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Jan 8, 2019

What's News: U.S. Seeks Assurances From China; When Is It Legal to Declare a National Emergency? ; Clemson Beats Alabama

The Wall Street Journal.
What’s News
Sun icon. Good Morning
Here’s what we’re watching as the U.S. business day gets under way:
U.S. seeks assurances from China on trade. As re-opened talks between Beijing and Washington continue, trade officials are looking to hammer out details on a number of the Chinese leadership's recent pledges, including increased American access to China’s markets. Global stocks ticked higher on hopes for progress in the negotiations.
Mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest level in months. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.51%, according to recent data. The decline stands to give consumers another chance to obtain low rates on loans to purchase or refinance their homes—if they can stomach volatile financial markets and still lofty valuations.
The IRS will pay tax refunds even if the shutdown drags on. Ahead of a public appeal by President Trump tonight to persuade public opinion in favor of a border wall, the White House assured Americans that the IRS will pay tax refunds—even though the agency is subject to the government shutdown—after the Trump administration reversed a longstanding policy.
  • When is it legal to declare a national emergency? The president has suggested he could build the border wall without Congress approval by declaring a national emergency, but what are the legal requirements of such a move?
Carlos Ghosn: "I have been wrongly accused." In his first public statement since his arrest more than a month ago, the former Nissan chairman said he had properly reported his compensation—rejecting charges that he hid tens of millions of dollars in deferred pay.
President Trump’s national security adviser is in Turkey. John Bolton is likely to face an icy reception over his remarks that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria is contingent on Turkey guaranteeing the safety of the Kurdish forces across its border. The comments angered Ankara, which has insisted for years that Syria’s Kurdish rebel groups are terrorists and pose an existential threat.
Clemson routs Alabama to win college football’s national championship. The Tigers beat the Crimson Tide 44-16 in Monday night's College Football Playoff championship game, interrupting Alabama’s bid to extend its college football dynasty.

What's Trending

How China flexes its political muscle to expand power overseas. A Chinese “Belt and Road” program was planned, in part, to help settle the debts of Malaysia’s troubled 1MDB fund, according to the minutes of secret meetings. The new Malaysian leader put the deal on hold.
Small-cap stocks take on a new shine. With large companies like Apple slashing revenue expectations for the first quarter, investors are on edge that profits will sag this year. But shares of small companies appear to be a relative bright spot. Analysts are expecting firms in the Russell 2000 to post double-digit profit gains throughout 2019. 
SoftBank is scrapping its plan to buy most of WeWork. The program to invest $16 billion in the shared-office space provider is now being reduced to a smaller deal of about $2 billion amid market turbulence and opposition from investment partners, according to people familiar with the matter.
The best iPhone Apple can't sell. Apple's iPhone XR, introduced as a cheaper alternative to the XS and XS Max, isn’t selling as well as the company had hoped—especially among Chinese customers. But that's not a knock on the quality of the phone itself, writes Joanna Stern.
Edward Lampert scrambles to keep Sears alive. The hedge-fund manager and his advisers spent the weekend revamping his $4.4 billion offer to buy the business out of bankruptcy, after Sears’s independent directors said that they didn’t consider the bid a qualified offer.
As U.S. footprint shrinks, others happily fill the void. American disengagement from the world stage is offering other countries—friend and foe alike—opportunities to step in to fill the gap, columnist Gerald F. Seib writes. Traditional U.S. allies are troubled by a combination of unilateralism and isolationism emerging in American policies.
The psychiatrist can see your child now, virtually. With a rising number of adolescents suffering from depression and anxiety, and too few professionals to help, remote video consults are helping pediatricians fill the gap in some communities.

Chart of the Day

Amazon takes the market cap crown. The online retailer, who finished Monday's session with a market capitalization of nearly $797 billion, is the latest technology titan to claim the crown of world’s most valuable public company, signaling the industry’s enduring market dominance even after turbulent months in which investors pummeled their shares.

News From Other Sources

Everyone follows Ronaldo but only one analyst follows his club. Last month, Juventus Football Club SpA was added to Italy’s national benchmark stock index, the FTSE MIB. The rare move should generate more interest in the company, and more trading in its shares, but it is covered by only one analyst.

via Bloomberg
London vehicle seeks to raise $1 billion to hedge marine fuel clampdown. Engerjen Capital is looking to raise money for an investment vehicle to profit from restrictions on highly polluting marine fuels, pitching it as an inurance policy for shipowners or airlines against rising fuel costs.

via Financial Times
Massive Alps snowfall causes seven deaths. At least seven people have died in the Alps during a weekend of heavy snow, with skiers facing a high avalanche risk in Austria, Germany and Italy.

via BBC

This Day in History

Jan. 8, 2011
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Hurt in Shooting
Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured when a gunman opened fire during a constituent meeting in a supermarket parking lot, killing six people and wounding a further 12. Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old man who was fixated on Ms. Giffords, drew a pistol and shot her in the head, then fired at the remaining attendees. Less than two weeks after the attack, the congresswoman's condition was reported as stable, and in August of that year she made her first public appearance on the House floor. Loughner was sentenced to life in prison.
—Compiled and edited by Phil Nobile in New York and Bryony Watson in London.

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