Ukraine Talks End With Accord on Steps to De-Escalate Conflict. Four-way
talks on the crisis in Ukraine ended with an accord aimed at taking the
first steps toward de-escalating the conflict after President Vladimir
Putin said he hopes he won’t have to send troops. Talks in Geneva
today between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Ukrainian
counterpart, Andriy Deshchytsia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and
Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, went on for
more than six hours, longer than scheduled. Kerry said Russia must
the deal within the next few days.
Forcing Russia Out of Markets Seen as Ukraine Leverage.
Forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool
at U.S. President Barack Obama’s disposal if he wants to stop Vladimir
Putin’s territorial ambitions, according to former government officials
and sanctions specialists.
Japan Consumer Confidence Drops to Lowest Since 2011.
Japan’s consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since August 2011,
and the government cut its economic assessment for the first time in 17
months, as a sales-tax increase on April 1 sapped the public’s
spending power. The March confidence reading of 37.5 fell by 1 from the
previous month, the Cabinet Office said in Tokyo today.
Korean Companies Facing Debt Wall Turn to Dollar Bond Market.
Bond investors are readying for a
slew of South Korean deals as companies from Asia’s fourth-biggest economy face the most maturing dollar notes since 1999. “South Korean companies have significant refinancing
requirements this year,” said Mark Reade, a Hong Kong-based
desk analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. “And with low
Treasury yields driving inflows into U.S. investment-grade
funds, there’s plenty of appetite for high-quality names from
European Stocks Climb on U.S. Unemployment-Claims Report. European
stocks climbed for a second day as a report showed fewer Americans
claimed unemployment benefits last week than estimated. Renault SA and
Daimler AG each gained more than 1.5 percent as a report showed European
car sales rose in March. Remy Cointreau SA and Diageo Plc (DGE)
declined more than 3 percent after reporting lower sales. SAP AG lost
1.2 percent as Germany’s biggest technology company said that revenue
from new software licenses dropped in the quarter. Akzo Nobel NV (AKZA)
slid the most in nine months as its sales missed projections.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.5 percent to 332.43 at
the close of trading.
Obama Budget Raises Taxes $1.4 Trillion in Decade, CBO Says. President Barack Obama’s proposed
2015 budget would increase taxes by $1.4 trillion over the next
decade compared with current law, the budget agency said. In a fresh analysis of the White House budget plan for the
fiscal year starting Oct. 1, the Congressional Budget Office
said the proposal would result in a $446 billion spending
increase for the 10 years ending in 2024. The agency projected that under the plan, the U.S. budget
deficit would increase over a three-year period.
Russia Economy Worsens Even Before Sanctions Hit. Margarita
R. Zobnina, a professor of marketing here, has been watching the
Russian economy’s gathering woes with mounting alarm: friends who have
moved abroad with no plans to return; others who put off new business
ventures because of rising uncertainty. Meanwhile, Ms. Zobnina and her
husband, Alexander, also a professor, have rented a safe deposit box to
hold foreign cash as a hedge against the declining ruble.
shocking, she says, is that her local grocery is now selling anchovies
packed in sunflower oil rather than olive oil, an obvious response to
the soaring cost of imports. “That really freaks me out,” she said.
Report Confirms Obamacare Restricts Access to Life-Saving Medical Care. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report now documents that
Obamacare exchange plans, while often cheaper, are restricting access to
life-saving medical care. According to the CBO’s recently released “Updated Estimates of the
Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act,
April 2014,” Obamacare’s insurance provisions will cost $104 billion
less than projected over the next decade. However, these savings will
come at tremendous cost. The CBO goes on to describe the reality — that
while there are savings on insurance premiums, there is solid and
growing evidence that these plans restrict access to life-saving medical
treatment for ourselves, our family members, and our loved ones. CBO writes,
Jews Ordered to Register in East Ukraine. Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian
militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to
"register" with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become
part of Russia, according to Israeli media. Jews emerging from a
synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to
provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else
have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets
confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website.