Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael D. Cohen admits making illegal campaign contributions. U.S. stocks reach new heights. And Xiaomi struggles to live up to its IPO hype. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Trump Has a Terrible Day
President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer Michael D. Cohen admitted he made illegal campaign contributions at the behest of an unnamed presidential candidate presumed to be Trump. While Trump’s name wasn’t mentioned at the hearing, the crimes he admitted to — in particular that he made a $130,000 payment to someone at the candidate’s direction to silence them — match the money Cohen paid to porn actress Stephanie Clifford shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump years earlier. The admission came just as a jury in Virginia found Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, guilty of tax and bank fraud charges.
Back in Record Territory
The S&P 500 climbed to a fresh record Tuesday, eclipsing January’s high to mark yet another milestone in a nine-year bull run that by some measures is now tied for the longest in history. An expanding economy and surging earnings erased a six-month drought in which stocks tumbled into a correction and price volatility briefly tripled. The dollar retreated as investors speculated the Trump administration would ease trade tensions with China, while Treasuries drifted lower amid the recovery in risk appetite. Crude oil rose, and most metals edged higher.
Australia Mutiny Wounds Turnbull
While Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull fought off a leadership challenge on Tuesday to stay in power, the main opposition Labor party may ultimately be the biggest winner from the drama in Canberra. Turnbull, 63, put down a right-wing rebellion for the time being, defeating Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton by 48 votes to 35 in a ballot of lawmakers from his Liberal Party. But he’s not out of the woods yet: Dutton, 47, quit his post and refused to rule out another challenge, which may come before parliament is adjourned on Thursday, while other ministers threatened to resign. The potential for a sweeping political shift adds more uncertainty for businesses in a nation that has endured repeated policy missteps and flip-flops over the past decade.
Xiaomi Struggles to Live Up to IPO Hype
Xiaomi Corp. raised $5.4 billion by selling investors on its promise as a high-growth internet company. Some are starting to lose faith. The Beijing-based purveyor of mostly cheap smartphones has sunk 19 percent from its post-IPO peak despite a spate of positive ratings -- mostly from the same banks and outfits that sponsored its coming-out party. On Wednesday, Xiaomi’s maiden financial report will offer a close-up of two of its most important initiatives: an international expansion and its evolution beyond hardware and into online services from music to video, a la Apple Inc.
Yuan Off the Trade-War Table
China won’t use competitive currency devaluation or the foreign-exchange rate as a tool to cope with trade frictions, according to a senior central bank official. “The yuan’s exchange rate is decided by the market,” Li Bo, director of the People’s Bank of China’s monetary policy department, said at a press conference in Beijing. He said the currency has more flexibility this year and the central bank is confident of keeping the rate “basically stable at a reasonable equilibrium level.” Li said the PBOC has taken measures to prevent pro-cyclical activities in the foreign exchange market, and the good fundamentals of China’s economy supports the currency. Li’s comments on Tuesday came after President Donald Trump accused China of manipulating its currency in an interview with Reuters.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- What’s next in the trade war?
- JPMorgan is offering free trades to lure retail investors.
- Sri Lanka is again looking for a buyer for its debt-ridden airline.
- China’s shipowners are shunning crude from Iran.
- Bloomberg Opinion: Could trade war lead to the real thing?
- A Chinese billionaire is using his fortune to try and unlock the human brain.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.