Showing posts with label US. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US. Show all posts

Sep 22, 2020

News | Business | US - China Commerce: China releases details on its own blacklist, raising uncertainty for foreign businesses

 

Evelyn Cheng


China's Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan speaks during a press conference at State Council Information Office in Beijing on May 18, 2020.

China’s Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan speaks during a press conference at State Council Information Office in Beijing on May 18, 2020.

Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images

BEIJING — The Chinese government is stepping up pressure on foreign businesses not to run afoul of Beijing, as the White House continues to target some of the Asian giant’s largest technology companies. 

China’s Ministry of Commerce released long-awaited provisions on its so-called “unreliable entity list” over the weekend. The vaguely worded document mirrors the U.S. Commerce Department’s entity list that restricts named companies from accessing items originating in the U.S. 

“Beijing will likely name at least one US company to the (unreliable entity list) between now and year-end – possibly even in coming days – but will use this tool in a targeted fashion, particularly in its early stages,” Michael Hirson, practice head, China and Northeast Asia, at consulting firm Eurasia Group, said in a note released Monday.

“The coming debut of the (unreliable entity list) underscores the dilemma facing (multi-national corporations) in China, who are squeezed between the legal and political dictates of the US and its Western allies on the one hand and Beijing on the other,” he said.

The Commerce Ministry first announced it was establishing the unreliable entity list in May 2019. The move came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said it was adding Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to a blacklist, which prohibits the company from working with its U.S. suppliers. Huawei’s revenue last year missed internal forecasts by $12 billion, while profit growth slowed from the prior two years.

Provisions from the unreliable entity list released Saturday laid out consequences for a foreign entity — a company, organization or individual from another country — that is deemed to be a danger to “national sovereignty, security or development interests of China,” according to an English-language version of the policy on the Commerce Ministry website.

Authorities can also add a foreign entity to the list if it suspends “normal transactions” or takes “discriminatory measures” against a Chinese entity “which violates normal market transaction principles and causes serious damage to the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise, other organization, or individual of China,” the document said.

The consequences for an entity added to the list could include: restrictions or prohibitions on China-related trade, investment in China and travel or work permits.

So cutting off semiconductors and banning TikTok are only a beginning for the U.S. ... Regarding this, we have to prepare mentally for the long term.

Wei Jianguo

former vice minister at China’s Ministry of Commerce

The release of the list comes a day after the U.S. Commerce Department announced a ban on U.S. transactions using WeChat — a social messaging app operated by Chinese technology giant Tencent, and TikTok — a short-video app backed by Chinese start-up ByteDance.

China’s Commerce Ministry said in an online statement that the unreliable entity list will not target a specific country or entity. Other statements on the ministry’s website about the unreliable entity list emphasized that China still welcomes foreign direct investment and foreign businesses, which are an important contributor to the national economy.

“The unreliable entity list regulations leave a fair amount of discretion to be applied broadly. We hope significant restraint is exercised in utilization of the list,” the U.S.-China Business Council said in a statement. “Companies increasingly feel squeezed between the US and Chinese governments, where complying with the rules of one government may cause them to run afoul of rules of the other government.”

Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, told CNBC in an email: “The vagueness of the language would be disconcerting on its own, but that it comes at a time in which European companies in China are already worried about being next on the chopping block of an increasingly politicised business environment makes it all the more distressing.”

The American Chamber of Commerce in China and British Chamber of Commerce did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Possible additions to the list

Hirson said in the Eurasia report that actions from the Chinese side would likely focus on products with a domestic competitor and avoid disrupting imports of products that China’s technology industry needs. Another factor, he said, could be companies involved with U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

According to the consulting firm, plausible targets include:
   . Cisco
   . Dell/EMC
   . HP
   . Lockheed Martin
   Rockwell Collins

On the other hand, the report said less appealing targets include:
   Apple and Microsoft — “high global visibility and reputations as good corporate citizens within China.”
   Chipmakers Qualcomm and Intel/AMD, which are “important suppliers who have made strong efforts to establish positive relationships in country.” 
   . Boeing, which “sells Apache helicopters to Taiwan, but its critical role for China’s airline industry and profile as a flagship US company will make Beijing cautious about targeting it and inflicting any serious damage.”

Long-term implications

Tensions between the world’s two largest economy have escalated over the last two years, beginning with trade and spilling over into technology and finance. Many analysts expect pressure from the U.S. to pick up heading into the November presidential election, in which Trump is running for another term. However, a win by Democratic nominee Joe Biden is not predicted to soothe the bilateral relationship much.

“The United States’ strategic goal is to prepare to use five years to defeat Chinese companies and allow U.S. companies in this time to quickly catch up or overtake (China),” Wei Jianguo, a former vice minister at China’s Ministry of Commerce, told reporters in an online forum Monday, according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks. He is now vice chairman and deputy executive officer at Beijing-based think tank China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

“So cutting off semiconductors and banning TikTok are only a beginning for the U.S.,” Wei said. “Regarding this, we have to prepare mentally for the long term.” 

He said he hopes the U.S. can gain clarity on the situation and look for ways to cooperate with China instead.

Jun 18, 2020

News | US | Business | Tech Policy: US pulls out of talks to tax tech giants in a blow to Europe's plans

Silvia Amaro




French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire (L) greets US Treasury Secretary of State Steven Mnuchin.
French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire (L) greets US Treasury Secretary of State Steven Mnuchin.
ERIC PIERMONT

The United States has shocked Europe by pulling out of negotiations over an international digital tax and threatened to retaliate if the region moves ahead with plans on its own.
A number of European countries were hoping to impose taxes on digital companies above a certain revenue threshold, which would hit mainly U.S. tech firms given their size.
However, according to the Financial Times, in a letter to France, Italy, Spain and the U.K., the U.S. said international talks had reached an impasse and there wasn’t even room for an interim deal. The move effectively ends any chance of a deal soon.
An official working for one of the ministries, who didn’t want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed to CNBC Wednesday the existence of the letter, adding that a joint response was being prepared. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told a radio station Thursday that the U.S. letter was a “provocation.”
“The United States does not want to continue negotiations on digital taxation at the OECD,” Le Maire said on Twitter. “I confirm that there will indeed be a taxation of digital giants in France in 2020 as in 2019,” he added.
The U.S. and Europe have been at odds over taxing tech giants for some time. In early 2019, European governments failed to implement an EU-wide digital tax and took the negotiations to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development seeking an international approach.
In the meantime, some European countries decided to implement a digital levy nonetheless. This was the case of France, which was the first major economy to do so.
However, the French decision sparked tensions with the United States, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer arguing the new tax was unfair on American companies. He said the U.S. would impose tariffs on certain French goods in response.
Both countries agreed in January to continue the talks at OECD level and the proposed trade tariffs and digital taxes were put on hold.
The U.K., Italy and Spain have, in the meantime, developed their own digital tax proposal in case OECD talks fail. The organization was due to present a proposal later this year.
Irrespective of the OECD negotiations, the U.S. announced earlier this month that it would investigate Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom for implementing, or proposing, new taxes on digital giants.
“I expected this, but not so soon,” David Livingston, a U.S.-based analyst at Eurasia Group, told CNBC Wednesday.
“We’re entering into a world of realpolitik in the digital trade space now. With the most important country – the United States – no longer taking part in the multilateral governance discussions, and with the WTO essentially on the sidelines amid the search for its next Director General, the US will try to deter other countries from following through on their plans through the threat of retaliatory measures,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dan Neidle, a tax partner at Clifford Chance, said in an email that “there’s a real prospect we end up with a trade war.”
“The only real thing these taxes have going for them is that they don’t need the U.S.’s consent - they are outside the scope of tax treaties. Otherwise an unprincipled mess. But this is almost certainly now what will happen,” Neidle said.

May 26, 2020

News | US | Business: New York Stock Exchange trading floor to reopen

4-5 minutes - Source: BBC



A trader wears a mask as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Image copyright Reuters
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is set to reopen its trading floor on Tuesday after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But the exchange is likely to look and feel very different as new rules come into effect.
The NYSE is one of the few bourses to still feature floor trade - most have shifted to fully-electronic trading.
New York City has been hit hard by the outbreak with some 200,000 cases and more than 20,000 deaths.
Under the new measures only a quarter of the normal number of traders will be allowed to return to work.
Traders must also avoid public transport, wear masks and follow strict social distancing rules, with newly fitted transparent barriers to keep people apart.
They will also be screened and have their temperatures taken as they enter the building. Anyone who fails pass the check will be barred until they test negative for Covid-19 or self-quarantine in accordance with US government guidelines.
To return to their jobs, floor traders will also reportedly have to sign a liability waiver that prevents them from suing the NYSE if they get infected at the exchange.
According to the Wall Street Journal, traders will have to acknowledge that returning to the trading floor could result in them "contracting Covid-19, respiratory failure, death, and transmitting Covid-19 to family or household members and others who may also suffer these effects".
The NYSE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on reports of the waiver.

Visitor ban

The new regulations also mean that the NYSE's high-profile opening bell events and stock market debut celebrations have been put on hold as visitors are banned.
Media organisations that usually broadcast from the trading floor won't be allowed back until further notice.

NYSE president Stacey Cunningham tweeted that reopening was an important step towards restarting the US economy after lockdowns across the country.
"For the trading floor community it supports their small businesses, which have been challenged by the temporary floor closure. And for our economy, reopening our trading floors offers a path to reopening that other businesses in densely populated areas may choose to follow."
The exchange's trading floor was closed from 23 March and temporarily moved to fully-electronic trading as a precautionary measure to help protect workers.
The 228-year-old exchange last closed its doors on 29 October 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. The NYSE also shut for four sessions in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
For most people outside the financial services industry the NYSE's trading floor is a rare glimpse into the seemingly opaque workings of the global markets as well as being a colourful setting for companies to showcase their stock market debuts.
NYSE, which is owned by Intercontinental Exchange, is the world's largest stock exchange in terms of the total market capitalisation of listed companies.

May 5, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures surge more than 200 points as investors focus on reopening of economy

Yun Li




Wall Street and much of the Financial District stands empty as the coronavirus keeps financial markets and businesses mostly closed on April 20, 2020 in New York City.
Wall Street and much of the Financial District stands empty as the coronavirus keeps financial markets and businesses mostly closed on April 20, 2020 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Stock futures rose in early morning trading Tuesday as investors remained focused on the reopening of the U.S. economy.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 240 points, implying a Tuesday opening gain of around 173 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to a positive Tuesday start for the two indexes.
Investors weighed fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases against efforts to reopen businesses and loosen restrictions. California governor Gavin Newsom said Monday some of the state’s retailers will be allowed to offer curb-side pickup starting Friday. 
Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the daily number of hospitalizations and new deaths are declining, suggesting the state is on “the other side of the mountain.” However, he added that officials are not seeing as steep of a decline as they hoped.
The overnight moves followed Monday’s modest gains on Wall Street. The strength in the biggest U.S. technology companies including Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Netflix lifted the broad market out of negative territory. The S&P 500 closed the session 0.4% higher, while the Nasdaq jumped 1.2%.
“Megacaps mask underlying rally fragility,” Ken Johnson, investment strategy analyst at Wells Fargo, said in a note on Monday. “This concentration raises concerns about the rally’s long-term health and durability as it suggests that ample liquidity, rather than broadly improving fundamentals, may be fueling it.”
On Monday, airline stocks suffered a big sell-off with Delta, United, American Airlines all dropping more than 5%. The decline came after Warren Buffett’s said over the weekend that his Berkshire Hathaway dumped the entirety of its stakes in the sector due to the fallout from the pandemic.
Tensions between China and the U.S. appeared to have flared up again. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said there was “a significant amount of evidence” of the coronavirus originating in a Wuhan lab. President Donald Trump previously said he was considering imposing tariffs on China for its handling of the outbreak.

May 4, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures drop 300 points to start the week, airline stocks fall on Buffett sale

Yun Li,Fred Imbert





Stock futures fell early Monday morning as traders weighed the reopening of the economy along with brewing tensions between China and the U.S.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 300 points, or 1.2%, pointing to an opening decline of more than 290 points. S&P 500 futures lost 1%. Nasdaq-100 futures fell 0.8%.
Warren Buffett said his Berkshire Hathaway sold all of its airline holdings because of the coronavirus outbreak. While the legendary investor was optimistic over the long term about the outlook for America, the move shows his concern that the pandemic has changed certain industries permanently and could be a sign that other investors are too optimistic about the economy returning to normal quickly.
Airline shares were the biggest losers in the S&P 500 in the premarket. Delta, United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines all lost more than 10%, while plane maker Boeing dropped 5.6%.
“Mr Buffett is a long-term investor, so his decision to sell reflects his belief that airline industry is facing future challenges that fundamentally change the value-capture of that business,” wrote Tom Lee of Fundstrat in a note to clients.
Investors are also grappling with worries over another spat between China and the U.S. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was a “significant amount of evidence” connecting the coronavirus to a lab in the Wuhan region of China.
Those comments came after National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday that China will be “held accountable” for the coronavirus. Earlier in the week, President Donald Trump said he was considering imposing tariffs on China for its handling of the outbreak.
States across the U.S. are letting nonessential businesses reopen and are easing stay-at-home orders in an effort to restart the economy after the coronavirus forced a near-global halt in economic activity. However, this easing comes as data from the World Health Organization showed the U.S. had its deadliest 24 hours of the outbreak between Thursday and Friday.
“The next two to four weeks are critical for both the economic crisis and the health crisis,” said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “The biggest risk to the stock market is a premature reopening of the U.S. economy. If rising Covid-19 curves reemerge and economies are shut down again, the damage to the stock market’s psyche will be dramatic.”

Buffett sells airline stakes

“The world has changed for the airlines. And I don’t know how it’s changed and I hope it corrects itself in a reasonably prompt way,” Buffett said Saturday from Berkshire’s first-ever virtual shareholder’s meeting.
Berkshire had more than $4 billion invested across United, American, Southwest, and Delta Airlines before the sale. Buffett noted his admiration for the industry but added there are events “on the lower levels of probabilities” that call for a change of plans.
American and United have both fallen more than 60% year to date. Delta is down 57% for 2020 while Southwest has lost nearly half of its value. And the stocks were set for more losses on Monday.
Berkshire also reported a record $137 billion in cash after the first quarter, but Buffett said he doesn’t “see anything that attractive” to deploy that money.
Increasing hopes of a possible treatment from Gilead Sciences also lifted sentiment last month. On Sunday, CEO Daniel O’Day said remdesivir — Gilead’s promising antiviral drug — will be available to coronavirus patients this week. Gilead shares added 2% in premarket trading.
Stocks notched their best monthly performance in over 30 years in April in part because of hopes of an economic reopening. Last month, the S&P 500 rallied 12.7%.
More than 3.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed globally, including over 1.1. million in the U.S. alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Apr 30, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: US stock futures rise after solid tech earnings, Facebook up more than 10%

Thomas Franck





Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes were higher in the overnight session Wednesday evening after both Facebook and Microsoft issued better-than-expected revenue projections in their earnings reports.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 116 points, implying an opening gain of around 155 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to Thursday opening gains.
Both Facebook and Microsoft equity climbed in after-hours trading Wednesday evening after each reported promising revenue figures despite the global coronavirus outbreak.
Facebook soared more than 10% in the overnight session after it reported that, after an initial “significant” pullback in advertising revenues in March thanks to Covid-19, it’s seen sales stabilize in the first three weeks of April. It reported first-quarter per-share earnings of $1.71 and revenues of $17.74 billion.
Microsoft rose about 2.15% in after-hours trading after the company reported fiscal third-quarter sales growth of 15% thanks to growth in its cloud business. The software giant said in a statement that the disease “had minimal net impact on the total company revenue” in the three months ended March 31, but cautioned that “effects of COVID-19 may not be fully reflected in the financial results until future periods.” 
The overnight moves followed a bounce in U.S. equities during normal trading hours on Wednesday that put the S&P 500 up more than 13% for the month and on track for its biggest one-month gain since 1974.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 532.31 points, or 2.2%, to 24,633.86 during Wednesday’s session. The S&P 500 gained 2.66% to 2,939.51 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 3.57% higher at 8,914.71.
Investors cited developments at Gilead Sciences for the market’s pop during Wednesday’s session after the biotech company reported positive results from two tests that showed its drug remdesivir could be a Covid-19 treatment. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said remdesivir shows a “clear-cut” positive effect when treating the virus.
U.S. traders will on Thursday pore over the Labor Department’s latest report on jobless claims. Another 3.5 million workers are expected to have filed for benefits last week, which would bring the total number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits over the last six weeks to about 30 million.
The Labor Department’s prior jobless claims report — released April 23 — showed the number of Americans who had filed for unemployment insurance benefits over the previous five weeks was 26.45 million.
That number exceeded the 22.442 million positions added to the American economy since November 2009, when the U.S. economy began to add jobs back to the economy after the Great Recession.
Click here for the latest news on the coronavirus.

Apr 29, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures point to opening gain of nearly 200 points ahead of Fed decision

Yun Li





Stock futures rose in early morning trading on Wednesday as investors looked for guidance from the Federal Reserve on the future path of interest rates with a gradual reopening of the economy in sight.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 144 points higher, implying a Wednesday opening gain of 193 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to Wednesday opening gains for the two indexes.
All eyes will be on the Fed’s monetary policy decision at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday. Investors will look to the central bank’s statement and chairman Jerome Powell’s virtual press conference for clues about how long interest rates will stay near zero as the economy seeks to emerge from coronarivirus crisis.
“It doesn’t look like the Fed will raise interest rates beyond 0% until well-past the pandemic, which we think might be around 2023,” said Jim Caron, head of global macro strategies at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “The market is pricing a recovery that starts in Q3, but there’s wide variability, and we need the Fed to give its input.”
While no one is expecting any change to its benchmark interest rate, the Fed could potentially adjust the rate on bank reserves and announce asset purchases targeted toward driving down longer-term rates.
Another big market catalyst on Wednesday will be a reading on real gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones forecast the U.S. economy shrank by 3.5% in the first quarter as the pandemic disrupted economic activities. U.S. GDP grew by 2.1% in the fourth quarter.
Stocks fell slightly on Tuesday as a slide in mega-cap tech shares put pressure on the broader market. The S&P 500 ended the day 0.5% lower, but the equity benchmark is still up more than 10% this month alone.
The possibility to reopen the economy soon boosted the areas of the market that had been hit the hardest. Retailers rebounded sharply with Simon Property Group and Kohl’s jumping 10.7% and 6.7%, respectively.
President Donald Trump said in a press conference Tuesday the U.S. will “very soon” run five million coronavirus tests per day. The number of most tests the country has run was 314,182 on April 22, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The lack of testing remains an obstacle for many states anxious to reopen for business.
Meanwhile, earnings season remains in focus with Boeing reporting its first-quarter results before the opening bell on Wednesday. Facebook, Tesla and Microsoft are set to drop earnings after the bell.

Apr 28, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures rise around 100 points as oil prices continue to fall

Maggie Fitzgerald



U.S. stock futures were higher on Tuesday, as oil prices continued to fall after plunging in the previous session.
At around 4:40 a.m. ET, Dow futures were up 117 points, indicating a positive open of more than 89 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures both pointed to modest gains at Tuesday’s open.
The moves came as oil prices continued to sell-off. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery plunged almost 20% to $10.27 per barrel following a more than 24% decline on Monday. The international benchmark Brent crude futures contract also shed 4.4% to $19.07 per barrel.
Oil prices have come under pressure in recent weeks as concerns mount over declining storage capacity.
But a partial reopening of the economy — in Alaska, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and others — had earlier boosted investor sentiment, with certain U.S. businesses poised to benefit from the first wave of consumers emerging from the coronavirus driven quarantine. 
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 350 points, closing above 24,000 for the first time since April 17. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite always registered a gain, advancing 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. Monday’s gains put the S&P 500 on pace for its biggest one-month gain since 1987 with an 11.4% surge in April.
“The stock market is increasingly reflecting a restart in the economy as more and more states show a willingness to allow some economic activities to come back online,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group told CNBC. “Not only did the S&P 500 index post a healthy gain today but it was led by those segments of the marketplace which are most dependent on an economic restart including small caps, high beta stocks, and cyclical sectors like financials, materials and industrials.”
Stocks that would benefit the most from a reopening led the market higher on Monday. Retailers, one of the hardest hit industries by the coronavirus, helped than broader market with Kohl’s, PVH, Nordstrom, Gap and L Brands all surging more than 11%. Casino stocks and cruise lines also saw large gains. Disney was the biggest winner in the Dow, rising 4.8%.
Bank stocks also got a boost from rising bond yields, as investors fled safer assets and moved into equities. JPMorgan rose 4.3%, Citigroup surged 8% and Wells Fargo gained 5.5%. Bank f America and Goldman Sachs rose 5.8% and 3.7%, respectively. 
While many investors are bullish on the first wave of reopenings, DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said Monday the market could retest its March low as market participants could be underestimating the social disruptions from the coronavirus.
“I think a retest of the low is very plausible,” Gundlach said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” “People don’t understand the magnitude of ... the social unease at least that’s going to happen when ... 26 million plus people have lost their job,” the so-call bond king added.
Investors are also digesting the busiest week of earnings season, with 145 S&P 500 companies reporting between Monday and Friday. A quarter of the way through earnings season companies have proved the coronavirus is weighing heavy on corporate profits.
Alphabet, Ford and Starbucks all release quarterly earnings on Tuesday. PepsiCo, 3M, Caterpillar, Southwest Air, Merck & Co., Pfizer, UPS and Advanced Micro Devices are also slated to report.
Consumer confidence will be released at 10 am E.T. on Tuesday. Economist polled by Dow Jones are expecting a read of 92 in April, down from March’s read of 120. 

Apr 27, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures up more than 100 points as oil declines; traders weigh prospects of re-opening the economy

Fred Imbert




GP: Wall Street bull seen quite due to Coronavirus pandemic
Charging Bull Statue is seen at the Financial District in New York City, United States on March 29, 2020.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Stocks futures were higher in early Monday morning trade, as oil prices fell, while investors assessed the possibility of re-opening the global economy after the coronavirus outbreak.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 177 points, implying a Monday opening gain of around 168 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to a higher Monday open for the two indexes. West Texas Intermediate futures were down more than 10% at $15.18 per barrel.
Wall Street’s coming off its first weekly decline in three as a record plunge in oil prices sent investors for a wild ride. Both the Dow and S&P 500 fell over 1% last week while the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2%.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday the state plans to re-open its economy in phases. The first phase, Cuomo said, would involve New York’s construction and manufacturing sectors. As part of the second phase, businesses will need to design plans for a re-opening that include social distancing practices and having personal protective equipment available.
Cuomo also noted that coronavirus-related hospitalizations have fallen for 14 days and that virus deaths in New York hit a near one-month low. Those comments came as Georgia started to re-open its economy.
“As various states begin to reopen their economies and relax social distancing rules, we will get a glimpse of what the new normal looks like,” said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “The biggest risk to the stock market is a premature reopening of the U.S. economy which results in an increase in COVID-19 cases and requires an abrupt reversal of these efforts to awaken the economy out of its engineered coma.”
Shelter-in-place orders and social distancing guidelines forced thousands of businesses to shut down starting in March as the federal and state governments tried to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly 3 million cases have been confirmed worldwide with over 900,000 in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins.
The outbreak, and subsequent business closures, sparked a wave of job losses. Data from the Labor Department shows that more than 26 million people have filed for unemployment benefits over the past five weeks.
To be sure, a decline in new virus infections and unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus have sparked a massive stock-market rally from the lows reached on March 23. Since then, the major averages are all up more than 20%, with the S&P 500 retracing about half of its decline from a record set Feb. 19.
Investors have also cheered the prospects of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. On April 16, STAT News reported patients at a Chicago hospital with severe coronavirus symptoms were quickly recovering after being treated with the drug in a trial.
A Financial Times report on Wednesday quelled some of that excitement, however, as it stated remdesivir did not improve patients’ condition during a trial in China. Gilead pushed back on the report and the study it cited, noting the trial was “was terminated early due to low enrollment,” making it “underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions.”
“This drug has become the single most important macro topic/theme/trend in the entire market,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note. “Investors are dismissing the “flop” headline from the FT and continue to anticipate positive results of some kind out of (at least) one of the many Remdesivir trials now underway (while FDA approval is widely assumed).”
“The present setup is such that Remdesivir anticipation will very likely be more beneficial/powerful than the actual results themselves (the data most likely will show efficacy to some extent in certain instances, but a medical “silver bullet” isn’t about to emerge),” Crisafulli added.
—CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

Apr 23, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures up 100 points as investors digest oil turbulence, await jobless claims

Thomas Franck




GP: Coronavirus New York subway 200330
A passenger wears a protective mask at the Wall Street subway station in New York, on Monday, March 30, 2020.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. stock futures were up in early morning trade Thursday as investors took a breather after the turbulence of the prior three regular sessions.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 105 points, implying an opening gain of about 100 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to a positive Thursday open for the two indexes.
The overnight moves followed a bounce in U.S. equities during normal trading hours on Wednesday that helped pare the S&P 500′s 4.8% slide over Monday and Tuesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 456.94 points, or 1.99%, to 23,475.82 during Wednesday’s session. The S&P 500 gained 2.29% to 2,799.31 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 2.8% higher at 8,495.38.
Violent fluctuations in the price of oil have kept markets on edge this week as a slide in demand the result of the coronavirus and persistent oversupply keep pressure on crude.
Though West Texas Intermediate crude is down more than 70% from highs north of $60 per barrel earlier this year, its bounce on Wednesday pacified investors who worried that the futures contracts could fall back into negative territory like they did on Monday.
The contract for June delivery settled up 19% at $13.78 per barrel on Wednesday after President Donald Trump tweeted that he’d “instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
WTI contract for May delivery plunged below zero to trade in negative territory on the first day of the week for the first time ever. A day later, the more actively traded June contract fell 43.37% to settle at $11.57. Brent and WTI crude futures were last seen trading up 8% and 3.7%, respectively.
U.S. traders will on Thursday digest the Labor Department’s latest report on jobless claims.
Another 4.3 million workers are expected to have filed for benefits last week, which would bring the total number seeking benefits to over 26 million since states started shutting down in the second half of March in an effort to slow the virus.
The number of cumulative claims rose to 22.025 million over four weeks prior, erasing nearly all of the 22.442 million jobs recovered since the Great Recession.
Domino’s PizzaEli Lilly and Southwest Airlines will all report earnings on Thursday.
Click here for the latest news on the coronavirus.

Apr 22, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: US stock futures higher as Wall Street looks to rebound from two days of steep losses

Maggie Fitzgerald





U.S. stock futures pointed to gains at the open on Wednesday, following recent weakness in markets aggravated by oil’s massive decline.
At around 4:10 a.m., Dow futures rose 220 points, indicating a gain of about 242 points at the open. Futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 also pointed to modest opening gains for the two indexes on Wednesday.
The West Texas Intermediate contract for June, however, remained in negative territory as it fell around 1% to $11.46 per barrel.
Helping sentiment, Senate Republicans and Democrats passed on Tuesday evening a $484 billion coronavirus relief package for small businesses, hospitals and testing. The House could approve the bill as early as Thursday.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost about 630 points, bringing its weekly decline to more than 1,000 points. The 30-stock index was dragged down by Merck & Co., which lost 5.5%, and Boeing, which fell more than 5%.
The S&P 500 also experienced sharp declines, falling more than 3%. The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite fell about 3.5%,  its worst daily performance since April 1.
The market’s sell-off this week came beside massive losses in the oil market due to the evaporation of demand. Oil prices are tanking and spreading to more futures contracts, worrying investors about the deep economic damage being done by the coronavirus shutdowns.
“This week investors are realizing that even though the crisis could soon get better, the negative impacts of having an economy which is essentially shut down are magnifying at an alarming rate. With no demand even for a couple months, energy prices go negative as excess oil supplies balloon,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group told CNBC. 
 The June contract for West Texas Intermediate, which is the more actively traded contract and therefore a better indication of how Wall Street views the price of oil, settled down 43.4% at $11.57 per barrel. On Monday, crude futures for May fell below zero for the first time in history.
Investors also digested another batch of corporate earnings showing the economic fallout of the virus on Tuesday. Shares of IBM fell 3% after reporting a decline in revenue. Coca-Cola fell 2.5% as the beverage company said global volumes plunged 25% due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Netflix and Chipotle both rose in extended trading on Tuesday following their quarterly earnings report. Netflix reported global streaming net additions came in a 15.8 million, far higher than the 8.2 million expected. Netflix, which has rallied nearly 35% this year, is benefiting from the stay-at-home trend. Chipotle saw digital sales surge more than 80% as the revved up online orders during the coronavirus shutdown.
Before the bell on Wednesday, Delta Air Lines, AT&T and Biogen will report earnings. 

Apr 21, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator Update: Dow futures point to 500-point drop at the open as historic sell-off in oil continues

Yun Li



Stock futures pointed to big losses for a second day on Tuesday as oil prices continued their unprecedented wipeout.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 450 points and indicated a loss at the open of more than 500 points. S&P 500 futures lost 1.5%. Nasdaq futures also pointed to a lower open.
Traders were focused on the strange happenings with oil futures once again, which raised concern about deep losses for the energy industry hitting the U.S. economy even further. On Monday, the May contract for oil futures expiring Tuesday fell to zero and then went to an actual negative price, meaning producers would pay for someone to take the oil off their hands. The bizarre move has to do with the fact that because of the coroanvirus shutdowns, big buyers of oil like refineries don't need any more oil because their tanks are nearly filled.
That May contract remained deep in negative price territory on Tuesday.
More concerning to traders on Tuesday was the selling now occurring in later month contracts for oil futures. The more actively traded June oil contract was down nearly 20% to $16.44 Tuesday morning. That contract expires on May 19.
The United States Oil Fund, an exchange-traded security for the retail investors which buys oil futures, tanked 19% to just $3.02 in premarket trading.
Major oil stocks like Exxon Mobil were hit again in premarket trading. Exxon was down 4%.
Not helping sentiment were shares of IBM, which slipped 3.7% in premarket trading after the company reported a 3.4% decline in revenue in the first quarter from a year ago amid the spread of coronavirus. Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Chipotle are on deck to report earnings on Tuesday.
Stocks dropped on Monday to start another likely volatile week, with the Dow falling nearly 600 points, as an unprecedented plunge in oil prices weighed on investor sentiment.
Late Monday, President Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration  to the United States to protect jobs "in light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy." Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down economic activity in much of the country.
Trump's tweet did not provide specifics on what the order would entail.
Earlier Monday, the Senate failed to reach a deal on the next package to rescue an economy and health care system ravaged by the global pandemic. However, a vote is set up as soon as Tuesday afternoon to replenish a key small business aid program.
Investors continued to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and the country's plan to reopen the economy. Signs have emerged that New York is past the worst of its outbreak. Georgia on Monday rolled out aggressive plans to reopen the state's economy, calling for many businesses to reopen their doors as early as Friday.
Stocks enjoyed their first back-to-back weekly gains since early February as investors grew more optimistic that the pandemic is easing off. The S&P 500 is now about 17% from its record high on February 19, cutting about half of its losses during the coronavirus sell-off.
"Market volatility remains intense, as subtle changes in the tone of the news drives dramatic shifts in investor sentiment," said Mark Hackett, Nationwide's chief of investment research. "Markets rallied sharply last week on hope that the worst of the outbreak is behind us. This optimism is likely to face headwinds, as the reopening of the economy is heading for an intense debate."

Apr 20, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures fall more than 100 points as US crude prices plunge

Fred Imbert




RT: Coronavirus Wall Street
A man wears a protective mask as he walks on Wall Street during the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, New York, U.S., March 13, 2020.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

U.S. stock futures traded lower early Monday morning as investors weighed the latest coronavirus news along with a sharp decline in U.S. crude prices.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 137 points, pointing to a Monday opening drop of around 107 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to a lower Monday open for the two indexes.
Stock futures followed the decline of U.S. oil prices. The May contract for West Texas Intermediate plunged about 19% to $14.79 per barrel on weak demand outlook and storage capacity issues. WTI’s June contract slid over 6% to $23.43 per barrel.
The market was coming off its first back-to-back weekly gains in more than two months. Stocks got a jolt after a report last week said patients with severe virus symptoms were quickly recovering after using remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences drug. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all rose more than 2% last week.
Last week’s gains also put the S&P 500 and Dow more than 30% above their intraday lows set on March 23.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday the state is “past the high point” of new cases, noting the infection rate has fallen along with coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Cuomo added New York will roll out antibody testing this week. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said Saturday: “We’re flattening the curve.”
In Washington, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration and Congress were close to striking a deal on a second round of loans for small businesses. A $349 billion rescue loan program ran out of money on Thursday.
“The equity markets and bond markets in the US are telling me that my relatively optimistic outlook for the global economy is also what the markets are starting to price in,” Stephen Jen, co-founder of SLJ Macro Partners, wrote in a note. “There is now light at end of the tunnel.”
“While nobody should be under the illusion that the virus will be eradicated soon, it is important to the equity markets that we have gone through most of the known ‘rolling apexes,’ through mitigation measures,” Jen said.
But while the market may be pricing in an improvement in the virus outbreak, recent economic data has been dismal. Over the past month, 22 million jobs have been lost, weekly unemployment claims numbers from the Labor Department showed.
The number of coronavirus related deaths have also risen to more than 165,000 globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., the death toll has risen to over 41,000.

Apr 16, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures turn around, point to opening gains ahead of key jobless claims data

Thomas Franck





Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes recovered earlier losses and pointed to opening gains ahead of key jobless claims data.
In early Thursday morning trading, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 227 points, implying an opening gain of about 228 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to higher opens Thursday.
Earlier, Dow futures had fallen more than 100 points.
The overnight moves followed a slump during the regular trading session on Wednesday as gloomy economic data and anemic bank earnings fueled concerns over the coronavirus’s impact on the U.S. economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 445.41 points, or 1.9%, to 23,504.35 during Wednesday’s session. The S&P 500 slid 2.2% to 2,783.36 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 1.4% lower at 8,393.18.
Central to Thursday’s session will be the Labor Department’s report on last week’s initial jobless claims, which economists polled by Dow Jones expect to total 5 million.
The jobless figures have proved a key retrospective gauge for those tracking the ailing health of the U.S. economy, with last week’s 6.61 initial claims. Last week’s print brought total claims over the three weeks prior to more than 16 million, implying that about 10% of the U.S. workforce had filed for unemployment benefits over that time.

20200415 SP500 looking for a bottom
Traders cited a plunge in March retail sales as a principal weight on equities on Wednesday. The worse-than-expected data showed retail sales during the month of March plunged a record 8.7%, the largest one-month decline since the department began tracking the series in 1992.
Manufacturing in the New York area also slumped by its biggest margin ever to a historic low, surpassing the levels seen in the throes of the Great Recession.
Energy stocks remain under pressure after U.S. oil fell to its lowest level in more than 18 years on Wednesday. The slide in West Texas Intermediate crude futures followed reports of the largest inventory build on record as well as a bearish report from the International Energy Agency. WTI slipped 1.19% to settle at $19.87, a price not seen since Feb. 7, 2002.
The Dow and S&P 500 remain more than 20% and 17.9% below their respective all-time highs set in February as marketplace jitters over the spread of the novel coronavirus and an uncertain vaccine timeline foster volatile trading on Wall Street.
Despite the recent dismal economic data, some market strategists pointed to a slowdown in the daily number of new U.S. coronavirus cases and the flattening in the net number of hospitalizations in New York state as evidence that markets may trend upward in the coming weeks.
JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic said Wednesday evening that such improvements in health-care data could encourage state governments to take “baby steps” to reopen certain economies as soon as next week. 
Kolanovic, the global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy at JPMorgan, reiterated his forecast that the U.S. equity market could reach new all-time highs as soon as the first half of 2021 if the economy is set to recover later that year.
Better health-care figures mean “we think it’s gonna be possible to reopen it sooner. We think within a week from now, you will start seeing some limited moves,” he told CNBC’s “Fast Money.”
“It’s going to be limited: I’m talking baby steps,” he added. “But that tells us that by the summertime, we may more substantially recover. And sometime next year — maybe the second half of next year — the economy reaches the high watermark. Which means that the market could reach a high watermark in the first half of next year.”
Stock futures ticked lower Wednesday evening as President Donald Trump again advocated for a gradual reopening of the U.S. economy during a press conference.
The president said that there are also public health costs the result of keeping state economies closed. Lost income and benefit coverage, the president said, can also lead to significant and negative health outcomes.
“There has to be a balance. You know, there’s also death involved in keeping [the economy] closed,” Trump said from the White House. “We have to get back to work.”
“With all of that being said, we’re going to start with states and with governors that have done a great job. And they’re going to open it up as they see fit,” he said.

Apr 8, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator: Stock futures point to flat open after a volatile session for markets

Maggie Fitzgerald





U.S. stock futures in early morning trade pointed to a largely unchanged open on Wednesday, continuing a volatile week for stocks gripped by the coronavirus shutdown.
At around 4:20 a.m. ET, Dow futures were 41 points higher, indicating an implied opening drop of about 11 points on Wednesday. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to a largely flat open.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26 points or 0.1%, giving up a 900-point surge earlier in the day. The S&P 500 also registered a slight decline, falling 0.2%, having been up more than 3%. The Nasdaq Composite closed the day down 0.3% following a 3% rally.
“As [Tuesday’s] stock market shows, volatility is likely to remain for some time,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. 
Some investors believed equities were getting ahead of the reality where coronavirus shutdowns are likely to weigh on the economy significantly beyond the second quarter. The major averages have rallied about 20% from their March 23 lows.
Goldman Sachs chief equity strategist David Kostin warned about a “bear market rally,” that appears like markets have bottomed but turns out to be premature.
“Risk to the downside is greater than the opportunity to the upside from this point where we stand today,” Kostin said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday. “I would just remind you that in 2008 in the fourth quarter there were many different rallies, I call them bear market rallies, some of which almost 20% a couple of times — but the market did not bottom until March of 2009.”
However, Monday’s massive rally, where the Dow gained more than 1,600 points, showed investors are soothed by the first broad-based news that U.S. coronavirus cases appears to have fallen in recent days from their latest peak.
“If the curve is bending, for the first time, some time-line is coming into focus for restarting at least parts of the economy,” Paulsen added. “This means investors can start to reduce their best guesses as to how long this recession will last and even if the recession is very deep, if its duration can be shortened and known with some greater clarity, this would tend to raise the value of the stock market.”
JPMorgan’s market guru Marko Kolanovic said he expects a “limited” re-opening of the economy in two weeks.  True to his quant nature, Kolanovic  is looking at smart thermometer data and believes it is confirming the outbreak is peaking in the U.S.
“We believe we’ve seen a peak in new case growth in the US 3-4 days ago, and then deaths will peak in about a week, so we look for a limited reopening of the economy in 1-2 weeks,” JPMorgan global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy Kolanovic said. “And we think we will be able to recover the losses in equities sometime next year. 
Still, the cases in the U.S., the world’s most affected country, topped 383,000 with at least 12,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee publishes its meeting minutes from its March meeting.  In an emergency decision ahead of that meeting, the Fed cut interest rates to zero, for the first time since the financial crisis.
Although the Fed’s minutes shouldn’t be market moving, investors will get some insight into what the central bank is using as justification for its historic easing measures. 

Apr 7, 2020

US Market | Futures Indicator Update: Dow futures rally more than 800 points, adding to Monday's sharp gains

Fred Imbert, Yun Li



Stock futures pointed to a Tuesday opening jump in early morning trade, building on a steep rebound in the previous session.
At around 7 a.m. ET, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 810 points, pointing to a gain of more than 700 points at Tuesday's open. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures also pointed to strong pening gains.
The moves came after a series of positive coronavirus developments were reported in Asia.
South Korea reported Tuesday less than 50 new cases of infection for the second day running. China also posted no new deaths as of April 6 for the first time since January when it started publishing daily updates.
The two Asian countries were among those which saw spikes in infection rates earlier in the outbreak, with the first cases being reported out of China.
Stocks surged on Monday as a slew of coronavirus headlines pointed to a potential stabilization in the U.S. The Dow soared 1,600 points, posting its third biggest point gain ever. The S&P 500 jumped 7% to its highest level since March 13. With Monday's rally, the S&P 500 bounced about 20% from its 52-week low on March 23.
President Donald Trump said in a press conference Monday there's "tremendous light at the end of the tunnel' with ten different therapeutic agents in active trials. Trump echoed comments by World Health Organization officials who said the research to develop vaccines and treatments has "accelerated at incredible speed."
"The apex in New York state is likely imminent as opposed to one month out," Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan's global head of macro quantitative and derivatives strategy, said in a note on Monday. "Big data indicated very early on that social distancing is working overall."
Amid Monday's rally, Wall Street's fear gauge the Cboe Volatility Index fell 3.3% to 45.24, the lowest level in about two weeks. Three weeks ago, the VIX hit a record high of 82.69, surpassing the peak level during the financial crisis.
Still, the cases in the U.S., the world's most affected country, topped 347,000 with at least 10,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 
"We still believe that the odds are quite high that the lows from March will be retested and probably undercut before this bear market comes to an end," Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note on Monday.
Stocks are still in bear-market territory with the S&P 500 about 21.5% off its record high. Many on Wall Street believe stocks haven't fully priced in the potential corporate earnings collapse as the coronavirus outbreak have virtually shut down the global economy.

US Market | Futures Indicator: Dow futures point to 600 point opening gain following Monday's sharp rebound

Yun Li



Stock futures pointed to a Tuesday opening jump in early morning trade, building on a steep rebound in the previous session.
At around 4 a.m. ET, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 658 points, pointing to a gain of more than 588 points at Tuesday’s open. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures also pointed to opening gains.
The moves came after a series of positive coronavirus developments were reported in Asia.
South Korea reported Tuesday less than 50 new cases of infection for the second day running. China also posted no new deaths as of April 6 for the first time since January when it started publishing daily updates.
The two Asian countries were among those which saw spikes in infection rates earlier in the outbreak, with the first cases being reported out of China.
Stocks surged on Monday as a slew of coronavirus headlines pointed to a potential stabilization in the U.S. The Dow soared 1,600 points, posting its third biggest point gain ever. The S&P 500 jumped 7% to its highest level since March 13. With Monday’s rally, the S&P 500 bounced about 20% from its 52-week low on March 23.
President Donald Trump said in a press conference Monday there’s “tremendous light at the end of the tunnel’ with ten different therapeutic agents in active trials. Trump echoed comments by World Health Organization officials who said the research to develop vaccines and treatments has “accelerated at incredible speed.”
Investors were soothed by data over the weekend that shows a slowing in the number of daily U.S. coronavirus cases, although it is still early to determine a lasting trend. Death tolls in some of the world’s coronavirus hot spots, including Spain and Italy, showed signs of easing. New York state, the hardest-hit region in the U.S., also reported its first decline in daily confirmed deaths on Sunday.
“The apex in New York state is likely imminent as opposed to one month out,” Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan’s global head of macro quantitative and derivatives strategy, said in a note on Monday. “Big data indicated very early on that social distancing is working overall.”
Amid Monday’s rally, Wall Street’s fear gauge the Cboe Volatility Index fell 3.3% to 45.24, the lowest level in about two weeks. Three weeks ago, the VIX hit a record high of 82.69, surpassing the peak level during the financial crisis.
Still, the cases in the U.S., the world’s most affected country, topped 347,000 with at least 10,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 
“We still believe that the odds are quite high that the lows from March will be retested and probably undercut before this bear market comes to an end,” Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note on Monday.
Stocks are still in bear-market territory with the S&P 500 about 21.5% off its record high. Many on Wall Street believe stocks haven’t fully priced in the potential corporate earnings collapse as the coronavirus outbreak have virtually shut down the global economy.

Dec 18, 2019

House majority votes to impeach President Donald Trump

Christina Wilkie



WASHINGTON – A majority of the House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach President Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors. The vote marked only the third time in American history that the full chamber has approved articles of impeachment against a president.
The largely party-line vote represented the culmination of a sprawling three-month investigation that was conducted by multiple committees in the Democratic-controlled House, and which was opposed at every turn by the White House and congressional Republicans.
Ultimately, Trump faced impeachment on two specific charges: The first was that he abused his power by freezing U.S. foreign aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Ukraine's president into launching investigations into Trump's domestic political opponents. According to the first article of impeachment, Trump's actions towards Ukraine amounted to having used his office to solicit "the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election."
Through his conduct, the article states that Trump "demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law."
The second article of impeachment charges Trump with obstruction of Congress, for demanding that top level staffers at the White House defy the lawfully issued subpoenas they received from the House Intelligence Committee, compelling them to testify in the impeachment probe.
"President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives," the article states, and he "assumed to himself functions and judgments" that are the constitutional purview of the legislative branch, and specifically of the House.
Despite the White House's blanket directive to aides this fall not to testify, more than a dozen current and former national security officials, diplomats and career public servants ignored the president's instructions and opted to give testimony under oath.
Collectively, the officials described how Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani engaged in a monthslong effort for force Ukraine to agree to actions that ran contrary to U.S. national security priorities. Instead of working in the best interests of the United States, the officials said, Trump's lieutenants were dispatched around the world to carry out what a top Russia expert at the White House called, "a domestic political errand" on the president's own behalf.

A bitter defeat

Throughout the entire impeachment inquiry process, Trump has constantly assailed and insulted the lawmakers leading the probe, the reporters covering it, and the government employees testifying in it. Trump has insisted that a July 25 phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which he asked for the investigations as "a favor," was "perfect," and that the entire impeachment effort is part of a personal vendetta against him and a desire by Democrats to overthrow his 2016 election.
On Tuesday, Trump wrote a furious letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling his impeachment "an illegal, partisan attempted coup."
"You are the ones interfering in America's elections," Trump wrote in the six page long screed. "You are the ones subverting America's Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain," wrote the president.
But it is partly because Trump was so furious, and was so personally undone by the impeachment, that Wednesday's vote marked such a bitter defeat. For a president obsessed with winning, the prospect of being forever part of the group of three U.S. presidents in the country's history who have been impeached likely represents a singular professional and personal humiliation.

Trump defiant

As the Democratic-majority House voted on Wednesday to deal Trump the sharpest blow of his political life, the president was a thousand miles away -- literally. Trump spent Wednesday evening in the swing state of Michigan, where he held a raucous campaign rally in Battle Creek before a crowd of 10,000 adoring supporters.
One of the many ways that Trump differs from most of his predecessors is that he loves campaigning. For Trump, speaking off the cuff for two hours at a massive campaign rally is one of the best perks of being president.
That these two events took place simultaneously on Wednesday was remarkable.
Together, the rally in Michigan and the impeachment vote in Washington amounted to a perfect split screen image of the Trump presidency:
While one half of America watched the House vote to remove the president from office because he posed a danger to the nation's security, the other half turned on Fox News Channel, where Trump's campaign rally was being carried live.
"It doesn't really feel like we're being impeached," Trump said in Michigan, while the House was voting in Washington. "The country is doing better than ever before. We did nothing wrong."
This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

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