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U.S. judge to allow controversial evidence in Roundup cancer trials

( ) – A federal judge overseeing lawsuits alleging Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer causes cancer on Monday tentatively allowed pieces of controversial evidence that the company had hoped to exclude from upcoming trials.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria during a hearing in San Francisco federal court called his decision “probably most disappointing for Monsanto,” the Bayer unit that manufactures the world’s most widely used herbicide.

The company denies allegations that glyphosate causes cancer and says decades of independent studies have shown the chemical to be safe for human use.

Chhabria on Monday said plaintiffs could introduce some evidence of Monsanto’s alleged attempts to ghostwrite studies and influence the findings of scientists and regulators during the first phase of upcoming trials. He said documents which showed the company taking a position on the science or a study introduced during the first phase were “super relevant.”

The company had hoped the judge would take a harder line on such evidence following a Jan. 3 order by Chhabria restricting evidence of corporate misconduct. At the time, that decision lifted Bayer’s shares nearly 7 percent.

Monsanto had argued much of this evidence was a “sideshow” that would only distract jurors from the scientific evidence.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers contended some evidence of corporate misconduct was inextricably linked to their scientific claims.

The judge appeared to agree with them, saying it was difficult to draw the line between scientific evidence and allegations of corporate misconduct, and questioned whether it would be fair for the jury to not hear about the company’s alleged attempts to influence scientists.

The parties did agree that other internal documents, including emails of Monsanto employees discussi,上海夜生活桑拿会所Kaia,ng lobbying efforts, do not belong in the initial trial phase.

Under Chhabria’s order, that evidence would be allowed only if glyphosate was found to have caused plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s cancer and the trial proceeded to a second phase to determine Bayer’s liability.

The order a,上海夜网官方网站Barney,pplies to Hardeman’s case, which is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 25, and two other upcoming cases. There are some 620 Roundup cases before Chhabria, out of more ,上海晚上耍女人的地方Nadine,than 9,300 nationwide.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers believe corporate misconduct evidence was critical to a California state court jury’s August decision to award $289 millio上海夜网n in a similar case. The verdict sent Bayer shares tumbling at the time, though the award was later reduced to $78 million and is under appeal.

As China’s economy falters, some fund managers look to bonds

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI ( ) – Despite mounting signs of a Chinese economic slowdown, 2019 is off to a good start for fund manager Du Zhenye.

His Shanghai-based ChangAn Xinyi Enhanced Mixed Fund has increased its assets over the past two weeks by shunning Chinese stocks for bonds. And it was the best-performing of nearly 3,000 mixed funds ranked by Haitong Securities for 2018, returning more than 14 percent.

“I don’t dare say it’s already the bottom of the stock market,” Du said.

He’s not alone in favoring Chinese bonds over equities. Slowing growth signals an earnings slump after a brutal 2018, when the Shanghai Composite index .SSEC tumbled 25 percent.

For some, bonds retain a shine as policymakers combat the slowdown上海夜生活论坛 with more stimulus. The phased inclusion of some Chinese bonds in global indexes starting this year also should draw inflows.

“We believe this year will be another bullish one for bonds,” said Du.

According to Shanghai consultancy Z-Ben Advisors, assets under management (AUM) at domestic equity mutual funds shrank 12 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to 194 billion yuan ($28.62 billion) while fixed income funds expanded 20 percent to 3 trillion yuan.

That was one factor driving yields on benchmark 10-year Chinese government bonds down nearly 40 basis points in the quarter. CN10YT=RR

More policy easing could further cut yields, implying more gains for bondholders.

On Monday, China reported 2018 growth was the slowest in 28 years, at 6.6 percent. Beijing will reduce its 2019 full-year growth target to 6-6.5 percent, from around 6.5 percent last year, sources have told .

PUMPING CASH

While authorities rule out “flood-type stimulus” to juice growth, they have pumped cash into the banking system to boost lending. China made a cut to banks’ reserve requirement ratios t,上海夜网后花园Kai,his month, and more is promised.

Josh Sheng, chief investment officer at Shanghai Tongshengtonghui Asset Management, says fresh cash should fuel further gains in bonds, both sovereign and corporate. At the same time, he is watching credit data for signs of an investment pick-up that could support the stock market.

Interest in Chinese bonds isn’t limited to domestic investors.

Lenny Kwan, a portfolio manager at T Rowe Price in Hong Kong, is bullish on five- and 10-year gover,上海凤楼夜网Kaia,nment bonds. Edmund Goh, Asian fixed income manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments in Shanghai, is keen on corporate bonds, largely shunned by foreign investors unfamiliar with the Chinese market.

Offshore interest is likely to increase in April, when the Bloomberg-Barclays Global Aggregate Index begins to include Chinese government and policy-bank bonds.

Standard Chartered estimates the inclusion, which will be phased in over 20 months, could bring $50 billion in passive inflows into China’s fixed income market this year. It said offshore investors could own up to 2.8 trillion yuan of onshore bonds by the end of 2019, or 1 trillion yuan more than at the end of last year.

CREDIT BOMBS

Not all domestic investors are convinced. Fresh funding has been only enough “to fill the old gaps,” and the People’s Bank of China is keen to avoid excess cash putting pressure on the yuan, said Yun Xiong, partner at Leiton Capital in Shanghai.

Last year brought a record number of defaults, according to data, and “credit bombs will continue to explode” in 2019, Xiong said.

Another factor that could dent bonds is stricter insurance industry rules that took effect in 2018. Huachuang Securities said these reduced returns from insurance products and raised costs for insurers – traditionally big bond buyers. On top of this, weak income growth and rising household debt will hit growth of premiums.

Some asset managers see more value in Chinese stocks than bonds, believing that more stimulus is coming and that the U.S. and China will resolve their trade war.

Last year’s market correction led Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of Greater China investments at Barings, to pick up a range of stocks.

Sh,上海晚上耍女人的地方Cade,ares on mainland exchanges are “trading at about 11 times (price to earnings). That’s very low,” said Do, who expects China’s economy to rebound in the second quarter.

Wang Qing, president of Shanghai Chongyang Investment Co, is also optimistic that China shares will rise this year.

“Market consensus at the start of a year is often wrong,” he said.

(GRAPHIC: Investors in China drawn to bonds – tmsnrt.rs/2AQAOFx)

Lawyers suing Fiat Chrysler in U.S. diesel case seek over $100 million

WASHINGTON ( ) – Lawyers representing owners of Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles told a U.S. judge they are seeking up to $106.5 million in legal fees and out-of-pocket costs in connection wit,上海夜生活论坛Dallas,h a settlement over excess vehicle emissions, but they are in talks to finalize the amount, officials said Wednesday.

The attorneys said in a filing late on Tuesday they had reviewed more than 4 million pages of documents and were involved in almost 100 depositions. They seek up to $99.5 million in legal fees and $7 million in costs.

Ken Feinberg, a court-appointed mediator, said at a hearing on Wednesday there has been no agreement over the amount of the legal fees, but talks have been ongoing between Fiat Chrysler, German auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH [ROBG.UL] and lawyers for 104,000 vehicle owners.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said he hoped an agreement could be reached by early February.

The Italian-American automaker on Jan. 10 announced it settled with the U.S. Justice Department, the state of California and diesel owners over civil claims that it used illegal software that produced false results on diesel-emissions tests.

Fiat Chrysler estimated the value of the settlements at about $800 million, a figure that could potentially rise to more than $900 million with the legal fees.

Bosch, which provided emissions control software for the Fiat Chrysler vehicles, also agreed to pay $27.5 million to resolve claims f,上海夜网邀请码Hadrian,rom diesel owners.

Under the settlement, Fiat Chrysler and Bosch will give owners $307.5 million or about $2,800 per vehicle for diesel software updates.

Fiat Chrysler and Bosch agreed to pay the owners’ legal bills on top of the $307.5 million to resolve consumer claims.

Fiat Chrysler will pay $311 million in total civil penalties to U.S. 上海夜生活论坛and California regulators, up to $280 million to resolve claims from diesel owners and extended warranties worth $105 million.

The settlement covers 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee diesels from the model years 2014 to 2016, said the U.S. Justice Department, which is also conducting a criminal probe.

In addition, Fiat Chrysler will pay $72.5 million for state civil penalties and $33.5 million in payments to California to offset excess emissions and consumer claims.

The hefty penalty was the latest fallout from the U.S. government’s stepped-up enforcement of vehicle emissions rules after Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) admitted in September 2015 to intentionally evading emissions rules. Fiat Chrysler will be required to work with vendors of aftermarket catalytic converters to improve the efficiency of 200,000 converters in the 47 states that do not already require the use of the California-mandated high efficiency gasoline vehicle catalysts. Justice Department officials have estimated that effort will cost $50 million to $70 million.

Regulators said Fiat Chrysler used “defeat device,上海夜生活群Barbara,s” to cheat emissions tests in real-world driving. Fiat Chrysler did not admit liability.

U.S. bank Citi to shrink Russia branch network, but expects to do…

MOSCOW ( ) – The Russian arm of U.S. bank Citi (C.N) said on Wednesday it planned to reduce the number of its offices in the country, but expected to do more business this year.

Foreign banks in Russia have been under pressure since Western countries began imposing sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Many foreign bank,上海夜生活网419Mace,s were forced to significantly cut their exposure to Russia.

But as some of the banks adjusted to the new circumstances, they started to grow in fields not covered by t,上海夜网官方网站Ebba,he sanctions.

Michael Berner, a Citi Russia board member and its consumer business manager, said on Wednesday the bank would reduce its number of branches from 22 to 15 in Russia by the end of the year to try to further move its ,上海夜生活男人好去处Fabiana,client-base online, the Interfax news agency 上海夜网reported.

Citi said in a presentation on Wednesday its Russian assets under management had grown 24 percent last year, with the number of retail client accounts and deposits up 8 percent year on year.

“We think these results are positive and we are planning to keep that same growth rate this year,” Berner said.

The Russian banking market is dominated by large, state-owned companies. They make up almost 70 percent of Russian bank assets and five large banks control 60 percent of the assets, according to the World Bank.

Citi Russia, which has been in the country since 1992 and is its 21 largest bank by assets, said the competition from state-owned players would not affect its business.

“Do we feel the strengthening of state banks? No, because we have a clearly-defined strategy and a clearly-defined segment in which we operate,” said Maria Ivanova, president of Citi Russia.

Russia’s central bank has said the country needs to increase competition in the financial sector.

House panel approves bill to tighten oversight of foreign lobbying

WASHINGTON ( ) – The U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would tighten oversight of lobbyists who work for foreign governments or companies.

The law received renewed attention when Paul Manafort, a Republican operative who briefly served as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, pleaded not guilty last year to charges ranging from money laundering to acting as an unregistered agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.

The committee voted 15 to 6 t,上海会所夜网Fabian,o give the Department of Justice additional powers to enforce rules requiring lobbyists to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, also called FARA.

The bill would also close loopholes in FARA and require the Justice Department to develop a strategy for enforcing th,上海夜网官方网站Tallulah,e law.

In the Senate, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has proposed a similar bil上海夜网l.

Critics have argued that FARA reporting requirements are unclear and contain loopholes that allow American lobbyists to avoid disclosure of their,上海夜生活服务Paisley, foreign clients.

FARA was first passed in 1938 in the lead-up to World War Two in an effort to combat German propaganda efforts, and was later amended in 1966 to include lobbyists, according to the Justice Department.

Volvo’s self-driving car venture gets nod to test on Swedish roads

STOCKHOLM ( ) – A Volvo Cars joint venture has won approval to begin hands-free testing of its software for self-driving cars on Swedish highways, partner Veoneer said on Monday.

Veoneer said the Zenuity joint venture’s software for Level 4 autonomous driving – the second highest level – would be tested in a Volvo car by trained drivers with their hands off the steering wheel at a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour).

The venture is striving to keep up with larger rivals in the race to develop self-driving vehicles.

U.S. companies are leading the pack,,上海夜网邀请码Paige, with Google’s Waymo last year winning the first approval to test cars without safety drivers on Californian public roads.

General Motors’ Cruise has said it is ready to deploy a self-driving car with no manual controls, while Germany’s BMW and Audi have also secured testing rights.

Securing permissions has got tougher after an accident involving,夜上海论坛Quaid, a Volvo car that Uber was using to test its own self-driving software. Uber last month resumed limited testing on public roads.

Zenuity has been running tests in Sweden to collect data to develop autonomous functionalities and sensors, while Volvo has been carrying out separate tests to gather data to improve driver experience and study driver behavior.

Veoneer Chief Technology Officer Nishant Batra said the 上海夜生活论坛approval to do real-life tests was “essential for gathering important data and test functions”.

“It is a strong proof-point for the progress of Zenuity’s self-driving capabilities,” he said.

Veoneer spokesman Thomas Jonsson said it was too early to say when Zenuity could potentially test without a safety driver. 

Zenuity, formed by Volvo and Veoneer in 2017, is expected to have its first driver assistance products on sale by 2019 with autonomous driving technologies shortly afterwards. Volvo and its Chinese parent Geely are customers.

Volvo has goals of delivering self-driving cars sometime after 2021 and deriving a,上海夜网千花Jackson, third of its sales from fully autonomous cars by 2025.

Documents obtained from the Swedish Transport Authority showed Volvo in September secured the right to test self-driving cars at 80kph and the permit removed a previous condition that a driver has at least one hand on the steering wheel.

The cars Volvo was testing were “for the development of fully autonomous vehicles” and it was using outside parties and test drivers, a Volvo spokesman said.

A top Level 5 vehicle, or fully autonomous vehicle, will be able to navigate roads without any driver input in all conditions.

Volvo teamed up with Baidu last year to use the Chinese company’s autonomous software to develop a Level 4 car.

Factbox: Tesla executive departures since 2016

( ) – Tesla I,上海会所夜网Oakley,nc on Wedn,上海夜生活服务Tabitha,esday announced the departure of Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja, the latest senior executive to leave the company as it strives to ramp up electric car production and reach long-term profitability.

Here is a list of executive departures from Tesla since 2016:

2019

Jan. 30 – Outgoing Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja may continue to serve as a senior adviser to Tesla, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in a post earnings call.

2018

Nov. 27 – Jeff Jones, head of global security, is no longer workin,上海夜网推油Queena,g with Tesla Inc after just 11 months on the job, CNBC reported, citing one current and one former employee. cnb.cx/2KGT2Ny

Oct. 17 – Gilbert Passin, vice president of manufacturing, has left, according to a Business Insider report. reut.rs/2ymyLHM

Sept. 20 – Liam O’Connor, vice president of global supply management resigned from the company, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. reut.rs/2CmylUSSept. 12- Justin McAnear, vice president of worldwide finance and operation, said he would be leaving Tesla to take a CFO role at another company.

Sept. 7 – Gabrielle Toledano, chief people officer at Tesla, leaves the company. reut.rs/2NrTnXS

Sept. 4 – Dave Morton, chief accounting officer at Tesla, resigns just a month after starting work, according to a company filing. reut.rs/2NrTnXS

July – Ganesh Srivats, vice president at Tesla leaves company to become chief executive officer at Moda Operandi Inc bit.ly/2NvCJac

July – Doug Field, senior vice president of engineering, stepped down after five years with the electric carmaker. bit.ly/2P4nVjf

June- Karim Bousta, vice-president of worldwide service and customer experience, left the company, automotive news website Electrek reported. bit.ly/2N9pLj1

May- Cal Lankton stepped down as senior vice president of energy operations and will be replaced by Sanjay Shah from Amazon.com Inc, according to a Bloomberg report. bloom.bg/2x89XC6

May – Matthew Schwall, director of field performance engineering, exits to join Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit, Waymo. reut.rs/2rIFnxb

April – Georg Ell, director of Tesla’s Western Europe operations, leaves to head UK-based Smoothwall. bit.ly/2rJEKCt

March – Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz exits after joining in October 2016. reut.rs/2rI6OXD

March – Susan Repo, corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, exits to become chief financial officer at another company. bloom.bg/2FFA4HB

February – Jon McNeill, president of global sales and services, leaves to join ride-hailing company Lyft as chief operating officer. reut.rs/2GgaLr6

January – Jason Mendez, director of manufacturing engineering, leaves after more than 12 years. bit.ly/2InKIQO

January – Will McColl, manager of equipment engineering, leaves after seven years. bit.ly/2InKIQO

2017

December – Erik Fogelberg, vice president of commercial sales, America, Tesla Energy left the company after 11 months. He joined as vice president of global sales for NEC Energy Solutions last month. bit.ly/2QdgnZh

November – Jon Wagner, director of battery engineering, who joined in 2013 exits to launch a battery and powertrain startup in California. reut.rs/2L3CFu4

September – Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development, departs. reut.rs/2KpjeuJ

August – Marco Krapels, vice president of international expansion, solar & battery storage, left the company after six months and currently serves as the founder and chief executive officer of Micropower-Comerc, according to his LinkedIn profile. bit.ly/2NZ3FMx

August – Kurt Kelty, director of battery technology and then one of the longest serving company executives, exits. He led negotiations with Panasonic on the company’s gigafactory in Nevada. bloom.bg/2vhrcSD

July – SolarCity co-founder Peter Rive leaves the company, eight months after Tesla bought the biggest U.S. residential solar panel maker. reut.rs/2Krcnkh

June – Chris Lattner, vice president of autopilot leaves within six months of joining. reut.rs/2rL6l6e

June – SolarCity founder Lyndon Rive leaves the electric vehicle maker. reut.rs/2rJnY6u

May – Arnnon Geshuri, who led HR at Tesla for more than eight years, departs. bit.ly/2IGwKg8

April – Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler leaves to pursue public policy projects; replaced by Deepak Ahuja, who served as CFO before Wheeler. read.bi/2wI4Zir

March – Mark Lipscomb, vice president of human resources, departs to join streaming service provider Netflix. bit.ly/2rF3zzw

March – Satish Jeyachandran, director of hardware engineering, leaves after seven years with the company; later joins Waymo. bit.ly/2IloGSs

March – David Nister, vice president of autopilot vision, departs to join chipmaker Nvidia. read.bi/2jWtteA

March – Klaus Grohmann ousted after a clash with CEO Elon Musk over the strategy at Grohmann’s firm, which Tesla had acquired in November. Grohmann Engineering helped companies design highly automated factories. reut.rs/2wJjbYF

January – JLM Energy says Ardes Johnson, who worked as director o上海夜生活网f sales at Tesla Energy, joins as a vice president. bit.ly/2rJUqWh

January – Sterling Anderson, head of Tesla’s autopilot system, leaves company. Tesla sued him for trying to recruit company engineers for his new venture while still with Tesla, and in April withdrew the lawsuit after a settlement. reut.rs/2IjRLK9

2016

December – Mateo Jaramillo, vice president of Tesla Energy, leaves after seven years. bit.ly/2wHbGBs

July – Rich Heley, vice president of product technology, departs to join Facebook. bit.ly/2rJnXjb

May – Josh Ensign, vice president of manufacturing, leaves; joins startup Proterra as chief operating officer. read.bi/2IHq4hS

May – Greg Reichow, vice president of production, leaves as the company prepares to launch Model 3, and sharply ramp up production. reut.rs/2InGIQi

April – James Chen, vice president of regulatory affairs and deputy general counsel, leaves to join rival Faraday Future. read.bi/2rI1P8P

March – Ricardo Reyes, vice president of global communications, leaves. bloom.bg/2ImDzUY

March – Michael Zanoni, vice president of finance and worldwide controller, departs to join Amazon. bit.ly/2rHW9eU

January – Chief Information Officer Jay Vijayan leaves Tesla to create his own startup. on.wsj.com/2wG39P7

Fed policy turn not good news for Trump as risks mount

WASHINGTON ( ) – The Federal Reserve’s policy twist on Wednesday might seem just what the White House ordered, with a hold put on what President Donald Trump termed “loco” interest rate hikes, and an openness to ending the monthly runoff of up to $50 billion from the U.S. central bank’s balance sheet.

But the story the Fed is telling about the economy should give the Trump administration pause.

It isn’t the narrative of rebounding investment, higher productivity, and surging growth that administration officials offer, but one of shaky confidence, an economic recovery that may not be as sturdy as it seems, and risks that partly stem from Trump’s own actions.

Just as the Fed’s four rate increases last year were a product of better-than-expected growth nudged higher by some of Trump’s policies – a sign of economic strength even if the president called it otherwise – the policy shift this week was a sign the best days of Trumponomics may be over.

The move “was not driven by a major change in the baseline,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a press conference on Wednesday, but the fact that intensifying “cross-currents suggest the risk of a less favorable outcome.”

With U.S. growth expected to slow to perhaps 2 percent and risks accumulating, “we are not in a great position to take a shock,” said Omair Sharif, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale.

Signaling a pause in rate increases “was a pretty good way to take out insurance,” in effect a decision to keep a looser-than-anticipated monetary policy in place in hopes of skirting some of those risks, Sharif sai,上海夜网推油Caden,d.

,上海夜网后花园Faith,

The next few months will prove crucial. The Fed and many economists outside the administration have long felt Trump’s tax and spending policies would prov上海夜生活论坛ide the economy a short-term boost, or a “sugar rush,” that would wane.

That may now happen just as other economic dangers intensify, with an early March deadline looming over U.S.-China trade talks, negotiations over Britain’s departure from the European Union on a rocky track, and U.S. elected officials unable to agree on a budget.

Until recently, policymakers felt the Fed’s benchmark overnight lending rate still acted as a boost for an economy that didn’t need boosting. The rate, which the Fed on Wednesday left in a target range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent, is well below historical averages, and barely above the rate of inflation.

At the Dec. 18-19 policy meeting, Fed officials felt rates could climb still higher in 2019, a sign of economic health that would show concerns about long-term “secular stagnation” to be unfounded, and mark a return to normal times – with savers perhaps even earning some return on their bank deposits.

Instead, the bar for another rate hike has now risen, a fact that doesn’t speak well about the continued durability of the U.S. economy’s near decade-old recovery from the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession.

In regards to the “50Bs,” the up to $50 billion of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities the Fed has been running off from its balance sheet, the central bank made no change on Wednesday.

But in a separate statement, it said it had decided to continue managing policy with a system of “ample” reserves, reinforcing the notion the rundown may end sooner than expected.

Trump had also criticized the balance sheet runoff as bad for market liquidity.

TROUBLE SPOTS

For roughly two years the Fed has said that raising rates was in fact the best way to ensure continued economic growth by helping guard against inflation, discouraging the worst sorts of asset bubbles, and, in doing so, avoiding the need for rates to rise even higher and faster in the future.

,上海夜网Octavien,

Now the risks appear in the other direction. In his press conference, Powell set aside concerns about inflation and financial stability, emphasizing instead that the current policy rate is appropriate for the current economy – as if another step by the Fed could cause things to crack.

“Really they are looking at a bunch of signals – the general forecast that the economy will grow more slowly in 2019 than in 2018; the fact that inflation, which was on the rise … has actually turned the other way,” said James Kahn, a former New York Fed vice president who is now chairman of the economics department at Yeshiva University in New York.

Bond yields, flirting for months with the sort of recession-signaling inversion where short-term securities earn more than longer-term ones, “are a sign that the prospects for really strong growth are not there,” Kahn said.

Some of the trouble spots the Fed is coping with are unavoidable, like a slowdown in Europe and Brexit.

But on the list of things Powell cited as worrisome, several involved domestic developments, from friction between the United States and its trade partners, which seems to have begun to sap business confidence, to the recent partial U.S. government shutdown whose “imprint” on the economy the Fed chief said remained uncertain.

Business and consumer confidence, and a drop in expectations for inflation, may be even more concerning to a central bank that views public psychology as an important influence on future economic outcomes.

Markets have priced in all that aggressively, and now the Fed has too.

The picture could change, said Bill English, an economics professor at Yale and the former head of the Fed’s monetary affairs division.

“I don’t think they are necessarily done with this rate hike cycle,” English said.

But the list of boxes to check is a long one, so long in fact that many investors now see the Fed’s next likely move to be a rate cut.

“The data are … inching towards an ease,” said Steven Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard.

Blank-check company IPOs moving ahead despite U.S. government shutdown

( ) – A corner of the market for initial public offerings is evading the freeze on stock market flotations inflicted by the U.S. government shutdown, putting the spotlight on listings that usually stay under most investors’ radar.

“Blank-check” companies, which launch IPOs to raise money for acquisitions, are taking advantage of their unique structure to proceed without the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been paralyzed by the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

With other stock market debuts on hold while the SEC remains largely closed, these companies, also known as special purpose acquisition vehicles (SPACs), have the IPO limelight all to themselves.

“Right now, SPACs are a way for investors to participate in the IPO market when there is no other market,” said Gregg Noel, head of the West Coast capital markets practice of U.S. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

In a confrontation with Democrats, U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded funding for a physical wall on the Mexican border to end the shutdown, which ,上海夜网千花Mabel,entered its 33rd day on Wednesday and has left 800,000 federal workers without pay. While both sides have offered some small concessions, an agreement that would resolve the standoff remains elusive.

Most companies rely on the SEC to greenlight their IPO following its review of their prospectus to investors.

Under SEC rules, however, companies can make their IPO registration “effective” on their own if they agree to lock in their IPO price 20 days before their market debut.

SPACs are essentially shell vehicles with no pre-existing assets and their initial valuation is based solely on the amount of cash they raise, which allows their IPO price to be set in advance without alienating investors.

What is more, a SPAC’s prospectus can often follow a standard template, minimizing the risk of running afoul of the SEC without its feedback.

“If SPACs are the majority of IPOs and this is in the news, it could elevate their profile. SPACs could become less of a niche investment,” said Eric Pestrue, senior investment analyst at investment firm RiverNorth Capital Management LLC.

At least half a dozen SPACs have amended their filings to go public without the SEC’s input, regulatory filings showed. Nine SPACs are on file publicly for an IPO, according to IPO-focused research firm Renaissance Capital.

Excluding SPACs, some 80 companies have publicly filed with the SEC for an IPO, according to Renaissance Capital.

Companies such as ride-hailing startups Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc have been unable to move forward while they wait for the SEC to resume business.

New Fortress Energy, an own,上海夜生活网419Jace,er of LNG liquefaction and regasification facilities that is scheduled to price its IPO this week, will not go ahead with its plans if the shutdown continues, according to a person familiar with the matter.

No company has completed an IPO on the U.S. stock market since the shutdown started on Dec. 22.

OLD RISKS REMAIN

SPAC IPOs have never上海夜生活网 gotten much traction with long-term investors because of the risks involved: investors do not know in advance which company a SPAC will buy, although some do outline what sectors they want to be active in. Many of their investors have ended up being hedge funds speculating on the SPACs’ ability to complete their targeted acquisition.

“The primary reservation investors have about SPACs is that it’s a new product and they don’t fully understand it,” said Chinh Chu, a former Blackstone G,上海晚上耍女人的地方Caden,roup (BX.N) dealmaker who has done two SPACs.

“It is important for SPACs to have high-quality management teams and to explain their strategy clearly in order to attract the large mutual funds,” Chu added.

Most SPACs have also not offered much of a reward. SPACs have returned an average of 8 percent between 2014 and 2018, compared with 28 percent for the broader IPO market, according to data provider Dealogic.

The attention on SPACs during the shutdown could boost this niche asset class, which makes up about 20 percent of the U.S. IPO market.

“SPACs are having their day right now, for sure. Could the shutdown increase it? I think it is contingent on the government remaining shut and interesting deals coming,” said Howard Fischer, chief executive and founding managing partner of Basso Capital, a SPAC-focused hedge fund.

Democrat donor to pump $30 million into winning House

WASHINGTON ( ) – Democrat Tom Steyer, who has spent millions on national ads calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, will spend $30 million this year trying to get members of his party elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to win control of the chamber from Republicans, he announced on Monday.

Steyer, who also said he will not personally run for office, added that he will a,上海夜网官方网站Idaia,lso continue his national campaign calling for impeachment.

“My fight is in removing Donald Trump from office and removing Donald Trump from power,” Steyer said.

The House impeaches, or brings formal charges against an ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Gabrielle,official, in what would be the first step in removing Trump from office. The U.S. Senate tries the case.

Steyer said his organiz上海夜生活论坛ation is working to have constituents deliver to members of Congress copies of the controversial book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, which challenges Trump’s fitnes,上海夜生活Octava,s for office.

Steyer will not, however, require House candidates whom he supports to pass a “litmus test” supporting impeaching Trump, he said.

The $30 million will be used to mobilize young voters in 10 key states: Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, California, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire and Arizona, Steyer said.

Americans will head to the polls in November when 34 seats in the Senate and all 435 House seats will be up for grabs. Democrats are hoping to ride wins last year in Alabama and Virginia to victory in those elections, potentially taking control of Congress.

“The task which I feel called to do is organizing and mobilizing America’s voters – they have got to be the most powerful forces in American politics,” Steyer said at a Washington, D.C. press conference.

Steyer said he knows that some Democrats think talking about impeachment is a distraction but that he feels it remains important to focus on ousting Trump.

“We know this makes some of our friends and allies in this city uncomfortable,” Steyer said. “We believe this is a false choice – the fact is the two are fundamentally intertwined.”

Indian air safety watchdog orders extra checks on planes with Pratt…

NEW DELHI ( ) – ,上海夜生活群Rachel,India’s air safety watchdog on Thursday directed airlines to make extra checks on their Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines as part of new safety protocols after temporary grounding orders 上海夜生活论坛affected the planes last year.

IndiGo, India’s biggest carrier by market share, and its low-cost rival GoAir, which fly the A320neos in the country, were forced to ground the aircraft on several occasions due to issues related to the engines.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered that airlines must inspect some parts of the 1100 series engines weekly and train the cabin and cockpit crew to deal with and report any kind of odor, burning smell or smoke.

“Log all the cases detecting odors/smoke in cabin during operation for necessary investigation and rectification,” the DGCA said in its notification, adding that in all such cases the engine would need to be inspected in detail and used only after the defect is resolved.

IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation (INGL.NS), and GoAir did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of office hours. Airbus and Pratt & Whitney were not immediately reachable. The new rules, which are effective immediately, were issued days after a meeting between the civil aviation ministry, the regulator, the two airlines, aircraft manufacturer Airbus (AIR.PA) and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, owned by Uni,上海夜网千花Fabi,ted Technologies (UTX.N) to discuss the is,上海夜生活网419Pamela,sues with the engines.

“During (the) meeting, it was decided to issue directive in addition to the existing measures related to combustion chambers and No. 3 bearing issues for identifying and correcting impending failures of dry face seal,” the DGCA said.

The notification also said there would be restrictions imposed on the operation of A320neo flights to Port Blair – the capital of India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands.

It was not immediately clear whether the regulator planned to restrict all A320neo flights to the islands or only place restrictions on a specific series of the engines that have been found to have issues.

Harley sees 2019 shipments slump, shares drop; will boost Thai…

( ) – Harley-Davidson Inc reported worse-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and forecast a slump in global shipments of its motorcycles in 2019, sending its shares down 5 percent.

Still, to avoid the fallout of a tariff war waged by U.S. President Donald Trump, the American company said it would boost investment,上海足浴夜网联系方式Ida, at its Thailand plant to serve European markets. Such a move would allow its motorbikes to avoid retaliatory tariffs by the European Union on U.S. imports.

The news on the Thailand facility was made public hours after Harley-Davidson reported a fourth straight year of declines in worldwide sales. The company has been struggling to revive demand in the United States, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of total sales.

The company expects to ship up to 222,000 motorcycles globally in 2019, the lowest number since 2010.

Shares closed $1.85 lower at $34.76. The stock of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company has fallen about 30 percent since the be上海夜网ginning of 2018.

The motorbike maker said tariffs alone, including import duties imposed by the European Union on its motorcycles, would amount to between $100 million and $120 million in 2019 and contribute to a 6-percentage-point drop in operating margins in the first quarter of this year.

Operating margins in the fourth quarter declined 6.2 percentage points, in part due to the tariffs. Operating margins measure how much profit a company makes on a dollar of sales.

The company will invest $15 million to expand the Thai facility in the city of Rayong, and shipments to Europe will begin by the end of 2019. The plant was originally intended to serve Southeast Asian and Chinese markets.

The decision to shi,上海高端夜生活在那里Talon,ft production out of the United States for European markets was announced last summer after the EU slapped tariffs on U.S. imports in response to Trump’s duties on steel and aluminum imports from the trading bloc.

Trump had blasted Harley’s decision and publicly backed a boycott of the company.

His comments have compounded financial troubles in the United States for the company, as its core customers grow older and outreach efforts to lure younger riders have yet to show results.

A survey published last week by market research firm YouGov found that Trump’s attack led to an erosion in Harley’s brand impression among its core customers.

Harley-Davidson reported an adjusted profit of 17 cents per share in the ,上海夜玩网论坛Eden,fourth quarter, lower than the 28 cents estimated by analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Global retail sales fell 6.1 percent year-on-year. In the United States, sales dropped 10.1 percent in the quarter, more than the 8.3 percent decline expected by analysts.

Wall Street advances on Washington temporary shutdown deal

NEW YORK ( ) – Wall Street gained ground on Friday in a broad-based rally as investors were heartened by news that Washington would move to temporarily end the longest U.S. government shutdown in history.

All three major U.S. stock indexes advanced, with the Dow and the Nasdaq eking out their fifth straight weekly gains. But the S&P 500 posted its first weekly loss of the year, snapping a four-week run.

The indexes backed off their highs after President Donald Trump confirmed he and lawmakers agreed to advance a three-week stop-gap spending plan to reopen the government.

Investor sentiment had faltered in recent days in the face of revived jitters related to the shutdown and the prolonged U.S.-China tariff spat.

“As some of these uncertainties in the market start to diminish we’ll get a clearer picture as to where things are headed,” said Charlie Ripley, senior market strategist for Allianz Investment Management in Minneapolis. “And today’s news of the ending of the government shutdown certainly alleviates some of that overhang.”

“But most likely some uncertainty will linger as this is only a temporary measure to fund the government for now,” Ripley added.

Among these uncertainties, the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China continues to worry investors.

With the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, nearing its conclusion, business leaders have expressed worries over the tariff battles, saying they are “fed up” with Trump’s policies.

An escalation of the U.S.-China trade war would sharpen the global economic slowdown already under way, according to a poll of hundreds of economists worldwide.

Fourth-quarter corporate earnings season is in high gear, with more than 22 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported. Of those, 72.3 percent have beaten analyst expectations.

Earnings on Friday were a mixed bag.

Starbucks Corp also surpassed Wall Street consensus, reporting better-than-anticipated quarterly sales. The coffee chain’s shares advanced 3.6 percent.

Consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive Co reported fourth-quarter revenue that surprised to the upside but said it expects profit to decline in 2019. Its stock edged down 0.6 percent.

Intel Corp shares dropped 5.5 percent following the chipmaker’s disappointing fourth-quarter sales and current-quarter forecasts.

Still, the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index ended the session up 2.2 percent in the wake of a spate of positive earnings from other chipmakers.

DR Horton Inc’s quarterly results fell short of analyst expectations, underscoring persistent weakness in the U.S. housing market. The homebuilder’s shares fell 2.6 percent.

Western Digital Corp also disappointed, but its closed 7.5 percent higher after providing an upbeat forecast and saying it was committed to paying dividends.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 183.96 points, or 0.75 percent, to 24,737.2, the S&P 500 gained 22.43 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,664.76 and the Nas,上海夜网千花[上海夜生活网随机符],daq Composite added 91.40 points, or 1.29 percent, to 7,164.86.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones o,上海晚上耍女人的地方Kade,n the NYSE by a 3.41-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.56-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 36 new highs and 20 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.55 billion shares, compared to t,夜上海419龙凤论坛Larissa,he 7.79 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

FBI Director Wray defends bureau in wake of Republican criticism

WASHINGTON ( ) – The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation defended his employees on Thursday against a growing chorus of accusations by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, that its agents were allowing political bias to seep into their investigations.

In testimony before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Christopher Wray said he believed the reputation of the FBI was not, as Trump recently wrote on Twitter, “in tatters.”

“The agents, analysts and staff of the FBI are big boys and girls. We understand we will take criticism from all corners,” Wray said.

“My experience has been that our reputation is quite good.”

Republicans had in recent weeks stepped up criticism of the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump campaign aides had colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The move is widely seen as a tactic to undermine Mueller’s investigation, which has so far led to criminal charges against four people from Trump’s inner circle.

It comes as Republicans prepare to head into a potentially challenging midterm 2018 congressional election cycle.

Republicans have sought to re-litigate questions relating to the FBI’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and questioned whether Justice Department officials gave her preferential treatment in their decision not to charge her with a crime.

They have criticized former FBI Director James Comey for publicly announcing a decision not to refer Clinton for prosecution and asked whether the decision-making was politically tainted.

Wray took over the helm of the FBI after Trump abruptly fired Comey earlier this year.

‘REASSIGNED, NOT DISCIPLINED’

Most recently, Republicans got fresh ammunition against Mueller and the FBI, after media reports said FBI agent Peter Strzok ,上海夜哪里艳遇Caitlin,was removed from the Russia probe because he had exchanged private text messages that disparaged Trump and supported Clinton.

Strzok was involved in both the Clinton email and Russia investigations.

Wray acknowledged Thursday that Strzok was removed from Mueller’s investigation, but said he ,上海夜网官方网站Radcliff,was reassigned, not disciplined.

“We cannot afford for the FBI – which has traditionally been dubbed the prem上海夜生活论坛ier law enforcement agency in the world – to become tainted by politicization or the perception of a lack of even-handedness,” Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said.

Wray repeatedly refused to weigh in on how his predecessor handled the Clinton matter, and deferred to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is conducting a wide-ranging review into the topic.

Horowitz recently told lawmakers he expects his review to be complete by la,上海夜网邀请码Idaia,te winter or early spring.

“When those findings come to me, I will take appropriate action if necessary,” Wray said.

Democrats, meanwhile, urged Wray to stand up against bullying by the president.

“Your job requires you to have the courage to stand up to the president, Mr. Director,” said the committee’s Ranking Democrat Jerrold Nadler. “There are real consequences for allowing the President to continue unchecked in this manner.”

Ford sees weaker-than-expected fourth quarter, uncertainty in 2019

DETROIT ( ) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) forecast a weaker-than-expected fourth quarter profit and provided a cloudier 2019 outlook due to tariff costs and uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union, sending shares down more than 3.5 percent on Wednesday.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker, which is restructuring its operations globally, disappointed analysts by not providing a detailed financial forecast for this year, simply saying earnings and revenue could improve. It said, however, that tariffs could erode 2019 earnings by about $700 million.

“Investor patience is likely to be further tested today as Ford has basically once again said ‘your guess’ to the financial community with respect to specific financial guidance” for 2019, Evercore ISI analysts said in a research note.

This is in contrast to Ford’s larger U.S. rival, General Motors Co (GM.N), which last week forecast higher 2019 profit that far surpassed analyst estimates.

Shares of Ford sank 3.7 percent to $8.51 in midday trading.

A volatile U.S. trade policy environment and uncertainty around Brexit could impact its performance in 2019, said Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.

Ford is the top selling automotive brand in Britain, and a no-deal British exit from the European Union, while unlikely, would be “catastrophic,” he said.

“Until we see how some of these things begin to play out … we want to be a little prudent in terms of how specific we are,” Shanks said at,上海夜哪里艳遇Sabrina, a Deutsche Bank conference in Detroit. “But do we think we should improve the business this year? Absolutely.”

TARIFF IMPACT

Ford also expects tariffs imposed by the United States and China, and the impact of higher costs for steel and aluminum, to hurt profits by about $700 million this year, Shanks said.

Tariffs and high commodity costs also hurt its 2018 earnings.

Nevertheless, Shanks said Ford sees the potential for higher operating earnings, revenue and adjusted operating cash flow in 2019.

Among positive factors will be new product rollouts like the Ford Ranger pickup truck and Explorer sport utility vehicle, its restructuring initiatives, a recovery in China, and the redesign of its money-losing European operations. Ford does not expect a U.S. recession this year.

The company is moving away from sedans and investing more heavily in higher-profit pickup trucks, commercial vans and sport utility vehicles. Ford will invest 90 percent of its ca上海夜生活网pital in trucks and SUVs from 2019 to 2023.

The absence of details provided on its expected profit could point to Ford having less visibility on the market and the challenges it faces, RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak said.

“The lack of a formal range is likely to lead to more dispersion of estimates and expectations, making it more challenging to ‘hit’ investor expectations,” he said in a research note. “That could add difficulty to Ford’s effort to build market confidence in their turnaround plan.”

2018 PROFIT

Ford said it expects 2018 adjusted earnings of $1.30 a share on revenue of $160.3 billion. That’s down from its October forecast for operating earnings per share of $1.30 to $1.50, and 3 cents lower than analysts’ estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

For the fourth quarter, Ford expects adjusted earnings of 30 cents a share, below the 32 cents expected by analysts.

The automaker maintained its quarterly dividend payout at 15 cents a share.

On Tuesday, Ford and Germany’s Volkswagen AG,上海夜生活服务Gabriella, (VOWG_p.DE) said they would join forces on commercial vans and pickups and were exploring joint development of electric and self-driving technology in a bid to save the automakers billi,夜上海419龙凤论坛Macey,ons of dollars.

Ford, which is cutting jobs globally, remains committed to its money-losing operations in Europe and South America, president of global markets, Jim Farley, said. Losses in China, where Ford has struggled, will narrow this year, he added.

Last week, Ford said it would cut thousands of jobs and look at plant closures in Europe, as part of its plan to return to a 6 percent operating margin in the region.

In South America, Farley said Ford will improve its manufacturing operations through the VW alliance, but did not provide details.

Trump’s new Netherlands envoy sheds no light on ‘Muslim chaos’ comment

THE HAGUE ( ) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s new ambassador to t,上海夜哪里艳遇Ebba,he Netherlands, who two years ago said Muslim migrants had sown chaos in the country, cut short questions seeking clarification of those remarks in his first meeting with its media on Wednesday.

Pete Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman for Michigan, was repeatedly asked about the comments, made at an event sponsored by the right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center.

“The Islamic movement is now gotten to a point where they have put,上海夜生活去哪玩Jack, Europe into chaos,” Hoekstra had said at the November 2015 gathering, during a recorded panel discussion about migration from Muslim states.

“Chaos in the Netherlands – there are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned and, yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”

There are no instances in modern Dutch history of politicians being set alight, and no areas of the country considered no-go zones.

Hoekstra last month denied making the comments, telling a reporter with current affairs program Nieuwsuur they were “an incorrect statement… fake news”.

He later apologized, saying in a tweet on Dec. 23: “I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview. Please accept my apology.”

On Wednesday at his new residence in The Hague, Dutch reporters repeatedly asked him to clarify if he believed local politicians had been set on fire.

Hoekstra repeated that he regretted the filmed exchange, which went viral on social media last month, but refused to comment further, angering reporters who were cut off by press officers.

“Please answer the question,” the Nieuwsuur reporter said. “This is not how we do things here.”

Dutch-U.S. political and military ties go back four centuries and American officials rarely face hostility from Dutch media.

President D上海夜生活论坛onald Trump nominated Netherlands-born Hoekstra as ambassador to The Hague last July and the Senate confirmed the posting in November.

Hoekstra served as a Congressman from 1993 to 2011. He chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence or was the ra,夜上海419龙凤论坛Mace,nking Republican on the Committee from 2004-2011.

Powell faces early reckoning on Fed’s $4-trillion question

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO ( ) – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has a problem: how to explain that the Fed may soon begin to taper its ongoing asset-shedding operation without looking like he’s hunkering down for a coming recession, or caving to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Not long ago, Powell expected to face this delicate communication test some time later in 2019, rather than at his news conference on Wednesday following the close of the Fed’s first policy meeting of the year.

But three things – an unexpected scarcity of reserves deep in the plumbing of Wall Street, overt public pressure from investors and the White House, and the Fed’s own decision to rethink its interest-rate hikes – are forcing the U.S. central bank to acknowledge the real possibility ,上海夜生活群Easton,of hanging on to more bonds than originally planned.

“You cannot stop the rate-hiking cycle without communicating on,上海021夜网Mabel, the balance sheet as well,” said Thomas Costerg, senior U.S. economist at Pictet Wealth Management, in Geneva, Switzerland.

A bigger balance sheet could result in an across-the-board easing of market borrowing costs and the foreign-exchange value of the dollar, easing strains on emerging markets. It could also affect the Fed’s appetite for bond buying in the face of a future U.S. downturn.

For more than a year, the Fed has methodically trimmed its multi-trillion-dollar balance sheet – from nearly $4.5 trillion to about $4.1 trillion and falling – without much notice.

Instead, it has kept the world’s eyes trained on a series of interest-rate hikes which, according to careful messaging from policymakers in recent weeks, may have come to an end.

But late last year, prominent investors took to blaming the Fed’s balance sheet runoff for market volatility. To underline what they saw as the harmful restraining effects of the Fed’s reversal of its bond-buying stimulus, the program known as quantitative easing undertaken during the financial crisis to jump-start the economy, they dubbed the runoff “quantitative tightening.”

In December, Trump amplified that theme, tweeting that the central bank ought not to “make yet another mistake” and “stop with the 50 B’s” – a reference to the $50 billion maximum in bonds by whi,上海高端夜生活在那里Quay,ch the Fed has been shrinking its portfolio each month, according to a plan it outlined and began in 2017.

A day after the tweet, when Powell said the run-off remained on “automatic pilot,” the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index delivered its worst 60-minute selloff in at least a year.

Two weeks later, when Powell stressed that the plan was actually flexible, the index delivered its best 60 minutes in at least a year.

Trump’s tweet exposed a dilemma for the Fed: though its 2017 plan divorced balance sheet policy from monetary policy, markets see a stronger connection. If the Fed is to stick to its guns on keeping the balance sheet from becoming a first-res上海夜生活论坛ponder tool against economic ups and downs, Powell needs to keep that divorce on the books.

“I don’t think they’re going to stop,” said Chuck Self, chief investment officer at iSectors LLC, in Appleton, Wisconsin. “They want to get it down as low as they can without disrupting the economy.”

A CLEARER ROAD MAP

The central bank is indeed nearing the point at which it needs to adjust its balance sheet plan, not because of the state of the domestic economy, which appears strong, but because of the plumbing of short-term markets.

As the portfolio has decreased, banks have trimmed the reserves they keep at the Fed by even greater amounts, putting a strain on the Fed’s ability to control the short-term policy rate by which it steers monetary policy.

Economists had already speculated last summer that to deal with mounting scarcity of reserves, and the resulting upward push on interest rates beyond a target range, the run-off would need to end two years earlier and leave the Fed with $1 trillion more than it had envisioned.

For its part, the Fed aims to trim its portfolio to an unspecified level at which demand for reserves matches supply – though not to as low as the $900 billion it held before the 2007-2009 recession prompted it begin the purchases.

“It’ll be substantially smaller than it is now…but nowhere near where it was before,” Powell said on Jan. 10, framing any decision as a technical one and not a referendum on the overall policy stance.

Growing questions about the balance sheet may prompt Powell to sketch out a clearer road map for the asset holdings at his 2:30 p.m. (19:30 GMT) Wednesday news conference.

“They’ve got to get started on that,” Darrell Duffie, a professor at Stanford University’s graduate school of business, said of telegraphing the policy change. “They are not boxed in now, but the longer they wait, the more boxed in they’ll be.”

After raising rates gradually last year, the Fed is taking a wait-and-see approach to further tightening in the face of an overseas slowdown and market volatility.

Long winter’s nap? Global slowdown, market fears could extend Fed pauseA set of domestic and global factors put Fed rates hikes on hold through 2016, and futures markets responded by narrowing the gap or spread between forward-looking contracts. The Fed only moved when that spread recovered. A similar dynamic is developing today.

But even if rates remain steady this year, the ongoing shedding of assets, including some $380 billion since October 2017, will continue to tighten financial conditions by making funding more expensive for banks.

In 2017, the Fed projected it would trim the portfolio until around 2022 when it would hold $2.3 trillion to $2.9 trillion in assets.

But minutes from the Fed’s December meeting showed growing internal debate with policymakers mulling holding a larger “buffer” of securities than planned, or slowing the pace of run-off as the finish line approaches.

In mid-2018, economists at Deutsch Bank Securities were among those predicting the Fed would be forced to stop the process by early 2020 with about $3.7 trillion in assets.

The minutes, they wrote in a note, have “shifted the balance of risks” even more and convinced them that Powell will move to halt the portfolio run-off as early as the third quarter of 2019.

In a possible preview of Powell’s message, New York Fed President John Williams, a permanent voter on the Fed’s policy-setting committee, said on Jan. 18: “If circumstances change, I will reassess our choices regarding monetary policy, including the path of balance sheet normalization. Data dependence applies to all that we do.”

After attacks by Trump, Bannon finds himself with few friends

WASHINGTON ( ) – Following his brutal disavowal by President Donald Trump, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s dream of spearheading a new U.S. political movement appears in tatters while the Republican establishment he challenged is feelin,上海夜生活桑拿会所Jacob,g more secure.

Trump turned on Bannon over his comments to the author of a book highly critical of the president and his family. The White House followed up on Thursday by s,上海会所夜网Sabrina,uggesting that Bannon be ousted from his influential perch as chief executive of the hard-right news site Breitbart News.

Bannon appeared to have few close friends left among the more conservative factions of the Republican Party, which swiftly proclaimed their loyalty to Trump following the breakup.

“I don’t know anyone in the conservative movement that’s supporting Steve over Donald Trump right now in this,” Christopher Ruddy, a close Trump ally and chief executive of the conservative Newsmax site, told .

Mike Cernovich, a leading social-media voice of the so-called alt-right movement that Bannon helped energize on Trump’s behalf, had no doubt about which of the two men had more popular support. “The base will stay with Trump.”

Reader comments on Breitbart’s site seemed overwhelmingly supportive of the president compared with Bannon. The Wall Street Journal reported late on Thursday that the site’s board was considering letting him go.

Bannon’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Last year, media outlets as diverse as Time magazine and the comedy show “Saturday Night Live” portrayed Bannon, Trump’s election campaign strategist, as the power behind the president, an unshaven, shabbily dressed Svengali bending the Republican Party to his economic nationalist agenda.

But Bannon’s star had been tumbling long before this week’s flap over criticism Bannon leveled at Trump’s family in Michael Wolff’s new book on the White House,上海夜网后花园Cadence,.

In August, Bannon was fired amid a power struggle in the West Wing, forcing his return to Breitbart.

His reputation as a political mastermind then took a hit after Republicans lost a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama they had long held when the Bannon-backed Roy Moore, who was accused of improper conduct with teenage girls, fell to Democrat Doug Jones.

After leaving the White House, Bannon proclaimed his loyalty to Trump and vowed to wage an insurrection against the Republican establishment, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he accused of stalling Trump’s policy agenda.

But last month, on the heels of Moore’s loss in Alabama, McConnell helped steer an overhaul of the U.S. tax code through Congress, earning praise from Trump and depriving Bannon of his argument that上海夜生活论坛 the Republican-controlled Congress had not produced results.

‘GREATLY DIMINISHED’

Trump turned on Bannon on Wednesday, saying he had “lost his mind” when he lost his job as chief strategist. He said Bannon did not represent Trump’s political base and had exaggerated his influence even when he was at the White House.

Following Trump’s attack, some of the candidates who had aligned themselves with Bannon’s movement began stepping away, including Arizona U.S. Senate hopeful Kelli Ward and New York congressional candidate Michael Grimm, who called the attacks against Trump’s family “baseless.”

Bannon’s influence, Ruddy said, had always stemmed from the belief that he was close to Trump.

“He’s greatly diminished,” he said. “What Steve forgets is the base is all about Donald Trump. It’s not about Steve Bannon.”

Josh Holmes, a former top aide to McConnell, said Bannon had been on a “self-interested mission” to play kingmaker inside the Republican Party.

“I think that’s over. … A leader without followers is just a guy taking a walk,” Holmes said.

A friend of Bannon, former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg, said he doubted Bannon’s relationship with Trump could be fully repaired. But he added that Bannon would retain some sway over Trump’s supporters, particularly on issues such as immigration.

“This is not the end of the world, particularly with this president,” Nunberg said.

Trump is known for casting associates out of the fold, but also for bringing them back, particularly if there are common political interests or common enemies.

The president did appear to be in a slightly forgiving mood on Thursday, noting that Bannon had praised him the night before on a radio show.

“I don’t know, he called me a great man last night,” Trump told reporters, “so you know, he obviously changed his tune pretty quick.”

However, in a tweet late on Thursday evening, he ridiculed Bannon with a new nickname, something Trump has commonly done to tag political foes and critics.

Slamming author Wolff for his “phony” book, Trump tweeted, “Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!”

Renault convenes board to turn page on Ghosn era

PARIS ( ) – Renault (RENA.PA) has called a board meeting to replace Chairman and Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, in a move that may begin to ease tensions with alliance partner Nissan (7201.T) in the wake of Ghosn’s arrest in Japan for alleged financial misconduct.

The board, which meets at 0900 GMT on Thursday, will consider the proposed appointment of outgoing Michelin (MICP.PA) boss Jean-Dominique Senard as chairman and the promotion o,夜上海419龙凤论坛Qirin,f Ghosn’s deputy Thierry Bollore to CEO, three sources said.

Renault confirmed an emergency board meeting was planned for Thursday, but a spokesman did not respond to questions about its agenda or Ghosn’s replacement.

The decision, two months after Ghosn’s Nov. 19 arrest and swift dismissal as Nissan chairman, turns a page on his two decades at the helm of the partnership he transforme上海夜生活论坛d into a global carmaking giant, following Renault’s acquisition of a near-bankrupt Nissan in 1999.

Ghosn has been charged with failing to disclose more than $80 million in additional Nissan compensation for 2010-18 that he had arranged to be paid later. Nissan director Greg Kelly and the company itself have also been indicted.

Both men deny the deferred pay agreements were illegal or required disclosure. Ghosn has also denied a separate breach of trust charge over personal investment losses he temporarily transferred to Nissan in 2008. Nissan has said it takes the matter seriously and pledged to improve corporate governance.

Ghosn has now agreed to resign from Renault, three sources familiar with the matter told – ,夜上海论坛Mace,but only after the French government, its biggest shareholder, called for leadership change and his bail requests were rejected by the Japanese courts.

No formal resignation has yet been received, however, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said late on Tuesday.

“As of this moment in time, Renault’s interim leadership has not received a resignation letter from Carlos Ghosn,” the minister said on BFM TV.

Senard, 65, now faces the immediate task of soothing relations with Nissan, which is 43.4 percent-owned by Renault. Since Ghosn’s arrest, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa has sought to weaken Renault’s control and resisted its attempts to nominate new directors to the Japanese carmaker’s board.

Nissan currently owns a 15 percent non-voting stake in its French parent and 34 percent in Mitsubishi Motors (7211.T), a third major partner in their manufacturing alliance.

Once its new management is settled, French officials want work to resume on a new ownership structure cementing the partnership – which Ghosn had been mandated to explore when his Renault contract was renewed last year with government backing.

Nissan is wary of any such move. In an interview last week, Saikawa acknowledged shareholders’ concerns that the current structure undervalues their investment, but added that changing it was “really not the current priority”.

“The subject is not on the table today,” Finance Minister Le Maire said on Sunday amid Japanese press reports that France was actively pu,上海足浴夜网联系方式Lake,shing for a Renault-Nissan merger.

The widely anticipated rejection of Ghosn’s latest bail application raises the likelihood that the 64-year-old executive will remain in custody until his trial in Japan.

Trump tariffs force tough choices at U.S. auto suppliers

WYOMING, Mich. ( ) – Bob Roth makes no bones about his feelings towards U.S. manufacturing.

The co-owner and chief executive of RoMan Manufacturing Inc, which makes transformers and glass-molding equipment for automakers and other industries, asks callers on his voicemail: “What have you done today to support U.S. manufacturing?”

His procurement team has been under long-standing orders to source all parts and materials as near as possible to his western Michigan factory, even with President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.

But with those tariffs dragging into a new year and steel comprising a quarter of RoMan’s f上海夜生活论坛ixed costs, Roth says his company has now begun the lengthy process of switching from its U.S. suppliers to an Israeli company for a key component for its products.

It is a strategic decision that RoMan and other auto suppliers have put off since the tariffs kicked in last spring. With tariffs firmly part of the landscape, some are now starting to shift their own supply chain to keep costs in check, according to more than a dozen interviews with U.S. auto suppliers and industry consultants.

The choice is stark for most suppliers: absorb the extra cost, pass them on to customers or find ways to slash material costs.

The transformers Roth’s 150 workers at RoMan produce require a magnetized steel core that is now more expensive as tariffs have allowed U.S. steel producers to raise prices. The Israeli supplier has access to cheaper steel and its cores qualify as finished products, so they are no,上海夜生活网交流Qirin,t subject to tariffs – making them a cheaper alternative.

“We don’t have the money to buy our way out problems like this,” Roth said of RoMan, which has annual revenue of around $35 million. “In the long run we can’t afford to absorb the extra cost of tariffs.”

Roth says he appreciates the sentiment behind Trump’s push to bring back American manufacturers jobs, but adds tariffs are “the wrong tool” because they hurt U.S. firms.

Trade consulting firm Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC estimated last summer metals tariffs could cost 5,000 jobs in the U.S. auto industry and 400,000 jobs overall – 16 jobs lost for every steel or alumi,上海夜网推油Octavia,num worker hired. But so far there is little data available on how tariffs affect businesses such as RoMan because the process of switching suppliers is a long one and many manufacturers have muddled through so far.

Steven Wybo, a managing director at consultancy Conway MacKenzie, said “every single auto supplier we are working with has concerns around tariffs,” and he worries they come at an already challenging time for the sector.

Suppliers are gearing up for a large number of vehicle launches over the next three years, an expensive business, while also bracing for an expected decline in U.S. new vehicle sales. And some in the sector will bear the brunt of restructuring at Ford Motor Co (F.N) General Motors Co (GM.N), which are dropping less-popular sedan models.

Adding tariffs to the mix can require a creative approach.

RoMan, for instance, splits half of a 10 percent tariff with a Chinese customer on transformers subject to retaliatory measures against U.S. manufacturers. RoMan will raise some prices 2 percent this month to partially offset rising copper prices.

Warren, Michigan-based Eckhart Inc – which books about $100 million in annual sales by building robots and automated tools for GM, Volvo and Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and other automakers – must absorb the tariffs or run the risk of losing out in competitive bids.

So Eckhart has focused on cutting costs, including rolling out a new U.S. purchasing system for raw materials, CEO Andrew Storm said.

“We have to fight for every single dollar of revenue that com,上海会所夜网Gabe,es in the door,” Storm said. “So we find ways to eat the extra cost.”

That is why RoMan is seeking alternative suppliers to cut costs – and it takes a long time to ensure a new supplier is financially sound and can consistently hit industry standards. Months into that process, RoMan is only now validating test parts produced by its potential new Israeli supplier.

“You can’t turn your supply chain on a dime,” said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

Dziczek said she gets calls “all the time” from suppliers wondering whether to overhaul their supply chain, and yet worrying that if they do, Trump may reverse policy overnight.

LOSING BUSINESS

The issue stretches up and down the supply chain for cars. Ford and GM have already warned metals tariffs will cost them $1 billion each in profits, setting in motion a complex dance over who foots the bill.

If automakers have to cover the cost, they typically raise vehicle prices to pass it onto consumers. Just this week, a Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) executive said industry wide tariffs have increased the average U.S. vehicle price by around $600.

Peter Bible, chief risk officer at tax advisory firm EisnerAmper and former chief accounting officer at GM, said suppliers making parts for less-popular vehicles will have trouble passing on higher costs. Automakers will resist price increases, but will be also be wary of pushing suppliers too hard, Bible said.

Problems at a single supplier can be disastrous, as Ford discovered last May when a fire at a supplier halted production of some highly-profitable pickup trucks.

Some suppliers have adapted quickly to cut costs.

They have cost Gentherm Inc (THRM.O), which makes climate control systems for vehicles and had revenue of close to $1 billion in 2017, a “few million” dollars, according to CEO Phil Eyler.

“We’ve worked really fast to change supplier locations in a couple cases,” he said.

Mark Wakefield, a managing director at consultancy AlixPartners, said suppliers providing more commoditized parts will find adjusting harder.

That’s the case for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Pridgeon & Clay, which supplies stamped steel and stainless steel parts to automakers, with annual revenue of more than $350 million.

Third-generation owner Kevin Clay has lost business to low-cost overseas competitors in India who use cheaper tariff-free steel, and whose finished products are not subject to Trump’s U.S. tariffs.

Metal tariffs have shaved 25 percent off Clay’s pre-tax profit. Banks still wary of his sector following the Great Recession are growing reluctant to issue loans, and his company has mothballed some spending plans and cut staff more than usual for this time of year, according to Clay.

“These tariffs have cost me business,” said Clay, who describes himself as a moderate conservative who fervently believes in free trade. “If the aim is to get to a tariff-free world, this is a crappy way to get there.”