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Feb 1, 2019

What's News: January Stock Surge; Trump Upbeat on Trade Talks; Where Is the Polar Vortex Coldest?

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:
Stocks post their best January in decades. Both banks and smaller companies helped propel shares, a sign investors are favoring sectors tied to the U.S. economy amid encouraging comments from the Fed, labor-market strength and data pointing to tepid inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 7.2% and the S&P rose 7.9%. 
  • Thank the Fed for a retro January surge. Small stocks surged last month, heavily indebted companies have beaten those with stronger balance sheets, and junk-rated bonds have performed far better than those rated investment grade, writes the Journal's James Mackintosh.
  • Raising your own rate even if the Fed won't. In a few minutes and with a few clicks of a mouse, you can crank up the yield on your cash by two percentage points. The hard part is overcoming your own inertia. 
President Trump gave an upbeat assessment of trade talks. The president said he expects to meet again with Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the dispute that has rattled the global economy.
Worries cloud Amazon's profit run. The retailer recorded its third straight record profit, but uncertainty in India and a possible uptick in spending on building warehouses and other infrastructure threaten to undermine the retailer’s growth.
The U.S. found more offending Russian missiles. As the U.S. is expected to leave a 1987 treaty on intermediate-range nuclear forces this weekend, Washington recently informed Western allies that Russia now has deployed four battalions of the 9M729 cruise missile, an increase from the three battalions Moscow was said to have a few months ago.
The Labor Department's jobs report is on tap. Economists surveyed by the Journal expect the Labor Department to report employers added 170,000 jobs during the month and the unemployment rate held at 3.9%. Here are five things to watch in the report.
Trump is willing to move without Congress on a border wall. The president said the White House and congressional negotiators were no closer to an immigration deal and reiterated he is willing to act alone instead. But a plan to use executive powers to authorize spending money on construction would almost certainly face immediate challenges in court.

What's Trending

Super Bowl Sunday is bigger than football. The event has become so ingrained in American culture that it could live on well past the sport itself.
Net-neutrality rollback faces its first major legal test. The rollback of the Obama-era rules by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee, heads to federal court today. The court will consider lawsuits brought by consumer advocates, internet companies and a group of Democratic-led states that oppose the deregulation.
One company's Brexit crisis plan: secret truck routes and backup storage. German machine-tool maker Heller has spent months perfecting its emergency Brexit plan. But political uncertainty is leaving one big unknown: when to set the plan into motion. "It feels a bit like being in a casino," says the company's U.K. chief. (Welcome to readers of our former Brexit & Beyond newsletter. We hope you enjoy What's News.)
Let the streaming wars begin. Netflix is the dominant streaming-media player with 60 million domestic subscribers. But deep-pocketed new rivals including Apple, Amazon, Disney and Comcast are coming for it. How it plays out will be must-see TV for investors.
A solar-powered dream home, with the electric vehicle to match. The Journal's Dan Neil lays out plans for his perfect home, complete with solar panels and a "honking" battery to store solar energy for fueling an EV—at zero cents per mile.
Where is the polar vortex coldest? Two Minnesota towns compete for the title as Embarrass, Minn., hopes to win the low-temperature crown, which it argues unjustly went to a neighbor in 1996 when the official gauge cracked: "When you break a thermometer that should be an automatic win."
White-collar robots are coming for jobs. A combination of AI and globalization may reshape the workforce like nothing we’ve seen before. A professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, explains.

Chart of the Day

PG&E filed for bankruptcy. Why did its shares then rise? Equity investors typically are wiped out in bankruptcy. But investors are betting PG&E’s assets are currently worth more than its liabilities and are likely to remain so despite the many claims PG&E is facing related to 2017 and 2018 wildfires.

This Day in History

Feb. 1, 1968
Richard Nixon Announces Candidacy for President
Former vice president Richard Nixon announced he was running for the Republican presidential nomination, saying he believed he had "found some answers" to the problems confronting the U.S. After incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, withdrew from his party's nomination, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey ran against Nixon in the 1968 race, along with Alabama Gov. George Wallace as an independent.
Nixon would defeat Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan and others during the primaries, and go on to win the presidential election with a narrow 43.4% of the popular vote and a large margin in the Electoral College.
—Compiled and edited by Phil Nobile in New York and Tina Fuhr in London

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