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Good Morning. In today’s edition, no refuge for investors, the U.K. and EU approve a Brexit deal, Mitsubishi ousts Ghosn as chairman, and more.
Stocks, bonds and commodities from copper to crude oil are staging a rare simultaneous retreat. It’s putting global markets on track for one of their worst years on record and deepening a sense of unease on Wall Street.
By one measure, global stocks and bonds could both finish the year in the red for the first time in at least a quarter-century. Crude oil is well into bear-market territory. All told, 90% of the 70 asset classes tracked by Deutsche Bank are posting negative total returns in dollar terms for the year through mid-November.
Global stocks and Brent crude rebounded Monday after a turbulent week. In the U.S., futures pointed to a 1.2% opening gain for the S&P 500 and a 1.1% increase for the Dow industrials.
Separately, U.S. public pension funds are taking on more real estate, and at times some of the riskiest types of property investments, as they try to close their funding gaps.
From reporter Akane Otani:
2018 has been a tough year for investors, largely because so many former winning trades have unwound or reversed course entirely. To some extent, that’s only to be expected: 2017 was the kind of year when almost everything that could be traded rose, and most folks we spoke to acknowledged that was an anomaly, not the norm. But that doesn’t necessarily make the volatility any easier for investors to deal with—especially since we’ve seen both assets that are considered risky and those that are traditionally considered havens retreat at the same time.
Store traffic fell again on Black Friday—but it wasn’t all bad news.
PHOTO: AMY LOMBARD FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A surge in online shopping and higher spending by low-income Americans gave a lift to the start of the holiday season, even as initial reports showed that foot traffic to traditional stores continued its long decline.
During Thanksgiving and Black Friday, traffic to U.S. stores fell 5%-9% compared with the same days last year, according to one estimate.
Internet sales for Wednesday through Black Friday were estimated to have surged 26.4% from a year earlier to $12.3 billion.
Meanwhile, as online shopping ramps up for the holidays, UPS is hoping that billions of dollars in system improvements this year will help it avoid shipping problems during the season.
EU leaders have approved a treaty outlining divorce terms with the U.K. Now comes the harder part.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has the tough task of selling the deal to skeptical lawmakers in Parliament ahead of a vote in December. Should Mrs. May fail, she might try to return to Brussels to try to get improved terms before the U.K. is due to leave the bloc in March.
Leaving with no deal could cause big disruptions to trade and security ties that, some fear, could even lead to food and medicine shortages in the U.K. and a breakdown of communications between the EU and Britain over suspected terrorists and other criminals.
A migrant family, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the U.S., runs away from tear gas in front of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Tijuana. PHOTO: KIM KYUNG-HOON/REUTERS
Mexican Border: U.S. Border Patrol agents used tear gas to disperse hundreds of Central American migrants in the Mexican city of Tijuana who made a rush for the border fence.
Ghosn Fallout: Nissan Motor’s CEO told employees that Carlos Ghosn had too much power as chairman, highlighting the tension between the two men before the latter’s arrest a week ago. The fallout spread Monday as Mr. Ghosn was ousted as chairman of Mitsubishi Motors, after his removal last week as Nissan chairman.
Campbell Soup Proxy Fight: The company and activist hedge fund Third Point are nearing a deal to settle.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are entering the critical stretch of the lame-duck session with a flurry of challenges ahead.
The first major test for an expanded and fractious House Democratic caucus will be leadership elections on Wednesday.
Congressional Democrats are also increasingly saying they will tie their support for a high-priority spending bill to a measure protecting special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian electoral interference.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers criticized President Trump’s dismissal of the CIA assessment that the Saudi crown prince ordered the killing of a dissident journalist.
From reporter Natalie Andrews:
This week, with a government-funding deadline looming, will be all about negotiations. To avoid a partial government shutdown, the spending bills must pass by Dec. 8 and will need Democratic help to hit the 60 votes required in the Senate. This gives the minority party some leverage to negotiate.
We expect Republicans and President Trump to insist on funding for the border wall. Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping to use their bargaining power to get legislation inserted into the spending bill that would protect the Mueller probe.
The contest for Amazon’s second headquarters has led some officials to question whether they would sign nondisclosure agreements so readily in the future.
Companies seeking tax breaks and other incentives often require NDAs to protect confidential information. Some officials and citizen advocates say NDAs give private companies too much sway over public policy while keeping taxpayers in the dark.
A warming climate is bringing new crops to frigid zones.
Longer growing seasons are helping northern farmers to plow up forests for crops such as corn that were once hard to grow in chilly territories. The new prospect of warmer-weather crops is helping lift farmland prices, too: An acre near La Crete, Alberta, in Canada, is selling for nearly five times what it fetched nearly 10 years ago.
“We’re seeing crops grown in places they’ve never grown before.”
— Ian Jarvis, program director for the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative
It is hard to predict precisely the effects of a changing planet, but the world of business and finance is trying to put prices on it. Agriculture is among industries on the front lines because a warming climate changes the crops that farmers can plant, affecting the productivity and value of their land.
Trending Stories at WSJ.com
Inclined baby beds have become the focus of a battle over how strongly federal consumer-safety regulators should act. (Read)
Rising mortgage rates are crushing much of the refinancing market, but Americans are still using refis to pull cash out of their homes. (Read)
What Else We’re Reading
To avoid sanctions, the Kremlin goes off the grid: How a breakaway region near the Black Sea is helping Russia support rebels in eastern Ukraine. (Washington Post)
A Chinese researcher says he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies—twin girls born this month whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life. (Associated Press)
Tom Lindholtz of California wrote: “If some people want to prioritize short-term gains—a fat paycheck in exchange for using their head as a battering ram—over long-term loss, and if millions of people will pay for the opportunity to watch, why would we interfere? We are in the ‘bread and circuses’ stage of our national life. We can’t expect people to make smart decisions just for the benefit of society.”
Roy Farrow in Nevada said: “Flag, or any variation, that doesn’t include violence will further diminish the fan base. Many of us have already signed off because of too much down time. Less than 20 minutes live action in three hours, ho hum.”
Jay Davidson from Colorado shared: “The question brings to light your prejudice. Violence in football is not the aim, it is an outcome when large men meet on the battlefield and try to enforce their will upon one another. But it is so much more. Watch the game to see the strategy emerge, to see the ‘thinker’ overcome through better plans, tactics, training and execution. If all you see is violence, then perhaps you should adjust your looking.”
Bob Bruns of New Jersey said: “Too much emphasis has been placed on strength vs. skill in sports. Basketball is a good case in point. The banging, pushing, contact driving of huge physical specimens has subtracted from the sport. Go back to the non-contact rules and see the skill level increase. The three-point shot has done a lot for the sport. Another change that could make a significant change toward skill would be to make it illegal for the offense to put their hands in the hoop cylinder—yes, no dunking. Similarly, make similar changes in football. Stop the notion of bumping and ball stripping of receivers, etc. A tougher challenge in football, but one that would increase interest when skill is emphasized vs. brawn.”
Question for tomorrow’s 10-Point: Going back to our article above, did you shop in person or online this weekend? Or did you avoid shopping altogether? Email us your comments, which we may edit before publication, to email@example.com, and make sure to include your name and location. Source:WSJ