- U.S. Says Iran’s Link to Terror Could Scuttle Nuclear Accord. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson certified that Iran is complying with the multinational deal to curb its nuclear program but announced a review that could result in scuttling the accord. Tillerson, in report to Congress required every 90 days, said Iran is compliant through April 18th with its commitments in the accord signed in 2015 that provided relief from economic sanctions that crimped Iran’s oil exports and hobbled its economy. Still, President Donald Trump ordered his National Security Council to review whether to reimpose the sanctions because of Iran’s continued support for terrorism.
- China Rolls Out Fresh Tax Cuts in Bid to Support Economic Growth. China will further ease the tax burden on businesses and individuals, as part of a broader push to boost consumption and support economic growth. The structure of value-added tax will be simplified, from four brackets to three, and the rate for products including natural gas and agricultural items will be cut to 11 percent from 13 percent starting July 1, officials at a State Council meeting led by Premier Li Keqiang decided Wednesday, according to a statement.
- European Car Sales Surge 11% as Fiat, Renault Lure Buyers. European car sales in March rose to their highest level for the month as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Renault SA took advantage of a solid economy to lure more buyers. Benefiting from extra working days due to the Easter holiday in April this year, industrywide registrations climbed 11 percent to 1.94 million vehicles last month, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said Wednesday. Fiat and Renault gained market share at the expense of regional leader Volkswagen AG and No. 2 PSA Group.
- China's Small Caps Fall to Three-Month Low on Regulation Concern. The slump in Chinese stocks deepened Wednesday, with the ChiNext gauge of small-cap shares posting its lowest close since mid-January and the Shanghai Composite Index sliding for a fourth day. The ChiNext closed down 0.2 percent in Shenzhen, paring a loss of as much as 1.9 percent, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.8 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index slid below the key 10,000 level for the first time in two months. PetroChina Co. closed at its lowest in four months in Hong Kong, and China Minsheng Banking Corp. declined after saying one of its branch heads is being investigated by police.
- European Equities Rebound as Lenders, Automakers Lead Advance. European stocks rose after their biggest drop in five months, led by banks and carmakers, as investors assessed the region’s growing slew of political events that now includes a snap general election in the U.K. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.2 percent at the close in London. Carmakers rose after European car sales in March surged to their highest level on record, while shares of banks tracked bond yields higher, jumping the most since the beginning of March. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dropped for a second day, erasing its gain for the year.
- OPEC Chief Sees Oil Producers Closer to Re-Balancing Market. (video) Oil-producing nations are moving closer toward ending a global glut and re-balancing the crude market, and OPEC will decide next month whether to extend its cuts in output beyond June, the group’s Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said.
Wall Street Journal:
- Democrats Falter in Bid for Outright Win in Georgia House Race. Democratic candidate will face Republican in runoff.
- Mainstream European Leaders Try New Election Tactic: Full-Throated Defense of the EU. To counter rising nationalist parties, French and German candidates mount vigorous defense of the EU and its single currency, a switch that will be tested in French presidential elections this weekend.
- Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2018. As House Oversight chairman, lawmaker tasked with investigating Trump administration.
- ECB Officials Warn Against Dialing Back Stimulus Too Soon. France’s Villeroy de Galhau says the ECB’s policies shouldn’t be adjusted until inflation has picked up