Forex & Commo Market News

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

- Oil prices rose after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will take all actions necessary to guarantee safe navigation in the Middle East, as tensions mounted following attacks on tankers last week.
- Gold prices steadied after retreating from a 14-month peak in the previous session, as the dollar strengthened on back of strong U.S. retail sales report, while investors await U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week.
- Nickel prices advanced on the London Metal Exchange as mining disruptions in key producer Indonesia sparked concerns about supply of the input material for stainless steel.
- Chicago corn futures climbed more than 2% to a five-year top as more rains and flooding in parts of the U.S. Midwest are likely to curb output in the world's biggest producer of the grain.

- US building-products manufacturers could see their margins threatened by increased tariffs on Chinese goods, Fitch says. The company says "margins are likely to continue to be pressured during the latter part of this year and into 2020 due to the increase in the List 3 Section 301 tariff rate to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese imports in May." Companies in the sector may try to pass tariff increases on to customers, Fitch says, adding "Companies with strong brands, small-ticket product portfolios and a product mix geared towards value items will have the most success in passing along costs."
- ING expects China to step up fiscal stimulus in a bid merely to stabilize its economy rather than in the pursuit of increased growth. Recent data signals a deterioration in Chinese economic activity due to the effects of a technology war and U.S. tariffs' damage to exports via supply chains, the bank says. Chinese manufacturing growth figures in May pointed to similar growth lows as seen in the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, according to ING. This is reflected in May's industrial production data, which grew 5.0% compared with the same month a year ago, and down from 5.4% in April, ING adds.
- Throughout the year, investors have debated whether sliding stock prices might pressure Washington to reach a trade deal with Beijing. But few are convinced US markets are anywhere close to where they'd have to be for such a scenario to unfold. 24% of investors surveyed by Bank of America say President Trump would expect the Fed to cut rates rather than give into China's demands. Another 24% believe the S&P 500 would have to slide below 2200--more than 20% below where it closed Thursday--before there's an extra incentive to strike a deal. "A significant share of investors see the Trump put as being struck extremely far out of the money, seeing either no level at which Trump capitulates, or seeing no incentive before a 30% correction," Bank of America says.
- A survey by startup Teamblind, which operates the workplace community app Blind, found that Chinese workers in the U.S. are feeling insecure due to the tense US-China relations following the trade war, says Kyum Kim, co-founder and head of U.S. operations for the South Korean company. The app allows workers to anonymously chat with co-workers as well as employees at other companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft. "Chinese nationals were actually feeling threatened by the trade war, especially in hardware companies like Qualcomm," Kim says at WSJ's Tech D.Live conference.
- China's crucial property market, the only bright spot in the country's economy through April, has started cooling as well. That will create new headaches for Beijing, says Macquarie economist Larry Hu. "What's a thorny issue for policymakers now is that their previous stimulus measures have failed to lift infrastructure investment.". Still, he doesn't think economic conditions are bad enough for China to roll out further stimulus. The data, though, may mean a 2019 trade deal with the US looks more possible as America's economy is also slowing. "Both sides should feel more pressed to make a deal."
- The FTSE 100 is expected to open 12 points higher at 7380, London Capital Group says, with heavyweight oil stocks helped by oil prices remaining firm after this week's attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Reports that U.S. President Trump still wants to meet Chinese President Xi at the G20 later this month raises the prospect that China trade talks will progress, although concerns about political and economic uncertainty linger. With little on the day's economic or corporate calendar, focus may center on the pound, which remains weak despite a brief rise after former U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson emphatically won the first round of voting to select the next Conservative Party leader.
- Lumber futures on the CME are continuing their quick rise, with the contract posting a gain for the sixth day in a row to $373.80 per 1,000 board feet, up 5.4% from the previous day. Since the rally began June 6, the lumber price has risen nearly 20%, partially in reaction to news of new capacity curtailments in British Columbia earlier this week. Driving today's run is a continued reaction to the latest round of curtailments, says Shawn Church of Random Lengths.

Jun 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil rose for a second day, extending sharp gains following attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that stoked concerns of reduced crude flows through one of the world's key shipping routes.
- Gold prices rose, moving closer to their 14-month high hit last week, as trade and political turmoil, along with U.S. interest rate cut expectations propped up the precious metal.
- The dollar trod water and was set to show a weekly rise as investor focus turned to next week's Federal Reserve meeting for hints on a possible rate cut in light of rising risks to trade and global growth.
- Nickel prices jumped to two-week highs as flooding in Indonesia, a major producer and exporter of the metal, sparked fears of supply disruptions.
- Chicago corn futures rose to a four-year high and were poised to finish the week with a gain of almost 7% as more rains in parts of the U.S. Midwest threaten to stall planting

- China's crucial property market, the only bright spot in the country's economy through April, has started cooling as well. That will create new headaches for Beijing, says Macquarie economist Larry Hu. "What's a thorny issue for policymakers now is that their previous stimulus measures have failed to lift infrastructure investment.". Still, he doesn't think economic conditions are bad enough for China to roll out further stimulus. The data, though, may mean a 2019 trade deal with the US looks more possible as America's economy is also slowing. "Both sides should feel more pressed to make a deal."
- The FTSE 100 is expected to open 12 points higher at 7380, London Capital Group says, with heavyweight oil stocks helped by oil prices remaining firm after this week's attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Reports that U.S. President Trump still wants to meet Chinese President Xi at the G20 later this month raises the prospect that China trade talks will progress, although concerns about political and economic uncertainty linger. With little on the day's economic or corporate calendar, focus may center on the pound, which remains weak despite a brief rise after former U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson emphatically won the first round of voting to select the next Conservative Party leader.
- Lumber futures on the CME are continuing their quick rise, with the contract posting a gain for the sixth day in a row to $373.80 per 1,000 board feet, up 5.4% from the previous day. Since the rally began June 6, the lumber price has risen nearly 20%, partially in reaction to news of new capacity curtailments in British Columbia earlier this week. Driving today's run is a continued reaction to the latest round of curtailments, says Shawn Church of Random Lengths.
- A pair of senior Chinese officials Thursday credited American leadership in finance as an inspiration for their country's progress in the sector. When American bankers visited China 15 years ago, local bankers literally laughed off their advice, says Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. But today, those ideas have helped Chinese banks to secure high returns on capital, he adds. And in 1986, former leader Deng Xiaoping paid his respects to the New York Stock Exchange with the gift of a historic Chinese stock certificate, setting the stage for Shanghai to relaunch stock trading four years later that helped the country's reform and opening up strategy, recalled Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang.

Jun 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose, recouping some of the losses from sharp declines in the previous session, when crude fell as much as 4% on continued increases in U.S. crude stockpiles and concerns about lower demand growth.
- Gold prices advanced as demand for the safe-haven metal rose on expectations of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve following soft inflation data, and on escalating trade tensions between the world's top two economies. 
- The yen gained broadly as risk appetite ebbed in the broader markets and lifted the safe-haven Japanese currency, while the dollar held the bulk of its gains against other major currencies after rebounding from 11-week lows.
- Industrial metals declined amid a lack of progress in resolving the U.S.-China trade dispute and weak data from top metals consumer China.
- Chicago corn rose 1.2% to a one-week high, while soybeans gained for a fourth consecutive session as forecasts of more rains in the U.S. Midwest threatened to stall planting.

- Raytheon is the biggest beneficiary of the White House's emergency declaration on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Middle East allies, and signs are that previously-blocked shipments are on the move. Raytheon accounts for almost $3B of the $8.1B in sales held up by Congress, and a senior State Dept. official says at a House hearing that previously-manufactured and "off-the-shelf" arms are being shipped. Raytheon's contribution includes 120K smart bomb kits, and the company had previously been unable book anything beyond advance payments. Analysts say its 2019 cash flow guidance had assumed the sales would have remained frozen all year. Shares fall 1.4% to $175.11.
- After a fresh jump, the 10th in 11 days, front-month gold futures are within 1.5% of hitting a new 14-month high. Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodities research at BNP Paribas, thinks they're unlikely to get much closer and could fall back to $1,300 within a week. Flows into exchange-traded funds show that investors sought the safety of gold when President Trump appeared to open up a second trade front with Mexico, but that they haven't done so in response to the escalation in tensions with China. Now that the tariffs on Mexico have been avoided, Tchilinguirian expects that investors will go back to seeing the dollar as the "ultimate safe haven," boosting the greenback and hurting gold.
- The foreign exchange derivatives market points to "complacency" around trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which expects volatility to rise. "We would expect markets to get more concerned about negative outcomes as the G20 meeting approaches, potentially triggering a riskoff," says BAML analyst Athanasios Vamvakidis. He expects a rates or equities selloff and higher FX volatility before and after the G20 meeting at the end of June. The investment bank has taken the view that "things will get worse before/if they get better." As a result, BAML is also short EUR/JPY and USD/JPY.
- EUR/USD could rise after U.S. inflation data at 1230 GMT, says Danske Bank, flagging "a possibility of a weaker figure." EUR/USD, which is last flat at 1.1336 but close to its strongest since late March, "has become more sensitive to U.S. data," given uncertainty around pricing expectations for U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decisions, it says. Comments from U.S. President Donald Trump claiming the euro was too weak "temporarily roiled" EUR/USD on Tuesday, but Danske Bank says Trump "has little leverage," with EUR/USD driven by U.S. and eurozone central bank policy. Moreover, if Trump were to impose tariffs on Europe's car industry the euro would likely fall, it says.
- Following a meeting last week between China's top economic-planning body and experts, Beijing has launched surveys across provinces to optimize its control over rare-earth minerals. Everbright Sun Hung Kai Financial says the timing shows China, the world's biggest supplier of them, probably wants to raise concerns at US firms regarding supply amid the countries' trade row.

Jun 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell nearly 2%, weighed down by a weaker demand outlook and a rise in U.S. crude inventories despite growing expectations of ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts.
- Gold prices rose after hitting a one-week low in the previous session, as worries over U.S.-China trade war flared up, curbing risk appetite and increasing the appeal of safe-haven bullion.
- The dollar hovered near an 11-week low against its peers, weighed by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve could cut interest rates some time in the next few months.
- Copper prices rose on hopes that top consumer China would increase spending for metal-intensive infrastructure projects, but a festering trade war between Beijing and Washington curbed further gains.
- Chicago corn futures ticked lower as the market took a breather after climbing nearly 3% in the last session on a forecast of a larger-than-expected reduction in U.S. yields.

- Following a meeting last week between China's top economic-planning body and experts, Beijing has launched surveys across provinces to optimize its control over rare-earth minerals. Everbright Sun Hung Kai Financial says the timing shows China, the world's biggest supplier of them, probably wants to raise concerns at US firms regarding supply amid the countries' trade row.
- Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney says discussions have begun to address government funding for the next two years, adding that he spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the subject earlier in the day. "No one is interested in a government shutdown," he says in an interview at a WSJ CFO Network event in Washington. "Yes you can have an accidental shutdown but it's unlikely. I do not see that in the future." He says discussions over a "clean debt ceiling" are also ongoing, adding "I don't foresee it being a very dramatic event this year."
- Several environmental groups sue to stop rule changes from the Trump administration to give offshore oil and gas drillers a freer hand in meeting federal safety requirements. An arm of the Interior Department approved changes last month to regulations known as the "well control rule," adopted by the Obama administration in 2016 several years after the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The administration says giving drillers more flexibility would help them save money and have more options for ensuring safety, but environmentalists say the move actually eliminates vital provisions to protect the environment and workers. Interior and its leaders rushed through the changes without sufficient rationale, required disclosures or public comment in some cases, and without fully considering environmental effects of the changes, says the suit filed by attorneys from the group Earthjustice.
- Former US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is joining a pipeline distributor as an adviser. Cressman Tubular, a distributor of tubing, casing, and line pipe, said Zinke will advise on oil and gas pipeline supply chain management. The Dallas-based company was founded by Art Cressman, who is friends with Zinke, according to the company.
- Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is criticizing the White House after its budget director asked Congress to delay by 2 years a ban on federal contractors and grant recipients doing business with Huawei Technologies Co. The Wall Street Journal broke news of the request on Sunday, citing a White House letter that described compliance difficulties especially among grant recipients in rural areas. "I plan on strenuously opposing approval of the delay," Mr. Schumer said.
- National Security Adviser John Bolton said US tariffs and the threat of more to come have had an "enormous" impact on China and says Beijing was "shocked" by President Trump's move to impose them. In an interview at the WSJ CFO Network event in Washington, Bolton also says it is "entirely possible" there will be another summit with North Korea. "We're ready when they are," he says.
- The prospects of a trade deal between the U.S. and China are "highly uncertain" and there's a 50% chance of the trade talks breaking down, Danske Bank's Jakob Ekholdt Christensen, head of international macro and emerging market research, says in a webinar. Danske, nevertheless, still expects the two countries to reach an agreement in the second half of the year. Economic momentum is still declining, market sentiment will weaken, and the two sides will be sensitive to that, he says.

Jun 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose in line with firmer financial markets and bolstered by expectations that producer goup OPEC and its allies will keep withholding supply.
- Gold held steady after posting its biggest one-day percentage fall in two months in the previous session, as Washington's fresh trade threats against China eclipsed investor optimism spurred by a U.S.-Mexico deal.
- The yen eased as investors' risk appetite ticked up after the United States shelved plans to impose tariffs on Mexico, though fresh U.S. trade threats against China tempered overall market sentiment.
- Prices for industrial metals were mostly higher in Asian trading, with copper prices hitting the highest in almost two weeks on expectations that China's appetite for the commodity could grow.
- Chicago corn futures lost ground as U.S. farmers made progress in seeding the crop, although concerns over lower yields from late-planted crop limited losses.

Jun 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose after Saudi Arabia said producer club OPEC and Russia should keep supplies restricted at current levels, and in relief that the United States withdrew a tariff threat against Mexico, removing a cloud over the global economy.
- Gold prices retreated from a 14-month peak after an agreement between the United States and Mexico to avert a tariff war crimped safe-haven demand for the yellow metal.
- The Mexican peso jumped against the dollar after the United States and Mexico struck a migration deal late last week to avert a tariff war, providing some much-needed relief to fragile market sentiment.
- Copper prices rose in early Asian trading following eight straight weekly losses, after Washington struck a deal to avert a tariff war with Mexico, boosting sentiment on trade and helping ease concerns about a global slowdown.
- Chicago corn futures slid for a second straight session, with prices falling nearly 1% as U.S. farmers are expected to get a window of dry weather this week to push on with planting.

- US stocks rise after the White House dropped its threat to hit Mexico with tariffs on billions of dollars of goods. The DJIA gains 0.7%, the S&P 500 rises 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite adds 1.6%. Meanwhile, United Technologies falls 2.3% and military contractor Raytheon gains 2.2% after the two companies agreed to merge in an all-stock deal that will create the world's second largest aerospace-and-defense company by sales.
- Political implications are key for the US and China as both Trump and Xi have constituencies to play to. The presidents "will likely want to agree to a resolution, but without being seen to have made too many concessions," notes Virginie Maisonneuve, chief investment officer at Eastspring, the Asian asset-management arm of Prudential PLC. Ahead of next-year's re-election Trump will "need a strong US economy to quell Republican backlash in agricultural districts" while China "needs a trade deal to help maintain its above-6% economic growth next year so as to deliver its 10-year goal of doubling the per-capita income in both rural and urban populations by 2020," she adds. Meanwhile, 2019 marks 70 years since the Communists came to power, and Beijing "is unlikely to budge an inch."
- Asian equities are up to start the week in part due to the US deal on tariffs with Mexico. But while "the auto industry might have dodged a bullet...it's not emerging completely unscathed," says Ivan Drury of auto-information firm Edmunds. "In many ways, this situation underscores how rocky international production can be under the [Trump] administration, and manufacturers can no longer assume that any trade agreements are sacred." He adds that "so as long as the threat of tariffs looms, [automakers] need to be ready to contend with a big potential hit to their bottom line." Japanese producers, among late May's biggest decliners in Asia from Trump's tariff threat, are widely up about 1.5%, slightly outpacing the country's broader market.
- The Mexican peso has seen a big initial jump after a deal with the US not to have tariffs on Mexican exports. The dollar is down 1.6% at MXN19.30, versus MXN19.14 before Trump made his initial tariffs threat at the end of May. The peso fell as much as 3.7% in the days after he rolled out the planned tariffs, hitting levels not seen since December, before rebounding some amid last week's negotiations.

- In one negative sign for analysts bracing for a slowdown in US growth, hiring was little changed in several sectors such as mining, construction and manufacturing that could take a hit from heightened trade tensions. Recent estimates of US factory activity have also fallen. Bright spots for hiring last month were health care and professional and business services.
- Oil prices are rallying in tandem with stock markets, after President Trump said progress was being made in border-security talks with Mexico. The president's threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico late last week sent energy prices into a tailspin, partly because the U.S. is a major importer of Mexican crude. Investors and traders are also focusing on the upcoming meeting of OPEC and its allies, and in particular on whether Russia is likely to sign up to an extension of output cuts first agreed on late last year. "Given the recent downward pressure on the flat price and concerns over the macro picture, we do believe that it is likely OPEC+ continue with the deal through until the end of this year," says Warren Patterson of ING. Brent rose 1.8% to $62.28 a barrel, and WTI was up 1.7% at $53.50.
- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has so far responded cautiously to President Trump's threat of tariffs, calling for friendship and talks. But if Trump goes ahead, the Mexican nationalist might get tougher. He has already called for a mass rally on Saturday to defend Mexico's dignity (and call for friendship.) Andrew Selee, of the Migration Policy Institute, says AMLO is playing nice, but tariffs could be a game changer. "He is saying we want conciliation, but don't push me too far," Selee says.
- Spotify lands an agreement with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company in which Higher Ground will produce podcasts exclusive to the streaming service. The partnership comes after Spotify recently acquired a trio of podcasting companies for around $400M--part of a plan to spend as much as $500M total on such deals this year. Financial terms of the multi-year agreement with Higher Ground Audio--an expansion of the production company overseeing the move into podcasts--were not disclosed. Spotify is expanding into podcasting in an effort to keep users more engaged, take listenership from radio and increase margins as podcast content is cheaper than music. It's also where the company is seeking to differentiate from other services with exclusive content. "We are thrilled that not only will the Obamas be producing content, but that they will be lending their voices to this effort," said Spotify content chief Dawn Ostroff.

Jun 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ)
- Younger adults cite climate change as society's foremost challenge, far outweighing other issues, according to a survey. Asked to identify their top personal worry, thousands of millennial and Gen Z adults chose climate change, natural disasters and protecting the environment. The No. 2 concern of millennials was income inequality, followed by unemployment and crime and personal safety. The results appear in Deloitte's Global Millennial Survey, an annual window into the thinking of younger adults. The firm surveyed more than 13,000 millennials and 3,000 members of Gen Z.
- The head of the medical-device industry's main trade group sends a letter to the US Trade Representative opposing the planned tariffs on imports from Mexico. Advamed CEO Scott Whitaker asks in letter to Robert Lighthizer for an extension of negotiations to avert the tariffs. But if tariffs are imposed, Advamed says "medical products that save and extend lives should be exempted from this action." Advamed, whose members include Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson, estimates the US imported more than $12.6B in medical technology from Mexico last year. Group says components and products cross the border multiple times with high-value manufacturing often performed in the US. The US and Mexico are negotiating an agreement on border security that may avoid the tariffs, but for now the plan is for them to take effect Monday.
- If President Trump follows through with his tariff threats on Mexican imports, US refiners that are large buyers of Mexican heavy crude oil known as Maya may eventually seek alternatives, says Lenny Rodriguez at S&P Global Platts Analytics. He says Mexico crude exports to US refiners averaged 665k bpd last year. "A 5% tariff would imply an increase of roughly $3/bbl to the Maya price in June," Rodriguez says. While that might be manageable, the escalation of tariffs Trump has threatened could eventually make the price too high, and refiners would likely "nominate minimum contractual volumes or even request alternative destinations or cancellations in order to find more competitive alternatives."
- El Pollo Loco says that tariffs on Mexican goods could impact margins by 0.3%, but executives would look to offset the crunch through possible price increases and menu changes. The chicken chain could explore removing specials focused on avocado, executives tell investors at Baird's 2019 Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference. Avocados form up to 5% of the chain's commodities.
- In one negative sign for analysts bracing for a slowdown in US growth, hiring was little changed in several sectors such as mining, construction and manufacturing that could take a hit from heightened trade tensions. Recent estimates of US factory activity have also fallen. Bright spots for hiring last month were health care and professional and business services.
- Oil prices are rallying in tandem with stock markets, after President Trump said progress was being made in border-security talks with Mexico. The president's threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico late last week sent energy prices into a tailspin, partly because the U.S. is a major importer of Mexican crude. Investors and traders are also focusing on the upcoming meeting of OPEC and its allies, and in particular on whether Russia is likely to sign up to an extension of output cuts first agreed on late last year. "Given the recent downward pressure on the flat price and concerns over the macro picture, we do believe that it is likely OPEC+ continue with the deal through until the end of this year," says Warren Patterson of ING. Brent rose 1.8% to $62.28 a barrel, and WTI was up 1.7% at $53.50.

Jun 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose more than 1%, climbing further away from five-month lows hit earlier in the week after a report that Washington could postpone trade tariffs on Mexico and amid signs that OPEC and other producers may extend their supply cuts.
- Gold prices eased, but were headed for their best week this year supported by expectations of an interest rate cut by Federal Reserve and heightened global trade conflicts, while investors await U.S. jobs report due later in the session.
- The dollar was set for its worst week since March as it trod water ahead U.S. jobs data that is seen supporting chances of a U.S. interest rate cut, while the euro held gains made after a less dovish than expected central bank policy review.
- Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose as the U.S. dollar weakened, while the metal looked set for a weekly gain for the first time in eight weeks.
- Chicago wheat futures slid 1%, but the market was poised for their fourth weekly gain as lack of rain in parts of Russia is likely to reduce yields in the world's top exporter of the grain.

- Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz says the Trump administration's threat of tariffs on Mexico could jeopardize passage of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Fritz, head of a railroad that gets about 12% of freight revenue from Mexico, acknowledges the immigration problem President Trump is aiming to address but thinks that should be tackled without the punitive tariffs, which he says will raise prices for American families. Fritz, in a post on Union Pacific's website, says the government should overhaul immigration policy, "while remaining focused on finalizing the USMCA as soon as possible to harness the full potential of the North American trading relationship."
- With negotiations with Mexico continuing into a second day in Washington, traders appear to be nervous the deal will fall through--which would be bad news for traders, as a tariff on Mexican goods into the US would likely be met with retaliatory tariffs on US goods, including pork. WSJ reports President Trump described the negotiations as having made progress, but needing to make more. July hog futures on the CME are down 1.2%. Meanwhile, August cattle futures fall 0.1%.
- Mammoth Energy's social reputation comes under scrutiny as its subsidiary Cobra Energy faces a federal probe for alleged overcharged services during its disaster relief operations in Puerto Rico. Overpricing issues are a common business ethics' sub-aspect within a company's governance practices when rating from an ESG perspective. The fact that this alleged overpricing is linked to a natural disaster may worsen the group's brand reputation. So far, Cobra Energy has billed an overall $1.4B to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, out of which $903M have already been reimbursed.
- The U.S. statistics overstated its total trade deficit with China, says China's Ministry of Commerce in a latest research report. The actual trade deficit with China, after adding U.S. service trade surplus, should stand at $153.6 billion in 2018, which is only 37% of deficit announced by the U.S. government, the ministry says. Trade between the two countries is beneficial for both in terms of employment and profits for companies, it says.
- Bank of Singapore has given up the bull case on high-yield debt in both developed and emerging markets, citing "heightened trade risk and growth headwinds." That after the bank turned neutral on stocks on May 8, before much of last month's selling. However, since then, there have been indications that Trump "intends to systematically wield trade barriers as a tool for foreign policy, which bodes ill for global trade and also weakens the chances of a US-China trade agreement over the near term."
- The cancellation of cruise line service to Cuba and of a general "people-to-people" license permitting Americans to travel to the island will affect nearly 800,000 passenger bookings, industry group Cruise Line International Association said Wednesday. "The new rules effectively make it illegal to cruise to Cuba from the United States," CLIA said. "We are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba." The US also banned yachts, sailboat travel as well as private aircraft from flying to the island. The US said the moves are meant to pressure the Cuban government to drop its support for Venezuela's beleaguered Maduro government, which the US wants to oust.

Jun 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices steadied after falling to near 5-month lows in the previous session, but sentiment remained weak as markets are under pressure from rising U.S. supply and a stalling economy.
- Gold prices were stable, hovering below the 15-week high hit in the previous session, supported by trade worries and a possible U.S. rate cut, even as some investors locked in profits in bullion after a recent rally.
- The yen edged up versus the dollar as sentiment soured over U.S.-Mexico talks on tariffs and immigration, fuelling broader concerns about global trade hostilities and raising appetite for safe-haven currencies.
- Shanghai copper plunged to a two-year low, tracking weakness in London's overnight session, due to mounting concerns about slowing global growth and weak metals demand amid rising trade tensions.
- Chicago wheat futures bounced back, following two days of deep losses, with support from dry weather that is expected to reduce yields in Australia and parts of the Black Sea region.

- Bank of Singapore has given up the bull case on high-yield debt in both developed and emerging markets, citing "heightened trade risk and growth headwinds." That after the bank turned neutral on stocks on May 8, before much of last month's selling. However, since then, there have been indications that Trump "intends to systematically wield trade barriers as a tool for foreign policy, which bodes ill for global trade and also weakens the chances of a US-China trade agreement over the near term."
- The cancellation of cruise line service to Cuba and of a general "people-to-people" license permitting Americans to travel to the island will affect nearly 800,000 passenger bookings, industry group Cruise Line International Association said Wednesday. "The new rules effectively make it illegal to cruise to Cuba from the United States," CLIA said. "We are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba." The US also banned yachts, sailboat travel as well as private aircraft from flying to the island. The US said the moves are meant to pressure the Cuban government to drop its support for Venezuela's beleaguered Maduro government, which the US wants to oust.
- The WSJ Dollar Index pares early losses and is up 0.2% to 90.46. The US dollar rose after the Federal Reserve's latest beige-book report suggested the renewal of trade tensions with China hasn't had a significant effect on American manufacturers. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note also gave back some of its losses from earlier in the day. Higher Treasury yields can make the dollar more attractive to income-seeking investors around the world.
- Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he supports the trade objectives of President Donald Trump's administration, but may not support its tactical approach in all cases. "The trade situation around the world needed to be addressed," Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil chief executive, says at an energy conference in Houston. But he adds he has concerns about moving to bilateral discussions to the possible detriment of multilateral alliances. "It is important as Americans to remember that our greatest strength and the most important element to our national security has been that we are a nation that has many allies and friends," Tillerson says.
- Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson President Trump's chances of re-election in 2020 depend on the kind of campaign he runs. "If the president would focus on the economy and the way the economy has performed and all the steps around deregulation that have been put in place, the tax reform, then I think he could run on a very positive message," Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil CEO, says at an energy conference in Houston. "I don't know if that's what he plans to do."
- The Trump administration's planned new tariffs on imports from Mexico could hit surgical-robot maker Intuitive Surgical, RBC Capital Markets says. A majority of the products in Intuitive's biggest unit, instruments and accessories, are made at a plant in Mexicali, and RBC estimates about 45% to 53% of the unit's revenues are exposed to the planned tariffs. Intuitive has about three months of inventory to mitigate near-term impact, but if the tariffs are in place longer-term, Intuitive "may need to look at moving some of its... manufacturing to the U.S.," RBC says. The US plans to impose the tariffs next week unless a deal is reached to avert them. Intuitive Surgical shares rise 2%.
- Shares of the biggest US cruise companies are sinking after new restrictions from the Trump administration on US travel to Cuba forced them to reroute already-planned trips to the island. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have all talked about travel to Cuba as a small but growing revenue stream. The number of arrivals to Cuba from US cruise ships increased 29% last year to around 800,000 passengers. Carnival says it will no longer sail to Cuba, while Royal Caribbean and Norwegian say they're adjusting itineraries of sailings that were set to stop in Cuba. Carninval and Royal Caribbean fall more than 2% and Norwegian is off 4.1%.
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) says House Democrats want proposed data privacy legislation ready by the time Congress recesses in August. A senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, she said the bill could include more funding and "relatively broad" authority for regulators, anti-discrimination provisions, individual rights to privacy, and the right for consumers to take legal action. She said she is "in principle" open to preempting state laws, a Republican priority. The divided Congress faces an uphill battle to send legislation to the president's desk before the 2020 election.
- Grains futures on the CBOT began trading this morning lower as traders get conflicting signals from the Trump Administration on Mexican tariffs, which are supposed to be enacted June 10th. In a tweet this morning, CNN anchor Jim Sciutto said he was told by White House trade advisor Peter Navarro that "we believe that these tariffs may not have to go into effect." This runs somewhat counter to Trump's tweet last night, in which his threat of tariffs were "no bluff." July corn futures are down 1.7%, wheat is down 2.3% and soybeans are down 0.8%.
- Futures for corn, soybeans and wheat continued to sink in overnight trading on the CBOT last night, as traders are profit-taking on the recent upticks of these contracts and tariffs on Mexican goods -- along with retaliatory tariffs being issued on US goods including agriculture -- look more likely to be implemented by President Trump. Wheat led the way down 2.6%, with corn down 1.7% and soybeans down 0.8%. On Twitter, Trump maintained his bellicose rhetoric against Mexico last night, while also lashing out against Democrat leaders accusing him of "bluffing" in his tariff threats.
- Copper prices slipped in early European trading on the London Metal Exchange, putting them down 0.2% for the day at $5,882 a ton. Most other industrial metals remain marginally higher, having suffered in recent weeks as tensions flared between the U.S. and China and manufacturing data continued to disappoint. Bernard Dahdah, an analyst at Natixis, says prices have probably found a floor and should find support from supply shortages. He thinks the Trump administration will attempt to support the U.S. economy heading into 2020, which should also help metals, but questions whether Beijing will agree to a trade deal ahead of the election as it "might prefer to deal with a different president."

Jun 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices resumed their slide, dragged down by an unexpected gain in U.S. inventories and comments from the head of Russian state oil producer Rosneft questioning the point of a deal with OPEC to withhold supplies.
- Gold prices edged higher, holding near the three-month high it touched in the previous session, as the dollar weakened on rising prospects of a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- Copper prices rose to near their one-week highs as the U.S. dollar weakened on dovish comments from the Federal Reserve amid rising risks to trade and global growth.
- U.S. wheat futures fell as much as 2% as fears eased about the potential for widespread crop damage after recent heavy rains, pushing prices to a near one-week low.

- The Cuba travel ban will likely mean a 0.5% to 1.5% hit to cruise lines' EPS for FY19 as they work to reschedule routes, compensate guests and brace for reduced demand for Caribbean sailings, Bernstein says. Logistical costs are expected to be "relatively immaterial" since cruise lines are used to rearranging schedules quickly given their expertise with hurricane season, Bernstein says. "Many itinerary changes resulting from a Cuban travel ban will be as simple as swapping Havana for another port in the Caribbean," Bernstein says. For guests already booked on Cuban cruises, cruise lines will likely offer credit on future cruises, such as the standard 25% discount, if the companies have to find an alternative port, Bernstein says.
- The Trump administration's new Cuba travel restrictions could hurt the bottom lines of the top three US cruise operators, potentially keeping cruise lines from being able to sell sailings to the island nation, Wells Fargo says. Cuba accounts for 1% of Carnival's global capacity allocation, 4% for Norwegian and about 2.5% for Royal Caribbean, Wells Fargo finds. The estimated annual EPS effect of a travel ban on Carnival would be about 4c-8c, 12c-28c for Norwegian and 19c-45c for Royal Caribbean, according to the firm. Carnival gains 0.7%, Royal Caribbean falls 1% and Norwegian declines 2.2%.
- A surge in sentiment among US farmers after President Trump's election victory in November 2016 has all but disappeared, the monthly Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer finds. The indicator, based on a survey of 400 US agricultural producers, fell 14 points to a reading of 101 in May--the lowest level since October 2016. The barometer is down 42 points, or 29%, since the start of the year, as farmers contend with a wet planting season and uncertainty brought on by the ongoing trade dispute with China.
- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store says its feeling the impact of tariffs on goods from China, with a third of its retail products coming from the country. The Southern-themed restaurant chain tells investors in 3Q earnings that it's looking for alternative sources from different countries for items such as stationery, furniture and decor, and working with existing vendors to share the cost. It's also increasing prices in some cases. "We've had some impact from the tariffs in this fiscal year," CFO Jill Golder says. "That remains a concern for us."
- One unusual development that has emerged out of the US and China's trade spat: Treasury yields and cross-asset volatility have both fallen. Typically, Treasury yields fall--pushing prices higher--when investors are more skittish about the growth outlook. In turn, riskier assets like stocks and commodities often suffer more volatility as investors try to price in the expected decline in growth. But this year, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield has fallen to 2.143% after rising above 3% in 2018 and the Cboe Volatility Index has held onto a 32% decline for the year. "Rates and volatility seem to be describing different worlds," UBS says. Don't expect that disconnect to last: the correlation "between rates and volatility may now be ending, just as trade war risks to growth are rising," UBS adds.
- Tiffany says a drop in sales to Chinese tourists in the Americas contributed to sales declines in the region. Sales to tourists in the Americas were down 25% in the latest quarter, compared with the same period a year ago "with sharper declines among Chinese tourists," Tiffany CEO Alessandro Bogliolo tells analysts on a conference call. China warned its citizens about traveling to the US, citing a rise in gun violence and shootings as tensions between the two countries intensify over trade tariffs.
- The volume of Iranian crude loaded onto ships dropped by more than a third in May to 780,000 barrels a day, data firm Kpler says. The fall in crude loadings coincided with the tightening of U.S. sanctions, after waivers granted to eight countries were removed on May 2, preventing them from buying Iranian crude. More than 90% of the crude loaded onto ships in May is still floating without a set port of discharge, Kpler says. "With imports down in China, India and Turkey, clearly Iran is struggling to find buyers in this current market environment," says Alex Booth, head of market analysis at Kpler. The decrease in loadings also corresponded with an increase in onshore oil storage of 8.4 million barrels, says Kpler.
- The Australian dollar remains unaffected by reports the Trump Administration was considering imposing tariffs on imports from Australia, particularly aluminum, but decided against the move on the advice of military officials and the U.S. State Department. In the year to March 2019, aluminum (ores, concentrates and alumina) was Australia's 7th largest export, accounting for 3.4% of Australia's merchandise exports. Australia has been exempted from U.S. tariffs on aluminum since the government was granted an exception in 2017. Australia's total aluminum exports have subsequently surged, with aluminum exports to the U.S. increasing exponentially.

Jun 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell as an economic slowdown starts to dent energy demand, but markets won some support after Saudi Arabia said a consensus was emerging with other producers about extending supply cuts.
- Gold prices held steady, hovering near a three-month high hit in the previous session, as global slowdown worries driven by trade conflicts amid expectations of a U.S. interest rate cut stoked investors towards the safe-haven bullion.
- The dollar struggled to shake off a harsh overnight session, slipping to a five-month low against the yen, hurt by a sharp slide in U.S. Treasury yields thanks to rising bets for a near-term rate cut by the Federal Reserve.
- Industrial metals traded in a tight range as investors continued to be worried about demand for metals as well as global growth, amid a lack of progress in the prolonged U.S.-China trade war and weak manufacturing data from the world's top economies. 
- Chicago corn futures rose more than 2%, climbing back near last week's three-year high after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that planting was well behind the average pace for this time of year.

- July lean hog futures are continuing to decline this week, with the contract down 2.1% on the CME. The main reason for today's decline continues to be last week's tweet by President Trump threatening to levy a 5% on Mexican imports starting June 10 "until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico and into our country stop." Mexico is one of the biggest consumers of US pork, and traders believe that this fight may linger for a long time, similar to the ongoing US-China trade dispute. "(This) has some going 'uh-oh, look what happened last time,'" says Steve Wagner with CHS Hedging. Live cattle futures are only marginally up today, by 0.2%.
- Economists polled in May by the Bank of Mexico lowered their median estimate for GDP growth this year to 1.35% from 1.5% in the April survey -- and the central bank points out in a footnote that the 39 responses were received before midday on May 30 (therefore they don't include possible effects of Trump's threat to slap tariffs on all imports from Mexico starting June 10). The median inflation forecast for 2019 edged up to 3.75% from 3.66% previously, and none of the analysts considered now is a good time for companies to invest--down from 5% in April's survey. The Bank of Mexico lowered its own 2019 GDP forecast last week to 1.3% from 1.6%, citing the unexpected 0.2% contraction in 1Q.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill says new tariffs on Mexican goods could result in a $15M increase in costs this year, reducing the burrito-makers margins by 20 to 30 basis points. The fast-casual chain could pass along the levies through prices increases if they stuck around, such as a nickel price bump on a burrito, CFO Jack Hartung says. Chipotle buys avocados in bulk, including from Mexico, and hopes to avoid substituting processed versions of the fruit for fresh ones, Hartung says. "We are committed to our brand purpose and upholding our food with integrity principles," he says. President Trump has proposed a 5% tariff on Mexican imports beginning this month. Chipotle shares fall 1.5%.
- AT&T's media headaches return Monday as President Trump tweets two messages critical of CNN, the news service it acquired last year through the takeover of Time Warner. "I believe that if people stoped using or subscribing to @ ATT, they would be forced to make big changes at @ CNN," the president wrote on Twitter during his visit to the UK, where he said rival Fox News is unavailable. Trump's dislike for CNN was always in the background of a bruising antitrust case over the Time Warner deal last year, a legal challenge the administration ultimately lost.
- Oil prices have recently been dragged lower by a perfect storm of demand concerns and macroeconomic uncertainty, ahead of a meeting of OPEC and its allies later this month. Last week's statement from the White House that some countries could retain waivers to buy Iranian oil has only muddied the waters further, says Shin Kim, head of supply and production analytics at S&P Global Platts. "It was already going to be difficult to support oil prices, but now with no clarity on Iran, OPEC will have to figure it out," she says. With most of OPEC's unofficial allies already dealing with declining production, June's meeting will "be all about what the Saudis decide," Kim says.
- After ending May at their lowest levels since mid-February, the dominating factor behind oil futures' weakness is "concerns about the global economy fueled by" Trump's trade policy, notes JBC Energy. It adds the reaction "is somewhat at odds with physical-crude-market developments, which remain generally strong" as supply risks persist in Russia, Venezuela and Libya while sanctions stymie Iranian selling. August Brent futures are back near session lows in falling 1.7% to $60.93/barrel. July WTI is off 1.1% at $52.92.

Jun 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell more than 1%, extending losses of over 3% from Friday, when crude markets slipped to their biggest monthly losses in six months amid stalling demand and as trade wars fanned fears of a global economic slowdown.
- Gold prices rose to their highest in more than two months as heightened Sino-U.S. trade tensions and Washington's threat of tariffs on Mexico stoked worries of a global recession and drove investors to seek refuge in safe-haven bullion.
- The yen brushed a more than four-month high against the dollar and the Swiss franc rose as U.S. President Donald Trump's hard stance on trade broadened to countries beyond China, stoking investor demand for safe-haven assets.
- Copper prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) dropped to their lowest in two years, as weak Chinese factory data and a U.S. threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods sparked fears of weaker global growth and demand for metals.
- Chicago wheat futures bounced back with prices supported by crop-damaging heavy rains in parts of the U.S. grain belt and dryness in the Black Sea region.

- Trump's threat to impose escalating tariffs on Mexico piles yet more trade fears onto the market and sends US stocks lower, capping off a tough month. The Dow falls 1.4% to 24815, the S&P 500 declines 1.3% to 2752 and the Nasdaq slides 1.5% to 7453. Friday's losses close the book on the only losing month for 2019 with the Dow and S&P more than 6% lower and the Nasdaq off nearly 8%. Oil prices fall another 5.5% to $53.50, their lowest level since February and making May the worst month since November with a 16% loss. GM, for which Mexican-built vehicles make up more than a fifth of domestic sales, falls 4.3%. Corona brewer Constellation Brands declines 5.8%. Gap sinks 9.3% after missing earnings expectations and cutting its outlook. The US jobs report is scheduled for next Friday.
- Argentina's vulnerability to swings in the global economy was on display again Friday as its country risk, based on the price of credit-default swaps, increased after President Donald Trump threatened to hit all Mexican imports with tariffs. Argentina's country risk reached 985 basis points Friday, up from 941 points yesterday, according to local media. That is close to last month's high when Argentina was hit by volatility when investors became spooked by the release of polls showing that left-wing populists had a good shot at defeating business-friendly President Mauricio Macri in October's election.
- The $790M iShares MSCI Mexico exchange-traded fund falls 3.9% in heavy trading after President Trump threatened to impose escalating trade tariffs. Trump said late Thursday the US would impose the tariffs starting June 10 unless the country takes action to deter the flow of Central American migrants crossing into the US. More than 5M shares of the ETF traded by mid-afternoon Friday. Volume in the fund often spikes in response to administration policies, and hit a then-record high of 17.6M shares after Trump's surprise election win in 2016.
- "The shock news that President Donald Trump will impose tariffs on all imports from Mexico comes amid mounting evidence that the economy has already lost considerable momentum," says Paul Ashworth, chief US economist of Capital Economics. "The May employment report and ISM activity surveys should help to confirm or refute that narrative, but attention next week will now be firmly focused on trade." Ashworth says that the market will also pay attention to any further details from the White House on the proposed tariffs, while the Fed's two-day meeting will likely take a back seat.
- Glassdoor says while public sentiment toward LGBTQ individuals may have improved broadly in recent decades, the workplace is still lagging. Glassdoor, citing a Harris Poll survey, says more than half of LGBTQ employees say they've witnessed or experienced anti-LGBTQ comments by coworkers. Another 47% say they believed being out at work could hurt their career, including possibly losing their jobs or prompting them to be passed over for promotion or key projects. Perhaps as a consequence, 43% of respondents said they weren't fully out in their workplace. When job searching, LGBTQ employees say a supportive work environment is key, with another 68% of respondents saying their current firms could be doing more to support them and their allies at work.
- US refiners will press the Trump Administration next week for an exemption on crude oil imports from Mexico after President Trump threatened to impose escalating tariffs on the country, according to people familiar with the matter. Trump's announcement of a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico caught the refining industry by surprise, the people said, and has sparked serious concerns. US refiners on the Gulf Coast are configured to process heavier grades of crude, including from Mexico, which accounted for the third-highest share of crude exports to the US last year.
- Electric motor specialist Regal Beloit moved one of its manufacturing lines from China in an effort to mitigate the mounting effect of tariffs. The problem is it moved the motor production to Mexico, now in the crosshairs of the US administration's latest tariff assault. The Wisconsin-based company already derives around a third of its output from Mexico, and the same from its US operations. "It's very impactful for us in terms of our ability to now produce that product in Mexico and no longer have the impact of the tariffs of those same products," CFO Rob Rehard said at an investor conference last month.
- US Foods says it does source some of its fresh produce from Mexico, but hopes to stave off the effect of any tariffs placed on Mexican imports through domestic sources this summer and hashing out any changes with clients. "We work directly with our customers to mitigate these impacts," a spokeswoman for the US's second largest broadline distributor says. US Foods falls 3.9% to $34.47.
- US and Mexican produce growers, distributors and retailers are alarmed by threats of new tariffs on imports from Mexico, and it throws a wrench into talks for a new North American trade deal, says Richard Owen, of the Produce Marketing Association trade group. Consumers have come to be used to having mangos, avocados and tomatoes year round. Mexico is a big part of being a solution for that," Owen says as he returned Friday from a summit in Mexico with hundreds of producers who have been increasingly optimistic about a new Nafta. "We are getting calls from our members about what can be done to get things back on track."
- US tariffs on Mexico could depress profit margins at complex American oil refineries, says Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank. US Gulf Coast refineries are heavily reliant on Mexico's heavy crude grades, and that dependence has grown since Washington imposed an oil embargo on Venezuela earlier this year. "There are very few alternatives in the short term for heavy barrels given refiners are prohibited from importing any Venezuelan crude and Canada currently lacks the infrastructure to meaningfully increase supplies to the US," Fitzmaurice says. "We expect US refiners will be forced to pay up for the heavy barrels if the tariffs do in fact go into place."
- Shares in BBVA took a hit on Friday after President Trump threatened to impose escalating tariffs on Mexico. The Spanish bank has significant operations in Mexico. "Evidently, the market is implying additional second-order effects," Citi says, such as further tariffs, GDP slowdown, asset quality deterioration. Shares in the Spanish bank trade 3.7% lower at EUR4.89.
- The decision by the Trump administration to lift restrictions on selling gasoline blended with up to 15% corn-based ethanol is expected to have a bullish effect on corn prices, as the ability to sell the gasoline blend year-round is expected to boost corn consumption by ethanol producers. The decision was lauded by the agriculture industry. "After years of declining farm income, opening up markets to additional fuel choices for consumers helps create new demand that farmers desperately need," says Zippy Duvall, head of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Despite the news, corn is trading down 1% on the CBOT in reaction to the threat of tariffs on Mexican goods by President Trump.

May 31 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell and were on track for their biggest monthly fall since November as trade conflicts spread and U.S. crude output returned to record levels.
- Gold prices rose, heading towards their first monthly gain since January on increased safe-haven demand, after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to levy tariffs on all Mexican imports, ratcheting up concerns of a global economic slowdown.
- London copper prices edged up on supply concerns, but were still on track for a third consecutive month of declines on a weaker demand outlook as global trade tensions rise.
- Chicago corn futures lost ground, but the market is set for its biggest monthly gain since 2015 as historic planting delays in the United States drove prices higher.
- The Mexican peso sank to three-month lows against the dollar after Washington unexpectedly said it will slap tariffs on all goods coming from its southern neighbour.

- While safe havens--including gold--rallied in Asian trading today after Trump threatened Mexico with immigration-prompted tariffs and oil falling more than 1%, a majority of Asia's stock markets have risen today. That contrasts with the early weakness seen as European equities have just started trading and as S&P 500 futures are down 0.9%. One exception was Japan, whose major automakers have noted operations in Mexico. Their shares slipped 3-7%, which with the yen's gains helped put the Nikkei down 1.6% and cap its worst month of the year. Many in the region--and globally--have seen May to be 2019's weakest timeframe after big start-of-year gains. But Down Under equities rose some 1% this month. Today, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan are all up more than 1%.
- As safe havens rallied in Asia after Trump threatened Mexico with fresh tariffs, ING notes while such a move would likely have "less of a global spillover in comparison to the US-China trade dispute, it is nonetheless a negative for risk sentiment as it shows" Trump isn't "afraid of a multifront trade war." The yen was by far the strongest currency in Asia, widely rising 0.6% versus other majors. It reached its strongest level in 4 months versus the greenback at Y108.86. Meanwhile, the Mexican peso hit a 5-month low, with the dollar climbing to MXN19.64.
- The FTSE 100 is expected to open 33 points lower at 7185, according to London Capital Group, after President Trump threatens to impose tariffs on Mexican goods from June 10 unless Mexico brings illegal immigration under control. This follows China threatening retaliation against U.S. tariffs by restricting trade in rare earth minerals. Meanwhile, data highlights concerns about a slowing Chinese economy as Chinese manufacturing PMI slipped into contraction. "European and U.S. futures are set for a negative open as the bad news kept on rolling," says Jasper Lawler, analyst at LCG.
- If Trump makes good on his threat of tariffs on Mexico, most Japanese car companies will decide "to pay the burden" initially, says Hiroki Shimazu, chief strategist at MCP Asset Management in Tokyo. Also, the producers may decide not to pass on the cost to US car buyers. "That's what the reaction is from the stock market today," he adds, referring to the wide 2-3% declines in the sector, though Mazda has skidded 6.5% to levels not seen since the start of 2013. The auto swoon, and gains in the yen, have the Nikkei down 0.7% at 20800 despite advances in much of Asia.
- Trade worries have hit already-weak Singapore stocks, following Trump's threat of tariffs on Mexico over immigration. The Straits Times Index is down 0.8% at 3117, continuing to hit levels seen at the start of 2019. Banks are again sliding, with OCBC down 1.1%. Meanwhile, rigbuilder Sembcorp Marine drops 1.4% on the past day's skid in oil prices.
- Trump's latest trade broadside against Mexico has hit shares of Japanese automakers, which have significant production operations there. The tariff threat in the wake of thousands of Central Americans passing through Mexico and seeking US asylum has sent the big 3 of Toyota, Honda and Nissan down 2-4% while Mazda--which makes the popular Mazda 3 for the US there--has slumped 6.5%. Trump's threat is "very bad news" for Japan automakers amid their moves to increase production in Mexico, says Toshiyuki Suzuki, market economist at MUFG Bank. The Nikkei is down 0.9% while other Asia Pacific markets are modestly lower. Meanwhile, the yen has jumped. The dollar is down to Y109.30 from Y109.61 in late New York trade Thursday.
- Oil prices are down more than 1% in Asian trading as Trump has stoked fresh worries about global trade. Citing the rising number of Central American people seeking asylum at the southern border, the Trump administration has announced 5% tariff on Mexican imports beginning June 10 which would gradually increase to 25% by October. That's hit risk assets generally while the yen and Treasurys rally anew (the 10-year yield is down to 2.18%). After skidding nearly 4% in Wednesday's trading to hit 2 1/2-month lows amid another underwhelming US inventory report, July WTI is down 1.6% at $55.70/barrel and August Brent has dropped 1.3% to $64.50.
- The Mexican peso has skidded nearly 2% within the past hour, hitting levels last seen in March versus the dollar, after Trump threatened rising tariffs--starting at 5% on June 10--in the wake of continued flows of asylum-seeking Central American families through Mexico. The pronouncement came just as Mexican officials delivered the agreed-to Nafta revamp to the country's Senate for ratification. The dollar has jumped to MXN19.50 after finishing active trading in Mexico City at MXN19.14. There has been no immediate response from the Mexican government on Trump's threat.
- Iranian crude exports plunged in May after the U.S. withdrew sanctions waivers, says Edward Bell, analyst at Dubai-based Emirates NBD bank. Iran's exports fell to around 400,000 barrels a day in May, says Mr. Bell. "Iran was exporting as much as 2.5 million barrels a day as recently as April last year so the utter collapse in exports will help to keep a floor under crude prices as other producers have yet to step in to replace the scale of the decline."

May 30 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose after a bigger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories, although concerns that the U.S.-China trade war will trigger an economic downturn kept a lid on gains.
- Gold prices inched down as bonds rallied and the dollar hovered near a two-year high, offsetting the support from an increasingly bitter Sino-U.S. trade dispute that rekindled doubts about global economic growth.
- Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) edged up from a five-month low, supported by better China demand and a possible supply disruption, but gains were limited as the Sino-U.S. trade dispute showed few signs of abating.
- Chicago corn eased for a second session, taking a breather after climbing to a three-year high in the previous session although losses were checked by concerns over more rains further delaying U.S. planting.

- Iranian crude exports plunged in May after the U.S. withdrew sanctions waivers, says Edward Bell, analyst at Dubai-based Emirates NBD bank. Iran's exports fell to around 400,000 barrels a day in May, says Mr. Bell. "Iran was exporting as much as 2.5 million barrels a day as recently as April last year so the utter collapse in exports will help to keep a floor under crude prices as other producers have yet to step in to replace the scale of the decline."
- Pundits have been talking about a wide range of potential outcomes from the global economy from the US-China trade fight and geopolitical risks generally. Merrill Lynch thinks for now that the end result will be a combination of growth picking up in some parts and staying at current pace elsewhere "as geopolitical risk weighs on growth but financial conditions remain attractive." That as "both China and [the] US need a rising 'growth story' as the US election cycle gets closer and China's domestic economy needs support," the investment bank adds. "A further drawdown in the equity markets, mixed with visible evidence of the 'trade war' negatively impacting growth in the US and China, could prompt both sides to agree to meet and rework a trade deal."
- Raw sugar prices hit a two-week high in New York, rising more than 2% earlier in the session. Robin Shaw, a sugar specialist at London-based broker Marex Spectron, says two factors suggest prices can rise further. The enormous net short position built up by nonindex funds means that "when they buy back, they will almost certainly start a bull trend." Second, high demand for ethanol in Brazil means the country has produced 1.5M tons less sugar than at the same stage of last year's season. Against these, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's victory in the Indian election "probably points to a continuation of the existing support for the cane industry," which has contributed to the recent global slump in prices.
- SNC-Lavalin falls 4.6% in the immediate aftermath of a Quebec judge ruling that there was enough evidence to proceed with bribery-and-fraud charges against the engineering and construction company. Shares were trading in Toronto in the C$23.90 range as of 11:15 am ET. The stock closed in Toronto Tuesday at C$24.80, and then at C$24.40 at 10:30 am ET, or around the same time Judge Claude Leblond of Quebec Court issued his decision. Shares in SNC-Lavalin are now trading at their lowest levels since 2005, and are down by over a third since February, when allegations first surfaced that the Liberal government tried to interfere in company's criminal trial.

May 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell on concerns the Sino-U.S. trade war could trigger a global economic downturn, but relatively tight supply amid OPEC output cuts and political tensions in the Middle East offered some support.
- Gold prices steadied, as global economic concerns dented risk appetite but a strong dollar capped gains as it competed to get preference over bullion as a safe-haven bet.
- Industrial metals fell on worries about the global growth outlook amid an extended trade war between China and the United States that has showed no sign of letting up.
- Chicago corn futures rose as much as 4% to their highest since 2016 after a U.S. government report showed planting across the Midwest lagging way behind the average pace for the time of year.

- Might income inequality be something monetary policy gets pulled into along with national governments? "Developed-market central banks are underestimating the impact populism could have if monetary policy does not take into account income inequality, and fast," contends Salman Ahmed, chief investment strategist at Lombard Odier Investment Managers in Switzerland. The ascent of populism in the U.S. and Europe the past few years "will likely have long-term implications for western political and economic order, which central banks are not immune from," he adds. Ahmed points to the Fed's quick turn away from hawkishness this year, a shift which "came against a backdrop of intense presidential pressure, despite the Fed protesting its independence." Overall, "in today's populist era, central-bank policy in liberal democracies needs to incorporate consideration of inequality-driven anger."
- Canadian lawmakers pass by a wide margin a motion that kicks off the legislative process toward ratification of the renegotiated North American trade pact. The motion passes 255-47, with the governing Liberals and the main opposition, the Conservatives, voting in favor. Now it is a question of timing, and how long a bill, once introduced, takes to clear all parliamentary hurdles before implementation. Canada's parliament is scheduled to end for the summer recess and pre-election planning in late June, although lawmakers could return either in July or August if a vote was required. Canadian officials say it's their wish to ratify in tandem with the US and Mexico.
- Canada's envoy in Washington, David MacNaughton, tells reporters in Ottawa he believes "there's a reasonable chance" Congress will approve the revised Nafta trade deal before start of summer recess at end of July. He reiterated comments from Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland that Ottawa wants to be in a position to ratify the renegotiated trade pact at the same time as the US and Mexico. Canada lawmakers are scheduled to vote later Tuesday on a motion that begins the trade deal's ratification process. That motion is widely expected to pass, although the government has yet to say when ratification legislation would be introduced in the legislature.
- US government bond prices rose, pushing yields lower, on signs that chances of a resolution to increased trade tensions between the US and China are becoming increasingly elusive. Investors flocked to the safety of government bonds, pushing German 10-year yields further into negative territory, as tensions flared within the European Union about Italy's unwillingness to reduce its debt. At the same time in the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa May is set to step down early next month after she was unable to reach an agreement on Brexit that satisfies UK legislators and the EU. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to a recent 2.290% from 2.327% Friday.
- The greenback has reached session highs versus the Singapore dollar in late Asian trading, with Maybank noting that Trump's comment about the US being "not ready" to cut a trade deal with China put pressure on trade-linked currencies besides weighing on the yuan. "Notwithstanding the modest pullback from its recent top of S$1.38 last week, USD/SGD has risen by around 1.7% since early April with markets pricing in increased likelihood of prolonged Sino-US negotiations," the broker adds. It puts support at S$1.3710 and resistance at S$1.38. The greenback is up 0.2% at S$1.3780.

May 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Brent crude oil prices rose above $70 per barrel as supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and U.S. sanctions on fuel exports from Iran and Venezuela outweighed concerns about an economic slowdown.
- Gold prices inched lower, dropping for the first time in four sessions, as the dollar rebounded from multi-week lows amid simmering Sino-U.S. trade tensions and as bullion failed to surpass a strong technical resistance.
- Zinc prices rose for a second session in London and Shanghai, extending a recovery from an earlier sell-off as investors worried about low inventory levels for the metal used to galvanise steel.
- Chicago corn futures rose more than 2%, climbing to a near 2-year high as forecasts for heavy rains across key U.S. growing areas threatened to further delay planting.

- Stock prices in London are seen opening higher on Tuesday tracking gains in Asian equity markets overnight, with UK and US markets closed on Monday for public holidays. IG futures indicate the FTSE 100 index is to open up 34.37 points at 7,312.10. The blue-chip index closed up 46.69 points, or 0.7%, at 7,277.73 on Friday.
- The Japanese Nikkei 225 index is up 0.5%. In China, the Shanghai Composite is up 1.1%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is up 0.7%. At a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, US President Donald Trump avoided remarks that could increase tensions about US trade issues with Japan and instead, praised the strong bilateral ties between the two countries, boosting investor sentiment.
- However, Trump also said the US was "not ready" to make a trade deal with China.
"Asian markets climbed cautiously higher overnight in thin trading volumes after market closures in the US and the UK on Monday for public holidays. Trump's comment that the US was not ready to make a trade deal with China had little impact on the market. Investors are waiting for fresh cues as trade tensions and weaker economic data have driven stocks over the past few weeks. The markets are pausing for breath from the trade tensions story but this should change as we move towards the G20 where hopes of a resolution should intensify," said London Capital Group's Jasper Lawler.
- In the US on Friday, Wall Street ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.4%, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both up 0.1%. Financial markets in the US were closed on Monday for Memorial Day.
- The pound was quoted at USD1.2677 early Tuesday, marginally lower than USD1.2687 at the London equities close Friday. Labour and the Conservatives' Brexit policies were dealt a hammer blow by voters in a terrible night for both parties in the European elections. The Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats triumphed, but the scale of disaster for the main parties was laid bare as the final results for Great Britain were announced. The Tories secured just 9.1% of the vote - their worst ever national election share - while Labour finished on 14.1%, with voters split between the clear Brexit alternatives offered by Nigel Farage's new party and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats. Just four Conservatives were elected in England, Scotland and Wales, while the Brexit Party had 29 seats, overtaking the 24 MEPs that Farage's former party Ukip sent to the European Parliament in 2014. The Lib Dems, reduced to just a single MEP in 2014, were on 16 after their best ever European results. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said it was a "very disappointing night" for the Conservatives.

May 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell, extending losses from last week when crude dropped the most this year on concerns the Sino-U.S. trade war could trigger a broad economic slowdown, although OPEC's supply cuts provided some support.
- Gold prices rose as fears of a protracted U.S.-China trade war hurt risk sentiment, while poor economic data from the United States bolstered bets of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut.
- Shanghai aluminium rose over 1% to a more than one-week high after a Chinese firm halted production at a smelting unit following a fire that broke out over the weekend.
- U.S. corn futures scaled to their highest in a year on Friday as soggy U.S. Midwest field conditions and forecasts for unrelenting rain across the region heightened concerns that farmers may be unable to plant a sizable portion of the crop.
- The euro held firm in trade after pro-European Union parties withstood more fragmentation than before to hold on to two-thirds of seats in the EU parliament elections, limiting gains in nationalist opponents.

- Japanese stocks are pointing toward a modestly higher following Friday's uptick in the US. Nikkei futures opened up 80 points at 21180 on SGX, though the dollar is at Y109.39, compared with Y109.61 when Tokyo stock-market trading ended the week. Today's action comes as Trump remains in Japan, possibly advancing his trade agenda.

May 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices recouped more than 1% but were on track for their biggest weekly loss this year after swelling inventories and jitters over an economic slowdown led to big falls earlier in the week.
- Gold prices held steady after rising above $1,280 in the previous session as weak U.S. data pushed the dollar off 2-year highs and reignited hopes of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year.
- Copper rebounded from its lowest since Jan. 14 hit in the previous session, as the U.S. dollar eased, but was heading for its sixth straight week of losses on a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.
- Chicago corn futures rose with the market gaining for nine out of 10 sessions as prices were underpinned by planting delays across the U.S. Midwest.

- The U.S.-China trade conflict isn't the only thing holding back industrial metals, which extend their recent slide inEuropean morning trade. "The market is generally suffering from a very, very material macro-level weakness that is on some level damaging demand," says a trader at a London-based broker. "The market is in a bit of a miserable place right now." In the eurozone, for example, manufacturing activity is on course to fall for a fourth straight month according to the flash PMI from IHS Markit. The consequence: even a trade deal between Presidents Trump and Xi might not be enough to prompt a meaningful rally in prices.
- There's been a change of tone in China's state-controlled media, says Bank of Singapore, and it could be concerning for trade tensions with the US. "China had previously censored out mentions of the trade war...but in the aftermath of the latest tariff hikes has used official mouthpieces to deliver worryingly nationalistic anti-US messages." The firm says officials "could be drumming up popular support for a more hardline position and are preparing to hunker down for a long-drawn conflict." Bank of Singapore now sees a 1/3rd chance of trade talks breaking down. But even if they don't, it says that while a deal by late June's G20 meeting "cannot be ruled out, we would caution against excessive optimism at this juncture."
- Congressional discussions over extending lapsed tax breaks may expand to include breaks expiring at the end of 2019, said Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Breaks scheduled to lapse include provisions helping brewers and companies offering family leave. Neal also said that he's considering expansions of the earned-income tax credit and a tax credit for child and dependent care costs to the extension of breaks, which mostly benefit businesses. Any action is weeks away at the soonest.
- Oil prices slide further, and are on track for a seven-week closing low after the EIA reported US crude-oil inventories surged to a 22-month high of 477M barrels. The glut could suggest OPEC production cuts, Iran sanctions and other market-tightening issues that have elevated prices for most of 2019 may be having less of an effect than previously thought. Then again, the surge in inventories may bullishly help convince OPEC it needs to keep production cuts in place when the group meets next month. WTI was recently down 3.3% at $61.03, just below a May 13 closing low of $61.04. The next-lowest close after that is $60.14 on March 29.
- Intel shareholders shoot down a proposal that would require the company to disclose any anticipated political contributions, and the reason for them, made by the Intel Political Action Committee. The proposal also calls for a shareholder vote to approve any contributions made by IPAC. The resolution was brought by NorthStar Asset Management, which said in a letter earlier this month that it was concerned about contributions made by IPAC to Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa). Only 6% of shareholders voted for the proposal, according to FactSet. IPAC made more than $1M in political contributions in 2018, according to OpenSecrets.org. The PAC was created in 1980 to allow company employees to support candidates whose legislative goals align with Intel's public policy priorities, according to its website.
- Goldman Sachs sees only a one-in-five chance of US auto tariffs being imposed on Europe with subsequent EU retaliation. If that happens, Germany stands to lose the most from auto tariffs, directly through car sales and parts, and indirectly through the knock-on impact on other industries, say Goldman Sachs' analysts. Assuming that a 25% tariff on German cars would lower exports by the same proportion, the hit would be 0.2% of German gross domestic product, they say. U.S. President Donald Trump announced a six-month delay to the decision on whether to impose the tariffs and Goldman Sachs' baseline is that auto tariffs will ultimately be avoided.
- China could use its exports of rare-earth metals to the U.S. as a source of leverage in the trade dispute, says John Meyer of SP Angel. Meyer points to an article in China's Global Times arguing that rare earths are vital to U.S. military technology and that "China controls the vast majority of the world's supply." The article, published May 16, suggested Beijing could raise the price of rare earths "in response to higher tariffs on Chinese products." Meyer says the possibility of rare earths being "weaponized" in this way is behind a 6.4% rise in the VanEck Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF this month. The ETF invests in shares of companies such as China Northern Rare Earth Group High-Tech, which produces and sells rare earths according to a Bloomberg profile.

May 23 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices dropped, extending falls from the previous session amid surging U.S. crude inventories and weak demand from refineries.
- Gold prices were steady, as simmering Sino-U.S. trade tensions underpinned the dollar, while bullion investors looked for a direction after the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting indicated that rates will remain steady.
- Copper prices in both London and Shanghai fell to their multi-month lows amid an unresolved Sino-U.S. trade tension and after Chinese President Xi Jinping warned of difficult times ahead.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session with pressure from expectations of bumper production across much of northern hemisphere.

- Intel shareholders shoot down a proposal that would require the company to disclose any anticipated political contributions, and the reason for them, made by the Intel Political Action Committee. The proposal also calls for a shareholder vote to approve any contributions made by IPAC. The resolution was brought by NorthStar Asset Management, which said in a letter earlier this month that it was concerned about contributions made by IPAC to Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa). Only 6% of shareholders voted for the proposal, according to FactSet. IPAC made more than $1M in political contributions in 2018, according to OpenSecrets.org. The PAC was created in 1980 to allow company employees to support candidates whose legislative goals align with Intel's public policy priorities, according to its website.
- Goldman Sachs sees only a one-in-five chance of US auto tariffs being imposed on Europe with subsequent EU retaliation. If that happens, Germany stands to lose the most from auto tariffs, directly through car sales and parts, and indirectly through the knock-on impact on other industries, say Goldman Sachs' analysts. Assuming that a 25% tariff on German cars would lower exports by the same proportion, the hit would be 0.2% of German gross domestic product, they say. U.S. President Donald Trump announced a six-month delay to the decision on whether to impose the tariffs and Goldman Sachs' baseline is that auto tariffs will ultimately be avoided.
- China could use its exports of rare-earth metals to the U.S. as a source of leverage in the trade dispute, says John Meyer of SP Angel. Meyer points to an article in China's Global Times arguing that rare earths are vital to U.S. military technology and that "China controls the vast majority of the world's supply." The article, published May 16, suggested Beijing could raise the price of rare earths "in response to higher tariffs on Chinese products." Meyer says the possibility of rare earths being "weaponized" in this way is behind a 6.4% rise in the VanEck Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF this month. The ETF invests in shares of companies such as China Northern Rare Earth Group High-Tech, which produces and sells rare earths according to a Bloomberg profile.
- Moderate losses in inflation-linked bonds on the back of falling inflation expectations in the eurozone and U.S. in the past few weeks have accentuated the relative weakness of inflation-linked bonds in the eurozone year-to-date, keeping their performance below that of the overall eurozone government bond market, says LBBW. Measured by the iBoxx euro sovereign inflation-linked index, euro linkers have achieved a 1% gain year-to-date, compared with the 2.7% performance of the overall eurozone government bond market, says senior fixed income analyst Elmar Voelker. "After a short recovery in April, long-term inflation expectations in the eurozone, measured by the 10-year inflation swap rate, have again slipped below 1.20% in the wake of the aggravating political tensions between the U.S. and China," Voelker says.

May 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell after industry data showed an increase in U.S. crude inventories and as Saudi Arabia pledged to keep markets balanced.
- Gold edged lower to hover near a two-week low, as a stronger dollar and signs of easing Sino-U.S. friction dented demand for bullion ahead of the minutes from U.S. Federal Reserve's latest meeting.
- London copper prices struggled to firm up from near four-month lows, as concerns of supply disruptions due to a blockade at MMG Ltd's 1208.HK Las Bambas mine in Peru were offset by U.S.-China trade tensions.
- Chicago corn futures rose for an eighth straight session as U.S. farmers are unlikely to finish planting this year following excessive rains, resulting in tighter world supplies.

- Sterling rises on unconfirmed reports that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has discussed with members of her government allowing parliament to have a free vote on holding a second referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU, though she then backed down due to opposition from pro-Brexit ministers. The pound's rise comes just before May is due to give a speech giving details of a new Brexit deal to be put to MPs. GBP/USD is last up 0.3% at 1.2769. EUR/GBP is down 0.3% at 0.8751.
- J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau says tariffs the Trump administration has implemented on Chinese imports so far haven't had much of an effect on the retailer. But another round of tariffs that would place a 25% tariff on another $300B of Chinese goods would have a "more meaningful impact," on the private-label and national brands that Penney sells, she tells analysts on a call about the company's latest results. Soltau says the company has for the past few years worked to diversify the countries it sources from, resulting in lower exposure to China than industry averages.
- Nomura Instinet analysts say that the temporary general license allowing transactions with Huawei offers some reprieve to US chip companies that Huawei has been purchasing components from. "Nevertheless, we continue to think the outstanding action against Huawei still creates uncertainty and risk for the chip industry in general, and we remain cautious on the chip sector," analysts say. Qualcomm gains 3.2% premarket, leading semiconductor companies higher. Nvidia adds 1.5%, Advanced Micro Devices gains 1.8% and Intel rises 1.4%.
- If increased Chinese tariffs on US goods imposed in retaliation of America's hike take place on June 1 as planned, UniCredit expects the US to proceed with putting new tariffs on China's remaining exports. "Such action would likely force USD/CNY higher to 6.95-7.00" with the PBoC daily fixes of the trading range "only likely to smooth the move." The bank sees the dollar reaching CNY6.98 by midyear before a 2H pullback to CNY6.85 as it assumes "additional tariffs are eventually averted." The dollar is slightly lower versus yesterday's 4:30pm onshore close at CNY6.9111.
- As the US-China trade fight "is increasingly showing signs of becoming a tech war," highlighted by the late-week move to tighten exports to Chinese telecom-equipment heavyweight Huawei, there's going to be collateral damage globally, says Seema Shah at Principal Global Investors. The White House's determination "to paralyze China's aspirations to become a technology superpower is clear when you consider that its actions against Huawei are not only damaging to China's technology sector" but America's as well. Segments including hardware "have significant exposure to China," with many large chipmakers generating more than 1/3 of sales from China, she notes. "For a few, that number is closer to 60%."

May 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose on escalating U.S.-Iran tensions and amid expectations that producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year.
- Gold eased after touching a more than two-week low in the previous session, as increasing bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not cut interest rates this year boosted the dollar which usurped bullion's safe-haven appeal.
- Prices of copper and other industrial metals rose on the London Metal Exchange (LME) after the United States temporarily eased some trade restrictions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
- Chicago corn futures rose for a seventh consecutive session, the longest rally in two years, as the pace of U.S. planting lags behind market expectations, stoking fears that farmers will be forced to abandon sowing.

- As the US-China trade fight "is increasingly showing signs of becoming a tech war," highlighted by the late-week move to tighten exports to Chinese telecom-equipment heavyweight Huawei, there's going to be collateral damage globally, says Seema Shah at Principal Global Investors. The White House's determination "to paralyze China's aspirations to become a technology superpower is clear when you consider that its actions against Huawei are not only damaging to China's technology sector" but America's as well. Segments including hardware "have significant exposure to China," with many large chipmakers generating more than 1/3 of sales from China, she notes. "For a few, that number is closer to 60%."
- Seeking to replenish pork supply as it battles against African swine fever -- an infectious disease which has led to the culling of an estimated 150M-200M hogs -- China appears to have chosen the European Union as its favored source for pork over the US. In the first quarter of the year, EU data shows that nations exported 454,216 metric tons of pork to China. This is up nearly 26% from the same time last year. Meanwhile, US exports to China are down in volume by 20% through the end of March. "Currently the US pork producer is getting royally ripped off due to the trade war with China," says Dennis Smith of Archer Financials. June hog futures on the CME rise 0.6%.
- Canada lifts roughly 16.6 billion Canadian dollars (about $12.4B) in tariffs it had imposed last year on US metals, food and consumer products. The tariffs had been in place since July 2018 and were introduced in retaliation for US duties on steel and aluminum from Canada. After the US announced Friday it had reached a deal with Canada and Mexico to eliminate metals tariffs on those two countries within two days, both countries said they would also lift reciprocal duties on US exports. The lifting of tariffs removes a key barrier to ratifying the new North American free trade agreement. Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on the weekend her government would move quickly to ratify the new trade deal.
- The Midwest premium, the cost for buyers on top of the price of the metal encompassing storage, freight, and delivery, could rise depending on US negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding the drop of metal tariffs -- 10% on aluminum imports, 25% on steel. If the US replaces them with a quota system limiting the amount of metal imports instead, that could increase the already-high premiums. "I expect that the specifics of how the parties will enforce prevention of Non-North- American origin materials from coming in through Canada and Mexico, and/or if there will be some sort of quota, will determine the effect on (aluminum) premiums," one trader says. The premium is currently between 18.75 to 19.25 cents per pound over LME, according to price reporting agency Fastmarkets.
- Retaliatory tariffs on US agricultural products are no longer in place thanks to Friday's deal to lift the US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. This was touted by President Trump on Twitter late last night. "Starting Monday, our great farmers can begin doing business again with Mexico and Canada," Trump said. "They have both taken the tariff penalties off of your great agricultural product. Please be sure that you are treated fairly." Grains futures on the CBOT are uniformly higher in pre-market trading this morning, and are expected to remain lifted throughout the day. While the return of accessibility to neighboring markets is good for grains sellers, traders will be looking for today's crop progress report to show  how large the delays on 2019/20 crop planting is.
- The Trump administration's 6-month delay on deciding whether to impose higher auto tariffs has put South Korea back in limbo as Seoul's repeated efforts to win an exemption have yet to pay off. Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, at today's policy meeting, vowed to step up efforts further to convince US policymakers that South Korean automakers should be excluded if Trump slaps 25% tariffs on cars and car parts. Seoul has insisted it already made concessions on automotive trade under the revised free-trade deal which has taken effect. Announcing the delayed car-tariffs decision, the White House on Friday mentioned the South Korean case positively but fell short of promising Seoul an exemption
from future US auto tariffs, if any.

May 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil rose to multi-week highs after OPEC indicated it would probably maintain production cuts that have helped support prices this year, while tension continued to escalate in the Middle East.
- Gold steadied to trade near a two-week low hit in the previous session as strong U.S. economic data underpinned the dollar, boosting its safe-haven status over gold amid geopolitical and trade tensions.
- Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was barely changed after a brief rebound from last week's slump, while Shanghai metals slipped as investors remained wary about the intensifying U.S.-China trade war.
- Chicago corn jumped to its highest since June, rising for a sixth session in a row as planting delays across parts of the U.S. Midwest underpinned the market.

- Asian markets sink as Trump further stokes trade war fears
Asian markets mostly fell Thursday as Donald Trump’s ban preventing US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment jolted investors who saw it as targeting Chinese providers and risking another flare-up in an already tense trade war.
The president insisted the executive order, which he based on national security grounds, was not aimed at any particular country, but it is the latest move in a row that has seen Washington raise concerns about the spying threat posed by China’s Huawei.
The Trump administration has for months tried to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks, warning that doing so would result in restrictions on sharing of information with the United States.
The announcement comes as trade tensions between the economic superpowers are rising after the US hiked tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods last week, to which Beijing retaliated.
“Earlier, the US Commerce Department had added Huawei to a list of entities that prohibits them from acquiring US-made technology and components without a government licence,” said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.
“If that’s not an escalation in trade tensions, then I don’t know what is.”

Fed rate-cut talk
Regional markets were mostly in negative territory in early trade. Hong Kong was down 0.3 percent, with ZTE, another Chinese telecoms equipment provider, shedding more than four percent. Shanghai was off 0.2 percent while Tokyo finished the morning down 0.6 percent.
Singapore retreated 0.3 percent, Seoul sank 0.7 percent and Manila shed 0.8 percent. Taipei was also off, though Sydney edged up slightly and Wellington put on 0.6 percent.
Asia had been given a positive lead from Wall Street and Europe, where investors were cheered by reports that the White House was planning to delay tariffs on auto imports while it pursues agreements with key trading partners.
Also Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin repeated to senators his expectation that US officials would meet their Chinese counterparts in Beijing to continue their trade talks.
- The dollar fell against its major peers and most higher-yielding currencies, with speculation swirling that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates to fend off the effects of the trade war and slowing economic growth. Such talk comes just months after some commentators had been predicting up to three hikes this year.
“Depending on how long this standoff with China lasts, that impacts growth for longer and might force the Fed’s hand,” Esty Dwek, at Natixis Investment Managers, told Bloomberg TV.
“I wouldn’t expect any big change in the short term, but the possibility of a cut much later in the year has risen.”

Key figures around 0230 GMT
Tokyo             – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 21,055.61 (break)
Hong Kong      – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 28,193.24
Shanghai        – Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,934.09
Euro/dollar      - UP at $1.1208 from $1.1200 at 2050 GMT
Pound/dollar    - UP at $1.2848 from $1.2840
Dollar/yen       - DOWN at 109.42 yen from 109.58 yen
Oil                  – West Texas Intermediate: UP 26 cents at $62.28 per barrel
Oil                  – Brent Crude: UP 25 cents at $72.02 per barrel
New York        – Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 25,648.02 (close)
London           – FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 7,296.95 (close)

- The global aluminum market is watching closely to see if the Trump Administration follows through with removing the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, which has been long called for by industry associations like the Aluminum Association. However, prices are showing little movement, with traders instead waiting until the Administration officially confirms such a removal. Until then, questions continue to swirl. "This afternoon saw reports that the US is poised to remove steel and Ali tariffs on Canada and Mexico, however it appears that the effective date for removing the tariffs is still outstanding," Marex Spectron says.
- Trade disputes are causing sharp falls in the Chinese yuan and are likely to keep the euro under pressure, especially as the latter is set to be stung by "electioneering ahead of the May 23-26 European elections," ING says. It says the offshore Chinese yuan is the "focal point" for U.S.-China trade tensions. The offshore yuan falls to a 200-day low of 6.9450 against the U.S. dollar "and were it to hit 7.00, alarm bells would ring even louder around the world," says ING. USD/CNH trades last flat at 6.9322. ING expects the euro to fall to $1.1130 and then towards $1.1110, from a current level of 1.1180.
- Political noise is becoming more relevant for rating actions, Dietmar Hornung, head of European sovereigns at Moody's Investors Service tells the audience at the agency's EM summit in London. And Turkey is the best example. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been suspected of meddling in the decisions of the Turkish central bank as his popularity drops amid a collapsing economy. He is re-running a mayoral election lost by his party on June 23. The perceived lack of central bank independence, Turkey's dependence on external financing and the lack of reforms to reverse that has eroded the credit worthiness of the country, Hornung says. Moody's has warned of a possible rating downgrade on Turkey.
- South Africa's recently re-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa's selection of members of the cabinet will be key to determine the prospects of much-needed policy reforms, says Matt Robinson, head of Middle East and Africa Sovereigns at Moody's Investors Service. Talking at the rating agency's EM Summit in London, he said credit challenges on the country are chronic, citing low growth, high debt levels, poorly managed leverage and weakening institutions. The lack of reforms addressing those issues will likely "add pressure on ratings from any shocks". South Africa's debt is predominantly denominated in local currency and longer-dated, he adds. The African country is just stepping out of technical recession.

May 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose again and were on track for the first weekly gains this month, as rising tensions in the Middle East stoked fears of supply disruptions.
- Gold fell, following its biggest one-day percentage loss in a month in the previous session, on a firmer dollar and increased investor appetite for riskier assets due to strong U.S. data and corporate results.
- Aluminium prices in London and Shanghai are set for solid weekly gains, as alumina refinery shutdowns in China raises production costs for the metal, but a gloomy global growth outlook put pressure on base metals prices.
- Chicago corn rose to its highest since late January, with the market set for its biggest weekly rally in four years as concerns over U.S. planting delays buoy the market.

- Oil prices continue to push higher due to rising stock markets and continued geopolitical tensions between the US and Iran, and that's helping to fuel so-called backwardation for Brent crude prices, when prices for delivery next month exceed prices for delivery several months from now. Brent's contract for June stands at $73.02/barrel versus just $69.30 for the December contract. This incentivizes traders to sell oil right away rather than putting it in storage, and thus creates a tighter market. WTI, the US benchmark, isn't seeing backwardation, with the front-month price of $63.24 similar to those six months out. This may reflect recent data showing bloated US crude inventories.
- Saudi Aramco's impressive financial health made investors put aside the relatively high environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk that the company carries, says David Staples, managing director of corporate finance at Moody's Investors Service at a conference hosted by the rating agency in London. The issuance offered investors a peek for the first time at the unlisted oil giant's financial statements, showing it to be the world's most profitable company, with net income of $111 billion last year. Borrowers are required to disclose that information when issuing bonds. The deal received bids worth more than $100 billion. Despite the strong demand some fund investors quizzed by Dow Jones Newswires after the deal said they had a tough time making the case to their superiors to justify risk exposure to ESG factors. The price of the bonds has weakened since.
- China is most likely diversifying its foreign asset holdings and not getting rid of U.S. Treasurys, says UBS Global Wealth Management. This comments come as market participants speculate about the possibility of China offloading U.S. government debt in response to rising U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. In March, China sold $10 billion of U.S. Treasurys which sparked the current worry. In total, China owns $1.1 trillion in Treasurys, $200 billion below the peak in 2012. It's not in China's interest to sell U.S. debt "as it would decrease the value of its reserves," which China clearly doesn't want to, UBS WM says.
- President Trump has signed an executive order which could restrict the sale of equipment by Huawei and ZTE into the U.S., but much more serious is the move by the U.S. Department of Commerce to put Huawei and 70 of its affiliates on a blacklist which could forbid U.S. companies from doing business with it, says Liberum. "If this action by the Commerce Department were to be implemented, it would be positive for both Ericsson and Nokia." Any action to limit component supplies to Huawei increases the uncertainty on Huawei's ability to meet commitments significantly. This is likely to make more operators move some or all of their new equipment purchases to Ericsson or Nokia, Liberum adds. "We expect Ericsson to be the bigger beneficiary of any such move."

May 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose for a third straight session, as the risk of conflict in the Middle East stoked fears of supply disruptions, negating an unexpected rise in U.S. inventories.
- Gold steadied, consolidating in a tight range below the key $1,300 pivot, as Washington slapped sanctions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, souring optimism for a thaw in U.S-China trade tensions.
- Shanghai aluminium futures prices hit their highest since October 2018 on worries over a supply shortage, following a refinery shutdown in China - the world's top aluminium maker.
- Chicago corn futures gained 1.5%, rising for the fourth consecutive session as forecasts for more rain across key growing parts of the U.S. Midwest stoked fears of further planting delays.
- The euro and yen steadied against the dollar, after U.S. officials said President Donald Trump was expected to delay implementing tariffs on imported cars and parts by up to six months to give trade negotiators more time.

- "The US-China trade war has some similarities with the Brexit negotiations," says fund manager Fidelity International, as officials in both cases "are under pressure to announce a headline agreement, leaving the details to be worked out later. However, details are important when the stakes are so high, meaning investors hoping for a decisive resolution to the trade war could be in for a long wait."
- The FTSE 100 is expected to open 34 points lower at 7262, according to London Capital Group, after President Trump reignited fears of trade tensions by banning foreign telecoms equipment that could pose a security threat, effectively blocking China's Huawei. This is set to undo the more positive sentiment on Wednesday after Trump delayed tariffs on auto imports from the EU. "The President's almost haphazard approach of sounding optimistic over trade talks before turning confrontational is creating high levels of uncertainty and volatility," says Jasper Lawler at LCG. National Grid, Burberry and Thomas Cook are in focus after reporting earnings.
- ZTE's Hong Kong-listed shares dropped as much as 5.9% this morning on Trump's executive order which would let the US ban telecom gear from "foreign adversaries." The order targets ZTE as well as Huawei, which US national-security officials say pose a threat. ZTE shares are down 13% this month, cutting this year's pop to 47%, as US-China trade tensions have escalated. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed smartphone-lens maker Sunny Optical is down more than 4% as well. But Taiwan rival Largan is off just 1%.
- A new trade relief package for US farmers could total $15B to $20B, according to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, who said the agency is "expediting" development of the program at President Trump's direction. Like last year, the aid package would draw its funding from the Commodity Credit Corp., a Depression-era program designed to stabilize farm incomes, Mr. Perdue said, and may also include purchases of agricultural commodities for humanitarian purposes. "We're in the throes of constructing it," said Mr. Perdue, adding he's still hopeful the US and China can reach a mutually beneficial trade deal. Details of plan come as opposition to the ongoing trade spat mounts across the Farm Belt, where growers are facing a multiyear economic slump and devastating floods.
- Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Committee, has served notice on Boeing and the FAA that he intends to dig deep and long to examine how the troubled 737 MAX fleet was approved to carry passengers. Rebuffed so far in gathering documents or statements from individuals, the lawmaker strongly criticized agency officials for initially failing to require pilots to be informed about an automated stall-prevention system. The design relies on cockpit crews serving as the only safety backup in the event of sensor malfunctions. "How the hell are you the redundancy if you don't know something" is even on the plane, the lawmaker said, referring to typical cockpit crews. "How did that get certified?" Additional hearings are planned, Boeing executives are expected to be similarly grilled and bipartisan support seems to be building behind proposed changes in FAA procedures assessing the safety of new plane models, aviation systems and aircraft parts.
- ADM CEO Juan Luciano says he's still holding out hope the US and China will resolve their yearlong trade battle--at least the tariffs--and if not, ADM's 2019 results might not improve upon 2018's. "I don't believe there is not going to be a deal," Luciano says at an investor conference. While he expects the tariffs will drop at some point, he says that "there's always going to be a latent conflict between the two countries," based on the size and competing priorities of the two economies. For ADM itself, "the more this is delayed, the probability becomes lower that 2019 will be better than 2018," Luciano says.
- Escalating trade tensions between the US and China prompt a strident letter from a key farm group to President Trump, urging swift resolution to ongoing disputes between the two nations. In his letter, Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, warns Trump that tariffs are worsening a prolonged slump in the farm economy, including slashing US agricultural exports to China by $10B, or 50% last year. "Time is running out for many in agriculture," Duvall said, imploring the president to make a deal "to end the tariffs that are slashing our exports, destroying a once-promising market for agriculture, worsening the farm economy and contributing to high levels of stress and uncertainty for many farm and ranch families."
- Stocks turn positive after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said US negotiators are likely to go to Beijing soon, with the Dow gaining 0.4% and the S&P 500 adding 0.6%. Mnuchin, testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, said the administration is also making progress in resolving steel and aluminum tariffs that were applied to Canada and Mexico. Leading the S&P 500 higher is Progressive, which is up 5.1% after the insurance-holding company announced a better-than-expected underwriting margin.
- Shares of car makers and suppliers trade higher after the Trump administration decided to delay a decision on whether to impose tariffs on European car imports by six months. Volkswagen shares are up 3.7%, while German competitors BMW and Daimler trade 3.3% and 2.6% higher respectively. French auto-parts supplier Michelin is up 2%, while Germany's Continental and Schaeffler are 1.9% and 1.0% higher. The Stoxx Europe 600 Autos & Parts trades 1.6% higher.
- As a US-China trade deal remains elusive, federal-funds futures are suggesting investors are more convinced than ever that the Fed will lower rates multiple times in 2019. The market is pricing in a 24% chance of two rate cuts and 6.8% chance of three rate cuts by the end of the year, according to CME, up from 6.7% and 0.7% respectively a month ago. But some analysts caution the futures seem to paint a far more dire picture than overall economic data: the last time the Fed cut rates was in 2008, during the financial crisis. Growth has cooled this year, but not rolled over, says Jon Hill, a BMO Capital Markets analyst. "The market is overpricing the probability of a cut in the next few months, even if the direction of the move is definitely right," he says.
- Despite slapping tariffs on each other following a breakdown of negotiations last week, some analysts continue to hold out hope that a US-China trade deal will still be reached. Commerzbank analysts attribute a turnaround in grains futures partially to this hope. "(It) is being sparked by hopes that China and the US will not push their conflict to the limit, meaning that punitive tariffs will not be applied permanently on all goods in bilateral trading," the firm said. Others analysts are less optimistic. "Rhetoric surrounding continued trade talks is mixed, though it does appear both parties are willing to meet at June's G20 summit," says agricultural research firm AgResource, adding that the firm "just isn't sure what will change in the next round of talks."

May 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell after data showed a surprise rise in U.S. crude stockpiles and Chinese industrial output for April grew less than expected, but prices were supported by mounting tensions in the Middle East.
- Gold prices edged lower, retreating from a one-month peak hit in the previous session as optimism surrounding trade talks between Washington and Beijing soothed investor concerns, boosting global stocks and the dollar.
- Copper and most other base metals rose, as investors took a breather from a recent escalation between the United States and China, following comments from U.S. President Donald Trump that trade talks with Beijing had not collapsed.
- Chicago corn rose for a third consecutive session, notching its biggest 3-day gain since late November as concerns over planting delays in the U.S. Midwest underpinned the market.

- Despite trade conflicts, elections and other things, market volatility has been relatively contained globally. That shows investors appear to assume placid outcomes, and Macquarie wonders why. The investment bank looks back to this past January and February 2016, when what appeared to be a devastating buildup of volatility was disarmed as if by magic. Macquarie says in this world of excess capital that's unevenly distributed and can be frozen in niches,
things can be reversed by the right political or central-bank message to keep liquidity flowing. "Investors are fully in tune with the way politics look at the markets, as markets in turn look at politics, in a perpetual self-re-enforcing loop."
- Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will be in Washington on Wednesday to meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and press for an end to steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada. Speaking to reporters in Toronto on Tuesday, Freeland said she expects to discuss the ratification process for the new North American free trade pact, relations with China -- including China's detention of two Canadians on national-security charges -- and US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports. "The lifting of the 232 [steel and aluminum] tariffs is very important for us," she said. Freeland also plans to meet with Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee and wrote in the Wall Street Journal last month that the new trade deal won't get through Congress unless metals tariffs on Canada and Mexico are lifted.
- While Jefferies economists anticipate increased tariffs would put downward pressure on inflation partly through lower commodity prices, analysts say tariffs expanding to products such as finished apparel and iPhones could weigh on consumer health. Jefferies highlights Capri Holdings as a beneficiary of recent consumer health, saying Jimmy Choo and Versace luxury brands have long-term pricing power, and should increasingly grow their global reach. Another stock highlight is Best Buy, and analysts say a stronger consumer would drive penetration of higher-margin services alongside consumer electronics product purchases. Capri Holdings gains 1.2% and Best Buy rises 1.6%
- A trade association representing toy and game companies says tariffs proposed by the Trump Administration would harm "American families, jobs, and businesses." The Toy Association says a proposed 25% tariff on $300B in Chinese imports, including children's toys, would ultimately be paid for by American families and companies. "The return of a dark tariff cloud threatening the toy and retail communities would sharply increase the cost of toys and
cause irreparable harm to companies of all sizes--particularly American small businesses," said Steve Pasierb, chief executive of the Toy Association. He also says "we support fair and free trade that protects American intellectual property, our workers, and businesses."
- Wedbush says the cost of making iPhones will go up by 2% to 3% based on current tariffs on some lithium batteries and other input materials. However, analysts say if the Trump administration decides to levy a tariff on an additional $325B of Chinese goods, expenses could rise by about 10% or more over time. Despite the continuing trade dispute, Wedbush encourages investors to stay the course because share prices are attractive going into a major iPhone product cycle. "Importantly, the services business which we assign a valuation of between $400B and $450B is relatively insulated from trade swirls and remains a key tenet of our bull thesis on the name," analysts say. Apple gains 2% to $189.42.
- Deere is trading higher with the broader market rally today but expect the bears to return soon. JPMorgan downgrades the farm equipment maker to underweight from neutral and slashes its price target to $132 from $154, citing "rapidly deteriorating fundamentals in US agriculture" that are likely to hold down farm-equipment purchases. Tariffs on US soybean exports have curbed demand for US beans, contributing to rising stocks on hand. Meanwhile, while wet, cold weather in much of the Midwest has delayed spring planting and that's likely to shrink crop yields this year. Deere gains 1% to $147.82.
- With the Brexit deadline being pushed down the road to Oct. 31, EUR/GBP will likely to governed mostly by the U.S.-China trade talks, says Jordan Rochester, Nomura's forex strategist. "The significant size of risk-off reallocation flows we are likely witnessing means that a currency's beta to risk is more important than the latest Brexit tweet or Conservative party headline." This isn't "good news for sterling longs," like Nomura, hence the bank is
exiting its short position on EUR/GBP, Rochester says. "Until we get clear signs of Brexit progress, we will reconsider our long sterling position, which yesterday we closed out of and wait for better levels to reconsider," he says. EUR/GBP is up by 0.2% at 0.8680.
- After years of drift in NASA's human exploration programs, President Trump and Vice President Pence have give the agency's chief specific orders to get to the moon. The public and private message, according to industry and government officials, is to return astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024 "by whatever means necessary." In the realm of space projects, that's a clear signal to the industry and Capitol Hill that private companies and commercial solutions could be the centerpiece. If long-standing NASA programs and legacy contractors take too long to ramp up projects, Pence has talked about switching to commercial options. For now, NASA chief James Bridenstine faces his biggest political and management test yet to balance those competing interests while accelerating the agency's overall effort.
- Canada has limited leverage in its pursuit to have US tariffs removed on its steel and aluminum, according to a panel on US-Canada relations at a foreign-policy conference in Ottawa. In the past, such as the original negotiation of Nafta, Canada could use its energy production as a lever to extract concessions from Washington, panelists say. But US emergence as an energy power has changed the game. "I am not sure Canada is ready for the long-haul trade row with the US on steel, aluminum," says Meredith Lilly, one of the panelists and a former Canada trade advisor. She adds Canadian officials need to rethink its approach on trade, and be less of a "boy scout" given the changes afoot.
- The USDA has reported a new sale of 2018/19 soybeans, with 180,000 metric tons being sent to an unknown destination. Because sales to an unknown destination are often sales to China, the news may indicate that US-China trade negotiations are still ongoing, even with the trade-off of tariffs seen between the two sides since Friday. Many traders were anticipating large cancellations of previously announced grains purchases by China in response to the breakdown of a trade deal on Friday. On Twitter this morning, President Trump said that "hopefully China will do us the honor of continuing to buy our great farm product, the best, but if not your Country will be making up the difference." No concrete plans for such a bailout have been released.
- Oil prices recoup Monday's declines mid-morning in New York with WTI rising 1% to $61.67/bbl as geopolitics begins to move past fiery rhetoric and into actual military strikes, prompting concerns of an supply disruptions. "Geo-political risks to oil are at a new level," says Phil Flynn at Price Futures in Chicago. "Reports overnight of a drone attack on a major Saudi oil pipeline suggests that there are ongoing attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure... The
problem here is the risk of escalation. President Donald Trump has already warned Iran to not do this so there will be a response."
- Venezuela's opposition wrested control of Houston-based refiner Citgo from Venezuela's government relatively easily, but analysts say protecting it from creditors may be a bigger challenge. "They should be able to preserve Citgo ownership for now, [but] this will be difficult to sustain over the longer term, given a multitude of foreign creditors targeting Citgo," say analysts at Eurasia Group. Citgo owes a $71M interest payment on PDVSA 2020 bonds, and while the opposition signaled plans to pay using uncollected oil revenue in US escrow accounts, payment isn't a certainty. Eurasia says Trump could put a stay on all collector actions, like what was done in Iraq, but that he hasn't done so yet "suggests it is probably not forthcoming."

May 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were moving higher, though gains were checked amid an escalation in the trade war between the United States and China.
- Gold prices held steady near one-month highs as an escalation in Sino-U.S. trade war sent investors looking for safe-haven assets.
- U.S. corn futures rose as much as 2% as recent adverse weather delayed planting progress across North America, stoking fears that farmers will be forced to switch to alternative crops.
- China's offshore yuan and the Australian dollar found their footing again as broader sentiment stabilised after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Sino-U.S. trade negotiations to be successful.
- Copper prices rose on bargain buying with the metal having tumbled to a 15-month low in the previous session on escalated trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

- Minneapolis Fed leader Neel Kashkari says the US "is in a very strong position" in its trade war with China. "Not only is our economy bigger, our economy is much less sensitive to trade. Trade is important to the US economy, but it's much more important to the Chinese economy, just as a share of its economy," Kashkari says in a CNBC interview. The official also tells CNBC when it comes to monetary policy, he is less apprehensive about the outlook now that his colleagues are no longer pushing for more rate increases.
- An international technical review panel that US aviation regulators hoped would quickly give a stamp of approval for putting Boeing 737 MAX jets back in the air could add further delays to returning the planes to commercial service as devising a software package has dragged on. The FAA has said the eight countries participating in the panel "will individually provide the FAA with findings regarding the adequacy of the certification process and any recommendations to approve the process." That effort is bound to stretch long past the time US regulators seek to approve Boeing's pending fix. The US has made it clear the panel, which includes Singapore, Brazil, China and Europe's primary aviation regulator, wouldn't have veto power over FAA determinations. But failure to quickly reach a consensus among panel members could make the FAA leery of acting on its own.
- Equity markets will be "the main channel" through which financial markets react to trade tensions between the U.S. and China, says TD Securities, after the U.S. ramped up tariffs on certain Chinese goods and China threatened retaliation. The euro could benefit, however, as emerging-market currencies are sold, the bank says, noting that the euro has been used to fund investments in these currencies. "The common currency has been a popular funder for EMFX exposure and we think the unwind of the latter should place intermittent upside on the EUR," TD says in a note. The Stoxx Europe 600 index falls 1.2%, while EUR/USD rises to its highest in nearly two weeks at 1.1264, according to FactSet.
- July cotton futures on the Intercontinental Exchange are continuing last week's downward momentum with a steep 4.2% fall in trading so far today, placing the contract at 65.58 cents per pound. This will be the sixth session in a row that the cotton contract has fallen, declining 12.8% in that time period. Ramped-up tensions in the US-China trade war, combined with indications of a large cotton crop this year, are fueling this downturn, according to Tyler Herrmann with RJO Futures. "From a technical standpoint the chart looks horrible and I don't see any reason to jump in front of this and try a shot at a long position," Herrmann says.
- New research from the New York Fed finds that when it comes to the economy, voters now are less polarized than they were at the time of the election of President Trump. "While Republican counties have remained more optimistic about government debt growth and future unemployment, expectations in Republican and Democratic counties have become essentially indistinguishable over the past year in terms of their expectations about changes in their financial situation, inflation, and the stock market," the report said. The New York Fed noted it will follow up on Tuesday with more on this key issue, as the 2020 presidential election looms back into view.
- Base metals trading on the London Metal Exchange are uniformly down day, with negative momentum stemming from the failure of the US and China in reaching a trade deal on Friday and the US and China raising tariffs. "It seems that the modest recovery we saw set in on Friday... following the end of the latest round of US/Chinese trade talks has fizzled in its entirety, leaving investors as confused as ever about the future course of events," said Edward Meir of INTL FCStone. Tin is recording the largest percentage drop among base metals today, with the 3-month contract down 1.7% to $19,300 per metric ton. Not far behind are lead and zinc, which are down 1.4%, and copper, which is down 1.3%.
- Grains futures on the CBOT are trading lower this morning, with the negative trend unlikely to let up with news of China raising tariffs up to 25% on $60B worth of US goods. The July soybean and corn contracts are both  down 1.6% in pre-market trading, while wheat is down 0.9%. For soybeans, the decline places the contract under the $8 per bushel range. China's raising of retaliatory tariffs comes in defiance of tweeted threats from President Trump, who warned China this morning not to retaliate. Also weighing down the contracts were lackluster statistics from Friday's WASDE report, which showed higher-than-expected US inventories for all three grains.
- In the wake of talks between the US and China ending without a deal on Friday and news this morning that China will raise tariffs on certain U.S. imports, trading on the CBOT is expected to be lower - particularly for soybeans, which is most closely tied into the back-and-forth between the two countries. "The trade continues to factor in the large carryout and the lack of a trade deal and the only reasonable conclusion for traders at this point is to continue to sell soybeans," says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. President Trump was defiant on Twitter this morning, directing a tweet to Chinese President Xi stating "China will be hurt very badly if you don't make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries."
- Stock futures are coming under heavy selling pressure as messages from DC cast doubt on a clean resolution to the US and China's trade fight. President Trump said on Twitter early Monday that China would be "hurt very badly" if it didn't make a deal. The tweet follows another message Saturday, in which Trump said he loved "collecting BIG TARIFFS!" Analysts are watching retaliation from Beijing. S&P 500 futures are down 57 points.
- Although it's holding up relatively well, European credit markets could stay tense on Monday, says Commerzbank. On Friday, European bonds were in "no need to rush to extend the selloff," although credit default swaps widened slightly after tightening prior to that. This came as the U.S. increased the tariff rate on $200 billion of goods imported from China to 25%, in a sign of challenging discussions between the world's two largest economies to forge a trade deal, causing falls in U.S. equities. "The bearish spillover from across the pond came in absence of major trade headlines and offered another taste of how unpredictable market responses to ambiguous trade news remain for now," Commerzbank says.
- A number of major currencies are at the mercy of U.S.-China trade disputes. With the markets in a risk-off mood "there's no point looking for gains from" the Norwegian krone, Australian dollar, Swedish krona, New Zealand dollar or the Canadian dollar, says Kit Juckes, Societe Generale's macro strategist. "The only good news would be de-escalation of the President's twitter rhetoric," says Juckes referring to Donald Trump tweeting last week about increasing tariffs on China. The euro though could be under pressure. "The threat of trade conflict spreading to Europe and to auto exports must weigh on the euro." The euro is last flat at $1.1229.
- The selloff in metals has gone too far, says Citigroup. Macro strategists at the U.S. bank say the asset class has fallen in response to the flare-up in tensions between the U.S. and China. However, they say President Trump imposed steeper tariffs on Chinese goods in order to "cement concessions from China," and think the two sides are still likely to reach a deal in the second quarter. Base metals are down again today, led by a 1.1% fall for copper, which has now lost 6.5% over the past month.

May 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil futures were mixed, with U.S. crude edging lower, as investors and traders fretted over global economic growth prospects amid a standoff in Sino-U.S. trade talks.
- Gold prices dipped as Sino-U.S. trade tensions and uncertainty over a deal weighed on yuan, making the bullion expensive for buyers in world's largest consumer - China.
- Copper prices dropped, pressured by concerns over the outlook for the global economy and metals demand as Washington and Beijing struggled to salvage a deal to end a bitter trade war.
- Chicago soybean futures fell to their lowest in more than 10 years, pressured by concerns that an escalation in the trade war between Washington and Beijing would further hit U.S. exports of the oilseed.

- President Trump's tweets on new China tariffs will weigh on the kiwi at the start of this week, says Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. Trump has ordered staff to begin paperwork to impose levies on more than $300 billion worth of goods that China sells to the U.S. That order came as the U.S. raised punitive tariffs to 25%, from 10%, for $200 billion in goods leaving China on Friday and thereafter. The NZD/USD is at 0.6602 early in Asian trading on Monday, and ANZ see support at 0.6560 with resistance at 0.6670 on technical charts.
- President Trump confirms on Twitter that tariffs have been elevated to 25% for $200B in Chinese goods, and with a new tariff likely to be slapped on an additional $325B in goods, grains traders are now looking for the Administration to spearhead new aid to US farmers in an attempt to stave off the damage Chinese retaliation will bring. "Trump was active on Twitter this morning with one tweet suggesting there could be more government farm support in the pipeline," says Doug Bergman of RCM Alternatives. In a series of tweets this morning, Trump promised that the government would purchase agricultural products "in larger amounts than China ever did, and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance."
- With the U.S. raising tariffs on Chinese imports on Friday, market participants are "underestimating the degree of additional disruption this latest round of surprise tariffs will cause the global economy," says George Saravelos, forex strategist at Deutsche Bank. With the smaller tariffs applied last year, China exports to the U.S. collapsed 30% and U.S. exports to China dropped 50%, says Saravelos. The currencies which are vulnerable to trade spats are those in Asia and Saravelos says the Japanese yen "is the best safe haven."
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts say they still expect a trade deal from the US and China, and that the scenario of a full-blown trade war is very unlikely. "With the Fed clearly on hold, any near-term market pain will now be clearly attributable to the trade war," analysts say. "With election campaign season also approaching, another bout of market weakness should get the US-China deal over the finish line." However, analysts add that if this scenario does materialize, they would see downside risks to their current growth forecasts in many regions. US stock are poised to open lower as Dow futures lose 0.3% and S&P 500 futures lose 0.4%.
- The currency that could suffer the most from global trade disputes escalations is the Canadian dollar, according to Societe Generale. "The Canadian dollar is now probably the most at risk, since it has the highest yuan correlation within G10, but has recorded the smallest G10 volatility increase since mid-April, when the yuan started to fall." USD/CAD trades down 0.5% at 1.3404 on Friday. USD/CAD could rise to 1.40 if the Chinese yuan plunges and takes USD/CNY above 7 as China is not a local, but a global actor, and "contagion risks generated by fast yuan depreciation won't be limited to Asia," says SocGen. The volatility market implies a 52% probability that USD/CNY will touch 7 in the next quarter, SocGen adds. USD/CNY is currently at 6.8242.
- A flare-up in trade tensions between the US and China is straining this year's rally in emerging market currencies, but it's far from the only issue worrying investors. Even if a trade deal is reached, emerging markets will still have to contend with a persistently strong dollar, said Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. Comparatively high US interest rates have dulled the allure of emerging market currencies and will likely continue doing so, as many developing countries look to ease monetary policy, Thin said. "Even if we get a deal, it's not a magic wand for emerging market currencies," he said.
- The response from the European credit markets to the recent bout in volatility has been measured, according to LBBW's analysts comparing VDAX, which indicates the expected future volatility in the German blue chip stock index DAX, with high-yield non financial spreads. The recent largely unexpected escalation in the trade spat between the U.S. and China, with the U.S. more than doubling the tariff rate on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods to 25%, prompted stocks markets to plunge and credit spreads to soar. Yet compared to this year's risk asset rally, the market's response so far seems fairly measured, they say.
- The dollar typically acts as a safe-haven and rises during periods of heightened geopolitical risks, but it hasn't done so since the U.S. increased tariffs on Chinese imports. MUFG says this is because "the cyclical position of the U.S. economy relative to the rest of the world is not as clear-cut as last year when the first phase of escalation in the conflict took place." Investors are now likely to be much more concerned about the potential negative impact for the U.S .economy than they were last year, it says. "That is likely limiting the expected reaction of dollar appreciation." EUR/USD is last up 0.1% at 1.1229.
- The Japanese yen is flat Friday morning, but it is likely to be volatile going further into the day, UniCredit says. "The yen is expected to remain the cornerstone of market reactions" to the implications of President Trump's decision to raise tariffs on China, UniCredit says. The tariffs "are set to be the major driver for currencies, together with stock market reactions" and the yen is more often strongly correlated with the equity volatility gauge VIX, UniCredit adds. Overnight, the U.S. raised the tariff rate to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese imports. USD/JPY is at 109.90.
- Higher US tariffs on Chinese goods and a likely ensuing slowdown in China will dampen growth for other Asian export-dependent economies, says Moody's. The elevated US-China tensions could increasingly fragment the global trading framework and weaken the rules-based system that has underpinned global growth, particularly in Asia, it says in a report. The Trump administration today raised tariffs on Chinese goods from 10% to 25% even as negotiations for a trade deal continue. Moody's expects "a significant negative effect" on Chinese exports and particularly its targeted high-tech industry.
- Air Lease CEO John Plueger says the crisis surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX doesn't play into the broader global trade agenda. "Safety is safety," he says on 1Q call, adding he doesn't believe regulators in some countries will seek to delay approval of the MAX to fly again because of broader trade issues.
- New US sanctions on Iranian metals could push up the international price of iron ore but will have a limited impact on other commodities, Barclays says. With the iron-ore market "already reeling from supply shortfalls" after the Vale mine disaster in Brazil, any further reduction in supply could push prices further still, the bank says. Iran produces around 60 million tons of the metal, exporting a net 32 million tons. "In an iron-ore market already in 31 million ton deficit, a relatively small reduction in exports from Iran could have an outsized effect on the market and could imply upside risk to our $75/t full-year price forecast," Barclays says. The US imposed tariffs on Iranian industrial metals Wednesday after Tehran said it would roll back some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, from which President Trump withdrew last year.
- Grains analysts and traders in Chicago are split, not only in their appraisal of how President Trump has run the negotiations with China for a trade deal, but in what might happen if a deal isn't reached Friday and the Trump Administration institutes higher tariffs on $200B worth of goods. During a panel at the cmdtyExchange conference, John Newton of the American Farm Bureau praises Trump's tweets on Sunday as "maximum pressure," while others took what Alan Brugler of Brugler Marketing & Management deemed the "gloom and doom" position--that the possibility of a trade deal is now less likely than ever. Grains futures are down today, with July corn down 2.3%, soybeans down 1.6%, and wheat down 1.9%.

May 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices pared earlier gains following U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect, escalating the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies and oil consumers.
- Gold prices edged higher, drawing support from increased trade tensions after U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect, putting the bullion on track for a weekly gain. 
- Prices of copper and most other industrial metals rose on hopes of easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions, which have been threatening economic growth, even as higher U.S. tariffs on more Chinese goods took effect.
- Chicago soybean futures ticked higher, but the market is set for a fifth consecutive weekly loss as the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing dragged prices lower.
- The dollar was steady against the safe-haven Japanese yen, taking in stride the hike in U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods that went into effect and awaiting resumption of talks between top officials of the world's two largest economies.

- Higher US tariffs on Chinese goods and a likely ensuing slowdown in China will dampen growth for other Asian export-dependent economies, says Moody's. The elevated US-China tensions could increasingly fragment the global trading framework and weaken the rules-based system that has underpinned global growth, particularly in Asia, it says in a report. The Trump administration today raised tariffs on Chinese goods from 10% to 25% even as negotiations for a trade deal continue. Moody's expects "a significant negative effect" on Chinese exports and particularly its targeted high-tech industry.
- Air Lease CEO John Plueger says the crisis surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX doesn't play into the broader global trade agenda. "Safety is safety," he says on 1Q call, adding he doesn't believe regulators in some countries will seek to delay approval of the MAX to fly again because of broader trade issues.
- New US sanctions on Iranian metals could push up the international price of iron ore but will have a limited impact on other commodities, Barclays says. With the iron-ore market "already reeling from supply shortfalls" after the Vale mine disaster in Brazil, any further reduction in supply could push prices further still, the bank says. Iran produces around 60 million tons of the metal, exporting a net 32 million tons. "In an iron-ore market already in 31 million ton deficit, a relatively small reduction in exports from Iran could have an outsized effect on the market and could imply upside risk to our $75/t full-year price forecast," Barclays says. The US imposed tariffs on Iranian industrial metals Wednesday after Tehran said it would roll back some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, from which President Trump withdrew last year.
- Grains analysts and traders in Chicago are split, not only in their appraisal of how President Trump has run the negotiations with China for a trade deal, but in what might happen if a deal isn't reached Friday and the Trump Administration institutes higher tariffs on $200B worth of goods. During a panel at the cmdtyExchange conference, John Newton of the American Farm Bureau praises Trump's tweets on Sunday as "maximum pressure," while others took what Alan Brugler of Brugler Marketing & Management deemed the "gloom and doom" position--that the possibility of a trade deal is now less likely than ever. Grains futures are down today, with July corn down 2.3%, soybeans down 1.6%, and wheat down 1.9%.
- Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio says the cruise industry is "all in the same boat" in their hope the Trump administration finds a way to keep them from being able to sell sailings to Cuba. "We are all working together to try to maintain what we have," Del Rio tells analysts during a 1Q earnings conference call. "We just don't know at this point what we don't know. It is business as usual until it's not ... this is government at work, it's not business and so we just have to wait and see."
- Chinese investment into the US plummeted to $5B last year, a seven-year low, from $29B in 2017, according to a report Wednesday by Rhodium Group. That is because China clamped down on capital outflows and more of the US became off limits. The firm estimates $2.5B in Chinese acquisitions were abandoned because of concerns raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, a secretive Treasury-led panel that vets foreign investment for security risks. Last year "proved that the five-decade trend of closer engagement in US-China relations was not inexorable, and patterns propelled by powerful commercial logic can be stalled or reversed by policy," the firm observes.
- Every CEO this week, it seems, is getting asked about what new or higher US tariffs on Chinese imports will do to their business. On an earnings call, Keurig Dr Pepper's CEO says the next wave of tariffs would have a minimal effect on the K-Cup maker. "Less than $1 million," Bob Gamgort says. If the US adds tariffs on everything else coming from China that would likely raise prices on "everything in the consumer electronics world" but Gamgort says Keurig is diversifying its supply base and taking steps to mitigate. Keurig falls 3.1% after reporting weakness in its drinks-distribution business.
- To neutralize exposure to geopolitical risks, Adrian Owens, GAM Investments' currency and fixed income hedge fund manager, likes to buy currency pairs where both currencies are exposed to those risks. In case risks materialize, the net effect on the currency pair is minimal. For example, Owens likes to go long the Mexican peso versus the Russian ruble. If the U.S. does raise tariffs on Chinese imports Friday and trade tensions escalate, both the peso and the ruble will weaken, but not against each other. One can't prepare for "exogenous shocks" such as the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, but these types of trades help to minimize exposure to them, Owens says. "Historically, that's how we made our highest returns," he says.
- Threats of more U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports and the possibility of Chinese retaliation hasn't impacted the investment decisions of Adrian Owens, GAM Investments' currency and fixed income hedge fund manager. He says he isn't "betting on [Donald] Trump's tweets." Trump said on Twitter Sunday that he will raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods on Friday. Acting on Trump's tweets is "not a high quality trade," Owens says, adding that today the threat of tariffs is high and the next day is goes down again. "Risks are assymmetric," he says.
- When the U.S. raises tariffs on Chinese imports overnight, China could retaliate with futher tariffs on U.S. goods, but "a wide range of non-tariff measures that damage the U.S. could be more important," says George Saravelos, forex strategist at Deutsche Bank. One thing the Chinese could do is to weaken the yuan, he says. Offshore yuan versus dollar "moves have been fairly consistently in line with the weighted average tariffs imposed by the U.S. on Chinese imports." The onshore yuan "is already the world's most expensive currency in our valuation models and has plenty of room to fall against the yen, which is the world's second cheapest," Saravelos says.
- U.S. President Donald Trump's tweets on Sunday threatening to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports "was not a bluff," says George Saravelos, a forex strategist at Deutsche Bank. He says it's certain that the U.S. government will be raising tariffs to 25% from 10% effective midnight Washington time today. The surprising escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions this week is "a material negative for the global economy" and the foreign exchange market is "unprepared" for that, Saravelos says.
- EUR/USD is holding on around the 1.12 level in spite of U.S.-China trade-related uncertainties. But if the Chinese yuan were to plunge on the back of these risks, sending USD/CNY above 7, then EUR/USD could fall below 1.11 and towards 1.10 as the safe-haven dollar stregthens, says Kit Juckes, macro strategist at Societe Generale. Juckes says the yuan is a key barometer of foreign exchange market stability. Its fall would signal an economic weakness in China and the Chinese economy is currently the driver of the global economy. He notes, however, that the biggest moves would be in emerging markets. EUR/USD is last flat at 1.1191 and USD/CNY rises 0.6% to 6.8212.

May 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices dropped 1 percent amid concerns over the escalating trade battle between the United States and China, despite a surprise fall in U.S. crude stockpiles.
- Gold prices held steady ahead of Sino-U.S. trade negotiations, while demand for government bonds and Japanese yen and a key technical resistance limited gains for the safe-haven metal.
- Prices of industrial metals dropped, with copper hitting its lowest in nearly three months, as investors shied away from riskier assets amid mounting tensions ahead of crucial trade talks between the United States and China.
- Chicago corn slid 1 percent, falling for a second session as forecasts for dry weather next week in parts of the U.S. Midwest boosted hopes that farmers will be able to catch up on planting.
- The dollar hovered near a six-week low versus the yen, weighed down against the safe-haven Japanese peer as risk aversion gripped broader markets amid concerns the U.S.-China trade conflict could escalate.

- Fresh U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports will likely hurt Chinese exports, but also the country's imports, says ING. The escalation of trade tensions mean it is likely there will be more tariffs imposed on China's exports, and any retaliation from China will mean more expensive imported goods from the U.S. "So both China's exports and imports will be hit." Still, exports from China are likely to be hit the hardest, ING says. "If the trade dispute escalates further, we expect the U.S. to push even harder on its Western allies not to use China-made 5G products and parts, which will dampen China's future exports." This means China's trade deficit could rise further.
- U.S. equities have plunged in response to the possibility of higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese products as soon as this Friday, but the foreign exchange market has been left relatively stable, with the Japanese yen the only currency reacting. "Yesterday revealed that the forex markets are reluctant to draw strong conclusions from the gyrations in the equity markets...it is rather clear in the meantime that the yen is the safe haven of choice when risk sentiment weakens badly and that the U.S. dollar is rather neutral," Saxo Bank says. But things could change on Friday, when the U.S. could actually raise the tariffs. "A bad outcome this Friday in trade negotiations could lead to weak sentiment." This could result in "a quick and large policy response" from the Federal Reserve such as cutting interest rates, Saxo Bank adds.
- Market participants haven't fully priced in the risk of the U.S. increasing tariffs on Chinese imports to 25% from 10% this Friday into USD/CNY, despite it rising to a three-month high of 6.7836 on Wednesday, according to FactSet. However, investors in the offshore yuan have priced that risk in, UniCredit says, looking at the six-month USD/CNH risk reversals.
- The fact that USD/JPY has fallen to a six-week low of 109.89 Wednesday suggests "that caution remains predominant at the moment," with the U.S. expected to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports on Friday, says UniCredit. Another safe-haven currency, the Swiss franc, has also increased slightly due to the U.S.-China trade talks worsening, but could strengthen further, UniCredit says, adding that EUR/CHF may "come under a little more pressure again over the coming weeks." The fall in EUR/CHF is also likely to be closely linked to the EU elections at the end of May, says UniCredit. USD/JPY is last down 0.1% at 110.09 and EUR/CHF falls 0.1% to 1.1400.
- The FTSE 100 Index drops 0.1%, or 5.88 points, to 7254.59 as political uncertainty and downbeat trading in world markets weigh on sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 473 points on Tuesday and Asia markets were all in the red. "Investors have been worried about U.S. President Donald Trump causing disruption again with trade tariffs, triggering several negative sessions on stock markets around many parts of the world," says Russ Mould at AJ Bell. ITV tops the blue-chip fallers, down 5% after the broadcaster forecast a 6% drop in total first-half advertising revenue following a weak first quarter.
- While rising geopolitical risks could generate an oil-price spike, they're unlikely to produce a "systemic shock" which could trigger a global recession, says Tina Fordham, chief political analyst at Citi. Key now is the US becoming the world's biggest oil producer, she notes.
- While stocks continue to sell off on the US-China trade dispute, Brendan Erne of Personal Capital tells WSJ that the good news is that China remains at the table. Erne says he expects this week's negotiations to progress enough to stave off Friday's scheduled tariff increase. "Trump doesn't want a massive trade war right before an election year," Erne says. Losses in trade-sensitive areas such as tech, industrials and materials weigh on stocks as the S&P and Dow each fall 2%. Erne says more volatility in equities could be expected depended on the outcome of the trade talks.

May 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose as U.S. sanctions against crude exporters Iran and Venezuela as well as ongoing supply cuts by producers have left markets relatively tight just as crude imports to China rose to a record for April.
- Gold prices rose to their highest in more than a week as renewed worries over U.S.-China trade dispute and its potential impact on global growth dented risk sentiment, stoking investors towards safe-haven assets.
- Shanghai base metals were mixed as the market remained volatile amid uncertainty over the outcome of U.S.-China trade talks this week, but London copper pulled away from lows touched in the previous session.
- Chicago soybeans rose for a second session, with focus on whether the latest round of talks between Washington and Beijing this week will be able to stop an escalation in a festering trade dispute between the two countries. Growing fears about the impact of a worsening U.S.-Sino trade conflict on global growth lifted the safe-haven Japanese yen to a six-week high against the dollar.

- Trump threats deliver 'gut punch' to market
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 450 points Tuesday and had its worst performance since Jan. 3. The other two top gauges of U.S. stocks, the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq, notched their sharpest declines since March 22.

Major U.S. stock indexes fell sharply for a second straight day after President Donald Trump threatened a huge increase in tariffs on Chinese goods in two tweets over the weekend. Investors, who had hoped trade negotiations this week would lead to a resolution of differences between the United States and China, questioned the progress of the talks after the surprise threat of new tariffs, which could take effect Friday.

"The Trump administration's doubling down on the China threats has been a gut punch to bulls," said Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities. "Investors do not want to add risk going into trade talks this week, given the shot across the bow from the administration."

The dip came after a strong start for stocks in 2019. The longest bull market in U.S. history celebrated its 10th anniversary March 9. After its sharp, two-day decline, the Dow is still up more than 11% since the start of the year. Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 473, or 1.79%, to end at 25,965, while the broader S&P 500 index lost 48 points, or 1.65%, to finish at 2,884. The tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped almost 160 points, or 1.96%, to finish at 7,964.

The stock declines started Monday after Trump called for 25% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports previously taxed at 10% and on $325 billion of previously untaxed goods. The sell-off accelerated Tuesday after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated the hikes would start Friday.

"We got that tweet, and it's 'hold your horses,' we're not going to get that trade deal that many people thought was in the cards," said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer of First American Trust in Santa Ana, California. Lighthizer and Mnuchin said the Chinese retreated on trade offers before this week's talks. The two countries were set to meet Wednesday to discuss trade, but that was delayed until Thursday after the tariff threat.

"The biggest threat to this market is the U.S.-China trade issues," Ives said. "If China and the U.S. dig in on trade, it's time to put on the hard hat because the market could go down another 10% plus."

The feud has increased costs on goods for consumers and businesses. This week is a reversal from last, when the S&P 500 hit a fresh high April30 and the Nasdaq closed at a new peak May 3.

May 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were mixed, pressured by concerns the escalating Sino-U.S. trade dispute could slow the global economy, while U.S. sanctions on crude exporters Iran and Venezuela helped keep the market on edge.
- Gold prices steadied as U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to hike tariffs on Chinese imports re-kindled trade tensions between the two countries and pushed investors to seek insurance in safe-haven assets.
- The Australian dollar sharply rose after the country's central bank held rates at a record low, dashing speculation it may ease policy following a below-par reading of inflation. 
- London base metals were mixed amid heightened trade tensions between the United States and China, but news that Beijing would still send a delegation to Washington this week for another round of negotiations provided some relief.
- Chicago soybean futures extended losses into an eighth session, pressured by intensifying trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

- The NZD/USD trades a touch above 6-month lows at 0.6600 after President Trump's latest threat to raise tariffs on Chinese imports sparked a broad risk-off mood. Some respite came from headlines that the chief Chinese trade negotiator would travel to Washington this week for more talks. "But words and uncertainty matters," says Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. "Looking beyond the rhetoric, there has been a dramatic slowdown in global trade volumes this year." Global trade volumes fell 1% in the year to February, after growth of about 5% since 2017. "Continued trade uncertainty won't be helping that," the bank adds.
- The Trump administration expects to finalize new climate rules for power plants in June, the EPA says in a federal court filing. The filing is part of a federal case over the Obama administration's rules for power plants, the "Clean Power Plan," which was designed to shrink the amount of heat-trapping gases the power industry releases into the atmosphere. The Supreme Court delayed implementation of the policy while West Virginia and others sued to stop it, and EPA has to submit regular status updates as part of its promise to address the lawsuit. The Trump EPA is pushing a replacement that would vastly scale back federal authority, giving more power to the states and attempting to make it easier for coal-fired plants, the highest-emitters, to compete.
- Stocks erase much of their early losses as investors weigh upcoming US/China trade talks. The DJIA was off more than 450 points in early trading following threats from President Trump over the weekend to ramp-up tariffs, but reports this afternoon that the Chinese delegation is still planning to travel to the US eases some fears. DJIA ends down 66 points at 26438, the S&P down 13 to 2932 and the Nasdaq loses 40 to 8123. Shares subject to trade-related volatility, like industrials and materials came under the most pressure with Deere falling 4%. Semiconductors are also hit hard with Advanced Micro Devices and Micron each falling 2.8%.
- June livestock futures on the CME finished lower in the first trading day since President Trump's tweet Sunday threatening to hike tariffs on Chinese goods. Hog futures hit their limit of 3 cents per pound down early, finishing the day down 3.2% at 89.75 cents per pound. Meanwhile, live cattle futures finished down for the 11th consecutive session, closing down 1% at $1.12275 per pound. For cattle, traders expect the streak to soon end -- and for the contract to correct. "Look for price recovery," says Larry Hicks of CattleHedging.com, who anticipates a recovery to begin later this week. However, more bad news on the trade front could further delay any recovery.
- Wells Fargo Investment Institute strategists say that while President Trump's escalation of trade tensions between the US and China creates additional uncertainty, any extended weakness could be an attractive opportunity for investors. "If the two leaders are indeed acting to cement a positive outlook by hastening a trade deal, then the latest round of selling could be short-lived in risk markets," they say. "In that case, any backing down from the latest threats, or a trade deal, could create a buying opportunity in risk markets." WFII strategists add that they anticipate that the US and China are not walking away from a deal because of the opportunity and risk that a deal poses for each country's economy.
- If President Trump goes through with his threats to increase US tariffs on Chinese imports, some analysts believe the economy will suffer for it. Oxford Economics expects GDP to be 0.3 percent point lower than it would be otherwise if the tariffs are amplified, adding that if trade tensions escalate "the pace of US activity could slow to less than 2% by year-end." Meanwhile, Philadelphia Fed leader Patrick Harker warned Monday, without commenting directly on Trump's threats, that enhanced protectionism and tariffs aren't healthy for the economy over the long haul.
- US benchmark oil prices trim most of their sharp losses earlier in the session that came along with broad-market selling after President Trump threatened higher tariffs on Chinese imports and said China was trying to "renegotiate" a trade deal just as a final agreement seemed near. "Today's weakness is largely tied to the latest turn is US-China trade negotiations," says Robbie Fraser at Schneider Electric. "That adds to some recent bearishness from crude fundamentals as well, with US inventories, rig counts, and production levels all on the rise heading into the summer demand season." WTI was recently just 0.1% lower at $61.88/bbl.
- President Trump's latest comments on hiking tariffs on Chinese imports trigger new fears among investors, Citi says, including renewed concern about trade protectionism weighing on global growth and corporate earnings as sentiment had shifted into complacency. "A sharp selloff in Chinese equities suggests that the investment community had been pricing in a strong probability of a 'deal' getting done and that mindset now is in doubt," analysts say. However, they believe a trade agreement will be achieved since it is the best interest of both countries. "The President's negotiating tactics may be unconventional but the likelihood of some kind of deal is still higher than nothing getting done," they say.
- Equities and riskier currencies slide as U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted a threat to ramp up import tariffs on Chinese goods. However, it's uncertain that Trump will carry out the threats, which may be a policy of "brinkmanship," in which case markets could soon reverse course, says Mark McCormick, currency strategist at TD Securities. "Markets will remain on edge but also a relief rally looms if a deal gets done," he says, pointing to the stabilization of USD/JPY. USD/JPY is last down 0.2% at 110.90, having recovered from an earlier five-week low of 110.28. The Swedish krona is one currency to have fared badly in reaction to Trump's tweets, but TD favors buying dips in NOK/SEK.
- The Swedish krona drops to its weakest level in 10 years against the euro as investors shun risky assets, fearing the possible impact on the global economy of trade tensions resuming between the U.S. and China. The krona typically fares badly during periods of risk aversion. EUR/SEK rises more than 0.5% to a high of 10.7416, according to FactSet, its highest since mid-2009. President Donald Trump said in tweets on Sunday that he planned to increase taxes on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% from 10% starting Friday, and impose 25% tariffs "shortly" on a further $325 billion in Chinese goods. "The weekend headlines were a reminder that geopolitical tape bombs continually lurk beneath the surface," says Mark McCormick, currency strategist at TD Securities.
- Stocks are sliding as US-China trade tensions heat back up, with the Dow losing more than 360 points or 1.3% and the S&P 500 losing 1.2%. Ten of the index's 11 sectors are trading lower, while the defensive utilities group edges 0.2% higher. This morning's losses come after President Trump tweeted that tariffs on $200B worth of Chinese imports will rise to 25% on Friday and that an additional $325B worth of goods will get a 25% tariff. "Unless China walks away from the talks ... we do not expect an escalation of trade tensions into a trade war," Citi economists say.
- While Goldman Sachs economists think the odds of tariffs increasing on Friday are only 40%, they view Trump's escalation in tariff rhetoric as a net negative for retailers. "Many retailers had already been making changes in order to mitigate any potential impact from a move to 25%, but these efforts may have been put on hold given progression of trade talks -- the short lead time (less than a week) could pose problems as a result," the economists say. They add that the tariffs are particularly bad for areas such as furniture or retailers with fixed price points.

May 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices tumbled after U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday said he would sharply hike tariffs on Chinese goods this week, risking the derailment of trade talks between the world's two biggest economies.
- Gold prices climbed after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods, escalating Sino-U.S. trade tensions, which prompted risk-off sentiment and boosted safe-haven assets.
- Shanghai base metal futures tumbled as the rhetoric in the trade dispute between United States and China escalated, raising concerns of a demand slowdown in China, the world's biggest metals consumer.
- The safe-haven yen climbed and the yuan slid after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on China, sending stocks and commodities into a tailspin.
- Chicago soybean futures dropped to their lowest in over seven months, extending declines into a seventh session amid expectations that a lack of U.S. corn planting due to delays in rain could fuel a shift to more soybean acreage.

- U.S. President Donald Trump's tweets threatening to increase tariffs on Chinese goods to 25% from 10% as soon as Friday, with the prospect of more goods to be targeted, sparks what Commerzbank describes as "risk-off" trades in currencies. This means the yen, "as the typical safe haven" jumps, causing USD/JPY to fall to a five-week low of 110.26. It last trades down 0.3% at 110.82. The Swiss franc also rises, with EUR/CHF down 0.1% at 1.1375. The Australian dollar is among the biggest fallers, given Australia's close links to China, with AUD/USD down 0.7%, while emerging market currencies drop.
- German government bonds, or Bunds, rise sharply as investors buy safe haven assets after U.S. President Donald Trump said in tweets on Sunday he planned to increase taxes on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% from 10% starting Friday. He also plans 25% tariffs "shortly" on a further $325 billion in Chinese goods. Bund yields, which move inversely to prices, fall 2.5 basis points to 0.004%, according to TradeWeb. "We could get some safe-haven buying of Bunds and Treasuries on the back of renewed trade uncertainty," says Danske Bank. However, Commerzbank sticks to its short Bund position after recent improved eurozone data, particularly inflation. "All factors considered we stick with our short bias in Bunds and recommend selling into strength," Commerzbank says.
- Asian stocks fell sharply today as Trump threatened to slap 25% tariffs on the more than $500 billion of Chinese exports to the US not at that rate. That punctured--at least temporarily--the five months of built-up hope that the countries would reach a wide-ranging trade deal. That could still happen, with some speculating Trump's missive is just a negotiating tactic ahead of this week's scheduled round of talks. But investors weren't laughing. Chinese equities plunged some 6-8% after a 5-day holiday, the worst day since early 2016 and erasing more of 1Q's big gains. Indexes in Singapore and Hong Kong have fallen more than 3%. Drops elsewhere in the region are around 1%, and S&P 500 futures continue to sport the near-2% declines seen throughout Asian trading.
- Trump's Sunday tweets threatening to put 25% tariff on China's more than $500 billion of annual exports to the US not already at that levy just might happen, says Bank of Singapore. But it adds the Twitter missives "recall similar hardball tactics when [Trump] was at the negotiating table with Canada and Mexico." The firm says in particular the possible 25% tariff on the more than $300 billion of Chinese exports not subject to any right now "sounds a little too extreme and smacks of a bluff. That said, while President Trump has clearly said that he wants to have a trade deal, we believe he could be inclined to walk away from a transparently weak deal that is not politically accretive for him, particularly ahead of his 2020 re-election campaign."
- Taiwan stocks were sharply lower throughout today's trading as US-China trade tensions were refueled by Trump threatening to sharply increase tariffs. The Taiex was among Asia's weaker indexes, closing down 1.8% at 10897.12 while logging its biggest decline in 5 months. Volume was moderate at NT$138 billion ($4.5 billion). Electronics firm Hon Hai slid 3.7%, undoing some of its recent strength, but lens maker Largan climbed 1.5% on strong April revenue. Among smaller stocks, capacitor maker Walsin shed 4% and PC makers fell some 3%. But financials generally outperformed and Realtek Semi rose a further 0.7%, hitting another record high.
- Beijing will probably strengthen policy stimulus if trade tensions with the US heighten anew, says UBS economists, predicting a return to more of an easing bias despite economic stabilization. They posit that additional stimulus measures could include more infrastructure spending, continued credit easing, a less-hawkish stance on the property sector and more RRR cuts. This morning's targeted reduction to banks' reserve ratios is an indication of such continued easing efforts, says UBS.
- With Australia's opposition Labor party looking likely to win next week's election, commodities consultancy Wood Mackenzie predicts higher costs for the resources, power and energy industries. That's because Labor plans to impose emissions targets on the 250 biggest carbon emitters. Wood Mackenzie estimates that for coal miners offsetting emissions will be up to US$10/ton of raw product. Similarly, it expects the cost will be material for Australia's 2 largest LNG producers, Chevron and Woodside.
- Down Under equities are down moderately following Trump's threat to sharply increase Chinese tariffs starting Friday, the broadside coming ahead of this week's planned round of trade talks. Aussie and New Zealand stocks for much of the past year have held up better than other markets when US-China trade tensions rise. New Zealand's NZX 50 is down 0.5% while Australia's ASX 200 is 0.4% lower in the opening minutes of trade there. But oil's 2% slide will pressure the Aussie benchmark as the day progresses. S&P 500 futures, meanwhile, are 1.5% lower after Friday's post-jobs jump. China returns today after a 5-day break while Japanese markets will reopen tomorrow. Markets in South Korea are also closed today for a holiday.
- Oil futures are down sharply from Friday's settlement, but are little moved in the first 2 hours of Asian trading from where they opened, as investors react to Trump's threat of sharply higher China tariffs as soon as Friday. The possibility of going to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of imports has for some raised fresh concerns about the likelihood of any trade deal as well as impact on the what's been an unexpected strength at the start of 2019 for major global economies. A slower economy generally means weaker demand for oil and its products. June WTI futures are down 2.1% at $60.63/barrel and July Brent has dropped 1.6% to $69.69.
- As New Zealand is the only Asia Pacific stock market open, reactions in equities to Trump threatening to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% is largely limited to the futures market. S&P 500 futures are down 1.4% after earlier falling as much as 1.8% and the index hitting its latest record highs last week. Trump's threat "could unleash a sharp stock-market correction," Chris Rupkey, managing director and chief financial economist at MUFG, said in emailed comments. New Zealand's NZX 50, which has throughout the US-China trade tensions held up better than most stock benchmarks globally, is off 0.4%.

May 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices were set to fall for the week as surging U.S. output and an expected supply increase from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) weighed on markets.
- Gold prices hovered near a four-month low hit in the previous session, after the U.S. Federal Reserve dampened expectations of a rate cut in the near term, boosting the dollar and setting the bullion on course for a weekly drop.
- Copper prices and other industrial metals rebounded slightly in thin Labour Day holiday trade, with electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc expecting a global shortage for nickel and copper.
- Chicago soybean futures were on track for a fourth straight weekly loss as expectations of higher U.S. production and slowing demand in top buyer China dragged prices lower.
- Bitter irony that UK government support for Canada during Bombardier's bitter tariff battle with Boeing over the then-CSeries hinged on the role of the Belfast wing plant in the renamed Airbus A220. Now, Bombardier wants to offload the plant, which employs 3,500 and forms the centerpiece of Northern Ireland's aerospace cluster such as a variety of interiors facilities including one operated by United Technologies.
- As the battle for Libya's capital Tripoli intensifies, Citi forecasts the country's oil production could drop by 200,000 barrels a day to 1 million barrels a day this year. The firm attributes the somewhat conservative projection to President Trump's getting in touch with Libyan rebel leader Haftar, suggesting "the U.S. is taking a more active stance on Libya to prevent oil supply from being disrupted." If the conflict escalates, the country's oil production could drop by as much as 400,000 barrels a day, Citi says.
- Humana says it is ready to implement Medicare's new approach to drug rebates in 2020. CFO Brian Kane says on the company's earnings call that Humana prefers resolving the uncertainty around rebates sooner: "let's just go there and get it done." The shift will mean that drug rebates are supposed to flow to beneficiaries taking the affected drugs. Humana says it believes that the Trump administration is moving to ease the impact of the change, which the industry has generally argued will raise premiums for Medicare beneficiaries.
- Humana chooses to address "Medicare for All" legislation during its earnings call, flagging its opposition to universal government coverage proposals being discussed by some Democrats. The spotlight on such legislation has weighed on health-insurer stocks lately, and managed-care firms have taken different approaches to speaking out about it. Humana CEO Bruce Broussard strongly defends the role of his company in Medicare, its core business, saying it is improving health outcomes and slowing rising costs. He notes that a growing share of Medicare beneficiaries have chosen private Medicare Advantage plans and says Humana's partnerships "transcend party lines."

May 02 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell, pulled down by record U.S. crude production that led to a surge in stockpiles.
- Gold fell to its lowest in a little over one week, after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dashed hopes of a near-term rate cut, boosting the dollar and treasury yields.
- Most base metals except copper and zinc rose from a tumbling session in the previous day, with progress in the U.S.-China trade talks lending some support.
- U.S. corn futures rose to hit a five-week high as forecasts for further adverse weather stoked fears about potential yield losses.

- It could become troublesome for Turkey if people look to exchange more liras for foreign currencies as there is a lack of foreign money in the country, says Nomura's senior emerging market economist Inan Demir. Another potential risk is that the U.S. could announce sanctions against Turkey due to Turkey buying S400 missiles from Russia, says Demir. The last U.S. sanctions weren't significant and still pushed down the lira. If this time sanctions targeted Turkish banks for example, the plunge in lira could be even more significant, he says. Market participants are becoming more alert as the missiles acquisition is targeted for this summer, but risks aren't fully priced in, Demir adds. The lira is slightly higher, with USD/TRY down 0.3% at 5.9456.
- Oil prices add to earlier gains after Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido issues an early-morning call for a military uprising to oust President Nicolas Maduro and the rest of his socialist government. In a speech sent over Twitter and other social media in which he's flanked by men in military garb, Guaido says some members of the military and police have already joined him to "recoup sovereignty" for Venezuela, and that they hope to do it in a non-violent way. "I call on all soldiers, our military family, to join us." Maduro's government responds, saying it aims to put down the "small" coup attempt. WTI was recently up 1.9% to $64.70/bbl.

May 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell after a report showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories, but global markets remained tense amid an intensifying political crisis in Venezuela, tightening U.S. sanctions on Iran, and ongoing OPEC supply cuts.
- Gold prices eased on overnight gains in U.S. equities, while a May Day lull gripped most of Asian markets ahead of a closely monitored Federal Reserve decision on the future trajectory of interest rates.
- Most London metal prices climbed, buoyed as talks aimed at ending a bitter trade war between China and the United states kicked off in Beijing.
- Chicago corn futures rose for a sixth consecutive session as excessive rains across key parts of the U.S. Midwest delayed planting.
- The euro climbed to a one-week high against the dollar on Tuesday after first-quarter economic growth figures in the euro zone beat market expectations, dispelling some pessimism over the economic bloc's common currency.

Apr 30 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices dipped on expectations rising output from the United States and producer club OPEC would offset most of the shortfall expected from U.S. sanctions on Iran, but analysts said markets remained tight.
- Gold prices rose as lacklustre Chinese factory activity data sent Asian shares lower, rekindling concerns about the health of the global economy.
- Most industrial metals traded in a tight range after data showed growth in China's factory activity unexpectedly slowing in April, suggesting the economy is struggling to regain traction.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session to a six-week low after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rated the condition of the winter crop ahead of market expectations.
- The dollar held to tight ranges in holiday-thinned Asian trade, though its Australian counterpart eased as disappointing readings on Chinese manufacturing tempered hopes for a rapid rebound in global growth.

- Recent stability in the Chinese yuan "means the central bank manages the yuan movements in a narrow range," says ING. Onshore yuan depreciated 0.2% against the dollar in March, and so far has dropped 0.3% in April. These narrow ranges "are very different" from the movements observed in the first two months of 2019, when the yuan appreciated 2.45% against the dollar, the Dutch bank says. "We think the narrow range bound may not change even after there is a deal" between the U.S. and China, ING says, as "China will probably want market stability at the beginning of the trade deal, and not add more uncertainty when both sides begin with the implementation."
- After hitting a year-low last week, lumber futures on the CME have rallied on the back of new output curtailments announced by Canadian lumber producers Canfor and Interfor. Curtailments at these mills begin as soon as today, and with Canfor taking 100M board feet offline while Interfor is taking another 20M board feet off for the month of May. The curtailments, attributed to low prices, are expected to help buoy sagging futures. "We view the recent production curtailments as a positive for supply/demand dynamics which have been challenging for lumber producers in recent weeks," says Collin Mings with Raymond James. The July contract is up 2% to $350.70 per 1,000 board feet.
- With the FAA poised to conduct certification flights shortly for Boeing's proposed software fix affecting 737 MAX jets, officials sketch out various scenarios for resuming service in the US and elsewhere. The emerging consensus, according to government and industry officials involved in the deliberations, anticipates the aircraft likely returning first to the air in the US. Then, there could be delays of weeks of longer while certain foreign regulators  mull technical issues along with political considerations. Parties stress the schedule is fluid, and depends partly on how effectively the FAA and the plane maker manage to persuade regulators and politicians overseas that the proposed fix is acceptable -- both from a safety and public relations perspective. Carriers are considering their own strategies to allay passenger concerns.
- Oil prices continued to fall Monday morning on the back of President Trump's renewed pressure on OPEC to raise production and keep a ceiling on prices. Brent crude--the global benchmark--was trading down 1.26% at $70.73 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange mid-morning. West Texas Intermediate futures were down 1.14% at $62.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. "I called up OPEC. You have got to bring them down," Mr. Trump said late last week. The comments came after oil prices had surged at the start of last week after the Trump administration announced it would not renew waivers for buyers of Iranian crude as part of its oil sanctions program on the country, an OPEC member.

Apr 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell, extending a slump from Friday that ended weeks of rallying, after President Donald Trump demanded that producer club OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
- Gold steadied, trading near a more-than one week high touched in the previous session, on increased bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve might cut interest rate this year after a recent data showed inflationary weakness.
- London copper prices dipped ahead of a holiday in China, while other metals were mixed amid surprisingly strong data on U.S. economic growth.
- Chicago corn rose for a fourth consecutive session to its highest in one week as the market was underpinned by rains delaying planting in key parts of the U.S. Midwest.
- The dollar dozed in a snug band as Japan kicked off a week of holidays, giving investors an extra excuse to idle ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting and a raft of global data including on U.S. core inflation and payrolls.

- Oil gives up all its hefty gains from earlier in the week after President Trump reportedly said he called OPEC and asked them to bring oil prices down. "Gasoline prices are coming down. I called up OPEC, I said you've got to bring them down. You've got to bring them down," Trump told reporters, according to Reuters. WTI surged to six-month high $66.30/bbl on Tuesday after the Trump administration said it was ending all sanctions-waivers on Iranian oil imports. It hopes Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers will increase output to make up for fewer Iran barrels in the market. WTI was recently 3.4% lower at $62.97/bbl.
- Archer Daniels Midland CEO Juan Luciano is reading the body language of the grain giant's Chinese customers, and he says it's pointing toward a US-China resolution on trade disputes that have deeply cut into US agricultural exports to China. Some Chinese grain buyers are reducing soybean meal inventories in anticipation of having to buy more US beans later this year, Luciano says, and in other cases, Chinese importers are reviewing corn supply contract language with ADM. "That indicates they are getting ready for movement," Luciano says.
- In a strong dollar environment, GBP/USD could fall to 1.28, ING says. The reopening of the debate over Scottish independence, "which will feature heavily in this weekend's SNP [Scottish National Party] spring conference" should contribute to the small fall in sterling, ING says. "Whilst it sounds like a referendum won't be seen before 2021, if at all, renewed debate about the choice of currency for an independent Scotland will rekindle some of the uncertainty seen before the Sept. 2014 referendum." GBP/USD is last up 0.1% at 1.2908.

Apr 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices dipped on expectations that producer club OPEC will soon raise output to make up for a decline in exports from Iran following a hardening of sanctions on Tehran by the United States.
- Gold climbed, as signs of weak global growth rekindled investor interest in the safe-haven metal, keeping it on track for its first weekly gain in five, while a strong dollar ahead of the U.S. GDP data capped gains for the bullion.
- London copper prices rose from a one-month low touched in the previous session, buoyed as the U.S. dollar eased from a two-year high and supported by hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal.
- Chicago wheat lost ground with the market set for a third week of decline after an inter-governmental body increased its forecast for world supplies amid rising production in the Black Sea region.

- Novartis' higher concentration in pharma and in the U.S. may be good, but is also higher risk, says HSBC. The lender forecasts pharma will contribute about 84% to group revenues in the future, while more than half of group sales will come from the U.S. by 2025. With increased talk of healthcare reform in the U.S., Novartis is indeed concentrating its risk profile. To be sure, innovative and effective new-wave drugs could command high prices in the long run. But, HSBC cautions, for the formula to work, the R&D pipeline should be able to deliver such drugs on a sustained basis. "That is a feat that few pharma companies have ever achieved," warns HSBC's Steve McGarry. After the Alcon spin off, a potential Sandoz separation would further increase the reliance on pure pharma. Shares gain 1.2%.
- Caterpillar Chief Executive Jim Umpleby told analysts that his company and its largest customers are more cautious about capital spending plans given the uncertainties over trade disputes involving the US and other countries. Still, he and his customers are cautiously optimistic that they will be resolved. "It does put a fair amount of conservatism, I think, into all of our plans for capital spending," he said. "I would expect if, in fact, the trade tensions get resolved, that would be a positive for global economic and a positive for us."

Apr 25 - Trump's double pinch on Venezuela and Iran risks an oil market crunch (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices were torn, supported by tightening sanctions against Iran announced this week and pressured by a surge in U.S. supply and concerns of an economic slowdown.
- Gold prices edged up as weak data from Germany and a dip in equities raised flags about the pace of global economic growth, while a firm dollar curbed further gains for the metal.
- Most base metals rose on hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal, with Shanghai aluminium hitting a near six-month peak on expectations of higher consumption and lower stocks.
- Chicago soybean futures edged higher after suffering losses for the last three sessions, triggered by dismal prospects for U.S. exports and abundant world supplies.
- Donald Trump's double strangulation of Iran and Venezuela is reducing spare capacity in the global oil markets to wafer-thin levels very fast. If anything goes wrong in the geopolitical cauldron of world energy over the next six months, we will discover whether Saudi Arabia really is capable of cranking up an extra 2m barrels a day of crude.
- What we learnt from the rare glimpse of Saudi Aramco's books this month is that the legendary Ghawar field is badly depleted. It cannot pump more that 3.8m barrels a day. This is a first-order shock. The company has always asserted with magisterial confidence that it can produce 5m barrels a day without difficulty.
- Jean-Louis Le Mee, from Westbeck Capital, says the physical oil markets are on fire. They are heading for a supply deficit of 1.3m barrels a day by the third quarter even if Opec matches every barrel of lost oil from Iran sanctions. "These numbers should have every investor worried," he said.
- Global spare capacity is arguably as low today as it was during the great oil shocks of the last half century. We are skating on thin ice.

- The immediate wild card is renewed fighting in Libya but other supply problems are stacking up fast. Draconian new rules on shipping fuel to lower sulphur emissions imply a surge in demand for variants of diesel.
- Bank of America says this will add 1.1m barrels a day in short-term crude demand over coming months. "We see a risk of $100 Brent by year-end," it said. The options markets are not priced for this so the theatrics could be spectacular.
- Libya is again on the cusp of full-blown civil war after the fateful march on Tripoli by general Khalifa Haftar, the mercurial Nasserist of Benghazi. The National Oil Corporation warns that a free-for-all by rival militias could cause a near total collapse in crude exports. The world could lose another 700,000 barrels a day.

- Brent crude has risen to a six-month high of $74.50, up 25pc from its average levels over the winter. It has not yet reached the pain threshold for Europe or emerging markets but it is getting close.
- Oil has of course been much higher in the past - $148 in 2008 - but the nominal price is not the macroeconomic variable that matters. Trouble starts earlier if crude is rising because of a negative supply shock. That is what we face today. The market is tightening despite a global manufacturing slump.
"The trade data looks quite ugly," said David Fyfe, chief economist at Argus Media. Air freight is down 4.7pc (14pc in Asia). Container freight is down 0.5pc. Mr Fyfe says world industrial production has dropped to a growth rate of 2pc, typically a recession threshold.

- The market narrative is that a fresh mini-cycle of global growth - driven by central bank capitulation, and akin to 2016 - is now under way. But UBS's instant "nowcast" tracker of global GDP shows a deterioration over the last four weeks, driven by slippage in emerging markets. Brazil and South Africa have fizzled. So has Japan.
- Nomura says the transmission channel for an oil spike is through developing economies. They have a higher energy-to-GDP ratio. Among the losers are Cambodia, Turkey, the Philippines, Ukraine, India, Pakistan, but also China, as well as Romania, Poland and Portugal within the EU.
- Some have subsidies built into their fiscal structure. Public accounts deteriorate as oil rises. So do current accounts. Governments have to jam on the breaks to defend their credit ratings and currencies. This is the amplification effect.
- The collective austerity is big enough to blow Europe off course. It is one reason why Germany remains stuck in the doldrums. The IFO index of business expectations fell to a three-year low of 95.2 in April. "Reports of a rebound are greatly exaggerated," said Iaroslav Shelepko from Barclays.
- The other reason is that the Chinese come-back story is overblown. Korea's bellwether shipments to China are down 12pc (y-on-y) so far in April. Investor euphoria over recent weeks smacks of late-cycle mass delusion. China's economy may be stabilising - at (true) growth rates of around 4.5pc - but there will be a credit-driven V-shaped boom this time.
- Some combined fiscal/credit stimulus is feeding through but has less than half the macro-impulse of 2016. The People's Bank is stubbornly refusing to blow another bubble. What we have is an incipient oil squeeze in conditions of wilting global growth.
- US petrol prices are nearing the neuralgic level of $3 a gallon. It is therefore surprising that Mr Trump chose to push for zero "waivers" on Iranian oil exports.
- Helima Croft, from RBC, said this could eliminate 800,000 barrels a day of global supply in short order. She called it the "ultimate high wire act" for Trump to do this when he is also ratcheting up sanctions against Venezuela's Maduro regime. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had wanted sequential action: crush Caracas first, then crush Tehran.
- Doing both together could now go badly wrong. Maduro is digging in. The officer corps - stiffened by Russian troops - has not abandoned him as expected.
- Mr Trump faces a Syrian red line credibility problem if he lets the regime survive after calling for its overthrow. He is stuck with a long struggle and a de facto US blockade.
- RBC said exports could drop to zero by year-end. This is coming at a time when OECD inventories are back below their five-year average.
- Mr Trump seems assured that Opec will step into the breach quickly with extra supply. It may not do so. The Emirates oil minister, Suhail al Mazrouei, said Opec was badly burned by Mr Trump's bluster and retreat on Iranian waivers in November. They flooded the market too soon. Prices collapsed. "We will not do that again," he said. "We have learned the lesson."
- This time Opec is going to wait until Mr Trump is irreversibly committed and the market is as tight as a drum. The fiscal break-even price of oil for the Saudi regime is $88. That is the target.
- The deeper problem does not go away when Opec does finally match lost Iranian barrels. The more the Saudis produce, the more they erode the world's safety buffer.
- Westbeck's Mr Le Mee says global spare capacity will fall to 1.2m barrels a day by the third quarter. This will not be enough to cover demand even if nothing goes wrong, and a great deal is likely to go wrong.
- Mr Trump has taken the biggest economic gamble of his presidency. He has set in motion a potential oil crunch. The Chavistas and Ayatollahs may yet get the last laugh.
'The physical oil markets are on fire. They are heading for a supply deficit of 1.3m barrels a day by the third quarter'.

Apr 24 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices fell amid signs that global markets remain adequately supplied despite a jump to 2019 highs this week on Washington's push for tighter sanctions against Iran.
- Gold prices fell to hover around a four-month low touched in the previous session, as share markets rose and the dollar gained after strong U.S. housing data dampened concerns about an economic slowdown in the country.
- Industrial metals in Shanghai fell following declines in London overnight, while fears that China may ease its economic stimulus dampened sentiment.
- Chicago soybean futures edged higher as bargain buying lifted the market after rising South American production and slowing Chinese demand pushed the market to a five-month low in the previous session.

- Iran Threatens to Play “Trump” Card And Block Straits of Hormuz
Iran is obviously upset about President Donald Trump moving to prevent Iran from selling its own oil and has threatened to block the Straits of Hormuz if the United States moves to block all countries from buying Iranian crude. The only way the US could possibly enforce this is to cut off all offending countries from the SWIFT system that connects the global banking system, controlled by the US dollar and therefore by the US. However, doing so threatens whatever is left of dollar hegemony, and if the Iranians actually do decide to block the straits, through which 20% of global oil supply travels daily, the oil price will skyrocket and the US dollar will fall anyway. Meaning, taken together, this is a really risky move for the dollar, since China is involved, which has been busy building alternative oil contracts to bypass the dollar in the first place. They may be ready to get off the dollar standard by trading oil directly with Russia, and if they are, the dollar could be in for some serious trouble in the short term.

- US Arrests Another Chinese National for Allegedly Spying on General Electric
This is good timing for another round of trade talks between the US and China, not to mention the attempt to cut China off from importing Iranian crude oil. A former engineer and a Chinese businessman have been charged with economic espionage and conspiring to steal trade secrets from General Electric to benefit China. According to the indictment, Zheng stole proprietary data on GE’s turbine technology by encrypting the files on his computer and secretly embedding them into a digital photograph of the sunset before emailing the photograph to his personal email. Now that’s some sophisticated next level cryptographic stuff.

Apr 23 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices were near 2019 highs after Washington announced all Iran sanction waivers would end by May, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran.
- Gold prices steadied as strong equities provided a risk-conducive backdrop for investors, countering support from geopolitical concerns as Washington ends sanctions waivers on Iranian oil.
- Copper and nickel prices fell amid worries China may ease its stimulus measures after its economy showed some signs of recovery.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session to a six-week low as improved conditions for the U.S. winter wheat crop and friendly weather in key exporting countries boosted the outlook for global supplies.
- The dollar edged up against a basket of key rivals, while the Canadian dollar was supported by rising crude oil prices due to U.S. plans to tighten a clampdown on Iranian oil exports from next month.

- Grains traders, who have been on the edge of their seats anticipating a final trade deal between the US and China, may have gotten a boost from last week's release of the Mueller Report -- which has pressured President Trumps' approval ratings according to some polls. "Amid the fallout from the Mueller Report and drop in the President Trump's approval rating, the pressure is building for a political win that would shift the obstruction of justice debate. This raises the chances for the US/China trade deal in May," AgResource says. Such a deal was previously expected to materialize in June, which would be over 3 months behind the original due date of March 1.
- It's the cannabis market-Mueller report connection investors have been looking for. Here's the thinking, as per Seaport Global Securities analysts: The special counsel's report didn't fully clear President Trump on obstruction of justice, and considering potential developments in other probes involving Mr. Trump's businesses, both Mr. Trump and Republicans generally have every incentive to secure the president another term, given limits on indicting sitting presidents. That's where cannabis legislation comes in, Seaport says. Mr. Trump and Republicans may not push ahead this year on legislation that would make it easier for U.S. financial institutions to work with cannabis-related businesses, or a separate proposal limiting federal law enforcement in cannabis-legal states; instead, Seaport says, those efforts
could move ahead in 2020 to maximize "voter goodwill" ahead of the election. Seaport says a recent poll showed two-thirds of all Americans back cannabis legalization--including half of registered Republicans.
- Steel Dynamics aims to drive imported steel out of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas with a new mill it plans to build in the Southwest. The company has yet to announce a location, though it's widely expected the new plant will be built in Texas. "We're going to gain a massive share of that import stream," CEO Mark Millett told analysts during a conference call. "I have no doubt of the ability of that mill to penetrate that market and pick up market share." Millett says the Southwest is underserved by domestic steel mills and the US tariff on imports has driven up the cost of foreign steel in the region. "We just have to get the thing up and running by 2021." Shares fall 0.4% to $33.90.

Apr 19 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- A decision by the World Trade Organization that China's tariff-rate quotas on American wheat, corn, and rice violates WTO rules is being praised by US officials as a huge victory for US farmers, eventually allowing them better access to the Chinese market. The decision is in response to an August 2017 request by the US for a committee to consider this issue. "Making sure our trading partners play by the rules is vital to providing our farmers the opportunity to export high-quality, American-grown products to the world," Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says. "We will use every tool available to gain meaningful market access opportunities for US grains and other agricultural products."
- Online grocery shopping is an option now for food stamp recipients in New York, compliments of a USDA-backed pilot program. During the two-year test program, Amazon, Walmart and ShopRite will offer online purchasing to food stamp recipients in New York City or upstate New York, with additional retailers and states also expected to join the program, according to USDA. Recipients will be able to use their benefits to purchase certain food items, USDA says, but not to pay service of delivery fees. The pilot, authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, comes as USDA takes fire from dozens of lawmakers opposing a USDA-proposed rule that seeks to limits states' ability to exempt certain adults from work requirements in exchange for food stamps.
- Canada says it would issue a decision about proceeding with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by June 18, or around the time the country's parliament disbands for the summer and political parties gear up for an election campaign in the fall. Canada's Liberal government bought the pipeline project from Kinder Morgan last year as the project's future was in jeopardy because of political uncertainty. However, construction on the project was halted after an appeals court annulled regulatory approval.
- The risk of material drug-price reductions under "Medicare for All" is extremely low, Citi says after pharma shares tanked on both sides of the Atlantic on the back of the Democrats' proposal. An anticipated measure from the Health & Human Services Department next January aimed at reducing co-pays also strengthens the probability of another term for President Trump, further reducing material risk to pricing, Citi says. Splits in the Democratic Party compound this. The bank recommends using the current weakness to build long-term positions in major pharma players, rating AZN, Sanofi and Novartis in the EU. It prefers Merck in the U.S., it says.Health-related stocks were among the biggest laggards in Europe and the U.S. on Wednesday.

Apr 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices dropped as the impact of plentiful U.S. production offset a surprise decline in U.S. inventories, leaving international benchmark Brent retreating from a five-month high touched in the previous session.
- Gold fell to its lowest since end-December as indications that the global economy might not be as pain-stricken as previously feared prompted investors to take risks ahead of a slew of economic data. 
- Shanghai aluminium prices breached the psychological 14,000 yuan ($2,093.61) a tonne barrier for the first time in four and a half months overnight and extended gains on an improved outlook in top consumer China.
- U.S. soybean futures edged up to ease from a 2019-low touched the day before, but gains were checked by expectations of ample South American supply and fears swine fever outbreaks in China could hit demand for oilseeds there.
- The euro was steady after evidence of strength in China improved the outlook for the global economy, with the market looking next to European indicators to provide the currency with a further boost.

- Trade tensions have resumed the position of top 'tail risk'--an unlikely risk that is nonetheless on investors' radar--among fund managers in April, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's monthly survey. Investors cited trade tensions for the 10th time in 11 months in April as the top 'tail risk'. In March, a slowdown in China was investors' main concern, BAML says. The next biggest 'tail risk' for investors in April is monetary policy impotence, BAML says.
- Ford says the Lincoln Corsair small crossover SUV will be the luxury brand's first vehicle built in China, avoiding the 25% import tariff on cars. Lincoln has been growing fast in China by importing cars from the US. But last year, it suffered when China temporarily increased the import duty on US-built vehicles to 40% from 25%. Lincoln chief Joy Falotico tells WSJ on the sidelines of the New York auto show that Corsair production will begin later this year. Local manufacturing also will lower material costs and shield Lincoln from foreign-exchange fluctuations, she says. Ford is struggling to reverse heavy losses in China, which totaled around $1.5B last year. Ford is up 1.5% to $9.50.
- Healthcare stocks continue to trade lower, as the S&P 500 is led downward by UnitedHealth, down 3.8%, Anthem, 5.4% lower, and Cigna, off 3.2%. Raymond James says while UnitedHealth beat expectations and raised its 2019 EPS range yesterday, the stock wasn't immune to a sector-wide selloff analysts believe was caused by political rhetoric surrounding Medicare for All at an event hosted by Bernie Sanders. Raymond James maintains its buy rating and lowers its price target to $265 to reflect "the ongoing overhang of the healthcare reform debate and Medicare for All proposals," the firm says.
- The healthcare stock is reacting negatively to the prospect that Medicare for All may be becoming mainstream, analysts say. In the middle of UnitedHealth's earnings call Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted that the "profit-driven health care system is hurting patients. We must pass Medicare for All and end the greed of insurance companies." The fear is some versions of Medicare for All are getting traction and that fear is moving from health insurers to service providers, Wells Fargo analyst Peter Costa tells WSJ. UNH closed 4% lower, competitor Anthem fell 6.8% and Cigna declined 7.8%.

Apr 17 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose for a second day on signs of strong demand from refineries in China, the world's second-largest crude user, amid tightening supply as producers curtail output and as oil inventories in the United States fell unexpectedly.
- Gold prices stayed below the key $1,280 level, near a four-month trough, as better-than-expected economic readings from China lifted Asian shares and sharpened risk appetite, denting the metal's safe-haven appeal.
- Copper and other base metals in London rose after China released data that showed its economy grew at a steady pace in the first quarter.
- Chicago wheat futures edged up, supported as investors looked for bargains after the market dropped to a one-month low in the last session on pressure from expectations of bumper production across the northern hemisphere.
- The Australian dollar shot to a two-month peak after data showed steady Chinese economic growth in the first quarter, helping Australia's currency shake off earlier losses.

- On its earnings call, UnitedHealth, which is typically circumspect in its political commentary, details opposition to "Medicare for All" and other universal-coverage policy ideas that have helped ding stock prices in the managed-care sector. CEO David Wichmann warns "wholesale disruption of American health care being discussed in some of these proposals would surely jeopardize the relationship people have with their doctors, destabilize the nation's health system, and limit the ability of clinicians to practice medicine at their best." Instead, he defends the current role of insurers and suggests universal coverage can happen through existing government and private approaches.
- Canada says it would appeal part of a ruling from the World Trade Organization issued last week dealing with the country's longstanding row with the US over softwood lumber. The WTO's panel ruled partly in favor of Canada, that the US didn't follow rules in calculating antidumping duties. Canada, though, is appealing a portion of the ruling in which the WTO sided with the US on the use of "zeroing" to calculate antidumping tariffs. Zeroing is a methodological approach that critics contend artificially inflates dumping margins. USTR Robert Lighthizer applauded the recent softwood ruling for "having the courage" to say that zeroing doesn't prohibit WTO rules.

Apr 16 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices edged down after a Russian minister said the nation and OPEC may boost crude output to fight the United States for market share, checking a recent rally driven by tighter global production.
- Gold prices slipped for a fourth straight session as recent upbeat economic data and signs that Washington and Beijing were making headway in a nearly year-long tariff skirmish boosted risk sentiment.
- Most industrial metals were trading in a tight range, as investors were cautious ahead of China's economic growth data to be released later this week.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session, with prices under pressure from expectations of bumper production in Russia and the United States.
- The dollar edged up against a basket of its key rivals with investors erring on the side of caution as they looked for more concrete signs of stabilisation in the global economy.

- The confidence in the U.S. dollar may be undermined by U.S. President Donald Trump, says MUFG. As central bankers and economists around the world gathered in Washington, Trump once again criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates last year. Trump tweeted adding that quantitative tightening "was a killer" and that GDP would have grown at 4% rather than 3%. "If growth in the U.S. slows further he [Trump] is likely to escalate his interference in Fed policy, and undermine confidence in the dollar," MUFG says. "The likelihood is that the political interference is going to intensify," MUFG adds. The dollar trades slightly lower with EUR/USD up 0.1% at 1.1317.
- The possibility of restrictions to European car imports into the U.S. carries the risk of further underperformance in the bonds of European auto companies against other cyclical industries such as construction, Commerzbank's Marco Stoeckle says. Not only that, it suggests "non-negligible" systematic implications. As trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing could be drawing to a close, Stoeckle says the focus of Donald Trump's
trade discussions could shift to the country's commercial relationship with Europe. This could see the fear of U.S. tariffs on imported EU cars take centre stage. iBoxx EUR corporate eligible senior debt by car makers trades at a asset swap spread of slightly over 90 basis points, wider than the equivalent bonds from construction firms and nonfinancial BBB-rated companies.

Apr 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices edged lower after international benchmark Brent hit a fresh five-month high in the previous session, but concerns over global supplies kept prices well supported.
- Gold prices fell to a more than one-week low, as stronger-than-expected data from China and a robust start to the U.S. earnings season soothed concerns about global economic slowdown, denting the appeal of bullion. 
- Copper prices rose, after data from China showed higher unwrought copper imports in March, while declining inventories, concerns over a supply deficit and hopes of a resolution to the U.S.-China trade row also lent support.
- U.S. corn futures edged higher, extending gains into a second straight session, as recent adverse weather conditions threatened delay in planting schedule.
- The yen hovered near its lowest level this year as more signs of stabilisation in the Chinese economy and an upbeat start to the U.S. earnings season prompted investors to abandon the safe-haven currency to seek higher returns elsewhere.

Apr 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were firm, supported by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by U.S. sanctions on petroleum exporters Iran and Venezuela.
- Gold prices steadied, having posted their biggest daily decline in two weeks in the previous session after robust U.S. economic data lifted the dollar.
- London copper rebounded from two days of declines on a weaker U.S. dollar, while nickel contracts in both London and Shanghai fell despite analyst warnings of supply shortages.
- Chicago soybean and corn futures slid with both markets set for weekly declines, under pressure from disappointing U.S. weekly exports and ample global supplies.

- A tweak to USDA's data collection boosts the number of agricultural producers as the agency captures more women involved in running America's farms. USDA revised its regular 5-year probe into farm demographics and economics to better capture all people involved in decision-making on farms, making changes that bumped up the total number of American producers by 7% between 2012 and 2017. Most newly-identified producers are female, the USDA said, highlighting a 27% increase in female producers. The bump comes a month after the Trump administration in its draft budget proposed slashing USDA's funding by 15%, and as many in the agricultural industry worry about attracting younger generations back to farms during a trying financial period.
- President Barack Obama's top economic adviser isn't concerned about a rule change that would lift a restriction on President Trump -- and personnel in his administration -- from talking, or tweeting, about the jobs report moments after it's released. "The rule is outmoded in an era of massive amounts of internet and Twitter commentary the moment data is released," Jason Furman, President Obama's top economic adviser, said in an email to The Wall Street Journal. Furman said he's "not particularly worried that political officials will do too much to skew the interpretation of the data given that their views are always appropriately discounted."
- President Trump may no longer be encumbered from Tweeting (or talking) about major economic data the moment it's released, if a proposed regulatory change is made. The Office of Management and Budget released a proposal Thursday asking about eliminating a decades old precedent that barred the administration from commenting on the jobs report and other economic data for an hour after its release. In 2017, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer took some heat for tweeting about the jobs report just 22 minutes after it was made public.
- Fed Up, a left leaning group that's long pressed the Fed to hold off on rate rises, is very against Herman Cain as a central bank governor. President Trump "has once again announced his intention to nominate an ideologue with a lengthy track record of bad economic projections to the country's most important economic policy making institution," the group said in a press release. "We cannot fill the Fed's Board of Governors with individuals whose political ideology and loyalties put them at odds with the crucial role of the Federal Reserve in achieving full employment," Fed
Up said.
- As Trump signed a pair of executive orders to overhaul some environmental permitting rules and limit shareholder resolutions on climate and environmental risks, he singled out the Constitution pipeline. That's 1 of several major transmission lines delayed for years by reviews delegated to states, and Trump said New York and others are abusing their authority in order to slow the boom in US oil-and-gas production. "To fully realize this economic potential, however, the United States needs infrastructure capable of safely and efficiently transporting these plentiful resources to end users," one of the 2 new orders says.
- A new paper from the Atlanta Fed helps confirm the notion that 2017's Republican-authored tax cuts, which have contributed to exploding deficits, brought partisan benefits. The paper explores how states that saw new limits on the ability to deduct state and local taxes fared. High local tax states tend to vote Democratic, and the paper finds evidence these states didn't fare as well under the new tax system. Republican leaning states got a 1.6% increase in lifetime spending due to the tax law, while Democrat-leaning states got a 1.3% bump. In the wealthiest 10% of households, Republican leaning households got a 2% increase, compared to 1.2% in Democrat-leaning states, the paper said.

Apr 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell, pressured as U.S. crude stockpiles surged to their highest levels in almost 17 months amid record production and as economic concerns cast doubt over growth in demand for fuel.
- Gold edged lower, but was trading close to a two-week peak scaled in the last session as dovish U.S. and European central banks fanned concerns on economic slowdown and kept global bond yields and the dollar under pressure.
- London copper declined, as rising supply and risks of a global economic slowdown that could crimp metal demand cancelled out further progress in the trade talks between the United States and China, the world's biggest copper user.
- Chicago corn futures climbed for a second session as storms delayed planting in parts of the U.S. Midwest, although plentiful world supplies kept a lid on the market.

- As Trump signed a pair of executive orders to overhaul some environmental permitting rules and limit shareholder resolutions on climate and environmental risks, he singled out the Constitution pipeline. That's 1 of several major transmission lines delayed for years by reviews delegated to states, and Trump said New York and others are abusing their authority in order to slow the boom in US oil-and-gas production. "To fully realize this economic potential, however, the United States needs infrastructure capable of safely and efficiently transporting these plentiful resources to end users," one of the 2 new orders says.
- A new paper from the Atlanta Fed helps confirm the notion that 2017's Republican-authored tax cuts, which have contributed to exploding deficits, brought partisan benefits. The paper explores how states that saw new limits on the ability to deduct state and local taxes fared. High local tax states tend to vote Democratic, and the paper finds evidence these states didn't fare as well under the new tax system. Republican leaning states got a 1.6% increase in lifetime spending due to the tax law, while Democrat-leaning states got a 1.3% bump. In the wealthiest 10% of households, Republican leaning households got a 2% increase, compared to 1.2% in Democrat-leaning states, the paper said.
- Evercore ISI downgrades AmerisourceBergen to an in-line rating from outperform as the drug distributor grapples with slowing sales and profit growth at retail pharmacies, including its biggest customer Walgreens. Meanwhile, uncertainty looms around Amerisource's liability in ongoing opioid litigation and as it sees less benefit from high drug prices as the Trump administration prepares to crack down on rebates. "The near-term risks to terminal value are too great and in turn we await a period of clarity - may take a while," Evercore ISI says. Amerisource falls 5.5% while competitors Cardinal Health and McKesson both decline more than 1%.
- According to Donald Trump and others, the U.S. and China have made substantial progress in trade negotiations and analysts have said that a deal may be reached in the coming weeks. But "while the U.S. and China head towards a trade deal, it is unlikely to last for long as neither parties agree on their place within the global architecture," says Sebastien Galy, strategist at Nordea Investment. "Both see themselves as dominant." Any military conflict between the U.S. and China "would be very limited" and so "that leaves most of the conflict and cooperation to be decided by a series of temporary accords," he says.
- Nordic markets are tipped to open just lower Wednesday with IG calling the OMXS30 down 0.1% at around 1615. The risk market took a breather yesterday as equities were lower and bond yields declined, notes Danske Bank. Asian markets are also lower but mostly catching up with the decline in the U.S. and Europe, it adds. "Markets faced some headwinds from a new downbeat IMF outlook...the news of U.S. tariffs on $11 billion of EU goods, on Monday night, also weighed on risk sentiment." The ECB meeting, U.S. inflation, FOMC minutes and the EU meeting are due today. OMXS30 closed at 1616.56, OMXN40 at 1577.92 and OBX at 809.01.

Apr 10 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices moved little, supported by supply cuts by producer group OPEC and U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, but pressured by expectations that an economic slowdown could soon dent fuel consumption.
- Gold prices inched down as the dollar firmed, but the metal remained near a two-week peak hit in the previous session as equities slipped on concerns over global growth and trade tensions between the United States and Europe.
- Copper eased from a one-week high hit the day before, pressured after the International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecast and as the United States threatened to slap tariffs on hundreds of European goods.
- Chicago wheat futures fell for a fifth consecutive session, its worst losing streak since February, after a U.S. government report raised its estimate for world wheat inventories.
- The safe-haven yen remained in demand as investor caution prevailed due to fresh U.S.-Europe trade tensions and the International Monetary Fund's downgrade of its global economic outlook.

- Nordic markets are tipped to open just lower Wednesday with IG calling the OMXS30 down 0.1% at around 1615. The risk market took a breather yesterday as equities were lower and bond yields declined, notes Danske Bank. Asian markets are also lower but mostly catching up with the decline in the U.S. and Europe, it adds. "Markets faced some headwinds from a new downbeat IMF outlook...the news of U.S. tariffs on $11 billion of EU goods, on Monday night, also weighed on risk sentiment." The ECB meeting, U.S. inflation, FOMC minutes and the EU meeting are due today. OMXS30 closed at 1616.56, OMXN40 at 1577.92 and OBX at 809.01.
- The S&P breaks an eight-session winning streak as investors fret over the latest round of trade threats between the US and EU, while the IMF again cuts its world-wide economic growth forecast. DJIA slides 0.7% to 26150, the S&P falls 0.6% to 2878 and the Nasdaq declines 0.6% to 7909. Trade-sensitive Boeing and Caterpillar fall 1.5% and 2.5%, respectively. Utilities finish higher as investors seek defensive plays. Food and beverage companies are also a bright spot, with Monster Beverage up 3.1% and Campbell Soup 2.5% higher.
- World Trade Organization issued a split decision in ruling on complaint from Canada regarding US tariffs on its softwood lumber. A panel of WTO adjudicators upheld part of Canada's complaint, regarding antidumping duties the US slapped on softwood-lumber products, dealing with how the tariffs were calculated. However, the panel dismissed other complaints from Canada about the US methodology in calculating duties. The parties have up to 60 days to appeal. The complaint was filed in 2017, or soon after the Trump administration imposed a 20% of Canadian softwood lumber, used mostly in home construction. The tariffs have remained in place, and were not part of US-Canada talks toward a revamped Nafta. The US-Canada lumber dispute dates back decades.
- Anthony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust, says the slowdown in the world economy forecast by the International Monetary Fund is not a major source of concern. "We're seeing a soft landing in global growth. That's in line with what we're seeing from the IMF, which has cut its forecasts to the low 3 percents. That's not a big deal in our opinion and is to be expected," Roth says, adding that "green shoots" in China's economy are a cause for optimism. The IMF today cut its forecast for global growth this year to 3.3% from 3.5% in January. Roth says Wilmington is overweight equities, the US and emerging markets but underweight Europe and Japan, where he sees significant economic and political strains.
- Major indexes are trading lower after the Trump administration released a list of some $11B worth of European goods it's considering placing tariffs on. The Dow falls 0.7%, the S&P 500 loses 0.5% and the Nasdaq declines 0.3%. "Both sides would be hurt by an escalating trade war, but again, the US has the edge with the stronger economy," says Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone. "Europe's economy continues to struggle, and it can ill-afford any more stresses."
- Positive on how the U.S.-China trade talks will pan out? Investors could well use Apple as a proxy, says Dan Ives from U.S. investment bank Wedbush. Some 350 million iPhones could be upgraded in the next 12-18 months, he says, some 60 million-70 million of them in China. That's "why investors are so hypersensitive to any news on the U.S./China topic as it relates to Apple--especially with Huawei CFO backlash and demand doldrums a major worry in the region, as seen with the December earnings debacle." Wedbush has been bullish on Apple, whose shares have rebounded 27% to start the year outpacing the broader market.
- The U.S. on Monday announced an $11 billion list of tariffs it wants to impose on European goods and services in the long-running battle over subsidies to Airbus -- Europe has a counter-case against U.S. subsidies to Boeing. Citigroup says in a note "these tit-for-tat reactions are unlikely to materially change the market share (or profitability) for either party, though Airbus may end up selling a few less planes to the U.S. and a few more into Europe." Airbus shares down 1.8%.

Apr 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose to fresh 5-month highs as markets tightened amid OPEC-led supply cuts, U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and escalating violence in Libya.
- Gold prices rose, hovering close to a more than one-week high touched in the previous session, as the dollar eased on weak U.S. economic data.
- Zinc prices fell on concerns that metal smelters may raise supply amid a surge in treatment charges while copper and other base metals climbed after the dollar declined.
- Chicago wheat prices slid 1 percent, dropping to their lowest since April 2 amid the improved condition of the U.S. winter crop and abundant world supplies.

- The price of gold is up 0.55% at $1,297.27 a troy ounce, although it remains close to its lowest level so far in 2019 after President Trump's criticism of Federal Reserve interest-rate policy in recent days. As well as calling for rate cuts, the president also advocated for quantitative easing, both of which would boost the U.S. dollar at gold's expense. Gold and the dollar tend to move in opposite directions. Elsewhere, China's central bank bought more gold--11.2 tons--for the fourth straight month in March, after not having done so for two years. Investors will be looking out for further White House remarks and any developments on trade and Brexit.

- Major indexes are trading lower after the Trump administration released a list of some $11B worth of European goods it's considering placing tariffs on. The Dow falls 0.7%, the S&P 500 loses 0.5% and the Nasdaq declines 0.3%. "Both sides would be hurt by an escalating trade war, but again, the US has the edge with the stronger economy," says Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone. "Europe's economy continues to struggle, and it can ill-afford any more stresses."
- Positive on how the U.S.-China trade talks will pan out? Investors could well use Apple as a proxy, says Dan Ives from U.S. investment bank Wedbush. Some 350 million iPhones could be upgraded in the next 12-18 months, he says, some 60 million-70 million of them in China. That's "why investors are so hypersensitive to any news on the U.S./China topic as it relates to Apple--especially with Huawei CFO backlash and demand doldrums a major worry in the region, as seen with the December earnings debacle." Wedbush has been bullish on Apple, whose shares have rebounded 27% to start the year outpacing the broader market.
- The U.S. on Monday announced an $11 billion list of tariffs it wants to impose on European goods and services in the long-running battle over subsidies to Airbus -- Europe has a counter-case against U.S. subsidies to Boeing. Citigroup says in a note "these tit-for-tat reactions are unlikely to materially change the market share (or profitability) for either party, though Airbus may end up selling a few less planes to the U.S. and a few more into Europe." Airbus shares down 1.8%.
- A "free lunch" mentality has taken over both the right and left wings when it comes to fiscal-policy thinking, Bank of America's Ethan Harris says. "On the left, [modern monetary theory] is a recipe for runaway inflation," Harris says. "On the right, tax cuts have not come close to being revenue neutral" and have led to a huge increase in deficits. With the debate moving on from any sense of budget sustainability, it's now "harder to address the rising budget deficit and raises the risk of overheating."

Apr 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose to their highest level since November 2018, driven upwards by OPEC's ongoing supply cuts, U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and strong U.S. jobs data.
- Gold prices rose to a one-week peak as the dollar edged lower, while investors awaited minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's March meeting later this week.
- London copper prices rose as much as 1 percent, snapping two days of declines as investors hoped for more stimulus measures in top metals consumer China and a key copper conference was set to begin in Chile.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a third consecutive session with prices under pressure from improved outlook for the U.S. winter crop and ample world supplies.

Apr 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell, with Brent slipping away from the $70 mark reached the previous day, pulled down by worries about progress in the U.S.-China trade talks.
- Gold slipped, but was trading above the 10-week low touched in the previous session, as the dollar rose against the yen on signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute and strong U.S. economic data.
- Most London industrial metals rose, supported by news that the United States and China are edging closer to a trade deal after months of dispute.
- Chicago soybean futures edged lower but the market is poised for its biggest weekly gain since early January on expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal.

- If President Trump does nominate right-wing activist Stephen Moore and pizza executive and gold-standard enthusiast Herman Cain to the Fed, they could be around for quite some time. Of the two open Fed governor slots, one expires on Jan. 31, 2024, and the other expires on Jan. 31, 2030, the Fed says. Should either man make it to the Fed and stick it out, they could be exerting influence over monetary policy for years to come. If that happened, it would mark a change, as most Fed governors in recent years have tended to serve only a fraction of their terms. Regional Fed presidents have generally served for much longer tenures, and many have left only when faced with mandatory retirement.
- National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow says the Trump administration "will continue the process of auctioning off spectrum and letting the private companies run with it," an endorsement of "free market" policies that implicitly rebukes some Republican operatives' calls to allocate wireless airwaves differently. Kudlow's speech to a friendly crowd at wireless trade group CTIA's 5G summit in Washington will likely please the top cellphone carriers, which are always hungry for more licenses and are used to paying Uncle Sam to get them.
- While many investors are negative on international and emerging markets as trade disputes and growth concerns persist, David Kelly of JPM Asset Management says those areas will become more attractive in the case of a US-China trade resolution. Kelly says manufacturing stocks and emerging markets equities stand to substantially benefit from a deal with China as well as easing tensions between the two countries. "The growing expectation is that an agreement will be signed between the two," Kelly says. US stocks are trading mixed, with the Dow gaining 0.4% while the S&P 500 edges lower.
- The Trump administration is likely to finalize new rules for vehicle emissions in the "spring or early summer," EPA leader Andrew Wheeler says at the Washington Auto Show. The Trump administration has been planning to rollback higher vehicle efficiency mandates and eliminate California's power to set its own rules, moves California leaders have vowed they will sue to stop. Wheeler says he hopes to avoid years of uncertainty and, if there is a lawsuit, that it goes to court quickly. "Our goal, however, is still a 50-state solution," he says. "And I hope that when we come out with our final regulation, California takes a look at it, they see the underlying assumptions that we've made, they see the progress that we're making, and they realize that this is the best regulation for the country as a whole, and that they don't sue us."
- While speaking to reporters at the White House, President Donald Trump outlines how his administration now plans to deal with illegal immigration at the southern border. Trump says he will allow Mexico a "one year warning" to help with US concerns on illegal immigration, and if Mexico does not cooperate with the US, he will shut down the US-Mexican border and place tariffs on automobiles produced there. Such an approach would severely hurt the US pork industry because Mexico is America's biggest customer. Hogs are up 3.2%.
- President Trump has repeatedly lambasted the Fed for pursuing monetary policy tightening. So that's why a report from Axios he's getting ready to nominate former pizza executive Herman Cain to the Fed is hard to understand. Cain, who once served on the board of the Kansas City Fed, stands far from what Trump professes to want out of monetary policy. He wrote in a 2012 WSJ op-ed, amid a presidential campaign scuttled over sexual harassment accusations, that "the dollar should be defined...as a fixed quantity of gold." Gold-standard advocacy is about as hawkish as one can get and it also lies well outside of anything mainstream economists and current Fed officials think would be prudent. It remains to be seen if Cain would be willing to reverse his prior views in the way Stephen Moore, another possible Fed contender, has.
- President Trump's distaste for the Fed is unabated. In a tweet Thursday morning he said central bank policy actions have been "unnecessary and destructive" for the economy. At some level, the persistence of Trump's anger has faded into background noise for at least some central bankers. In remarks Wednesday evening, Minneapolis Fed leader Neel Kashkari said Trump can say whatever he wants about the Fed and its policy decisions. "My colleagues and I don't pay attention," to the president's views, Kashkari says.
- Farm groups are raising alarm over President Trump's threats to close the US-Mexico border, warning of calamity for agricultural producers already suffering from floods, trade conflicts and low prices. Closing the southern border would be "disastrous," according to The National Farmers Union, which said such a move would block exports to the nation's top trading partner by volume. Mexico bought nearly 38M tons of agricultural goods last year totaling $19B, according to USDA data. "While our members support border security, they are increasingly anxious about what 'closing the border' might mean for their farms and ranches," said American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall. Farmers also worry a border closing would bar seasonal workers from jobs tending and harvesting this year's crops, exacerbating problems for the beleaguered agricultural sector.
- Cigna's plan to offer a way to cap patients' out-of-pocket costs for insulin gets only tepid support from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who's conducting an investigation into the insulin prices. "Why couldn't this have been done years ago?" Grassley asks in a press release after Wednesday's close, adding it shouldn't take Congressional scrutiny to give consumers a fair price. He also notes he sent detailed inquiries on Tuesday to Cigna, CVS and UnitedHealth about the companies' financial relationships with insulin makers.

Apr 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were mixed, with Brent edging higher towards the psychologically important $70 level after easing in the previous session on data showing a surprise build in U.S. inventories.
- Gold gained, supported by an easing dollar as investors awaited progress on the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade negotiations after reports showed that both sides were nearing a deal.
- Zinc headed gains in most industrial metals on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE), as investors eyed ongoing trade talks between the world's top two economies.
- Chicago corn futures rose for a second session with prices supported by floods threatening to delay plantings in parts of the U.S. Midwest. 
- The yen eased and the euro held firm to the dollar as hopes of a trade deal between the United States and China lifted risk appetite globally, while the sterling gained after the UK parliament approved legislation to seek a Brexit delay.

- Cigna's plan to offer a way to cap patients' out-of-pocket costs for insulin gets only tepid support from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who's conducting an investigation into the insulin prices. "Why couldn't this have been done years ago?" Grassley asks in a press release after Wednesday's close, adding it shouldn't take Congressional scrutiny to give consumers a fair price. He also notes he sent detailed inquiries on Tuesday to Cigna, CVS and UnitedHealth about the companies' financial relationships with insulin makers.
- As US-China negotiations continue, Stuart Kaiser of UBS tells WSJ tariffs and trade have taken a back seat to economic growth concerns in recent weeks. "In general we've seen the continuation of the easing of trade tensions," Kaiser says. "Lately markets have been more focused on economic growth than on trade headlines." In the case of growth rebounding in 2Q, Kaiser adds that US small-cap equities are attractive areas for investors that also show lower implied volatility.
- Canada Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the best approach toward ratifying USMCA -- and one that Canada is prepared to follow -- is for all the trade pact's partners to move in a coordinated way. "That is the approach will be taking," said Freeland, when asked at media event about when Liberal government would introduce legislation to ratify and implement the trade deal. Last week, Freeland also tied Canadian ratification to the removal of US tariffs on Canadian-made steel and aluminum. Talks on a North American pact were finalized last fall, but none of the parties have ratified the deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week the House won't consider a USMCA vote until after Mexico passes and puts in place labor law reforms.
- A report from Moody's says any government-led reforms which reduced the footprint of US government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be credit negative for the companies. "If the market role of the GSEs is materially revised or diminished in the next several years, such a development could substantially change the competitive dynamics of housing finance," according to Moody's Senior Vice President Warren Kornfeld. Moody's says a recent presidential memorandum on federal housing finance reforms increased the possibility measures could be implemented without legislation, but added that the large number of stakeholders and uncertain impact means any changes over the next year or two will likely be modest.
- Agriculture futures on the CBOT are mostly higher with May wheat futures up 0.8% and corn futures up 0.5% despite President Donald Trump's reiterated threat to close the US-Mexican border if an immigration deal with Congress is not reached. "Congress must get together and immediately eliminate the loopholes at the border! If no action, (the) border, or large sections of (the) border, will close. This is a National Emergency!" implored Trump in a tweet this morning. Traders are banking on reports that Trump has backed off of these threats in private, but if he follows through it is expected to be very bearish for commodities overall.
- The Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the US signed into law last year by President Donald Trump have had little to no effect on curbing China's dominance of the world aluminum market via government subsidized production, according to Jean-Marc Germain, chief executive of aluminum producer Constellium NV. "Unfortunately, the tariffs have done nothing to stop China's market-distorting activities," says Germain, adding that the tariff did nothing to stop the Chinese government from providing subsidies allowing its aluminum production to grow 6% in 2018, even without being able to sell to US buyers. The Aluminum Association, of which Germain is a member, says that it hopes Trump addresses this issue with China during continuing negotiations for a trade deal this week.
- Bourses in Europe should open in the green Wednesday, supported by optimism over China, London Capital Group says. "Asian markets advanced to fresh seven-month highs overnight and European bourses look set to open higher amid further signs of recovery in China," it says. Renewed optimism over trade talks between China and the U.S. should also help, it adds.
- Risk assets have climbed the past half-hour as the FT reports that the US and China have gotten closer to a trade deal as talks are set to resume Wednesday in DC. The yen, which was rising as Japanese stock trading started, quickly reversed and is now lower on the day; the dollar is near Y111.50 versus a low of Y111.20. That's helped kickstart the country's equities, with the Nikkei up 0.8% and at session highs. Korea's Kospi has gone from flat to a 0.5% gain itself. S&P 500 futures have also moved to session highs, currently up 0.2%. Treasury yields have also climbed, currently at 2.50% versus 2.478% in late New York trading.

Apr 03 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose for a fourth day, with support from OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions overshadowing an industry report showing an unexpected rise in U.S. inventories last week.
- Gold prices were steady as a weaker dollar offset pressure on the metal, which recovered from a four-week low in the previous session, while a rally in equities to multi-month highs capped bullion's safe-haven demand.
- Most London base metals advanced, after a senior U.S. official expressed optimism about progress in the scheduled trade talks with China this week, while positive China data also lent support.
- Chicago soybean futures gained for a third consecutive session, triggered by expectations of progress in trade talks between Washington and Beijing.
- The yen slipped and the Australian dollar rose as concerns over the U.S.-China tariff war receded further following a Financial Times report that the two sides have resolved most of the issues standing in the way of a trade deal.

- Fitch says it expects the US to raise the debt limit, despite difficulty with policy consensus. "The longest recorded federal government shutdown, at 35 days, ended with congressional agreement to fund the government through September 2019. President Trump's declaration of a national emergency in support of his bid for more resources for border security highlighted the difficulty in achieving policy consensus between the executive and both houses of Congress," Fitch says in affirming the US at 'AAA.' However, Fitch says it expects the debt limit to be raised before the so-called x date, when the Congressional Budget Office estimates the Treasury would exhaust its scope for extraordinary measures to finance itself without breaching the limit.
- June lean hog futures on the CME finish up 3.4% at 91.5 cents per pound, with the contract making up ground lost last week when expected Chinese pork buying did not materialize as strongly as anticipated. However, movement on the contract may be soon stymied again, with President Trump telling reporters in a press conference this afternoon that he would be willing to close the US-Mexican border if an immigration deal cannot be reached by Congress. Trump also acknowledged that such a closure would have a negative effect on the US economy. For pork, a border closure would deprive the US of its biggest customer. Through late March, 88,500 metric tons of US pork have been exported to Mexico this year. Meanwhile, cattle futures closed up 0.2%, at $1.19650 per pound.
- President Trump's threat to close the border with Mexico may threaten natural gas exports. "Potentially at risk from such a shutdown, in our view, is US natural gas exports to Mexico. According to the EIA, US exports of natural gas via pipeline hit 149B cubic feet in January 2019, up 23% from January 2017, and up almost 3x since January 2014," says Stewart Glickman at CFRA Research. "That amounts to almost 5 mcf/d of current pipeline exports. Factor in US LNG exports to Mexico as well (an extra 0.5 mcf/d), the combined 5.5 mcf/d totals a little more than 6% of US natural gas production, and could weigh on spot prices for producers."
- A USDA study concludes greenhouse-gas emissions from corn-based ethanol are 39% lower than those from regular gasoline. In addition, emissions from ethanol refined at natural gas-powered refineries are 43% lower than gasoline, the USDA says. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the study supports the Trump Administration's push to make E15 gasoline--which includes higher ethanol content--available to consumers year-round. "I appreciate EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler moving expeditiously to finalize the E-15 rule before the start of summer driving season," Perdue says. May corn futures on the CBOT are trading down 0.1%. If the rule change leads to higher ethanol demand, then it should be bullish for corn traders.
- While today's uptick in hog futures, currently up 2.6%, appears partly due to belief that the Chinese will still buy more US pork in reaction to African swine fever's damage to Chinese pork herds, it also may be partly due to traders doubting that President Trump will follow through with his threats to close the US-Mexican border. "There was more concern in yesterday's session over a potential closure of the border as Mexico is our largest pork customer, but it looks like traders are viewing that threat as less likely to materialize today," says independent analyst Dan Norcini. Trump has claimed on his Twitter feed there is a national emergency at the US-Mexican border, necessitating a border closure. "The wild card is Trump," Norcini says.

Apr 02 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose to fresh 2019 highs, supported by firm Chinese economic data that eased demand concerns, the possibility of more sanctions on Iran and further Venezuelan supply disruptions.
- Gold prices slipped to a more than three-week low as waning global economic slowdown concerns dented the precious metal's safe-haven appeal and lifted equities to multi-month highs.
- Copper fell for a second session on signs a protest at a Peruvian mine may end, easing supply concerns, and as the U.S. dollar rose. Other London metals markets fell except for nickel.
- Chicago corn futures rose for a second straight session, with planting delays in several key U.S. growing areas underpinning prices, although ample global supplies kept a lid on the market.

- A possible introduction of U.S. sanctions on Russia through the Chemical and Biological Weapons Act would be "much less damaging" to the Russian ruble than if the U.S. introduces sanctions under new version of the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, introduced mid-February, according to Nomura's EM forex strategist Henrik Gullberg. The DASKAA bill "is much wider" and targets Russian banks, the country's cyber sector, new sovereign debt and individuals deemed to "facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," as well as proposing strict measures on Russia's oil and gas sector. However, the new bill "is likely to be slow moving."
- Despite evidence that the severity of African swine fever in China has only increased in the past month, lean hog futures on the CME fell 8.8% last week. One possible reason for the futures' weakness can be traced to President Trump's increasing calls to shut down the US-Mexican border, which would make US pork producers unable to sell to its biggest customer. "Our detention areas are maxed out & we will take no more illegals," Trump said in a tweet Saturday. "Next step is to close the border!" For US livestock traders, Trump's call for a closed border is a bridge too far. "For a solid year the administration has been picking a fight with our large pork customers, Mexico and China. Enough," says Dennis Smith of Archer Financials.
- The Russian ruble is likely to weaken in the coming six months, says ING, which sees USD/RUB trading at 67 into late summer. On Monday, USD/RUB rose to a three-week high of 66.02, adding to losses on the back of reports that the U.S. may introduce a second tranche of sanctions on Russia in response to last year's chemical poisoning of the Skripals in the U.K. These sanctions would be introduced under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Act and could focus more on broader trade links and U.S. bank financing to the Russian government. USD/RUB has since pared gains and is last down 0.3% at 65.54.

Apr 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose, adding to gains in the first quarter when the major benchmarks posted their biggest increases in nearly a decade, as concerns about supplies outweigh fears of a slowing global economy.
- Gold prices inched up as the dollar backed off three-week highs, but gains in the metal were limited as equities rose on signs of progress in the Sino-U.S. trade talks and upbeat Chinese economic data. 
- Nickel rose, leading gains in the overall base metals markets, after data showed that stimulus measures in China, the world's biggest nickel consumer, are boosting the economy and as U.S. China trade talks are making progress.
- U.S. corn edged higher after suffering its biggest one-day drop in nearly three years in the previous session on pressure from plentiful supplies.
- A surprise improvement in Chinese factory activity supported the yuan and Australian dollar, and provided a broader boost to investors' risk appetite, giving the dollar a lift against the safe-haven yen.

- All three major stock indexes are trading higher as the S&P 500 is poised to finish the quarter with its best gains since 2009. The Dow gains 0.5%, the S&P 500 gains 0.5% and the Nasdaq gains 0.7%, with tech stocks leading the way. Advanced Micro Devices adds 1.8%, Micron Technology gains 5% and Intel rises 1.2%. Meanwhile, trade talks between the US and China are ongoing as market participants weigh uncertainty over tariffs and Brexit.
- Oil prices tick up Friday morning, shrugging off the latest tweet from President Trump calling for OPEC to raise production in order to keep a lid on prices. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was trading up 0.3% at $68.05 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange early morning. West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. oil standard, were up 0.61% at $59.66 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. "Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of OIL getting too high. Thank you!" Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon, initially sending prices south. But Warren Patterson, head of commodity strategy at ING Bank, said he expects OPEC and its production allies "will largely ignore these calls from the U.S. president and will remain committed to returning the market to balance."
- Oil futures are higher in Asian trading after finishing little changed in Thursday's global selling as the market is about to end its best quarter since early this decade in surging more than 25%. Of course, that's after the worst quarter in years in 4Q and crude remains more than 20% below last year's high. Crude fell in European trading Thursday before rebounding in U.S. action amid Trump's latest tweet to OPEC members to pump more. After the huge down then up the past two quarters, chances are 2Q is going to be much-more sanguine. May WTI is up 0.4% at $59.51 and June Brent is 0.3% higher at $67.31.
- News President Trump plans to name right-wing activist Stephen Moore to become a Fed governor has drawn nearly universal criticism from both left-leaning and conservative economists. Some have made the case, however, that however problematic Moore's views and relationship to facts might be, he would be just one of many Fed officials. In a Twitter thread, William Luther, a professor at Florida Atlantic University and an associate of the libertarian Cato Institute, warns Moore would have more power than many think. He notes the key parameters of the Fed's rate-control regime is actually set by the Board of Governors. There are two more governor vacancies to fill, and if they're like Moore, it could have a real effect on interest-rate policy, Luther tweets.
- Oil prices continued to edge down Thursday afternoon in the wake of another tweet from President Trump calling on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to boost production in order to keep a ceiling on crude prices. "Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of OIL getting too high. Thank you!" Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 1.1% at $66.50 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was down 1% at $58.81 a barrel. Oil prices have risen by more than 20% since the start of the year on the back of OPEC-led production curbs.

Mar 29 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose on the back of ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, putting crude markets on track for their biggest quarterly rise since 2009.
- Gold steadied, but was headed for its worst month since August 2018 predominantly on stronger dollar and equities, while palladium bounced back after three straight sessions of sharp selloffs.
- Most base metals advanced, with London copper heading for its first quarterly gain since the end of 2017, as hopes of progress in U.S.-China trade talks and low inventories in some metals lent support.
- U.S. soybean futures edged higher but the oilseed was poised to record its biggest monthly fall in seven months, as fears of a prolonged trade war between Washington and Beijing pressured prices

- Oil prices continued to edge down Thursday afternoon in the wake of another tweet from President Trump calling on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to boost production in order to keep a ceiling on crude prices. "Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of OIL getting too high. Thank you!" Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 1.1% at $66.50 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was down 1% at $58.81 a barrel. Oil prices have risen by more than 20% since the start of the year on the back of OPEC-led production curbs.
- WSJ reports China is offering foreign technology firms better access to the country's fast-growing cloud-computing market, but some analysts are reticent to believe China will follow through on trade promises. "The markets met the news with a yawn," Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone says. "I don't expect (China) to live up to promises made, for that is their track record, but they want a deal to change the narrative." The US and China begin their next round of trade negotiations today in Beijing. The Dow gains 0.3%, the S&P 500 rises 0.4% and the Nasdaq adds 0.4%.
- The current impasse in the Brexit resolution is likely to play a part in the current downward movements in government bond yields, says David Page, senior economist at AXA Investment Managers. "Given the prominence attached to Brexit in the latest [U.S.] FOMC press conference, we suspect that uncertainty over the Brexit process is contributing to demand for safehaven assets," he says. Although he notes that U.K. gilt yields have dropped by more than 20 basis points to below 1.00% in the last week, this is an underperformance compared to the 24 basis-point drop in U.S. Treasury yields to 2.36%, while German 10-year Bund yields have fallen by almost 20 basis points to -0.09%. Yields fall as bond prices rise.
- Centene CEO Michael Neidorff downplays worries about the future of the Affordable Care Act and some Democrats' plans for universal government health care. He tells WSJ regarding the ACA "they've been trying to do something to it ever since Trump got in ... they may make modifications to it, but it's not going to go away." He points to the enormous cost of providing government health coverage for all Americans: "I don't think Medicare for all is going to happen. I think it's political fodder." Centene is down 7% to $51.03.

Mar 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell, extending losses into a second straight session, after widely watched data showed a surprising increase in U.S. stocks.
- Palladium prices fell to a more than five-week low, a day after posting their steepest decline in over two years, as concerns about the global economy and a buoyant dollar prompted investors to take profits.
- London copper prices held steady as investors awaited news from U.S.-China trade talks restarting in Beijing, while supply issues offset fears of a recession in the United States.
- U.S. soybeans held steady to linger near a three-month low as the market awaited signs of progress in trade talks between Washington and Beijing.
- The dollar edged up as many of its peers weakened after more central banks shifted to dovish policy stances amid a deteriorating global economic outlook.

- Centene CEO Michael Neidorff downplays worries about the future of the Affordable Care Act and some Democrats' plans for universal government health care. He tells WSJ regarding the ACA "they've been trying to do something to it ever since Trump got in ... they may make modifications to it, but it's not going to go away." He points to the enormous cost of providing government health coverage for all Americans: "I don't think Medicare for all is going to happen. I think it's political fodder." Centene is down 7% to $51.03.
- McDonald's says it will stop fighting legislative efforts to boost minimum wages, according to a letter it sent to the National Restaurant Association, but any future increases to minimum pay will hit franchisees and not the company itself. The reason: 95% of McDonald's restaurants in the US were franchised as of the end of last year. One question is how franchisees will view the policy shift, given existing tensions between the corporate office and operators over remodels and delivery. McDonald's says the average starting wage at company-run stores is about $10 a hour.
- The 10-year Treasury yield dropped sharply overnight, and RBC Capital Markets says such a move looks to be linked to a call for an immediate 50 basis point rate cut from President Trump's latest nominee for the Federal Reserve Stephen Moore in a New York Times interview. This contrasts with statements from FOMC members favoring a patient approach, the bank says. The 10-year Treasury yield recovered some losses during overnight trading and it is quoted last at 2.384%, according to Tradeweb.
- Jon Hill of BMO Capital Markets says that January's trade deficit is not as extreme as the US has seen at other moments during the current expansionary period. "The weakness in imports is notable given the comparative stability in the USD over the period," Hill says. "(But) that being said, January also corresponded to the record duration government shutdown, to say nothing of weather factors, which could add transitory nuance." The trade deficit in goods and services shrank 15% from December to a seasonally adjusted $51.15B in January, while US exports to China dropped to an 8-year low.

Mar 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices crept up, extending the previous session's rise, but gains were kept in check amid growing fears over the impact of a global economic slowdown on demand.
- Gold steadied, after declining the most in nearly two weeks in the previous session, as U.S. recession fears triggered by a sharp decline in U.S. Treasury yields and weak data weighed on the share markets.
- Most base metals gained ground, with Shanghai zinc touching a more than one-year high, as investors focused on tight inventories and the resumption of U.S.-China trade talks.
- U.S. wheat futures fell, though signs of improved demand for North American supplies and potential planting delays provided a floor to losses.
- The dollar edged higher and antipodean currencies beat a hasty retreat after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand surprised the markets by opening the door to future monetary policy easing.

- The US trade deficit decreased by 14.6% in January, driven by rising exports and falling imports, the Commerce Department report shows. The narrowing of the deficit comes after it widened throughout 2018. Exports growth in January was propelled by a rise in soybean exports and an increase in car exports. Imports of goods including civilian aircraft and oil declined in the first month of the year. More widely, economists expect some of the factors that fueled a widening deficit last year to moderate in 2019. That includes an agreement by China at the beginning of the year to purchase more American soybeans, a key export.
- The US exported $7.1B in goods to China in January, matching the lowest level since September 2010, the Commerce Department reported. Exports to Hong Kong, at $2.1B, were the weakest since May 2010. A decline in exports to China runs against an overall increase in US exports to other countries in January. President Trump has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that the U.S. imports from other countries, particularly China. Wednesday's report suggests that Chinese retaliatory tariffs on American goods are minimizing US exports and challenging efforts to narrow the trade gap.
- House Democrats pushed a net-neutrality bill through a subcommittee on partisan lines, but the legislation faces a bleak future in the Senate, amid disagreements over the government's proper role in policing internet traffic. Net neutrality rules generally require all internet traffic to be treated equally by cable and wireless firms, without blocking or throttling. The Obama-era FCC adopted a relatively tough version of net-neutrality rules. Those were later rolled back by the Trump-era FCC and replaced with a regulatory regime that liberal critics regard as porous. The Democratic version adopted today reinstates the Obama-era rules and could trigger pushback from cable and wireless firms on the grounds government overreach could lead to federal rate regulation, a charge Democrats reject.
- Managed-care companies fall after the Justice Department says a Texas district court's December decision that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional should be affirmed. SVBLeerink says Molina and Centene are the most exposed to the decision, and WellCare too, although less so. Big 5 diversified MCOs are largely insulated though, the firm says. SVBLeerink thinks the case could end up before the Supreme Court, and thinks the court would walk back the Texas decision. Also, the DOJ's action may increase the likelihood House Democrats will push for legislative fixes to the ACA, the firm says. WellCare and Centene fall about 3% while Molina stumbles 7%.

Mar 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices edged up, lifted by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, but signs of a sharp economic slowdown and potentially even a recession kept markets from rising further.
- Gold eased, after hitting one-month high in the previous session, as a slight recovery in share markets and U.S. Treasury yields reduced some of the precious metal's safe-haven appeal.
- London copper prices drifted in Asian trade as fears of a recession in the United States were offset by a supply disruption at a key copper mine in Peru.
- U.S. wheat futures rose more than 0.5 percent to hit a one-month high as adverse weather in a major producing region stoked fears about potential planting delays.
- The dollar rebounded modestly against the yen as Treasury yields pulled back from 15-month lows as investors reassessed the risks of a sharper downturn in the global economy.

- Representatives from the US and China are meeting in Beijing this week to continue trade negotiations, and Wells Fargo Investment Institute analysts say a positive resolution to the dispute is already priced into markets. "Assuming that there will be a deal between the US and China in the coming months, we believe that equity markets could move higher on a 'strong' agreement that includes both enforcement and unwinding of tariffs," they say, rather than on a weak deal in which the US offers too many concessions or if trade talks disintegrated like they did last year.
- Jaguar Land Rover would be the European automaker that would suffer the most if the U.S. decided to implement a 25% tax on auto imports from Europe into the country. JLR stands to lose over 100% of its 2019 Ebitda should the U.S. do so, says Anna Stegert at S&P Global Ratings in a webcast. Ebitda levels from fellow car makers Volvo Cars, Daimler, BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Volkswagen would also come under pressure in such a scenario. Her colleague Marion Amiot adds that these companies would likely be unable to pass on the cost to customers, leaving them with the option to need to partially relocate production to the U.S. or closer to this market.
- U.S. President Donald Trump's duration of presidency "is of diminished importance for the U.S. dollar," says Adam Cole, chief currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets. Following the release of the Muller report last week, which didn't find Trump or his campaign conspiring with Russia during the 2016 elections, the probability of Trump failing to make the end of his term collapsed, says Cole. But the dollar hasn't reacted, with EUR/USD trading just above 1.13, roughly where it has traded since late last year. "This matters less for the dollar than it did in the early part of his presidency, when uncertainty on whether dollar-positive tax reform would be enacted was the main conduit to markets generally and dollar particularly," Cole says.

Mar 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices dropped by almost 1 percent, with concerns recession could be looming outweighing supply disruptions from OPEC's production cutbacks and from U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
- Gold rose as investors' appetite for riskier assets faded on concerns about a potential U.S. recession and decelerating global growth, increasing appeal for the bullion alongside yen and bonds.
- Most base metals fell, with Shanghai copper heading for its biggest drop since August, as investors worried about the prospect of a recession in the United States, the world's biggest economy.
- U.S. corn futures edged up, extending gains into a fourth session as strong Chinese demand and concerns about North American production pushed prices towards a three-week high.
- The yen gained against its peers, touching a six-week peak versus the dollar, as fears in markets of a global economic slowdown fuelled demand for the Japanese currency.

- While economic worries have dominated investor sentiment on both sides of this weekend, there's at least one thing which the market can set aside: Mueller concluded Trump and his campaign didn't conspire or coordinate with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, said AG Barr in a letter to Congress. "With Trump exonerated, attention will return to the U.S.-China trade discussions yet again," says AxiTrader chief market analyst James Hughes. The latest round of talks happen later this week. Also on the docket in the coming days is a revision to 4Q GDP data out of the U.S. as well as February personal income and spending.

Mar 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil hovered slightly below 2019 peaks, propped up by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
- Gold was steady below a three-week peak hit the day before, pressured by rising stock markets but remaining on track for a third straight weekly gain after the U.S. Federal Reserve said there would be no further interest rate hikes this year. 
- Base metals on the London Metal Exchange were steady after solid U.S. data helped calm worries over the outlook for the global economy, although a strong U.S. dollar put some downward pressure on prices.
- U.S. corn futures rose to a near one-month high as flash flooding in a major North American producing region stoked fears of plating delays, with the grain poised for a 1.5 percent weekly gain.

Mar 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices reached their highest so far for 2019 as global markets tightened amid supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and U.S. government sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
- Gold climbed to a three-week peak as the U.S. Federal Reserve ruled out chances of any interest rate hike this year, while a surprise cut in U.S. growth forecast added to concerns on global economic slowdown.
- London copper and most other base metals rose, backed by a softer dollar after the U.S. Federal Reserve abandoned plans for a further rate rise this year, and by a lack of near-term supply.
- Chicago wheat futures slid as the market took a breather after climbing to a three-week high in the last session when prices were underpinned by concerns over planting delays in the U.S. Plains amid recent adverse weather.

- Energy CEO have the most pro-Republican tilt of any industry, according to a Harvard Law School-sponsored study, as 88.7% of energy CEOs favor Republican candidates, based on campaign donations and policy activism, while only 4.9% favor Democrats. The next two industries with the highest level of Republican support among CEOs are manufacturing and chemicals, composed of 72.4% and 64.1% Republicans, respectively, with only 10.9% and 12.1% Democrats, respectively. Overall, Republican CEOs are about three times more numerous than Democratic CEOs, the study finds.
- The White House didn't give many aviation industry leaders any advance notice about the timing of the announcement that former Delta Air exec Steve Dickson will be nominated as the permanent FAA chief. Some of his biggest backers found out as the press release went out. But within hours, many of the same officials were handicapping that acting FAA chief Daniel Elwell likely wouldn't go back to his previously confirmed job as deputy administrator for long. Part of the reason, these officials said, is that it would be hard for Elwell to deal with such a demotion. Also, an arcane provision in the legislation that established the FAA bars both top agency officials from having military backgrounds. Dickson and Elwell are Air Force Academy graduates.
- Canada will offer more money for farmers affected by trade deals that have opened the country's protected dairy, poultry and egg sectors to more imports. In its 2019 budget plan, the government says it will provide up to C$3.65B in new funding to bolster those farmers' incomes and preserve the value of their production quotas, which are used to control domestic supply. The funding is meant to address the effect of Canada's recent trade deals with Europe and Pacific Rim countries only. The money doesn't address the upshot of the revised North American free trade agreement. That deal, which was reached last fall but has yet to be ratified, saw Canada accede to US demands for further concessions in its dairy market.
- Canada's 2019 budget plan includes new money to deal with an increase in the number of asylum seekers entering the country from the US. Canada is proposing C$1.18B over five years and C$55M per year on an ongoing basis to speed up the processing of asylum claims and deportations for those who aren't accepted. The money will also go toward law enforcement at the border with the US. Canada has seen an increase in the number of people who have walked across the border from the US -- primarily entering via an unofficial border crossing in upstate New York -- in recent years, contributing to an existing backlog in handling asylum claims.

Mar 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices edged up, supported by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, although gains were limited by concerns over economic growth.
- Gold prices dipped, after posting gains in the previous three sessions, as the dollar gained ground ahead of an interest rate decision by the U.S. Federal later in the day.
- Most industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange eased, as investors were cautious ahead of the result of the U.S. Federal Reserve rate meeting later in the day.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a third consecutive session on pressure from abundant world supplies, with a bumper South American crop hitting the market.

- The share of US workers' compensation coming from bonuses rose after Congress passed new tax laws in 2017. Many corporations announced bonuses tied to the law. Those gains appear to be fading. The share of private-sector worker compensation that came from nonproduction bonuses fell to 2.1% in 4Q, the Labor Department says, the lowest quarterly share since 3Q 2014. The share of compensation from bonuses the three previous quarter was 2.8%, the highest level on nonseasonally adjusted records back to 2004. The declining share suggests that some of the income boost from the tax law was temporary. If that's the case, consumers could be challenged to keep spending at levels necessary to support the 3% economic growth rate recorded last year. The data from the employer costs for employee compensation report, however, is notoriously fickle.
- Replacing the Boeing 747 jets that fly as Air Force One is now estimated to cost $5.3B -- far higher than previously disclosed. But the Air Force maintains it's still kept $1.4B in savings from a deal negotiated between President Trump and the aerospace giant. The new estimate, contained in Air Force budget documents, calculates the cost through 2025 and includes new hangar and maintenance facilities. The extras are outside the $3.9B fixed-price deal for Boeing to supply and convert two 747-8 passenger jets left unwanted by the Russian airline that ordered them.
- The Trump administration isn't giving up on attempts to overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after similar proposals suffered broad defeat last year. Budget documents released by the White House propose stricter work requirements for able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 65, echoing a controversial plan floated by House Republicans in their farm bill last year that ultimately was scrapped in order for Congress to pass the legislation. A much-criticized plan to shift some food-stamp dollars from benefit cards to a food-box-delivery program also makes a reappearance in the president's FY2020 budget documents, despite earlier rejection by Congress. Overall, the budget would slash the nation's food-stamp program by nearly $220B over a decade.
- Some farm subsidies are unjustifiable, according to White House budget documents that point to stabilizing farm incomes while proposing billions of dollars in cuts. Similar to proposals floated a year ago, the Trump administration's budget calls for abolishing commodity subsidies and other payments to farmers with adjusted gross incomes over $500K, as well as reducing crop-insurance premium subsidies. "It is hard to justify to taxpayers why the Government should provide assistance to farmers with incomes over half a million dollars," the Trump administration says in a document released Monday, which details farm safety-net cuts totaling $46B over a decade. The administration says farm income is steadying, though federal officials project income this year still will be nearly 50% below its 2013 peak.

Mar 19 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices were near 2019 highs, supported by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC. U.S. sanctions against oil producers Iran and Venezuela are also boosting prices, although traders said the market may be capped by rising U.S. output.
- Palladium surged to a record as the risk of a ban on some Russian exports added to supply concerns for the autocatalyst metal, while gold rose on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will stay dovish at its meeting this week.
- Copper and aluminium prices ticked up, supported by China's announcement to cut tax for manufacturers from next month to boost growth in the world's second-largest economy.
- Chicago wheat futures rose, gaining for three out of four sessions on support from short-covering, although lacklustre demand for U.S. supplies kept a lid on the market.
- The dollar was on the defensive, weighed by growing expectations the Federal Reserve would adopt a more accommodative policy outlook this week and concerns about slower U.S. economic growth.

Mar 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices dipped amid concerns that an economic downturn may dent fuel consumption, but crude markets remain broadly supported by supply cuts led by producer group OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
- Gold prices slipped, as gains in the equity markets dented the appeal of the precious metal ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting this week.
- London copper prices rose for a second day, as concerns over supply tightness outweighed weak U.S. manufacturing data and a jump in London Metal Exchange inventories.
- Chicago wheat futures slid, falling for the first time in three sessions as abundant world supplies weighed on the market which was underpinned last week by short-covering.
- The dollar licked its wounds after soft U.S. data increased bets the Federal Reserve will cut rates later this year while the pound hovered near nine-months high on hopes for a delay in Britain's exit from the European Union.

- The introduction of taxes for foreign homebuyers in two Canadian regions contributed to a significant but temporary drop in residents' house-price expectations, Bank of Canada research finds. A staff paper published by the BoC says the west-coast city of Vancouver and the Toronto region in Ontario both experienced outsized declines in housing resales after foreign-buyer taxes were introduced in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Using data from the Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations, researchers find house-price expectations in the two regions fell sharply after the taxes came into effect and played a "material, albeit temporary" role in market dynamics. Housing markets across Canada have slowed over the past year in the face of higher interest rates, tougher mortgage-qualification rules and regional foreign-buyer taxes.
- Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) says he isn't a fan of the US government using lawsuits to fight collusion among state-run oil producers. A bipartisan group of US senators is pushing legislation that would do that--the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or Nopec--a threat that has spooked OPEC and some of its allies. Speaking to reporters in Houston at CERAWeek, Cornyn says he isn't familiar with the specific bill, but is generally concerned about retaliation from other countries if the US pursues the type of antitrust lawsuits the bill envisions. "It's better to try to resolve our differences without litigation if possible," he adds. The US oil industry has "gotten so efficient here I think we don't need to worry so much about OPEC. We just need to produce more of that energy here at a lower price that's more attractive to the consumer."
- Exxon-controlled Imperial Oil continues taking a hard line against the Alberta government's oil-output cut by announcing it's slowing down development of its Aspen oil sands project. The slowdown comes after Imperial halted oil shipments by rail last month in response to Canadian oil prices that had become too expensive to ship to US refineries by train. "The company remains concerned about the unintended consequences of the government's decision to manipulate prices, including the negative impact on rail economics," Imperial says. The company says the Aspen slowdown could delay the project by a year.

Mar 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were stable, propped up by production cuts led by OPEC and as U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran likely created a slight deficit in global supply in the first quarter of 2019.
- Gold rose, recovering from the previous session's sharp fall, as the dollar dipped and mounting concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth buoyed demand for the safe-haven metal.
- London zinc briefly rose by 2 percent and Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) spreads went wild after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said a planned cut in value-added tax (VAT) would take effect from April 1.
- Chicago wheat futures ticked lower, giving up some of last session's gains, but the market is set for its biggest weekly gain in more than three months on short-covering.
 
- US defense stocks broadly lower in afternoon trade following a succession of Pentagon briefings that included procurement plans which fell short of analyst expectations. While the total purchasing and research request is about 4% higher for fiscal 2020, the procurement line of $143B falls some $6B short of expectations. Analysts also concerned about lack of detail about purchasing plans after 2020. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon all around session lows with declines of around 1%.

Mar 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Brent crude oil prices rose to their highest since mid-November last year, pushed up by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran.
- Gold fell as the dollar regained some ground and uncertainty over Brexit eased, but the metal held close to a two-week high hit in the previous session as tepid U.S. inflation data cemented expectations that the Federal Reserve would hold rates.
- London zinc and most other base metals traded lower, after comments from U.S. President Donald Trump chilled optimism over an imminent China trade deal and Chinese industrial output growth fell to a 17-year low.
- Chicago wheat futures rose and were set to gain for two out of three sessions amid expectations of short-covering by funds, but abundant world supplies kept a lid on prices.

- Energy Secretary Rick Perry is looking at FERC to solve what he says is the biggest challenge for US energy, a lack of capacity to get output to buyers. FERC oversees interstate pipelines, wholesale electricity markets and gas export terminals, but has only four of five commissioner seats filled after the death of former chairman Kevin McIntyre. That is hamstringing an effort to approve new projects, and the lack of those projects, especially pipelines, is the biggest roadblock to maximizing energy reserves, Perry says at CERAWeek by IHS Markit. "I'm looking at one of the solutions right here in the audience," Perry says, pointing at recently-appointed Commissioner Bernard McNamee in the front of the audience, then calling him out by name. "Permits!" Perry then shouts at him as the audience laughs.
- William Beach, who previously worked as an economist for Senate Republicans, wins confirmation to lead the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that compiles the monthly jobs report and other economic data. The vote puts an economist nominated by President Trump in charge of an agency the president criticized as a candidate. On several occasions when running for office, Trump called the agency's data "phony" and said the official jobless rate well understated actual unemployment. But since taking office, Trump has touted BLS reports, including today when he tweeted "Unemployment numbers among BEST EVER" It isn't usual for BLS commissioners, the only political appointee in the agency, to have partisan ties. Beach replaces acting commissioner William Wiatrowski, who has worked at the agency for
more than 30 years.
- Boeing shares slide after President Trump says the FAA will ground all 737 Max 8 and Max 9 flights. Shares are down 2.2% to $367.29, a session low. Boeing shares have shed 13% this week as a number of countries have grounded flights, citing concerns about an Ethiopian Airlines crash involving a Boeing plane.
- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will propose a rule governing ownership limits in futures markets in the next few months, Chairman J Christopher Giancarlo says at an industry conference in Florida. Giancarlo says the long-delayed Dodd-Frank Act-mandated rule would be proposed before he left the commission, which is likely to happen in the next few months. His likely successor, Heath Tarbert, had his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday. Giancarlo said any proposal would be mindful of "bona fide hedging" techniques used by firms to balance risks. The last CFTC position limits proposal, under the Obama administration, would have restricted a firm from owning more than the equivalent of 25% of a commodity's estimated "deliverable supply" in a given month, but it never went into effect.
- An State Department official tells energy industry leaders to expect that the Trump administration's foreign policy won't destabilize oil markets in 2019. Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, says the administration is still committed to keeping supply healthy enough to avoid sending prices sharply higher. "I think you can expect that we are going to continue to successfully balance this," Hook says at CERAWeek by IHS Markit. He is working closely with his colleagues who are overseeing Venezuelan sanctions that also target oil exports with the goal of managing sanctions against both countries at the same time without overpressuring markets, he says.
- The upcoming European parliamentary elections in May are likely to result in a strong performance by populist parties, Marco Meijer, senior European interest rates strategist at BNP Paribas says in a webinar. Populists may get "as much as 30%," he says. Given the political risks, which add to economic softness, it is "no surprise that central banks turn dovish," Meijer says. He refers to the fact that global central banks have recently turned more cautious with their plans to increase interest rates. In the recent move, the European Central Bank last week tweaked its forward guidance on interest rates, pushing out the timing of the first possible interest rate increase beyond 2019. BNP Paribas is "quite bullish" on shorter-dated US Treasuries, anticipating yields will fall.
- Sterling is recovering from its falls the previous day when U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's revised Brexit withdrawal agreement was firmly rejected in parliament. UniCredit says there is scope for GBP to rise further if lawmakers on Wednesday reject leaving the European Union without a deal in another vote due later in the day. "If the risk of a no-deal Brexit is definitively dismissed sterling can still recover some ground, as the U.K. parliament will probably then approve the extension of Article 50 in a third vote on Thursday," it says. GBP/USD is last up 0.5% at 1.3140, while EUR/GBP falls 0.5% to 0.8588.

Mar 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose, pushed up by ongoing supply cuts from producer cartel OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
- Gold scaled a near two-week peak, after reclaiming the key $1,300 level in the previous session, as investors opted for the safe-haven metal after British lawmakers rejected an amended exit deal, while a weaker dollar lent further support.
- London zinc prices hit their highest in more than eight months, as investors worried about ultra-tight stocks of the metal used to galvanise steel.
- Chicago wheat futures slid as the market took a breather after the previous session's biggest one-day gain in seven months which was triggered by fund buying and technicals.

US President Donald Trump on Monday proposed a new budget for the USDA, slashing it by 15% for next year, calling its subsidy programmes on crop insurance “overly generous” and angering farmers and industry alike. Tabled by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the 2020 proposal seeks to cut $3.6 billion from the USDA budget to $20.8 billion.

“The Budget… proposes that USDA responsibly and efficiently use taxpayer resources by making targeted reforms to duplicative programs and overly generous subsidy programs."

Specifically, the budget seeks to reduce expenditure on the crop insurance programmes by cutting the average premium from 62% to 48% and limit eligibility to smaller farms with income of $500,000 or less. It also seeks to cap underwriting margins at 12%.

“President Trump’s budget is fiscally conservative and lays out a vision for an accountable federal government that cuts spending. With our national debt soaring to over $22 trillion, we can no longer kick the can down the road. The time to act is now and USDA will actively do its part in reducing federal spending,” said Sonny Perdue, agriculture secretary.

However, the proposal has drawn ire from industry and democrats with the House Agricultural Committee Chairman Collin Peterson saying the proposal adds to $26 billion in cuts to crop insurance already. Senate Agriculture Committee member Debbie Stabenow, also a Democrat, said the 15% cut comes on top of a $267 billion cut to farm bill programs.

"The steep cuts to the USDA would jeopardize the department's ability to implement the farm bill at a time when farmers are struggling with economic instability and trade uncertainty," Stabenow said.

The announcement comes as President Trump’s administration is in the middle of doling out $12 billion worth of aid to farmers who have been hit by the US trade war with China, with soybean producers the biggest individual recipients by far. It is also the second time President Trump has targeted crop insurers, who condemned the budget proposal immediately and urged Congress to reject it.

 

Mar 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose, lifted by healthy demand and output cuts led by producer group OPEC, although the gains were capped by the ongoing surge in U.S. supply while analysts warned of risks to the global economy.
- Gold rose as the dollar weakened against the pound after the European Commission accepted amendments to the UK's Brexit deal, although gains were limited as the agreement also buoyed sentiment for riskier assets.
- London base metals gained ground, with copper rising by the most in a week, as a softer dollar and improving investor sentiment after changes to a Brexit deal lent support to prices.
- Chicago wheat futures edged higher but the market was trading not far from last session's 14-month low as abundant world supplies and fund-selling kept a lid on prices.

- If UK PM Theresa May's draft Brexit withdrawal deal passes through the House of Commons on Tuesday, "that will be the Eureka moment and GBP/USD will be trading around 1.38 by tomorrow," Jordan Rochester, currency analyst at Nomura, says. The pound has risen as the probability of the deal passing has climbed to about 30%, with the GBP/USD last up 0.4% at 1.3204. "I'm not banging the table that this is that moment though, given it is a long ladder that will be needed for all 118 Tories to climb down. But anything is possible in politics," Rochester says. He remains short on EUR/GBP though, he says. If the deal isn't passed, "it would lead to an Article 50 extension vote on Thursday and sterling would remain supported beyond that." The EUR/GBP falls by 0.2% to 0.8537.
- Markets have priced in that Tuesday's meaningful vote on the U.K.'s draft Brexit withdrawal deal "will either pass, or fail by a small enough margin to keep the deal alive," RBC says. The pound has risen substantially since Monday following a press conference by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at which they announced a revised Brexit deal that May said contained three important changes. Sterling rises 0.6% against the dollar to 1.3226, while the EUR/GBP is down 0.4% at 0.8518. "U.K. bookmakers have marked up the probability of tonight's bill passing through the [House of] Commons to 30% from 10% late yesterday, which is probably a fair reflection of what is priced into sterling," RBC says.
- Two Senate leaders say they are trying to calm conversation and confound critics in Washington in order to succeed in efforts to address climate change. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R, Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) say the conversation around energy and climate change have become overwhelmed with political messaging and accusations. "Let's try to dial down some of the rhetoric out there. Let's try to get us to a place where we can have civil dialogue," Murkowski says on the first day of CERAWeek by IHS Markit, an industry conference in Houston. The two leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a committee hearing on climate change as one of their first actions and collaborated on a recent op-ed supporting action to slow climate change. They did that in part to surprise critics who predicted they would ignore climate issues and try to overcome disagreements over basic facts that have gridlocked Congress, Manchin says. "We're fighting ghosts, basically. You can't come to a concerted effort" because lawmakers disagree on facts, he adds.
- India's oil and natural gas secretary, MM Kutty, says his country is moving toward ending altogether its imports of oil from Venezuela to meet US sanctions aimed at removing embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Speaking at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston, the petroleum secretary says while India imports a huge amount of its oil and gas, it "doesn't have to rely on any one specific country to meet its requirements." He says government-owned Indian companies are already down to "extremely minimal" Venezuelan oil purchases, and says the state is in advanced discussions with private companies in India to get them to also stop importing Venezuelan crude.
- EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the agency is changing its tack by no longer targeting entire industries, and instead is focusing on fixing specific environmental problems such as bad water quality. "The Trump administration is proving that burdensome regulations from Washington are not necesssary to drive environmental progress," Wheeler says at Houston's CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference. He adds coal use is still rising worldwide due to China, India and others, and rather than punishing coal output in the US the EPA should encourage the sector to employ innovation and clean technology.
- USDA confirmed this morning that 926,000 metric tons of US soybeans have been sold to China for delivery in the 2018/19 marketing year. This confirmation comes after China said that it would purchase 10M metric tons of soybeans from the US. The purchase does not cover the Chinese expectations, and traders are becoming weary of not knowing anything concrete amount about the trade deal. "The soybean market needs new positive news," says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. The market didn't get it needed shot of positivity last week, with soybean futures on the CBOT.

Mar 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices rose, lifted by comments from Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih that an end to OPEC-led supply cuts was unlikely before June and a report showing a fall U.S. drilling activity.
- Gold traded in a tight range, hovering below a more than one-week peak hit last week, as the dollar firmed and poor U.S. jobs data increased concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth.
- Zinc prices rose, driven by dwindling London Metal Exchange inventories as well as a pledge from China's central bank to increase loans and lower borrowing costs after a sharp drop in bank lending in February.
- Chicago soybean futures rose after dropping to their lowest since mid-January in the previous session, with the market supported by China's purchases of U.S. cargoes.

Mar 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil prices dropped as clouds gathered over the global economy after the European Central Bank (ECB) warned overnight of continued weakness and fresh data showed Chinese exports and imports slumped last month.
- Gold edged up as investors worried about a sharp slowdown in global growth after the European Central Bank (ECB) slashed growth outlook and weak Chinese data, but a rally in dollar kept bullion on track for its second weekly decline.
- London copper prices lost ground for a third consecutive session with the market set for a weekly fall, as rising inventories and a drop in the premium for directly available metal signalled easing supply squeeze.
- U.S. wheat futures rebounded from a 14-month low touched in the previous session, though the grain was poised to finish the week down 4 percent as North American supplies struggle to attract international demand.

- USDA adjusts its export outlooks, maintaining soybean exports at 1.875B bushels, lowering wheat exports to 2.073B bushels, and corn exports down to 2.375B bushels. Traders were keeping a keen watch for soybean numbers in particular, amid interest as to whether or not China had yet followed through with their promises to buy more US agricultural goods as a sign of good faith for an eventual overarching trade deal. This morning, the USDA reported 664,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery during the 2018/19 marketing year were sold to China, confirming rumors circulating around the market since yesterday.
- A Canadian court on Friday rejected an application by SNC-Lavalin Group for judicial review of federal prosecutors' decision not to offer the company a chance to negotiate an out-of-court settlement to deal with bribery and fraud charges. The issue is now at the center of a political crisis in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his senior aides have in recent weeks faced allegations that they tried to interfere with the prosecutors' original decision. A judge from Canada's Federal Court said it does not have jurisdiction to hear the request. "The law is clear that prosecutorial discretion is not subject to judicial review, except for abuse of process," the court decision said.
- Doubts about the inevitability of a US-China trade deal are growing for grains traders. "The trade is growing fearful that President Trump will 'walk away' from the Chinese just like he did with North Korea," says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. According to a Wall Street Journal story, the US envoy to Beijing says that neither side feels like an agreement is imminent, and no date has been set for a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi. Traders are waiting for today's WASDE report to try and figure out what the USDA thinks of the likelihood of a deal, based on their export and carryout outlooks for soybeans.
- Lombard Odier Investment Managers expects sustained downward pressure on European government bond yields and, coupled with the Federal Reserve's dovish pivot, the search-for-yield environment is likely to take hold once again in global riskier asset markets, says Salman Ahmed, chief investment strategist. The European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday led to a stronger-than-expected dovish shift from the central bank, albeit one that was in line with Lombard Odier's expectations, says Ahmed says. Overall, given the rise of populism sweeping across Europe currently, Lombard Odier is of the view that "it is a political imperative for the ECB to reduce the likelihood of a recession," Ahmed says.

Mar 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- Oil edged up amid ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against exporters Venezuela and Iran, but price gains were capped by record U.S. crude output and rising commercial fuel inventories.
- Gold prices steadied as dollar traded near its more than two-week high, while lacklustre appetite for riskier assets offered some support to the safe-haven metal ahead of European Central Bank's (ECB) policy meeting due later in the day.
- Shanghai aluminium fell for the third straight day to a near three-week low due to rising inventories and concerns that a supply glut may outstrip demand in top consumer China.
- U.S. wheat futures steadied after falling nearly 14 percent over the past three weeks, but remained under pressure as weak demand for North American stocks kept prices near an 11-month low.

- The U.S. Senate's banking committee has advanced nominees to fill vacancies at the U.S. Export-Import Bank to the full chamber for approval. A favorable vote would allow ExIm to resume its proper work, including what Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says is $40 billion in a backlog of deals--many for planes. But that is only one hurdle ExIm faces. Mr. Muilenburg says that in September, the export credit agency comes up for reauthorization, which could stir new political battles about the institution.
- Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg sees U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators making progress in their talks. Boeing is caught in the middle, with China a major market for its planes. "It's important we have a productive trade relationship," the Boeing boss says at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum. That said, he also signals there is "still some hard work to do" before the two sides can strike a trade deal. Boeing 1.25% lower in a bear market.
- The recent government shutdown harmed firms in about half the Federal Reserve's districts, according to the central bank's latest "beige book" report. Philadelphia coffee shops that serve government workers saw weaker growth as a result of the shutdown, as did a hotel in Asheville, NC, and tourism-related businesses in Washington, DC.

Mar 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices slipped as bullish output forecasts by two big U.S. producers and a build in weekly U.S. crude stockpiles outweighed ongoing OPEC-led production cuts.
- Gold prices inched up, after recovering from a more than five-week low in the previous session, supported by a pause in global equities' rally, while a firmer dollar curbed gains.
- Shanghai nickel prices rose sharply as low inventory levels and recovering demand kept the metal used to make stainless steel buoyant.
- U.S. soybeans edged higher, though gains were checked due to fears that an eagerly awaited trade deal between Washington and Beijing would fail to materialise.

- The US planning to scrap preferential trade rights to India which are accorded to some developing countries won't hit much, says Nomura. It notes the program allowed some $5.7 billion of Indian goods to enter the US duty-free. The step follows some recent Indian trade steps seen as protectionist by some, and the investment bank doesn't expect retaliatory measures by New Delhi. The US accounts for 15% of India's exports. Nomura thinks the countries will reach a compromise after India's upcoming election.
- House Democrats will start figuring out what to do about tax breaks that lapsed at the end of 2017. Senators want to revive the breaks, which include incentives for biodiesel producers and short-line railroads. House members have been more circumspect and may seek to tie these provisions to other priorities. A Ways and Means subcommittee will hold a hearing March 12.
- The U.S. should not deliver Lockheed Martin F-35 combat jets to Turkey if Ankara goes ahead with introducing into service the advanced Russian S-400 air defense system, says the head of U.S. military forces in Europe, U.S. Army Gen. Mike Scaparrotti. Turkey has balked at cancelling the deal for the Russian system despite heavy U.S. pressure. If that doesn't change, Gen. Scaporrotti tells the Senate Armed Services Committee "my best military advice would be that we don't then follow through with the F-35."
- As Chinese interest in the EB-5 cash-for-visa program drops, US real-estate developers in search of cheap debt increasingly find it in Vietnam. One reason why interest from China has cooled is long wait times. The US has an annual cap on the number of EB-5 visas that can be issued to citizens of any one country, and the estimated wait time for Chinese applicants is now more than 14 years. The risk is that Vietnamese investors could run into the same issue: their estimated wait is already up to 7.2 years, up from mere months a few years ago.
- Whether the US and China can get to the finish line regarding a trade deal remains unclear to USDA chief economist Robert Johansson. A few days ago, he forecasted that American farm exports would drop $1.9 billion this FY as talks dragged on. He told WSJ at a conference in Australia today that while negotiators are optimistic, US farmers are "notably worried" about falling incomes and lower commodity prices.  The Trump administration has budgeted $12 billion to assist farmers impacted by the dispute. Johansson says if the tariffs are removed, it would collectively boost farm incomes above $80 billion the next few years.

Mar 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell as China cut its 2019 economic growth target, dimming the outlook for fuel demand, although OPEC-led efforts to cut output still offered some support.
- Gold prices were steady, trading near five-week lows touched in the previous session, as a firmer dollar and optimism over a likely U.S.-China trade deal dented safe-haven appeal of the precious metal.
- Shanghai base metals fell, with nickel retreating from a near five-month high, as the U.S. dollar strengthened and the outlook for demand remained uncertain as China cut its economic growth target but pledged more stimulus measures.
- U.S. soybeans rose for a third consecutive session, as an expected trade agreement between Washington and Beijing stoked hopes of increased demand for North American oilseeds.

- Whether the US and China can get to the finish line regarding a trade deal remains unclear to USDA chief economist Robert Johansson. A few days ago, he forecasted that American farm exports would drop $1.9 billion this FY as talks dragged on. He told WSJ at a conference in Australia today that while negotiators are optimistic, US farmers are "notably worried" about falling incomes and lower commodity prices.  The Trump administration has budgeted $12 billion to assist farmers impacted by the dispute. Johansson says if the tariffs are removed, it would collectively boost farm incomes above $80 billion the next few years.
- A U.S.-China trade deal halting additional tariffs would remove a major overhang on tech stocks like Apple, says Wedbush as it reiterates its outperform rating on the smartphone maker. The biggest trepidation among tech investors heading into 2019 was whether the dreaded 25% stepped-up tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods including tech products would be green-lighted if talks between the pair broke down with no resolution, Wedbush analysts say. "To this point, both countries appear close and in the "final stages" to agreeing a trade agreement that importantly would focus on long-standing intellectual-property issues that have blockaded U.S. technology companies from penetrating the China market for decades," they say.
- Keller Group's U.S. presence could benefit from President Trump's interest in the country's aging infrastructure, says Liberum. The president has stated that infrastructure could be one of the few areas of partnership between Democrats and Republicans, with both parties calling for improvements. "Infrastructure is not growing, but could benefit if Trump follows through on his midterm comments," the brokerage says. Liberum maintains its target price of 980 pence and has a buy rating on the stock.Shares up 13% at 629 pence.
- A fresh wave of optimism stemming from the Wall Street Journal's story this weekend that the US and China are finalizing a trade deal could serve to push US hog futures back up. "I contend (China) will soon need huge amounts of pork so pork they will buy," says Dennis Smith of Archer Financials. "Why not start now with tariffs coming off and US pork sitting at ten year low prices. I'm expecting a rally today but I guess I'll have to see it to believe it." The April contract closed at 56.4 cents per pound on Friday, which is down 15.1% since the start of the year.
- US agricultural futures are expected to see an uptick to begin trading today, amid news that broke over the weekend that both sides of the US-China trade talks expecting a finalized deal by the end of the month. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, both sides expect a deal to be reached in a summit March 27, while Chinese President Xi Jinping is traveling abroad. For grains markets, this is expected to open the door for a frenzy of export selling. "This means that US ag goods could flow back into China without duty for the 1st time since June," says AgResource. "The return of private Chinese demand to the US ag market places a floor under CBOT prices at Friday's low."
- US oil prices rise above $56/bbl early in NY, recouping some of last week's 2.5% decline that was fueled mainly by a tweet from President Trump who said prices were "getting too high." US data last week was very bullish, with domestic inventories of crude oil sliding by 8.6M bbls week-on-week, and a Baker Hughes rig-count report showed a big, 10-rig drop in active oil rigs in the US. But analysts say a sustained rally becomes more difficult if Trump's going to keep pressuring OPEC to relax on production cuts any time WTI prices approach $60/bbl. The Nymex oil contract for April delivery was recently 0.9% higher at $56.28/bbl.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 gains 0.4%, or 1.34 points, to 375.58 as market hopes for an end to the U.S.-China trade row rise. The prospect of a quick end to the nearly year-long impasse is boosting European markets, says Fiona Cincotta at City Index. "U.S. futures are also indicating a higher open as the U.S. and China nudge closer to defining a new trade deal that could see most of the current import restrictions removed and almost all import tariffs removed." Shares in Nordea Bank Abp fell 3.7% Monday after Finnish state broadcaster Yle said it would air a program containing allegations of money laundering at the bank.

Mar 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose, buoyed by output cuts by producer club OPEC and reports that the United States and China are close to a deal to end a bitter tariff row that has slowed global economic growth.
- Gold prices inched up, after falling below the critical $1,300 level to their lowest since Jan. 25 in the previous session, as the dollar softened on prospects of a trade deal between China and the United States.
- China's nickel futures rose more than 2 percent to a near five-month high as the metal used to make stainless steel tracked the ferrous complex higher.
- U.S. soybean futures rose 0.5 percent as Beijing and Washington moved closer to solving their trade dispute, stoking expectations of a rise in demand for North American beans.

- The move by Venezuela's opposition to take control of US-based refiner Citgo and end its relationship with Venezuela state-run oil company PdVSA opens up a web of legal uncertainties. One question is whether opposition-controlled Citgo may eventually be able to start importing Venezuelan crude oil again despite US sanctions that currently prohibit this, which could in turn start reviving Venezuelan crude production. Robbie Fraser at Schneider Electric says for now one should expect Venezuelan oil output to keep dropping, but adds "the prospect of some form of oil export deal between the Venezuelan opposition administration of Juan Guaido and the US leaves some limited potential for mitigating losses in the months ahead."
- Former Fed Vice Chairman Fischer offered strongly laudatory remarks about Powell tonight ahead of a speech by the central bank chief. Fischer said Powell has navigated 3 key challenges--slowing growth, a destabilized global trading system and "ongoing political pressure" on the Fed--very well. Under Powell, "the Fed has come through an extremely difficult period with its independence intact," Fischer added while not invoking Trump's name--the likely source of the cited political pressure. Fischer left the Fed in 2017.
- A key US senator says recent Chinese soybean purchases don't come close to fixing the problems global trade disputes have caused for farmers. During a congressional hearing in which USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue heralded recent commitments by China to buy 20M tons of US-grown soybeans, Sen Michael Bennet (D, Colo) says farmers won't accept as a measure of success "modest purchases" of goods farmers would have already sold were it not for trade fights. Perdue reiterates his cautious optimism over US-China trade negotiations, meanwhile advising farmers to do what they've always done: look at the markets and plant the crops they think will reap the most profit, or in many cases "lose the least."

Mar 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices climbed as markets tightened amid output cuts by producer club OPEC, but surging U.S. supply and concerns of global economic slowdown kept a lid on further gains.
- Gold prices hit a two-week low as the dollar recouped losses on stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data, while mounting concerns over a slowdown in global growth offered support to the safe-haven metal.
- Copper edged lower, after a private survey showed factory activity in top metals consumer China remained in contraction territory for a third straight month.
- Chicago wheat edged up but remained on track for its biggest weekly loss in half-a-year, trading near its lowest in 11 months as abundant global supply weighed on prices.

- The Stoxx Europe 600 falls 0.34%, or 1.3 points, to 371.28 as investors express disappointment at Donald Trump's failure to reach a deal with North Korea and weak manufacturing data from China. The DAX falls 0.04% and the CAC 40 rises 0.04% after all major Asian indices fall apart from China's Shenzhen A-Share, which rose 0.35%. The Chinese manufacturing report was 49.2, the weakest since early 2016. Still, Wall Street is expected to open only 0.1% lower. "It appears the Dow Jones is prepared to take various global hostilities--specifically the abrupt, unsuccessful end to the U.S.-North Korea summit and the India-Pakistan situation--in its stride," says Connor Campbell at Spreadex.
- The FTSE 100 Index drops 0.8% to 7049.51 as political uncertainty dampened the mood and some corporate results disappointed investors. An abrupt and inconclusive ending to the meeting between Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un and fresh doubts about progress in U.S.-China trade talks unsettled markets, says David Madden at CMC Markets. Shares in RSA Insurance drop 4.3% as 2018 underlying profit fell after large losses hit its London market business. British American Tobacco's stock declines 2.8% after it reported a sharp drop in 2018 pretax profit. Still, shares in Rentokil Initial rise 4.4% after the pest-control and hygiene company posted higher adjusted earnings.
- Listed gun maker stocks rise after the House of representatives backs tightened background checks that include private and show sales. However, Sturm, Ruger and American Outdoor Brands remain off their recent highs. Both rely on new products for around 30% of sales, and these high-margin products are less likely to change hands outside of the licensed dealers covered by existing legislation. For producers, the main issue remains elevated discounting, even if much of the inventory backlog built over the past two years has been dissipated. American Outdoor ends up 2.2%, with Sturm, Ruger gaining 0.5%.
- During an hourslong hearing of the House agricultural committee, Rep. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) pushes USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue for research to justify a controversial proposal to impose stricter work requirements on millions of Americans receiving federal nutrition assistance. The rule, proposed by USDA in December, would limit states' ability to exempt certain adults from requirements to work in exchange for food stamps. "Is there research to prove that taking someone's SNAP benefits away will help them get a job?" asks McGovern, suggesting lawmakers would take legal action to protect hungry Americans.
- Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue says that in discussions with representatives with Canada and Mexico to discuss the USMCA trade agreement, the topic of removing the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel is one of the top negotiation points. According to Perdue, who is testifying to the House Agricultural Committee this morning, the Trump Administration is moving towards replacing the 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum with quotas described by Perdue as "reasonable." Perdue also reiterated his support of removing metal tariffs in order to secure the ratification of the USMCA. "The removal of the tariffs is in the interest of all," Perdue says.

Feb 28 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell amid weakening factory output in China and Japan and record U.S. crude output, although markets remained relatively well supported by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC.
- Gold prices held near two-week lows touched in the previous session, as the dollar recouped losses after cautious comments from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer dented investors' hopes for a closure to the tariff war with China.
- Copper prices moved lower as ultra-tight stocks were overshadowed by a contraction in China manufacturing and a U.S. warning that it was too early to predict the outcome of trade talks with Beijing.
- U.S. soybean prices inched up, but gains were muted as traders worried that an eagerly awaited trade deal between Washington and Beijing remains elusive.

- Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue says that in discussions with representatives with Canada and Mexico to discuss the USMCA trade agreement, the topic of removing the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel is one of the top negotiation points. According to Perdue, who is testifying to the House Agricultural Committee this morning, the Trump Administration is moving towards replacing the 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum with quotas described by Perdue as "reasonable." Perdue also reiterated his support of removing metal tariffs in order to secure the ratification of the USMCA. "The removal of the tariffs is in the interest of all," Perdue says.
- Workers watching the testimony of Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, could cost employers nearly $4B, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. The firm, which based its estimates on the average hourly wage and the number of workers who use the Internet at work and are interested in politics, said one hour spent on following the hearing could cost employers more than $1.91B, while two hours could bring the tally to about $3.83B.
- Testimony of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in front of the House Committee on Agriculture, as well as USTR Robert Lighthizer to the House Ways and Means Committee, is expected to move agricultural futures on the CBOT, as well as other commodities in general. "Lighthizer is unlikely to be completely candid on US/China trade progress with talks ongoing," says AgResource. "Key for today's CBOT price action is whether Lighthizer offers additional details on rumors that China has pledged to secure an additional $30 billion of US ag goods annually on top of the pre-trade war levels?" Testimony of both men will begin at 10am ET.
- Oil prices started the day up in London trading Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its commitment to the latest OPEC-led production-cut agreement. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih--the de facto leader of the oil-cartel--said major producers need to continue to moderate crude oil output through the second half of 2019. Mr. Falih's comments came after President Trump said in a tweet earlier in the week that oil prices were too high and called on OPEC to ramp up supply. The tweet, which is in line with previous criticism of the cartel's production curbs, sent prices lower at the start of the week. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was trading up 0.80% at $65.88 a barrel in early morning trade on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

Feb 27 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose after a report of declining U.S. crude inventories and as producer club OPEC seemed to stick to its supply cuts despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump.
- Gold held steady as the dollar traded near three-week lows, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that the central bank will be patient in hiking interest rates, while palladium hovered near the psychological level of $1,550.
- Copper slipped as the dollar recovered from a three-month low after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he is in "no rush to make a judgment" about further changes to interest rates.
- U.S. wheat futures edged higher, rebounding from a 10-month low touched in the previous session, though gains were checked amid concerns over international demand for North American supplies.

- European bourses are set for a quiet open, David Madden of CMC Markets UK says. "It was a mixed day in Europe yesterday," Mr. Madden says. "The major equity markets were offside for the first half of the session, as the feelgood factor from the Trump tariff deferral faded," he adds.
- The Congressional Budget Office said Congress will have until the end of September or early October to raise the federal borrowing limit before the government may begin to miss payments to bondholders, federal retirees and other beneficiaries. The limit is suspended through Friday, then the Treasury Department will rely on extraordinary measures to keep paying the government's bills on time. But the Treasury "will probably run out of cash at the end of the fiscal year or early in the next one," unless Congress suspends or increases the borrowing limit, CBO said. That means the true debt limit deadline, or X date, will likely coincide with the deadline for funding the government and avoiding another government shutdown, potentially complicating those negotiations.
- Sen Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, where many drugmakers are located, asked the pharmaceutical executives during a hearing whether their companies lowered the price of their drugs as a result of the tax overhaul that went into effect in January 2018. None of the companies said the tax overhaul directly led to the companies decreasing drug prices. Several said they used the tax benefits on other things, such as investing in research and development. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that prices went down in 2018, which was likely a reference to the company's average net price of Pfizer's portfolio of drugs.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's monetary policy testimony "breaks no new ground," Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities, says in a note to clients. The chairman's laundry list of crosscurrents, or downside risks, that he first detailed in January, have helped to stay the Fed's hands, Stanley says. The economist adds that "thankfully, Powell says nothing about where the neutral funds rate might be (he's caused enough market consternation on that topic over the past 6 months!)".
- Days before the Bureau of Economic Analysis is set to release key December data that were delayed by the partial government shutdown, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell provided the central bank's estimates in a Senate hearing. US gross domestic product, he said, likely expanded "a little less than 3%" in 2018. The personal consumption expenditures price index, meanwhile likely rose 1.7% in the 12 months through December, falling short of the Fed's 2% inflation target due to recent declines in energy prices. The BEA is scheduled to report fourth-quarter and full-year GDP on Thursday and December personal income and expenditures Friday.
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated many of his recent statements on the economy and monetary policy in his prepared remarks to the Senate Banking Committee. The economy, he said, is healthy and has a favorable outlook, albeit policy makers have seen "some cross-currents and conflicting signals," Mr. Powell said. "Going forward, our policy decisions will continue to be data dependent and will take into account new information as economic conditions and the outlook evolve," he added.
- Opening statements from the top Republican and Democratic senators on the Senate Banking Committee provide a sense of where lawmakers will focus their questions to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at Tuesday's hearing. Sen. Mike Crapo (R, Idaho), the committee's chairman, noted his concern with the size of the Fed's $4 trillion balance sheet, which the Fed has signaled it is likely to stop shrinking later this year. Crapo wants more clarity around why the central bank may stop the run down earlier than anticipated. The panel's top Democrat, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, used his opening statement to chide the Trump administration and the Fed for moving to ease regulations on banks. Brown says the Fed "rushed to the aid of the biggest banks" after the 2008 financial crisis but "did not devote even a fraction of that firepower to helping the rest of America."
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's written testimony emphasizes the Fed will continue to be data-dependent in making its future decisions, and said that current conditions are healthy and the outlook is favorable. He acknowledged, however, that he has seen cross currents and conflicting signals in recent months.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell demurs when asked if the White House has ever communicated with him about the direction of interest rates. Powell says that's a broad question, then, after a long pause, adds he didn't think it would be appropriate to comment on his conversations with other government officials. Of course President Trump has publicly tweeted about the Fed and rates many times, urging them late last year to hold off on further increases. Powell also dined with the president at the White House residence earlier this month, and meets regularly with other administration officials.
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says there's no easy explanation for the decline in the US labor share of income in recent decades, but that globalization likely played a role. He notes the steepest decline in labor share took place between 2000 and 2010, coinciding with China's 2001 entry to the World Trade Organization. Recent wage-growth numbers around 3%--roughly equal to the sum of inflation and productivity growth--are likely enough to stabilize workers' slice of the US economic pie. "The problem is there were 10 years that didn't happen," Powell says.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren says the Federal Reserve's process for approving bank mergers "appears to be a rubber stamp," as the agency is set to review a deal to merge BB&T and SunTrust, which could create the sixth-largest US retail bank. Since 2006, the Fed hasn't said no to any merger application, Warren told Fed Chairman Jerome Powell as he testified before the Senate Banking Committee. "This time, you're going to be listening to comments from the public?" she said, adding the merger if approved could put "yet another too-big-to-fail bank on our hands." Powell said the Fed would "conduct a very fair and open transparent process."
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that estimates of the amount of reserves in the banking system necessary to achieve the Fed's objectives have gone up substantially over the course of the last year. Public estimates of around $1T, plus a buffer, are "a reasonable starting point, an estimate of where we might wind up," Powell told the Senate Banking Committee during his semiannual monetary policy testimony. He reiterated that the demand for reserves will be "very substantially higher than it was before the crisis and will not go back to those levels."
- "Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated the FOMC's 'patient' mantra in his semi-annual testimony to Congress, underlining that the Fed is unlikely to raise interest rates any time soon," says Andrew Hunter of Capital Economics, adding Powell also emphasized the Fed's dependency on data in determining future policy moves. Hunter says the Fed is unlikely to raise interest rates again this cycle and that rate cuts are likely by early 2020 if economic growth continues to slow.
- In response to a claim by Sen Mike Rounds (R., SD) that Social Security deficits are going to bankrupt the country, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell urged Congress to address soaring healthcare costs. "The thing that drives our fiscal unsustainability is just healthcare delivery," Powell said, noting that the U.S. spends 17% of GDP on healthcare versus 10% by other developed countries, for "pretty average" outcomes. "It's not that the benefits themselves are too generous, it's that we deliver them in highly inefficient ways," he said. "If I were in your seats - and I'm not - I would think that's a good place to look" for fiscal savings.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says he would consult with other governors on whether to join a fellow regulator's proposal to modify the implementation of poor-lending laws. "We are unified in our commitment to the mission," of the Community Reinvestment Act, says Powell before the Senate Banking Committee. Some of the changes proposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency last August would reduce the geographic focus of the rules, which Fed Governor Lael Brainard, an Obama nominee, has said she wants to keep.
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says decades-long declines in both real interest rates and inflation mean that monetary policy faces higher odds of hitting the zero lower bound in future downturns. At that point, the central bank's preferred tool for regulating the economy--interest rates--would be hampered. For that reason, Powell says, "we owe it to the public" to study alternative ways to meet the Fed's stable-price mandate, including flexible inflation targeting. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) urges "great, great caution on this," citing concerns about high inflation.
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said "it would be a very big deal" if the US failed to pay all of its bills in full and on time in the event Congress fails to raise the federal borrowing limit. The limit is set to be reinstated on Saturday at $22 trillion, but the Treasury Department will use extraordinary measures to conserve enough cash to keep making payments. Those measures are expected to last at least through the summer, the Bipartisan Policy Center has estimated. Powell told lawmakers a default on US debt is "beyond even considering," and said the government should always pay its bills on time.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the Fed is "working hard to try to address," concerns banks have raised about proposed changes to the Volcker Rule, which bans banks from making risky bets with their own money. One of the changes would expand the types of assets that would be presumed as proprietary trading, banks have said in comments responding to the proposal, which was issued by the Fed and four other federal financial regulators last May.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the agency would evaluate the proposed merger of BB&T and SunTrust "carefully, fairly and thoroughly and with a lot of transparency." The Fed will have to approve the deal, which would be the largest US bank merger since the financial crisis. "We have a process that we go through in evaluating any merger," said Powell, adding he was expecting to receive the merger application in the next few weeks.
- It's a sign of the times that Fed officials are now facing down marijuana questions. Not about their usage, of course. Instead, it's the issue of how legal marijuana companies gain access to banks. They can't now because on a federal level marijuana is still illegal, which forces these firms to deal in all cash. Sen. Bob Menendez, speaking with Fed Chairman Powell, flags the security risk of these operations due to the cash, and asks if the Fed has any information about clearing this up. Powell doesn't and says "it would be great to have clarity" on the matter. Some at the Fed have warned that as legalization expands, it could create some sort of separate banking system to deal with these companies outside of Fed regulation.
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the reinvigorated US domestic oil industry could help guard against potential energy-supply shocks from abroad. He noted that the high inflation of the 1970s was driven in part by soaring oil prices due to overseas supply constraints. "What we have in the economy now is an effective shock absorber," he said of the tight-oil boom, noting that the energy sector is also fueling job growth and broader activity in parts of the country.
- Venezuela's ratcheted-up political crisis and US sanctions fueled a rally in global oil prices earlier this month, but the issue is fading some from radar as markets try to figure out what comes next. The US last month recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president and began aggressive sanctions to choke off Venezuela's crude exports and force President Nicolas Maduro from power. That's left US refiners to buy non-Venezuelan crude, and Venezuela to send more oil to India and China. Meanwhile, street protests haven't dislodged Maduro's grip on power. "The most likely scenario is an attritional political battle ahead," Teneo's Nicholas Watson says. "A prolonged crisis is a challenge for all parties."
- Responding to a senator's question about what keeps him awake at night during a hearing on drug pricing and industry practices, Merck CEO Ken Frazier responded that he is worried about the elimination of a "predictable market" that allows for capital to be invested -- and risked -- to develop drugs. (Recent research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that just 14% of drugs in clinical trials eventually reach approval by US regulators.) Frazier said he is concerned that when issues in drug-pricing leads the public to think there needs to be "outrageous solutions" -- perhaps a reference to government price-controls -- the future development of drugs could be jeopardized.
- Opinion polls indicate Canada's Liberal government under pressure from political controversy surrounding the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group. The Nanos Research weekly-tracking poll indicate a tightening in the gap between the Liberals and opposition Conservatives, putting both parties in a statistical tie with support in the mid-30% range. Meanwhile, polling from Angus Reid Institute suggests the opposition Conservatives enjoy 38% support versus 31% backing for PM Trudeau-led Liberals. Further, Angus Reid said 66% of survey respondents suggest "there is a deeper scandal" to be uncovered from the SNC affair. The controversy focuses on allegations that Trudeau's aides tried to persuade the former justice minister to reverse course in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on bribery-and-fraud charges.

Feb 26 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil inched down to extend losses of more than 3 percent from the previous session, easing after U.S. President Donald Trump called on OPEC to rein in its efforts to boost prices.
- Palladium hit a record high, surging above $1,550 as a threatened strike by South African mineworkers added to supply risk concerns in an already tight market, while gold prices edged up on a subdued dollar.
- London copper edged lower as investors awaited their next cue, after a rally driven by signs of dwindling stocks and progress in U.S.-China trade talks had seen prices rise for eight of the past nine sessions.
- Chicago wheat slid for a second session to its lowest in 10 months as the market is being weighed down by abundant global supplies.
- The pound jumped to a near four-week peak against the dollar on reports of a delayed Brexit deadline, and the safe-haven yen moved off the weakest seen this year as a drop in U.S. equity futures checked investors' risk appetite.

- S&P Global Ratings says a closer look raises questions about New Jersey's revenue strength. The state's January revenue report shows general fund cumulative growth faster than fiscal 2019 budgetary benchmarks. But S&P says gross income tax--which is dedicated to property tax relief and not part of the general fund--had big drops in December and January. NJ also got $282M of one-time tax amnesty revenue for a program that concluded Jan 15. All major tax revenue, including income tax, increased 3.0% fiscal year-to-date through January, or 1.3% without the one-time revenue, compared with budgeted fiscal 2019 growth of 7.5%, the ratings agency says. While state monthly revenue reports are typically volatile, continued revenue growth below budget targets could point to longer economic and revenue pressure, S&P says.
- Former Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, passed over by President Trump for another term as central-bank leader, has some choice words for the president in an interview with radio program Marketplace. She says of Trump: "I doubt that he would even be able to say that the Fed's goals are maximum employment and price stability, which is the goals that Congress have assigned to the Fed." Yellen adds, "He's made comments about the Fed having an exchange-rate objective in order to support his trade plans, or possibly targeting the US balance of trade. And, you know, I think comments like that shows a lack of understanding of the impact of the Fed on the economy and appropriate policy goals."
- The Dow rises 0.7%, while the S&P 500 gains 0.6% and the Nasdaq adds 0.8%, after President Trump said he would delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods slated to take place later this week. General Electric leads the S&P after the company said it would sell its biotechnology business to Danaher for $21B in cash. General Electric shares are up 8.3% and Danaher shares are up 8%.
- Morgan Stanley equity strategists say while the trade dispute between the US and China appears to be de-escalating, the economic relationship between the two countries may be impaired for good. "It's hard for us to see that genie getting put completely back in the bottle," they say, which would likely result in slower growth for China and higher costs for companies in the US and ultimately weigh on earnings growth. President Trump said he would delay a planned increase in tariffs on Chinese goods that was set to take effect at the end of the week.
- American depositary receipts in Chinese companies get a double dose of positive news after comments from President Trump and President Xi Jinping. Trump's Sunday announcement of delaying the implementation of increasing tariffs to 25% on a range of Chinese imports gave investors hope that an end to the trade detente could emerge from an economic summit between leaders of each nation. Meanwhile, analysts say recent remarks from Xi have helped assuage some concerns about economic growth in China. Amid a broader rise in US financial markets, ADRs in Alibaba rise 3%, while ADRs in JD.com and Vipshop rise 1.8% and 4.9%, respectively.
- Canaccord says activity in interest-rate swap spreads are signaling another surge in corporate borrowing for buybacks, similar to what was seen in the two years following the 2015-2016 stock-market correction. "While swap spreads are again acting in the same fashion for the same reason, investors (or perhaps, more accurately, Wall Street buyback desks) are not waiting," the firm says. "They have once again elevated buyback names into a leadership position coming out of this winter's correction." In recent weeks, a number of politicians criticized buybacks and Senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders proposed legislation that would limit share buybacks earlier this month.
- News Friday that Chinese buyers plan to secure an additional 10M metric tons of US soybeans, combined with President Trump's announcement via Twitter that increases of tariffs on Chinese goods would be delayed from their March 1 date, has filled the US agricultural market with a new wave of optimism. It's unclear yet though how much this optimism will translate into higher grains futures prices on the CBOT. "If beans go higher on trade optimism, corn is likely to keep pace on a relative basis," says Doug Bergman of RCM Alternatives. Analysts speculate that if Trump announces a summit with Chinese President Xi in Florida, then a deal will likely be signed there.
- US benchmark crude oil prices drop by nearly $2/bbl after President Trump sends an early-morning tweet urging lower oil prices. "Oil prices getting too high. OPEC, please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike - fragile!" says Trump's tweet. WTI was 0.2% higher on the day near a three-month high of $57.43/bbl just before the tweet was published, and is now 2.5% lower at $55.84. Phil Flynn at Price Futures in Chicago, suggested OPEC won't heed the US leader's advice. "If he thinks OPEC is going to help him out, forget about it."
- Longtime Democrat Warren Buffett says on CNBC he would support Michael Bloomberg if he announced a presidential run. Buffett campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Of Bloomberg, Buffett says, "I think he knows how to run things. ... He understands people, he understands the market system and he understands the problems of people" who don't benefit from the market system. Buffett also says that it would be a mistake for Howard Schultz to run as an independent candidate, because he would take votes away from a Democratic candidate. "I hope no third-party candidate runs," he says.
- U.S. President Donald Trump tweeting that he plans a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida if both sides make further headway in trade negotiations "provide the strongest signal yet that President Trump wants to sign a trade deal with China," says MUFG. This "would significantly reduce the risk of a further escalation in global trade tensions," MUFG says. USD/CNY fell to a seven-month low of 6.6890 on the back of this. Mr. Trump said he was postponing the March 1 deadline of increasing tariffs on $200 billion Chinese imports after "substantial" progress in talks. He said progress had been made on structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services and currency.
- Any memorandum of understanding signed between the U.S. and China regarding their bilateral trade dispute could grind European investment-grade corporate bond spreads tighter, Commerzbank's Cem Keltek says, bolstering the recovery of IG credit in Europe. Even the extension of the previous March 1 deadline, when the U.S. had said it would increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% if no agreement was reached, "could do the trick," he says.

Feb 25 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics ( WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices dipped, dragged down by plentiful supply as U.S. exports soar and compete with traditional producers from the Middle East in key markets such as Asia.
- Gold prices edged up as the dollar fell against the yuan after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, while palladium surged to a record high.
- London copper prices raced past $6,500 a tonne for the first time since July, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, while tin touched a 10-month peak after an accident-hit Chinese miner stopped production.
- Chicago soybeans climbed nearly 1 percent to their highest in nearly two weeks as expectations of a trade agreement between Washington and Beijing underpinned the market.

- Market sentiment toward the U.S.-China trade negotiations has been lifted by reports that President Trump will meet with trade envoy and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Washington later in the day, MUFG says. "The market seems to be taking this as a sign that the negotiations have progressed sufficiently to warrant a meeting between these two leaders," MUFG says. The dollar is higher by 0.2% at 110.88 against the safe-haven Japanese yen, while most emerging-market currencies are rallying and Chinese equities have "found some support." Focus is centered on next Friday--the March 1 deadline for the two sides to reach a deal before the U.S. increases tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.
- A Bloomberg report Wednesday that the US wants China to keep the yuan stable--coming up as part of the country's trade talks--has helped boost the Chinese currency the past 2 days. But what stable might mean remains to be seen, notes Nomura. In any event, "any such clause, whether against USD or a basket of currencies, would do much more harm than good" to both countries' economies, the investment bank adds. "Surely, China should not weaponize its currency during trade conflicts. But requiring a 'stable' yuan deviates too much from pushing China for structural reforms."
- A Democratic member of FERC's board allied with two Republican Trump appointees to end a stalemate over permitting Venture Global LNG's Calcasieu Pass gas-export facility in Louisiana. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur made the vote 3-1. Though asking for more disclosure and analysis on the impacts from climate change, she also wrote that in FERC's limited oversight the project's known impacts don't make it inconsistent with the public interest. It isn't certain  LaFleur will strike a similar deal on future projects, but administration officials are characterizing today's vote as a turning point. Manpower shortages and internal debate over the impact of greenhouse-gas emissions from natural-gas-export terminals have blocked permit approvals for months, undermining a pillar of Trump's energy and foreign policy.
- Canada's top public servant told lawmakers Thursday he met with the former justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, on Dec. 19 to discuss the context surrounding a decision to press on with a prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group. "Part of my conversation," he said, "was conveying context that there were a lot of people worried about what would happen," if SNC-Lavalin was found guilty on bribery-and-fraud charges, originally filed in 2015. "The consequences--not for her, the consequences for the workers, the communities and suppliers." Later, he told reporters the consequences he mentioned in testimony referred to SNC-Lavalin warnings about pursuing different options, perhaps a sale, to protect shareholders in the event of an unsuccessful defense against bribe-and-fraud charges.
- Canada's chief bureaucrat--one of the country's most powerful officials--spoke to lawmakers about the political controversy focused on SNC-Lavalin Group's efforts to secure an out-of-court settlement over bribery-and-fraud charges. Michael Wernick said at a parliamentary justice committee there was never any "inappropriate pressure" on the former justice minister to drop a criminal prosecution against the Montreal-based engineering and construction company. Despite a massive lobbying effort by SNC-Lavalin, he said, the company didn't get the out-of-court settlement it wanted. "If it is a movie, it is a flop," he said of SNC-Lavalin's lobbying efforts. The uproar over allegations that aides of Canada PM Trudeau tried to interfere in a prosecution prompted the resignation of a cabinet minister and Trudeau's chief aide and close friend.
- The White House says it is ending negotiations with California regulators over vehicle-efficiency rules. In a statement, the Trump administration blames the California Air Resources Board for the impasse and says it plans to finalize rules for cars and trucks later this year. The administration's proposal from last summer would end the state's ability to set its own fuel-efficiency standards and eliminate sharp increases in national fuel-economy mandates that had been approved under President Obama. The Trump administration had been trying to finalize its rules by the end of March. "Despite the Administration's best efforts to reach a common-sense solution, it is time to acknowledge that CARB has failed to put forward a productive alternative," the release says, giving no further details. California leaders are expected to respond later this afternoon.
- Sturm, Ruger CEO Chris Killoy says he expected an uptick in firearms demand after the midterm elections. It didn't happen. A Democrat-controlled House may have made noises regarding stricter gun controls, which in the past has been a trigger for higher firearms and ammo sales, but that didn't trigger more demand. Killoy says on an investor call that competition remains intense, with the promotions that have dinged margins continuing. Shares down more than $4 after 4Q earnings miss, with American Outdoor Brands off more than 1%.
- A finalized USMCA deal between the US, Canada, and Mexico will likely go through Congress and be finished by this summer, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said during the USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum this morning. Perdue--joined by Canadian Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay and Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Victor Villalobos Arambula--did note that the timeline for the deal's finalization was subject to change, based on the politics between President Trump and the US Congress.

Feb 22 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices hovered close to 2019 highs, bolstered by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, but were prevented from rising further by slowing growth in the global economy.
- Gold was trading below the previous session's 10-month peak as the dollar inched up after minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting rekindled expectations of another rate hike this year.
- London copper prices edged lower, retreating from a seven-month peak hit in the previous session.
- Chicago wheat futures edged higher as the market took a breather after falling nearly 8 percent over the past four sessions, triggered by a lack of demand for U.S. supplies.

- Canada's chief bureaucrat--one of the country's most powerful officials--spoke to lawmakers about the political controversy focused on SNC-Lavalin Group's efforts to secure an out-of-court settlement over bribery-and-fraud charges. Michael Wernick said at a parliamentary justice committee there was never any "inappropriate pressure" on the former justice minister to drop a criminal prosecution against the Montreal-based engineering and construction company. Despite a massive lobbying effort by SNC-Lavalin, he said, the company didn't get the out-of-court settlement it wanted. "If it is a movie, it is a flop," he said of SNC-Lavalin's lobbying efforts. The uproar over allegations that aides of Canada PM Trudeau tried to interfere in a prosecution prompted the resignation of a cabinet minister and Trudeau's chief aide and close friend.
- The White House says it is ending negotiations with California regulators over vehicle-efficiency rules. In a statement, the Trump administration blames the California Air Resources Board for the impasse and says it plans to finalize rules for cars and trucks later this year. The administration's proposal from last summer would end the state's ability to set its own fuel-efficiency standards and eliminate sharp increases in national fuel-economy mandates that had been approved under President Obama. The Trump administration had been trying to finalize its rules by the end of March. "Despite the Administration's best efforts to reach a common-sense solution, it is time to acknowledge that CARB has failed to put forward a productive alternative," the release says, giving no further details. California leaders are expected to respond later this afternoon.
- Sturm, Ruger CEO Chris Killoy says he expected an uptick in firearms demand after the midterm elections. It didn't happen. A Democrat-controlled House may have made noises regarding stricter gun controls, which in the past has been a trigger for higher firearms and ammo sales, but that didn't trigger more demand. Killoy says on an investor call that competition remains intense, with the promotions that have dinged margins continuing. Shares down more than $4 after 4Q earnings miss, with American Outdoor Brands off more than 1%.
- A finalized USMCA deal between the US, Canada, and Mexico will likely go through Congress and be finished by this summer, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said during the USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum this morning. Perdue--joined by Canadian Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay and Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Victor Villalobos Arambula--did note that the timeline for the deal's finalization was subject to change, based on the politics between President Trump and the US Congress.

Feb 21 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices hovered close to 2019 highs, bolstered by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, but were prevented from rising further by slowing growth in the global economy.
- Gold was trading below the previous session's 10-month peak as the dollar inched up after minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting rekindled expectations of another rate hike this year.
- London copper prices edged lower, retreating from a seven-month peak hit in the previous session.
- Chicago wheat futures edged higher as the market took a breather after falling nearly 8 percent over the past four sessions, triggered by a lack of demand for U.S. supplies.

- Stunted demand for hog products along with increased pork production is factoring into the big fall of pork futures today. According to USDA data, last week the estimated national pork cutout value was down 17% from the same time last year, at $64.07 per hundredweight. This while US pork production was 534M pounds, 7.1% higher than a year ago. Complicating issues are the existing tariffs on US pork. "Beyond the year-over-year price pressure on hogs caused by increased supply, new tariffs have exacerbated the situation," Steiner Consulting says. "Regarding the retaliatory tariff by Mexico against US pork items, to remain competitive with Canada and Brazil, US prices dropped for ham and related items." April pork futures on the CME are currently down 4.7%.
- The trade spat between the U.S. and China is hurting market sentiment more than it is hurting actual global trade, says Lina Fransson, fixed income strategist at SEB. The recent zero tariffs trade agreement between Europe and Japan is likely to offset the tariffs the U.S. has imposed on China and vice versa, Ms. Fransson says. Foreign exchange markets, as well as equity markets, have swung up and down on U.S.-China disputes as they became more acute. However, investors expect both parties to reach an agreement eventually and daily news headlines on U.S.-China trade negotiations aren't impacting currencies anymore.
- Airline stocks are falling in premarket trading after Southwest disclosed that it took a greater than expected hit from the government shutdown at the start of the year. Southwest shares are trading down 4.5% after the carrier said the shutdown cost it $60M, compared to the $10M to $15M it previously expected. American Airlines, which has not put a dollar value on the impact of the shutdown, is off 1.6%. Delta is down 1.2% and United Continental down 1.5%.
- US corn futures will likely react to comments made by President Trump yesterday after the market's close, in which he said that China would be buying "a lot more than anyone thought possible." Grains traders and analysts have been optimistic that a US-China trade deal would include increased levels of both corn and soybean exports to China. However, the March 1 deadline is quickly approaching for a deal to be reached, and so far there is no sign that a deal will be reached by then. US and Chinese representatives will begin meeting in Washington DC today to discuss a deal. March corn futures fell by 1.5% to end the day yesterday.
- The FTSE 100 edges up 0.13% to 7188.24 after annual results from Lloyds Banking Group and a fall in sterling amid political chaos in the U.K. Shares in Lloyds are among the biggest top-flight risers, up 2.8% after the U.K.-focused bank set out plans for a major share buyback and fast-tracked cost-cutting targets, though it missed profit expectations. Sainsbury's is the biggest faller, down 14% after regulators said the grocer's proposed merger with Walmart Inc-owned rival Asda would substantially reduce competition. The pound drops 0.17% against the dollar to $1.3040 after a Labour lawmaker defected to the newly formed Independent Group and rumors swirled about potential defections to the IG from the Tories.
- Canada remains optimistic about the fate of USMCA in Congress. Concern has mounted that the new Nafta could be complicated by efforts by Democrats to insert provisions in the pact that ensures Mexico lives up to promises on environmental protection and labor rights. "I think the enforcement mechanisms can be addressed in side letters," David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to US, says at an Ottawa event hosted by Canadian Global Affairs Institute. He adds that when the revised North American trade deal "comes up for an up or down vote, Congress will pass it." The biggest issue, he says, is when Congress holds a vote on USMCA "because there is so much else going on" in Washington, led by the uproar over President Trump's emergency declaration on a US-Mexico wall.
- Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó says several European governments have agreed to provide humanitarian donations amid a political showdown with President Nicolás Maduro over aid. Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK will donate more than $18M, while France agreed to send 70 tons of food and medicine, he says. Backed by the US, Guaidó plans to use aid to create a rift between the military and Maduro by pressuring border officials to disobey his orders and allow donations into Venezuela. They believe that would be key to removing Maduro from power. But if the aid blocked during a push to deliver it this Saturday, analysts say that would also further hurt Maduro's image for denying donations to poor Venezuelans.

Feb 20 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices slipped away from 2019 highs, with surging U.S. supply and slowing economic growth tempering upward pressure from supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and from Washington's sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
- Palladium prices broke above $1,500 for the first time due to a prolonged supply deficit, while gold rose to a fresh 10-month high as the dollar struggled before the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes.
- London copper prices rose for a sixth consecutive session, striking a fresh two-month high on hopes of a trade deal between China and the United States.
- Chicago wheat rose, underpinned by bargain-buying after falling for the last three sessions to its lowest since late October on concerns over weak demand for U.S. supplies.

- Walmart benefited from the government shutdown, with comparable food sales helped by the decision from federal officials to release February food-stamp program funds early, a decision that was meant to ensure recipients didn't miss out on benefits had the shutdown dragged on. The retailer flags its overall grocery business as a strong performer in its quarter that ended in January, citing gains due to private brands, lower prices and ecommerce initiatives. Comparable domestic grocery sales rose by the mid-single digits in the quarter. Walmart shares rise 3.2% premarket.
- The resumption of talks between US and Chinese delegates in Washington this week all but assure that the grains markets will be closely watching any international trade news. The talks follow a round held in Beijing last week, which did not yield any new results. For both corn and soybeans, this marks another week that traders will be hesitant to quickly offload supplies. "Another round of talks is scheduled in Washington this week and traders just do not want to be caught short should there be an announcement of a US/China Ag package that could include corn," says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage.
- RBC raises the potential of oil-supply disruption out of Nigeria as Africa's largest producer at the last minute delayed elections for a week. That could mar voter turnout and lead to charges of irregularities, the investment bank says, possibly fueling violence similar to that seen previously. Attacks on energy infrastructure might result in daily production falling up to 1 million barrels/day as a time fellow OPEC members are adhering to new output caps. April Brent is down 0.4% at $66.22, reversing Monday's gain.

Feb 19 - DJ Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (AgriCensus)
- Brent crude oil prices eased away from 2019 highs on caution that economic growth may dent fuel demand this year, although supply cuts led by producer cartel OPEC still meant markets were relatively tight.
- Gold prices hovered near 10-month highs as optimism around U.S.-China trade discussions dimmed the dollar's appeal, while palladium struck a record high on supply concerns.
- Shanghai aluminium prices fell, after Malaysia said it would not extend a moratorium on mining bauxite when it expires on March 31, potentially reducing costs in the aluminium supply chain for top producer China.
- Chicago soybean futures rose for a second session as optimism about a trade deal between Washington and Beijing underpinned the market.

- Fears that the U.S. will impose tariffs on European car imports is keeping auto makers' corporate bond spreads wider than the broader trend in European credit, says Commerzbank's Marco Stoeckle. The German bank remains underweight the sector as the introduction of tariffs would likely have "dire consequences" for European car makers, with Germany bearing the brunt. Citing a recent study from the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Germany, Mr Stoeckle says a 25% duty would slash car exports to the U.S. by half in the long-run, subtracting EUR18.4 billion from German exports and reducing the value-added of the German car industry by 5%.
- The FTSE 100 is expected to open 6 points higher at 7242, according to London Capital Group, as optimism that trade talks between the U.S. and China will result in a deal lifts sentiment toward equities and riskier assets. "High level officials including U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and China's vice premier will attend the talks, boosting confidence that progress will be made," says Jasper Lawler, analyst at LCG. Companies in focus include miner Anglo American and consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser after both reported earnings. Trade could be muted though as U.S. markets are closed for the President's day holiday.

Feb 18 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices hit their highest levels since November last year, lifted by OPEC-led supply cuts, U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and hopes that the Afro-American trade dispute may soon end.
- Gold prices rose to their strongest level in more than two weeks as the dollar weakened on hopes the United States and China are nearing a trade deal, while palladium hit a record high.
- Shanghai base metals rose, buoyed by optimism over the demand outlook, after Chinese lending increased and Sino-U.S. trade talks continued.
- U.S. wheat futures fell to multimonth lows on Friday, despite broad strength in commodity and equity markets as grain traders monitored bearish technical signals as well as falling prices in the global cash wheat market.

- The safe-haven Japanese yen "is the night's top performer," says RBC. The dollar falls by 0.2% against the yen to 110.28 as U.S.-China trade talks make little progress. Adding further uncertainty, President Trump could declare a national emergency to get full funding for his Mexico border wall. President Trump is at the same time due to sign the spending bill, which included just a fraction of what he asked for to be spent for the wall. The signing of the spending bill would avoid another U.S. government shutdown.
- Nordic markets are tipped to edge lower Friday with IG calling the OMXS30 down 0.5% at around 1555. "Asian equities are trading in the 'red' this morning after a sour U.S. session hit by the retail sales miss, stories that the U.S. and China remain far apart in trade negotiations and Chinese PPI figures falling short of expectations," says Danske Bank. Danske expects markets to stay alert to news from Beijing, as high-level trade talks continue. "Also, we believe focus will remain on the risk of a new partial U.S. government shutdown." Still, at this stage, it seems President Donald Trump will sign the spending bill Congress has passed, avoiding another shutdown. OMXS30 closed at 1562.36, OMXN40 at 1528.71 and OBX at 777.86.
- TransCanada expects the Nebraska state supreme court to reach a decision on the state's controversial approval of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion by the end of March, says CEO Russ Girling. Opponents have said the pipeline's route through the state was wrongfully approved. Meantime, the company has received approval from 80% of the state's affected landowners for construction easements through their territory, Girling says. TransCanada is coordinating with the US justice department to appeal other blocks to the pipeline, including one in Montana, and won't start construction until all approvals are granted. Shippers have so far claimed all the space available on the pipeline, he adds, in a call with analysts.
- Amazon's decision to scrap its planed HQ2 in New York could boost Nashville's economy, SunTrust says. Analysts think Amazon will redirect to Nashville some of the roughly 25,000 jobs it was planning to bring to the Big Apple. That should be good for banks like Pinnacle Financial, FB Financial, First Horizon and Regions Financial, SunTrust says.
- DA Davidson analysts think Amazon's decision to cancel its plans to open a headquarters in New York City amid criticism from politicians could be a bluff rather than a final decision, as a way to bring the government back to the table. "We have a difficult time believing the company would have invested so much time and energy in selecting a second city for a new headquarters (in this case announcing two/three - Northern Virginia, New York City, and Nashville) only to throw in the towel on the first significant blowback," analysts say. "We will continue to monitor the situation as, in our view, the company may not, in fact, be pulling the plug on New York City."
- The news that Amazon is ditching plans for a major office in New York will likely disappoint New York-centric real estate investors and developers, who expected the deal would further cement the city's status as a tech hub. Earlier this week, Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steven Roth told analysts on a conference call that if "the political climate in New York blows this deal, it would be the stupidest damn thing I've ever seen. And that's what I think." He said on the call he was fairly confident Amazon would open the office, despite the recent pushback on the deal.
- Shares of real estate company JBG Smith Properties are rising after Amazon said it's abandoning its plans to build a new headquarters in New York City amid backlash from local politicians and it will continue to add jobs at its other headquarters location in Northern Virginia. Back in November, JBG Smith Properties agreed to lease 500K square feet to Amazon in Arlington and sell property that offers up to 4.1M square feet of development rights. JBG Smith shares, which were trading lower prior to the announcement, are up 0.9% to $40.33.
- Most miners are in positive territory after upbeat Chinese trade data bolstered metal prices. Chilean copper miner Antofagasta is the sector's top riser, up 0.7%, as the price of copper gains 0.9% and other base-metal prices also climb. Chinese exports jumped 9.1% versus an expected decline of 3.2%, while imports fell 1.5%, better than expectations of a 10% drop. "Copper climbs for the second day as China's export-import data highlights surprise gains and President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a delay to the deadline to secure a trade deal," analysts at commodity equity brokerage S.P. Angel note.

Feb 15 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Brent crude oil prices hit 2019 highs above $65 per barrel, spurred by OPEC-led supply cuts and a partial shutdown of Saudi Arabia's biggest offshore oil field.
- Gold traded in a tight $3 range as concerns over an economic slowdown supported prices for the safe-haven metal and a firm dollar kept a lid on gains.
- London copper prices slipped after China's factory-gate price growth missed expectations and as investors awaited the outcome of Sino-U.S. trade talks in Beijing.
- Chicago soybean futures ticked higher, although the market was set for a third week of decline with pressure on prices from China cancelling U.S. soybean cargoes.

- DA Davidson analysts think Amazon's decision to cancel its plans to open a headquarters in New York City amid criticism from politicians could be a bluff rather than a final decision, as a way to bring the government back to the table. "We have a difficult time believing the company would have invested so much time and energy in selecting a second city for a new headquarters (in this case announcing two/three - Northern Virginia, New York City, and Nashville) only to throw in the towel on the first significant blowback," analysts say. "We will continue to monitor the situation as, in our view, the company may not, in fact, be pulling the plug on New York City." Amazon shares are down 0.6% to $1630.15.
- The news that Amazon is ditching plans for a major office in New York will likely disappoint New York-centric real estate investors and developers, who expected the deal would further cement the city's status as a tech hub. Earlier this week, Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steven Roth told analysts on a conference call that if "the political climate in New York blows this deal, it would be the stupidest damn thing I've ever seen. And that's what I think." He said on the call he was fairly confident Amazon would open the office, despite the recent push back on the deal.
- DC-area defense and tech companies ask whether Amazon might accelerate its hiring plans in the region after dumping a planned regional headquarters in New York. Recruitment specialist Glassdoor lists 186 job openings by Amazon in the DC region, including four directly related to Pentagon work and more tied to cybersecurity and data analytics. Defense-company executives have been split on the effect of Amazon's expansion to as many as 25K workers, with some fearing a tougher labor market while others argue it could attract a broader talent pool.
- Amazon cancels plans to build a major campus in Queens despite it polling well in New York state. High-profile opposition from some politicians, including US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen Mike Gianaris, contrasted with strong support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who offered up to $3B in tax incentives to Amazon. Cuomo and DeBlasio said the campus would diversify the economy and generate $27B in revenue over 25 years. WSJ reported Tuesday the Siena Research Institute found 56% of voters statewide supported the project, while 36% were opposed. City residents favored the project 58%-35%, while the least enthusiastic group across racial, political, economic, age and regional divisions were upstate voters--who were split 46%-46%. The poll, taken Feb. 4-7, included 778 registered New York state voters and had a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.
- The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board fund will continue to invest "steadily and prudently" in China, although it is "alive to any potential emerging risks," CEO Mark Machin tells WSJ. Despite tensions stemming from China-US trade negotiations and the Chinese government's anger over Canada's extradition arrest of a senior Huawei executive on behalf of the United States, Machin says there are investment opportunities in the Asian country for "patient long term investors." CPPIB is Canada's largest pension fund with C$368.5B of net assets, of which about 8% are invested in China.
- Most miners are in positive territory after upbeat Chinese trade data bolstered metal prices. Chilean copper miner Antofagasta is the sector's top riser, up 0.7%, as the price of copper gains 0.9% and other base-metal prices also climb. Chinese exports jumped 9.1% versus an expected decline of 3.2%, while imports fell 1.5%, better than expectations of a 10% drop. "Copper climbs for the second day as China's export-import data highlights surprise gains and President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a delay to the deadline to secure a trade deal," analysts at commodity equity brokerage S.P. Angel note.
- Nordic markets are seen opening slightly higher Thursday with IG calling the OMXS30 up 0.3% at around 1563. "U.S. equities ended yesterday in green on the back of not least Trump further opening the door for an extension of the trade truce with China if the parties were close to a "real deal"," says Danske Bank. Meanwhile, comments from Senator Marco Rubio that he intends to submit a bill to tax corporate buybacks limited the equity rally, Danske adds. "This morning most Asian equity indices are trading flat in a fairly eventless session as markets await news from Beijing on trade talks." OMXS30 closed at 1558.58, OMXN40 at 1527.30 and OBX at 777.86.
- Airbus, now out with 2019 guidance, is poised to once more end the year behind rival Boeing. Airbus says it will hand over 880 to 890 planes this year after delivering 800 in 2018. Boeing shares have taken off in recent weeks after the company promised to build as many as 905 airliners this year, an industry record, up from the 806 high it set last year. Airbus also promises EUR4 billion in free cash flow before mergers and acquisitions and customer financing last year. Boeing has promised as much as $17.5 billion operating cashflow in 2019.
- Cisco says it dodged significant fallout from the trade fight between the US and China as it posted strong F2Q growth in sales of its networking gear even as it raised prices to deal with the spat. The Trump administration's 10% tariffs on Chinese-produced goods went into effect in late September, and hit a collection of switches and routers, some of which Cisco makes in China and imports to the US. "We have navigated them incredibly well and I think the results would tell you that they didn't have much of an impact," Cisco chief executive Chuck Robbins tells WSJ. The White House has threatened to boost tariffs further March 1 to 25% if the two countries don't resolve their differences. Robbins believes the US and China are making progress, and that the deadline could be pushed out if they are close to an agreement. "I remain optimistic, probably more optimistic today than I was 30 days ago," he says.
- Despite a recent push from politicians to rein in buybacks, Cisco's board of directors has approved a $15B increase to the authorization of its stock-repurchase program, bringing the total remaining authorized amount to $24B. The company also boosts its quarterly dividend by 2c to 35c. "Our increased dividend and share repurchase authorization show confidence in the strength of our ongoing cash flows and reinforce our commitment to returning capital to our shareholders," Cisco's CFO Kelly Kramer says. Earlier today, Senator Marco Rubio joined a long list of politicians in criticizing buybacks, saying on Twitter the tax code "discourages (the) best aspect of (the) free market by giving buybacks a deferral advantage over dividends or investment," and that he will soon file a bill to eliminate that
advantage.
- Attempts to revive and extend expired tax breaks have reached a "dead end for now," said Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R., Iowa.) The breaks include tax credits for biodiesel and for short-line railroads that lapsed at the end of 2017. Grassley said the Senate can't act until it gets a House bill, because tax bills must start in the House.

Feb 14 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose buoyed by hopes that potential progress in the latest Sino-U.S. tariff talks would improve the global economic outlook, and as China's trade figures including crude imports beat forecasts.
- Gold prices edged higher as soft U.S. inflation data raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will pause rate hikes this year, while investors were looking for developments in trade talks between Washington and Beijing.
- London copper prices moved higher for a second session after better-than-expected trade data from top copper consumer China, while investors awaited the outcome of high-level Sino-U.S. trade talks in Beijing.
- Chicago soybean futures slid for a second straight session although easing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing kept a floor under the market.
- The dollar held near three-month highs versus the euro supported by sustained strength in core U.S. inflation and weaker-than-expected data out of Europe.

- Cisco says it dodged significant fallout from the trade fight between the US and China as it posted strong F2Q growth in sales of its networking gear even as it raised prices to deal with the spat. The Trump administration's 10% tariffs on Chinese-produced goods went into effect in late September, and hit a collection of switches and routers, some of which Cisco makes in China and imports to the US. "We have navigated them incredibly well and I think the results would tell you that they didn't have much of an impact," Cisco chief executive Chuck Robbins tells WSJ. The White House has threatened to boost tariffs further March 1 to 25% if the two countries don't resolve their differences. Robbins believes the US and China are making progress, and that the deadline could be pushed out if they are close to an agreement. "I remain optimistic, probably more optimistic today than I was 30 days ago," he says.
- Despite a recent push from politicians to rein in buybacks, Cisco's board of directors has approved a $15B increase to the authorization of its stock-repurchase program, bringing the total remaining authorized amount to $24B. The company also boosts its quarterly dividend by 2c to 35c. "Our increased dividend and share repurchase authorization show confidence in the strength of our ongoing cash flows and reinforce our commitment to returning capital to our shareholders," Cisco's CFO Kelly Kramer says. Earlier today, Senator Marco Rubio joined a long list of politicians in criticizing buybacks, saying on Twitter the tax code "discourages (the) best aspect of (the) free market by giving buybacks a deferral advantage over dividends or investment," and that he will soon file a bill to eliminate that
advantage.
- Attempts to revive and extend expired tax breaks have reached a "dead end for now," said Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R., Iowa.) The breaks include tax credits for biodiesel and for short-line railroads that lapsed at the end of 2017. Grassley said the Senate can't act until it gets a House bill, because tax bills must start in the House.
- European shares close higher, with the STOXX Europe 600 index ending up 0.6% at 364.97, as the prospect of a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks lifts risk appetite, boosting equities globally. Spanish stocks underperformed, however, after lawmakers blocked the Socialists' 2019 budget bill, raising the chances that Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's leadership will be challenged by snap elections. Spain's Ibex 35 index ends flat as a result, while Germany's DAX rises 0.4% and France's CAC 40 closes up 0.4%. U.K. stocks outperform, benefiting from a weaker pound and gains for miners, with the FTSE 100 index ending up 0.8%, while Italy's FTSE MIB closes up 0.9%. Dutch lender ABN Amro is the biggest pan-European faller after it said fourth-quarter net profit plunged 42% as it booked impairment charges.
- The Dow is up 0.4% as stocks are supported by optimism about ongoing trade negotiations between the US and China, as well as reports that President Trump will likely sign a border-security deal that would keep the government open. The S&P 500 rises 0.3%, led by gains in the energy group. Of the 11 sectors, all but utilities are trading higher. After beating earnings and revenue expectations, Hilton Worldwide is leading the index, with shares up 6.3%.
- Nordic markets are set to open slightly higher Wednesday with IG calling the OMXS30 up 0.5% at around 1557. Stock markets continued to rally overnight in Asia, driven by rising optimism that the U.S. and China will strike a trade deal fairly soon and that it will drive a recovery in the global economy, says Danske Bank. "U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he could let the ceasefire deadline of Mar. 1 slide a little if a real trade deal with China was close," says Danske Bank. "He also said he expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to close the deal at some point." Trump also played down the risk of another government shutdown, Danske adds. OMXS30 closed at 1549.41, OMXN40 at 1514.55 and OBX at 784.03.

Feb 13 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose as producer club OPEC said it had cut supply deeply in January and as U.S. sanctions hit Venezuela's oil exports.
- Gold firmed slightly as investors held onto the safe-haven metal while seeking more clarity on Sino-U.S. trade talks, and as volatility in the dollar provided further support.
- London copper prices rose heading for their first session of gain in five, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he could see the deadline for a trade agreement with top metals consumer China being pushed back.
- U.S. soybean futures inched back towards a five-day high hit the day before, buoyed by hopes of deal to end a trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.

- US stocks open higher after top lawmakers reach an agreement in principle to fund border security that could prevent another partial government shutdown. The S&P 500 is up 0.9% and the Dow is up 1% as investors also wait to see whether the US and China will make progress in trade negotiations this week. "Trade talks with China are ramping up again, but with little to no news coming out (of) Beijing to assess the progress at this point," says Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone, adding that volatility could increase as March 1, the deadline for both a deal between the US and China and the debt ceiling increase, approaches.
- The Chinese copper market needs to generate more scrap domestically in order to fulfill its copper needs -- some 250,000 metric tons worth, according to Colin Hamilton with BMO Global Commodities Research. This need for copper comes from China's increasing bans on imported foreign scrap, while Chinese copper demand continues to grow at a projected 3%, or 425,000 tons. "Over the years, various parts of the copper value chain have contributed to providing for Chinese growth, and the key debate at this time each year is what will have to step up," says Hamilton. "This year is no different." The copper 3-month contract on the London Metal Exchange is currently trading at $6,115.50 per ton, off nearly 3% from a year-high of $6,289.50 hit last week.
- Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino calls US-led efforts to deliver humanitarian aid a show while reiterating the military leadership's support for embattled President Nicolas Maduro. Padrino said on state television that calls to allow aid into the country are an attempt to undermine the administration. He makes the comments at a military base where he told soldiers to sign a pledge opposing sanctions and foreign meddling in Venezuela. "What we are doing here is to show our complete rejection against the empire," he says of the US. Maduro's support from military leadership has been key to his ability to remain in power amid an economic and political crisis.
- The Trump administration's appetite for tariffs has added uncertainty to an already vexing inflation environment. Contrary to the president's claims China is paying these tariffs, these taxes fall on firms within US borders and they're either passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices or they eat up profit margins. Inflation has been low but some at the Fed have long worried tariffs would give way to opportunistic price hikes, potentially goosing inflation levels. Nomura chief US economist Lewis Alexander says right now he sees tariffs adding about 16 basis points onto the overall level of CPI. "If the Trump administration increases the tariff rate on $200 billion of Chinese goods imports in March, we expect additional inflationary pressure of about 12 basis points on US consumer prices," he adds.
- S&P Global Ratings says it sees evidence of a substantial pre-Brexit inventories surge by companies selling into and out of the UK. "The ongoing risk of a no-deal Brexit poses significant risks to cross-border logistics chains and companies have triggered contingency plans in response. This implies upward pressures on working capital, which could have an adverse impact on free cash flow and debt reduction plans," S&P senior director Gareth Williams says. Lack of certainty around the course of Brexit and what it might mean for cross-border trade and logistics has triggered a short-term surge in inventories, warehouse relocations and supply chain adjustment, S&P says. Costs are mostly modest in relation to total cash flow, the ratings agency says, but higher working capital requirements imply greater credit risk at a time when European economic growth is under pressure.
- Grains futures on the CBOT have started the week trading lower, as the market has shifted its attentions from the milquetoast WASDE report released by the USDA Friday to the outcome from a new round of trade talks between the US and China that start today--as well as the potential for another US government shutdown starting this Friday. March soybean futures are down 0.8%, while wheat has fallen 0.7% and corn futures are off 0.5%. Unless big news hits the market today, traders will continue to trade off of the disappointing WASDE, according to analysts.

Feb 12 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSD DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices rose amid OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, although analysts expect surging U.S. production and concerns over economic growth to keep markets in check.
- Gold prices held steady as investors kept a cautious stance ahead of a fresh round of Sino-U.S trade talks, while a firmer dollar capped gains for the bullion, which was drawing support from global economic slowdown worries.
- London zinc lost more ground, falling for a third consecutive session to its lowest in more than two weeks on concerns over U.S.-China trade dispute and slowing global economic growth.
- U.S. soybean futures gained, rebounding from a three-week low touched in the previous session, as concerns over dry weather curbing yields in top exporter Brazil supported the market.

- S&P Global Ratings says it sees evidence of a substantial pre-Brexit inventories surge by companies selling into and out of the UK. "The ongoing risk of a no-deal Brexit poses significant risks to cross-border logistics chains and companies have triggered contingency plans in response. This implies upward pressures on working capital, which could have an adverse impact on free cash flow and debt reduction plans," S&P senior director Gareth Williams says. Lack of certainty around the course of Brexit and what it might mean for cross-border trade and logistics has triggered a short-term surge in inventories, warehouse relocations and supply chain adjustment, S&P says. Costs are mostly modest in relation to total cash flow, the ratings agency says, but higher working capital requirements imply greater credit risk at a time when European economic growth is under pressure.
- Grains futures on the CBOT have started the week trading lower, as the market has shifted its attentions from the milquetoast WASDE report released by the USDA Friday to the outcome from a new round of trade talks between the US and China that start today--as well as the potential for another US government shutdown starting this Friday. March soybean futures are down 0.8%, while wheat has fallen 0.7% and corn futures are off 0.5%. Unless big news hits the market today, traders will continue to trade off of the disappointing WASDE, according to analysts.
- Media companies that own local television stations may have much to look forward to as the next election cycle starts to heat up. Meredith, which owns 17 stations, reports $66M in political-spot advertising in its fiscal 2Q, a period that ended in December--up from a mere $2.1M a year earlier. Spending related to "competitive elections on the federal, state and local levels," the company says, was particularly robust in the Phoenix, Las Vegas, St. Louis and Kansas City markets.

Feb 11 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices fell by around 1 percent as drilling activity in the United States, the world's largest oil producer, picked up and financial markets were pulled down by trade concerns.
- Gold prices eased as uncertainties around U.S-China trade tensions made the dollar buoyant, taking sheen off the metal's safe-haven appeal even as investors were worried about a slowdown in global economic growth.
- Shanghai zinc fell more than 3 percent, the first trading session after a week-long national holiday, tracking a drop in London prices in the previous session.
- Chicago wheat futures slid for a third session in four as ample global supplies weighed on the market, although lower plantings in the United States kept a floor under the market.

- London stocks rise 0.2%, or 13.27 points, to 7106.85 as traders stay cautious after downbeat sessions in the U.S. and Asia. "After yesterday's big declines, it's been a subdued start for markets in Europe this morning as investors take stock with respect to the next moves in the U.S.-China trade talks," says Michael Hewson at CMC Markets. "The news that President Trump and Xi [Jinping] won't be meeting before the March 1 deadline for an increase in tariffs, has raised concerns." Energy utility SSE pares early losses to rise 0.2% after forecasting lower-than-expected fiscal 2019 adjusted earnings per share.
- The dollar's higher trading on Friday could be attributed to President Trump's announcement that he won't meet with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to discuss trade relations before March 1, when U.S. tariffs increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports. "This has renewed speculation that the U.S. and China will not be able to complete a new trade deal that would prevent U.S. tariffs from increasing on March 2, and has driven a risk-off move," MUFG says. The dollar benefits from acting as a safe-haven in a risk-off environment.
- Senate Finance Committee Republicans offered a quick rejection Thursday after President Trump mused aloud to reporters about changes to the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions that was part of the 2017 tax law. The committee "won't be revisiting" that issue, said Michael Zona, spokesman for Chairman Charles Grassley (R, Iowa). Many Democrats want to repeal the cap, though the benefits of that would go overwhelmingly to high-income households.
- Indications from the Trump Administration that a trade deal with China may not be complete by March 1 has grains futures on the CBOT down today. March wheat futures are currently down 2.4%, while soybeans futures are down 1.1% and corn futures are down 0.9%. US National Economics Council director Larry Kudlow said during an interview on Fox Business that the two sides have "miles to go" before a deal is reached. "It now looks less likely that we will see a trade deal with China before tariffs get ratcheted up to 25% from the current 10% on March 2nd, although Kudlow's comments may also be a negotiating ploy to pressure China," says Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone.
- Philadelphia's city council votes 9-5 against a bill that would have banned certain gifts from drugmakers to doctors, and would have required pharmaceutical sales representatives to register with city government. Councilman Bill Greenlee, a Democrat, introduced the bill last year as a tool to fight the opioid-addiction crisis, blaming drugmakers for influencing doctors to overprescribe them. Industry groups including PhRMA and BIO lobbied against the measure, saying it would impose onerous requirements and stifle companies' interactions with doctors. Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez, who voted against the measure, said city government should do more itself to combat the opioid crisis before regulating companies.
- The Dow is down 1.3% and the S&P 500 is down 1.4% as investors continue to weigh trade tensions between the US and China. Earlier, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in an interview with Fox Business Network that the two countries were still far from striking a deal. Meanwhile, CNBC reported that a meeting between President Trump and China's Xi is "highly unlikely" before their March 1 deadline.

Feb 08 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil markets fell, pulled down by worries over a global economic slowdown, although OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela provided crude with some support.
- Gold held steady on worries that a prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war could worsen global economic slowdown, but a strong dollar put bullion on track for its first weekly loss in three.
- London copper prices ticked lower for a second session as concerns over world economic growth and Washington-Beijing trade tensions weighed on the market.
- Chicago soybean futures were little changed with the market set for a second consecutive weekly loss on concerns over a prolonged Washington-Beijing trade war and slowing global economic growth.

- Philadelphia's city council votes 9-5 against a bill that would have banned certain gifts from drugmakers to doctors, and would have required pharmaceutical sales representatives to register with city government. Councilman Bill Greenlee, a Democrat, introduced the bill last year as a tool to fight the opioid-addiction crisis, blaming drugmakers for influencing doctors to overprescribe them. Industry groups including PhRMA and BIO lobbied against the measure, saying it would impose onerous requirements and stifle companies' interactions with doctors. Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez, who voted against the measure, said city government should do more itself to combat the opioid crisis before regulating companies.
- The Dow is down 1.3% and the S&P 500 is down 1.4% as investors continue to weigh trade tensions between the US and China. Earlier, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in an interview with Fox Business Network that the two countries were still far from striking a deal. Meanwhile, CNBC reported that a meeting between President Trump and China's Xi is "highly unlikely" before their March 1 deadline.
- US jobless claims fall to 234K from 253K a week earlier, compared to expectations of 225K, but BMO Capital Markets senior economist Jennifer Lee says the weekly figures should be taken with a grain of salt. "The weekly numbers are so incredibly volatile...I think we should be wary given the noise coming from the government shutdown," she says, adding that the broader trend is that the labor market remains quite strong. "Regardless of the volatility in financial markets, for the all-important consumer it's about how strong the job market is," Lee says.
- A gauge of layoffs across the U.S. known as jobless claims fell by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 last week, the first full work week since the partial government shutdown ended, according to new data from the Labor Department. A measure of the number of federal employees that applied for unemployment benefits fell in the week ended Jan 26 but remained higher than normal; federal worker data is reported with a one-week lag. Overall jobless claims rose sharply during the last week of the shutdown, signaling federal contractors, which would be included in the headline number, could have applied for benefits in larger numbers.
- Today's Bank of England meeting is set to have increased significance following the dovish path recently set out by various central banks globally, including the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia, says Mohammed Kazmi, portfolio manager at UBP. The BOE is expected to emulate peers and signal dovish bias given the deteriorating global growth backdrop since the last meeting, as well as looming Brexit risks in the run-up to the end-March deadline. Mr. Kazmi also expects the BOE to deliver a cautious economic outlook in light of the recent weakness in domestic data including the Purchasing Managers' Index as uncertainty continues to weigh on the economy.

Feb 07 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices slipped after U.S. crude inventories rose and the country's production held at record levels, but OPEC-led supply cuts and Washington's sanctions against Venezuela supported markets.
- Gold fell to a more than one-week low, pressured by a stronger dollar, but worries over slowing global economic growth and the spectre of another U.S. government shutdown kept the safe-haven metal above the key $1,300 level.
- The Australian dollar languished near a two-week low on rising bets that interest rates would most likely come down this year amid heightened growth risks at home and abroad.
- London nickel fell, extending its pullback from a more than four-month peak reached the day before on supply concerns, while copper retreated after a three-day rise amid a stronger dollar.
- U.S. soybean futures edged lower, retreating for the first time in five sessions, as concerns about lower yields of South American crops eased on good rain forecast.

- Today's Bank of England meeting is set to have increased significance following the dovish path recently set out by various central banks globally, including the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia, says Mohammed Kazmi, portfolio manager at UBP. The BOE is expected to emulate peers and signal dovish bias given the deteriorating global growth backdrop since the last meeting, as well as looming Brexit risks in the run-up to the end-March deadline. Mr. Kazmi also expects the BOE to deliver a cautious economic outlook in light of the recent weakness in domestic data including the Purchasing Managers' Index as uncertainty continues to weigh on the economy.
- Count Nvidia and Qualcomm, down 32% and 21% respectively over the past 12 months, among the potential winners of the US push to invest in next-generation technologies like 5G wireless and artificial intelligence, two key areas of competition with China. For Qualcomm, it would be the second assist in as many years from the White House after President Trump last year blocked Broadcom's hostile bid for Qualcomm on national-security grounds. The US had singled out China and 5G technology as concerns. Broadcom, now based in the US, could itself benefit from the renewed domestic push for 5G. Look for Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, and MaxLinear among others that stand to gain. Nvidia closed up 2%, Qualcomm gained 0.7%, Broadcom added 2.3%, Texas Instruments gained 4.1%, Analog Devices rose 2.1%; and MaxLinear closed 11% higher.
- The Trump administration's proposal to change Medicare Part D's rebate rules is "a very good move," Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan tells WSJ in an interview. Novartis is still evaluating the 123-page proposal, but for now the company doesn't expect it will cut its list prices in response since there would no longer be a real distinction between list and net prices. "Our expectation is that any rebates we have today would now flow through to the patient," via reduced out-of-pocket costs, Narasimhan said. "In effect, that means our current list prices fall to our current net prices in these plans." He adds that if the Medicare rebate rule is adopted, it won't necessarily change how private insurance plans handle rebates absent other government action, he said. Rather, "I think we would end up with two separate worlds," he said.
- GM says higher commodity costs--partly stemming from the effect of US tariffs on steel and aluminum--hit its bottom line by more than $1B last year. The company expects costs of another $1B in 2019, though executives says it's difficult to forecast. "It's a pretty volatile environment," GM CFO Dhivya Suryadevara tells analysts. Spot prices for steel and aluminum have eased some, she says, but prices for other raw materials, like palladium, have increased. GM's operating profit for the year fell 8%, to $11.8B. Suryadevara says moves in spot prices for those commodities tend to hit GM's bottom line after a roughly three-month lag. GM gains 1.5% to $39.88.
- The grains complex is showing little movement to begin trading, with neither last night's State of the Union speech by President Trump or this morning's news of a soybean sale to China doing much to propel the market. According to analysts, Trump's speech did little to persuade or inform anyone--and the USDA announcements of soybean export sales were expected by the market after the declaration that the Chinese would buy 5M more metric tons of soybeans from US growers for storage in state reserves last week. As a result, traders see little reason to act ahead of any surprises that come out of the WASDE report. Wheat futures are up 0.3%, soybeans are down 0.1%, and corn futures are down 0.4%.

Feb 06 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices edged higher for the first time in three sessions, although concerns over the outlook for the global economy capped gains.
- Gold prices held firm after U.S. President Donald Trump in his State of the Union speech vowed to build a border wall and gave little clarity over the ongoing trade discussions with China, with the bullion's gains offset by a firmer dollar. 
- London copper rose for a third straight session as trade tensions between Washington and Beijing ease, although concerns over slowing factory activity in China limited gains.
- Chicago soybean futures ticked lower with pressure from South American harvest gathering pace, although losses were limited by top importer China buying U.S. cargoes.

- As drugmakers face rising political pressure for price increases, they're increasingly saying they don't realize much benefit from list-price hikes. Instead, drugmakers say their average US net prices are flat or declining because they pay bigger rebates to middlemen including pharmacy-benefit managers. In the past, drugmakers cited need to fund R&D to justify pricing. Companies including J&J, Pfizer, Novartis and Allergan raised list prices on many drugs in January but say their average net pricing is flat or down. JPMorgan says in note this week: "Net pricing is expected to be negative for most companies in 2019," due to lower price hikes, higher rebates and an increase in drugmakers' share of funding of Medicare's prescription benefit. New products and volume growth should offset the price pressure, firm says.
- The ISM non-manufacturing index fell to 56.7 in January from 58.0 in December, suggesting the partial government shutdown weighed on growth last month. "This is a six month low for the series, but still well in expansion territory," says Jon Hill of BMO Capital Market, adding that effects of the government shutdown on results are "particularly salient going into the State of the Union tonight, with any potential read through into the probability the federal government shuts down again in less than two weeks."
- Coming off "extremely small" US soybean exports to China in the fourth quarter, Archer Daniels Midland CEO Juan Luciano says he believes trade issues between the two countries to improve enough this year to return US-to-China soybean shipments closer to normal. "We are expecting the trade dispute in China to resolve during the year,"  Luciano says on ADM's 4Q earnings call. The US and China may continue discussing other trade-related issues, but when it comes to soybeans, "we're still counting on sizable exports from the US in Q4," he says.
- Oil markets were quick to attribute recent moves in the price of oil to a crisis in Venezuela as the US government makes its most aggressive move yet to take down the Socialist government that's held power in the oil-rich nation ever since Hugo Chavez won the presidency 20 years ago. But a quick resolution may not happen, and JBC Energy says investors should look beyond the Venezuela story. "While Venezuela is taking headlines left, right, and center, we should not forget about developments elsewhere in the world, with data available for December continuing to show a mixed picture from a demand-side perspective," JBC says, noting important developments in Brazil and Asia.

Feb 05 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- U.S. oil prices inched up, buoyed by expectations of tightening global supply due to U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and production cuts led by OPEC.
- Gold inched up in thin trading as investors made purchases after prices touched nearly one-week lows in the previous session, but improved appetite for riskier assets capped bullion's gains.
- The dollar held on to recent gains against its major peers, supported by a recovery in investors' risk appetite, which gave an overnight boost to U.S. yields.
- London zinc rose to its highest since early July amid concerns over shortages due to falling stocks and delays to new capacity in top producer China.
- Chicago soybean futures were little changed after closing marginally higher in the last session amid Chinese buying, but ample global supplies kept a lid on the market.

- The dollar could react to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, which is due late on Tuesday in Washington, says Commerzbank, adding: "the market is desperate for new momentum." Focus is likely to be on any indications on how U.S.-China trade negotiations are going, it says. Any positive developments could be positive for the dollar. The dollar is slightly higher at 1.1423 per euro. The ISM non-manufacturing report will also be watched at 1500 GMT. The headline composite indicator is expected to edge down to 57 in January, according to economists polled by WSJ, slightly lower than 57.6 in December.
- Venezuela's already battered economy will enter into an even bigger crisis if the turmoil isn't resolved soon. The country is already struggling with food and medicine shortages, as well as rampant crime and hyperinflation. Now, fuel supplies could dry up within a week following US sanctions on the state oil company, according to oil workers and diplomats. That includes diesel that is largely used for national power generation. "This is fast turning into a war economy," said Evanán Romero, a former deputy energy minister.
- US sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company PdVSA appear to be already having an impact, with production well below one million barrels a day, according to oil union officials and people closely tracking the operations of the firm. That would be a more 10% drop from December. J Alexander Blackman, an executive at US energy company Standard Delta LLC, says sharp declines are "not out of the question largely due to the challenges of sustaining production and the geopolitical impact of redirecting the flow of crude and other products."
- President Trump's State of the Union speech, scheduled to be given in front of a joint session of Congress tomorrow night, is expected to spark upward movement in grains prices if the President talks more about the status of a US-China trade deal before March 1. "We expect more air time will be given to a positive US/China trade deal potential in Tuesday's State of the Union Address," says AgResource. "This will underpin CBOT breaks." Trump spoke some on a deal during an interview with CBS aired Sunday, intimating that the two sides were getting closer to a resolution. "We have a good chance to make a deal," Trump said.

Feb 04 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were stable, largely maintaining gains from the previous session as OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela provided the market with support.
- Gold prices slipped as risk aversion waned amid some signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks, while a firm dollar kept bullion under pressure.
- London copper prices slid, easing for a second session amid pressure from concerns over slowing factory activity in the world's biggest industrial metals consumer China.
- Chicago soybean futures eased after climbing to their highest in more than seven months in the last session, but were still supported by Chinese purchases of U.S. beans in the wake of Sino-U.S. trade talks.

- The partial government shutdown contributed to the increase in the January unemployment rate, the Labor Department says. The agency highlighted that the number of unemployed on temporary layoff climbed by 175,000, largely attributable to federal government worker layoffs. The unemployment rate is a household survey measure; employment and earnings, measured using the establishment survey, did not show any "discernible impacts" from the shutdown, the Labor Department says.
- Livestock futures finish trading lower, with lean-hog futures down 3.2% to 60.225 cents per pound and live cattle futures down 1.4% to $1.26300. The extreme cold weather in the Midwest has slowed down consumer demand for meat in the short term. Longer term, traders have doubts that the US-China trade deal can be finalized before the March 1 deadline passes, or that the demand from China for US pork will be as strong as previously believed.
- A Bloomberg report saying pizza magnate and failed presidential candidate Herman Cain is under consideration for a Fed governor slot is curious. Cain's views on monetary policy are very out of step with President Trump and his post-election conversion to a love of easy money and a disdain for rate rises. Cain was once chairman of the Kansas City Fed's board of directors, overseeing one of the Fed's most hawkish regional bank branches. Cain also attacked the Fed and extolled the virtues of "sound money" in a 2012 WSJ op-ed, even going so far as to endorse a return to the gold standard. These aren't the views of a man who thinks the Fed has been erring with rate rises.
- USDA unveils a list of dozens of organizations set to receive funding for trade promotion activities as part of the government's effort to blunt the impact of ongoing trade disputes. The biggest winner of the 57 chosen organizations is the American Soybean Association, slated to receive nearly $22M to identify and access new export markets. The US Meat Export Federation and US Grains Council follow behind, receiving close to $18M and $14M, respectively. The announcement fulfills a promise by USDA to award $200M to help increase agricultural exports at a time when foreign tariffs on goods from soybeans to pork to cheese continue to roil agricultural markets, pressuring prices and incomes for farmers.
- Lean hog futures on the CME are down 2% in trading as doubts about the Chinese appetite for pork are spreading among traders. "There's more questions than answers right now," says Mike Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics--adding trader sentiment is that Chinese demand for pork is starting to slip, which is significant because Chinese demand is what the industry is relying on, as domestic demand alone isn't enough to support the industry. Hog futures' performance also ties into growing doubts the Trump administration can reach a trade deal with China by March 1, thusly introducing tariffs on goods including US pork.
- Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be traveling to New Orleans to deliver a speech at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Convention tomorrow, according to the USDA. Perdue will also be visiting the Port of New Orleans as part of the trip. This is the latest in the Trump Administration's outreach to US agricultural professionals, coming approximately 2.5 weeks after Trump himself addressed farmers at the American Farm Bureau convention. So far in trading today, live cattle futures are up 1%, while hog futures are down 2%.
- Valero Energy, the second-largest American importer of Venezuelan crude last year, is no longer purchasing oil from the country due to US sanctions, the refiner says. The company previously relied on Venezuela for about 20% of the heavier, more sulfurous crude it ran at its refineries, said Gary Simmons, a senior vice president. He added that the company has put alternatives in place and is looking to maximize its intake of lighter, less sulfurous crude, which makes up most of the oil the US produces. However, Valero still has "some holes to fill in our supply plan," Simmons said
- US CEO Dave Burritt says he's confident the Trump Administration won't abandon the tariff on imported steel any time soon. President Trump has come under increasing pressure from US manufacturers paying more for steel and key trading partners now selling less steel in the US to roll back the 25% duty. But Burritt told analysts "We don't see the administration blinking on any of this. We have a high degree of confidence that the tariff won't be pulled back." While the 10-month-old duty has driven down steel imports and allowed domestic steel companies to raise their prices, demand for steel has weakened in recent months.

Feb 01 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)
- Oil prices were steady, torn between hopes the United States and China could soon settle their trade disputes and new data raising fresh concerns over China's economic slowdown.
- Gold fell as investors sought riskier assets amid optimism the United States and China may reach a trade deal, although a pause in U.S. interest rate hikes kept bullion on track for a second weekly increase.
- The Australian dollar fell versus the greenback.

- Most London base metals prices dropped after a closely watched private survey showed that factory activity in China, the world's top metals consumer, shrank by the most in almost three years last month.
- Chicago soybean futures bounced back, recouping last session's losses amid heightened hopes for a trade deal between Washington and Beijing, although the oilseed was still on course to post a weekly decline.

- Lean hog futures on the CME are down 2% in trading as doubts about the Chinese appetite for pork arespreading among traders. "There's more questions than answers right now," says Mike Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics--adding trader sentiment is that Chinese demand for pork is starting to slip, which is significant because Chinese demand is what the industry is relying on, as domestic demand alone isn't enough to support the industry. Hog futures' performance also ties into growing doubts the Trump administration can reach a trade deal with China by March 1, thusly introducing tariffs on goods including US pork.
- Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be traveling to New Orleans to deliver a speech at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Convention tomorrow, according to the USDA. Perdue will also be visiting the Port of New Orleans as part of the trip. This is the latest in the Trump Administration's outreach to US agricultural professionals, coming approximately 2.5 weeks after Trump himself addressed farmers at the American Farm Bureau convention. So far in trading today, live cattle futures are up 1%, while hog futures are down 2%.
- Valero Energy, the second-largest American importer of Venezuelan crude last year, is no longer purchasing oil from the country due to US sanctions, the refiner says. The company previously relied on Venezuela for about 20% of the heavier, more sulfurous crude it ran at its refineries, said Gary Simmons, a senior vice president. He added that the company has put alternatives in place and is looking to maximize its intake of lighter, less sulfurous crude, which makes up most of the oil the US produces. However, Valero still has "some holes to fill in our supply plan," Simmons said
- US CEO Dave Burritt says he's confident the Trump Administration won't abandon the tariff on imported steel any time soon. President Trump has come under increasing pressure from US manufacturers paying more for steel and key trading partners now selling less steel in the US to roll back the 25% duty. But Burritt told analysts "We don't see the administration blinking on any of this. We have a high degree of confidence that the tariff won't be pulled back." While the 10-month-old duty has driven down steel imports and allowed domestic steel companies to raise their prices, demand for steel has weakened in recent months.
- Raytheon says Saudi Arabia accounts for some 5% of sales expectations this year, and doesn't expect calls from some US lawmakers for sanctions on arms sales to have an impact. CFO Toby O'Brien says on investor call that half of these are for defensive equipment, which retains strong legislative support. Lockheed Martin said this week that it expects to secure a multi-billion deal from the Kingdom for Thaad missile defense systems, where Raytheon is a big supplier, in the first quarter.
- The USDA released its weekly export sales totals for the week ending Dec. 20 this morning -- the first export sales data to come out of the USDA since the shutdown began last month. Exports of soybeans totaled 2.405M metric tons for the week, almost doubling analyst estimates. Corn sales totaled 1.753M tons, also beating analyst estimates. Wheat totaled 526,300 tons and soymeal totaled 427,400 tons, both within analysts' estimated ranges. Soyoil totaled 13,700 tons, below projections. The USDA will issue a report combining a months-worth of sales on Feb. 22, with the regular reporting schedule then resuming.
- Jobless claims among federal workers clocked in at 14,739 in the week ended Jan. 19, a decrease from the previous week and low compared with previous government shutdowns. Federal employees file under a separate program than regular state programs, which are captured in the headline jobless claims number. Claims among federal employees peaked at 225,000 in the wake of the 1995-96 government shutdown and near 70,000 in the 2013 shutdown. Both those shutdowns, by comparison, had more than twice as many federal employees eligible for unemployment benefits.
- "Sorting the value from the value traps" is key right now for Chinese stock investors, says Investec with the market trading below 10-year averages on book and forward-earnings bases. "Future growth looks set to be increasingly driven by consumer demand and services, led primarily by the private sector." That as while "headwinds remain in the form of trade war concerns," the investment firm thinks that "Trump's actions could even speed up reforms in globally relevant Chinese companies, making China more competitive in the process."
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said a second government shutdown could have a lasting economic effect largely because it could trigger a loss of confidence in the government. Last week's agreement to reopen the government left open the possibility of another shutdown in February if lawmakers are unable to strike a deal on immigration.

Jan 09 - Market Talk Roundup: Latest on Trump, U.S. Politics (WSJ DJ Reuters)

- U.S. oil prices hit their highest since 2015 again as speculators bet on further price rises amid OPEC-led production cuts and a dip in American drilling activity, though some warned the rally could run out of steam.
- Gold prices inched down amid expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.
- London copper inched up in early trade as an advancing U.S. dollar lost steam, while Shanghai copper recovered from a drop in the previous session to trade marginally higher.
- Chicago wheat fell for a fourth consecutive session with prices pressured by improved weather conditions in the U.S. southern Plains although a lack of protective snow cover kept a floor under the market.
- The yen jumped after the Bank of Japan trimmed its buying of long-dated Japanese government bonds in market operations, helping to stoke speculation about a future exit from its massive stimulus policy.   
- As a result of tax reform, Visa is improving 401(k) benefits for its U.S.-based employees, according to a company spokeswoman. Visa will increase its 401(k) match beginning in February. Currently Visa contributes $2 for every $1 an employee contributes, up to 3% of base pay. Visa will raise that to 5% of base pay. The company is also "exploring other global employee benefits and investments...which [it] hope[s] to unveil in the near future," says a spokeswoman.
- Former lawmakers urged President Donald Trump to preserve Nafta, citing withdrawal from the trade agreement as the fastest way to undermine any tax benefits or regulatory relief farmers might otherwise see from his administration. As Mr. Trump addressed farmers at an annual meeting in Tennessee, former Senators Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and Richard Lugar (R., Ind.), now co-chairs of a non-profit organization advocating for free trade for farmers, warned that withdrawing from Nafta would be akin to levying a new tax on farmers. They cautioned that U.S. farmers would suffer retaliatory action if the U.S. imposes tariffs on its trading
partners and said American growers already are disadvantaged since Trump pulled the U.S. from a key Pacific trade agreement.
- President Trump used a speech to farmers to highlight benefits of the GOP's tax overhaul, tout his deregulatory agenda and sign executive orders aimed at improving broadband access across rural America. Addressing farmers at an annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Trump called the recently-passed tax cut "historic relief for farmers," saying family farms would be spared from a "deeply unfair estate tax," and told a welcoming crowd that he was "putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life." Signing two orders to expand internet connectivity in rural areas, he said: "You are going to have great, great broadband."
- United Natural Foods CFO Mike Zechmeister says the tax policy changes are impacting how it assesses returns on potential investments. The natural foods distributor saw a four percentage point difference in returns on a recent investment before and after the tax bill, for example. "The tax savings are real," Zechmeister tells investors gathered at the annual ICR Conference. "You could take a project that may be unattractive in the past or one you would have passed on, and it becomes a project you could go forward with."
- US auto industry stands to benefit from the recently passed tax legislation, which will likely boost earnings per share by an average of 5%-6%, Barclays estimates. The tax reforms are expected to cut nominal tax rates for most US auto manufacturers and parts suppliers, even though the reduction in actual taxes paid will be "slightly less impacted" due to widespread use of losses carried forward, Barclays says. Auto parts suppliers domiciled overseas for tax purposes, such as Adient, Aptiv and Delphi Technologies, won't gain much from lower US corporate tax rates, but also may face lower risk from another part of the tax legislation--a hike in levies targeting unremitted foreign earnings, it says.
- United Natural Foods, up more than 5% as its CFO outlines "significant" financial benefits from the tax bill. The Providence-based natural food distributor expects the taxes it pays overall to fall to around 28% in its 2019 fiscal year from 40% currently. CFO Mike Zechmeister tells investors gathered at the annual ICR Conference that the reduced corporate tax will result in around $17M in savings during its current fiscal year, and it will also benefit from a one-time boost on deferred liabilities. The company expects an aggregate rate reduction of as much as 17 percentage points this year, and 13 percentage points in 2019. "That is a meaningful increase to our free cash flow," Zechmeister says.
- Changes to the US tax code could help push Caterpillar's stock price to $200 by the end of the year, JPMorgan analyst Ann Duignan says. The recently passed federal tax law's provision allowing 100% depreciation on new and used equipment will likely prolong the replacement cycle in US construction, she says. That's in addition to a lower corporate tax rate that will boost free cash flow. "As a result of our analysis, we believe that the stock remains undervalued, despite the significant outperformance last year," she said in a note. Caterpillar stock was up about 70% in 2017. Caterpillar shares were up 2.6% to $166.13.
- USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue touted accomplishments of the Trump administration and his own agency ahead of a planned presidential address to farmers at an annual trade convention. Perdue listed what he sees as trade victories, including opening China to American beef and rice, for farmers worried about the fate of Nafta. Speaking at a meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation, he said USDA has begun rolling back burdensome regulations, targeting 27 rules that will save $56M annually, and urged farmers to flag the "silliest, most onerous rules" they think should be ditched. As for farmers' tax burden, Perdue tells the crowd that thanks to Trump's recent tax overhaul, "Help is not only on the way. It's already here."
- The parent of Alaska Airlines, like Southwest Airlines, American Airline and JetBlue Airways before it, said it plans to award $1,000 bonuses later this month to 23,000 employees, in celebration of the new federal tax bill. The corporate tax-cut windfall will reduce the tax rate to 21% from 35%, effective this year, which should save millions in tax liabilities and allow airlines to invest more in planes, products and their employees, although some of the savings may also go toward share buybacks. Alaska Air shares are down 1% to $72.97.
- Former Navy acquisition chief and acting Navy secretary Sean Stackley joins L3 Technologies, complementing the deal-hungry defense company's M&A team and continuing the run of Obama-era Pentagon officials who've popped up on corporate boards and management teams. Former defense secretary Ash Carter joined the Delta Air Lines' board while his deputy, Bob Work, is now a Raytheon director. Ex-Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James is now on the Textron board while Leidos added former Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall to its director roster, with his deputy Katharina McFarland joining Engility.
- Eli Lilly (LLY) CEO David Ricks said the U.S. tax overhaul will cause American companies to make investments based more on business factors than taxes. "On the next decision you face it really re-balances the calculus on where to build a plant or make hires," he tells the WSJ on sidelines of JP Morgan healthcare conference in San Francisco. He expects Lilly to have "more infrastructure" in the US within the next 7 years as a result of the overhaul. In September the drug maker announced plans to cut 8% of its work force including many jobs in its home state of Indiana. Ricks also sees the mix of Lilly acquisition targets shifting to more US companies than foreign firms. Though Lilly already had a lower tax rate than the former top US corporate rate due to operations abroad, he sees Lilly's total tax bill coming down.
- J.P. Morgan says the introduction of the U.S. tax reform has done very little to lift the market's downbeat view of potential U.S. growth," which is expected to be smaller compared with other countries or areas around the world. This explains why the U.S. dollar hasn't benefited much from either the introduction of the tax reform or from good economic data, it says. "The global economic activity surprise index is at a post-GFC high," J.P. Morgan says, highlighting eurozone, as well as German growth, which for the first time ever "outpaced the U.S. for four consecutive years." J.P. Morgan adds: "This lack of economic exceptionalism ... is turning out to be more of a drag on the currency."