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The Fed stands pat, mostly. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calls China trade talks “productive,” and yet another Brexit compromise is brewing. Here’s what’s moving markets.
Fed Stands Pat
Jerome Powell showed no signs of giving up the Fed's patient stance on interest rates, despite conflicting currents in the economy. As Fed policymakers wrapped up their two-day meeting, they voted unanimously to keep borrowing costs unchanged, a day after Donald Trump's demand that they cut them by a percentage point to fuel growth. Still, traders have expected the next move to be a downward one in light of subdued inflation, which the Fed indicated might pick up.
Stocks in Asia are set to come under pressure Thursday as U.S. equities fell after the Federal Reserve pushed back on market expectations that its next move would be a rate cut. Futures fell in Australia and in other of the region’s equity markets, flagging shares will open lower, while they were little changed in Hong Kong. China and Japan are closed for holidays. The dollar erased a deep loss to strengthen against major peers.
Mnuchin Calls Trade Talks ‘Productive’
Trade talks that just ended in Beijing were "productive," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a tweet, adding that Vice Premier Liu He will return to Washington next week for another round. The two sides are getting closer to a deal that includes a staged rollback of Trump's tariffs, with some staying until after the 2020 election, Politico reported.
Brexit Back on the Dance Floor
Is a new Brexit compromise coming? Theresa May and her archrival Jeremy Corbyn look like they're nearing one, after a month of talks that seemed doomed. Both camps talked up the prospects, and Wednesday, May signaled she might budge on a key red line: a permanent customs union with the EU. In personnel news, she fired her defense secretary over the much-decried leak from a meeting on Huawei's role in Britain's 5G rollout. And she wants women to apply to head the Bank of England.
Samsung Bets on Building Smart Homes
For years, Samsung has pitched customers internet-connected TVs, refrigerators, and other devices. Now the South Korean conglomerate wants to make the home itself. Inside an airy, lavish model house in Seoul, Samsung’s virtual assistant, Bixby, can show visitors what’s in the fridge while Amazon’s Alexa controls the lighting and a speaker developed by Naver recommends music and TV shows. Meanwhile, Samsung software creates a unified control system. The company’s first real-world test bed will be an apartment redevelopment project in Busan, South Korea. Owners of the 2,600 units will be able to start moving in by August 2022.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Top investors see an opening in China.
- U.S. Attorney General William Barr says he won't attend a House hearing over the Mueller probe.
- Hunting for a giant gas prize in Crocodile Dundee country.
- What millennials want in the Gulf post-Arab Spring.
- Facebook wants AI to screen your content.
- Vanguard patented a way to avoid taxes on mutual funds.
- Billionaires confront the wealth gap at Milken conference.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.