Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
A rally in stocks that started in Asia on optimism over a trade truce petered out late in the U.S. day. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Trump Suggests ‘Signing Summit’
President Donald Trump raised the prospect that he could sign a new trade deal with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, as both sides expressed optimism that substantial progress is being made toward ending the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. “It looks like they will be coming back quickly again,” Trump told reporters Monday, referring to the possibility of Chinese negotiators returning after a week of talks on trade. “We are going to have a signing summit, which is even better,” he said, adding: “We are getting very very close.” However, the president promptly tempered his enthusiasm, noting that a deal “might not happen at all.” Trump’s hint at a deal-clinching summit with Xi underscores the sense that the two nations are approaching an agreement, more than seven months since the U.S. first imposed tariffs on Chinese imports.
Stocks Fade Into Close
Asia shares looked set for a mixed start after U.S. equities barely held on to early gains Monday. After reaching session highs early in the trading day, the S&P 500 drifted lower amid a slide in utilities, real estate and consumer staples, before closing just barely in the green. European and Asia stocks rallied earlier. General Electric shares soared after the company agreed to sell its bio-pharma business for a total consideration of $21.4 billion. Elsewhere, bond yields rose, while copper held on to gains. Gold was little changed, with Newmont Mining climbing on a hostile bid from rival Barrick Gold.
Oil Plummets as Trump Warns on High Prices
Oil tumbled the most in more than two weeks after Trump tweeted that prices are too high and called on OPEC to “relax and take it easy.” Futures in New York declined as much as 3.8 percent on Monday. Trump’s war of words with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries punctuated big price swings last year, as he pressured the group to keep the taps open to help consumers. On Monday, he warned the world cannot take a price hike. The tweet “basically pricked the balloon that had propelled prices up so much last week,” said Tamar Essner, an analyst at Nasdaq Inc. in New York. Oil has rallied “largely on news that Saudi in particular was going to focus on cutting back exports and going above and beyond what they originally pledged to do back in December.”
May Considers Brexit Delay
Theresa May is considering a plan to delay Brexit and stop the U.K. leaving the European Union with no deal next month, according to people familiar with the situation. The prime minister is expected to allow her Cabinet to discuss extending the deadline beyond March 29 at a crunch meeting on Tuesday, one of the people said. May would then reveal the Cabinet’s conclusions in an announcement to Parliament later in the day. While no final decision has been taken, putting off the U.K.’s scheduled withdrawal from the EU would be a huge political gamble. On one hand, it would avert mass resignations from pro-EU ministers in May’s team. But it would also risk a destabilizing backlash from euroskeptic Conservatives. Separately, U.K. opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has bowed to pressure from his members of parliament and agreed to support a new Brexit referendum.
India Misses Out on Investment Boom
Unlike Southeast Asia, India isn’t seeing any investment gains as global trade tensions disrupt supply chains. Foreign direct investment in the third-largest Asian economy fell 7 percent in the nine months to December, signaling slowing investment before upcoming elections. FDI inflows into India during the period were $33.5 billion, lower than the $35.9 billion in the year-ago period. The fall was more prominent in manufacturing sectors. That should be a concern for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he seeks a second term in office in polls due by May. He had swept to power in 2014 with the biggest victory margin in 30 years after promising to make India a hub for manufacturing and create jobs for 10 million people every year.
What we’ve been reading:
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Elon Musk faces U.S. contempt claim for violating SEC accord with a tweet.
- Trade cease-fire between U.S. and China is promising.
- Japanese classic cars are the hottest bets in collecting.
- Crispr infuses first human in landmark gene-editing study.
- Facebook is grappling with employee anger over moderator conditions.
- Buffett drew lessons from IBM as he entered, then exited, Oracle.
- The eateries so chill, they hang Michelin stars in the bathroom.
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