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U.S. shares push to a four-month high, British lawmakers reject a no-deal Brexit, and American officials ground Boeing’s troubled jets. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Trump Shows Openness on Xi Summit
President Donald Trump acknowledged concerns in Beijing about the possibility of him walking away from a trade deal, offering to push back a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping until a final deal is reached. “We could do it either way,” Trump told reporters Wednesday at the White House. “We can have the deal completed and come and sign or we can get the deal almost completed and negotiate some of the final points. I would prefer that. But it doesn’t matter that much.” Trump’s comments represent a shift in tone from late last month, when he raised the prospect of a “signing summit” with Xi. Chinese officials have growing increasingly wary of putting Xi in a position where he might be embarrassed by an unpredictable Trump or forced into last-minute concessions.
U.S. Stocks Climb to Four-Month High
Asia stocks look set to advance after U.S. shares extended their rally to a third day Wednesday. The S&P 500 Index climbed, wiping out last week’s losses and reaching a four-month high as it held above the key 2,800 level. Oil prices surged to the highest this year as a decline in U.S. crude and fuel stockpiles added to evidence of a tightening market. Treasury yields edged up as orders for business equipment increased in January by the most in six months while the producer price index rose less than forecast in February. The pound jumped the most since April 2017 as the U.K. Parliament voted to reject a no-deal Brexit.
Brexit Mess Thickens
Britain’s Parliament voted to avoid an economically disastrous no-deal split from the European Union, opening the door to delaying Brexit and radically re-writing the terms of the divorce. The House of Commons voted 321 to 278 to reject leaving the EU with no deal and is now expected to seek to delay Brexit in the hope of securing a better deal, which markets would welcome. Speaking in the Commons, Prime Minster Theresa May said Parliament must now face up to the consequences of its decisions. She announced that if a deal can be agreed to in the coming days, she would ask the EU for a short “technical” extension to the March 29 exit day deadline. If there’s no deal, the delay will be much longer, she said.
FAA Grounds Boeing Jet
American regulators reversed course Wednesday and will ground Boeing Co.’s top-selling 737 Max family of airliners amid safety concerns about the crash of one of the planes in Ethiopia on Sunday. “The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House. “Hopefully they will very quickly come up with the answer but until they do the planes are grounded.” The move is a major blow to Boeing, which has lost billions of dollars in value this week as nation after nation announced they were barring the aircraft from flying. The Federal Aviation Administration’s expected action followed Canada’s decision to halt Max flights earlier Wednesday.
U.S. Calls Out China on Human Rights
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said China was in a “league of its own” as a human-rights violator over a campaign that’s put hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other Muslims in reeducation camps, an unusually blunt U.S. critique of the country’s abuses. Presenting the State Department’s annual report on global human rights practices, Pompeo said on Wednesday that China had interred more than 1 million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslims in camps “designed to erase their religious and ethnic identities.”
What we’ve been reading:
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- China’s new investment law looms over thousands of foreign firms.
- Doomed 737 caught on satellite data that could aid investigation.
- Top genetic experts call for ban on modifying DNA of embryos.
- Bugatti wants to make a car that’s... not super.
- Cathay does a u-turn on budget carrier.
- A palm oil trade war looms.
- No one asks the top CEOs where they went to university.
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