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Aug 21, 2018

Germany calls for global payments system free of U.S. I GATA I THE GATA DISPATCH



Submitted by cpowell on 11:26PM ET Tuesday, August 21, 2018. Section: Daily Dispatches
By Guy Chazan
Financial Times, London
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Germany's foreign minister has called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the United States as a means of rescuing the nuclear deal between Iran and the west that Donald Trump withdrew from in May.

Writing in the German daily Handelsblatt, Heiko Maas said Europe should not allow the United States to act "over our heads and at our expense."

"For that reason it's essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the U.S., creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent Swift system," he wrote.

Maas' intervention was the "strongest call yet for European Union financial and monetary autonomy vis-a-vis U.S., said Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute, a Berlin-based think-tank. ...
... For the remainder of the report:
https://www.ft.com/content/23ca2986-a569-11e8-8ecf-a7ae1beff35b

* * *


Join GATA here:


Michael Cohen 'testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime,' lawyer says:: CNBC ALERT


Mike Calia


Michael Cohen Jeenah Moon | Reuters
Michael Cohen
Donald Trump directed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to commit a crime, Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis said Tuesday.
The statement came hours after Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other federal crimes.
Cohen's plea came at the same time a jury in Virginia convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts of fraud and other charges. The president, meanwhile, was headed to West Virginia for a campaign rally on what has become one of the most consequential and perhaps catastrophic days of his presidency.
Cohen did not name Trump himself Tuesday, when he admitted in court to various crimes, and prosecutors did not mention the president's name in the plea agreement.
However, Cohen said "a candidate" for federal office directed him to make illicit payments to two women meant to influence the 2016 elections.
"If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?" Davis said in a statement. In addition to being Cohen's lawyer, Davis served in the White House under President Bill Clinton.
Trump has denied involvement with either women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lead outside lawyer in the special counsel's Russia probe, meanwhile, slammed Cohen.
"There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government's charges against Mr. Cohen," Giuliani said in a statement. "It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen's actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time."
Trump ignored questions about Cohen when he landed in West Virginia, although he weighed in on the Manafort conviction.
"Paul Manafort is a good man. ... It doesn't involve me but it's a very sad thing. ... It had nothing to do with Russian collusion," Trump said.
The president has repeatedly denied collusion or obstruction of justice.

WATCH: Trump says Mueller investigation a witch hunt

Morning mail: Turnbull under siege, Dutton's image issue, Guy Pearce at 50 | Australia news I The Guardian



Top stories

The Dutton camp is continuing to foment the Coalition’s leadership crisis, with ministers who supported the former home affairs minister in Tuesday’s snap leadership ballot tendering their resignations as a prelude to a likely second challenge. The prime minister has accepted the resignation of Peter Dutton and international development minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who wrote a scathing letter saying conservative voters felt their voice had been “eroded”. It has not yet been confirmed whether Fierravanti-Wells, Angus Taylor, James McGrath and Zed Seselja will also depart the ministry.
Despite Malcolm Turnbull winning an internal party room ballot 48-35, a second challenge appears a near certainty, although Dutton’s path to power could be complicated by crossbench MPs, who have refused to say whether they would guarantee confidence or supply in the event of a Dutton-led government.
Away from Canberra, Peter Dutton faces a significant image issue with the Australian people, with the member for Dickson described by voters from his own electorate as “cruel”, “hard” and “uncompromising”, recent focus groups commissioned by GetUp have found. “The idea that Peter Dutton is popular with Queensland voters is not borne out in his own electorate, and we’ve seen that in the hundreds of conversations we’ve had in the electorate and in our focus groups,” GetUp’s Queensland director, Ellen Roberts, said.
Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU have entered “the final stage”, with London and Brussels agreeing to hold “continuous” talks. With an autumn deadline set, new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has named October as the likely date for final agreement, with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier suggesting November. Discussions on foreign policy and security are “far more advanced” than economic matters, Barnier has said, but the issue of the Irish border remains highly charged. The status of 3 million EU citizens living in the UK also remains unresolved.
Past and present Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioners have set a concrete timeline for constitutional reform within five years, saying it’s time to stop “endlessly discussing” and commit to “action that would allow Indigenous Australians to take a rightful place in our nation”. Current commissioner, June Oscar, and her four predecessors all signed the submission, which calls for the establishment of a national voice and a truth and reconciliation royal commission. “We are hoping our submission, based on more than two decades of advocacy, offers a pathway forward,” Oscar said.
Another mass shooting in Australia is “only a matter of time”, according to an official from Australia’s largest gun group. Cyril Peel, a long-standing range officer from the Sydney branch of the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia, was stood down by the organisation in May over what he says was his decision to raise concerns about the “aggressive” behaviour of another gun club member at a firing range. The NSW Firearms Registry has been warning clubs to be vigilant about reporting new members who seem overly keen to get their hands on a gun or show signs of mental illness since the shooting death of two teenagers by their father in Sydney last month.

Sport

Melbourne Victory have become the latest A-League club to be knocked out of the FFA Cup by amateur opposition, after Sydney club Apia Leichhardt’s surprise 3-2 victory late Tuesday night. In Queensland, defending champions Sydney FC also survived a narrow scare, coming from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against Cairns FC. Meanwhile, Olympic champion Usain Bolt has completed his first training session with the Central Coast Mariners, in front of a massive media contingent.
England have survived until stumps on day four of the third Test against India at 9/311, chasing a record total of 521 to win. It’s unlikely the home side will go on to win, but Jos Buttler’s maiden century may yet salvage a draw if inclement weather arrives on day five.

Thinking time

Guy Pearce – who went from Ramsay Street to Hollywood sits down with the Guardian to discuss fame, family pressures, and fatherhood at 50. These days he splits his time between Melbourne, where he often works, and Amsterdam, where his one-year-old son lives. Since 2012, Pearce has been playing the private investigator Jack Irish on Australian TV, and now he is in a new Netflix drama, The Innocents, a supernatural thriller set in Yorkshire, London and Norway. Pearce reveals he and Jason Donovan, who he starred with on Neighbours, are still “really close” friends. “We went to Kylie’s 50th a few months ago, which was the first time the three of us had got together.” Do they call her Charlene? He smiles. “No, I wouldn’t do that with Kylie. But Jason and I take the piss.”
Patients die from their disease but also because of negligence, arrogance and miscommunication. More than coming to the correct diagnosis or knowing what drug to prescribe, the hardest part of being a doctor is asking for help and not putting presumptions ahead of patient welfare, says oncologist Ranjana Srivastava. “To doubt one’s every move as a doctor would compromise patient care but to never question it at all would be folly. It’s tricky walking this line between the science and art of medicine but we must give ourselves permission to air our doubts, ask for help and never put our presumptions ahead of patient welfare.”
Ruth Park’s novel The Harp in the South caused uproar when it was first published in 1948. Sydneysiders who turned a blind eye to the slums of their city didn’t think its working-class inhabitants had stories worth telling. More than 70 years later, though, the Sydney Theatre Company has revisited Park’s sharp observations about gender, class, national identity and racism and adapted Park’s novel – and its prequel, Missus, and sequel, Poor Man’s Orange – into an epic six-hour production, with a cast of 18 actors, an original musical score and more than 200 costumes. “It’s funny. But it’s very dark,” says playwright Kate Mulvany, “and I think people were just horrified that a woman was out there going, ‘This what I’ve seen; this is what I’ve lived.’”

Media roundup

Front page of the Daily Telegraph, 22 August, 2018.
The major mastheads almost all lead with the leadership crisis embroiling Malcolm Turnbull, with the Daily Telegraph dubbing the saga Groundhog Day, political crisis on repeat.
Queensland’s Independent Education Union has complained of a “very evident drift” of teachers, as a staff-shortage continues to grip the state, reports the Courier Mail.
And, the Norther Territory’s Gunner government will attempt to arrest the territory’s declining population with a one-off cash grant to “new Territorians”, writes the NT News, with more details to be revealed later today.

Coming up

Ride share drivers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart are expected to strike for two hours against Uber.
New Zealand deputy prime minister Winston Peters will address the National Press Club in Canberra.

Supporting the Guardian

We’d like to acknowledge our generous supporters who enable us to keep reporting on the critical stories. If you value what we do and would like to help, please make a contribution or become a supporter today. Thank you.

EU FOREX I Currencies: Dollar and US-China trade talks in focus I CNBC


CNBC


The dollar weakened on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the head of the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates.
Trump said on Monday he was "not thrilled" with Jerome Powell's rate hikes and said the U.S. central bank should do more to help him to boost the economy.
American presidents rarely criticize the Fed, whose independence is considered important for economic stability. But Trump has made reducing U.S. trade deficits a priority, and the combination of rising interest rates and a strengthening dollar poses risks for export growth.
"It would appear that Mr Trump would like to keep the U.S. dollar a little on the weak side in order to remain competitive," said CMC Markets chief markets analyst David Madden.
"But given the dollar has been in demand recently on account of geopolitical issues and the Fed's monetary tightening policy, he might find it difficult to talk the greenback lower."
The dollar index against a basket of six other currencies fell 0.3 percent to 95.596 as of 0730 GMT after touching 95.440, its lowest since Aug. 9.
Escalating trade tensions between the United States and its trading partners and a plunge in the Turkish lira have pushed the dollar index up recently.
But the greenback weakened on Tuesday as investors ditched it as a safe haven before China and the United States hold talks this week that may help ease their dispute over trade.
Trade tensions have on the whole helped the dollar, which benefits from geopolitical turmoil as the market seeks out less risky investments.
"It looks as though Trump's comments have caught the market very long dollar after last week's emerging market rout," said Chris Turner, head of currency strategy at ING in London.

Yen back?

The dollar's advance - it has gained 8 percent since January - would not be reversed, however, unless the Fed decided "that there has been an unwarranted tightening of financial conditions and want to slow the pace of rate hikes," Turner said.
The Fed has raised interest rates twice this year and is expected to do so again next month.
Traders are preparing for the release of Federal Reserve policy meeting minutes on Wednesday and an annual Jackson Hole symposium for insights into the direction of U.S. monetary policy.
Against the U.S. currency, the euro strengthened 0.3 percent to a daily high of $1.154.
Concerns that a currency crisis in Turkey would hurt euro zone banks and uncertainty about the Italian government's planned budget have weighed on the euro recently.
Trump's remarks appeared to bolster appetite among investors for the Japanese yen as a safe haven of choice.
The yen was basically flat at 110.08 yen, paring gains after touching as high as 109.775 yen earlier.
The dollar on Tuesday fell below the psychologically-significant 110-yen level for the first time since June 28.
The Australian dollar was 0.13 percent higher at $0.7350, after Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull survived a leadership vote by a narrow margin.

Bonds & Fixed Income: China-US talks, Jackson Hole summit in focus I CNBC


Alexandra Gibbs, Thomas Franck


U.S. government debt yields rebounded on Tuesday a day after President Donald Trump criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for the central bank's rate hikes.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was higher at around 2.848 percent at 1:03 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was in the black at 3.01 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
Investors remain cautious however, after a recent interview President Donald Trump had with Reuters. On Monday, the U.S. leader told the news agency that he wasn't expecting much progress from trade discussions with China, which are due to commence this week in Washington. This week's meeting comes as fresh tariffs from the States on $16 billion of Chinese goods are due to come into effect this week, with Beijing having imposed the same amount of retaliatory levies on the States.
Sticking with the same interview, Trump went onto deliver his thoughts about the U.S. central bank. During the conversation, the U.S. president revealed that he would continue to criticize the U.S. institution, if it persisted with raising interest rates. Trump added that the Fed should do "what's good for the country."
The interview comes just days before the U.S. Federal Reserve gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the annual economic symposium. This year, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is due to deliver a speech on Friday, and the summit will be themed around the idea of changing market structure and the implications for monetary policy going forward.
The minutes from the latest Fed meeting, which took place at the turn of this month, will be released Wednesday. Investors will be poring over the minutes for any signs as to where the economy and monetary policy could be headed in the future.
On the trade front, markets have recently been on edge following reports that a nine-member delegation from Beijing would hold meetings with officials from the States later on this week. The news, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, went onto add that this could lead to a potential meeting between the presidents of China and the U.S., later on in November this year.

Oil Price at Close Report: Oil prices touch one-week high as rally gathers pace I CNBC


CNBC




Oil rose to its highest in a week on Tuesday, buoyed by the prospect of price support from U.S. sanctions on Iran, although the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing kept traders and analysts cautious.
Brent has rallied more than 3 percent after touching a four-month low last week, while U.S. crude is up nearly 5 percent from last Thursday's eight-week low.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in September jumped 92 cents, or 1.4 percent, to end the session at $67.35. The contract expires on Tuesday.
Brent crude futures rose 51 cents to $72.72 a barrel by 2:24 p.m. ET. The October WTI contract, the most heavily traded, was up 56 cents, or nearly 1 percent, at $65.98 a barrel.
September WTI's premium to the October contract widened to as much as $1.69 a barrel on Tuesday, after narrowing since the beginning of August. The front-month spread widened significantly in July after an unexpected outage at Canada's oil sands facility dented flows of crude into Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for U.S. futures.
The Syncrude facility has since begun ramping up light oil production, a move that surprised market participants as it was earlier than expected and caused them to short the market, said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho Americas.
Total U.S. crude stockpiles, however, were forecast to have drawn down about 1.5 million barrels last week, according to analysts polled ahead of industry data due at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) on Tuesday and government data on Wednesday.
Oil prices have gained in the last two sessions following weeks of declines on the prospect of lower oil supply from Iran. The United States is trying to halt Iranian oil exports in an effort to force Tehran to negotiate a new nuclear agreement and to curb its influence in the Middle East.
However, the full impact of the Iran sanctions are unclear.
While most of Europe's energy firms are likely to fall in line with Washington, China has indicated that it will continue to buy Iranian oil.
BNP Paribas said it expected oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Iran is a member, to fall from an average of 32.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 to 31.7 million bpd in 2019.
However, oil exports from southern Iraq are on course to hit another record high this month, two industry sources said, adding to signs that OPEC's second-largest producer is following through on the group's agreement to raise output.
Washington on Monday offered 11 million barrels of sour crude from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve for delivery from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30. The released oil could offset expected supply shortfalls from sanctions against Iran.
The market also continued to eye the U.S.-China dispute that threatens to undermine global growth and, therefore, consumption of industrial commodities.
A Chinese delegation is due in Washington this week to try to resolve the dispute, but U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters on Monday he does not expect much progress and that resolving the disagreement will "take time".
"The upcoming U.S.-China trade talks are unlikely to offer any significant breakthroughs as more formal discussions and, hence, decisions will likely await expected talks in November between Trump and Xi," Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.
— CNBC's Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.

Gold Price at Close Report: Gold hits 1-week high as Trump's Fed criticism weighs on dollar I CNBC


CNBC


Gold rose to a one-week high on Tuesday as the dollar weakened after U.S President Donald Trump criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates.
A weaker dollar generally boosts the price of dollar-denominated gold.
Spot gold gained 0.3 percent at $1,193.41, after touching $1,196.27 earlier, its highest since Aug. 14. The precious metal was gaining for the third straight session.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $5.40, or 0.5 percent, at $1,200 per ounce.
"Presumably this is due mainly to the U.S. dollar, which is depreciating significantly after U.S. President Trump harshly criticized the US Feds monetary policy," Commerzbank said in a note.
Trump said in an interview with Reuters that the U.S. central bank should do more to help him to boost the economy.
Trump made his first departure from a tradition of American presidents rarely criticizing the Fed in July when he condemned the U.S. central bank's monetary policy tightening.
Although Trump's comments helped gold rise, Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said they would not fundamentally change the outlook for bullion or monetary policy in the United States.
"In the end what determines the outlook for U.S. monetary policy is the health of the U.S economy," he said.
Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. rates as it increases the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding metal while boosting the dollar.
The U.S. central bank has raised interest rates twice this year and is targeting two more hikes. However, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic maintained his expectation for only one more interest rate hike this year.
The Russian Central Bank continued to increase its gold holdings in July, taking advantage of low gold prices Commerzbank said.
Resistance for gold sits at $1,200.70, the 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement level of the July high to August low range, while support is at $1,146.20, which is the January 2017 low, ScotiaMocatta said in a note.
Investors anticipated the release of the Fed's August policy meeting minutes on Wednesday and the bank's annual symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this week.
Markets also focused on a U.S.-China trade meeting this week, but Trump said on Monday he did not expect much progress from talks with Beijing.

Wall Street at Close Report: S&P 500 touches all-time high, ties record for longest bull market I



Fred Imbert, Michael Sheetz, Alexandra Gibbs


The S&P 500 hit an all-time high on Tuesday and tied the record for the longest bull market ever as investors bet that the strengthening economy and booming corporate profits seen under President Donald Trump's first two years would continue, despite recent trade battles.
The broad index rose 0.2 percent and reached an intraday record of 2,873.23, led by consumer discretionary and industrial. The S&P 500 surpassed 2,872.87, a high reached on Jan. 26. The index failed to post a record close, however, ending the session at 2,862.96.
The bull market turns 3,453 days old on Wednesday, which would make it the longest on record by most definitions. On Tuesday, it tied the one that ran from October 1990 to March 2000. The S&P 500 has risen more than 300 percent since hitting its financial crisis bottom on March 9, 2009. For the year, the index is up more than 7 percent.
"Nobody believed in this bull market and they still don't," said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. Lots of people "were left so scarred by the crisis they didn't get on board."
Chaikin also said the bull run can continue: "We have an economy that is not overheated and rates are still low. Couple that with the fact that people keep finding reasons to hate this market, that is a perfect storm for more gains."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 63.6 points to close at 25,822.29, just 3 percent below a record high, with Intel and Goldman Sachs leading the index. The Dow Transports hit its first intraday record high since Jan. 16.
The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, rising 0.5 percent to 7,859.17 as Micron and Netflix rose. The Nasdaq also closed less than 1 percent from reaching an all-time high. The Russell 2000, which is made up of small cap stocks, reached a record high.
Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the opening bell. Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the opening bell.
Equities have been boosted by strong corporate earnings and solid economic growth this and last year. Since the start of 2017, the S&P 500 has risen more than 25 percent.
Quarterly earnings have grown at least 10 percent in five of the past six quarters, according to FactSet. This year, quarterly profits have risen at least 20 percent in the first two quarters. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy expanded by 4.1 percent in the first quarter, its best pace since 2014.
The strong corporate earnings, coupled with the solid economic growth, has been enough to partially offset worries over global trade, particularly as U.S.-China relations become more tenuous.
Trump is reportedly preparing to add tariffs on nearly half of Chinese imports this week. The new round of tariffs would come despite the expectation of restarted negotiations between the two largest economies of the world.
"The three Ts, Trump, tariffs and trade, are sort of a wet blanket on the embers of growth, but ... the market can still go higher," said Greg Luken, CEO of Luken Investment Analytics. "Bull markets don't die of old age; they die of euphoria and we're nowhere near euphoria."
Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, told CNBC that the market wants to go up. She added, however: "You still have hovering over the markets issues that could cause fundamental change – and above all else it is the Fed."
Trump went after the Federal Reserve once again, saying Monday he disagrees with the Fed's current tightening path for monetary policy. The Fed has already raised rates twice this year and is expected to raise rates two more times. Trump's comments, which weighed on interest rates on Monday, come shortly ahead of Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech at Jackson Hole on Friday.
The dollar reached intraday lows on Monday after Trump's comments, continuing to fall 0.7 percent on Tuesday.
"If the inflation data dictates higher rates and the Fed instead buckles to political pressure and doesn't respond, long term rates will tighten for them," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, in a note. Just "ask the Turkish central bank."
J.P. Morgan is about to flip the switch ona new digital investing service, taking a bite out of discount online brokerages. The bank's new service "You Invest" will feature a bundle of discounted trading, an online portfolio-building tool and no-fee access to J.P. Morgan's stock research.
After CNBC reported the bank's new service, shares of Charles Schwab fell 2.4 percent, TD Ameritrade fell 7.1 percent, E-Trade fell 4.4 percent and Interactive Brokers fell 2.5 percent.
Prudential's Krosby added that "this is a low volume period in the market," saying the months of August and September "tend to be choppy" due to stocks being "jostled very quickly by a single headline." With "so many threads" possibly moving stocks – whether it is the Fed, trade, the bull run or banks – Krosby says the market "is hedging itself." Traders are making defensive moves, in Krosby's view, as she sees a shift from technology stocks into more durable areas like health care, pharmaceuticals, telecom and utilities.

SEC Charges Former Online Marketing Company Executives With Inflating Operating Metrics I SEC I Press Release



Washington D.C., Aug. 21, 2018 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges with two former top officers of Endurance International Group Holdings Inc. for overstating the company’s subscriber base, and charged a former executive of Constant Contact Inc. for making similar misrepresentations.
The SEC’s orders find that Endurance’s former chief executive Hari Ravichandran and former chief financial officer Waruna Ellawala knowingly provided inflated subscriber figures for the Massachusetts-based online marketing company.  The SEC also filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts alleging that former Constant Contact CFO Harpreet Grewal hid its slowing customer growth from investors and inflated its publicly reported subscriber numbers.  Constant Contact became a subsidiary of Endurance after it was acquired by it in 2016.
The SEC filed a settled enforcement action in June against Endurance and Constant Contact in which Endurance agreed to pay an $8 million penalty.  In the latest action, Ravichandran and Ellawala agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying them and pay $1.38 million and $34,000 respectively in disgorgement, interest, and penalties.  They also agreed to cease and desist from further violations of various antifraud, reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws.
“For companies who provide subscription-based services, size and growth of subscriber base can be critical metrics,” said Paul Levenson, Director of the SEC’s Boston Regional Office.  “Investors depend on the integrity of management in reporting such figures, which commonly fall outside the scope of formal audits.  Holding senior executives accountable for failures of oversight as well as outright manipulation of such metrics is vital to protecting our markets.”
The SEC’s case is being handled by Michael J. Vito, David M. Scheffler, Rachel E. Hershfang, Patrick Noone, and Celia D. Moore of the Boston office.

Michael Cohen strikes plea deal with prosecutors I Beaking News I Politico


By Michael Kruse



Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, is expected to appear at 4 p.m. in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday to formally offer his guilty plea to a federal judge. | Richard Drew/AP Photo
Cohen is expected to appear at 4 p.m. in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon to formally offer his guilty plea to a federal judge.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s combative former personal lawyer, has entered into a plea deal with federal prosecutors in New York, a source close to Cohen said Tuesday.
Cohen is expected to appear at 4 p.m. in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon to formally offer his guilty plea to a federal judge.
Story Continued Below
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York have been investigating Cohen for months over allegations of tax fraud, bank fraud and campaign finance violations stemming from hush payments he arranged to women, including adult-film star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen agreed to the plea “to save millions of dollars, protect his family, and limit his exposure,” the source said.

PepsiCo Returns to Soda’s Roots With Its SodaStream Deal Business I DealBook I NYT




Pepsi got its start as a mixable medical remedy, at a time when soda was considered a medicine. The drink was then widely distributed in the 1950s when the vending machine started to take over.CreditPhoto by Archive Photos/Getty Images
PepsiCo’s $3.2 billion purchase of SodaStream is a thing of the past.
Most consumers now drink soda out of bottles or cans. But the vending machine staple got its start as a mixable medical remedy. By buying SodaStream, PepsiCo will return partially to the mixable syrup model on which its sugary business empire is built.
Soda was introduced to the mass market in the late 1700s by Johann Jacob Schweppe, a German scientist who developed a process for carbonating water.
“There was a belief that volcanic mineral carbonated water was healthy,” said Darcy O’Neil, author of “Fix the Pumps,” a book that details the history of the soda fountain. “Then people realized they could add lemon and some sugar to it, and that was the first soda.”
For 100 years or so, soda was primarily thought of as medicine. Pharmacists had syrup recipes of different herbs and spices that were mixed with carbonated water to treat all manner of ills. By the 1890s, soda fountains were reaching peak popularity.
“Coca-Cola was a syrup that was supposed to settle your stomach,” Mr. O’Neil said. Once the flavor became popular, the company licensed its syrup to bottlers in the early 1900s — a move that competitors like Pepsi quickly followed. Syrups and soda fountains remained popular, and during Prohibition soda recipe books became desirable as Americans thirsted for creative flavor combinations.
But in the 1950s, the vending machine started to take over.
“They could saturate the environment with those,” Mr. O’Neil said, and mix-your-own sodas started to decline in popularity.
Syrup is still available to restaurants and cafeterias with soda fountains, but most people today get their soda from cans or bottles. And while SodaStream has made D.I.Y. sodas a little more popular with modern consumers, the big beverage companies have had limited success with the direct-to-consumer syrup approach this century.
Coca-Cola tried to work its way into consumers’ kitchens four years ago, when it bought a large stake in Keurig Green Mountain, which makes countertop drinks dispensers. It ended that effort two years later because of poor sales.
Now though, people may not just be looking for healthier alternatives, but also more variety and control.
“The hipster culture has done a really good job of bringing that back,” Mr. O’Neil said. “There’s this idea that cooking and doing your own thing is better than just getting prepackaged stuff. Now we have all the resources to research how to make it, and SodaStream has made the carbonation process really easy, so I guess it’s just a natural extension of the trend toward doing things yourself.”
The soda bottle is in no danger of disappearing, Mr. O’Neil said. But PepsiCo is gambling that the market is ready for some new, or old, alternatives.

Manafort jury indicates it can not reach a consensus on all counts: National Security I The Washington Post



BREAKING: The jury in Paul Manafort’s fraud case indicated in a note Tuesday that it is struggling to reach a unanimous verdict on all 18 tax- and bank-fraud charges.
The six-woman, six-man jury in the trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort began its fourth day of deliberations on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III summoned jurors into the courtroom a little after 9:35 a.m. As occurs each morning, the clerk called out each juror’s number, and each responded they were “here” or “present.” The judge asked them to confirm that they had not done any independent research, then set them back to resume their work.
Manafort, who has worked on Republican presidential campaigns dating back to Gerald Ford, faces 18 bank fraud and tax charges. The trial in Alexandria, Va., began three weeks ago, and the jury began deliberating on Thursday.
After the panel went home for the night Monday, defense attorney Kevin Downing said outside the courthouse that his client was happy to see the jury continues to deliberate. “He thinks it was a very good day,” said Downing.
Prosecutors charge that from 2010 to 2014, Manafort hid more than $15 million from the IRS — money he made as a political consultant in Ukraine.

This combination of pictures shows President Trump (L) at the White House on August 17, 2018 and a file photo taken on June 15, 2018 of Paul Manafort, his former campaign chief, arriving for a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
When that income ended in 2014, authorities charge Manafort lied to banks to get millions of dollars more in loans to support his seven-figure lifestyle.
On Thursday, the jury asked Ellis to clarify some legal elements in the case that had been raised by the defense team. Since then, they have deliberated without asking for any further guidance from the judge.
Manafort, 69, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges in the case.
The trial is the first to emerge from the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
The president has repeatedly spoken out publicly in support of Manafort, both at the outset of the trial and during jury deliberations.
On Monday morning, Trump tweeted that Mueller’s investigators “are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side — the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!”

European Markets at Close Report - Europe ends mostly higher as US-China trade talks draw closer I CNBC


Ryan Browne, Sam Meredith, Alexandra Gibbs


European stocks finished Tuesday's session slightly higher, as investors awaited U.S.-China trade talks, although critical comments from President Donald Trump did test market optimism.
The pan-European STOXX 600 closed up 0.27 percent provisionally, with most sectors ending the day in the black.
On the bourses front, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.34 percent, as weakness from British-listed miners weighed. The French CAC 40 and German DAX finished on an upbeat note, up 0.54 percent and 0.43 percent respectively.
Oil and gas stocks were some of Europe's top performers, finishing up 0.94 percent as a sector amid earnings news. Energy services company Wood Group reported slightly stronger-than-anticipated figures for the first six months of the year and said its integration with Amec Foster Wheeler was progressing ahead of schedule. By the market close, the firm jumped to the top of the STOXX 600, up 7.65 percent.
Other energy stocks that boosted were top benchmark gainers including Saipem and Siemens Gamesa. A rise in oil prices, which were spurred on by the opportunity of price support from U.S. sanctions on Iran, also lifted stocks in the sector.
Basic resources stocks came under pressure, making it one of five sectors to close in the red. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were the worst sectoral performers. BHP reported a 33 percent jump in annual underlying profit on Tuesday. However, the world's largest miner also warned investors of a delay in future savings as well as some cost pressures over the coming months. Shares of BHP Billiton slipped over 2 percent by the close.
Looking at individual stocks, Britain's Aggreko surged over 4.5 percent after HSBC upwardly revised its stock recommendation to a "buy" from a "hold." Meantime, Metro Bank was one of the STOXX 600's biggest losers, falling over 3 percent, after Panmure Gordon cut its target price on the lender.

Trump comments

Trade talk continues to put markets on edge this week. In an interview with Reuters on Monday, the U.S. president accused Beijing of manipulating the yuan in order to try to offset trade tariffs imposed by Washington on some Chinese imports.
Trump's comments appeared to dent market sentiment ahead of upcoming trade talks between the world's two largest economies. He also said he believed the euro was being manipulated. The euro rose 0.4 percent against the dollar around Tuesday's close following Trump's comments on foreign exchange markets.
Trade officials from the U.S. and China are expected to meet in Washington this week, with market participants hopeful they might be able to find a way to resolve an ongoing global trade conflict. However, the U.S. president reportedly said he did not "anticipate much" from the discussions.
The dollar index — which tracks the greenback's performance against a basket of currencies — weakened Tuesday as traders digested fresh comments from Trump on the Federal Reserve's interest rate hiking path. Trump said he was "not thrilled" with Fed Chair Jerome Powell for raising rates.
The president's latest criticism of the Fed comes just days before Friday's much anticipated speech by Powell at the central bank's annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Stocks drift higher at the open, putting S&P 500 closer to record levels I CNBC


Mark DeCambre, Ryan Vlastelica


U.S. stock-index benchmarks rose tentatively higher early Tuesday, as the market’s recent uptrend appeared intact, although investors found few reasons to push shares decisively higher following three straight days of gains and with major indexes near records.
What are the major benchmarks doing
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.30% rose 42 points to 25,800, a gain of 0.2%. The S&P 500 index  SPX, +0.35%  were up 6 points to 2,863, a rise of 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.45%  rose 24 points to 7,848, a move of 0.4%.
Equities have trended higher of late. All three major indexes have risen for three straight sessions; on Monday, the Dowgained 0.4% while the S&P was up 0.2% and the Nasdaq rose 0.1%, with positive sentiment boosted by a pair of multibillion-dollar deals.
At current levels, the S&P is less than 0.4% below all-time highs while the Nasdaq is about 1% below its record. The Dow is 3% under is own, but it is very close to exiting a correction it has been mired in since February.
Don’t miss: Stocks may be finally about to break out of this trading range
What’s driving the market?
With the second-quarter earnings season essentially over and no economic data on tap, investors are turning their attention to upcoming news from the Federal Reserve. The minutes from the central bank’s latest meeting will be released on Wednesday, and on Friday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will give a speech at the Fed’s annual summer retreat in Jackson Hole.
Both the minutes and the speech will be scoured for any insight into what the Fed sees as potential problem spots for the economy—in particular, market participants will be looking to hear Powell’s thoughts on trade policy and whether the currency crisis in Turkey could spread to other emerging markets or regions—as well as for any clues into the Fed’s policy plans on interest rates.
Don’t miss: Here’s how Jackson Hole could impact the dollar, bonds and emerging markets
The speech could take on political overtones this year, after multiple media outlets on Monday reported that President Donald Trump had criticized Powell. Trump said he was “not thrilled” with the Fed chairman, who he had appointed to replace Janet Yellen, and that he expected “more help” from the central bank. Reuters reported that Trump said he would continue criticizing the Fed should it continue to raise short-term interest rates, which the central bank has indicated it will do at a steady clip.
This isn’t the first time Trump has called out the Fed for raising rates. When he did so in July, Powell stressed that the Fed operated independently of political considerations.
Separately, investors are continuing to monitor trade relations between the U.S. and its major trading partners, with talks between the U.S. and China set to resume on Wednesday. While market participants are optimistic that progress could be made in the talks—potentially avoiding a potential trade war, which most analysts said would be a massive headwind for global economic growth—few expect the issue to be resolved.
On Monday, President Donald Trump told Reuters that he has “no time frame” for ending the trade dispute, and that he didn’t “expect much” from the talks. His administration is also moving forward with tariffs that cover $200 billion in Chinese goods.
What are market analysts saying?
“Should the two sides manage to broker a truce we would expect risk sentiment to lift dramatically, catapulting the markets higher,” wrote Jasper Lawler, head of research at the London Capital Group. “Let’s not forget that the trade war story has been weighing on stocks, pressuring equities for the last few months so any signs that the risk is moderating on a serious scale will boost investors’ appetite for riskier assets and push equity indices higher.”
Speaking about Trump’s comments against Powell, Lawler wrote: “Trump could be sowing the seed for market perception problems later down the line. For example, should the stronger dollar result in weaker economic data moving towards December and the Fed decides not to hike. The market could question whether the Fed opted not to hike on the basis of data or to appease Trump? So, while Trump won’t influence the path of rate increases, his comments could impact on market’s perception of what is happening, which is an equally dangerous game to be playing.”
What stocks are in focus?
Toll Brothers Inc. TOL, +11.37%  rose 12% after it reported its third-quarter results and gave a full-year sales outlook.
Coty Inc. COTY, -8.51%  fell 6% in premarket trading after it reported fourth-quarter revenue that missed expectations, although its adjusted profits topped forecasts by a penny per share.
Medtronic PLC MDT, +4.31%  gained 4.3% before the bell. The medical device company posted first-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations. It also raised its organic full-year revenue outlook.
Kohl’s Corp. KSS, -3.53%  reported adjusted second-quarter earnings that beat expectations, along with revenue that was ahead of forecasts. It also raised its full-year adjusted profit view. The stock fell 2.5% in early trade.
J.M. Smucker SJM, -3.03%  reported adjust first-quarter earnings that beat expectations. Shares of the company were off 0.4%.
After the market closes, Urban Outfitters Inc. URBN, -0.44% and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. RRGB, -1.01%  are expected to report. Urban Outfitters shares were up 0.7%, while those for Red Robin showed a slight rise of 0.5%. 

Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: KSS, MDT, SJM, TOL & more I CNBC

cnbc.com


Peter Schacknow


Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Kohl's – The retailer earned $1.76 per share for its latest quarter, 12 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts. Comparable-store sales rose 3.1 percent, higher than the 2.7 percent increase anticipated by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, and Kohl's also raised its full-year earnings forecast.
Charles Schwab, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade – The discount brokerages are seeing their stocks pressured, following a CNBC.com report about a new JPMorgan Chase app that offers free stock trading.
Medtronic – The medical device maker reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.17 per share, 6 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also topped Street forecasts. Medtronic raised its full-year revenue guidance, as it sees strong sales in its cardiac and vascular businesses.
J.M. Smucker – The food producer came in 2 cents a share above estimates, with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.78 per share. Smucker's revenue missed forecasts, however, and the company also cut its full-year outlook based on divestitures as well as slower sales of some products.
Coty – The beauty products maker earned an adjusted 14 cents per share for its latest quarter, beating estimates by a penny a share. Revenue fell below forecasts, however, hurt by supply chain disruptions.
Toll Brothers – Toll reported quarterly profit of $1.26 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.03 a share. The luxury home builder's revenue also topped forecasts as it sold more homes at higher prices. Toll raised the lower end of its fiscal 2019 average home price forecast by $5,000, now seeing an average price between $835,000 and $860,000.
Hertz Global — Chief Financial Officer Thomas Kennedy resigned after nearly five years on the job. The car rental company's chief accounting officer Robin Kramer will service as interim CFO until September 10, when former Nielsen Holdings finance chief Jamere Jackson will take over.
BHP Billiton – BHP reported better-than-expected profit and a record high dividend for the fiscal year that ended June 30, but the mining company said it was more apprehensive about the short term outlook. The U.S.-China trade dispute and rising costs are among the factors cited as potential negatives for BHP.
Tesla – Tesla suppliers are worried about the automaker's finances, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited a survey saying 18 of 22 respondents believe Tesla is now a financial risk to their companies.
Microsoft – Microsoft said Russian hackers linked to cyberattacks during the 2016 election are now widening their targets to include the upcoming midterms as well as conservative groups. The company took down six domains last week that were registered to a Russian hacking group. Russia denied the allegations.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise – The software company's stock was downgraded to "market perform" from "outperform" at Bernstein, which said that the stock is fairly priced after a strong run and that secular worries remain for HPE's markets.