Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Today's Headlines

  • EU’s Barnier Has ‘Trust’ Issue With U.K. Over Unclear Brexit. (video) The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, issued his second stern warning to the U.K. in the space of a week, demanding Theresa May’s government make its positions clear so talks on its withdrawal from the bloc can start making progress. “We can’t remain idle as the clock’s ticking,” said an exasperated-sounding Barnier, when he briefed journalists in Brussels on Wednesday. “We need to know on which points we agree and on which points we disagree so that we can negotiate in earnest.”
  • Latin America's Scandals Burn Emerging-Market Bond Funds. While emerging-market bonds extended an 18-month rally through June, money managers at some of the world’s largest debt funds were left in the dust. Developing-nation funds from Pictet Asset Management Ltd., Neuberger Berman Group LLC and RBC Global Asset Management Ltd. ended the first half of 2017 as the worst performers in their class, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Portfolios managed by BlackRock Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management unit also finished in the bottom quartile.
  • European Stocks Rally Most in 11 Weeks on Yellen's Comments. (video) European stocks extended gains as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled that the U.S. central bank won’t rush to tighten monetary policy as inflation remains below target. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.5 percent at the close, the most since April. All 19 sectors advanced. The European benchmark yesterday fell to its lowest level since April after Donald Trump Jr. released emails suggesting Russia’s government backed his father’s presidential campaign.
  • Your Evening Briefing. 
  • Yellen's Take on Inflation Shifts Subtly in Remarks to Congress. (video) Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday altered the language she used to describe recent softness in inflation, expressing deeper concerns over how persistent that weakness may prove. In written testimony to lawmakers, Yellen noted declines in “certain categories of prices,” in a reference to drops in prices for mobile telecommunications services and pharmaceuticals. However, she called lower inflation “partly the result” of those factors. In June, her take was subtly, but importantly, different. At the beginning of a June 14 press conference after a Fed meeting at which officials voted to raise interest rates, Yellen said recent lower inflation was driven “significantly by what appear to be oneoff reductions in certain categories of prices.”
  • Bernanke and Other Heavyweights Warn Trump Against Steel Tariffs. Former Federal Reserve chairmen Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan and other leading economists are warning President Donald Trump that new tariffs on foreign steel would raise costs for U.S. manufacturers, increase prices for consumers and harm relations with allies.
  • Senators Explore Bipartisan ‘Plan B’ to Troubled GOP Health Bill. (video) More than half a dozen Republican and Democratic senators have discussed alternatives to the embattled GOP health-care bill, even as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans a vote next week to muscle the Obamacare repeal measure through the Senate. Talks about a bipartisan fallback are based on the idea that Obamacare insurance markets have problems and would need to be fixed if the health-care bill dies. For Democrats, it would avert a repeal of a signature achievement that they admit needs improvement. For some GOP moderates, it would be a concrete act that would help their constituents amid a maelstrom of partisan bickering.
  • Bitcoin Acceptance Among Retailers Is Low and Getting Lower. Retailers were already skeptical about letting customers pay with bitcoin before the cryptocurrency’s price underwent an astronomical rally this year. That rapid surge hasn’t made them any more accepting. In fact, it may have done the opposite.
  • Paul Singer Made $57.6 Million in One Day on This Bet.
Wall Street Journal:
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