- U.S. Pressures China to Act on N. Korea as Pence Visits Area. (video) The U.S. kept up pressure on China to use its leverage on North Korea while also warning that a sudden military strike wasn’t out of the question to counter the Kim Jong Un regime’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made clear the administration’s preference for relying on China’s influence to rein in North Korea as he met with U.S. troops in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea a day after the Kim regime defied the Trump administration with another apparent ballistic missile test. Pence said he was “heartened” by early signs from China and hoped its leaders would “use the extraordinary levers they have” to prod Kim into giving up his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. But he also repeated President Donald Trump’s warning that the U.S. would act without China if necessary and offered the recent U.S. missile strike against Syria and deployment of powerful bombs in Afghanistan as evidence of willingness to attack.
- China’s Economy Accelerates as Retail, Investment Pick Up. (video) China’s economy accelerated for a second-straight quarter as investment picked up, retail sales rebounded and factory output strengthened amid robust credit growth and further strength in property markets. Gross domestic product increased 6.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, compared with a 6.8 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. It was the first back-to-back acceleration in seven years. Fixed-asset investment excluding rural areas expanded 9.2 percent for the first three months, accelerating from 8.1 percent growth last year. Retail sales increased 10.9 percent from a year earlier in March, compared with a median estimate of 9.7 percent in a Bloomberg survey. Industrial output rose 7.6 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with an estimated 6.3 percent rise.
- Carson Block Says China Is Massive Asset, Credit Bubble. (video)
- North Korea Snubbed Chinese Diplomats. (video) North Korea snubbed senior Chinese diplomats this month as tensions mounted with the U.S., according to people familiar with the situation, raising questions about the influence Beijing’s leaders have over Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang didn’t respond to requests from China Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Wu Dawei, the country’s top envoy for North Korean nuclear affairs, to meet with their North Korean counterparts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The overtures came after Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Florida, the people said.
- Tokyo's Skyline Set to See 45 New Skyscrapers by 2020 Olympics. Tokyo’s skyline is set to welcome 45 new skyscrapers by the time city hosts the Olympics in 2020, as a surge of buildings planned in the early years of Abenomics near completion.
- Robots May Help Build Your Next Home and Fill the Labor Gap. (video)
- Wal-Mart(WMT) Close to Acquiring Bonobos for About $300 Million.
- SEC Probes Hedge Fund That Promises Investors No Losses.
Wall Street Journal:
- Insurers Scramble to Price Plans on Health Exchanges as Policy Seesaws. Deadlines loom for filing proposed 2018 rates for Affordable Care Act marketplaces; scouring Twitter for hints on law’s fate.
- Behind China’s Pickup in Growth: the Strong Hand of the State. First-quarter 6.9% figure shows last year’s easy-money policies and infrastructure spending created momentum.
- China Looks to Build a Major City From Scratch. Government aims to turn Xiongan farmland into Beijing commuter hub, in attempt to replicate Shenzhen’s success, avoid Caofeidian’s failure.
- Neiman Marcus Finds Even Wealthy Shoppers Want Better Deals. Neiman Marcus and other high-end retailers regularly raised prices over the past decade and were long thought immune to the troubles of mass-market chains. That model has fallen out of fashion.
- US Deploys Two More Aircraft Carriers Toward Korean Peninsula: Yonhap.
- The Coming French Revolution. (graph)
- Global Financial Market Stress Soars To 2017 Highs. (graph)
- Dear Hedge Funds: This Is Who Is Responsible For Your Deplorable Returns.
- Provocation Guaranteed As North Korea Threatens Missile Tests "On A Weekly Basis".
- Homebuilder Confidence Dips In April. (graph)
- Median LBO Multiple Rises To 10.8x, Highest Since The Financial Crisis. (graph)
- Soft Data Slump Begins - Empire Fed Plunges Most In A Year. (graph)