlikely the lumber spat will cascade into a larger trade war, the move above the C$1.36 mark is likely to spur a move to the C$1.38 and C$1.40 area. "There's a political risk premium built into USD/CAD that wasn't there to an extent beforehand that's partly predicated on the view that NAFTA negotiations will not go smoothly."
- News that President Trump is proposing foreign aid cuts is especially worrying for Colombia, a longtime US ally which has received billions in US money in the hemisphere's fight against narco-trafficking. Colombia is also facing an expensive implementation of its newly-minted peace deal with Marxist guerrillas, a deal that aims to end 50 years of civil conflict and is expected to cost billions over a decade in re-training former fighters, developing the impoverished countryside and compensating those who lost land and loved ones in the conflict. But President Trump has proposed slashing economic aid by 21.1%, to $105M. Still, Colombia fares better than others: The Trump proposal completely ends aid to countries like Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
- Fund firms, wealth advisors and brokerage firms are in wait-and-see mode on the Labor Department's retirement-savings rule, T. Rowe Price Group's Chief William Stromberg tells WSJ. "We've made the investment, we've trained our people, we've adjusted our disclosures. We're ready to go," he says. The Labor Department has pushed back the implementation of the so-called Fiduciary Rule by 60 days to June 9, but its future remains uncertain. The industry, Stromberg added, is waiting for more information from policymakers so that they can appropriately change pricing, policies and business models.
- Valero Energy thinks the EPA could tweak ethanol regulations within the next six months "if they really push it." The regulations, designed to boost the amount of ethanol blended into US gasoline, require refiners to either blend ethanol with gasoline or buy credits, called RINs, and have cost independent refiners millions of dollars. VLO and others have lobbied the EPA to move the point in the fuel supply chain at which the credits are created, which would take the onus off refiners. During VLO's earnings call, Senior Vice President Jason Fraser says VLO believes the leadership at the EPA installed by the Trump Administration is favorable to their position. "With the new team at the EPA we're really hopeful," he says.
- Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, in response to shareholder calls for reviewing plans to break-up the bank, said that "we do not agree there is any benefit" to a return to a stricter Glass-Steagall separation of investment and commercial banking. Some in the Trump administration have suggested an undefined kind of return of Glass-Steagall. Corbat said that "many academics and politicians have said that if Glass-Steagall had existed, it would not have changed the trajectory or path of the financial crisis. It's not a quick cure to financial safety and soundness." Corbat also rejected a call to sell off pieces of the bank, such as Citi Banamex, saying that "if we brought that capital back, we would just have to sit on it."
- Gains in European stocks following the first round of French elections are more than just a relief rally, according to Didier Saint-Georges, member of the investment committee at Carmignac. Monday's gains largely reflected an unwinding of protection set up ahead of the vote, but there remains some pent up demand for European cyclicals and European banks in particular, he says. "As long as there's no perception of big political risk, the economy matters a lot more," he says, noting Europe is far less advanced in the economic cycle than the U.S. and likely to draw further inflows.
- The Canadian dollar plunged to its lowest level in more than a year after the US announced tariffs on Canadian lumber exports late Monday. TD Securities analysts say the loonie's nearly 1% selloff vs. the dollar since the announcement is "overblown." Though trade tensions may rise in the months ahead, "we do not think we are in the early stages of a trade war," TD says. The bank notes lumber exports account for just 3% of Canada's overall exports, meaning the tariffs are "likely to have a limited spillover into the broader economy." One dollar recently bought C$1.3594.
- Centene CEO Michael Neidorff says the company is considering expanding its footprint in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. "We are evaluating other markets to expand in, yes" he says in answer to a question. Peppered with repeated questions from analysts about the business, he offers soothing answers. Maricopa County in Arizona, a big urban area where Centene is the only exchange plan, is looking like other parts of the business, he says. He reiterates that he thinks that federal payments that help insurers reduce costs for low-income exchange enrollees will not go away, but says if they did it would "eliminate the affordability" of the products.
- Oil prices resumed their downward trend as data showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories and record supplies in the rest of the world cast doubt on OPEC's ability to cut supplies and tighten the market.
- Gold fell to a two-week low as investor appetite for riskier assets surged on renewed optimism over the U.S. economy and as political uncertainty in France receded, softening demand for safe-haven assets.
- London copper held near its highest in a week as the U.S. dollar lost ground against the euro in the wake of the French election, making commodities more affordable for buyers paying with other currencies.
- U.S. corn rose for a third straight session to hover near a three-week high as forecasts for rain stoked fears that farmers will switch to soybeans.

Apr 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Southeast Asia's export engine is unlikely to falter in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's push for a review of trade deficits, Malaysia's RHB Research says. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are among the 16 nations with which the U.S. runs a deficit, cumulatively accounting for $89 billion or around 12% of the total deficit of more than $700 billion, the firm says. But they have virtually no history of trade abuse, it adds, and only Malaysia and Vietnam meet even one of three U.S. criteria for being designated a "currency manipulator."
- The US dollar hits a 2017 high versus its Canadian peer as the Trump administration moves to impose a 20% tariff on Canadian lumber. The decision, which is preliminary, would impose the tariff retroactively on Canadian softwood lumber that is typically used in home construction. It also marks an escalation in tensions with Canada, which is America's second-largest two-way trading partner. The greenback notches a 0.4% gain in Asian trading versus the loonie, which itself would be the biggest gain since Wednesday. The dollar is on track to notch its best level since Dec. 29 versus the loonie since Dec. 29.
- A long-running concern in some corners of the Farm Belt is that the US is being outspent by other crop-producing countries when it comes to agricultural research, and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's confirmation to head the USDA prompts the Fertilizer Institute to call for continued funding for crop nutrient research. Chris Jahn, who heads the fertilizer trade body, says the industry has ponied up nearly $5M to support research into a framework that helps farmers reduce fertilizer waste and runoff, but says "significant information gaps" remain in the research, and "the need for competitive grant funds from USDA is still great." The Trump administration, in its preliminary budget proposal, outlined a 21% reduction in the USDA's discretionary spending.
- The USD/JPY will likely struggle to go upside after confirming resistance above the Y110-level yesterday, positioning the pair (now at 109.79) in a 109.30-110.10 range during Asia trade today, Mizuho Securities chief FX strategist Kengo Suzuki says. Investors are cautiously awaiting if any actions from North Korea on Tuesday's 85th anniversary of its army, which potentially prompts investors to seek perceived safety of the Japanese currency. "We don't know if any actions," Suzuki says. But a missile launch and nuclear test are unlikely this time, as the US and China are ready and waiting for Pyongyang's possible action. Investors may gradually shift their eyes to Trump's tax proposal and the BOJ, ECB policy meetings among other events.
- Newly confirmed USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue tells senators at his confirmation hearing last month that he had learned to do "more with less" when he dealt with declining revenues in Georgia as that state's governor. As Sen.Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) voted to confirm Perdue in a full Senate vote, she says the USDA's main challenge may be doing the same with less--under Trump's proposed budget, the agency's discretionary funding would be cut by one-fifth, which Stabenow says would imperil maintenance for rural water infrastructure, eliminate support for rural businesses, and cut funding for hunger programs aimed at seniors and children. Around 800K jobs have been created via USDA rural business programs, Stabenow estimates.
- The benchmark IPC index closed up 0.9% at 49,413 points as the 1Q earnings season enters its busiest week. Santander predicts strong sales and profit growth for Mexican companies, despite a tough year-earlier comparison. "First-quarter net profit should benefit from exchange gains derived from the strong appreciation of the peso in the quarter," the bank says. The peso strengthens against the US dollar as French election results favored risk appetite, and was quoted in Mexico City at 18.7320 versus 18.8365 Friday.
- Corporate political spending is becoming easier to track, thanks to a search tool being launched this week by the Center for Political Accountability. The group already publishes an annual ranking of political spending disclosure practices by large public firms. The new searchable database aggregates data from individual firms'disclosures, including contributions to candidates, state party organizations, so-called 527 groups and trade associations. At least 100 large firms prohibited some kinds of spending in 2015, while more than 300 offer no
information on payments to "dark money" groups; 172 reported giving to candidates, parties or political committees.
- Canadian bonds were down amid a global sell-off in fixed-income following the weekend's French presidential election results. Canada's two-year bonds yield 0.738% from 0.717% on Friday, according to electronic trading platform CanDeal. The 10-year bond yields 1.482% from 1.466%. The Canadian bond market moving alongside its global peers in a broad "risk-on" session after Emmanuel Macron led French presidential voting ahead of a runoff vote next month. Overall, Canadian government notes outperform US Treasurys across the curve. Wednesday's retail sales and Friday's monthly GDP for February are likely to be the main domestic drivers for the bond market this week.
- Investors are breathing easier after the first-round of French presidential election results because it assures there won't be a final election between two candidates who want France to exit the eurozone and because polls have consistently shown centrist Emmanuel Macron will handily beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, says David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial. The election's outcome isn't a foregone conclusion, but it now appears France is far more likely to pursue stronger ties to the eurozone and the European Union, he says. With "the most immediate threat to risk appetites," and to economic recovery in the eurozone and beyond out of the way, "markets can focus more intently on fundamental developments," Joy says.
- Thomas Donohue, head of the US Chamber of Commerce, urges US trade negotiators to move quickly to "amend" and not end NAFTA, the US free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. President Trump has repeatedly called for the treaty's renegotiation or repeal. Speaking to business leaders in Mexico City, Donohue says uncertainty about US terms of trade would "suppress" economic growth in the US and Mexico and cause a political backlash that would hurt trade ties. Mexico has presidential elections in 2018, while US voters go to the polls to elect legislators in midterm elections the same year. Donohue called for "a swift renegotiation" of the treaty in order to prevent political and economic damage.
- Belgian stocks soar to their highest level in over two years following the French presidential election, with the Bel-20 closing up 3.1% at 3887.87. Eighteen of the 20 stocks on the Bel-20 closed higher, with banks performing strongly. ING Groep was 6% higher at EUR15.07, KBC Groupe rose 5.2% to EUR65.28, while Engie was up 5% at EUR13.43. Monday's worst performer was Galapagos, which closed down 2.4% at EUR79.40.
- Aluminium has bucked the recent selloff in industrial metals ahead of a Chinese clampdown on pollution expected to lead to the closure of some aluminum smelters later this year. The metal is up 0.6% at $1,947 a metric ton in London. Fears Chinese demand is waning and the global reflation 'Trump Trade' is fading have recently dragged on metals. But aluminum has risen 3.6% in the past three months, and is up almost 15% in London year to date. In late February, China issued directives aimed at tackling smog created by burning coal. Smelters in China's Henan, Shandong and Shanxi provinces are due to close during winter. This would remove 6% of global capacity in those months, according to ETF Securities. Aluminum producer shares have risen with the metal. Aluminum Corp. of China (2600.HK) is up 23% year-to-date, and Russia's United Co. Rusal (0486.HK) is up 17%, as is Alcoa (AA).
- Oil prices inched up but markets remain under pressure following six consecutive sessions of declines as traders lose confidence that pledged output cuts by major producers will rein in oversupply in a world awash with fuel.
- Gold prices eased slightly, dropping for a second day, as investor sentiment remains skewed toward riskier assets in the wake of the French election results on Sunday, though geopolitical concerns are still supporting safe-haven demand.
- Copper eased in Asia, coming under pressure from investors looking to book gains after a surprise overnight lift in the London contract following a market-friedly French presidential vote.  
- Chicago soybeans lost ground with the market falling from last session's three-week high as rapid U.S. planting weighed on the market.
- The euro steadied, pausing after a rally sparked by the first-round results of the French presidential election, while the Canadian dollar fell after the U.S. slapped duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

Apr 24 - European Markets Leap on French Election Results (Dow Jones)
European stocks and the euro jumped Monday as results from the first round of French presidential elections eased investors' concerns about the future of the eurozone.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 climbed 1.8% in the early minutes of trading, led by the banking sector, while France's CAC 40 index surged 3.9%. The euro was up 1.1% at $1.0839 after touching a five-month high on Sunday as preliminary results were released.
- Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the vote in France, beating out leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon and conservative François Fillon to face off against National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the second round on May 7. "The market is ready to bet Macron will be the next president of France, " said Jordan Rochester, strategist at Nomura, pointing to supportive polls and endorsements from defeated candidates that make him likely to outperform Ms.Le Pen, who campaigned to take France out of the euro.
- Bank shares, which had been seen as vulnerable in the event of a victory for Ms. Le Pen, jumped across Europe on Monday. Shares of BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole were up close to 8%, while Italian lender UniCredit added 8.5% and the wider European banking sector was up 4%.
- "With Macron heavily favored in head-to-head polling against Le Pen, it seems most likely that the negative market scenarios--priced in over recent weeks--will recede between now and the runoff," said Timothy Graf, head of macro strategy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at State Street Global Markets.
- The gap between 10-year French and German government bonds narrowed sharply to as low as 42 basis points from 66 on Friday, according to Reuters, close to its lowest since late 2016. That gap had widened in recent months as investors braced for the possibility that France could be taken out of the euro.
- The gap between German and Italian spreads also narrowed to 184 basis points Monday as investors had worried an upset in France could hurt fragile economies in the eurozone in the event of a euro breakup.
- "We have added confidence in the polls," said Patrick O'Donnell, government bond portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. "There's still two weeks between now and the second round, but broadly I think the market will move on and start thinking about the next thing in Europe: Italy," he said.
- Earlier, the rally in global finance markets lost steam in Asian trading as worries over potential government action to reduce market risk sent Chinese stocks lower. The Shanghai Composite Index was down 1.4%. "There are no signs that regulators are going to ease the intensity of their campaign, so I think we are in for a period of downward correction, " said Zhang Gang, senior analyst at Central China Securities Co.  Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.5% while Australia's S&P ASX 200 added 0.3%.
- A pullback in the yen boosted Japanese stocks, however, with the Nikkei Stock Average gaining 1.4%. The dollar was last up 1.1% against the yen, while the euro was up 2.1% against the Japanese currency, though observers attributed some of the common currency's jump to a lack of liquidity.
- Other risk-sensitive assets also notched sizable moves. Gold futures fell 1.3% to $1,272 a troy ounce while 10-year Treasury yields jumped to 2.310% from Friday's 2.234%. Yields move inversely to prices.
- Brent crude oil futures, which slid Friday to cap a 7% decline for the week, rose 0.7% to $52.30 a barrel. Commodities also benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, was down 0.2%. Oil prices recovered ground following last week's big losses, driven by expectations that OPEC will extend a pledge to cut output to cover all of 2017, although a relentless rise in U.S. drilling capped gains.
- Gold hits its lowest in nearly two weeks after centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won the first round of French presidential election, boosting stocks and sparking a sell-off in the safe-haven bullion.
- Shanghai copper futures opened higher but quickly went into negative territory as investors cut bets that Chinese demand was getting stronger and that global tensions were easing.
- Chicago soybean futures climbed for a second straight session to a three-week high with a weaker dollar and short-covering by investors driving the market higher.
- The euro pared gains after scaling a five-month high against the dollar after the centrist candidate won the first round of the French presidential election, reducing the risk of an anti-establishment shock in the final round.

Apr 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Risks appear to be building around the dollar, which is at 5-month lows in early Asian trading. That now includes the prospect of an extension to a stopgap government-spending measure in DC getting held up by Trump's desire to get funding for a border wall with Mexico. Current spending authorization lapses on Saturday, raising the risk of a government shutdown. Meanwhile, another push by the administration for a fresh vote on Obamacare repeal "complicates things," Saxo Bank analysts say during a conference call with clients. Not to be forgotten is Friday's initial read on 1Q GDP, which could show yet-another soft start-of-year result. The WSJ Dollar Index remains down 0.3%.
- Whether the USD/JPY pair can keep its upside momentum depends largely on geopolitical risks over North Korea and President Donald Trump's tax reform proposal, says IG Securities senior FX strategist Junichi Ishikawa in a morning note. Geopolitical tensions are set to increase ahead of Tuesday's 85th anniversary of North Korea's army. More importantly, if Trump's tax proposal disappoints investors, the USD/JPY may fall to 108. On the flip side, if the Trump proposal successfully brings US yields and stocks higher, the USD/JPY may break above 112 to head toward 115.
- Investors are now going to quickly shift from France to Trump and the potential of a tax-reform plan this week. "This is supporting risk-on sentiment," says Masashi Murata, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo, adding some of that could spill over into Japanese equities. But that doesn't necessarily mean big gains loom for dollar-yen. "The 110-range is just kind of a first reaction," says Murata. With conflicting reports of when Trump is expected to unveil--let along be able to deliver--a new tax code, most investors "would like to take a moment." The dollar has now edged back below Y110 after getting to Y110.64 earlier.
- USD can trade a bit softer this week. The Trump administration is expected to introduce its tax reform plan on Wednesday, says CBA. This will be an opportunity to compare Trump's plan with the House Republican tax-reform plan and gauge how quickly the administration can manage to deliver an aggressive fiscal stimulus package through Congress. But US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin warned last week that a final deal before August was "highly aggressive to not realistic at this point." Until an agreement is reached on an aggressive US fiscal stimulus package the USD will struggle to head higher, CBA adds.
- US President Donald Trump President has said he will unveil tax proposals on Wednesday. This reportedly left his own Treasury officials speechless, says Ray Attrill, global head of currency strategy at NAB. "It would seem though that we will get no more than a broad outline of tax plans this week," he adds. Of note is that administration officials are saying that at this stage at least, these will not include plans for a so-called border-adjustment tax. This is important because without the revenue assumed to accrue from this (potentially more than US$1 trillion) Trump won't be able to present plans for tax cuts that are revenue or deficit neutral, he adds.

Apr 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Dollar-yen's decline may have a lot of room left, with Daiwa chief FX analyst Yuji Kameoka saying the greenback could fall to Y100 by year's end amid a litany of reasons to buy the yen. They include risk-off sentiment, US protectionism and potential BoJ tightening). Fears about a US economic slowdown, which sends stocks and bond yields lower, could help intensify Trump protectionism, says Kameoka, which could then pressure the BoJ to ease up on QE. The dollar is around Y109.25.
- BlueScope Steel jumps after US peers did overnight. Trump plans to revive a decades-old, rarely used law to explore imposing new barriers on steel imports. BlueScope owns an Ohio mill, which generated 1/3 of the company's F1H underlying pretax earnings before interest and taxes. US steelmakers have been concerned about Chinese steel exports for years and their impact on the US firms' competitiveness. BlueScope is up 3.9%, putting the year's jump at 28%.
- One of JPMorgan's longest serving directors James Crown purchased nearly $1M of the bank's stock, according to a securities filing. Crown, the bank's largest individual shareholder, purchased another 11,500 shares valued at around $85.50 each. JPM's stock had been on a tear since the presidential election but has recently plateaued, along with the sector, as expectations around regulatory loosening and broad growth have yet to be realized.
- Policy decisions in the US--such as the 2005 Renewable Fuel Standard, which led to roughly one-third of the US corn crop to be used in fuel production--encouraged competitor countries to step up their farming, academics say. The price run-up in corn and other crops, driven partly by rising ethanol production, "created a huge incentive" for countries in Eastern Europe and South America to boost crop yields and produce more grain and animal feed, says Michael Langemeier, an agricultural economics professor at Purdue University.
- National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn says the Trump administration was keenly focused on the personnel side of financial regulation, telling an audience at the International Institute of Finance Washington Policy Summit that regulatory discretion can lead to widely different outcomes depending on who's in office. He used the example of bank stress tests in Europe and the US: in Europe, he says, a bank might pass a stress test with barely any Tier 1 capital, while a US bank with 10% Tier 1 capital might struggle to pass a Fed stress test. "That's why personnel is important," he says.
- Foreign steelmakers criticized the Trump administration's move to investigate steel imports on national security grounds and potentially impose tariffs down the road. The US investigation "will be very bad for the US economy, very bad for steel-consuming industries--such as construction and manufacturing, which depend on a reliable supply of steel imports--and bad for foreign steel producers such as the Japanese industry," said Tadaaki Yamaguchi, chairman of the Japan Steel Information Center, the US voice of the Japanese industry. "There are far more American jobs at stake in the steel-consuming sector than there are in domestic steel production, and this action will put many American jobs at risk."
- Financial stocks jump 1.5% in the S&P 500 after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says tax reform is a "sweeping, significant, top priority," for President Trump. Hopes for tax cuts, which many investors think could boost corporate earnings, had helped bank stocks surge in the months after the election. The KBW Index is up 1.8%, with Goldman Sachs up 1.9%, Wells Fargo up 2.2% and Bank of America up 1.8%. "The Mnuchin comments are just the icing on the cake for today," said R.J. Grant, director of equity trading at KBW, who said generally solid bank earnings have also supported the group in recent sessions.
- Major indexes rise to session highs after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says whether or not the administration is able to push though a health-care overhaul, "we're going to get tax reform done." Mnuchin delivered his comments at the Institute of International Finance Washington Policy Summit, where he also said he expected bipartisan support for raising the debt ceiling. DJIA up 225 points, or 1.1%, to 20627, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gain 1%.
- California Governor Jerry Brown says his state will continue to work with other states and Canadian provinces to fight climate change, despite attempts by the Trump administration to roll back greenhouse gas emissions regulations. "We are resisting, we are pioneering an intelligent path forward and we have a long way to go," he says, speaking at a carbon conference in San Francisco. "We got to go against the flow and channel the flow, because the flow is now leading us to catastrophe." California aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The state also has a 50% renewable power mandate for utilities.
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau skirted questions on whether Toronto housing market is in precarious bubble territory. At event hosted by Bloomberg, he described Toronto market as dealing with pressures "that needed to be alleviated." Earlier Thursday, Ontario unveiled policies to curb Toronto housing, led by 15% tax on foreign buyers. Trudeau said one of the biggest problems in dealing with frothy real-estate, in Vancouver and Toronto, is "dearth of data" in Canada on foreign ownership of residential properties. For now, he said his government's housing focus was on ensuring "people in Toronto and across the country can afford their homes." That entails spending billions, as Liberal government has pledged, to increase the stock of rental units and affordable housing across country, he added.
- London shares rebound, with the FTSE 100 ending up 0.06% at 7118.54, as markets grow more confident that French elections this weekend won't produce a nasty shock. "Stocks are on the rebound this afternoon, with the FTSE managing to creep back into positive territory after a testing two-days," IG says. The French presidential election is seen as "unlikely to cause an upset," the firm says, with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen expected to top the vote in this weekend's first round vote, but seen as unlikely to win in the second. St James's Place is the biggest riser, up 1.9%, while Ashtead is the biggest decliner, down 2.7%.
- In his first comments since President Donald Trump singled out Canada's dairy regime for criticism, Canada PM Justin Trudeau said he wasn't going to overreact and would "lay out the facts" to the White House on agriculture. "Let's not pretend we are in a global free market when it comes to agriculture. Every country protects for good reasons its agricultural industries," Trudeau said at Toronto event hosted by Bloomberg. He noted the US is running a trade surplus with Canada on dairy, "so Canada is not the challenge here." He said Canada's supply-management system -- where prices for dairy are set based on production costs, and foreign competition is hit with tariffs -- works "very well" for the country, and was willing to talk about improvements with US once Nafta discussions commence.
- Oil traded steady, though it was set for its biggest weekly drop in about a month over doubts that an OPEC-led production cut will restore balance to a market that has been dogged by oversupply for more than two years.
- Gold held steady with tensions surrounding upcoming French elections underpinning the safe-haven demand, but the yellow metal was on track for its first weekly drop in six.
- Zinc led an across-the board rise in Shanghai base metals futures on the back of robust gains in overnight London trading and buoyant equity markets.
- Chicago wheat was little changed after dropping to a four-month low earlier in the session, pressured by plentiful global supplies and an improved weather outlook for the winter crop in the United States.
- The euro held steady below a three-week high against the dollar, as investors awaited this weekend's first round of voting in France's presidential election.

Apr 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Drug price critics relaunch a failed bid for the US government to knock down the price of a cancer drug, hoping for a receptive ear in Washington. Two nonprofits send a letter to the Health and Human Services and Defense Departments, asking them to exercise so-called "march-in rights" allowing the introduction of lower-cost versions of prostate-cancer drug Xtandi, co-marketed by Astellas and Pfizer and costing about $130,000 per patient annually. A 1980 law allows the government to order a drug patent be licensed to other companies if research underpinning the drug received federal funding and the drug isn't available to the public on reasonable terms. Last year, the Obama administration rejected the groups' petition on grounds the drug is broadly available.
- Today's Fed beige book contains several ground-level reports on US immigration policy. The Minneapolis Fed says "firms catering to tourists in the Black Hills region reported difficulty finding labor, especially seasonal immigrant labor they have traditionally used." And in the San Francisco Fed's district, "hotel stays were lower than expected due to changes in immigration policy and increased scrutiny of foreign arrivals." One contact in the Boston Fed district "noted that hostile immigration policy could further tighten labor markets for skilled and unskilled labor."
- Investors who bought gold ahead of the British referendum last year are again stocking up on the precious metal, broker Pure Gold says. Purchases more than doubled Tuesday after London Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap election, igniting fears of further political unpredictability and increasing demand for safe-haven assets in the UK. Two-thirds of those buyers also purchased gold ahead of the Brexit vote. Gold prices have risen this month on political risks including the upcoming French election and tensions between the US and North Korea. "We've had many clients removing exposure to equities as they fear the worst-case scenario between North Korea and US," Pure Gold CEO Josh Saul says.
- The rally in bank stocks since Trump's election has been partly based on the idea that his administration will deregulate banking. US Bancorp CFO Terry Dolan tells WSJ "we've been cautioning people to say 'don't expect massive changes in the short term.'" Dolan says he'd like to see changes like more coordination between the various banking regulators. "It doesn't need to be some major rehaul in Dodd-Frank."
- If the Trump administration can win compromises to move its stimulus spending, deregulation and tax plans forward, stocks may continue to rally, says Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors' US SPDR business. But if Washington gridlock persists or worsens, continued sluggish economic growth, rising inequality and greater debt are likely, he says. Without clear signals from Washington, the best option is likely State Street Global Advisors' "New Abnormal investment playbook"--seeking income opportunities beyond traditional sources, ensuring the yield is worth the risk, considering investments in real assets to make portfolios more resilient to any growing inflation risk and looking to mitigate headwinds from "episodic volatility" with allocations to gold and lower-risk multifactor smart-beta strategies, he says.
- The 10-year Treasury yield has tumbled about 40bps from its 2017 peak in March, yet some bond bears are not calling it quits. Blake Gwinn, US rates strategist at NatWest, says he still expects the yield--2.218% recently--to rise to 2.9% at the end of this year. While some US data have flagged the downside risk on growth, Gwinn believes it is a temporary soft patch. The data "are not bad enough to knock the Fed off," he says, sticking to the call of three more hikes this year. One risk for that higher yield call, he says, is for both far right and far left candidates to enter into a second round in the French presidential elections.
- Investors find stocks have gotten too expensive. A net 83% of investors polled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its April fund manager survey said US stocks are overvalued. Stocks elsewhere don't look much cheaper: 32% say global equities are overvalued, the highest rate in nearly 17 years. "Investors are showing love for Europe and scrambling out of US equities, as the majority find US stocks overvalued and perceive a risk of delayed US tax reform," said Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist. Hopes for tax cuts from the Trump administration helped major indexes surge after Election Day, but some investors and analysts have warned that stocks trading near highs despite increasingly unclear prospects for a tax reform package are vulnerable to a pullback.
- Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman sounded a bullish note on potential regulatory and political changes that could help his business. As the Trump administration takes aim at parts of Dodd-Frank and eyes tax reform, Gorman highlighted both. "It's hard to imagine the regulatory burden increasing at this point and some of the policy proposals being floated make good common sense," he said on the firm's 1Q earnings call. All good until Glass-Steagall makes a return.
- Toyota Motor has found an ally in Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, where Toyota has a factory. Pence met Toyota President Akio Toyoda shortly before the inauguration of Donald Trump in January, and the two renewed their ties in a small group meeting Wednesday at Tokyo's Hotel Okura. "It went well," said Toyoda afterwards. Among other achievements: Pence praised Toyota in a speech at the hotel for its investments in the US, while avoiding mention of a planned Toyota factory in Mexico.
- US Vice President Mike Pence used his speech to business leaders in Tokyo on Wednesday to stress upbeat numbers such as the 839,000 US workers employed by Japanese-owned businesses and Japan's $411 billion in direct investment in the US. Just as interesting was his choice to stay silent on another number: $69 billion. That's the US trade deficit in goods with Japan. The vice president could easily have used the figure to press Tokyo for concessions in areas like agricultural tariffs, and his decision not to do so suggests the Trump administration is putting priority on security cooperation with allies like Japan.
- Market participants can come up with a number of factors, including political risks in Europe and tension in Korea, to justify recent U.S. Treasury gains. However, the fact that long-dated yields drop faster than shorter-dated counterparts, a phenomenon known as bull flattening, is instead a sign that investors are "massively leaving the reflation trade," KBC analysts say in a note. After all, safety flows often target the shorter end of the curve, KBC adds. The "reflation trade" refers to selling Treasurys, betting on rising yields, on the back of rising inflation expectations due to U.S. President Donald Trump's economic plans.
- Oil prices regained some ground after steep losses the previous day, with a slight drop in U.S. crude inventories stoking hopes that a global supply overhang might slowly retreat.
- Gold prices held firm after falling as much as 1 percent the previous day, with tensions surrounding North Korea and the upcoming French presidential election driving safe-haven demand amid a firmer dollar.
- London copper rose but was mired near its lowest for the year after China's refined production surged in March, underlining ample stocks in the world's biggest metals consumer.
- U.S. grains futures were largely steady although wheat hovered near a 2-1/2-week low, pressured by plentiful global supply that could curb demand for U.S. cargoes.
- The dollar caught its breath in Asian trading, holding above lows hit earlier this week as investors awaited this weekend's first round of voting in France's presidential election.

Apr 19 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Trump's expected choice for vice chair of supervision at the Federal Reserve, Randal Quarles, could be an advocate against a continued future for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Cowen analyst Jaret Seiberg says. He points out Quarles was a critic of the enterprises during his time in the Bush administration. "The best case scenario is that Quarles is neutral with a real risk that he advocates on housing finance issues in a way that is negative for the future of Fannie and Freddie," Seiberg writes.
- Morgan Stanley sees less risk to Mexican companies going forward from changes to US-Mexico trade relations and sees a bright future for firms that do business in pesos, according to Mexico analyst Nikolaj Lippmann. The peso has recently traded at around 18.5 to the dollar, a level of strength not seen since before the US election, which sent the Mexican currency into a tailspin. MS' stock picks include construction supplies maker Cemex, retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico, real-estate developer GICSA and infrastructure operator PINFRA, all companies that the investment bank says have exposure to the Mexican domestic economy and the peso. Despite these bright spots, the bank sees "no upside for the MEXBOL," or the Mexican stock market, mainly do to uncertainty leading up to 2018's presidential elections.
- US lawmakers are appealing to the Trump administration to help Wisconsin and New York dairy farmers who recently lost access to Canadian markets. NAFTA had allowed tariff-free trade to Canada for ultra-filtered milk, a product in cheese. Ontario farmers are pushing down their prices in protests, prompting US farmers to lose long-standing contracts that have prompted millions in dollars in losses. A bipartisan group of lawmakers are seeking help from federal officials in the complex trade issue.
- CAC-40 closes down 1.6% at 4990.25 amid political uncertainty around France's presidential elections. Carrefour ends down 4.2% after French peer Casino posts disappointing quarterly sales. On Wednesday, investors will keep an eye on the MBA US Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey at 1100 GMT.
- The Bel-20 closes 1.2% lower at 3745.95, hit by a Europe-wide selloff after UK's Prime Minister Theresa May called snap polls, stoking further political uncertainty hitherto driven by elections in France and Germany. French energy firm Engie leads the losses with a 2.7% drop, followed by a 2.3% decline in the shares of steel-wire coating company Bekaert and a 2.2% slump in Belgian manufacturer Ontex's stock. There were no companies in the black.
- Goldman Sachs is abandoning its calls for dollar strength against the euro, British pound and Chinese yuan. Goldman cites accelerating growth around the world, the Fed's cautious approach to raising rates, and the Trump administration's comments indicating it would prefer a weaker dollar. Goldman says President Trump could weaken the dollar through "appointments to the Federal Reserve Board and through aspects of trade and fiscal policy." Goldman had introduced the bullish dollar calls on Nov 17, after the US election sent the dollar soaring on hopes that Trump's stimulus and tax reform bets would bolster the US economy. The WSJ Dollar Index has fallen 3% this year as those plans have hit political roadblocks, while US economic data has been mixed.
- Tax reform efforts are on hold while Congress waits for the White House to take a position on some key provisions, Johnson & Johnson CFO Dominic Caruso says during an earnings call. Caruso says the outlines of reform are clear: lowering tax rates, moving to a territorial system and encouraging innovation and production in the US. On the last point, however, Congress is waiting for direction on the particulars from the White House. "While everyone is waiting for that, things have stalled," Caruso says.
- UnitedHealth limits its remarks on Republican efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, with CEO Stephen J. Hemsley suggesting that media accounts of the debate have been accurate. But the big insurer advocates strongly for a repeal of the ACA's health-insurer tax, which is suspended for 2017 but slated to return next year. The CEO suggests UNH would like to see "more flexible state-based markets," implying a more limited federal overlay of standards on plan design and pricing for individual and small-business plans. He says greater freedom for insurers in underwriting is part of that flexibility--meaning that insurers could have more ability to tie prices to the likely health costs of enrollees.
- Bank of America's wealth unit gained $29.2B of new fee-paying assets in the 1Q thanks in part to retirement savers moving their traditional commission-based IRAs into accounts that charge an annual fee, the bank said. In its effort to comply with the now-delayed fiduciary rule, the bank has forced most of its retirement-saving clients who pay commissions to decide whether to move their IRAs to a fee-based model or to its online brokerage platform, Merrill Edge. Conversations between brokers and their clients have been ongoing since the fall, even after the Labor Department decided to push the rule back 60 days earlier this month.
- On the same day that Vice President Mike Pence started an economic dialogue with Japan's finance minister, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was holding his own trade talks with Japan's trade and industry minister, Hiroshige Seko, in a separate building a few blocks away. Japanese officials said they didn't know why Ross chose to make an unannounced visit to Tokyo at the same time as the vice president, but it did allow the ambitious Seko, a confidant of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a chance to keep his hand in economic policy making even though he didn't get to attend the Pence dialogue.
- Equity markets aren't fully pricing in a surprise outcome in Sunday's first round of French elections, contends Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo. Risk-off trades are being seen in the yen, gold, silver and 10-year Treasurys, but he says that hasn't been the case in stocks. Meanwhile, he sees euro-dollar falling 10% if Le Pen and Melenchon reach the final round. But a Fillon/Macron matchup would send the pair "to the moon."
- Japan's main message ahead of a series of economic talks with the US is that it's different from tension-filled trade discussions between Washington and Beijing. "This is about cooperation, not about tension," Finance Minister Taro Aso says of the US-Japan dialogue. DC has agreed to launch the talks upon Tokyo's request this time; prior bilateral discussions which were initiated by the US in response to trade tension with Japan, he notes. But with the agenda not set yet, it's not clear whether the dialogue will take shape as expected by Tokyo.
- Oil prices dipped as bloated U.S. supplies weighed on markets while a fall in Saudi crude exports was offset by rising production in the country.
- Gold slipped as the dollar recovered a bit from a three-week low hit in the previous session, but geopolitical concerns about North Korea and nervousness ahead of the French presidential election lent support to the safe-haven asset.
- London copper held close to its weakest since January, on concerns China's base metals demand could temper in the coming quarter as Beijing acts on runaway property prices, and following a wobble in steel.
- U.S. corn futures slipped to their lowest in one and a half weeks amid expectations of dry weather in the country's corn belt that will allow farmers to speed up seeding.

Apr 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Randal Quarles, a former Treasury Department official, is expected to be nominated as the Federal Reserve's vice chairman for bank supervision, The Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday. The former Bush administration official would be expected to lighten the regulatory burden on banks. Quarles now runs the Cynosure Group, a Salt Lake City-based private equity firm. Quarles would replace Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, who stepped down in April. The position requires Senate confirmation.
- If Quarles is approved, there would still be two more Fed vacancies Trump could fill. Cumberland Advisers' David Kotok thinks Trump could appoint as many as six of the seven governors of the Federal Reserve in the next year. That creates uncertainty for investors, He writes Monday. The problem at the Fed is really about WHO is going to make the policy and WHAT policy will be handed off to the new Fed. Here is where looking ahead gets difficult for market agents like Cumberland and our clients.
- Fed Chair Janet Yellen's term ends in early 2018, but Trump indicated last week in an apparent reversal of earlier plans, that he may ask her to serve another term.
- Former Colombian right-wing president Alvaro Uribe, a staunch critic of current President Juan Manuel Santos, was able to get Trump's attention with accusations Colombia's peace process with Marxist guerrillas has set Colombia on the path toward a communist state. In an affront to President Santos, Uribe was able to meet with Trump in Florida last week and presented a letter to the US government outlining concerns about the peace process. President Santos's administration has rejected Uribe's criticisms, saying the peace deal with the Marxist guerrillas--which ends 50 years of civil conflict that has claimed more than 220,000 lives--is the best path forward to a stable country and economic growth. Colombia has long been a US ally, and it isn't clear yet what effect Uribe's meeting with Trump will have on US support for the peace process.
- Boeing identifies Silk Way Airlines as the buyer of 10 of its 737 Max jets already on order, just days after Trump said he'd back a restart of a US Ex-Im Bank that's been shuttered to aircraft-sized deals for close to two years. BA already rents cargo jets to Silk Way, reflecting the tough sell the Azerbaijan-based carrier has raising pure commercial finance, and making the Max jets a potential candidate for Ex-Im guarantees if the bank gets back into the aircraft game.
- The yen will likely strengthen as geopolitical concerns over North Korea increase, but then weaken in case of an emergency in the Korean peninsula, says FPG Securities chief executive Koji Fukaya in a note. As tensions mount, investors are likely to opt to reduce riskier asset positions and computers programs may respond to the headlines to cause buying of the yen as safe haven. But investors could also sell the yen, as they avoid buying assets of neighboring counties (just as the crisis in Greece sent the euro into a tailspin), if a brush-fire war breaks out there. "This problem will unlikely lead to a global financial crisis," which had caused a higher yen in 2008, says Fukaya, adding that excessive falloff in the USD/JPY looks unlikely as long as the U.S. economy remains strong.
- Oil prices fell in thin trade after the Easter holiday break shut many markets for as long as four days and as a U.S. government report indicated rising production.
- Gold held steady supported by geopolitical tensions over North Korea and after falling from a five-month high in the previous session on a firmer dollar.
- Shanghai aluminium turned positive after an initial retreat on signs of robust demand and output cuts in China.
- Chicago soybean futures lost more ground with prices pressured by lower U.S. crushing in March and dry weather over the weekend aiding Argentina's soybean crop.

Apr 17 - The Turkish lira gained more than 2% against the US dollar (Dow Jones)
The Turkish lira gained more than 2% against the US dollar after Turkey approved constitutional amendments to change the parliamentary system into a presidential one. According to unofficial results by state-run Anadolu Agency, a yes vote led by a tight margin, 51.4% to 48.6%. A "'Yes' result will be perceived as the outcome whose implications are more foreseeable, at least in the short run. In this respect, we expect to see a relief rally in TRY denominated assets," says QNB Finansbank. The USD/TRY is now at 3.66 after the pair hit a low as 3.6439.

Apr 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Fitch is tracking possible further expansion of Medicaid after House Republicans' failed attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, states can choose to open Medicaid to more people. Not all have done so. Some holdouts, such as North Carolina and Maine, could change course, Fitch says in a report. But recent expansion efforts failed in Kansas and Virginia. "Past experience suggests that more states will eventually opt to expand," the rating agency says, citing the gradual adoption of Medicaid after its creation in the 1960s. Hospitals benefit from fewer unpaid medical bills as Medicaid expands, Fitch says.
- Researchers are developing robots that can take the place of farm labor in light of concerns over higher labor costs and less available immigrant labor in years ahead. Georgia Tech Research is working on robotics technology that will be able to tell when fruit is ripe--a key factor that has long forced farmers to continuing using people to pick fruit. The new technology uses infrared sensors to detect how much sugar is inside the fruit. Another project in the works is commercializing a new robot that can de-bone chicken, a job that is often done by immigrants, but has high turnover given the nature of how dirty and repetitive it is.
- The final version of the Trump administration's regulation aimed at stabilizing health-insurance marketplaces may not make a huge difference as insurers decide whether to stick with the exchanges, analysts say. "We doubt it changes whether plans will exit or not, particularly given the continued uncertainty around" cost-sharing subsidy payments, says Wolfe Research. Piper Jaffray adds the rule might make Molina "slightly more likely" to stay, or the company may "take a hybrid approach by exiting unprofitable counties instead of exiting the exchanges all together."
- The end of the FCC's airwaves auction also marks the end of the "quiet period," which prevented merger talks between participants as a safeguard against bidding collusion. That prohibition lifts at the end of the day April 27. There is much pent up demand, as many believe the Trump administration will be more lenient on consolidation. Analysts view T-Mobile as potentially a good partner for either Sprint or a cable company, such as Comcast or Charter.
- The Canadian dollar slid 0.6% against the US dollar today, holding onto a small weekly gain amid a volatile stretch of trading. The Canadian dollar had been supported this week by higher oil prices, Wednesday's Bank of Canada policy meeting and comments from President Trump that sent the greenback reeling. The loonie reversed some of those gains Thursday as investors squared up positioning ahead of the Easter holiday weekend. One US dollar recently bought C$1.33.
- There have been hopes from some quarters in Europe that the US might use its bully pulpit to change the long impasse one way or the other in the Greek debt crisis between the EU, Athens and the IMF. But perhaps its all in vain because Greece isn't likely on the top of President Trump's priority list. In the meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seems to be taking the middle-of-the-road position his predecessor took: "We're looking for the Europeans to help Greece resolve its economic problems," a senior Treasury official says. The secretary "thinks the IMF can play a supporting role," he adds, "We'll look at any potential future agreement with an open mind."
- US stocks end a holiday-shortened week on a down note with losses steepening after word this afternoon that the US military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS tunnel complex in Afghanistan. DJIA off 138 points to 20453, the S&P 500 down 16 to 2329 and the Nasdaq falling 31 to 5805. Wells Fargo finishes down 3.3% after a flat 1Q profit on lower mortgage-banking revenue and rising costs. JPMorgan  and Citigroup also close lower despite better-than-expected quarterly results. Investors will have a long weekend as US markets are closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.
- Crude oil fell in quiet trading, after the three-day Easter break, on signs the United States is continuing to add output, undermining OPEC efforts to support prices, and as the market digested North Korea's failed missile launch on Sunday.
- Gold hit a five-month high as the dollar weakened with investors taking refuge in safe-haven assets in the wake of rising geopolitical tensions over North Korea.
- Shanghai aluminium soared to nearly a four-year high after fresh capacity cuts in top producer China, while the country's robust  first-quarter growth underpinned its demand outlook for most metals.
- Chicago soybean futures climbed to their highest in more than two weeks, rising for a third consecutive session as forecasts of heavy  rains in parts of the U.S. Midwest are expected to delay fieldwork.

Apr 14 - Currency Trading: Yuan Surges After Trump China Shift (WSJ)
     China's central bank guided the yuan to its biggest one-day advance against the dollar in nearly three months on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned overnight a campaign pledge to name China a currency manipulator and said the dollar was too strong.
     The yuan's move came as the dollar continued to slide against major currencies like the Japanese yen in Asian trading following its drop in U.S. hours after Mr. Trump, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, signaled an end to the so-called "strong dollar" policy that previous U.S. administrations of both parties have stuck to for many years.
     "It just throws FX markets in a tizzy all over again," said Eddie Cheung, Asia FX strategist at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong. "This scenario seems to be a bit more positive for EM," he said, referring to emerging markets.
     China's central bank fixed the midpoint for trading in the dollar-yuan pair at 6.8651, representing a 0.4% gain in the yuan from the previous day. It was the yuan's biggest one-day jump since Jan. 18, putting it at the strongest level against the dollar since Feb. 17. The yuan doesn't float freely like the dollar or yen; instead, the People's Bank of China allows the yuan to trade 2% above and below a level it picks each day, which is known as the fix.
     In recent action, the yuan strengthened 0.2% against the dollar, with one dollar buying 6.8780 yuan, compared with Wednesday's onshore close of 6.8922 yuan, according to Wind Info.
     Mr. Trump's decision not to label China a currency manipulator is in part a reflection of recent market trends. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump frequently claimed that China had deliberately devalued its currency to gain an advantage in global trade, by making its exports relatively cheap.
     However, many economists say that while that may have been true in prior years, recently Beijing has been intervening more to prevent the yuan from sliding too far, too fast. This year, the yuan has gained 1% against the U.S. dollar.
     At the start of 2017, market participants were bracing for a steep decline in the yuan driven by hefty capital outflows, slowing Chinese growth and potentially higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. And it looked that way in the first few trading days of 2017, as the dollar rose to near 7 yuan, a level it hasn't hit since 2008. Since then, China's has successfully cracked down on outflows, with foreign-exchange reserves rising for two straight months through March, while the economy has steadied and the trade relationship between China and the U.S. is looking less tense.
     Irene Cheung, a senior strategist for Asia at ANZ, said recent daily fixes in China have been biased toward yuan strength. While a weaker currency is generally good for a country's economy, as it makes exports more competitive, Ms. Cheung said the Chinese authorities need to strike a balance between the desire for trade competitiveness with this year's economic recovery and the relationship with the U.S.
     Mr. Trump said Wednesday he offered Chinese President Xi Jinping more favorable trade terms in exchange for China's help in confronting North Korea.
     "There are more reasons for [Beijing] to keep the currency more stable compared to 2016 and 2015 when they allowed the currency to weaken," Ms. Cheung said.
     Several currencies, especially those in emerging markets such as China, have rallied against the dollar this year as investors have pared the bets on a stronger U.S. currency that amassed in the weeks after President Trump won the U.S. election in November. The so-called Trump trade -- the idea that Mr. Trump's promises for tax cuts and infrastructure spending would ignite U.S. growth and push the Federal Reserve to raise rates faster -- has fallen out
of favor in recent weeks.
     While Mr. Trump's latest remarks may help ease currency concerns in Beijing, they could pose a headache for countries like Japan that have been fighting to boost inflation for years. On Wednesday, Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said a weaker yen would help the bank reach its 2% inflation target more quickly. But the yen on Thursday continued strengthening against the dollar, as high as Yen108.73 or up 0.9% from around Yen109.73, when Wednesday's stock trading in Asia ended.

Apr 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- As the new U.S. administration seems to struggle implementing its legislative agenda, the expected protectionist measures by President Donald Trump are now less of a concern for Mexican corporates, Citi strategists say in a note. And from a fundamental standpoint, Mexican private sector corporates are not highly leveraged, the strategists add. European investors also have reason to keep an eye on Mexico, as a series of firms like telecom America Movil, building materials maker Cemex and energy group Pemex have outstanding bonds in euros.
- New Zealand's NZ-50 index closes down 0.2% at 7240.27 on Thursday in the last day of a shortened trading week, as "global uncertainty and an Easter week slowdown affects volumes," Says Chris Smith, managing director of CMC Markets in Auckland. There were modest losses for index heavyweights across the board, while in the region, Trump's dollar comment sent Asian-Pacific stocks lower. The NZ market will be closed for Easter on Friday and Monday.
- Nomura chief FX strategist Yunosuke Ikeda sees signs the market is overreacting to Trump's remarks in favor of a weaker dollar and low interest rates. Amid increasing worries about geopolitics and with Easter looming, many investors seem to be fleeing riskier assets for the safety of Treasurys--if only temporarily. If investors unwind their risk-hedging positions next week, "the market may remit spontaneously."
- Amid parsing Trump's interview with WSJ, investors are especially seeking his views on Yellen and his about-turn on interest rates. "I do like a low-interest-rate policy, I must be honest with you." Trump had been critical of the Fed's easy policy. Masashi Murata, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, says, "The suggestions about Yellen is what's being watched," adding it may be ultimately what real-money investors use a gauge for investments abroad. Yellen has repeatedly said of late that policy is on a path toward normalization.
- USD/JPY (109.05) will likely test downside during Asia trade following President Donald Trump's comments that the USD is "is getting too strong," positioning the pair in a 108.70-109.50 range, says Hideo Watanabe, manager of forex products group at Aozora Bank. Already facing downside pressure from geopolitical tensions, the comments were yet another blow to USD/JPY, sending the pair to 108.92 earlier in Asia, its lowest level since Nov. 17. "What we are seeing is a weaker dollar," says Watanabe, adding that USD/JPY looks poised to test its 200-day moving average of 108.75.
- AUD/USD had been soft, nearing the weakest levels since mid-January until Trump's jawboned the U.S. dollar overnight, saying it was too high, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. AUD is now back over US40.7500 and has further upside in Asia while Trump's comments are digested, says CBA. AUD may also be supported by the March labor force report at 0030 GMT. CBA predicts a 25,000 increase in employment after the 6,400 decrease in February (consensus: +20,000). AUD/USD now trades at US$0.7532 compared with US$0.7476 in late New York.
- USD has decreased materially across the board because of comments by President Trump in the Wall Street Journal. Trump said "our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that's my fault because people have confidence in me." Trump also said "I do like a low interest-rate policy." CBA says it expects the Fed to ignore Trump and keep increasing the Fed-funds rate. CBA also expects the USD to unwind the fall by the end of the week.
- Canadian bond prices climbed Wednesday afternoon along with US Treasurys after President Trump told WSJ the US dollar "is getting too strong," and indicated he would prefer low interest rates. Earlier in the day, prices on shorter-term Canadian bonds had edged lower after the Bank of Canada kept its main interest rate unchanged and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said that a rate cut "was not on the table," when officials met in recent days. Though the central bank's decision was widely expected, the comments reflected some improvement in the Canadian economy. The yield on the 10-year Canadian bond is 1.512% vs. 1.547% Tuesday, according to CQG. The 2-year yield is 0.722% vs. 0.734%.
- The Canadian dollar rose 0.6% against the US dollar Wednesday, as investors digested the Bank of Canada's latest policy decision and comments from US President Donald Trump. The loonie initially strengthened after the Bank of Canada kept its main interest rate unchanged. It's rally was supercharged later in the day after President Trump said the US dollar was "too strong," sending the greenback sharply lower across most peers. One U.S. dollar recently bought C$1.32.
- Treasury yields have tumbled further after President Donald Trump's comments to WSJ that the US dollar "is getting too strong," and that he favors low-interest rates. Trump also leaves open the possibility of renominating Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who has taken a cautious approach to tightening monetary policy. The 10-year drops to 2.243% after the bond market exits active trading vs. 2.294% at its 3 p.m. settlement.
- Mexico's peso reached its strongest level of the year after President Trump tells WSJ that the dollar is "getting too strong," prompting declines in the U.S. currency. The peso was quoted in Mexico City at 18.5825 to the dollar, versus 18.7740 Tuesday. The IPC stock index retreated from a record high and closed down 1.4% at 48,956 points on modest volume ahead of the long Easter holiday weekend. Mexican markets will be closed Thursday and Friday.
- "So much for the thesis that Trump is going to appoint hawks to the Fed board," says Krishna Guha, analyst at Evercore and former head of communications at the New York Fed. Trump left open the possibility of renominating Chairwoman Janet Yellen and said he likes low-interest rate policy in an interview with the WSJ. "With three Fed board vacancies at his disposal and potentially two more next year, the president's comments on rates have more than the usual importance," he says in a client note, adding "Trump is likely to favor pragmatic figures, and draw more from markets and the business community than from academia."
- Crude oil futures slid for a second session, moving away from a one-month high touched briefly in the last session as rising U.S.production stoked worries about global oversupply.
- Gold rose to a five-month peak amid rising tensions over U.S. relations with Russia and North Korea, with prices also buoyed as the U.S. dollar slid after President Donald Trump reportedly said the currency was too strong.
- London copper rose from its lowest in three months after upbeat China trade data for March, and as traders closed positions ahead of the long Easter holiday weekend .
- Chicago soybean and corn futures rose for a second session as investors covered short positions and rains delayed fieldwork in parts of the U.S. grain belt.

Apr 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- The yuan strengthens 0.1% against the dollar in offshore trading after an outside Trump adviser tells Bloomberg News the US likely won't name China a currency manipulator. Trump repeatedly criticized China for keeping its currency undervalued to gain a trade advantage over the US throughout the campaign. Investors have been waiting for the Treasury Department's currency report, due out this month, to see if Trump would follow through on pledges to name China a currency manipulator. Analysts have noted China doesn't fit all of the criteria: instead of pushing down its currency, the Chinese central bank has been burning through FX reserves to boost the value of the yuan in recent years.
- A strong flight to safety in Tuesday's session sends the 10-year Treasury yield to settle at 2.298%, the lowest close since Nov. 17. The bond market is deepening a rebound from a recent selloff. A month ago, the yield was above 2.6%. The sharp turnaround reflects skepticism over the Trump agenda, and now geopolitical jitters add to demand. Kevin Giddis, head of fixed income at Raymond James, says "all of the hopes and dreams of tax reform, economic growth, and deregulation would be thrown out the window if the US was drawn into any kind of military action with either Russia or North Korea." The hard part for the market, he says, "is trying to determine how much of this is sabre rattling and how much is a real possibility."
- Trump "did exactly the right thing" reopening a review of emissions standards requiring auto makers to sell vehicles averaging 54.5 mpg, or 40 mpg in real-world driving, by 2025, says Mitch Bainwol, head of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The Obama administration locked in targets a week before Trump's inauguration. Bainwol says the industry will meet the Obama targets but the question remains "when it will happen." He says a review must scrutinize whether "the slope is consistent with consumer demand." Low gas prices are sending consumers to fuel-thirsty trucks and SUVs.
- Asked to do word association on President Donald Trump, John Bozzella, head of a Washington lobbying group representing foreign auto makers with US operations, says, "disruptive." Mitch Bainwol, head of another Washington group representing a dozen car makers, says, "autos." He notes that Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania catapulted Trump to the White House. All are areas with high concentrations of auto workers, car factories and blue-collar manufacturing employees.
- President Donald Trump can't hide behind presidential immunity to avoid a defamation lawsuit filed against him before he took office, attorneys for a woman suing him argued in court papers filed Monday. Former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos sued Trump for defamation in January over comments he made during his campaign saying she lied about a decade-old interaction between the two. Trump's lawyers argued in a recent filing in New York state court that the US Constitution shields presidents from facing such lawsuits. Zervos's legal team disagrees, arguing that precedent shows Trump must face the suit. "No person is above the law in this country, including the President of the United States," Zervos's brief states.
- The Mexican retail association Antad says same-store sales rose 3.1% in March, a slowdown compared to the 5.7% increase registered in March 2016. Total sales including stores opened in the last 12 months are up 6%, well below the 9% in the year-ago period. Household consumption has been dented in recent months due to the jump in gasoline prices ordered by the government in early January and the uncertainty over President Trump's protectionist policies. Antad expects same-store sales to grow 4.2% this year versus 6.3% in 2016 amid higher inflation and slower economic growth. Antad members operate close to 52K stores.
- Shares of large banks pare losses after Trump calls the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act "horrendous" and says his administration is exploring a revamp or elimination of the legislation. The KBW Nasdaq Bank Index is down 0.8% versus down as much as 1.5% earlier in the session. Bank shares surged after Trump's election as investors bet looser regulations would benefit financial lenders.
- Mike Jackson, CEO for AutoNation, the nation's largest dealership chain, says he didn't vote for Trump. "Even though I agree with him on many policies...I didn't feel he had the appropriate temperament to be President of the United States," Jackson says at a New York event. "And I think so far, I might have a point there." Jackson gives Trump high marks for tackling the government's "onerous regulatory environment" and his appointment of a Supreme Court justice, but he likened his behavior at times to that of a child. Jackson didn't say who he supported in the November presidential election, if anyone at all.
- Trump once again blasts the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, but he includes a subtle acknowledgment that his administration might have to keep some of its policies. "We are doing a major elimination of the horrendous Dodd-Frank regulations. Keeping some obviously, but getting rid of many," he says at a meeting with CEOs at the White House. Which regulations will he keep? Look out for a report on financial rules from the Treasury Department, due June 3.
- Investors are rushing into assets seen as safe amid geopolitical tensions. Gold is up 1.6%, while the Japanese yen has rallied 1% against the dollar. Both are at their highest levels since November. Analysts say a number of political developments are spooking investors, including fears over a potential North Korea nuclear test and mounting US-Russia tensions over Syria.
- Options on a key gold ETF don't reflect the myriad macro uncertainties that lie ahead, according to Bank of America. Gold can be a "powerful hedge for political risk events," Bank of America says, pointing to a cocktail of geopolitical tensions such as those from Syria, North Korea, the French elections, or a potential US government shutdown. Calls, or bullish options, on GLD are an attractive safe-haven hedge, as option costs are near one-year lows, according to the firm.
- Investors retreat from risky assets, triggering further reversal in so-called Trump trades. Shares of financial and industrial companies, among the best performers between Election Day and the end of 2016, fall 1% and 0.5% respectively in the S&P 500. Government bonds, which sold off as investors bet on faster growth under the Trump administration, strengthen, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note falling to 2.309% from 2.361% Monday. Some analysts blame low-volume trading ahead of the holidays, as well as concerns over geopolitical developments in Russia, Syria and North Korea, for the risk-off sentiment. S&P 500 recently down 0.7%.
- Oil prices rose, putting crude futures on track for their longest streak of gains since August 2016, as Saudi Arabia was reported to be lobbying OPEC and other producers to extend a production cut beyond the first half of 2017.
- Gold climbed to a 5-month high after gaining nearly 2 percent the session before, with investors shifting to safe-haven assets on rising tensions over U.S. relations with Russia and North Korea.
- London copper amid heightening geopolitical tensions with North Korea, but held above two-week lows hit in the previous session on hopes demand will heat up during the second quarter.
- Chicago soybeans rose on short-covering, pulling away from a one-year low hit in the previous session after the U.S. government raised its estimates for global supplies.
- The yen hit five-month highs against the dollar, euro and sterling, as simmering geopolitical tensions checked risk appetite and put the safe-haven Japanese currency in favour.

Apr 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Wall Street's "fear gauge," or VIX, is up over 7% today, with stocks rising slightly. The volatility gauge is based on options prices on the S&P 500 index, and tends to rise when stocks fall. It's another example of equities' resilience despite geopolitical uncertainty entering the forefront. French elections loom ahead on April 23 and the US struck Syria last week. Futures on the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, have risen for expiration dates through November later this year, FactSet data show, indicating heightened anxiety several months out.
- An exchange-traded fund tracking European equities saw heavy options activity today as the French election looms closer. The Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF saw around 10 times the usual options volume today, the overwhelming majority of which were puts, or bearish contracts, Trade Alert data show. The $11B fund tracks companies across the continent. The ratio of bearish to bullish options jumps to 233.49, well above the 22-day moving average of 0.58. "The bearish interest today is likely a hedge ahead of 4/23 French elections," Trade Alert's Fred Ruffy says.
- Besides uncertainty over the French elections, traders say tensions over North Korea add to demand for haven assets. The buying sends 10-year yield to session low. Some traders point to chatter on Twitter--unconfirmed--that China is reported to have deployed 150,000 troops to its border with North Korea in anticipation of preemptive strike on North Korea by US. The yield is 2.35% vs 2.375% Friday. A $24B sale of 3-year notes is due at 1pm ET.

- Ongoing and ever-shifting discussions about US tax policy changes are acting as an overhang and are frustrating, says John Whelen, finance chief of oil and gas pipeline maker Enbridge. "There's no real clarity at this point," Whelen says. The company has raised capital in many countries, and is "trying to retain flexibility" in its capital structure, so it can adapt if reform involves the elimination or reduction of interest-rate deductibility, as has been speculated, he says. "But its much, much too early to start to overreact," he adds. The Calgary-based company closed its $28B deal with Houston-based Spectra Energy in February.
- CAC-40 ends down 0.5% at 5107.45 as investors remain cautious ahead of uncertain French elections. France's presidential elections are becoming a four-way contest as far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon surges to catch conservative candidate Francois Fillon. French bank shares close lower with Societe Generale ending 1.4% off, and Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas both 1.5% lower. Tuesday, investors will watch out for US Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index at 1255 GMT.
- Europe is the dog that wags the tail of the bond market. Strategists at Goldman Sachs argue that based on their models, Europe has actually been behind the fall in global yields, including those on Treasurys. They argue that for higher yields in US to be sustained, European yields--especially German bund yields--need to jump. The 10-year bund yield has tumbled to near 0.2% from near 0.5% a month ago, which contributed to the decline of the 10-year Treasury yield over the past few weeks. One factor sending bund yields lower is French election risk, which has been driving money out of France's bond market and into haven places like bunds and Treasurys. Goldman recommends investors go short French bonds relative to bunds and Treasurys in a report Monday.
- Proposing the most specific launch plans yet for its most powerful rocket, called the Space Launch System, NASA has sketched out missions to the vicinity of the moon and beyond stretching through the 2030s. The plan, dependent on congressional and White House support, ends years of debate about how the rocket will be used. It envisions at least four early trips to transport portions of what is projected to be a mini-space station in the vicinity of the moon that's intended to be a jumping-off point for manned planetary exploration. By 2027, agency projects cargo launches to supply what they call this "deep space gateway." Two years later, a beefed up version of the rocket is projected to blast four astronauts on a year-long mission to test propulsion and spacecraft life-support systems.
- Geopolitical risk continues pushing oil prices higher, even as some see this as artificial lift since chances of supply disruptions seem remote. Austin-based Drilling info says markets will eventually shift focus back to fundamentals. With OPEC and IEA reports due later this week "the market will get an update on current fundamental balance and compliance levels," it says. "In the longer term, for sustained higher prices, the OPEC cuts will need to be extended with continued compliance, and demand growth will need to reach the IEA's 1.34M bpd expectation. Without these events occurring concurrently, there is little chance of the high inventories normalizing to pre-price crash levels."
- The risk of armed conflict in the Korean Peninsula is rising following the US strike on Syria, a possibility that can't be ignored by investors, says Tommy Xie, an economist at OCBC. US President Donald Trump's decision to inform Chinese President Xi Jinping about the strike probably served as a test to press China on North Korean issues, Xie says. "Clearly, the Syrian strike shows that the option for military intervention on (the) Korean Peninsula is open," he says in a note. The US Navy has cancelled planned port calls in Australia for the USS Carl Vinson and is instead sending the aircraft carrier towards the Korean Peninsula, military officials say.
- Solid U.S. unemployment data and constructive talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have acted to support the U.S. dollar because it reduced the risk of a trade war, says CBA. Both presidents agreed to a new 100-day plan for trade talks that will boost U.S. exports and reduce the United States' trade deficit with China. CBA expects the USD to edge modestly higher this week on encouraging U.S. economic activity. Leading indicators point to a pick-up in retail sales and core CPI inflation likely quickened further above 2% in March, CBA adds. On the speaker front, comments from FOMC Chair Janet Yellen will be of interest Tuesday.- Crude oil eased from a five-week high as rising U.S. shale oil production offset concerns over geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and output cuts being made to support prices.
- Gold edged up as rising political tensions over North Korea and the Middle East buoyed safe-haven demand for the metal.
- London copper was steady  after dropping the day before, but concerns about oversupply continued to drag as the world's top two copper mines look to recover from disruptions.
- U.S. corn edged up to a one-week high as delays in plantings provided some support, though a widely watched U.S. forecast was likely to drive the market's direction.
- The dollar fell against the yen in Asian trading, as concerns over tensions with North Korea and Syria weighed on U.S. Treasury yields and offset expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes.

Apr 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- The risk of armed conflict in the Korean Peninsula is rising following the US strike on Syria, a possibility that can't be ignored by investors, says Tommy Xie, an economist at OCBC. US President Donald Trump's decision to inform Chinese President Xi Jinping about the strike probably served as a test to press China on North Korean issues, Xie says. "Clearly, the Syrian strike shows that the option for military intervention on (the) Korean Peninsula is open," he says in a note. The US Navy has cancelled planned port calls in Australia for the USS Carl Vinson and is instead sending the aircraft carrier towards the Korean Peninsula, military officials say.
- Solid U.S. unemployment data and constructive talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have acted to support the U.S. dollar because it reduced the risk of a trade war, says CBA. Both presidents agreed to a new 100-day plan for trade talks that will boost U.S. exports and reduce the United States' trade deficit with China. CBA expects the USD to edge modestly higher this week on encouraging U.S. economic
activity. Leading indicators point to a pick-up in retail sales and core CPI inflation likely quickened further above 2% in March, CBA adds. On the speaker front, comments from FOMC Chair Janet Yellen will be of interest Tuesday.
- Twitter withdrew a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security that alleged the agency unlawfully demanded account records to unmask a critic of the Trump administration. Government officials informed the company's lawyers on Friday that the department had rescinded its March 14 administrative summons, which sought information associated with the account @ALT_USCIS, Twitter's lawyers said in a filing in federal district court in San Francisco. The lawsuit had asked a federal judge to declare the summons in violation of federal law and the First Amendment, arguing that permitting Customs and Border Protection to "pierce the pseudonym of the @ALT_USCIS" would have a chilling effect on speech.
- Republicans' stalled repeal of the Affordable Care Act and drug prices rank among the top issues for fixed-income healthcare investors, Fitch Ratings says. Healthcare is highly regulated, so "the political landscape matters greatly for healthcare companies," Fitch said. Despite the uncertainty since November's election, Fitch said, the rating agency's outlook for the sector remains stable. The escalating cost of healthcare is central to the US political debate over the ACA and drug prices, Fitch said. "Resolving these issues will ultimately require striking a balance between an individual's access to healthcare and its affordability," Fitch said.
- White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said on Bloomberg TV Friday that the Trump Administration will be announcing its nominations to the Federal Reserve "in the very near future." There are three Fed vacancies to fill at the moment, out of seven members on the Fed's governing board. Team Trump has said similar things before, without nominees materializing. Cohn brought up the matter himself during the interview, saying that getting nominees in place "will help us with some of the deregulation of the banks."
- The US missile strike in Syria has little immediate effect on world oil supply, but it does raise questions, RBC analyst Helima Croft says. There would be a greater risk if fighting spills into neighboring states with much larger oil production, but that is a low-likelihood scenario for now, she says. It does raise the possibilities of a rift between Russia and a trade bloc led by Saudi Arabia that could scuttle an ongoing agreement to cut oil output, and growing support for more hardline leadership in Iran that might risk the agreements that have allowed Iranian oil back on the market, Croft says. "If the US airstrikes prove to be a one-time event and are not followed up by any serious effort to oust the Syrian leader, neither of these scenarios may materialize and the oil implications will remain negligible," she adds. WTI gains 1% to $52.23.
- The FTSE 100 index closes up 0.58% at 7345.37, outperforming European indexes as internationally focused stocks benefit from the pound falling to its lowest in more than two weeks against the dollar. Randgold tops gainers, up 4.3%, tracking a rise in gold prices after news of the US launching cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase prompted demand for safe-haven assets. Retailers rise, while engineering stocks and oil companies are broadly higher as GBP/USD drops as low as $1.2382 after earlier weak UK industrial output data and as below-forecast US jobs data fails to dent expectations for further US rate increases. A truck attack in Stockholm weighs on airline stocks, with easyJet down 1.6% and International Consolidated Airlines down 0.4%.
- Germany's DAX finishes with a 0.1% loss at 12,225, having eased from an earlier hiccup as the market swallows slower-than-forecast US jobs growth, and investors exercise caution following the US missile attack on a Syrian airbase. Deutsche Bank closes lower after completing its EUR8B capital increase. The bank said 98.9% of the subscription rights were exercised at the previously announced price of EUR11.65 a share. Small-cap Biotest ends up 5.2% after a Chinese investor confirmed its takeover offer that values the pharmaceuticals company at EUR1.3B including debt.
- Greek stocks trade higher, as the Greek government and its international creditors agreed on the key points to resolve its longstanding bailout review. Eurozone finance ministers gathering in Malta approved the return of bailout inspectors in Athens to settle details and draft the final agreement. The Athens General Stocks Index trades 1.5% higher at 681 points. Among banking stocks, National Bank of Greece gained 3.3%, Eurobank Ergasias traded 4.5% higher, Alpha Bank was 6% up and Piraeus Bank gained 4.1%.
- Raytheon off earlier highs but still up around 1.3% in very heavy trade after US missile strikes on Syria. The 59 RTN Tomahawks used in Syria are the largest deployment since strikes against Libya in 2011, and the company in December received a $304M Pentagon contract for 214 of the cruise missiles for the US and the UK. RTN has also developed an anti-ship version of the missile.
- The US missile strike in Syria and weaker-than-expected US jobs data sends investors into safe havens. Gold rises 1.2% at $1,268.30 a troy ounce, touching its highest point since November earlier in the session. Newmont Mining gains 1.4%, moving into the top-10 gainers of the S&P 500. Gold miners Agnico-Eagle Mines and Barrick Gold also gain more than 1% on the Toronto Stock Exchange, putting them atop mining stocks. Miners like
Anglo American that focus on other commodities fall, and exploration and production companies are largely neutral despite gains in other metals and oil futures.
- In addition to Latin American governments, the US State Department congratulated Ecuador's Lenin Moreno on winning Sunday's presidential election. It adds, however, that "we do note the concerns about the electoral process and expect that they will be fully considered and resolved in a legal and transparent manner." Rival candidate Guillermo Lasso is calling for a recount after allegations of fraud. Moreno's Alianza Pais party has accepted a recount, according to local media reports.
- Lumber futures surge immediately after the opening bell to the day's upper trading limit, tripping an exchange circuit breaker to block any further gains. CME May lumber futures rise $10 to $399.60 per 1,000 board feet. Analysts say the catalyst was a decision by some Canadian producers to raise quotes on the cash market for May by 30% in anticipation of duties widely expected to be imposed on Canadian imports by the US later this month. Already at the highest point since March 2013, prices are just shy of their highest level in over a decade. Trading is "chaotic," says industry newsletter Random Lengths, which says cash market prices for 2x4 Western SPF rose $31 over the week to $392. Some mills were reportedly quoting over $400 for May delivery.
- The stock market is likely to extend a recent streak of sideways trading following a disappointing jobs report. "Any momentum in the markets has now been sucked out," writes Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at EverBank, who pointed to this morning's payrolls miss and the US airstrike in Syria as factors likely to slow the appetite for stocks. "We will need to see strong earnings numbers in order to propel equities on their next leg up." Upbeat economic data had helped buoy stocks in recent weeks despite many investors expressing disappointment at the prospect of hoped-for policies like tax cuts and fiscal stimulus taking longer than expected to be implemented.
- Oil prices rose, supported by strong demand and uncertainty over the conflict in Syria, although another run-up in U.S. drilling activity kept a lid on gains.
- Gold inched down on a stronger dollar, moving away from a 5-month high hit in the previous session, although geopolitical tensions continued to buoy safe-haven demand for the precious metal.
- London copper eased as rising geopolitical tensions blunted appetite for risk and lifted the dollar, but prices were underpinned by tightening supply.
- Chicago corn slid for a third consecutive session, dragged down by expectations of further increases in South American production.

Apr 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- The US air strike on Syria could amplify market concerns about the difficulty in predicting the Trump administration's reaction to events, says Mike Lillard, chief investment officer of PGIM Fixed Income. He sees Treasury yields falling temporarily--they've dropped during Asian trading to 2.31% from 2.34% late Thursday in the US--while emerging debt and higher-yielding bonds may temporarily underperform as the safe-haven yen appreciates. The dollar is down 0.4% at Y110.39.
- Given the massive size of the supply overhang in the market, the ongoing US air strike on Syria will likely not trigger any significant supply disruptions, says a crude trader in Singapore. "The glut is very huge and unless the tension expands to other parts of the region, transportation of crude supply will largely be untouched," she says. "But we are definitely watching the situation closely," she adds. Nymex May WTI is now up 2.3% at $52.86/barrel while June Brent rises 2.1% to $56.02.
- Potential diplomatic blowback from Russia and other Syrian allies following US military strikes against Syria is adding to the desire of investors to seek out safe havens, like gold. "This geopolitical uncertainty has caused financial markets to go into risk-off [mode], causing a sudden spike in gold prices," says Jonathan Chan, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures. London spot gold is trading at a 5-month high, last up 1.3% at $1,267.50 per ounce.
- The yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury hit its lowest intraday level since Nov. 30 on Friday, after the US military launched a series of strikes against a Syrian air base. The yield was last at 2.289%, compared with 2.343% late Thursday in the US, according to Thomson Reuters. Other government bond yields around the region are moving lower as investors flock to haven assets, with the sharpest move in Australia's 10-year government bond, down 0.05 percentage point to 2.53%, its lowest intraday level since Nov. 10. The yield on Japan's government bonds with a similar maturity fell 0.01 percentage point to 0.053%, its lowest intraday level since Feb. 28.
- The dollar gains 0.7% against the Korean won, with the USD/KRW pair at 1138.40, its highest level since Mar. 15, after the US launches a series of strikes against a Syrian airbase on Friday. The strikes come as US President Donald Trump hosts his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and hours before the start of a full day of meetings. "Amongst other things Trump is sending a message to the Chinese with regards to his willingness to act against North Korea," says Jeffrey Halley, senior market strategist at Oanda in Singapore. The US has previously said it is open to all military options with regards to dealing with North Korea, a veiled threat against China to exercise its influence over leader Kim Jong-un. Against the yen, Halley tips the dollar to fetch Y110 in the short term. The USD/JPY is down 0.4% at 110.35 yen, on safe-haven buying.
- The White House will name Derek Kan, general manager for Lyft in Southern California to be undersecretary for policy at the Department of Transportation. Mr. Kan has served on the Amtrak board of directors since 2015 and is a former aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. Mr. Kan has also served as a consultant at Bain & Co., and previously worked at the Office of Management and Budget.
- No one likes uncertainty. Yet globally, it remains still very much prevalent, says Citi Research. "We think positioning is certainly cleaner now, but investors we speak to are patiently seeking actual signs of delivery, before re-engaging in the Trump/broader reflation trade," it adds. Economic fundamentals may determine the direction of markets for now, it says.
- It can be anyone's guess what the outcome will be when President Trump and President Xi hold meetings according to Thinkmarkets. "Remember the awkward press conference between Angela Merkel and Trump," it says. When it comes to Trump's stance towards China, he has made it clear that it is time for a change and the US is no longer going to accept bad deals. "It is arduous to contemplate a scenario that can produce a headline which can sooth the relationship between the two countries," it says. "Our base case scenario is that both leaders may pretend and show they have constructive discussion on a number of matters, but in reality, the differences may have drifted further."
- A California appeals court has upheld the state's cap-and-trade program in a lawsuit filed by the state Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that aimed to block the program. The groups argued the program's expense for businesses amount to a tax. The court affirmed a lower court ruling that found the cap-and-trade program, which requires polluters to cut their carbon dioxide emissions annually or buy pollution permits, is lawful and not a tax. The program is part of the state's 2006 climate law.
- No signs Boeing will profit from any order announcements during President Xi's US visit, though easy pickings given much of the 300-plane deal commitment rolled out during his 2015 visit has yet to publicly materialize. Orders aside, the scale of the planned BA finishing center near Shanghai in terms of Chinese job creation has yet to materialize.
- The benchmark IPC index closed down 0.4% at 49,012 points, while the Mexican peso gained some ground against the US dollar, as oil prices moved higher. America Movil fell 0.4%, while bread-maker Bimbo closed down 1.5%. The peso has stabilized in recent sessions after a continued rally during February and March, as investors are already discounting the possibility of a renegotiation of Nafta that benefits both the US and Mexico. The peso closed in Mexico City at 18.7750 to the dollar vs 18.7960 late Wednesday.
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau's top envoy in Washington is of the view the proposed border-adjustment tax, as championed by some senior GOP lawmakers, won't see the light of day. "I don't think it's going to happen, because it would be worse for them than it would be for anyone else," Canada's US Ambassador David MacNaughton tells reporters in Ottawa as he attended cabinet meetings on trade. "Americans don't normally do things that will punish their own economy." MacNaughton has helped lead Canada's lobbying effort in Washington as the Trump White House looks to fulfill a promise to renegotiate Nafta. He says it's unclear when talks will begin in earnest. "I keep being assured it's imminent, but imminent seems to be dragging on."
- Oil prices surged more than 2 percent to a one-month high after the United States launched dozens of cruise missiles at an airbase in Syria, later dropping back as there seemed no immediate threat to supplies.
- Gold rose more than 1 percent to a 5-month high as investors sought safe-haven assets after the United States launched cruise missiles on a Syrian air base, potentially escalating tensions with Syrian allies Russia and Iran.
- London copper prices firmed as the U.S. dollar fell after the United States launched cruise missiles against an air base in Syria.
- Chicago soybean futures lost more ground with the market poised for a fifth week of fall, its longest losing streak in 30 months as rising global supplies anchor the market.

Apr 06 - Trade Tensions Loom Over Trump-Xi Summit (WSJ Dow Jones)
As President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping meet this week for what White House officials are calling an introductory summit, there is one issue where the U.S. leader's position will need no introduction: trade.
   Mr. Trump won the White House in part with an angry denunciation of other countries' economic "cheating," using China as Exhibit A. Last week, he predicted a "very difficult" meeting with Mr. Xi, citing "massive trade deficits and job losses."
   Even with North Korea and other Asian security concerns front and center, disagreements over trade between the  world's two largest economies may well be the topic that brings the most tension to the gathering at Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Thursday and Friday. White House officials aren't raising expectations for any kind of grand deal. The visit will set the tone for a complex relationship, one Mr. Trump aims to redefine by combating what he and his trade advisers see as the dumping of products in the U.S. at below fair value and Beijing's broad policies of subsidizing industries from metals production to aviation at the expense of American competitors.
   Some business leaders said they would like Mr. Trump to convey his concerns about China's business climate -- including limits on investment and fights over technology and intellectual property -- so that the countries can work together over the long term on resolving the issues rather than merely blocking each other's exports. "While we don't yet know the strategy of the Trump administration, we do agree with its desire for significant changes to Chinese policies that will result in a more-market-based and level playing field for American companies," said Jeremie Waterman, the China director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest U.S. business lobby.
   A senior White House official told reporters on Tuesday that Mr. Trump intends to work in a constructive manner to reduce trade and investment barriers in China. The topics haven't been decided on in advance, so the two leaders are set to bring up whatever is on their minds, with the aim of starting a framework for addressing disagreements rather than setting policy on tariffs or other areas, the official said.
   Progress with China has slowed recently, and the Trump administration wants to make the relationship more "fair, balanced and based on the principle of reciprocity," the official said. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the meeting is happening quite early in Mr. Trump's term. His pick for U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, hasn't been confirmed by the Senate, and the Trump team hasn't brought key officials on board to develop a detailed strategy for challenging China's trade practices.
   Moreover, members of his trade team hold disparate views on the issue. Some are closer to the traditional free-trade approach and others are pushing a harder line against Beijing to lower the trade deficit in goods with China, which stood at $347 billion in 2016. China's ambassador has courted Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, part of the former group, in an effort to lower tensions.
   Some diplomats and experts on Beijing said Mr. Xi may seek to further calm the waters by offering to limit certain Chinese exports, announcing deals for Beijing's state-run companies to buy big-ticket American exports, or arranging to make large Chinese investments in the U.S. "I bet you dollars to doughnuts that Xi is coming bearing a specific gift like that that Trump will tweet," said Max Baucus, the U.S. ambassador to Beijing at the end of Barack Obama's presidency and a longtime Democratic senator overseeing trade issues. But lawmakers and some business lobbyists in Washington are increasingly complaining that limited deals with Beijing aren't solving the economic and business disputes between the two countries.
   Senate Democrats on Wednesday called on Mr. Trump to confront China on economic issues and 39 senators wrote to Mr. Trump asking him to address barriers that are keeping American beef out of China, despite Beijing's lifting of its beef ban. Mr. Obama went to considerable effort to strike a major climate deal with Mr. Xi but Beijing was able to gain commercial advantage from that deal through massive state-driven investment in solar and wind technology, Mr. Baucus said.
   Some top officials in the Trump administration said China hasn't abided by previous trade commitments, so they are planning to press ahead with plans to bring major unilateral trade-enforcement cases that could hit Chinese industries with big tariffs. "Eventually the Trump administration will use a series of carrots and -- mostly -- sticks to try to get China to
modify its economic policies, and I think China will respond in kind," said CSIS's Mr. Kennedy.
   Launching trade-enforcement cases under U.S. law could bring retaliation against American products directly from China or through the World Trade Organization, trade lawyers said. The Obama administration mostly avoided unilateral trade-enforcement actions under U.S. law, instead favoring a series of WTO cases against Beijing that often take years to produce a result for a given industry.
   Given Mr. Trump's style and his recent meetings with world leaders, former officials and trade experts see a risk that the new president could make a public remark or Twitter post that strains the relationship. Starting off on the wrong foot could have repercussions both in trade and the security sphere. On the other hand, Mr. Trump's experience in complicated business negotiations could be an asset, said Ed Mermelstein, a longtime Manhattan real estate lawyer who has worked with Mr. Trump. "If you've ever done a major real estate transaction in New York, there's no other way of describing it than war," Mr. Mermelstein said, adding that "there's often a peace treaty signed at the end."
- Oil prices fell as record U.S. crude inventories underscored that markets remain bloated, although traders said there were signs that other regions were gradually tightening.
- Gold prices held firm on the back of a weaker dollar as appetite for risky assets like equities waned ahead of a potentially tense meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart.
- London copper held gains ahead of a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping, supported by Chinese demand at the start of the seasonally strongest quarter for industrial metals.
- Chicago soybean futures were little changed with the market holding on to last session's gains as rains delay the harvest in key producer Argentina.

Apr 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- The uncertainty regarding the policies of US President Donald Trump will likely mean that gold prices will trade in a range of $1,200-$1,300/oz this year, Stephen Letwin, president of IAMGOLD, a miner, tells The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of Mines and Money conference in Hong Kong. Gold is typically favoured as a store of value by investors. "Trump represents volatility and that is good for gold." Gold producers were struggling when prices had dropped to around $1,050/oz in December 2015 but now the industry is in far better shape, says Letwin. However, he said that his company believes a far smarter bet than relying on gold's market price is to continually focus on mining costs. IAMGOLD cut its overall cost to around $1,200/oz in 2016 and aims to bring it down further to $1,000-$1,100/oz over the next three years.
- Markets in China and the US are likely to be focused on political drivers for the rest of the week, due to the absence of major economic releases and in light of Chinese President Xi Jinping's first meeting with his US counterpart, Donald Trump. "The Trump-Xi meeting is expected to be of particular importance for both Chinese and US equity indices as this may well be the first real event which sets the tone for US-China relations on trade and security," says Phillip Futures. The Shanghai Composite Index is last up 1.1%, while S&P futures are currently down 0.1%.
- Expected deregulatory measures from the Trump administration won't necessitate a change in Australia's approach to its financial industry "one iota," says the country's top banking regulator. Prudential Regulation Authority Chairman Wayne Byres says the US starts with a regulatory system that on a number of dimensions is one of the strongest in existence, and the likely areas for change (such as the Volcker rule) are initiatives above and beyond internationally agreed minimum standards. He adds in a speech as there's risk of a broader move away from international cooperation and coordination in financial regulation, that would make it more important that Australia's standards are as strong as could be.
- The Labor Department's proposed 60 day delay of a new retirement-savings rule is set to take effect Friday, kicking out the applicability date to June 9. But the ultimate fate of the rule may be unknown until next year, the DOL suggests. The fiduciary rule's economic-impact review ordered by Trump will go on through the end of the year, the DOL says, after which "some or all" of it "may be revised or rescinded, including the provisions scheduled to become applicable on June 9, 2017." The DOL, which had reopened the comment period to solicit feedback from consumers and the financial industry, said it "continues to receive a very high volume of comment and petition letters" and that commenters opposed a delay by 12 to 1.
- Fed regulatory guru Daniel Tarullo says there's merit in banks' argument the Volcker rule has been "too complicated" in practice, saying there are too many regulators involved and, under the current system, it is too difficult for them to subjectively assess whether bankers are following the speculative trading ban. "We just need to recognize this fact and try something else," he says in a speech, adding that the rule "may be having a deleterious effect on market making, particularly for some less liquid" assets. Cue the applause from bankers waiting for the Trump administration to revisit the rule.
- International law firm and lobbying shop Squire Patton Boggs is getting cozy with one of Trump's most trusted advisers. The firm said this week that it's formed an alliance with Michael D. Cohen, a personal lawyer to Trump who has served as his fixer for many years and credits himself as the originator of the real-estate mogul's decision to run for president. It isn't clear what Squire Patton Boggs stands to gain from the relationship, and a firm spokesman said Tuesday leadership wasn't doing interviews. The firm's chief executive, Mark Ruehlmann, says in a statement the alliance will come into play as "clients worldwide increasingly confront challenges and look to seize business opportunities that intersect with governments worldwide."
- AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said workers are ready to support President Donald Trump's policies, if they help improve wages and strengthen workers protections. In a speech Tuesday, the head of the nation's largest labor federation said voters last years were "were crying out for new economic rules." Trumka, a prominent backer of Democrat Hillary Clinton, indicated unions wouldn't oppose Trump at every turn. He applauded efforts to scrap free trade deals and calls for increased infrastructure spending. But Trumka warns that if the "Wall Street wing" of White House officials push for what he views as anti-worker policies, unions will be a vocal opponent. The union president pointed to the opposition to the Republican healthcare proposal as an example. President Trump will be "judged on what he does, not what he says."
- JPMorgan Chief Jamie Dimon opens up about President Donald Trump and his administration during a Yahoo Finance video interview today, following publication of his annual shareholder letter. Dimon says "there's some truth to," President Trump's points about Dodd Frank, such as asking businesses if they can get a loan. Dimon also says he joined President Trump's policy advisory group because he wants to help the US, which includes helping whoever is president, even if he doesn't necessarily agree with everything Trump says or all his policies. Dimon says he is very confident about Trump picks Rex Tillerson, Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross and Gary Cohn. "These are top professionals; they know a lot of these issues and want to go about fixing them."
- Trump nominates Allen & Overy partner Heath Tarbert to serve as Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development in the Treasury Department. Tarbert is a fairly well known financial-services attorney who has worked on regulatory and antimoney-laundering issues, and served on Trump's transition team. He also served as counsel to the Senate Banking Committee and in the office of President George W. Bush. His new position requires confirmation by the Senate.
- Pentagon clarifies that while requirements for the new presidential helicopter being built by Lockheed Martin haven't changed, one capability has been removed. The converted S-92 choppers more used to ferrying oil workers around won't have the ability to dump fuel, says the military program chief, a change made before Trump--who already has a Sikorsky chopper of his own--took office. First flight of the test aircraft due in the summer, with deliveries in the fall of 2020.
- It appears Colombians don't want much change in their next round of presidential elections. German Vargas Lleras, a center-right politician who served as vice president for two terms under current President Juan Manuel Santos, is the favored candidate, according to a poll released today by Pulso Pais. Of the people polled, 12.4% said they would choose Vargas Lleras, a lawyer and former senator who enjoys strong support along Colombia's populous Caribbean coast, as the country's next president. His favorability climbed 2.6% percentage points since the prior poll in February. Behind Vargas Lleras is mathematician and former Medellin mayor Sergio Fajardo, who received 8.2% of support in the poll, followed by 8.1% of support for left-leaning Minister of Labor Clara Lopez.
- Bank of America's CEO Brian Moynihan, speaking at a Washington Post event, says that credit and debit card volumes were up in 1Q, as was the fee pool in BAC's investment bank. Echoing other CEOs since the election, he says business customers are more optimistic but that business lending "isn't going to grow a lot unless the economy grows faster." There has been a marked slowdown in lending broadly and business lending in particular since the election, according to Federal Reserve data.
- Oil climbed to a near one-month high on signs of a gradual tightening in global oil inventories and on concerns about a supply outage at a field in the United Kingdom's North Sea that feeds into an international benchmark price.  
- Gold prices held firm near a one-month high hit in the prior session, as appetite for riskier assets eased ahead of a meeting between leaders of the United States and China.
- London copper rallied as China returned from a two-day break to buy up metals following brighter global manufacturing reports, while zinc and nickel tracked a rally in steel.  
- Chicago soybean prices rose, pulling away from a six-month low that was touched the session before as expectations of a record Brazilian crop and higher U.S. planting dragged.
- The dollar lost its grip on earlier gains against the yen on Wednesday, remaining under pressure after North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea ahead of a summit between U.S. and Chinese leaders.

Apr 04 - China's Currency Takes a Twist Ahead of Trump-Xi Meeting (Dow Jones)
-  As China's leader prepares to head to the U.S. this week, there's a new twist in the persistent argument that China is keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar. The yuan has recently been rising.
-  The gains have been small -- the yuan is up 1% against the dollar so far this year -- but began shortly before Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. The rise could complicate a central criticism that Mr. Trump has leveled against China: that it is manipulating its currency downward at the expense of the U.S. to help bolster exports and itseconomy.

   Mr. Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are due to meet Thursday.
-  China for years had been criticized by other countries for its heavy-handed efforts to keep the yuan undervalued, even while it made moves to open its markets to free trading. Then came a period of appreciation which led to the government to suddenly devalue the currency in August 2015, causing a global market selloff. Since Mr. Trump took office, Chinese authorities have relied on capital controls and a broadly weakening dollar to keep the yuan in a narrow range against the U.S. currency.
-  China achieved the recent calm with relatively mild nudges. In late 2015 and early 2016, the People's Bank of China heavily intervened in the foreign-exchange market by selling its dollar reserves to support the yuan. This year the authorities resorted to a combination of measures, including heightened capital controls and increases of domestic interest rates, analysts and investors say.
-  The yuan's decline against major trading partners other than the U.S. suggests an effort to maintain global trade advantages while reducing political friction with the U.S., China's second-largest partner in goods trading behind the European Union, analysts said.
-  The yuan has fallen more than 2% against a basket of China's major trading partners, which include the U.S., the EU and numerous Asian countries including Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, according to data published by the EU.
-  Letting the yuan strengthen against the dollar while weakening against other currencies helps China "achieve the objective of export competitiveness and reflation in the economy while at the same time avoiding that negative spillover effect," said Roland Mieth, emerging-markets portfolio manager for Pacific Investment Management Co. in Singapore.

   China's currency practices have long been a source of tension between the two biggest economies.
-  Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Trump and his surrogates repeatedly accused China of manipulating the yuan in a way that boosted the U.S. trade deficit and destroyed U.S. jobs. Global investors feared new U.S tariffs. But the administration's tone on trade has been more conciliatory in recent weeks. Last month, U.S. officials signaled they would accept only modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Mr. Trump previously blasted as "the worst trade deal" ever.
-  Accordingly, financial markets have been buoyed by wagers that Mr. Trump won't follow through on tough talk that only a few months ago sparked fears of a global trade war. "The relative stability or even mild strength against the dollar certainly provides for a less contentious backdrop for the Trump-Xi meeting coming up later this week," said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University professor and a former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division.
-  In mid-April, the Treasury Department is set to release its semiannual report on foreign-exchange policies of the U.S.'s major trading partners, and China is on its monitoring list, which tracks countries that run large trade surpluses with the U.S.
-  Many economists and investors say that China doesn't meet the Treasury's criteria to be named a currency manipulator because its current-account surplus has shrunk and it has been burning through its reserves to prop up the currency, rather than letting it fall. China's currency was undervalued until 2013, some analysts say, but its recent economic and trade weakness has led the currency to a more overvalued position.
An index of the yuan against a broad group of currencies published by a branch of China's central bank is at its lowest since the basket was introduced more than a year ago, as China pledged to decouple the yuan from the dollar and let it move on market forces.
-  The White House is exploring a new tactic to discourage China from undervaluing its currency to boost exports by designating the practice of currency manipulation as an unfair subsidy. By keeping the yuan from falling further against the dollar, the Chinese want Mr. Trump to "know that they're willing to play ball on currency and trade issues so that the bilateral economic relationship can be maintained," Mr.Prasad said.
China's exchange rate is a major concern in the U.S., while issues such as excess capacity in the global economy are "multilateral issues" that matter more to other countries, former Treasury secretary Jacob Lew said last week at a panel in New York held by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a nonprofit organization.
-  Among its major trading partners, China runs a trade deficit with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, suggesting that China imports more goods from these economies than what they buy from China. China runs a surplus against the EU, Vietnam and Singapore, but to a lesser extent than its surplus with the U.S.
-  For much of 2017, the yuan's value against the dollar has been higher in offshore markets, where it trades more freely, than in domestic markets, suggesting that broader market expectations of yuan depreciation have receded for now. "It's politically induced stability," said Claire Dissaux, head of global economics and strategy at Millennium Global Investments Ltd., a London-based currency investment firm.
-  However, over the long run, economists say the Chinese currency is still under pressure to weaken against the dollar, as China's current-account surplus continues to narrow along with its slowing economy. Chinese households and companies are still eager to find ways to swap their yuan-denominated savings into overseas assets. Ms. Dissaux said: "Capital controls are never sustainable."

Apr 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Money managers rush in and out of bullish gold trades at a pace unseen since the final weeks before the US presidential election. Their open positions on rising gold prices swing by more than 17,000 a week--in both directions--since late February, ending a four-month period in which that was rare, CFTC data show. Their net-long position grew by 50% in one week ending March 28 to its second-highest point in four months. "Growing political discord in the US and Europe bring speculators back into safe-haven assets," says ING. Gold futures for June delivery rise 0.3% to $1,255 an ounce Monday, pushing back toward one-month highs.
- Not only has the so-called Trump Trade fizzed, groups of stocks poised to benefit most from infrastructure and deregulation have fallen into corrections, meaning they are down more than 10% from recent highs. Stock baskets custom made by JPMorgan tied to infrastructure and deregulation are down 12% and 14% from their recent tops, having initially seen big bumps following the election. Those stocks that are poised to benefit most from tax reform are off 6% from their recent highs.
- Massive short covering has been a main factor pushing down Treasury bond yields during 1Q as investors pulled back on the Trump trades. Net wagers betting on higher bond yields via Treasury futures contracts were $54.2B for the week that ended March 28, according to TD Securities. It was the lowest since November 22. The net shorts had reached $100.7B in early January, the highest since 2008. After this big retreat, analysts say it would be hard for the 10-year yield to fall a lot from here. Some say this may present an opportunity for those looking for a fresh entrance on short bets.
- Investors need to stay cautious about downside risk for the dollar at around Y108 this quarter amid uncertainty about US trade and currency policy, says Osamu Takashima, chief FX strategist at Citigroup Global Markets Japan. Trump issued executive orders amid alleged unfair trade practices, and many see China being the main target ahead of Xi's visit this week. But Takashima says given US-Japan high-level economic dialogue expected to start later this month, the latest orders were placed with an eye on bilateral trade issues there. The dollar is around Y111.25.

- Oil prices rose slightly due to a weaker dollar, though a rebound in Libyan production put pressure on the market and rising U.S. drilling signalled the potential for increased supply and capped price gains.
- Gold prices hit one-week highs, buoyed by a weaker dollar on tepid economic data from the United States and as investors turned to safe-haven assets on worries over geopolitical tensions.
- London copper was little changed near its lowest in a week as Chinese markets were out on holiday for a second day, draining the market of liquidity and direction.
- Chicago corn edged up, with the market trading close to its highest in more than three weeks on support from a U.S. government forecast of lower plantings this year.

Apr 04 - Cyclone Debbie to Prove Headwind for Aussie GDP (Dow Jones)
Cyclone Debbie last week, will reduce this quarter's Australia GDP but increase inflation, predicts ANZ. It sees the worst-case GDP impact being 0.3 percentage point, though the bank anticipates it likely being less. ANZ also thinks the CPI impact will be less than what was seen following big storms in 2006 and 2011 because the main crops that appear to be impacted can be imported--unlike bananas. The bank says coal exports could fall as much as 13% this quarter, and inventories are likely to provide some offset to that.

Apr 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Investors need to stay cautious about downside risk for the dollar at around Y108 this quarter amid uncertainty about US trade and currency policy, says Osamu Takashima, chief FX strategist at Citigroup Global Markets Japan. Trump issued executive orders amid alleged unfair trade practices, and many see China being the main target ahead of Xi's visit this week. But Takashima says given US-Japan high-level economic dialogue expected to start later this month, the latest orders were placed with an eye on bilateral trade issues there. The dollar is around Y111.25.
- Hedge funds and other speculative investors cut bets on a stronger dollar to $16.2B in the week through Tuesday, CFTC data shows. Bullish dollar bets surged as high as $26B at the start of 2017 as investors hoped the Trump administration's policy proposals would boost US growth and inflation, supporting the dollar-- but that trade has faltered recently amid uncertainty over the administration's ability to push through its agenda. In the week ending March 28, investors cut bets against the euro and Japanese yen while adding to bullish bets on the Australian dollar. Bets against the beleaguered British pound edged lower but remain near all-time highs.
- Healthcare REITs gained around 3.5% in the past week after the Republican Party pulled its healthcare bill. There had been investor jitters over healthcare REITs such as Ventas, Welltower, Omega Healthcare and HCP since the election in November as Trump made a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act during the campaign. Since the start of 2017 however, healthcare REITs have posted 7.1% total returns, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. "There was particular concern around the senior housing and skilled-nursing subsectors, which face heightened reimbursement challenges and regulatory scrutiny. Now, ObamaCare policies remaining in place offer stability to these healthcare REITs, and last week's performance suggests that it offered solace to investors as well," Trepp analyst Karina Estrella says.
- Exchange-traded funds continued to rake in money through March at a blistering pace, sending assets to a record high of $2.8T, according to Morningstar. US ETFs took in at least $40B in March, and the figure may rise when monthly tabulations are complete. ETFs have seen elevated flows since the surprise election victory of President Trump in November. Investors have poured $131.5B into US ETFs so far this year, the fastest 1Q in the industry's 24-year history, according to BlackRock.
- A federal judge granted final approval Friday to a $25M settlement in a fraud case against President Donald Trump's onetime real estate seminars, clearing the way for former students to get back most of the money they spent on the courses. The deal, brokered in November, settled two private class actions and allegations lodged by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, all claiming Trump University courses under-delivered on promises to teach students the secrets of Mr. Trump's real estate success. The settlement is expected to reimburse around 4,000 students for an estimated 90% of the money they paid to the for-profit school. The courses cost between roughly $1,500 and $35,000 apiece.
- The U.S. has plenty of coal so President Donald Trump's move to open federal lands for coal mining won't make a big difference, say analysts. The coal industry has experienced a drop-off in production because cheap natural gas has undercut the hard fossil fuel. American coal miners still have plenty of the stuff to dig up if the need arises, say analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. "U.S. coal miners are not short on spare coal capacity let alone reserves to develop new capacity," they say. "Therefore lifting the ban on coal mining licenses on federal land is unlikely to cause a material increase in coal production in the U.S."
- Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted warns against U.S. import duties. "We employ 13,000 staff in the U.S. and are growing. All this would be threatened if we had to raise prices because of a possible tax and demand would sink," Mr. Rorsted tells weekly magazine Wirtschaftswoche in an interview. Even with import duties, there won't be mass production of sneakers in the U.S. because "the factories simply aren't there" for that to happen. Adidas's planned new speed factory in Atlanta will produce 500,000 shoes annually, but Adidas plans to grow global sales by 11%-13% annually, equivalent to 40 million shoes. "We would have to open 80 speed factories to satisfy the expansion plans. This won't
work," Mr. Rorsted says.
- If the US decreases its donations to global organizations such as the World Bank that give out loans to emerging economies, it would greatly stunt the development of LNG use in many Southeast Asian countries, says a Hong Kong-based gas trader. "If the Trump administration carries out its campaign [and] promises to cut donations to major intergovernmental organizations, it will mean less money to help emerging economies fund new projects like LNG terminals," he says, saying Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka would be most vulnerable. Such a development may push these countries closer to China for financial support.
- The April 20 FCC meeting will deliver more deregulation for big telecommunications firms, according to the agenda. "We need to reduce the cost of broadband deployment, and we need to eliminate unnecessary rules that slow down or deter deployment," Chairman Ajit Pai says in a blog post. Specific agenda items include measures to speed construction of new wired networks and accelerate retirement of old copper lines; streamline deployment of the small cells that will be needed for 5G wireless; boost subsidized deployment in hard-to-serve rural areas; and update the antiquated FCC rules for business-data services. Big carriers were predictably thrilled. But some competitors were unhappy. "This is crony capitalism that favors broadband giants, is anti-business and kicks consumers," says Chip Pickering, CEO of trade group Incompas.
- Event recruiters say they are already making calls to lure business back to North Carolina after lawmakers repeal a controversial bathroom bill. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex says it is contacting everyone who canceled events because of House Bill 2, from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to Cirque du Soleil. The Greensboro area has lost millions in tourist dollars, according to the convention and visitors' bureau, including $14.5M from the NCAA's decision to move this month's men's basketball early round tournament games from Greensboro to Greenville, SC.
- Oil futures dipped as a higher U.S. rig count indicated rising shale output and stoked worries about global oversupply, while a stronger dollar also pressured prices.
- Gold prices held firm after marking their best quarter in a year, supported by uninspiring economic data from the United States and dovish remarks from a Federal Reserve official on Friday.
- London copper held steady on the first day of the second quarter amid encouraging trade signals out of Asia, although the world's top user China was out for a long weekend, draining the market of direction.
- Chicago corn jumped to a two-week high and wheat gained for a second day, with prices underpinned by U.S. government forecasts of lower plantings of both crops.

Mar 31 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Event recruiters say they are already making calls to lure business back to North Carolina after lawmakers repeal a controversial bathroom bill. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex says it is contacting everyone who canceled events because of House Bill 2, from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to Cirque du Soleil. The Greensboro area has lost millions in tourist dollars, according to the convention and visitors' bureau, including $14.5M from the NCAA's decision to move this month's men's basketball early round tournament games from Greensboro to Greenville, SC.
- Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will face his most tough Republican critics in Congress on April 5, when he appears at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. This is his first appearance at the panel's semi-annual meeting to discuss the CFPB's operations since the Trump administration took power. Republican lawmakers have since escalated their attack on the consumer bureau, and Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who heads the committee, is currently working on a bill that is expected to include a raft of radical steps to weaken the consumer watchdog, including the removal of Cordray from his job.
- On Feb. 3, Trump asked his Treasury secretary to conduct a broad review of financial sector rules and report back by early June. Now the financial industry is starting to provide its wish list. The American Bankers Association sent a white paper to Treasury Thursday outlining specific changes it desires to bank liquidity rules. More papers will be coming from the ABA on housing finance and bank capital--and you can bet other industry groups are working on similar documents. The question now is what the Trump Administration actually puts on its Agenda.
- Politics dominated a luncheon at Manhattan's Yale Club, where the business community got the chance to question General Electric chief Jeff Immelt. The CEO forcefully asserted that the US-China relationship is his biggest concern going forward in the political realm. "Geopolitically and economically, it's the most important. It's only going to get more important." He also said he thinks bilateral trade deals with nations are going to be more prevalent going forward now that TPP, an Obama-era trade deal, has died. That is generally in-line with the Trump administration, which has said it wishes to notch bilateral deals with nations like the UK. On Trump's anti-trade stances, Immelt said despite the campaign rhetoric he thinks "President Trump is too smart to give up" on trade.
- Platinum's tumble could keep going thanks to Trump's environmental policies, ING Bank warns. Trump's move to roll back climate-change policy and other EPA regulations could lead to softer emissions controls for vehicles, ING says. That's a big source of demand for platinum, which goes into catalytic converters to filter emissions. Platinum prices have been falling for years and are on another leg down. Futures trade down 7.7% this month at a time when the precious metals group is down just 5.9%. Platinum falls 0.08% at $955.50/oz.
- GE CEO Immelt, speaking to a crowd of business professionals in Manhattan, says the Trump administration opens the door for plenty of opportunities domestically for GE, with the potential for an overhaul of the tax code, new infrastructure spending and rolling back some regulations. "That is awesome." However, Immelt says "we're on our own" internationally given the administration's rhetoric regarding globalization and trade, pointing to the scrapping of TPP. "We've got to risk-manage geopolitics."
- A new Standard & Poor's analysis finds limited budget and credit risks for sanctuary cities from Trump's January executive order threatening to cut federal funds to cities that don't fully cooperate with immigration authorities. "Not only does the federal government appear to be restricted in the types of cuts it can make, but also in the amount of funding it can withhold," S&P says. The ratings firm sees greater potential credit risk for local governments if states cut funding to sanctuary cities, or if federal cuts to state government eventually affect cities and counties.
- The State Department is seeking public comment on the best way to break the link between armed groups and the minerals trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and nearby countries. US companies are required to disclose their financial filings whether tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold in their supply chains come from the region. The State Department joins the SEC, which on Jan. 31 announced it would reconsider the implementation of this 'conflict minerals' rule, which companies and Republicans say is burdensome. The two reviews offer no immediate relief for companies, however, as the rule remains in effect.
- Analysts get more bullish on Medicare Advantage business ahead of next week's final 2018 rates and amid continued positive signals from Republicans about the future of the program. Leerink likes Humana and UnitedHealth, writing that "Medicare Advantage [is] seen as poised for deregulation and privatization...with positive catalysts on April 3 for 2018 rate, and rate relief for 2019." Others note a recent letter to the Medicare agency from Senate Republicans including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The letter endorsed several items on the industry's wish list for the 2018 rates and some broader policy recommendations as well.
- A draft showing the Trump administration will seek only modest changes to Nafta could help the Mexican peso as it suggests a swifter renegotiation than a complete overhaul would imply, removing lingering uncertainty about the outcome of trade talks, says Banorte currency strategist Juan Carlos Alderete. The peso is stronger against the US dollar, quoted in Mexico City at 18.6615 vs. 18.6985 Wednesday. Supporting the currency are expectations the Bank of Mexico will raise rates by 25bp to 6.5% in its 1500 ET decision, and the central bank's transfer of some $17B to the treasury that support public finances, he says.
- Senate agriculture committee's vote to advance USDA secretary nominee Sonny Perdue to a full Senate vote wasn't unanimous. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) said that while Perdue is a dedicated public servant, his moves as Georgia's governor to tighten access to food programs for the poor concerned her: "On his watch, many families in his state did not have access to the assistance they needed." She also pointed to food-safety failures in Georgia.  USDA oversees the $71B Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps, and some poverty groups have worried that Perdue could restrict access nationally if confirmed to lead the USDA.
- Analysts have shaved earnings expectations over the next 12 months by 150 basis points since the beginning of the year. If they continue to cut estimates at rates similar to previous years, the S&P 500 forward earnings rate is likely to come out closer to 6% versus the 11.7% projected on January 1. "We believe estimates could break the trend of moving lower this year if tax reform and/or deregulation policy make their way through Congress, but we believe corporate management teams will refrain from providing guidance including any of those benefits until policies have been passed and details are known," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research.
- Oil prices eased as traders took profits following three days of straight gains on the expectation that an OPEC-led crude supply cut that was initially supposed to only last for the first half of the year would be extended.
- Gold prices edged lower and were headed for a weekly decline as positive U.S. economic data buoyed the dollar, but uncertainty over upcoming elections in Europe and Britain's exit from the European Union capped losses.
- London copper slipped but was set to finish a second quarter higher lifted by kinks in mine supply, while a ramp-up in China's factory activity and fresh investor buys are expected to drive prices higher in the April quarter.
- Soybeans were poised for a fourth week of decline, with prices hitting their lowest in five months as expectations of ample world supplies this year dragged on the market.

Mar 30 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
The Mexican peso hits the highest level in nearly 10 months against the yen. The peso also recouped almost all the losses against the dollar since the election in November. Daisaku Ueno, chief foreign exchange strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley, says Donald Trump's recent stumbles in introducing policy changes suggest that not everything he says will be implemented. "Excessive concerns are easing," he says. Trump pledged to build walls on the border and renegotiate trade agreements. Ueno says a recent recovery in crude oil prices is also helping Mexico, a major oil producer. The MXN/JPY earlier rises to 5.9514, the highest since June 1. The USD/MXN is at 18.7364.
- Foreigners sold a net Y754 billion ($6.8 billion) of Japanese stocks last week, the most since September, finance-ministry data show. Global stocks pulled back last week amid worries about Trump getting policy proposals through Congress, with the Nikkei logging a 2.1% drop on the 22nd, its biggest drop in 5 1/2 months. Last week's outflows fully erased remaining post-election inflows.
- When the House on Tuesday rejected rules that would have protected users' internet privacy, one could assume that would be good news for the companies that amass user data to sell ads, like Facebook and Alphabet's Google. But, in fact, GOOGL and FB opposed the outcome because the rule lawmakers rejected only applied to internet providers, such as AT&T and Comcast and Verizon. Those companies are increasingly moving into GOOGL's and FB's turf in online advertising, and GOOGL and FB were hoping the rule would hinder those rivals' ability to collect data on users like they can. Now internet providers will have similar, if not greater data-collection abilities as GOOGL and FB, boosting their efforts to compete in selling digital ad space.
- Every corner of the energy industry is trying to wrap its head around Trump's executive order reversing Obama's clean energy regulations, even cobalt miners. Cobalt's been an increasingly hot commodity this year as investors bet on it and other ingredients needed to make batteries for electric cars. Trent Mell, CEO of Toronto-based cobalt mining company First Cobalt, tells WSJ that things are going well when it comes to the clean energy sector use of cobalt and lithium for re-chargeable batteries, "so I think we're beyond the point of no return," he says, noting battery packs now cost a third of what they did eight years ago. "The rollback [by Trump] won't provide any new incentive to deviate from the path we're already on."
- Trump's move to roll back climate-change policy shouldn't have a big effect on offshore wind-energy generation, says Samuel Leupold, executive vice president of wind power at Dong Energy. Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit, he says if projects need subsidies it will be decided by individual states rather than at a national level. "Trump signed an infrastructure bill which explicitly lists offshore as one of the technologies which will benefit going forward from a lighter permitting scheme so maybe there's even some upsides."
- With less than two weeks before the fiduciary rule's applicability date has been set to kick in, the Labor Department has sent its final rule for a 60-day delay to the OMB. The DOL proposed the delay earlier this month, after Trump ordered a reevaluation of the regulation meant to protect retirement savers from conflicted advice. But the DOL has had to go through comments from the public and the financial industry as part of the process. In the event April 10 comes before the OMB approves the final delay, the DOL and the IRS have said it would effectively delay the rule by non-enforcement. "We have to follow federal law when it comes to the process and there are several steps," a DOL spokeswoman said recently.
- Trump's move to roll back climate-change policy may slow down the global move to low carbon energy, Gazprom Marketing & Trading CEO Vitaly Vasiliev says. "Decarbonisation is an unstoppable movement," he says, but adding "this definitely will slow it down." The move could extend the life of some aging coal-fired power plants, which Vasiliev says would drive global coal prices higher, making gas more economical in Europe. Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit, he says, "Fundamentally I don't think it will change the direction the world is going."
- Rep Kevin Brady (R, Texas) is looking at business groups' ideas for changing the border adjustment feature of House Republicans' tax plan, he says in an interview. Brady declines to elaborate on any possible changes but says he hasn't seen a valid concern that can't be addressed. Brady, whose proposal has drawn Senate criticism, said he is still trying to avoid exemptions and carveouts for certain businesses. Tax-policy changes are likely to be the key factor driving volatility in the municipal market, particularly relative to taxable investment -grade issues, says US Bank Wealth Management. It continues to be wary of municipal debt, it says. Investors remain attuned to the potential change in tax policy under the Trump administration and the reduced demand for municipal securities that may result, it says.
- Vacancies, nominations and other last-minute White House personnel moves are reshaping the lineup of the National Transportation Safety Board's top officials. Expiring terms for three board members and the vagaries of how one of them can serve as acting chairman threatened to leave the agency without a formal head. But days from such chaos, current member Robert Sumwalt has been renominated for another five-year term, and designated to serve as vice chairman for the first two of those years. As a result, under the NTSB's arcane legal charter, Sumwalt can step in to the acting chairman post until Trump nominates and the Senate confirms a permanent NTSB chairman. On top of all that, two other vacancies need to be filled on the ordinarily five-member board.
- Gluskin Sheff's chief economist David Rosenberg says a speech delivered this week by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz should be on the Trump administration's reading list. Poloz's speech was "a sermon on the benefits of freer trade and immigration," Rosenberg said in his daily note. In the speech, Poloz said fears about the negative impact from liberalized trade "are misplaced. Protectionism does not promote growth and its costs are steep." At a press conference after his remarks, Poloz said advances in technology and automation are largely responsible for job losses in manufacturing, as opposed to liberalized trade.
- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday unveiled charges against an executive at a state-owned Turkish bank and accused him of participating in a long-running conspiracy to violate US sanctions against Iran, broadening a high-profile case that has already escalated tensions between the US and Turkey. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy general manager at Halkbank, one of the largest state-owned banks in Turkey, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport Monday, law-enforcement officials said. The Manhattan US attorney's office charged Atilla, a 47-year-old Turkish citizen and resident, with conspiracies to violate US sanctions and commit bank fraud. Atilla's arrest is part of the continuing investigation into Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who was arrested in Florida a year ago and charged with alleged sanctions violations by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
- Oil prices edged up, extending two days of increases as supply disruptions in Libya lifted the market, although bloated U.S. crude inventories curbed gains.
- Gold prices fell as the dollar strengthened, but uncertainty surrounding the impact of Britain's departure from the European Union and the upcoming French elections offered some support.
- London copper slipped in low-volume trade as the dollar held gains on brighter economic signals from the United States and traders waited for further U.S. and China economic cues for direction.
- Chicago soybeans slid for a second session, falling to a five-month low as expectations of higher U.S. plantings and a record Brazilian crop weighed on the market.

Mar 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- London spot gold fell marginally in Asia trade on Wednesday, but remains close to a one-month high reached earlier this week. The uncertainty over whether Trump will be able to push ahead with his policy plans continue to support the yellow metal. "That political uncertainty is likely to continue to support gold prices in the short term," says ANZ Bank. Spot gold is trading $2.97 lower at $1,248.18/oz.
- Investors need to become mindful that economic recovery in industrialized nations led by China is providing financial-market catalysts, says SMBC Nikko chief rate strategist Chotaro Morita. "It's clearly excessive to say every price move is tied to Trump." Morita adds, "Although the US political climate is clearly is in a direction toward impasse...the global market will show only a moderate reaction for some time to come."
- Japanese stocks are likely to rise as strong U.S. consumer confidence and home-price data alleviate uncertainty over President Donald Trump's policy outlook. Many market participants have attributed the post-election stock rally not only to the prospects of U.S. fiscal stimulus but also to cyclical improvement in the global economy. The semiconductor sector has been benefiting, in particular, thanks to Internet of Things demand. The dollar's recovery against the yen is likely also positive for Japanese stocks. Nikkei futures ended the overnight session at 19190, or 0.8% higher than Tuesday's day-time close. Nikkei ended up 1.1% on Tuesday at 19202.87.
- Employees are feeling more optimistic about the economy and their job prospects, but many are wary of Trump, according to research and advisory company CEB. Just under 30% of male workers in the US believe that Trump's policies will positively affect compensation, benefits and career opportunities, while 19% of women say the same, according to the CEB survey of 2,290 US employees. Employees in sectors such as manufacturing, oil and gas and financial services are expecting the biggest boost from the president's policies, while workers at nonprofits and media and education organizations are bracing for the worst.
- An overnight recovery in the US dollar could be short-lived, Commonwealth Bank of Australia says. The USD/EUR climbed to 0.9250 from levels around 0.9200, while the USD/JPY rose above 111, driven by the US Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence rising in March to its highest level in 16 years. "In our view, the USD remains vulnerable to more downside in the coming weeks because the Trump administration will face obstacles agreeing on a meaningful fiscal stimulus package with Republicans," CBA says. "Trump favors plain vanilla corporate tax cuts while Republicans want to switch the corporate income tax base to a border adjustment tax (which we consider very disruptive)."
- Regeneron and Sanofi spent months negotiating with pharmacy benefit managers over the price of its new eczema drug Dupixent, but will it be enough? Companies say net revenue will be around $30,000 annually, after giving discounts and co-pay coupons that reduce the list price of $37,000. Credit Suisse says consensus estimates were that they'd set the net price around $25,000 annually to get PBMs like Express Scripts and CVS to cover the drug. BMO Capital Markets worried the price is high enough to slow the drug's sales launch and lead to "aggressive restrictions" by PBMs.
- US grocers are seeing some promise in expanding into new rural markets by selling food through vans, at libraries and through community centers, the Food Marketing Institute says during Congressional testimony on the $71B food-stamp program. Vans delivering food purchased in areas lacking traditional grocery stores are showing particular promise, according to the trade group. The House Agriculture Committee is holding hearings on food stamps in its lead up to reauthorizing nutrition programs covered by the farm bill. The bill expires next year.
- Businesses around the US that serve immigrants are reporting sales down since President Trump took office, according to Javier Palomarez, president of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Trump has called for increasing deportations of illegal immigrants and tightening the US-Mexico border with a wall. Some small businesses in metro Atlanta that serve Hispanic immigrants report sales off by as much as half compared to the same time last year. Businesses that serve immigrants in Chicago and Southern California report declines as well.
- Shares of energy companies climb after Trump signs an executive order rolling back Obama's climate-change rules. "My administration is putting an end to the war on coal," Trump says in remarks ahead of the official signing at the EPA. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 rise 1.3%, extending gains from earlier in the session. Chevron (CVX) adds 1.1% and Exxon (XOM) adds 0.7%.
- The chances of an all-out trade war between China and the US are still low, according to a report by Rabobank's food and agribusiness analysts, but soybeans are among the commodities at greatest risk if relations countries sour. Rabobank sees only a "limited possibility" that US moves to raise tariffs on imported Chinese goods would prompt Beijing to boycott US supplies, given China's strong reliance on oilseed imports. But if the US did lose its top soybean buyer, domestic prices for the crop would likely fall in the short-term, as Chinese buyers ramped up purchases from South America. Farmers in countries like Brazil would look to expand acreage, with South America potentially importing US soybeans while exporting their own crop.
- As the Trump administration pursues an overhaul of US trade policy, Cargill CEO David MacLennan says the stakes are high for the agricultural conglomerate. More than half of Cargill's $107B in annual sales are generated outside US borders, he says, and the majority of its 150,000 employees work outside the US. "Our business model depends on open borders and healthy trade relationships," says MacLennan, after giving a speech in Switzerland touting the benefits of free trade. So far Cargill's not reevaluating investments or assets in response to moves like the US exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, MacLennan says, and he hopes to discuss trade with Trump personally in the next several months.
- The Pentagon is rejiggering the leadership of a second program that attracted the ire of President Trump. Lt Gen Chris Bogdan retiring from the Air Force in the spring having overseen the Lockheed Martin F-35 combat jet program since 2012. He'll be replaced by his deputy, Navy Rear Adm Mat Winter, just as the Pentagon prepares to reveal the findings of a review that could see some Boeing F/A-18 jets substitute F-35s destined for the Navy. The BA-led Air Force One replacement program also receiving a new chief.
- Oil prices extended gains from the previous session, lifted by supply disruptions in Libya and expectations that an OPEC-led output reduction will be extended into the second half of the year.

- Gold fell in the face of technical resistance and positive economic data that boosted expectations for further U.S. interest rate hikes this year, supporting the dollar and equities markets.
- London copper held steady near its highest in more than a week, buoyed by brighter data from the United States, and expectations of seasonally improving second-quarter demand.
- U.S. wheat edged higher, rebounding from a more than two-month low touched in the previous session, though forecasts of crop-friendly weather provided a ceiling to gains.

Mar 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- With the global economy improving, it will only be a matter of time before investors shake off the disappointment over the GOP's health-care failure, says Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at online brokerage Rakuten Securities. The latest data suggest world trade recovery continued in 2017, with many indicators pointing to even-more-robust growth. "The markets will go up again once they retrain their focus on Trump's economic-stimulus package," says Kubota.
- Canadian bonds rose alongside US Treasurys today amid mounting uncertainty stemming from the failure of the US House to pass healthcare reform last week. Canada's two-year bonds were yielding at 0.730% from 0.751% on Friday, according to electronic trading platform CanDeal. The 10-year bond was yielding at 1.606% from 1.643%.  There was little out in Canada today to spur domestic activity as investors focused on the growing demand for global safe haven assets amid mounting skepticism about President Trump's economic policies. Overall, Canadian government notes outperformed US Treasurys beyond the two-year note.
- The NZD/USD trades in a narrow range between 0.7038-0.7068 early in Asia, but is weaker against EUR, JPY and GBP. The euro continues to find strength with improving data such as the March IFO business climate index pushing higher in Germany and against the USD which has been treading water since Trump pulled his repeal of Obamacare. Although UK PM Theresa May is expected to formally trigger Article 50 later this week, the GBP is benefiting from similar dynamics to the euro, with the NZD/GBP trading at 0.5609.
- Two hospital companies were the S&P 500's best performers today, gaining after the failure of a House Republican bill to gut the Affordable Care Act. HCA Holdings (HCA) climbed 5.2% and Universal Health Services (UHS) was up 3.4%. Some analysts had pinpointed hospitals as among the companies most at-risk if the bill were to be passed, given the potential for a drop-off in insured patients. After the bill's failure last week, Mizuho lifted its ratings on HCA and UHS to buy. The analysts wrote: "With the failure of the GOP to move the ACA repeal out of the House, our covered hospital companies have moved into a nicer, friendlier neighborhood."
- Potential changes to the US tax code could result in some real estate investment trusts choosing to terminate their REIT status and be taxed as traditional corporates, said Fitch Ratings in a report. "Lower corporate tax rates arguably reduce the appeal of the REIT tax election, particularly if companies are allowed to fully expense capital costs during the year of investment," said Fitch. This would allow REITs to replicate the tax benefits of being a REIT without having to comply with the mandatory dividend distribution requirements (90% of their earnings to shareholders), which would weaken their credit profile, added Fitch. That said, companies are unlikely to make hasty decisions based on rules that could be reversed in a subsequent administration.
- Trump signs a bill to overturn an Obama-era regulation that sought to require firms bidding on government contracts to disclose past labor-law violations. The president says overturning the rule will help boost job creation. The yet-implemented regulation would have required companies bidding on federal contracts to disclose labor-law violations they have had for the three years before placing a bid. Those violations could include failures to pay overtime wages, hiring discrimination, safety violations or a refusal to collectively bargain with workers. Business groups have criticized the rule, calling it the "blacklisting" regulation because of the risk employers face of being barred from future contracts. The rule was never implemented because a federal judge temporarily blocked it from going into effect in October. Canceling the regulation is part of the Republican-led Congress's effort to pull back some rules passed by the Obama administration through the rarely-used Congressional Review Act.
- Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, often quick to speak out against those attacking his rapidly growing airline, isn't doing so over last week's US electronics ban. The ban has drawn fire by some arguing it targets Gulf airlines. Al Baker doesn't sign on. "No, I don't think it is targeting the Gulf airlines," he says, calling it a security issue the carrier is fully complying with and won't fight. So far it doesn't seem to be affecting business, he says, though it is in the early days.
- Livestock futures fall after countries including China and Chile lifted their restrictions on Brazilian meat imports over the weekend. Slaughter and meat production numbers are above last year's levels, weighing on futures as traders prepare for more supply in the domestic market. Meatpackers slaughtered an estimated 613,000 last week, according to the USDA, considerably above expectations. CME April lean hog futures down 1.8% to 66.050c a pound while April live cattle futures fall 0.5% to $1.21450. Boxed beef prices also appear to be coming to the end of their multiweek rally, falling almost $2 to $219.63 per 100 pounds as of Monday morning.
- State revenue forecasts for the upcoming fiscal year call for faster growth than in the current fiscal year, but growth is still weak compared with historical averages, according to a new Rockefeller Institute of Government report. States have been dealing broadly with weak tax revenue due to a range of factors, including low oil prices. Rockefeller Institute says states project median 3.5% FY18 sales-tax growth and median 4.1% FY18 income-tax growth, both slight improvements from FY17. "The overall picture is of continued, but sluggish, growth in fiscal years 2017 and 2018," the report says.
- The CAC-40 closes slightly lower, -0.1% at 5017, as markets continued to give up ground because of doubts about the viability of the Trump administration's economic program. Nokia led the gainers, up 1.5%, followed by hotel group Accor, up 1.2%. Steelmaker ArcelorMittal was the deepest in the red, down 4.9%, amid declines for other steelmakers. On Tuesday, investors will note French housing starts for February at 0800 GMT ahead of US consumer confidence for March.
- The Bel-20 closes slightly lower, down 0.2% and in line with other European markets. Belgian steel companies are hardest hit, following a fall in metal prices and global pessimism over the prospects for President Trump's infrastructure initiative. Steelmaker Aperam SA is the biggest loser, down 3%, followed by steel wire maker Bekaert SA, down 1.6%. Belgian retailer Etablissementen Franz Colruyt is the biggest gainer, up 1%, followed by UCB SA, up 0.8%
- London shares close lower, with the FTSE 100 down 0.6% at 7293.50, tracking equity decline globally after Trump's healthcare reform plans failed Friday and prompting concerns about whether planned reflationary policies will succeed. IG says however that "dip buyers are starting to appear." Amid limited company and economic news, gains for sterling also hurt shares, with miners among the biggest losers. Antofagasta is down 4.7%, Glencore down 4.4% and Anglo American down 3.9%. Babcock shares lose 4.3% after news the firm's Magnox contract with the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will be terminated at the end of August 2019. Lloyds shares lose 1.6% after a downgrade by Berenberg. Retailers gain, however, led by Next, up 2.5%. Focus this week is on the UK's expected triggering of Article 50 to start Brexit.
- Oil prices rose, supported by a weak dollar, but crude continued to be weighed down by surging U.S. production and uncertainty over whether an OPEC-led supply cut is big enough to rebalance the market.
- Gold prices held steady as investors looked to see if U.S. President Donald Trump would be able to enact promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending, with the dollar drifting from multi-month lows in the previous session.
- London copper held above more than two-week lows hit the previous session, with worries easing over President Donald Trump's ability to push through economic reform.
- U.S. soybeans rose nearly 0.5 percent to move away from their lowest in more than five months as investors looked for bargains, but plentiful global supply kept a ceiling on gains.

Mar 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Oil prices are facing more downward pressure as a hiccup in Donald Trump's pro-growth policy agenda has seen investors sit back to reassess the impact on commodity markets, says ANZ Research, but it adds that oil may still find some support as OPEC's compliance committee is expected to recommend extending the production cut deal to the end of the year.
- The dollar's post-election rally "was extremely large and a role of dice really," says Sean Callow at Westpac in the wake of the greenback's ongoing declines. "Markets were looking for a very-speedy resolution to the health-care issue" as a precursor to tax and infrastructure legislation. That's been thrown into question in the wake of voting being shelved for now on health care.
- As Asian traders start the week with fresh doubts about Trump administration efforts to get its initiatives enacted, "the risk is that business and consumer sentiment reverse recent gains," says Martin Whetton, a senior rates strategist at ANZ Research. "For markets, that doesn't sound like an ideal situation." Stocks are broadly lower in what looks to be a risk-off session which also sees the dollar and sovereign-debt yields falling. The Nikkei is now off 1.2% and again threatening to breach 19000. Meanwhile, commodity stocks are weighing in Australia, with BHP Billiton and Fortescue down some 3%.
- Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities, says uncertainty regarding US policy has increased in the wake of the Republicans' failure on health-care reform. As such, market participants are starting to question the Trump administration's ability to implement its policies. "It's not going to be easy, even if they move on to the next agenda such as tax cuts." The Nikkei is set to open down about 1% in minutes, with a weaker dollar also weighing on equities in Japan, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 is down 0.5% after earlier being off as much as 1% earlier.
- Oil prices fell, pulled down by rising U.S. drilling activity and by doubts whether an OPEC-led production cut initially due to end in mid-2017 would be extended.
- Gold rose over 1 percent to touch a one-month high as the dollar slid after President Donald Trump's failure to pass healthcare reform raised doubts over his ability to push through his economic agenda.
- London copper slipped for a third day as risk appetite fell after President Donald Trump's failure to push through healthcare reform fanned concerns over his ability to realise his economic agenda.
- U.S. soybeans edged lower, hovering close to a five-month low amid ample global supplies of the oilseed and strong South American production.

Mar 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (Dow Jones)
- The House delaying a vote on a Republican health-care plan until Friday is a "slight disappointment" to investors, says Shusuke Yamada, FX strategist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Tokyo. Investors are expected to sit on the sidelines, although protracted delay with the bill could have wider implications on other Trump plans, including corporate-tax reform--the real focus of markets. "The sooner they get health care done, the sooner they can start working on the tax plan," says Yamada. "So further delay will make investors only more cautious and skeptical about the prospect of near-term tax reform." The dollar has rebounded on word of the Friday vote plan and Trump saying he's ready to move on if the bill fails, rising 0.4% to Y111.40.
- Sean Callow, a senior forex strategist at Westpac, expects the yen and Swiss franc to further strengthen when the market catches up with worries about whether Republicans can get a health-care bill passed. That vote, originally slated for Thursday, has been put off until Friday. For now, Callow is surprised about the upbeat mood of the markets, especially on the equities (the Nikkei is up 0.6% amid a rising dollar). "There aren't more nerves about the delays." The dollar is up 0.3% during Asian trading at around Y111.30 and 0.2% higher at CHF0.9947.
- The dollar has gotten a bid within the past hour as Asian trading ramps up Friday, with the greenback rebounding some as Trump is ready to move on from health-care reform if a vote now set for Friday doesn't succeed in the House. A Republican bill which intends to undo much of Obamacare was slated to come up Thursday, but support remained questionable. There's been market concern this week whether health care--the first major item to come up in this new legislative session--could bottle up other Trump policy plans, sending risk assets lower midweek. The WSJ Dollar Index is up 0.2% in Asian trading, with the greenback rising above Y111.30 after falling below Y111 in overnight trading.
- The EUR/USD is a tad lower now at 1.0772 (from 1.0783 later Thursday in New York), as investors cautiously await the fate of the US health-care bill. With its upside weighed down after rising on speculation about European Central Bank tapering, the EUR/USD direction "largely depends on the status of the US bill," says Toshiyuki Umekawa, senior vice president of forex division at Mizuho Bank. Republican lawmakers postponed at the last minute a vote planned for Thursday on legislation to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, designed as a replacement to Obamacare. The is first real legislative test of US President Donald Trump's administration. Any failure of the bill would throw into double Mr Trump's ability to implement other bills, particularly infrastructure spending bills and tax cuts. The EUR/USD may move in either direction depending on the headlines coming out of Washington regarding this bill, says Umekawa, who tips the pair's upside resistance at 1.0850.
- The timing of a US health-care overhaul may be increasingly uncertain, but one thing is looking likelier now: more volatility in financial markets. Republicans postponed a vote on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, after last-minute talks failed to garner majority support for the bill. The House vote was seen by investors as a test of the Trump reflation trade. "Financial market volatility is set to rise from the extreme lethargy that has been seen in the past three months," ANZ says. "That means potentially more action in equities, interest rates and currencies, as analysts and market participants attempt to ascertain the real state of play." The AUD/USD was last at 0.7630.
- Among oil folks, the most unbridled, gushing support for Trump comes from small-business operators of so-called stripper wells, who are seeing methane rules and other regulations being rolled back. "Trump has provided an overwhelming sense of relief that while we're fighting OPEC and price wars, we don't have to also fight our own administration," National Stripper Well Association government affairs chief Tim Charters tells WSJ. The group's yearly gala is today and tomorrow in Oklahoma City, and Charters says it's confident "we've turned the corner" on the oil bust amid stable prices and Trump. Stripper wells--15 bpd or less--produce 1M bpd of the US's 9M bpd.
- New Zealand PM Bill English unveils a plan to have 90% of the country's exports covered by free-trade agreements by 2030, bucking a trend toward protectionist rhetoric in countries including the US. Around 53% of NZ's goods are currently exported under free-trade deals with China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and--most-recently--South Korea. NZ wants to style itself as a food bowl for Asian consumers. "We have fewer than five million people but produce enough food to feed nearly ten times that," English says. NZ's plan comes weeks after the US nixed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the G20 recently dropped a pledge to oppose all forms of trade protectionism. "I am often bemused by opposition to free trade," English says.
- Aviation authorities on both sides of the Atlantic are taking steps to get more in sync with regard to future technical standards designed to usher in widespread use of commercial drones. The European Defense Agency, for example, is urging the region's civilian aviation regulators to adopt standards developed by a US advisory panel. Likewise in the US, technical experts advising the Federal Aviation Administration on collision-avoidance standards are taking steps to share data and work more closely with their European counterparts. Despite such progress, industry officials fret that the Trump Administration's government-wide regulatory freeze may hamper further cross-Atlantic cooperation in many areas, including oversight of unmanned aircraft. The drone lobby isn't powerful enough, by itself, to carve out an exemption from sweeping White House directives to curtail the flow of new regulations, according to veteran lobbyists and former high-ranking American aviation regulators.
- The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, closed above 13 today for the first time after 55 sessions, breaking an unusually subdued spell for the gauge. The index--based on options prices on the S&P 500 index--is still at lows, closing at 13.12 today. Stocks fell today as the House of Representatives postponed a key healthcare vote.
- US stocks dipped into negative territory in the last half hour of trade after House Republicans postponed a planned vote on the health bill. Progress on the bill, slated to replace the Affordable Care Act, is being widely watched by investors and traders as a barometer for President Trump's ability to push through other policy changes like tax cuts and deregulation. S&P 500 down 0.2%, Nasdaq Composite off 0.2% and Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.1%.
- As the spectrum auction concludes next month, industry watchers and advisers expect telecom M&A to kick off. Parties involved in the current auction are banned from speaking to one another about deals, but once the auction ends, they are able to strike up deals. "We believe a recent shift towards unlimited data plans will create the need for more capacity and support M&A," says a report from MarketScope Advisor. The report also says that a "reshaped Republican-led Federal Communications Commission will be more supportive of mergers/acquisitions."
- While health care sucks up the most Washington oxygen, another Obama-era rule is on its way to the ash heap as Senate votes to roll back last year's FCC internet privacy rule. The joint resolution, which rescinds the last administration's rule making broadband providers ask for permission before collecting subscriber data, helps cable providers and incumbents like AT&T  and Verizon pursue a bigger slice of the online ad market. Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had already stayed the rules, but expected approval by the House and president would prevent any similar rules from going at any point in the future.
- Oil prices edged up, supported by a fall in Saudi exports to the United States, but overall markets remained under pressure on the back of a world market awash with fuel.
- Gold prices edged lower against a backdrop of a rising dollar as markets waited to see whether U.S. President Donald Trump succeeds in pushing through healthcare reforms, viewed as a potential bellwether for his ability to impose his economic and political agenda.
- London copper was set to drop 2 percent for the week, with striking union members agreeing to return to work at the world's top copper mine, in Chile.
- U.S. soybeans fell 0.5 percent to hit a four-month low as ample global stocks continued to weigh on the oilseed, which was poised to finish the week in negative territory for a third consecutive week.

Mar 23 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Asia's high yield issuers are pushing out more deals, undeterred by the Trump-induced volatility seen in recent sessions in global credit markets. Xinjiang Guanghui, a Chinese energy and property firm, is out with a $200-$300 million 3-year bond shown at a yield of 8%. Zhuhai Huafa, also a mixed-purpose firm with a focus on property, is in the market with a $100 million 3-year tap of an existing deal, indicated at 3.75%. The China/Macau hotel and property firm Emperor International is marketing a 5-year deal, with a tranche in Hong Kong dollars (shown at 4.8%) and a tranche in dollars (indicated at 5.25%). Finally, the Indonesian agri-food concern Japfa Comfeed is seeking $100 million via a 5-year bond indicated at 5.875%. roceeds will refinance a 2018 bond with a 6% coupon.
- The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have issued a joint statement voicing their opposition to a possible Trump executive order which would call for the withdrawal and rewriting of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama policy to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. "Any attacks on the Clean Power Plan would move our nation in the wrong direction and put American prosperity at risk," the trio contends. "We will assert our own 21st-century leadership and chart a different course."
- Japanese stocks may struggle to gain due to continuing skepticism over U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to push through his legislative agenda, after the Japanese stock benchmark index posted the biggest loss since Nov. 9. Despite a modest recovery in the S&P 500 and Treasury yields, the dollar remained under pressure, which tends to be negative for Japanese stocks. Nikkei futures ended Wednesday's night session at 18920, compared with the earlier day-time close at 18910. Nikkei ended down 2.1% on Wednesday at 19041.38.
- Bank of Nova Scotia warned prior to the release of Canada's 2017 budget plan there would be little to get market participants excited. The firm's call proved prescient. Little in the budget changed the overall macro picture for Canada. The bulk of the budget was dominated by small measures, with tens of millions allocated over a number of years. In many ways, this was a placeholder budget for the Liberal government, until it gets a clearer sense where the Trump administration moves on trade and tax relief, and whether senior Republicans in Congress succeed with their proposed border-adjusted tax--which would hit Canadian exports and pose a blow to the trade-dependent economy.
- Bank stocks are losing steam as the "Trump trade" starts to unwind. Five of the six biggest US banks lost ground today, and Goldman Sachs (GS) shares fell 1% to $231.07. The exact triggers aren't clear, but a flattening of the yield curve -- with 10-year Treasuries yielding less relative to shorter-term debt -- is never kind to bank stocks. Plus, congressional Republicans are struggling to find enough support within their own ranks to pass a health-care bill, raising questions about their ability to push through tax reform, financial deregulation and other things that had sent bank stocks soaring after the election. KBW Nasdaq Bank Index is off 5% this week.
- A representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, took Starbucks to task for its promise to hire refugees, citing a study that showed brand perception levels dropped in the wake of the pledge, and criticized the company for being too political. CEO Howard Schultz said the company's stance on social issues "isn't based on politics but on principles and core beliefs" and that there is "zero evidence" of any effect to the brand or business "as a result of being compassionate."
- A big question this year is whether the equity-market euphoria and bond-market skepticism reflect the correct read on US policy risks. The equity market finally blinked Tuesday as difficult health-care negotiations continue to delay tax reform, says BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. It's unclear for now whether that warrants a more defensive credit stance, but volatility should be higher going forward, BofA says. "We should see more days like" Tuesday, when the Dow fell 1.1%, its biggest percentage point decline since October, it says. A stock-market correction is the biggest near-term risk to high-grade spreads, and one could be triggered by a rise in US policy risks, particularly related to tax reform, it says.
- Eurozone funds have continued to register net outflows in March as political uncertainty weighed during the month but the outcome of the Dutch election and the widening gap between French presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron and National Front leader Marine Le Pen could curb outflows from the eurozone, say BBVA analysts. BBVA also says investor appetite for emerging markets and U.S. has returned. For emerging markets, the upward trend in commodity prices and the cautious tone of U.S. Fed officials in tightening process has been supportive of inflows, even though last week oil prices dropped and the Fed's hike diminished the appetite. As for the U.S., inflows remained in both equity and bond funds, BBVA says.
- The alcohol industry is lobbying to stop Utah Gov. Gary Herbert from signing a bill lowering the state's legal threshold for drunken driving to a .05 blood-alcohol level from .08. Utah would be the first state to do so. The American Beverage Institute, an industry group, has opposed similar proposals in Hawaii and Washington state as part of a broader effort to push back against what the group has described as "an unprecedented and coordinated attack on moderate drinking." The group plans to run an ad in USA Today later this week, saying, "Utah: Come for Vacation, Leave on Probation."
- Alexander Acosta, Trump's nominee for Labor Secretary, pledges to follow the White House's order in reviewing a landmark retirement-advice rule, stressing that specific standards laid out in the president's executive order determine the Labor Department's approach to the rule. Speaking at a Senate confirmation hearing, Acosta says those three criteria are: Whether the rule reduces investment options, increases litigation and financially affects retiree investors. The Labor Department has proposed to delay the implementation of the rule from April 1 to give the department time to review the Obama-era regulation. Trump's executive action directs the department to repeal or revise the regulation--known as the fiduciary rule--if any of the criteria laid out in that executive order is found, Acosta says. "So that criteria really regulates and determines the Department of Labor's approach to the fiduciary rule," he says.
- Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri highlighted how the US shift toward protectionist trade policies could raise inflationary pressures in Canada. Schembri said during a speech in Vancouver on Wednesday that "inward looking" trade policies would dampen global trade and either directly or indirectly reduce Canadian exports and business investment. "Canada, however, has resisted this protectionist tilt," he said. Schembri points to recent changes to immigration policy and a new free trade agreement with the EU as positive steps aimed at increasing growth over the medium-to-long term.
- BMI stays bullish on the Mexican peso. After the peso strengthened around 15% to the US dollar since late January, Fitch believes the negative sentiment towards the currency in the wake of Trump's triumph in the US election is overdone. "Softening rhetoric towards trade with Mexico and Nafta by Trump administration officials reaffirm our view that Mexico will surprise to the upside this year, even if a trade deal has yet to materialize," BMI says. However, the firm sees some downside risks in the near term, as trade policy uncertainty will persist until the latter part of the year and renewed tensions can't be discounted. The peso is often used as a hedge, making it subject to bouts of financial volatility. BMI maintains its end-year forecast of 19.50 to the US dollar; the peso's currently at 19.08.
- Oil prices recovered from losses chalked up the session before, but the market remained under pressure as bloated U.S. crude inventories and rising output dampen OPEC-led efforts to curb global production.  
- Gold prices held below a 3-week peak hit in the prior session, as the dollar  recovered from seven-week lows and markets looked to see if U.S. President Donald Trump could push through a healthcare bill.  
- London copper crept higher, edging away from two-week lows hit the previous session as broader investor sentiment revived, while disruptions piled up in the zinc market.  
- U.S. soybeans edged lower as forecasts for ample global supplies kept the oilseed near a three-month low.

Mar 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (Dow Jones)
- The USD/JPY falls to the level in late November (and briefly hit 111.43 earlier Wednesday), in yet another sign that investors are growing skeptical about a spike in the U.S. yields and dollar on expectations for US President Donald Trump's stimulus plans, says Mizuho chief market economist Daisuke Karakama in a note. Purchasing power parity suggests the USD/JPY should trade within a 95-105, and Karakama says he "can't help feeling" that the USD/JPY will head towards this range. "We are still seeing excessive yen weakness/dollar strength at this stage," he says.
- The AUD/JPY is down 1.8% over the past 24 hours (to 85.49). This reflects a sudden change in market preference for safe-haven assets such as the yen over the currencies of major commodity producing countries the Australian dollar, which are closely linked to global growth expectations. The CAD/JPY is also down 1.2% to 83.43. Skepticism has grown over US President Donald Trump's ability to implement tax cuts and infrastructure projects, which could boost US growth and bolster commodity demand. This as Trump struggles to round up support for a health-care bill in Congress, prompting questions about lawmakers' support for his other, more stimulative, programs.
- Rubber futures slump in both Shanghai and Tokyo amid the broad risk-off trade which developed overnight as aspects of the Trump Trade unwind some. But Gu Jiong, an analyst at Yutaka Shoji, notes as rubber's market is smaller than others, moves are often exacerbated. The Tocom benchmark natural rubber contract is down 4.8% at Y250.3/kilogram; Gu says support stand around Y$245.
- The Aussie dollar's broad gains the past 3 months could be threatened by doubts about the Trump trade, says Greg McKenna at AxiTrader. "If markets are going to unwind the Trumponomics positivity, the Aussie dollar's rally is over" as the currency is seen as a proxy for global growth--specifically China's. It's down across the board in Asia trading, including 0.3% against the US dollar. It's gained 8% the past 3 months against the greenback.
- A proposed border tax by the current administration would drive the price of goods up and consumer spending down, says Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell. "At the end of the day in my mind, to tell American consumers, that they ought to pay 20% more for things like clothing and home goods, doesn't make any sense to me," he says at the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas. "I don't think that's a good path at all." He says that any time the cost of goods go up, it reduces demand. President Donald Trump has floated the idea of a border tax for imported goods in an effort to drive more manufacturing back to the US, something retailers have said would be disastrous.
- Twitter is pushing harder on violent extremism. In 2H, TWTR suspended 376,890 accounts for promoting terrorism. This represented about 60% of all accounts suspended for this reason since Aug. 1, 2015, TWTR says in a report. TWTR relied on its internal spam-fighting tools to find about three-quarters of the accounts suspended in 2H, according to the report. Fewer than 2% were dismantled at the request of government officials.
- Skittishness about the implementation of Trump's agenda will remain the focus for markets, and likely weigh on the AUD/USD on Wednesday, ANZ says. House Republican leaders are trying to pass a health bill this week, with Trump warning the GOP that it risks losing seats in 2018 if it doesn't follow through on campaign promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act. "With risk appetite at extended levels it is likely that the AUD will continue to move lower in the near term," ANZ says. "All eyes will be on global equities for a sentiment gauge." The AUD/USD is at 0.7688 early.
- After a brief break, bond yields renew their slides again hitting fresh session lows as US stocks  extend a selloff. The 10-year yield falls to near 2.42%, the lowest since the end of February when it traded below 2.4%. With short bets remaining elevated, further short covering is likely to propel the yield lower still as the Trump trade dials back. The yield is 2.423% vs. 2.472% Monday. Dow is down more than 200 points, or about 1.1%.
- The latest Republican tweaks to their House health-overhaul bill wouldn't mean major new effects for health insurers, analysts suggest. The big question remains: what will become law in the end? The picture is still muddy, but some push the safety of companies with limited exposure to the bill's effects, such as Humana and Aetna. JPMorgan thinks "the market remains too complacent about the possibility that Republicans can pass legislation that would materially reduce funding for Medicaid/exchange subsidies." Leerink makes similar recommendations, warning that investors need to worry about companies with big Medicaid exposure, such as Molina and Centene, as well as hospital stocks.
- The FTSE 100 closes 0.7% lower at 7378.34 at the end of a broadly negative day of trading for European stocks. A combination of stronger-than-expected UK inflation figures--released at 0930 GMT--and weaker US stocks has served to drive late sell-offs in Europe. The pound has risen 1% versus the dollar during the course of the day. IG attributes the fall to a cocktail of contributors, pointing to the ongoing spat between Trump and the FBI, a lower-oil-price-driven sell-off in the mining sector, and a Merrill Lynch report highlighting banks as being among the most popular fund manager investments. Wednesday sees Kingfisher results and eurozone current account data, due at 1000 GMT.
- The Trump Administration's broad mandates to roll back regulations across the government are posing unexpected challenges for routine aviation industry sessions to develop technical standards. Notice of meetings to carry out such everyday work must be published in the Federal Register, but in many cases the White House directives have held up those required public notices. As a result, participants at the meetings have been blocked from taking official action on standards ranging from battery safety to wake-turbulence calculations. "We're in uncharted territory," says Karan Hoffman, a manager with the Federal Aviation Administration's main technical advisory organization. A senior FAA official says "I have faith" the confusion and impediments to action will be resolved by the summer. Even high-level FAA policy advisory groups have been bogged down by the regulatory turbulence.
- Today's selloff in the dollar, stocks and commodities has taken the TD Securities Trump Trade Index to its lowest level since August. The index is comprised of ten components that have been sensitive to the political fortunes of President Trump, whose promises of ramped-up fiscal spending have helped boost everything from stocks and industrial metals to the US dollar. Its decline reflects growing doubts about how quickly the White House will be able to push through pledged infrastructure spending and tax cuts, analysts at TD Securities said. Among the Trump trade components in retreat today was the US dollar, which fell to its lowest level since November 11 as measured by the WSJ Dollar Index. Copper was down nearly 2% and the S&P 500 fell 0.7%.
- Oil prices dipped as rising crude stocks in the United States underscored an ongoing global fuel supply overhang despite an OPEC-led effort to cut output.
- Gold prices rose to a three-week high as risk-averse investors dumped equities amid a weaker dollar .
- London copper prices dropped along with other commodities on growing doubts about U.S. President Donald Trump's economic agenda.
- Chicago wheat slid for a third consecutive session, trading near the previous session's six-week low as forecasts for rain improved the prospects for the U.S. winter crop.

Mar 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- The FTSE 100 closes 0.07% higher at 7429.81 at the end of a day that was generally slightly negative for most other European bourses. London stocks close in the green partly thanks to the downtick in the pound versus euro and dollar, which followed the news that UK Prime Minister Theresa May is to trigger article 50 on March 29. Otherwise, it's been a quiet day with few results or data releases. No companies move by 2% or more, although UK banks move lower, and a 1% slip in the price of copper stings miners. Tuesday sees a glut of UK data, with producer-price index figures and consumer-price index data among those in the release.
- Morgan Stanley initiates coverage of Berkshire Hathaway with an equal-weight rating, arguing that "Berkshire's diverse businesses with sustainable competitive advantage should drive superior growth, but this is largely priced in after a 20% post-election run." Few analysts cover BRK despite the conglomerate's massive size because the company gives no special access to analysts and pays no dividends, making it less appealing to some investors. BRK could benefit from fiscal stimulus and tax reform, Morgan Stanley says, adding that a 20% corporate tax rate could boost BRK earnings by 14%.
- Egypt has received its first two oil shipments from Saudi Arabia's state giant Aramco after deliveries were suspended for several months, the country's oil minister Tarek El-Molla says. Cairo will receive another two deliveries towards the end of the month, he says. Saudi Arabia agreed in April to provide Egypt with 700,000 tons of refined oil products a month for five years, but Aramco stopped deliveries in early October amid political tensions between the two countries.
- New York state's attorney general--to date one of Trump's most vocal antagonists--is preparing to escalate his office's litigation against the president's administration. Democrat Eric Schneiderman has hired one of the top public-corruption prosecutors under former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara to focus specifically on issues involving the Trump administration. Howard Master, who prosecuted the Manhattan US attorney's case against longtime New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is expected to work on both continuing and new White House-related matters for the attorney general, as well as on high-level public-corruption cases.
- Heartwood Investment Management says it remains cautious on UK assets, and expects higher inflation to weigh on real income growth there this year. Britain will notify the EU on March 29 that it will begin the process of exiting the bloc, UK Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman says. That will mark "a period of ongoing uncertainty for UK businesses and markets," says Michael Stanes, investment director at Heartwood, a subsidiary of Swedish bank Handelsbanken. But it may also bring some relief that the process is finally underway, he says.
- Markets may be "too concerned" about the possibility of protectionist U.S. policies, according to David Hussey, managing director at Manulife Asset Management. Recent communications from a senior U.S. official suggest there's no way protectionism is on the agenda, he says, noting any changes will likely be marginal. "A light version of protectionism is most likely...it won't derail the equity story," he says.
- Oil prices rose on expectations that an OPEC-led production cut to prop up the market could be extended, while strong demand would also work to slowly erode a global fuel supply overhang.
- Gold prices edged lower, failing to break a key resistance but hovered near a two-week high hit in the previous session on prospects of a less-hawkish Federal Reserve policy.
- London copper prices fell on technical selling sparked by hopes unions and miner BHP Billiton would hold further talks that could lead to the restart of output at the world's biggest copper mine.
- Chicago wheat futures edged lower, easing for a second session after forecasts for much-needed rains for the U.S. Plains winter wheat crop.
- The dollar was on the defensive in Asian trading, after Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans reinforced the perception that the U.S. central bank won't accelerate the pace of its interest rate hikes.

Mar 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- US lawmakers are pushing for action after a government accountability report found lapses in oversight of antibiotic use in agriculture. Senators and representatives including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote to the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services to ask what steps are being taken to tighten data collection, drug labeling and farm-level investigations of foodborne illnesses. The report concluded that there were lapses in the way those agencies tracked the use of medically important antibiotics in food animals. Antibiotic resistance is considered a major threat to global health, and the CDC said that two million people people a year in the US alone get sick and 23,000 die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Inflows to US equity fund and exchange-traded funds in the week ended March 15 accelerated to the highest weekly pace since their peak in the week ended Nov. 16 following US elections, but inflows to fixed-income funds remained muted, says BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. In the latest week, $15.5B flowed into US equity funds, up from $8.7B in the prior week, while just $1.7B flowed into fixed-income funds, up from $1.3B in the prior week, it says. That moderate inflow was due to weaker flows into high-yield and leverage loans, which offset strong flows to high-grade and government bonds, it says.
- University of Michigan says the partisan divide in its consumer sentiment survey remains strong. Democrats had an expectations index of 55.3, signaling a deep recession, while Republicans had an index of 122.4, indicated an era of robust growth. "Optimism promotes discretionary spending, and uncertainty makes consumers more cautious spenders," Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, said. "This combination will result in uneven spending gains over time and across products."
- Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines is looking to list on the London Stock Exchange, but the move will likely be shelved as long as the US maintains sanctions against Tehran's missile program. Most sanctions over Iran's nuclear ambitions have been lifted, but a return of Iranian companies to the market for the first time since 1979 is still difficult. IRISL, has placed a $625M order to renew its ageing fleet of container and dry bulk vessels, but it has to spend as much as two times more to obtain the needed capacity to compete as an ocean going operator. IRISL executives are looking to the Milan Exchange as an alternative, but any listing is at least 18 months away.
- The past few months of trade pickup in Singapore could help bring Singapore's 2017 exports to expansion after 4 straight years of decline, but the protectionist threat looms large, United Overseas Bank says. "We are carefully watching the negative impact from the anti-globalization rhetoric that has been fueling developed markets' sentiments," it says, focusing in on the US. The US is the second-biggest destination of goods produced in Singapore and further protectionist measures will only hurt the path of Singapore's export recovery. The comments come after Singapore's main nonoil domestic exports rise 21.5% on year in February, the strongest on-year growth rate in 5 years.
- A border adjustment tax probably won't do drivers any favors, and it may not be good for Republicans either. The border adjustment has been discussed as part of a corporate tax overhaul proposed by House Republicans. If implemented, a border adjustment tax could push oil prices up $10 to $15 a barrel, said Ethan Bellamy, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. "If you get $10 higher WTI overnight, that could send gasoline prices higher and I think that's a threat to Republicans in the midterm election," he said while speaking at DUG Rockies, an oil and gas conference in Denver.
- Who in the Farm Belt wins under the Trump administration's budget proposal to trim about one-fifth of the USDA's annual budget? Stifel analysts think it could be big grain traders like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Stifel sees the cuts mainly targeting USDA's statistical capabilities, rather than meat plant inspections and crop research, which could reduce the flow of myriad agricultural data from Washington. And that could work in favor of companies that buy grain from farmers, who get an on-the-ground view into crop conditions and transport factors that can be hard for hedge funds and other financial speculators to match.
- House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D, Minn.) thinks President Trump just hung farmers out to dry. He's irked by the president's proposal to slash $4.7B from USDA's budget, including cutting staff at the agency's county offices, which help growers navigate a bevy of farm programs. "The good news is this budget will be ignored, as it should be," says Peterson, adding that the budget reflects a lack of understanding about the impact of USDA's programs in the Farm Belt. "I urge the Administration to spend more time in rural America to gain an understanding of how things work."
- House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway says that the Trump administration's budget could "hamper some vital work" undertaken for farmers by the USDA. "America's farmers and ranchers are struggling, and we need to be extremely careful not to exacerbate these conditions," the Texas Republican states. Conaway states that the current farm bill saved more than $100B. Discussions surrounding the 2018 farm bill are just getting underway in Washington.
- Oil prices fell, with already-bloated markets pressured by rising U.S. drilling activity and steady supplies from OPEC countries despite touted production cuts.
- Gold prices hit a two-week high as the dollar held near five-week lows reached in the previous session, finding support from the U.S. Federal Reserve's conservative guidance on the path of rate hikes this year.
- London copper slipped on jitters that Beijing would set down tougher measures to cool its housing sector, although trade was thin as markets digested the results of a meeting of G20 financial leaders.
- Chicago wheat hit its highest in a week on concerns over a lack of moisture for the U.S. winter crop.

Mar 17 - Oil prices were little changed in early Asian trade as the market looked for clues on how effectively OPEC production cuts are working to absorb a global supply overhang.
- Spot gold had edged down 0.1 percent to $1,224.90 per ounce.
- London copper was steady, remaining on course to mark its biggest weekly advance since mid-February on a weaker dollar and ongoing mine supply concerns.
- Chicago soybean futures lost ground with the market set for a second week of declines as a record Brazilian supplies hit the market and near-perfect weather in Argentina boosts supply prospects.

Mar 16 - Trump's pick to lead U.S. CFTC unveils major new policy agenda

The top U.S. derivatives regulator laid out plans on Wednesday for a sweeping overhaul of the agency that will include everything from cutting regulation to restructuring the unit that conducts surveillance for market abuses. In a wide-ranging policy speech that drew a rare standing ovation from more than 1,000 industry participants, Acting Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, who was nominated by President Donald Trump as permanent chairman late Tuesday, said it was time for the CFTC to "reinterpret its regulatory mission" by focusing on fostering economic growth, enhancing U.S. markets, and "right-sizing" its regulatory footprint. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Earlier dollar declines, which came after an expected U.S. interest rate increase, proved short-lived, as the currency recovered some of its losses in European trade. The Federal Reserve signalled a gradual increase in rates. Analysts said the dollar had fallen in a "buy the rumor, sell the fact" reaction. USD/JPY was last flat at 113.44, having hit a two-week low around 112.91. EUR/USD was last down 0.2% at $1.0711, having risen to a five-week peak of $1.0748. The euro also benefited from relief after the Dutch elections, where Prime Minister Mark Rutte saw off a challenge from the far-right PVV party. GBP/USD was down 0.3% at $1.2259, before a Bank of England decision at 1200 GMT. Overnight, the Bank of Japan left policy unchanged, as expected.
- Increased demand for exports from emerging markets will trump any protectionist measures against them, predicts Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust. "Stronger growth out of the United States will not come at the expense of emerging-market countries."
- Asked to predict the future, German manufacturers are split over what to expect from Trump's trade policies. But nearly 30% expect they will increase production levels stateside. A survey by Germany's Ifo Institute of 2,700 companies in the German manufacturing sector--46% of which export directly to America--found 45% of those surveyed expect new customs duties. Meanwhile, 37% anticipate other new trade barriers, 36% predict increases to current ones and 28% expect no change at all. (The survey allowed companies to enter more than one response). Of the manufacturers which export directly to America, 28% said they will likely produce more in the US or expand subsidiaries there once new trade policies are in place.
- Farm and agribusiness groups project confidence after officials from 11 organizations met with administration officials, including National Economic Council Director Cohn, on trade. Trump's tough talk on NAFTA and exit from the TPP stoked nervousness among farmers who helped put the real-estate magnate in office. But today's meeting made clear that the administration aims to expand US food and agriculture exports, say the groups--which representing growers and processors of soybean, corn, wheat and other crops. They estimate 95% of the potential customer base for their products lie outside the US.
- Wall Street is anticipating a slew of deals between television station owners if the FCC in a Trump administration seeks to change regulations regarding the size and reach of local broadcasters. One such move is reinstating the so-called UHF discount which would reduce the reach of a UHF station compared to a VHF station by 50%. That would mean broadcasters such as Sinclair Broadcast Group, 21st Century Fox and Nexstar Media Group that own a large amount of UHF stations and are near the national ownership cap that prohibits a company from reaching more than 39% of TV homes, would find new wiggle room. There's debate over whether the FCC or Congress has the power to change the rule.
- Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen calls the central bank's regulatory calendar "relatively light at this point," in a press conference following an interest rate increase and policy statement. She says the Fed doesn't have a lot of time-sensitive regulations on its docket at present and "there is nothing right now that we need to get out that is a significant rule." Many rules are on hold with the new administration, but her comments could still come as a surprise to those waiting for the specifics of the Fed's large counterparty exposure rule, which the central bank is expected to be finalizing soon. The Fed has been silent on its status, having already taken a series of industry comments since proposing it last March.
- Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that she would look at any proposals put forward by the Trump administration related to a "21st Century Glass-Steagall Act," but since the administration has not put forward any such proposal, she did not see anything "concrete to react to." She did say that postcrisis financial regulations had helped to ensure that the shadow banking system was "appropriately capitalized," and their "management was strengthened." She noted that a lack of a separation between investment and commercial banking at bank holding companies had not been a primary cause of the financial crisis.
- Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen says the Fed does not currently have any "time-sensitive" regulations that "need to get out." In response to a question about whether the Fed would abide by the requests of some congressional Republicans to refrain from issuing new rules, Yellen says that the Fed has "an obligation to write the rules that Congress dictates in laws that they pass."
- Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen says she had a brief meeting with President Trump, though she didn't offer any details about what they discussed. Speaking at a press conference following the Fed's two-day policy meeting, Yellen said she had met a couple of times with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and was introduced to President Trump. "I had a very brief meeting and appreciated that as well," she said of her interaction with Trump. Yellen said she and Mnuchin had "very good discussions" about the economy, regulatory objectives, the work of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and global economic developments.
- To comply with government ethics rules, Donald Trump's cabinet and White House appointees must sell more than $1B in assets, much of which are relatively hard-to-sell holdings such as stakes in private-equity funds. Luckily for fund-stake sellers, such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, there's never been a better time to sell second-hand private-equity investments. Once an arcane bargain bin, the market for so-called secondaries has become a hot corner for Wall Street. Investment bank Greenhill estimates there is more than $100B of uninvested cash in secondaries funds. DeVos's for-sale fund stakes, which ethics filings show are worth at least $175M, is right around the average size of secondaries deals last year, according to Greenhill. "There are 100 firms that could purchase this portfolio," says Greenhill's Stephen Sloan, who says the investments should attract wide interest when they are shopped.
- The rate increase announced by the Fed was fully expected, but doesn't necessarily signal a campaign of further hikes through 2017, says Peter Andersen, chief investment officer at Boston advisory firm Fiduciary Trust Company. The Fed will continue to be data dependent, "modeling the impact of future US economic data, but also what's going on in Europe--Brexit progress, and the elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany," Andersen says. Those elections are traditionally outside the Fed's immediate focus, but surprises in Europe could impact the U.S. economy, he says.
- Pacific Alliance, a group of four pro-trade Latin American countries, announced this week they are looking to deepen commerce with other nations by creating associated members, leading to free trade deals. And the first country that could sign a deal with the group could be New Zealand, officials say. "We think the time is right for New Zealand and the Pacific Alliance to do a trade deal," said New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay. "We are complimentary economies... New Zealand is very much a stepping stone now to Southeast Asia." The Pacific Alliance includes Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo agreed that New Zealand would be a good first choice for signing a trade deal with the group.
- President Donald Trump is asking Congress for billions of dollars in new spending for his promised border wall with Mexico and stepped up immigration enforcement, with new money requested for officers, jails, judges and lawyers.The administration's funding request will come in two parts. First, the White House is asking Congress for money for the current fiscal year -- what's known as a supplemental request. That will include $1.5 billion to design and begin building a wall with Mexico this year, officials said. It is also expected to include about the same amount for other immigration enforcement. Then, for the coming 2018 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, the administration is asking for more than $4.5 billion in new spending.
- Crude oil prices rose to extend gains from the previous session after official government data showed U.S. stockpiles had eased from record highs.
- Gold hit a one-week high after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled a cautious stance on interest rate policy this year, pushing the dollar to its lowest in a month.  
- London copper hit its highest in more than one week as the dollar dropped after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected but showed no signs of speeding up its pace of tightening.
- Chicago wheat futures rose for a second session, buoyed by a weaker dollar and concerns over potentially crop-damaging cold and dry weather in the United States.
- The euro stood tall after Dutch election exit polls pointed to a comfortable win by the prime minister over his far-right rival, while the dollar wallowed at a one-month low after the Federal Reserve sounded less hawkish than anticipated on future rate rises.

Mar 15 - Trump to nominate CFTC acting head Giancarlo as permanent chairman

President Donald Trump plans to nominate J. Christopher Giancarlo to lead theCommodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulatortasked with policing the massive over-the-counter derivatives market, the White House said on Tuesday. Giancarlo, a Republican, has been acting chairman of the CFTC since Jan. 20 and was widely expected to be tapped for the permanent position of chairman. He became a CFTC commissioner in 2014.

Mar 15 - Oil prices rebounded from three-month lows after industry data showed a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles and as Goldman Sachs put a positive spin on OPEC's compliance with output cuts.
- Gold prices edged up on uncertainty over the outcome of the Dutch elections, while markets awaited clues on the pace of U.S. interest rate hikes this year.
- London copper marked time ahead of the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that is expected to dictate the direction of the dollar, with dissipating concerns over mine supply dragging on prices for the metal.
- U.S. soybean prices rose for the first time in eight sessions to pull away from their lowest in nearly three months, though expectations of plentiful South American supply capped gains.

Mar 14 - Crude oil prices hovered near three-month lows in Asian trading, with investors waiting for key reports and data that may shed light on a supply overhang in the global market.
- Gold prices were steady as investors awaited the start of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting where the central bank is widely expect to raise interest rates.
- London copper edged higher on expectations of stronger demand for the metal after China, the world's biggest copper user, reported better-than-forecast industrial output data and fixed-asset investment figures.
- U.S. soybean prices dropped to a two-month low, dragged down by expectations for record South American production in a global market that is already amply supplied.
- The dollar inched up against a basket of currencies as U.S. Treasury yields extended their rise ahead of an expected interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve.

Mar 13 - Oil prices dropped to their lowest in three months despite OPEC efforts to curb crude output, dragged down as U.S. drillers kept adding rigs.
- Gold prices inched up on safe-haven demand ahead of elections in Europe, moving further away from 5-week lows touched late last week in expectation of an imminent rise in U.S. interest rates.
- London copper futures rose for a second straight session, propped up by a firmer euro and supply disruption concerns following an indefinite workers' strike at Peru's top copper miner.
- U.S. soybean prices inched away from two-month lows touched in the previous session, though gains were checked by forecasts of ample South American supply.

Mar 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- As the Republican health-overhaul plan threatens the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion over time, analysts at Stifel do a rundown of how many expansion members each Medicaid managed-care company currently has. The counts: Centene has around 1.1 million people, driving an estimated $4.5 billion in premiums. At Molina, it is around 673,000 lives, $2.8 billion in premiums. For WellCare, the counts are 200,000 people and around $720 million in premiums. The Republican bill would dial back federal funding for new expansion enrollees after two years.
- Analysts see a silver lining for Medicaid managed-care companies if Republicans pass their health overhaul--while Medicaid enrollment could shrink, states might increasingly turn to managed-care companies as they seek to hold costs down. The new approach would switch federal Medicaid payments, which go to states, to a per-capita sum. Analysts at J.P. Morgan say "Medicaid HMOs have 2020 enrollment risk that may be offset by longer-term market share acceleration driven by block grants." Stifel favors Centene as "a beneficiary of private sector solution trends already under way in Medicaid."
- Standard & Poor's said "it's difficult to overstate" Medicaid's importance to state budgets and House GOP plans to replace the Affordable Care Act "would result in fiscal strain that would increase over time." States would see less federal Medicaid funding under the proposal, the ratings firm said. For those eligible for Medicaid as a result of the ACA, proposed changes would leave states to find more money to keep them insured or force states to eliminate the coverage, said S&P. Hospital associations said they cannot support the ACA replacement legislation because of risk to insurance coverage.
- Craig Phillips, a former managing director of BlackRock has been named counselor to the US Treasury Secretary overseeing financial policy and regulatory reform, the Treasury Department said. That puts Phillips in a key role in the early days of the Trump administration, when other important Treasury Department posts remain unfilled. Phillips was a donor to Democrats in 2016 but also has become a key advisor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and has experience in Washington having run a government advisory business for BlackRock.
- Fewer people will have health insurance under the House Republican blueprint to replace the Affordable Care Act, a "credit negative" for hospitals, said Moody's Investors Service. Federal Medicaid funding under the GOP proposal likely won't keep pace with the program's costs "forcing states to make changes that would likely be credit negative for hospitals, including lowering payments to hospitals and other providers, reducing coverage or benefits and reducing targeted payments to safety net hospitals," Moody's said. Consumers who get smaller subsidies to buy insurance under the Republican proposal will likely drop coverage, Moody's said.
- PHH, a mortgage lender challenging the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a new court filing today that the agency had "many constitutional problems" and must be shut down entirely. Ahead of a re-hearing in May of a high-profile court case, PHH responded to a request from judges to address questions including whether the CFPB's single-director structure was unconstitutional, and if so, how it should be resolved. An earlier court decision declared its independent structure unconstitutional but said it could be remedied by giving the president power to remove the agency's director at will. The US appeals court is scheduled May 24 to re-hear the case, now entangled in a bitter partisan fight over the agency's future.
- Hedge funds and other speculative investors boosted bullish bets on the dollar to $15.6B in the week through March 7, rising from $12.8B the previous week, CFTC data shows. It's the first meaningful increase in long dollar bets since the start of the year, when investors began to doubt the so-called "Trump trade" that had sent the greenback to 14-year-highs after the November election. Investors are growing optimistic on the dollar again as the Fed indicates it will raise interest rates next week. In other currencies, investors added to bets against the euro, Japanese yen and British pound. Speculators remained bullish on the Canadian dollar and Australian dollar.
- The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association wants a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence and other top Trump officials to discuss trade and other policies. The industry group, in a letter to Pence dated March 1, said it "strongly supports the administration's vision of strengthening manufacturing jobs throughout the US." MEMA requested a meeting with Pence "in the very near future," to confer with him on trade issues, tax reform and regulatory streamlining. The North Carolina-based lobbying group also petitioned Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross for a meeting in a separate letter co-signed by 53 parts suppliers, including Delphi Automotive Plc, Denso Corp. and Robert Bosch GmbH.
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau repeated a warning today about a border adjusted tax he gave at the CERAWeek conference last night in Houston. He told reporters, "Extra barriers or impediments to the smooth flow of goods would hurt our businesses, and limit our capacity to continue to be extraordinarly competitive as a North American entity on the world stage." Some market watchers believe Canada could get an exemption from Washington on the proposed levy on imports, once renegotiations on Nafta begin, given the close supply-chain integration between two economies.
- Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, selected by President Trump to head the administration's manufacturing council, said Trump is acting aggressively to reinvigorate manufacturing in the US. Speaking at the CERAWeek conference by IHS Markit, Liveris said the administration would take executive action next week to further that effort. He also said that managing workers displaced by automation and technology are one of the thornier issues facing the initiative. He cited private investment in re-education for displaced workers and in programs to provide alternative routes for students to a four-year degree as part of the solution. Liveris, who steered DOW to invest in operations around the world, also said globalization had left some workers behind and companies must better integrate them into the global economy.
- US annual budget deficit remained near its highest level in three years during February amid weaker growth in federal revenues. Government spending exceeded revenues by $192B in February. Broader measures show the deficit is rising as government revenues decline and long-term costs associated with an aging population rise. Over the past 12 months, the deficit stood at 3.1% as a share of the economy. A year earlier, that figure stood at 2.2% of gross domestic product. One big factor weighing on government finances is weak corporate profits tied to a sluggish global economy, a depressed energy sector, a strong dollar and other factors. Government revenues declined 1.1% in the past 12 months compared with the prior year while spending rose 3.8%.
- Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Cornyn of Texas, states that are major fossil fuel producers, say they believe human activity is having a major impact on climate change, a stance that puts them at odds with the Trump Administration. Scott Pruitt, the newly minted EPA head, said Thursday he did not believe carbon dioxide emissions are driving global warming. "I have no doubt that humans impact the climate," Cornyn said at the CERAWeek conference by IHS Markit in Houston. Murkowski, also at the conference, said climate change has had a dramatic effect in her state. But both senators said the federal government should not mandate emission reductions, but instead allow private sector innovation to address the issue.

Mar 10 - Crude prices inched up after dropping to their lowest in more than three months the session before, pressured by concerns that a global supply glut is proving stubbornly persistent.
- Gold fell below the key level of $1,200 an ounce and was on track for its worst week in four months, pressured by a stronger dollar ahead of the closely-watched U.S. non-farm payrolls report due later in the day.
- London copper steadied after six straight sessions of decline but was on track to log its steepest weekly loss since August after an influx of deliveries into exchange warehouses this week doused near-term supply concerns.
- Chicago soybean futures were poised for a weekly decline, pressured by forecasts of a record Brazilian crop.

Mar 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Emirates Airline President Tim Clark says the airline will go forward with a planned flight starting this month linking Athens and Newark. Some New York and New Jersey lawmakers have appealed to President Donald Trump to block the route. "We are not changing it," Mr. Clark says, adding ""we have breached no terms of the air services agreement that allows us to do that."
- Welcome back to the 1980s. Peter Navarro, director of the White House's National Trade Council, tells The Wall Street Journal in an interview that Donald Trump's administration will push Japan to buy more US-made goods to fix trade imbalances. The remark is almost certain to make waves in Tokyo's policy circle, where many have grown nervous about the possible revival of bilateral trade friction. The memories of it remain fresh in the minds of many Japanese --such as calls in the mid-1980s by Yasuhiro Nakasone, then prime minister, on consumers to each spend $100 on US goods.
- U.S. coal usage has been under pressure for years because of cheap natural gas. It's something closely watched by David Tudor, CEO of the Associated Electric Cooperative, which uses coal to generate much of the electricity it provides its members. He thinks coal will see more competition, particularly from wind turbines, and says many peers already have closed coal-fired power plants. But he also sees a possible reprieve on the horizon given the recent presidential election. "Who knows what's going to come out of the EPA or the Trump administration," Mr. Tudor said while speaking at CERAWeek, an energy conference in Houston. "Maybe we've just gotten lucky ... . Worst case, we've gained four years."
- GE Capital executive David Nason's withdrawal from the race for Federal Reserve Vice Chair in charge of bank oversight leaves big banks still in limbo over who will be their top overseer. Cowen's Jaret Seiberg says the development opened the doors for less pragmatic candidates who might crack down on big banks. KBW's Brian Gardner says Nason was probably sunk because of his ties to "Never-Trumper" former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Team Trump could still pick a moderate. The White House says it still has "many candidates". Meanwhile, banks will keep guessing.
- A survey shows 34% of Japanese corporate executives expect U.S. President Donald Trump to have a "more positive than negative" effect following his economic stimulus proposals. According to a Nikkei survey conducted Feb. 15-March 3 covering 140 major Japanese companies, the ratio of positive responses, including a solid "positive," rose by 9.6 percentage points from the previous survey, which was conducted before Trump's inauguration. But 36% replied Trump would have a "negative" or "more negative than positive" impact on their businesses. Of a total of 71 companies with operations in Mexico, 94% said there was no change to their plans to invest there.
- With the White House embroiled in various controversies, choosing the next NASA administrator and the top deputy has slid to the back burner. But on both sides of Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers continue to advocate that Rep James Bridenstine, a GOP member from Oklahoma, get the agency's top job. Sen Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who chairs a subcommittee with NASA oversight responsibilities, is among those recently talking up such a nomination. Praising the Oklahoma legislator as "a smart, talented and principled leader," Sen Cruz said he would bring "tremendous leadership" to the job. But even the staunchest supporters acknowledge it's hard to read what President Trump ultimately will decide.
- The federal board overseeing Puerto Rico's finances called for emergency spending cuts to correct a cash shortfall. The financial oversight board installed by Congress says that the territory could face a $190M deficit by July and had understated expenses this year by as much as $810M. Money for pensions, schools and police could run out "in a matter of months," the board said in a letter to pro-statehood Gov. Ricardo Rossello. The board urged the governor to put public employees on furlough and slash government contracts. The governor had previously declined many of the board's proposed austerity measures as he seeks to renegotiate $70B in debt.
- Stock market gains over the last few months have been driven more by economic data than any expectations for US policy under the new administration, according to Valentijn Van Nieuwenhuijzen at NN Investment Partners. Levels of activity, improvement in the labor market and inflationary trends are better than we have seen in recent years, while capex and productivity are coming back a little bit, he says. This means stocks should be resilient even if President Trump disappoints on deregulation or infrastructure spending. "We're convinced the rally we've seen in equity markets is not a Trump rally, its an economic data rally related to improved earnings momentum," he says.
- The confirmation hearing for Labor Secretary nominee Alex Acosta is set for March 15, according to the Senate committee overseeing the process. The 1:30 pm hearing will give senators a chance to quiz Acosta, a long-time federal attorney and law school dean, on his views of labor policy. Acosta is President Trump's second choice for the job. Fast-food executive Andrew Puzder dropped out amid personal controversies. The Labor post is among the last cabinet positions left unfilled. If Acosta is confirmed, his agenda is expected to be amending Obama-era regulations, such as the expansion of overtime eligibility and rules governing financial advisers.

- Oil prices climbed after sharp losses the session before, buoyed by strong compliance with touted international production cuts, although a surge in U.S. crude inventories continued to drag.
- Gold prices inched down to the lowest level in five weeks, pressured by an uptick in the dollar ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday.
- London copper fell after solid U.S. jobs data increased the likelihood of an interest rate hike this month and on signs that disruption at the world's biggest copper mine may soon ease.
- U.S. soybeans fell for a fourth consecutive session to hit a two-week low amid expectations of ample South American production.

Mar 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- The confirmation hearing for Labor Secretary nominee Alex Acosta is set for March 15, according to the Senate committee overseeing the process. The 1:30 pm hearing will give senators a chance to quiz Acosta, a long-time federal attorney and law school dean, on his views of labor policy. Acosta is President Trump's second choice for the job. Fast-food executive Andrew Puzder dropped out amid personal controversies. The Labor post is among the last cabinet positions left unfilled. If Acosta is confirmed, his agenda is expected to be amending Obama-era regulations, such as the expansion of overtime eligibility and rules governing financial advisers.
- Private-prison operator GEO Group says it will sell 6 million of its shares as it capitalizes off a share run-up in recent months. GEO shares have grown 87% from before election day through Tuesday. Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked an Obama administration directive to gradually reduce the number of contracts with for-profit prison operators, saying it would interfere with meeting the demands of the prison population. GEO is selling its shares at $41.75 per share and would raise about $250.5M. Shares fell 4% to $42.95, still well above the levels they were at before the Obama-administration directive knocked them from about $30 to below $20.
- A report out today from LinkedIn says January and February together were "the strongest consecutive months for hiring since August and September 2015." That finding caught the attention of the White House, with President Donald Trump tweeting it out this morning on his @realDonaldTrump account. "Two months doesn't make a trend, but it seems like the stronger hiring is being driven by elevated business confidence due to the new administration's promises to lower taxes and reduce regulations," LinkedIn said. "It's unclear if this trend is sustainable, or merely a temporary blip on the radar, but we're keeping an eye on it." Labor Department will release its official February jobs report on Friday morning and the ADP private payrolls data is out shortly.
- Is Donald Trump making separation of powers great again? A former top German politician said as much Tuesday night, giving America's institutions a vote of confidence and suggesting that their strength means one shouldn't be too worried about the new president. "With regard to America, I'm not as concerned as others," said Friedrich Merz, a one-time rival to Angela Merkel in her center-right CDU party. Mr. Merz now serves as Chairman of Blackrock in Germany and chairs the Atlantik-Bruecke, a non-profit organization that promotes US-German relations. "The separation of powers in America is working, the media is working," he said. He noted that the FBI had contradicted President Trump, adding that such action would be "unimaginable" in Russia or Turkey. "Separation of powers is made for people like Trump," he quipped. Mr. Merz spoke Tuesday night to a club of journalists in Frankfurt.
- Asian credit markets are seeing some selling Wednesday as traders reconsider the robustness of the Trump reflation trade. "The trend in global credit is profit taking with some concern that people have become too optimistic about the growth outlook in the US, because Trump is getting too distracted," says a bond strategist, referring to Trump allegations that former President Obama tapped Trump's phone calls. The yield on Singapore 10-year government bonds rises 5 basis points, and those for local currency China government bonds gain 1 basis point. The yield on offshore bonds for Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com tightened about 4 basis points after Moody's on Tuesday placed the issuer on review for an upgrade. Citi on Tuesday said it would include Chinese domestic bonds in some of its emerging markets indexes. This is having little impact on bonds as yet, said the strategist, as the inclusion is only expected to take about a year.
- The Singapore dollar is flat against the US dollar as the greenback gave up some of its overnight gains amid cautious trade ahead of Friday's jobs report and next week's FOMC meeting. "We expect good data print to keep USD supported, but further USD upside will require more-concrete details from Trump's fiscal-spending and tax-cut plans and further upside revision to" the dot plot, says Maybank. The greenback is at S$1.4107, versus Tuesday's close of S$1.4109.
- The leader of the nation's largest federation of labor unions used an audience on Tuesday with US President Donald Trump to push for polices aimed at improving workers' wages. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he discussed trade, infrastructure and issues facing workers, including stagnant wages and jobs going overseas. "I also talked to the president about policies that allow Wall Street and corporations to take advantage of workers while lowering wages and stripping workers of rights," Trumka said in a statement released by the federation. The union president was a vocal supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton last year. But Trump won one-time union strongholds of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in November's election. He has made an outreach to unions since arriving in the White House. The president hosted leaders of construction workers unions in the Oval Office during his first week on the job.

- Oil futures fell in Asian trade after industry data pointed to a potential ninth straight week of inventory builds, renewing concerns about an oversupply of oil despite output curbs by OPEC and non-OPEC members.
- Gold prices inched up, but remained near four-week lows hit in the previous session as expectations for a U.S. rate hike in March gathered momentum.
- The dollar was a touch lower, its modest advance from the previous day bogging down as investors started to take a wait-and-see attitude ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs report.
- London copper climbed as traders took profit on short positions ahead of China trade data, after large inventory flows into exchange warehouses sent prices to a five-week low.
- U.S. soybean futures edged lower, with expectations of silo-bursting Brazilian supplies keeping prices near their lowest in more than a week.

Mar 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Food retailers could reap the most from Trump administration tax policies among companies in the consumer-staples sectors, says CFRA Research. Kroger, Whole Foods and Sprouts all have high effective-tax rates without significant exposure to foreign markets and imports, which the president is targeting. KR's tax rate of 33% is well below Trump's proposed 15% levy on corporate profits, for example.
- A majority of business-travel managers say the Trump travel bans have heightened their awareness of threats during trips abroad. In a poll of 125 corporate travel managers by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, 55% of respondents said they travel with a greater sense of fear when they leave the US. Some 22% said employees traveling for business have reported delays or harassment crossing the US border since the initial travel ban was issued in January. On Monday, President Donald Trump signed a revised, less ambitious version of the ban that blocks new visas for people living in six Muslim-majority countries and suspends admission of refugees to the US. The ACTE poll was conducted after the revised ban.
- Canadian PM Justin Trudeau plans to dine Wednesday evening in Toronto with executives and board members of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, according to an itinerary released by his office. No further details were made available. Trudeau and BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink met roughly a year ago when the Canadian leader was in New York. Fink also has close ties to Dominic Barton -- the McKinsey managing director and Liberal government economic adviser. Trudeau's BlackRock dinner comes as Canada set to unveil 2017 budget plan on March 22. Among the features expected in budget plan is details related to launch of a promised infrastructure bank, which requires capital from private-sector investors to get off the ground. US data indicate investors, much like BlackRock, committed $59B last year to private infrastructure funds.
- Senator Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D, Calif.) reintroduced a bill aimed at allowing Wells Fargo customers who were impacted by the bank's sales practices scandal to sue, rather than being forced into arbitration. Customers typically signed contracts containing clauses requiring them to take complaints to private arbitration instead of court, which can be less favorable to individuals. Legislators pressed the bank to allow customers to sue and in December introduced legislation that would allow them to bypass arbitration. The bill was reintroduced into a new administration. It will work with a new oversight rule from the CFPB to boost protections for consumers. This bill would allow customers impacted by the WFC sales tactics to go to court even if they signed contracts that included arbitration.
- Argentina's economy will be growing by 3% in 2Q 2017 and by 4% by the time mid-term elections take place in October, says Ramiro Castineira, head of Econometrica, an economic research firm. Growth in 4Q "will depend on the results of the election," Castineira says. Such growth would likely favor President Mauricio Macri and his "Let's Change" coalition, which is seeking to expand its minority presence in Congress.
- The discussion over federal tax reform, particularly a border adjustment tax, is being watched closely by ConocoPhillips. COP CEO Ryan Lance, speaking at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, said he thinks the Trump administration will facilitate the expansion of the US oil industry, but worries about a border adjustment tax that could disproportionately affect certain sectors, like oil and gas. "You can't have haves and have nots," Lance said. "Don't make us be the ones to pay for it in terms of tax reform."
- Colombian officials are scrambling to show the world they are continuing their tough crackdown on narcotics after an embarrassing increase in the cultivation of coca - the plant that is the base for cocaine - was recorded in a recent U.S. study. On Tuesday, Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas met with US officials, including William Brownfield, assistant secretary of the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and vowed that Colombia would continue its aggressive interdiction program that he noted has cost many Colombian lives. He also asked for continued US assistance in controlling demand. "What needs to be done is to coordinate with the US so there is success in the fight against consumption," he said. Last year, according to the US report, the amount of coca being grown in Colombia grew by 42%, to 392,900.00 acres.
- European pharmaceutical stocks slipped after President Donald Trump tweeted that he was working on a "new system where there will be competition in the drug industry" that would get drug prices "way down." Trump has previously made his ambition to curb drug prices clear, but is yet to provide details on how he will do so, and pharma stocks fell less dramatically than they have done following earlier drug price-related tweets from the President. Biggest fallers are Novartis, down 1.7% and Novo Nordisk, down 1.4%.
- Gluskin Sheff's chief economist David Rosenberg isn't buying the momentum story in Canada's economy. Despite a string of better-than-anticipated indicators, Toronto-based Rosenberg tells clients there are myriad reasons why the outlook remains cloudy. Among his arguments: capital spending is tepid, as firms remain on tenterhooks about Trump administration changes to trade; private-sector demand was flat in 4Q once government spending, net exports and inventories were stripped out; and households are tapped-out and debt-constrained in an "unprecedented" way. There's absolutely nothing going on domestically in the Canadian economy "worth writing home about," he says.
- Democratic senators write to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt urging him to leave be agency's final determination in Obama administration's waning days locking in tougher vehicle-emissions standards requiring auto makers to sell cars and trucks averaging 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025. "These automobile emissions standards are economically feasible and technologically achievable for the auto industry," they write in letter, part of effort led by Sen Edward Markey (D, Mass) a longtime industry critic. Letter also signed by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York and Sen Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Letter comes as EPA moves toward putting aside final determination and reopening a review of the standards, which opponents view as a prelude to rolling them back.
- President Trump says in a Tweet he is working on a plan to bring down drug prices through competition. "There will be competition in the Drug Industry," he tweets. It is unclear what the president has in mind. Evercore ISI notes that there already is competition for many branded and generic products in formularies for Medicare's Part D drug benefit. Evercore ISI asks whether the president has in mind introducing such a formulary to Part B. "Reality is, we just don't know until something definitive is put out," Evercore says.
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' chief executive is looking to President Trump to boost US exports to China, where foreign-made vehicles face a steep tariff. "The problem is one of establishing proper trade levels between the US and China. Cars are one piece of it," CEO Sergio Marchionne told The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show. Marchionne said trade barriers prevent his company from exporting more premium Jeeps from the US to China. "Obviously it's choked a lot of our upper-end business in China. We should sell a lot more Grand Cherokees in China, which are built in the US," he said. Noting FCA has localized production of entry and mid-level Jeep SUVs in the Chinese market, the CEO said it was a difficult issue for one company to tackle. "We'll leave it to Mr. Trump," he said.

- Oil prices were little changed for a third session, with investors searching for direction as concern over rising U.S. shale output offsets production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC members.
- Gold prices were little changed, hovering above a two-week low hit on Friday, amid expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike this month and ahead of key economic data due later in the week.
- The dollar steadied as investors widely expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week and are waiting for clues on the likely pace of hikes, including this week's U.S. job data.
- London copper edged up, but was still near one-month lows struck after heavy inflows into London Metal Exchange (LME)warehouses doused supply concerns from disruptions at major mines.
- U.S. wheat rose for a third day  as forecasts for potential unfavourable weather pushed the grain near a 18-day high.

Mar 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- President Trump was scheduled to meet with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai this afternoon, but White House officials were vague about the possible topics. Trump was sitting down with Pai "to discuss how to best solve the issues and concerns facing Americans every day," according to a White House official. That suggests a number of potential subjects, from rollbacks of Obama-era privacy and net neutrality restrictions to broadband infrastructure incentives and robocall blocking. Pai also is thought to be under consideration for another term on the 5-member FCC. The panel has two vacancies currently. Trump met with a number of his agency appointees on Monday.
- Senator Daniel Sullivan said he will soon introduce a bill to reform the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, which governs the permitting process for major energy infrastructure projects. Among the reforms to the permitting system in the forthcoming legislation, the Alaskan Republican said there would be proposed changes to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which issues permits for major energy projects like natural gas pipelines. He said the bill would be comprehensive and aimed at providing certainty and defined timelines to the permitting process but provided few details about specific changes. Sullivan said he wants to eliminate the "mountain of paperwork" generated by the process and give responsibility for permits to one federal agency. He said he had discussed the bill with President Trump and wants to build broad support for it, including from labor unions.
- Senator Daniel Sullivan says he will soon introduce the Rebuild America Now Act to reform the country's regulatory and permitting system for infrastructure projects. The Alaskan Republican announced the legislation during the annual CERAweek conference in Houston. Speaking to a room full of energy executives, Sullivan said he was optimistic the US is on the cusp of a "energy industry renaissance." He said the Trump Administration wants to partner with energy companies to reform a broken permitting system. The forthcoming legislation will be aimed at streamlining and quickening the permitting process for energy infrastructure projects, Sullivan said.
- Despite President Trump's scaled-back travel order, the restaurant industry is still concerned about its economic impact. "We must balance our safety and security with the importance of the economic contributions of travel and tourism to our country as we are already seeing negative effects the previous executive order is having on our economy," Cicely Simpson, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association, says.
- J Christopher Giancarlo, the acting CFTC chairman, just tapped a new general counsel for the top US swaps regulator: Daniel Davis of the law firm Proskauer Rose. The move is significant because it's Giancarlo's first hire from outside the agency and another signal that the acting CFTC chief is expected to become the Trump administration's full-time chief by hiring agency outsiders for top roles. Trump administration is preparing to nominate Giancarlo for the full-time role, though the timing of any announcement is unclear, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported.
- The Trump administration's potential changes in tax deductions for interest expenses may incentivize U.S. companies to repatriate cash and use it for bond buybacks amounting up to 3% of outstanding debt, Axa Investment Managers strategists say. This translates to $250 billion of buybacks, or up to a third of annual dollar investment grade corporate bond net supply. And it would provide a degree of technical support comparable to non-domestic demand for dollar investment grade bonds in 2016, the strategists add.
- Auto makers walking a fine line on emissions regulations, lobbying Trump administration for changes without undoing a "one national program" of near-uniform rules they've long coveted, people familiar with the matter say. Car executives and lobbyists have asked to reopen a midterm review of future targets for 2025. Review was closed by Obama administration a week before Trump's inauguration. But EPA officials also now taking harder look at waiver allowing California to both set its own greenhouse-gas tailpipe emissions regulations and enforce another zero-emissions vehicle program. Car makers currently wary of EPA moving to revoke California waiver amid industry lobbying efforts to win changes to federal emissions regulations to which state now adheres, the people say. California
cooperation avoids patchwork of state rules around US that industry loathes.
- Trump's trade tsar Peter Navarro, at a NABE policy conference, signals how the administration might call out China in its next currency report due out in mid April. That's been a quandary for the Treasury Department given the president has repeatedly called Beijing an FX manipulator even though the country has spent a $1 trillion to keep the yuan afloat. Navarro differentiated between the value of the exchange rate and manipulation. The administration can technically say China is manipulating given that it still controls the currency's value. He acknowledged capital outflows are putting downward pressure on the yuan, but said that was a secondary pressure. The primary pressure that should exert itself over time, he says, is the US trade deficit with China: Evidence the exchange rate should still adjust upward.
- CERAWeek added a high-ranking Trump Administration official to the massive energy conference's line up this week in Houston. Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA, will speak at the energy conference on Thursday. In past years federal officials like the head of the EPA and US Energy Secretary have been mainstays at the annual energy confab, but until this weekend no Trump pick had agreed to participate. Pruitt will surely be a hot ticket when he talks because the energy sector is eagerly awaiting clarification about how the EPA will implement--or scale back--regulations that effect emissions into the air and water. Many in the oil and gas space have cheered the idea of rolling back regulations, while others in the renewable power and technology side could see business negatively impacted if the EPA changes direction.
- President Donald Trump's proposal to spend $1 trillion to improve U.S. infrastructure could be the biggest mover of oil prices, if solid evidence emerges that it is likely to come to fruition, says Jonathan Chan, a commodities analyst at Phillip Futures. "But it remains to be seen what President Trump will do and can do to push through the plan," he says. Mr. Chan adds that even though the market will also be closely watching for any possible extension of OPEC's output-cut deal, traders can expect that the cost of oil will largely be influenced by fundamentals and Saudi Arabia's eagerness to push up prices before listing its state-owned energy company.
- Amid today's modest pullback in Asian trading for the dollar, "a risk-off sentiment, along with a chances of an increased frequency of Fed rate increases (which will be negative for the US economy), is driving the pressure" on the greenback, says Masahi Murata, a senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. That as he thinks it's looking less likely that fiscal stimulus and tax cuts from Trump will come this year.

- Oil prices fell in Asian trade, wiping out some of the gains of the previous session amid worries lower growth targets in China could cut oil demand and ongoing concern over Russia's compliance with a global deal to cut oil output.
- Gold was little changed, supported by safe haven interest amid rising geopolitical tensions over North Korea and a weaker dollar.
- London copper edged, supported by protracted disruptions at the world's two biggest copper mines and a decline in the recent strength of the dollar.
- U.S. soybeans edged higher as adverse weather in Brazil slowed exports, though gains were curbed by ample global supplies.

Mar 03 - Oil markets rose as the dollar edged away from a multi-week high, but prices are being held in check by unchanged Russian output for February, a sign of its weak compliance on a global deal to cut supplies.  
- Gold edged down after falling more than one percent in the previous session, and was on track for its first weekly decline since late January on expectations of a U.S. rate hike in March.
- London copper slipped, but was set to close the week little changed as a stronger dollar overwhelmed ongoing supply disruptions and evidence of improving demand.
- Chicago soybean futures edged higher, rising for three out of four sessions, with delays in Brazilian shipments underpinning sentiment, although bumper global supplies kept a lid on the market.

Mar 02 - Crude oil fell for a third consecutive session as a record build-up in U.S. stockpiles weighed on the market, with producers boosting shale oil production.
- Gold prices slipped as the dollar firmed on hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials that stoked expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike in March.
- London copper climb towards its highest in more than a week, buoyed by improving manufacturing reports out of Asia and the United States that brightened the outlook for demand.
- Chicago wheat rose for a third session, climbing to a two-week high on large purchases by top buyer Egypt and as dryness stressed crops in parts of the U.S. Plains.

Mar 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ Dow Jones)
- Despite the more even tone of President Donald Trump's address to Congress, the restaurant industry still has "serious concerns" about potential barriers to international commerce. "The restaurant industry relies on free and fair trade policies and we strongly urge the President to consider the negative impact trade barriers will have on restaurants, consumers, and our economy," said Steve Danon, a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association. The group cited data from the Food and Drug Administration that 15% of the US food supply chain is imported.

- Risk sentiment in euro corporate bonds already looks poised to weaken as important elections in Europe get closer, and the U.S. president's inability to deliver details on his tax plan may dampen it further, Commerzbank says. Markets could soon "lose patience," given that crucial details and a reliable timescale on tax reform are still missing. This could drive euro credit spreads wider in March, the German bank says.

- Donald Trump's White House is actively engaging with the business community to seek opinions on relevant policies, says BP PLC CEO Bob Dudley, fresh from a trip to Washington. "The White House is wide open for in the last eight years" Mr. Dudley says. He gave as an example a constructive discussion over investment requirements in the Gulf of Mexico that doesn't necessarily make sense at current oil prices. Mr. Dudley says officials seemed open to discussing such regulations. "I came away shocked," he says.

- Asian shares end largely mixed following US President Donald Trump's speech to Congress, with the focus turning to the Federal Reserve's next meeting in March. Trump refrained from commenting beyond his previous stance on currency manipulation and free trade, with no details on tax reform or border taxes. The S&P/ASX 200 ends 0.1% lower as a stronger dollar weighs on commodity prices. The Nikkei Stock Average however ends 1.4% higher, with the USD/JPY pair up 0.7% at 113.57 yen. A weaker yen makes the country's exports more competitive. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ends 0.2% higher with the Shanghai Composite registering similar gains after a private gauge of factory activity in China showed an expansion.

- The FTSE 100 opens higher and was last up 0.64% at 7310.2, with European bourses shifting out of Tuesday's stasis and broadly moving higher. These gains come after President Trump's overnight congressional speech which, while light on detail, appears to have provided investors with enough impetus to buy into the construction sector. The President's pledge to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure, plus strong CRH results, see builders up. CRH shares are up 2.5%. Miners also see relief from the pressure of recent days, with metals prices moving higher. Royal Mail is down 1.5% on news that regulator Ofcom is considering changing postal rules to reflect online shopping habits. London traders may react to lending, mortgage, monetary supply, and manufacturing purchasing managers index data, due at 0930 GMT.

- The FTSE 100 is called to open 20 points higher by 7283, according to London Capital Group. Other European bourses are also expected to tick higher, with President Trump's congressional address failing to spark much market reaction. The President's pledge to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure, plus CRH results, will put the construction sector in the spotlight at the open. Corporate results also come from ITV and Man Group, as well as Admiral Group - after regulation-driven volatility which rocked the stock earlier in the week. U.K. lending, mortgage, monetary supply, and U.K. manufacturing purchasing managers index data are due at 0930 GMT.

- Base metals are up slightly in late Asia trading while Trump again talked up greater infrastructure spending during his speech to Congress. "The big question that Trump did not answer is when will the spending materialize," notes Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, director of Commtrendz Research. Copper is up 0.7% at $6,015/ton and zinc gains 0.8% to $2,853.50.

- Spot-gold prices fell marginally in Wednesday Asian trading in the wake of Trump's speech. "There was nothing much in it for bullion markets," notes Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, director with Commtrendz Risk Management. "The market is not very excited because it lack[ed] specifics in terms of timeline" for things like infrastructure spending. If that comes to pass, it could boost appetite for riskier investments like equities and metals while reducing the
attraction for safe havens like gold. Spot gold is down 0.4% at $$1243.67/troy ounce.

- The Trump trade, which has triggered a drift higher in equities since Election Day, is likely to keep investors in buying mode despite concerns around the continued lack of policy clarity. "The price action of the stock market is pushing people to take risks because, for people like us, if you are underexposed then your performance will lag behind a lot and then you've got some guys like Warren Buffett criticizing you with your poor performance," says Alex Wong, director of asset management at Ample Capital.

- While investors are largely unmoved by Trump's address to Congress, they are still broadly positive despite the lack of details on his plans for infrastructure spending, tax reform and trade relations. "There's always some risk of implementation, but the market is still bullish and people are not willing to reduce their exposure too much," says Alex Wong, director of asset management at Ample Capital. "So, they just hold their positions and try to
ride the upside.

- The dollar-yen extends its lead against other crosses, with the pair up 0.7% at 113.48 yen, following market focus on the US Fed's March meeting. That's compared with the US Dollar Index's 0.4% rise. Odds of a rate increase in March rise to 62% from 31% previously, after New York Fed chief William Dudley says the case for raising rates "has become a lot more compelling." Some of the gains can also be attributed to a recovery in the greenback. The dollar saw some selling in the previous trading session, on positioning trades ahead of the speech. Meanwhile, the USD/TWD and USD/SGD pairs are each trading up 0.5%.

- Crude oil prices rose as the dollar trimmed gains and a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump offered little on plans by his administration to boost U.S. oil production.
- Gold fell as the dollar gained after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials raised expectations of a rate hike in March.
- London copper was marking time during a key speech by U.S. President Donald Trump, with prices supported by an upturn in manufacturing growth in top metals user China.
- Chicago corn rose for a third consecutive session while soybeans gained more ground, underpinned by expectations of higher U.S. biofuel production, although gains were capped by confusion over the government policy.