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Trump’s funding request for U.S. border wall hits snag among some Republicans

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Donald Trump’s call for $1.5 billion this year to help build a wall along the border with Mexico could be in jeopardy as fellow Republicans in Congress weigh delaying a decision on the request.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt, a member of his party’s leadership, told reporters on Tuesday that money for the wall likely would not be coupled with a spending bill that must pass by April 28 to avoid shutting down federal agencies whose funding expires then.

Blunt said the must-do funding “comes together better” without Trump’s additional request for the border wall and military programs and could be considered “at a later time.”

Democrats are threatening to block the bill funding federal agencies from April 29 to Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year, if money for the border 上海夜网wall is included.

They object to one of Trump’s premier 2016 campaign promises, saying it is poorly planned and that there are other border security measures already constructed or under consideration.

When he ran for president, Trump pledged Mexico would pay to build the wall, designed to keep illegal immigrants and drugs from entering the United States. The Mexican government has said it will not do so.

The initiative has also faced resistance among Republicans, including lawmakers representing some border towns. The federal government would have to purchase land in many locations in order to construct the edifice, which could make construction costs soar.

reported the wall could end up costing as much as $21.6 billion, far more than the $12 billion Trump cited.

Representative Mario Diaz-Balart also expressed skepticism about Congress’ ability to approve funds for the wall, given the super-majority vote needed in the Senate for most major legislation.

Asked about the wall, Diaz-Balart, a senior member of the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee and a leading voice on immigration policy, said: “I’m always willing to look at other things we can do to try to get that 60-vote threshold” on border and interior security.

Lawmakers said progress was being made on legislation to keep the government running beyond April 28.

House Speaker Paul Ryan removed another potential land mine on Tuesday when he said a Republican drive to end federal funding for women’s healthcare provider Planned Parenthood would be best accomplished on legislation other than the upcoming funding bill.

Democrats have vowed to stop the must-do money bill if it ended Planned Parenthood’s federal funds.

Uber chief executive laments U.S. trade policy for lackluster IPO

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK ( ) – Uber Technologies Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said on Tuesday the company’s initial public offering last month was hurt by U.S. trade tensions even as he downplayed recent volatility in the stock price.

The comments from Khosrowshahi continue the fallout from Uber’s IPO, which was the most anticipated U.S. listing since Facebook Inc seven years ago but has struggled since going public.

Uber priced shares in its IPO toward the bottom of its target range at $45 and the stock ended its first day of trading on May 10 down 7.6% at $41.57, even as the S&P 500 reversed losses to end in positive territory.

“The timing of our IPO was very much aligned with our president’s tariff wars, the same day,” Khosrowshahi said at an event at the Economic Club of Washington. “So I think we got caught up a bit in the market swirl. And there’s nothing you can do about that.”

Uber shares fell as low as $36.08 but have since rebounded and were trading at $42.21 on Tuesday, down 0.9% on the day.

Employees “have a six-month lockup so nobody in the company cares anyway what the stock prices is now – it’s a bunch of traders,” said Khosrowshahi. “It doesn’t really affect us… We work on building a great enterprise – the market will take care of itself,” he added.

Khosrowshahi addressed the announcement last week of the planned departure of its chief operating officer (COO) and chief marketing officer and he said he will not replace the COO as he organizes Uber “in a bit more of a business unit basis.”

He added they were “tough changes but I think are absolutely the right changes for the next three to five years.”

Khosrowshahi also has the option to buy potentially hundreds of thousands of shares in the ride-hailing fir上海夜生活m at a price well below where the company went public, according to a regulatory filing for Uber’s IPO.

The options highlight how Khosrowshahi is at least partially protected from price swings in Uber’s stock.

Khosrowshahi has options on 750,000 Uber shares that vest gradually and can be exercised at $33.65 per share.

Uber first granted the options on Sept. 5, 2017 with an exercise price of $41.65 per share but this was changed on May 8, 2018, according to the filing. The details were reported earlier on Tuesday by The Information.

An Uber spokesman said the repricing of Khosrowshahi’s option grants was made to shorten the timeline over which they were granted to seven years from 10 years in conjunction with a bonus plan dependent on the company being acquired for or trading at $120 billion. Uber went public at a valuation of $82.4 billion..

There was no material change in the grant’s total value, according to the company’s filing.

“I believe in performance-based pay,” Khosrowshahi said Tuesday when asked about his compensation. “If I do very well for shareholders … that’s a circumstance where I want to be rewarded.”

Khosrowshahi joined Uber in 2017 to replace company co-founder Travis Kalanick who was ousted as CEO.

He was tasked with getting the company ready for its IPO, and convincing investors that he had successfully changed Uber’s culture and business practices after a series of embarrassing scandals over the last two years.

Democrats face uphill fight if Trump gets second U.S. high court pick

WASHINGTON ( ) – If Democrats thought it was hard to stop President Donald Trump’s first U.S. Supreme Court nominee, it promises to be even tougher for them if he gets to fill another vacancy, potentially to replace the most influential justice, Anthony Kennedy.

Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sides with the court’s liberals in key cases such as on gay rights and abortion, is one of three justices 78 or older. Justice Stephen Breyer is 78 and fellow liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84.

Former Kennedy Supreme Court clerks said the justice, who turns 81 in July上海夜网, may be pondering retirement either this year or in 2018.

That would give Trump a further chance to shape the court after his first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was sworn in on Monday for the lifetime job to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia after overcoming fierce Democratic opposition in the Senate confirmation process.

Kennedy administered Gorsuch’s judicial oath at a White House ceremony, and Trump heaped praise on a justice who has spent nearly three decades on America’s top court, calling him “a great man of outstanding accomplishment.”

Gorsuch is one of Kennedy former clerks. Kennedy is planning a reunion of his clerks in June rather than next year as had been expected. Kennedy, through a court spokesman, declined to comment on his plans.

The implications for the court if Kennedy were to step down are enormous. For the past decade he been its swing vote in major cases. Gorsuch’s confirmation restored the court’s 5-4 conservative majority. If whenever Kennedy leaves the bench he is replaced by a stalwart conservative, that would move the court further to the right.

Republicans possess a 52-48 majority in the Senate. In order to secure Gorsuch’s confirmation, they voted to prohibit a procedural roadblock called a filibuster that had required a super-majority of 60 votes to allow a confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominees, leaving the minority Democrats with little ammunition for the next nomination fight.

“I think it will be very hard for Democrats to get much traction to derail a future Trump nominee without the threat of a filibuster,” George Washington University political scientist Sarah Binder said.

But Democrats and Republicans still are predicting a fierce fight over the next court vacancy.

‘I EXPECT ARMAGEDDON ‘

“For the life of me I don’t understand why the Democrats made such a fuss about this one. They look stupid,” Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said last week of Gorsuch’s nomination. “I expect Armageddon on the next one because that’s going to change, assuming Trump gets another one, the direction of the court. It would certainly keep the court in a more conservative mode for a long time.”

A Democratic congressional aide added, “The opposition to Gorsuch could look weak compared to what a similarly conservative nominee would face, if it would tip the balance on the court.”

Kennedy is the longest-serving of the nine justices. He was nominated by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and confirmed by the Senate in 1988 after Democrats thwarted Reagan’s first choice, outspoken conservative Robert Bork, and his second pick, Douglas Ginsburg, withdrew from consideration.

Although he has sided with his conservative colleagues on many issues, Kennedy has supported liberal causes such as gay rights, culminating in writing the landmark 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

He also joined the liberals in upholding abortion rights. In 2016, Kennedy joined the court’s four liberal justices in a ruling striking down a Texas abortion law imposing strict regulations on doctors and facilities in the strongest endorsement of U.S. abortion rights in more than two decades.

He also authored a 2016 ruling upholding the consideration of race in college admissions, joined by the court’s liberals.

University of Georgia School of Law professor Lori Ringhand said Republicans may be wary of defending an extremely conservative court nominee with the midterm congressional elections coming up in 2018, if another vacancy arises.

“It’s not clear it would be to the electoral advantage to Republicans to have a hotly contested Supreme Court nomination right before the midterms that highlighted a nominee’s extremely conservative positions on social issues that the majority of the public have actually accepted,” Ringhand said.

Brexit chaos holding back UK tech sector: London mayor

LONDON ( ) – London’s booming technology sector could be making even faster progress if the gridlock over Brexit wasn’t depriving thousands of start-ups and big tech companies of the certainty they need over policy, London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Monday.

Speaking on the op上海夜生活论坛ening day of London Tech Week, Europe’s biggest technology festival, Khan said Brexit had drained government resources and attention away from important debates, such as over the use artificial intelligence (AI).

“There’s no doubt that as a country we should be much further ahead than we are now – not only in terms of making sure we can make the most of what (AI) has to offer, but in terms of educating the public, encouraging public debate and preparing for the potential impact on our society,” he said.

Britain voted to leave the European Union nearly three years ago but there is little clarity on how or when it will happen.

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May has failed to get her Brexit divorce agreement over the line, resulting in the end of her premiership, and Khan’s Labour party is also split, in particular over a second referendum.

Khan said there was a “huge amount of uncertainty” over Brexit, hitting investment in London and the rest of Britain.

“The best way to break the gridlock, is for the British public to have a say for the first time: ‘Do we accept the deal negotiated by the government’, with the option of remaining in the European Union,” he told in an interview. “I think it should happen sooner than later.”

He said the Labour party needed to be clearer about its policy, and back a public vote.

Despite Brexit uncertainty, Khan said London’s tech sector was flourishing.

“There’s a real energy and fizz here,” he said, adding London was home to more AI companies than Berlin and Paris combined.

Tech companies based in the city attracted a record 2.56 billion pounds ($3.26 billion) in venture capital in the first six months of 2019, more than twice as much as those in Berlin, the Mayor of London’s investment agency said on Monday.

Some of the largest investment deals in the first half of the year included 441 million pounds for e-commerce food delivery firm Deliveroo. Online payments business Checkout.com, meanwhile, raised 176 million pounds, the agency said.

The city also attracted more foreign direct investment projects from overseas tech companies than any other city in the past 12 months, London & Partners said, with 91 international technology companies investing a total of 864 million pounds.

U.S. tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook have announced major investments in London in recent years.

Khan has a long-running feud with Donald Trump that was re-ignited last week when the U.S. president arrived in London for a state visit, an invitation criticized by the mayor. Trump tweeted that Khan was a “stone cold loser”.

“I think it is up to Donald Trump to answer why he is obsessed with me,” Khan said.

“I speak almost on a daily basis with Americans who love our city, many of them are embarrassed by what their president is doing, but it’s for him to explain his behavior,” he said. “But I am clear, we are a pro-America city.”

European stocks clock best weekly showing in two months, French shares shine

( ) – European stocks posted their best weekly performance since early April on Friday, aided by strong gains in Paris, against a backdrop of hope among investors that central banks would support global growth with more accommodative policies.

The Bundesbank slashed its growth projections for Germany and euro zone money markets now price in a 60% chance of the European Central Bank cutting interest rates by 10 basis points by year-end, while U.S. job growth slowed sharply in May, feeding expectations of lower U.S. interest rates in 2019.

The pan-European STOXX 600 gained 0.9%, with Paris-traded stocks posting a 1.6% gain. Frankfurt-listed shares rose 0.8%, while their peers in London firmed 1%.

“Investors continue to pile into equities, with the jobs report and subsequent stock rally capping a very good week for equity markets,” Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, wrote in a note.

上海夜生活网Sanofi tacked on 4.4% to prop up the French index and European health care stocks, on news it has poached Paul Hudson from Novartis to become its new chief executive later this year.

The STOXX 600’s top performer was Dutch insurer ASR Nederland with a 5.8% rise, after rival Vivat, for which ASR previously made an offer, agreed to be bought by private European life insurer Athora.

Technology shares, broadly sensitive to trade war ructions, starred with a 2% gain. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called U.S. President Donald Trump his friend and said he believed the United States was not interested in rupturing economic ties with China.

The chemicals sector was among Europe’s top performers, rising 1.1%. Belgian chemical and materials maker Solvay gained 2.3%, aided by UBS upgrading its rating on the stock and boosting its target price.

While higher Brent crude futures fuelled energy shares’ 1.2% rise, Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA led the sector with a 3.5% gain. A unit of the Polish firm bought a stake in the Norwegian King Lear deposit from Total E&P Norge.

Financial services rose 0.8%, with the sector’s gains led by Exor, which added 1.6%. The Milan-listed firm is the top shareholder in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which pulled away from an offer to merge with Renault earlier this week.

Automakers and their suppliers gained 0.1%, as a 4.9% fall in German car parts maker Hella following a rating downgrade by brokerage BHF weighed.

Real estate stocks dipped 0.6%, making them the STOXX 600’s only losing sub-sector.

Deutsche Wohnen slid 8.5% after Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating on the German property group to “equal weight” from “overweight”.

The bank cited the risk of rising political involvement in the German residential market. The Berlin Senate proposed earlier this week to impose a five-year rent freeze from January 2020.

House reauthorizes Iran sanctions bill, sets Syria sanctions

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. lawmakers passed bills on Tuesday renewing sanctions on Iran for 10 years and imposing new sanctions on Syria, underscoring their determination to play a strong role in Middle East policy no matter who occupies the White House.

The House of Representatives voted 419 to one for a 10-year reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, a law first adopted in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry and deter Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The House also passed by voice vote a bill that would sanction the government of Syria, and supporters including Russia and Iran, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Iran measure will expire at the end of 2016 if it is not renewed. It must still be passed by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama in order to become law.

The Obama administration and other world powers reached an agreement last year in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

But lawmakers said they wanted the ISA to stay in effect to send a strong message that the United States will respond to provocations by Iran and give any U.S. president the ability to quickly reinstate sanctions if Tehran violated the nuclear agreement.

“Even after a hard-fought election here at home and power changing hands, American leadership on the global stage won’t falter,” said Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a bill sponsor.

Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the bill’s lead sponsor, called the ISA “a critical tool.”

“Its expiration would compound the damage done by the pre上海夜生活网sident’s dangerous nuclear deal and send a message that the United States will no longer oppose the destructive role of Iran in the Middle East,” said Royce.

The vote took place one week after Republican Donald Trump was elected U.S. president. Congressional Republicans unanimously opposed the nuclear deal, along with about two dozen Democrats, and Trump has also strongly criticized it.

Lawmakers from both parties said they hoped bipartisan support for a tough line against Iran would continue under the new president.

There was no immediate word from Senate leaders on when the ISA and the Syria measure might be taken up in that chamber.

Many Senate Democrats favor a “clean” renewal of the ISA, like the one that passed in the House. But other lawmakers have pushed to add new sanctions such as some specifically targeting Iran’s ballistic missile tests.

Republicans look to seize on revived Clinton email issue in White House, Congress races

WASHINGTON ( ) – Republicans are seizing on the FBI’s revived scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s handling of government emails, hoping it will hurt not just her presidential hopes but Democrats’ chances of regaining one or both chambers of Congress in next week’s election.

Republican lawmakers are threatening to investigate Clinton from her first day in office if the Democrat is elected president on Nov. 8, following the FBI’s move to review newly discovered emails that might pertain to a previously completed investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of state.

After FBI Director James Comey’s announcement last Friday of the latest review, which indicated no wrongdoing on Clinton’s part, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and other Republicans have hammered Clinton as scandal-prone, seeking to renew questions about her integrity.

A Clinton presidency would bog down in “scandal baggage,” U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday, adding he was focused on defending Republican majorities in Congress in the election.

“This is what life with the Clintons looks like. It’s always a scandal one after a上海夜生活nother, then there’s an investigation,” Ryan, the most senior elected Republican in the country, told Fox News in an interview. “You never know what’s coming next.”

Saying that Clinton would take office “with her scandal baggage,” Ryan added: “I don’t think that’s what the American people want to see.”

Clinton has said she is confident the FBI will not find anything problematic and will reach the same conclusion it did in July when it found no grounds for charges from her use of a private email server.

Opinion polls show Clinton maintaining her lead over Trump, although her advantage has narrowed slightly since early last week. The effect of Comey’s news on voters’ support is not yet clear.

The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics said this week that several key states, including Arizona, Florida and Ohio, were now considered “toss up,” having earlier been classified as leaning Democratic, saying the races had been tightening regardless of any “Comey Effect.”

“If Comey’s decision results in Republicans holding onto the Senate and losing fewer House seats because he has invigorated their ‘checks and balances’ argument, we will also attribute this to the Comey Effect,” the center’s Larry Sabato and his colleagues wrote.

GRAPHIC: Race to the White House tmsnrt.rs/298mTyD

‘SAVING HOUSE MAJORITY’

Ryan maintained the arms-length posture toward Trump that he adopted after a 2005 video emerged last month in which the New York businessman was heard boasting about groping women.

The Wisconsin Republican said he voted for Trump in early voting last week, but that his position had not changed and that he had no plans to campaign with his party’s nominee, instead focusing on maintaining Republicans’ control of the House.

“My focus personally right now is saving our House majority. I’m going to Indiana, Michigan, New York and Virginia today to fight for House Republicans,” Ryan told Fox.

While Republicans appear poised to keep control of the House, the race for the Senate remains evenly matched, according to an average of polls by RealClearPolitics.

Some conservative members of the Republican caucus in the House, unhappy with Ryan’s treatment of Trump and his handling of other issues on Capitol Hill, have questioned whether he should continue as speaker after the election.

“We’re all focused on beating Democrats on Nov. 8. All the rest of this stuff will sort itself out,” Ryan told Fox News. “I’m very confident where I stand with our members.”

Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn called on Tuesday for Attorney General Loretta Lynch, a Barack Obama appointee, to intervene over the Clinton email probe. “AG Lynch has authority to unravel Clinton email mess by appointing a special counsel who can convene an impartial grand jury,” Cornyn wrote on Twitter.

Such a move would all but guarantee that controversy over Clinton’s emails would simmer into 2017 and perhaps beyond, potentially tying up her agenda if she were elected to the White House. Some Republican senators have already also vowed to block any hearing on Clinton’s potential Supreme Court justice nominees to fill the court’s current vacancy.

Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz told the Washington Post last week he had years’ worth of potential material that could be used to investigate Clinton.

California Republican Darrell Issa, a House Judiciary Committee member, told Fox Business Network late on Monday: “I suspect there will be more hearings” following the latest email probe.

MONEY MARKETS-U.S.-China trade war lifts bets on U.S. rate cut

(Adds graphic, Fed’s Rosengren comments in interview)

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK, May 13 ( ) – Interest rate traders increased their bets the U.S. Federal Reserve would lower interest rates by year-end to counter a domestic economic slowdown stemming from an escalation in the trade war between China and the United States.

The expectations of a rate decrease in December returned to the highest levels that were seen in March after Fed policy-makers signaled they would not raise rates in 2019.

On Monday, Beijing said it planned to set import tariffs ranging from 5% to 25% on 5,140 U.S. products on a revised $60-billion target list. It said the tariffs would take effect on June 1.

China’s retaliatory measure followed Washington’s tariff increase on $200 billion of Chinese imports on Friday as talks between the world’s biggest economies unexpectedly broke down. U.S. President Donald Trump has said the Chinese government backtracked on commitments it made during months of negotiations.

Analysts worry the tension between the two parties will spiral into a trade war that would harm the global economy.

“If growth concerns were coupled with a major correction in equity markets the Fed would certainly be pushed closer to cutting interest rates,” Andrew Hollenhorst, chief U.S. economist with Citigroup, wrote in a research note.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren told on Monday that the Fed would be able to respond to any slowdown from the U.S.-China trade dispute.

“If the impact of the tariffs – and whatever financial market reaction to those tariffs is – causes more of a slowdown, then we do have the tools available to us, including lower interest rates, not that I’m necessarily expecting this will generate the need to do that,” said Rosengren, who is a voter on the Fed’s rate-setting committee this year.

At 3:44 p.m. (1944 GMT), federal funds futures implied traders saw about a 74% chance the U.S. central bank would lower the target range on short-term rates by a quarter point to 2.00%-2.25% at its Dec. 10-11 policy meeting. This compared with a 64% implied likelihood late on Friday, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program.

A month ago, futures 上海夜生活网prices suggested traders saw a 40% likelihood of a quarter-point rate decrease.

Ardian close to buying Cerberus-owned wind farms in Spain: sources

MADRID ( ) – French investment fund Ardian is close to buying wind farms from Spanish renewables group Renovalia in a 550 million euro ($617.87 million) deal, two sources with knowledge of the deal said, marking a move into green energy where buyer interest is hotting up.

Renovalia has been owned by U.S. private equity fund Cerberus since 2015. Among the assets covered by the deal is Renovalia Reserve, a joint venture between Renovalia and BlackRock, according to one of the sources.

Santander is advising on the sale process, the source said.

Cerberus, Renovalia, Ardian and BlackRock declined to comment.

The deal上海夜生活网 shows renewed investor interest in green energy assets now the threat of subsidy cuts that scared investors away from Spanish renewable assets in 2013 has faded. Also, the cost of wind and solar technology has fallen and governments and companies have stepped up efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Ardian aims to put to work some of a 6 billion-euro ($6.74 billion) fund for investments in Europe with the acquisition of Renovalia’s 420-megawatt portfolio.

Renovalia has 1,484 MW wind and solar assets around the world, including 512 MW under development.

After Spain, Renovalia’s biggest market is Mexico, where it manages 662 MW. It is currently discussing selling this business to Jenner Renewables, a power producer managed by Denham Capital and headed by former Gamesa chairman Jorge Calvet, one of the sources said.

A spokesman for Denham Capital declined to comment.

Renovalia also operates in Hungary, Italy, Canada and Chile.

Other foreign firms moving into the sector in Spain include asset manager Capital Dynamics, whose British arm said on May 1 it had bought around quarter of a 300 MW Israeli-owned solar plant near the Portuguese border, in a deal that valued the plant at about 33 million euros.

Last week, British investment manager Foresight bought a 50-MW plant, with 150,000 solar panels, some 280 kilometers (173.98 miles) further south, near the port city of Huelva.

($1 = 0.8902 euros)

Tame U.S. inflation seen keeping Fed on the sidelines

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. consumer prices rose moderately in April and underlying inflation remained muted, supporting the Federal Reserve’s projection of no further interest rates increases this year.

The persistently benign inflation reported by the Labor Department on Friday could, however, ratchet up White House pressure on the U.S. central bank to cut rates. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed for tightening monetary policy, arguing that inflation was low.

Trump has claimed the economy could go “up like a rocket if we did some lowering of rates, like one point.” On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Great Consumer Price Index just out. Really good, very low inflation! We have a great chance to ‘really rock!’ Good numbers all around.”

The Fed last week kept interest rates unchanged and signaled little desire to adjust monetary policy anytime soon. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he believed the weak inflation readings “may wind up being transient.”

With rents and healthcare costs increasing solidly in April, economists agreed temporary factors were restraining inflation and expected a pickup, especially after the Trump administration on Friday raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

“If one were worried … then help may be on the way, in the form of higher tariffs being passed through to a store near you,” said Michael Feroli, an economist at J上海夜生活网PMorgan in New York. “In sum we believe the Fed will remain comfortable with their ‘on hold’ posture for the foreseeable future.”

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% last month, lifted by rising gasoline, rents and healthcare costs. The CPI gained 0.4% in March. It rose 2.0% in the 12 months through April after advancing 1.9% in March. Economists had forecast the CPI increasing 0.4% in April and rising 2.1% year-on-year.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI edged up 0.1% as apparel prices dropped for a second straight month and the cost of used motor vehicles and trucks declined further. The so-called core CPI has now increased by the same margin for three straight months. In the 12 months through April, the core CPI increased 2.1% after gaining 2.0% in March.

The Fed, which has a 2% inflation target, tracks a different measure, the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, for monetary policy. The core PCE price index increased 1.6% on a year-on-year basis in March, the smallest rise in 14 months, after advancing 1.7% in February. The April PCE price index data will be published later this month.

Economists said rising healthcare costs, which were also evident in April’s producer price report that was published on Thursday, suggested the core PCE price index probably increased 1.7% year-on-year in April. They saw little chance of the Fed cutting interest rates this year.

NO “INSURANCE CUTS”

“We would fade any inference that the Fed may be nudged toward ‘insurance cuts’ due to weak inflation,” said Michael Hanson, head of global macro strategy at TD Securities in New York. “Rather, we would need to see a run of multiple months with core PCE inflation around 1.5% in order for the Fed to start that conversation.”

Inflation remains tame as increased worker productivity keeps labor costs contained, despite a tightening job market.

Gasoline prices rose 5.7% in April, accounting for more than two-thirds of the increase in the CPI last month, after surging 6.5% in March. Food prices fell for the first time in nearly two years, with food consumed at home dropping by the most since March 2016.

But consumers paid more for rent and healthcare. Owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, which is what a homeowner would pay to rent or receive from renting a home, increased 0.3% last month after rising by the same margin in March.

Healthcare costs increased 0.3%, matching March’s gain. There were increases in the cost of prescription medication and doctor visits. But the cost of hospital services fell 0.5%.

Apparel prices declined 0.8% last month. They plunged 1.9% in March, which was the biggest drop since January 1949, after the government introduced a new method and data to calculate apparel prices.

Prices for used motor vehicles and trucks fell 1.3%, decreasing for a third straight month. The cost of new vehicles rose marginally. There were also declines in the cost of airline fares, alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

Prices for household furnishings fell for the first time in 10 months. The cost of these goods had been boosted by tariffs.

Economists said the latest round of duties on Chinese imports put an upward risk on inflation.

“The extent to which that will feed into consumer inflation will depend in part on how long the tariffs are in place,” said Sarah House, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sterling stalls ahead of vote to delay Brexit; dollar ticks up

NEW YORK ( ) – The U.S. dollar gained on Thursday for the first time in a week, albeit modestly, as the pound stalled at lower levels ahead of a vote to extend Britain’s March 29 deadline for exiting the European Union.

The pound was down 0.54 percent at $1.3266 in afternoon American trade as Prime Minister Theresa May piled pressure on rebel lawmakers on Thursday to back her battered European Union divorce deal as parliament prepared to vote on seeking a delay to Britain’s departure that could ultimately derail the process.

A day earlier, the British currency soared nearly 2 percent and reached nine-month highs after lawmakers voted against a potentially 上海夜生活论坛disorderly “no-deal” departure from the EU.

Analysts cautioned against putting large positions on sterling due to lingering uncertainty about Brexit.

“With the uncertainty around (Brexit), it’s not a time … to take sizeable positions. The risk/reward still favors waiting for some clarity,” said Charles Tomes, senior investment analyst at Manulife Asset Management.

The dollar index, a gauge of its strength against six other major currencies, was up 0.22 percent at 96.757. It had fallen overnight, at one point brushing a nine-day trough of 96.385.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, suggesting the labor market was slowing, but probably not to the extent implied by a near-stall in job growth in February.

Other U.S. data showed import prices in February rose by the most in nine months. Still, the inflation trend remained weak as import prices dropped on a year-on-year basis for a third straight month. The data remained supportive of the Federal Reserve’s pledge to be “patient” before raising interest rates.

“In the foreign exchange market overall there’s not a lot of conviction” at the moment, said Tomes. “Volatility is low and people don’t want to put on sizeable positions either way.”

The Australian dollar AUD= fell to its lowest in three days after reports that China and the United States had delayed a meeting to end their trade war. The meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping will not occur this month and is more likely to happen in April at the earliest, Bloomberg reported. It was last at $0.7061, down 0.54 percent on the day.

Investors are worried that any escalation in the trade conflict will pummel export-oriented economies like Australia, whose biggest trading partner is China. The yuan was relatively stable in the offshore market, down 0.31 percent at 6.7230.

Goldman Sachs sets targets for Hispanic and black entry-level hires

( ) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc is setting targets for hiring minority groups for the first time as it ramps up efforts to diversify its workforce, according to a memo sent by top executives to employees on Monday.

The Wall Street bank, which last year said it wanted women to make up half of its entry-level workforce, now is aiming to ensure that 14 percent of new analysts and associates in the Americas are Hispanic or Latino and 11 percent of them black, according to the memo, which was seen by .

In Britain,上海夜生活 Goldman Sachs wants 9 percent of its entry-level workforce to be black.

The bank, whose senior executives are primarily white and male, did not set targets for more experienced employees, but is now requiring businesses to interview at least two qualified diverse candidates for each open position.

Goldman Sachs said in the memo it is “nearly there” with the targets it announced last year for campus hiring, and is exploring ways to increase the portion of staff who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, disabled or veterans.

David Solomon, who took over as chief executive of the bank in October, has been vocal about increasing diversity. He and two deputies sent the staff-wide memo ahead of disclosures on its gender pay gap that are required in Britain.

Last year, Goldman Sachs reported a mean gender pay gap in Britain for its international business of 55.5 percent and a mean bonus gap for the unit of 72.2 percent. Other companies, including HSBC Plc, fared worse.

Goldman Sachs is not alone on Wall Street in its diversity and gender equality campaign. Citigroup Inc has also set goals to have half its global staff to be women, and 30 percent of its staff to be black and Hispanic or Latino in the United States.

Trump defend Obama? ‘I don’t think so!’

WASHINGTON ( ) – Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said on Saturday it was not his job to stand up for U.S. President Barack Obama after a man at one of his campaign events said he was a Muslim and “not even an American.”

“Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump drew criticism on Friday from Republican and Democratic rivals in the 2016 race for the presidency when he failed to challenge a man at a New Hampshire town hall Thursday night who said Muslims were a problem in the United States.

“We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American,” the man said.

Trump, the billionaire television personality who leads the pack of Republicans seeking the presidential nomination, has cast doubt on whether Obama was born in the United States and therefore qualified to stand as president.

“This is the first time in my life that I have caused controversy by NOT saying something,” Trump tweeted. “If someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue? No chance!”

Obama is a Christian who as president has attended church occasionally.

Later on Saturday, Trump read out the tweets to audience applause at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Forum in Des Moines.

Trump rattled the Republican establishment with a summer surge to the top of the polls, overshadowing expected favorite Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two U.S. presidents. An unremarkable showing at Wednesday night’s Republican debate, where the frontrunner drew attacks from his many rivals, had some observers wondering if Trump frenzy is finally on the wane.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, described as divisive even by members of his own party, has tapped into a vein of anger among like-minded supporters.

PARALLELS TO 2008

In August, two Boston brothers charged with urinating and beating a homeless Mexican man told police they were inspired by Trump. “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” the said, according a police report.

On Monday, opponents and supporters clashed outside a rally for Trump. Protesters, many of them Hispanic, shouted “shame on you,” while some Trump fans retorted, “Keep them out!”

The tenor of the campaign has drawn parallels to the 2008 rallies by Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, that drew virulent anti-Obama rhetoric including shouts of “terrorist” or “traitor.”

McCain eventually had to confront the issue at an October campaign rally where a woman called Obama an Arab. He stopped her and called Obama a decent family man.

In Des Moines, Trump referred to the incident, saying “McCain just ripped that microphone from that woman’s hands… I thought it was a little harsh.”

David Axelrod, former White House adviser and Obama campaign strategist, said: “I think a lot of the people who are supporting Donald Trump are the same people who showed up at those Sarah Palin rallies at the end of the 2008 campaign.”

“We know that there is this cohort out there who believe that we are being encroached on by illegal aliens, Muslims, China and Trump has tapped into that constituency,” he said on CNN.

Far from trying to tamp down the controversy, Trump appeared to reach for more in his tweets Saturday, implying that Christians have suffered under Obama.

“Christians need support in our country (and around the world), the上海夜生活论坛ir religious liberty is at stake! Obama has been horrible, I will be great,” Trump said.

For more on the 2016 presidential race, see the blog, “Tales from the Trail” (here).

China’s Xi touts women’s rights at United Nations, U.S. critical

UNITED NATIONS ( ) – China’s President Xi Jinping told the United Nations on Sunday that all Chinese women have the opportunity to excel, touting his government’s record on women’s rights as the United States slammed Beijing and others for jailing women for their views.

China and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon co-hosted a U.N. meeting of world leaders on gender equality and women’s empowerment, raising eyebrows among some western diplomats and human rights defenders in China and abroad.

“As the Chinese people pursue a happy life, all Chinese women have the opportunity to excel in life and make their dreams come true,” Xi told the meeting on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.

China was criticized internationally for detaining five women who were taken into custody on the weekend of March 8, International Women’s Day, after they planned to demonstrate against sexual harassment on public transport.

While the women were released a month later, they say their status as criminal suspects has stopped them from returning to activism and had a chilling effect on women’s rights groups.

“If you want to empower women, don’t imprison them on the basis of their views or beliefs,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power – a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet – said in a statement.

Over the past couple of weeks, Power has highlighted 20 cases of women unjustly detained around the world for their beliefs or defense of the rights of others, including Chinese journalist Gao Yu, 71, who was jailed in April for seven years for providing state secrets to foreign contacts.

Xi’s administration has detained hundreds of rights activists in the past two years in what some rights groups say is the worst clampdown on dissent in the Communist-led country for two decades.

“In too many places – from China to Egypt, from Russia to Venezuela – women have been swept up in repressive crackdowns on civil society, and deprived of their universal rights and fundamental freedoms,” Obama said in a statement.

Obama’s former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate, also weighed in on Twitter: “Xi hosting a meeting on women’s rights at the U.N. while persecuting feminists?上海夜网 Shameless.”

Xi said China will do more to enhance gender equality as its “basic state policy” and called on developed countries to “scale up financial and technical assistance to developing countries.” He said China would donate $10 million to the U.N. gender equality body, UN Women, to “support women’s development worldwide.”

Chinese officials have said the country’s achievements on women’s issues are clear and that authorities handled the recent case of the five activists according to law.

Ahead of Sunday’s U.N. meeting the five women said in a letter: “We sincerely hope … President Xi can lead by example.”

China has also faced international criticism for effectively placing Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, under house arrest since 2010.

Boeing 737 MAX jets could be grounded for weeks as black box probe to start on Ethiopia crash

WASHINGTON/PARIS/ADDIS ABABA ( ) – Boeing Co’s 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes will be grounded for weeks if not longer until a software upgrade can be tested and installed, U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday, as officials in France prepare to begin analyzing the black boxes from a jet that crashed in Ethiopia.

Boeing said it had paused deliveries of its fastest-selling 737 MAX aircraft built at its factory near Seattle but continues to produce its single-aisle jets at full speed while dealing with the worldwide fleet’s grounding.

Investigators in France will be seeking clues into Sunday’s deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash after take-off from Addis Ababa killed 157 people from 35 nations in the second such calamity involving Boeing’s plane since October.

Possible links between the accidents have rocked the aviation industry, scared passengers, and left the world上海夜生活’s biggest planemaker scrambling to prove the safety of a money-spinning model intended to be the standard for decades.

U.S. Representative Rick Larsen said after a briefing with U.S. aviation officials the software upgrade would take a few weeks to complete, and installing it on all aircraft would take “at least through April.” He said additional training would also have to take place.

Boeing has said it would roll out the software improvement “across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.”

Relatives of the dead stormed out of a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday, decrying a lack of transparency, while others made the painful trip to the crash scene.

“I can’t find you! Where are you?” said one Ethiopian woman, draped in traditional white mourning shawl, as she held a framed portrait of her brother in the charred and debris-strewn field.

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After an apparent tussle over where the investigation should be held, the flight data and cockpit voice recorders were handed over to France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA).

Technical analysis would begin on Friday and the first conclusions could take several days, the BEA said, posting a picture of the partly crumpled, orange-cased box.

Nations around the world, including an initially reluctant United States, have suspended the 371 MAX models in operation, though airlines are largely coping by switching planes.

Nearly 5,000 MAXs are on order, meaning the financial implications are huge for the industry. Moody’s rating agency said the fallout from the crash would not immediately affect Boeing’s credit rating.

“We continue to build 737 MAX airplanes while assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints, will impact our production system,” Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said.

Boeing would maintain its production rate of 52 aircraft per month, and its newest version, the MAX, represents the lion’s share, although Boeing declined to break out exact numbers.

CONNECTION TO INDONESIA CRASH?

The investigation of Sunday’s crash has added urgency since the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday grounded the 737 MAX aircraft, citing satellite data and evidence from the scene that indicated some similarities and “the possibility of a shared cause” with October’s crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

Though it maintains the planes are safe, Boeing has supported the FAA move. Its stock is down about 11 percent since the crash, wiping more than $26 billion off its market value. It fell 1 percent on Thursday.

U.S. and Canadian carriers wrestled with customer calls and flight cancellations and Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, the largest U.S. operators of the 737 MAX, said they had started flying empty MAX aircraft to be parked elsewhere during the ban.

U.S. President Donald Trump, an aviation enthusiast with deep ties to Boeing, said he hoped the suspensions would be short. “They have to figure it out fast,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

A software fix for the 737 MAX that Boeing has been working on since the Lion Air crash in October in Indonesia will take months to complete, the FAA said on Wednesday.

And in what may presage a raft of claims, Norwegian Air has said it will seek compensation from Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX.

Japan became the latest nation to suspend the 737 MAX planes on Thursday. And airline Garuda Indonesia said there was a possibility it would cancel its 20-strong order of 737 MAXs.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Under international rules, Ethiopians are leading the investigation but France’s BEA will conduct black box analysis as an adviser. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was also sending three investigators to assist.

Only France and the United States have the experience gleaned from being present at almost every crash involving an Airbus or Boeing respectively.

The cause of the Indonesian crash is still being investigated. A November preliminary report, before the retrieval of the cockpit voice recorder, focused on maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor, but gave no reason for the crash.

The pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 had reported internal control problems and received permission to return, before the plane came down and burst into a fireball on arid farmland.

Preview: Juventus – Genoa

Juventus could be judging their return to form perfectly and will continue their pursuit of Serie A leaders Napoli when they host a Genoa side.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

After an indifferent start, Juventus have stormed back into contention and are in a direct fight with Napoli, who are one point ahead. The depth in their squad should help the Champions stave off the injury crisis that currently engulfs them.

Genoa sit just six points above the bottom three, but have found their rhythm in recent matches. The visitors have lost just once in their last eight SA games (W4, D3, L1) and even started the new year with a 1-0 win over Sassuolo.

The hosts have been immaculate at both ends of the pitch (49 goals scored, 15 conceded) this campaign. They have kept 11 clean sheets in SA – more than any other side – and have conceded only one goal in their last 11 games in all competitions.

Their visitors have scored only 16 goals so far – the second-fewest – while drawing blanks in seven of their ten trips in SA. However, they have conceded more than one goal only once in these games (10%).

Genoa haven’t conceded in four SA games on the trot. Another clean sheet will make it the first time they have done so since 1964!Top 5 matches to watch during October’s first weekend Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – With a new weekend in European football about to begin, we dive into the Top 5 matches to watch across all the major leagues.After…

Key battles: In the absence of Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa remains the top bet for Juventus. Can he fill the void?

His task will be tough against Genoa’s rock Ervin Zukanovic, who has made the most interceptions and clearances for them so far.

Stat attack: The last time Genoa won at Juventus in SA was way back in 1991, a run of 14 games without victory (L11, D3).

Missing players

Juventus: P. Dybala (muscle injury), C. Marchisio (groin injury)上海夜生活网, G. Buffon (doubtful), J. Cuadrado (doubtful), B. Howedes (doubtful)

Genoa: F. Migliore (calf injury), E. Zukanovic (suspension), G. Lapadula (doubtful).

Manchester United ease their way through the FA Cup 4th round

Manchester United congratulated themselves with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Ligue 2 side Yeovil Town in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The game certainly was the best present for José Mourinho, who turned 55 on the very same day.

Marcus Rashford opened the score in the 41st minute following a shaky display from th上海夜生活e home team’s defense. Ander Herrera doubled United’s lead in the 61st minute after a well-organized counter-attack. Jesse Lingard also put his name on the scoresheet, making it 3-0, while Romelu Lukaku wrapped up the final 4-0 in favour of the Red Devils during the stoppage time of the game.Opinion: Solskjaer needs patience from Manchester United Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – As we enter into one of the most complicated moments for Solskjaer, we believe Manchester United needs to be patient with him.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer…

The big news around the game, however, was the debut of Alexis Sanchez who joined Manchester United from Arsenal a few days ago. The Chilean took part in the build up that lead to the first two goals for his team before getting substituted in the second half.

This was also Mourinho’s 100th game in charge of the Red Devils and his current managerial record for the clubs looks the following: Played 100, Won 62, Drawn 23, Lost 15. Another interesting fact regarding Mourinho’s reign is that Zlatan still remains the highest scoring striker for United under the rule of the Portuguese tactician.

Pardew had only words of praise for Rondon

Alan Pardew, the West Bromwich Albion head coach, insisted that he admires Salomon Rondon for his determination to finish the match despite being involved in James McCarthy’s horrific injury.

The Venezuela international had a collision with the home side midfielder in the second-half of this fixture and it caused a horrible double leg fracture for James McCarthy – Rondon fell in tears after that but he managed to finish the match somehow and in the end, he was really close to scoring the winning goal as he hit the crossbar.

The West Brom manager spoke about this incident and Rondon’s effort as he said, according to Sky Sports: “Salomon was traumatised because he probably heard a break or something, a noise that would have affected him, he’s that kind of person.  I wasn’t sure if he was going to carry on but he got himself together after being affected and, fair play to him, he was the best player on the pitch today. He was awesome for us and it was such a shame he hit the bar at the end.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He also added that they could have won this game at the end of the day: “It’s not often you come to Goodison Park and feel slightly disappointed. We felt we could have won that game. We played well at times, took the lead, frustrated Everton and had them where we wanted them.”

In the end, Alan Pardew claimed that he is also disappointed by McCarthy’s injury: “They only had about two or three chances in the gam上海夜生活e and they scored from one and that got them back in the game. The unsavoury incident in the game, which led to James McCarthy getting a bad injury affected everybody a little bit. I’m disappointed for the lad whose been injured but we’re also disappointed we didn’t get a result.”

Moyes admitted that West Ham made terrible mistakes

David Moyes, the West Ham United manager, was left disappointed after his side were beaten 3-2 at home by Newcastle United despite having a lot of chances to win the match – and the manager blamed his players for making very silly mistakes.

West Ham had managed to take the lead thanks to Marko Arnautovic but the guests managed to come from behind as Henri Saivet and Mo Diame scored – the hosts had a great chance to equalize the match but Andre Ayew’s penalty was saved and Christian Atsu doubled the lead on the other side. The Hammers managed to score a late goal thanks to Ayew but it just wasn’t enough for making a comeback.

The Scot spoke about the match and said that his side should have won, according to Sky Sports: “It wa上海夜生活论坛s near enough right from the start. We got the goal – I think from a Newcastle mistake – but after we made two or three terrible mistakes which led to them scoring from a free-kick. All in all, it just seemed like that on the touchline. Mistake after mistake. We then missed a penalty at 2-1 which makes it even more difficult.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that he knows about Carrol’s strengths: “Everyone knows how good Andy is. But we gave ourselves too much to do after conceding a farcical third goal. We have to try and get rid of the individual errors. We missed him at home. He’s the one player who can do more on the ball and it was glaringly obvious we missed him here.”

In the end, David Moyes insisted that his side will have to improve in solving these difficult situations: “It was going to be a test with expectations changing towards us winning, but it showed today that we could not do that. It was the manner of losing the goals. The third was a catastrophe, the way it came about. We don’t score the penalty, and those things can make a big difference.”

Chamberlain disappointed in himself

The E上海夜生活论坛ngland international scored a goal as Liverpool won 5-0 against Swansea Cityon Tuesday, but he was not happy with his performance.

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted he felt really disappointed with the way he played regardless of the goal he scored against the Swans.

The former Arsenal player scored the last goal of the game in front of the KOP, but noted he expects more of himself and will not rest until he gets where he wants to be.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle of the game, Chamberlain stated: “We got the three points but personally I was quite disappointed with myself today.

“I’m happy I managed to get the goal in the end but I just tried to work hard through the 90 minutes and when the chance came at the end I was happy to put that away. It made it a bit better.Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers relishing Liverpool return Andrew Smyth – Brendan Rodgers is relishing Leicester City’s trip to his old club Liverpool, whom he described as a “privilege” to work for during his three-year stint.

“I just want more from myself and there were a few moments where I could have done better with my end product.”

The 24-year-old knows that good chances do not come often in the English top-flight and criticised his wastefulness, insisting he should have done better at certain situations.

“We train every day and when you get into certain situations you work hard to get into those positions and in this league they don’t come too often. There are a few times today when I could have done better.

“But 5-0 for the boys, I’m really happy with that. I just want to keep pushing myself.”