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Trump spokesman sparks outcry by comparing Assad to Hitler

WASHINGTON ( ) – White House spokesman Sean Spicer triggered an uproar on Tuesday by saying Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons. He apologized after his comments drew immediate criticism on social media and elsewhere for overlooking the fact that millions of Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers.

Spicer made the assertion at a daily news briefing, during a discussion about the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed 87 people. Washington has blamed the attack on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said when asked about Russia’s alliance with the Syrian government.

The Nazis murdered six million Jews during World War Two. Many Jews as well as others were killed in gas chambers in European concentration camps.

When a reporter asked Spicer if he wanted to clarify his comments, he said: “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”

Later on Tuesday, Spicer apologized and said he should not have made that comparison.

“It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done it and I won’t do it again,” Spicer told CNN in an interview. “It was inappropriate and insensitive.”

Spicer’s assertion, made during the Jewish holiday of Passover, sparked instant outrage on social media and from some Holocaust memorial groups who accused him of minimizing Hitler’s crimes.

“Sean Spicer now lacks the integrity to serve as White House press secretary, and President Trump must fire him at once,” said Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

Shortly after the White House briefing, Spicer emailed a statement to reporters in response to their queries, but had stopped short of offering an explicit apology.

“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable,” Spicer said in the statement.

The U.S. Holocaust Museum did not mention Spicer’s comments directly, but sent out a tweet shortly after the briefing that showed graphic footage of dead bodies U.S. forces found while liberating the Buchenwald concentration camp.

The video was retweeted more than a thousand times, with many Twitter users referencing Spicer’s comments.

U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called on Republican President Donald Trump to reject Spicer’s assertion.

“Sean Spicer must be fired, and the President must immediately disavow his spokesman’s statements,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The White House did not immediately respond when asked to comment on Pelosi’s statement.

It was not the first time the White House has had to answer questions about the Holocaust. Critics in January noted the administration’s sta上海夜生活网tement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which omitted any mention of Jewish victims.

At the time, Spicer defended that statement by saying it had been written in part by a Jewish staff member whose family members had survived the Holocaust.

New York police arrest 25 at immigration protest in Trump Tower

NEW YORK ( ) – New York police on Thursday arrested 25 people in the lobby of Trump Tower protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration and border policies.

The demonstrators who sat in front of the elevators and chanted “no ban, no raids, no wall!” led security forces to close public accesses to the president’s signature property, a commercial and residential skyscraper where first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump stay while the president is in Washington.

As heavily armed police wearing ballistic vests stood guard blocking the entrances, other officers carried the protesters to police vans.

The building in the heart of the Fifth Avenue shopping district was also home to Trump’s campaign and has been his primary residence for years. The lobby is open to the public, though security was tightened as the 2016 campaign progressed and he was elected president.

Charges were pending, a police said in a statement.

The demonstrators wore T-shirts with slogans such as “No wall,” in reference to上海夜生活网 Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, and “No raids,” referring to U.S. arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants.

“No ban” refers to Trump’s executive orders seeking to restrict immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

FOREX-Mexican peso jumps after Trump calls off tariffs on Mexico

* Peso briefly rises as much as 2% against dollar

* Dollar index up 0.2%, bouncing after having lost 1.2% last week

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO, June 10 ( ) – The Mexican peso jumped against the dollar early in Asia on Monday after the United States and Mexico struck a migration deal late last week to avert a tariff war, providing much-needed relief to fragile market sentiment.

Over the past year, trade disputes between the United States and its trading partners, including a long-running conflict with China, have slowed global growth and unsettled financial markets.

Group of 20 finance leaders on Sunday said that trade and geopolitical tensions have “intensified”, raising risks to improving global growth, but they stopped short of calling for a resolution of the deepening U.S.-China trade conflict.上海夜生活网

The Mexican peso rose as much as 2% against the dollar as trading resumed for the first time after Mexico agreed on Friday to expand along the entire border a programme that sends migrants seeking asylum in the United States to Mexico. The peso was last up 1.65% at 19.30 pesos per dollar.

U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened to impose 5% import tariffs on all Mexican goods starting on Monday if Mexico did not commit to do more to tighten its borders.

“We all knew that Donald Trump was unpredictable, but this was taking it to a whole new level,” said Chris Weston, Melbourne-based head of research at foreign exchange brokerage Pepperstone.

“This was political, it was social. It meant that financial markets had to wear a higher risk premium.”

Against the safe-haven yen, the dollar gained 0.2% to 108.425 yen.

The Japanese currency tends to benefit during geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world’s biggest creditor nation.

Futures for the S&P 500 were last up nearly half a percent.

Still, the dollar’s gains were checked by rising expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates during the second half of the year.

Those views were bolstered on Friday when data showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 75,000 jobs last month, much smaller than the 185,000 additions estimated by economists in a poll, suggesting the loss of momentum in economic activity was spreading to the labour market.

Fed funds rate futures are still pricing in more than two 25-basis point rate hikes by the end of this year even after their retreat early on Monday after the U.S.-Mexico migration deal.

“The market is saying it is not a question of if, it is a question of when, and to what extent, we’re going to get a rate cut for this year,” said Pepperstone’s Weston.

Against a basket of six peers, the dollar rose 0.2% to 96.716, recovering slightly after ending with a 1.2% loss last week, its worst weekly performance since the week of Feb. 16 last year.

Elsewhere in the currency market, the euro edged down 0.1% to $1.1318, retreating from an 11-week high of $1.1348 touched on Friday.

The Australian dollar was down a shade at $0.6995, giving up some of last week’s gains, when it rose 0.9%.

Mexico holds off Trump’s fire but seen vulnerable to new pressure

MEXICO CITY ( ) – Mexico avoided the most extreme immigration concession sought by U.S. President Donald Trump in the deal reached to fend off threatened tariffs, but it is left even weaker than before in the face of potential new pressure from Trump as he formally kicks off his re-election campaign this month.

Under the deal reached on Friday, Mexico agreed to use a large part of its newly formed National Guard to hold back immigrants crossing from Guatemala, and to take in possibly tens of thousands of people seeking asylum in the United States while their cases are adjudicated.

Led by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, negotiators in Washington resisted Trump’s core demand that Mexico be declared a safe third country, a classification that would oblige Central Americans crossing through Mexico to seek safe haven there, not the United States.

But the two sides agree more action could be taken if within 90 days the measures do not have the desired result of drastically bringing down the numbers of undocumented migrants reaching the U.S. border from levels that are at a more-than-decade high. Last month alone 132,000 were apprehended by U.S. authorities.

Former World Trade Organization head Pascal Lamy called Trump’s approach to coercing its neighbor and ally “hostage-taking,” reflecting widely held concerns in Mexico that the U.S. president will come back with more threats to extract greater concessions.

Related CoverageIt’s business as usual at Mexico’s southern border despite Trump deal

Those fears are sharpened because Trump has used Mexico-bashing to fire up his base on repeated occasions since kicking off his first campaign for the White House in 2015. All signs are that he intends to keep the focus on immigration and cross-border issues in his second-term campaign, which officially launches on June 18.

“We think the threats, demands and Trump tweets against Mexico will continue, especially because it’s all tied up with the politics of the 2020 election,” said Gabriela Siller, an economist at Mexican bank Banco Base.

Siller expects the peso currency to rise when markets open on Monday on relief that a trade war has been averted, but she said the uptick could be short-lived. The peso, which had been pummeled in recent months on fears over a trade war, on Friday strengthened 0.5% after Trump tweeted that there was a “good chance” a deal would be reached with Mexico.

“A SURRENDER”

Vicente Fox, a former Mexican president and long-term critic of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, tweeted that by allowing the United States to dictate how, for example, Mexico uses its security forces, the government has already ceded some of its sovereignty.

That sentiment was echoed by center-left politician Angel Avila, on the other side of the political aisle from Fox, who called the deal “a surrender.”

“Mexico shouldn’t militarize its southern border,” said Avila, who heads the Party of the Democratic Revolution.

Others, however, think Lopez Obrador had little choice beyond giving some ground in the negotiations, because the threatened tariffs would have caused economic devastation in Mexico, whose economy contracted in the first quarter of this year.

Francisco Labastida, a former presidential candidate, said the scale of the current immigration crisis was a threat to Mexico itself, and action was needed regardless of Trump.

“Mexico would have had to change its migration policy for its own reasons due to national security,” he said, arguing that current numbers are unmanageable.

Carlos Pascual, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, praised the deal as preferable to the downward spiral of a tit-for-tat trade war, but acknowledged it left Mexico open to further pressure.

“Mexico is weak economically and it’s always going to be vulnerable if the United States is willing to use economic policy to enforce national security policy,” he said.

“There’s no doubt this leaves a Damocles sword hanging over Lopez Obrador’s head,” he said, invoking 上海夜生活网a metaphor that describes an ever-present peril.

(This story has been refiled to correct spelling of Mexican foreign minister in 3rd paragraph)

METALS-Copper stumbles towards eighth consecutive weekly loss

(Updates with closing prices)

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, June 7 ( ) – Copper prices were set for their eighth straight weekly fall after trade disputes, signs of slowing global economic growth and disappointing U.S. jobs data weakened the demand outlook for metals.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) traded down 0.2% at $5,799 a tonne in closing rings, down 0.5% this week.

Copper has fallen by about 14% from an April high of $6,608.50 after hopes of a quick U.S.-China trade 上海夜生活网deal faded and U.S. President Donald Trump threatened tariffs on Mexican goods.

A run of poor economic data continued on Friday with figures showing a sharp slowdown in U.S. jobs growth.

An increase in risk appetite among investors this week has lifted global stock markets from recent lows and helped to support copper prices, said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

“But we are not out of the woods yet,” he said. “We need to see data reducing recession fears or implying lower supply (of copper). Until we see that, copper is likely to struggle.”

CHINA HOLIDAY: Volumes were subdued, with Chinese markets closed for the Dragon Boat Festival.

TRADE WAR: President Trump said he would decide whether to impose tariffs on at least $300 billion of Chinese goods after a meeting of G20 nations later this month.

Washington has, however, granted Chinese exporters two more weeks before imposing a set of previously announced tariffs.

MEXICO: U.S.-Mexico talks were set to resume on Friday as Mexican officials push to avert U.S. tariffs due to take effect next week.

CHINA STIMULUS: China, the largest consumer of metals, announced measures to revive slumping car sales. The governor of its central bank said there was “tremendous” room to make adjustments if the China-U.S. trade war worsens.

GERMANY: Industrial output and exports fell sharply in April.

DOLLAR: The dollar was heading for its biggest weekly fall since February 2018, helping metals by making them cheaper for buyers with other currencies.

POSITIONING: Speculators’ net short position in LME copper has expanded to 9.8% of active contracts – the largest since September, according to broker Marex Spectron.

CODELCO: Unions at Chile’s huge Chuquicamata copper mine agreed to extend negotiations with operator Codelco in the hope of averting a strike.

LEAD: LME lead closed down 3.1% at $1,832 a tonne but was up about 1.5% on the week after a major smelter halted production and declared force majeure.

LEAD SPREAD/STOCKS: The premium for cash lead over the three-month contract MPB0-3 fell to $11 from a more than two-year high of $39 earlier this week. A premium suggests tight nearby supply. MPBSTX-TOTAL

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium finished down 0.7% at $1,764 a tonne, zinc closed 0.7% lower at $2,484 and tin slipped 0.1% to $19,225.

Nickel was not included in closing rings but was down 0.5% at $11,620 in electronic trading.

All but tin were down this week.

May steps down as party chief, igniting leadership race

LONDON ( ) – British Prime Minister Theresa May stepped down as leader of the governing Conservatives on Friday, officially triggering a contest to replace her that could see her party embrace a tougher stance on Brexit.

May announced she would step down last month after failing to deliver Britain’s departure from the European Union on time, deepening a political crisis in a divided country struggling to move on from a 2016 referendum on Brexit.

She will continue to work as prime minister until her party elects a new leader, a crowded race that will be defined by Brexit and competing approaches on how to deliver Britain’s biggest foreign policy shift in more than 40 years.

“For the remainder of her time in office, she will be building on the domestic agenda that she has put at the heart of her premiership,” her spokeswoman told reporters.

May exchanged letters with the leaders of the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers, according to a statement from the committee.

May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership who emerged from the chaos after the 2016 referendum as prime minister, steps down with her central pledge – to lead Britain out of the bloc and heal the country’s divisions – unfulfilled.

Her team has been keen to shape her legacy beyond the Brexit failure, but she bequeaths to her successor a nation where traditional political divides are being eroded by strong beliefs on whether Britain should leave the EU, and how it should do so.

The contest to replace her has been heating up for weeks, with candidates arguing over the rights and wrongs of a so-called no-deal Brexit, or leaving the EU without a deal.

Official nominations will be received on Monday. The selection上海夜生活网 process should be completed by the end of July.

Related CoverageFactbox: How will Britain’s Conservative Party choose May’s successor?Factbox: Deal, no deal or delay: what will UK PM May’s successor do about Brexit?

Former foreign minister Boris Johnson is the favourite to win. He champions a tougher stance on Brexit, saying Britain should leave with or without a deal by the new deadline of Oct. 31. He is seeking to persuade Conservatives that he is the only candidate who could win a new national election for the Conservative Party.

Other leading contenders include the current foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, and environment minister Michael Gove, who take a less hardline stance on Brexit.

But Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, said on Friday any new prime minister will still face the problem of what to do with the Irish border, in order to secure frictionless trade, after Britain leaves the bloc.

CalPERS chief sees volatility until Trump implements plans

SAN FRANCISCO ( ) – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s chief investment officer advised the pension fund on Monday to prepare for “greater uncertainty and volatility” until U.S. president-elect Donald Trump and Congress implement their policy plans.

Ted Eliopoulos told a meeting of the fund’s investment board that Trump’s plans would likely be “positive for growth and corporate earnings,” but “the devil will be in the details, and we don’t know the details.”

Trump has indicated he would prioritize a broad mix of policies, including tax cuts, infrastructure spending, the repeal or lessening of Dodd-Frank financial regulation, and changes to global trade arrangements.

Decisions made by the new administration and Congress will have “a significant impact on matters small and large” for CalPERS and for investors globally, Eliopoulos said during a live Webcast of the meeting, the board’s first since the U.S. presidential election last week.

But it is “much too early to talk with precision about these implications since we know very little,” Eliopoulos added.

Related CoverageCalPERS shared 14 percent of private equity profits with firms

“We do need to be prepared to address a much different policy environment, new economic and investment challenges and opportunities and be ready to adjust, act, and govern ourselves accordingly,” said Eliopoulos.

CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with approximately $300.7 billion of total fu上海夜生活nd market value.

Japan’s wage tumble overshadows spending growth, keeps BOJ under pressure

TOKYO ( ) – Japan’s household spending rose more than expected in March but real wages tumbled the most in nearly four years, dashing hopes consumer sector activity may soften the blow from external factors such as global trade conflicts.

The data add to recent weak signs in the export-reliant economy, which has been hit by slumping shipments to China and soft factory output, and cast doubt on the Bank of Japan’s view that growth will rebound in the second half of this year.

Fading recovery prospects were among key topics of debate at the BOJ’s rate review in April, with one board member warning that a scheduled sales tax hike in October and soft global demand could push the country into recession, a summary of the meeting showed on Friday.

“Given the current level of the unemployment rate, wages should be growing by a上海夜生活论坛round 1 percent and we expect a rebound in working hours to provide a tailwind over coming months,” said Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at Capital Economics.

“But as economic activity remains weak and the labor market slackens, we expect wage growth to keep falling short of last year’s strong gains.”

Household spending gained 2.1 percent from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday, rising for the fourth straight month and beating market forecasts for a 1.7 percent increase.

But separate data showed inflation-adjusted real wages fell 2.5 percent in March from a year earlier, the biggest decline since 2015, casting doubt about the resilience of consumption.

The data underlines the challenge policymakers face in breaking Japan’s sticky deflationary mindset, which discourages firms from raising prices for fear of scaring away households who have become accustomed to tepid price and wage growth.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have risen after a major setback in negotiations this week, dashing the BOJ’s hopes that apparent progress in the negotiations in recent months would help global growth rebound in the second half of this year.

The modest rise in household spending, however, may help Japan’s economy avert a contraction in January-March. The gross domestic product (GDP) data is due for release on May 20.

Some analysts have said a weak GDP data could heighten calls from politicians for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to put off a twice-delayed increase in the sales tax rate to 10 percent from 8 percent in October.

“There’s a chance the economy may see flat or slightly positive growth thanks to stronger-than-expected household spending,” said Hiroaki Mutou, chief economist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

“I don’t think the government will postpone the sales tax hike if the economy shows a small growth, or even a slight contraction,” he said.

Abe and his ministers have consistently said they will proceed with the tax hike unless the economy is hit by a shock of the scale of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Republicans make gains in U.S. governors’ races

( ) – Republicans in Missouri, Vermont and New Hampshire won competitive governor’s races on Tuesday, though most of the 12 contests left power in the hands of the incumbent party.

Here are the results.

MISSOURI

In one of the year’s closest gubernatorial races, Republican former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens edged Democrat Chris Koster, the state’s attorney general. Greitens will succeed Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat who has served the maximum two terms in office.

VERMONT

Vermont elected a Republican, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, over Democrat Sue Minter, a former state transportation secretary. Scott succeeds retiring Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat.

OREGON

Democratic Governor Kate Brown held off a challenge by Republican Bud Pierce, an oncologist. Brown was sworn in last year after her predecessor, John Kitzhaber, resigned in scandal. The election is for the final two years of Kitzhaber’s term.

INDIANA

Republican Eric Holcomb, the state’s lieutenant governor, beat Democrat John Gregg, a former state lawmaker. Holcomb entered the race after current Governor Mike Pence opted not to seek re-election in July when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump chose him as his vice presidential running mate.

WEST VIRGINIA

Democratic businessman Jim Justice defeated Republican state Senate President Bill Cole. Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was barred by term limits from running again.

UTAH

Incumbent Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, won his re-election race against Democrat Mike 上海夜生活论坛Weinholtz, a healthcare executive. Herbert, who took office in 2009 after his predecessor, Jon Huntsman, resigned, won a second full term.

NORTH DAKOTA

Republican Doug Burgum, a former Microsoft Corp executive, defeated Democratic State Representative Marvin Nelson in the solidly Republican state. Governor Jack Dalrymple, a Republican who was eligible to run for re-election in 2016, declined to seek another term.

DELAWARE

Democrat John Carney, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, beat Republican Colin Bonini, a state senator. Democratic Governor Jack Markell was prohibited by term limits from running for re-election to the position he has held since 2009.

NORTH CAROLINA

Drawing national attention because of a debate over transgender rights, Republican Governor Pat McCrory is seeking a second term against Roy Cooper, a Democrat who has been the state’s attorney general since 2001. Cooper held a razor-thin lead as of Wednesday morning. McCrory told supporters tallying an unknown number of provisional ballots could take until Nov. 18.

MONTANA

Democratic Governor Steve Bullock is battling Republican tech entrepreneur Greg Gianforte to keep his seat. The race remained too close to call on Wednesday morning.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Republican Chris Sununu defeated Democrat Colin Van Ostern to become the state’s next governor. Both candidates had been seeking to succeed Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

WASHINGTON

Democratic Governor Jay Inslee defeated a challenge from Republican Bill Bryant, a businessman and former commissioner of the Port of Seattle.

Kansas judge strikes state’s dual voter registration system

( ) – A state judge on Friday struck down a Kansas voter registration system that would have prevented people from voting in state and local elections unless they show proof of U.S. citizenship.

The judge ruled that the loss of voting rights for more than 18,000 Kansas residents “far outweighs” the risk posed by potential voter fraud, as the state mentioned only about two dozen people who may have attempted to improperly register to vote over the last 13 years.

“The right of citizen suffrage forms the foundation of a democratic society,” Larry Hendricks, District Judge in Shawnee County, wrote in a 19-page ruling. “Whenever the laws of a state and the federal government clash with respect to this right, cracks are bound to appear in the framework of democracy.”

Kansas has had one of the strictest voter identification statutes in the United States, making the state a symbol for mostly Republican Party supporters who say the rules are meant to prevent voter fraud. Opponents, mostly Democrats, say the rules discriminate against minorities.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said by phone on Friday he planned to appeal the ruling adding, “I regard the decision as wrong … and this decision stands in the way of protecting our elections.”

The American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit said the voter registration system established by Kobach violated the state’s constitution and state law and called it “two-tiered.”

“This ruling is a victory for Kansas voters and a stinging rebuke of Secretary Kobach’s repeated efforts to improperly use his authority to obstruct their access to the ballot,” ACLU Voting Rights Project staff attorney Sophia Lakin said in a statement.

The ACLU said the system would have denied the right to vote in state and local elections to residents who registered through a federal voter registration form or when they applied for or renewed their driver’s license.

Under the rejected system, those people could have voted in federal elections but would have had to show proof of citizenship to vote in state and local ones.

The system required registrants to prove their citizenship by providing one of a series of documents, inclu上海夜生活网ding birth certificates and passports.

Kobach has gained a reputation for pushing a series of voting and anti-immigration measures as a national debate over voting restrictions has accelerated since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

European shares rise, aided by defensives amid gloomy trade outlook

( ) – European shares rose on Friday, with surging shares of Thyssenkrupp and robust defensive stocks helping equities on the continent avert the losses seen among their U.S. peers, which slid on persisting worries about U.S.-China trade.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was in no hurry to sign a trade deal with China as a new set of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods kicked in, dashing hopes the world’s top two economies would salvage a last-minute trade deal.

European investors shuffled their equity holdings as they braced for more volatility on the second day of U.S.-China trade talks, with defensive stocks gaining popularity over the course of the上海夜生活论坛 session.

The STOXX 600 index gained 0.3%, lifting off an about one and a half month closing low clocked on Thursday. The pan-European index still recorded its biggest weekly decline this year, down 3.4%, bruised by trade worries.

“If things do escalate then this will have an impact of around 0.5 percentage points of global GDP and that would not be inconsiderable,” said Julian Mayo, chief investment strategist at investment management firm Fiera Capital.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.7%, with Thyssenkrupp – also the STOXX 600’s top gainer – lifted 28.2% by short-covering on news it will list its successful elevators business and embark on a fresh restructuring.

The level of short interest on Thursday was 38.3 million shares, the largest amount in more than four years, according to data from FIS Astec Analytics. Around 6.1% of Thyssenkrupp’s outstanding shares were out on loan.

Thyssenkrupp shares’ barnstorming performance on the day helped trim the degree to which they have underperformed industrial goods and services stocks in the year to date.

French and Italian stocks each tacked on 0.3%, while their London-traded peers eased marginally.

Defensive stocks such as those in the real estate and utilities sectors rose 0.3% and 1.1%, respectively.

With yields on German bonds maturing up to 10 years from now in negative territory, according to data on Refinitiv Eikon, European investors also favor defensive stocks for their dividend yields, relatively secure in a “lower-for-longer” position held by the European Central Bank.

Chemicals stocks gained 1.3%, with Linde leading the sector index with a 4.1% rise. The firm’s chief financial officer said it would hit the upper end of its 2019 earnings per share guidance, if the current business environment holds up.

Stocks of auto-makers and their suppliers slid 1% to their lowest closing level in more than a month, with Daimler falling 3.2%. The sector is relatively exposed to global trade ructions.

“A trade deal getting less likely in Q2 after Trump’s moves today…hopefully we can get a short break from Trump’s tweets and enjoy spring time instead,” Allan von Mehren, chief analyst and China economist at Danske Bank, wrote in a note.

LafargeHolcim gained 2.8% as the world’s top cement maker agreed to sell its Philippines operations. Credit Suisse also raised its price target on the stock.

Fed officials see risks in weaker inflation expectations, trade row

WASHINGTON ( ) – A drop in the consumer outlook for inflation and intensifying trade tensions drew caution from Federal Reserve officials on Monday as policymak上海夜生活论坛ers faced fresh market volatility and a renewed set of risks.

While Fed officials have largely discounted the trade war so far as unlikely to derail the U.S. economic expansion, officials emphasized Monday that a protracted tit-for-tat battle between the United States and China was a different matter that might require a Fed response.

“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,” Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, a voter this year on Fed rate policy, said in an interview with .

While Rosengren said he was “not necessarily” expecting a rate cut to be necessary, the market sell-off Monday was deep and potentially disruptive to the Fed’s core expectation that interest rates will remain on hold for some time to come.

Major U.S. equity markets were down between 2% and 3.5% on Monday, while bond investors sharply increased their bets that the Fed would be forced to cut rates this year. A closely watched spread between long- and short-term bonds turned negative, seen by some officials as a sign of weakened market confidence in the economic outlook.

After the collapse of U.S.-China talks last week and the threat of tariffs ratcheting ever higher, there was more reason to believe the tensions will last a while.

“If it’s the worst-case scenario and it’s ever-increasing tariffs for an extended period of time, that could change things, that could have a real effect on U.S. GDP growth,” Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said on CNBC.

Traders and analysts on Monday said the volatility is likely to continue.

“You cannot game what two leaders…are going to do from day to day,” said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist with Ameriprise Financial Services in Troy, Michigan, of the high-stakes standoff between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

RATE CUTS BACK ON RADAR

Fed officials have been careful to say that nothing yet has changed their core outlook, which envisions rates to be held in their current range of between 2.25% and 2.5% until either growth demonstrably weakens and inflation falls further, justifying a rate cut, or faster inflation makes higher rates warranted.

As the trade war intensified over the last few days, however, traders in the federal funds futures market have moved decisively in favor of expecting a Fed rate cut in coming months. Data from the CME Group now sees the Fed cutting rates in October, with a near 10 percentage point shift since Friday in the probability of a rate reduction at that Fed meeting.

The pressure on the Fed could come from several directions. Economic growth overall could slow if the tariff wars continue and global trade declines; “wealth effects” could directly impact business and household confidence and spending if the stock declines continue; higher costs could hit company profits, and discourage hiring.

A further complication for the Fed: The inflation outlook among U.S. consumers dipped sharply in April, countering Fed policymaker hopes that inflation dynamics will improve and the pace of price increases soon rise toward their target level.

Survey data released by the New York Federal Reserve on Monday showed consumer expectations of the inflation rate over the next year fell to 2.6% from 2.82% in the March survey. The nearly quarter point drop was the third-largest since the survey was launched in mid-2013. The outlook for inflation over the next three years also fell, to 2.69% from 2.86%, evidence that medium-term expectations have also weakened in recent weeks.

Following the Fed’s most recent meeting, Chairman Jerome Powell and others said they felt recent weak inflation readings were driven by “transitory” factors that would disappear over time and allow overall inflation to rise.

Related CoverageFed’s Kaplan says interest rates are about where they should beFed’s Kaplan says he’s vigilant but patient on U.S.-China tensionsSee more stories

But a drop in inflation expectations is another matter, and could be evidence that households and businesses are losing faith in the Fed’s ability to deliver on its inflation goal – a worrying development for central bankers who feel their ability to keep expectations set around their inflation target is critical to meeting the goal.

As of the Fed’s last policy statement on May 1, officials said they felt expectations remained stable.

While consumer surveys are discounted by some officials as overly influenced by things like changes in gasoline prices and other costs that consumers closely monitor, some broader market expectation measures have also shifted. Since late April, for example, a St. Louis Federal Reserve measure of the inflation rate expected five years from now, based on trading in different types of bonds, dipped to 1.9% from 2.1%, a sign traders also see weaker inflation ahead.

Swiss trainmaker Stadler plans flotation as billionaire owner cuts stake

ZURICH ( ) – Switzerland’s Stadler Rail will float on the SIX Swiss Exchange in the next few months, the train builder said on T上海夜网uesday, selling shares from the 80 percent stake owned by billionaire Peter Spuhler.

The flotation is the latest ownership move in the rail industry which is going through a round of consolidation as companies bulk up to compete with China’s state-owned CRRC (601766.SS).

The planed merger between the rail operations of Germany’s Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and France’s Alstom (ALSO.PA) recently fell foul of European regulators, triggering speculation Alstom and Canada’s Bombardier (BBDb.TO) could merge.

Stadler on Tuesday said its initial public offering (IPO) was the next stage in its growth strategy which is targeting annual sales of roughly 4 billion Swiss francs ($4 billion) by 2020.

“The planned IPO on SIX Swiss Exchange is a logical next step in Stadler’s growth trajectory,” Spuhler said in a statement, noting the group had grown strongly since he acquired it in 1989 with just 18 employees.

The IPO is expected to consist entirely of shares held by Spuhler. After the transaction he will keep at least a 40 percent stake as Stadler’s largest shareholder and will continue to act as executive chairman, the company said. It has not yet put a price on the shares to be sold.

NEW ORDERS

RAG-Stiftung, which finances the cleanup of mining areas in Germany’s Ruhr and Saar regions, and Stadler staff will keep their 10 percent stakes after the IPO, it added.

Stadler also reported a rise in new orders to 4.39 billion francs during 2018. Annual revenue fell 18 percent to 2 billion francs, while operating profit fell 20 percent to 151 million.

The company, which employs around 8,500 workers, has built more than 8,000 trains since it was founded in 1942. Customers include CalTrain in the United States, Wales & Borders in Britain, and Russia’s rail company Aeroexpress that bought trains ahead of the 2018 soccer World Cup to ferry visitors from airports to Moscow.

Stadler wants to increase revenue in coming years by accelerating its service business and developing new products particularly in signaling technology.

The IPO is the latest in Switzerland, which had a bumper year for flotations in 2018 including with companies such as packaging company SIG Combibloc and CEVA Logistics.

Medical device maker Medacta Group also plans an initial share offering as it seeks to boost its visibility by going public.

Credit Suisse and UBS are acting as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the Stadler IPO. BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Zuercher Kantonalbank are acting as joint bookrunners and UniCredit Bank as co-lead manager, while Reichmuth & Co, St. Galler Kantonalbank and Thurgauer Kantonalbank are acting as selling agents.

($1 = 1.0004 Swiss francs)

PRECIOUS-Palladium soars to record, gold moves back up above $1,300/oz

(Updates prices)

* Palladium hits record high of $1,567.50/oz

* Gold eyes second straight weekly gain

* GRAPHIC-2019 commodities returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

By Arijit Bose and Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

March 15 ( ) – Palladium set a fresh record high on Friday amid expectations that China’s economic stimulus would drive demand for the autocatalyst metal, while news that Russia may ban exports of precious metal scraps compounded worries of a supply deficit.

Gold also rebounded, moving back above $1,300 an ounce, as the dollar dipped on weak U.S. economic data.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing was open to additional monetary policy measures to support economic growth this year.

Spot palladium surged to a record $1,567.5 an ounce earlier in the session. As of 1:42 p.m. EDT (1742 GMT), the precious metal was trading 0.3 percent higher at $1,562.上海夜生活39 per ounce.

“The announcement of specific stimulus measures helped sentiment in China, which arguably is the global marginal consumer in automobiles, helping palladium climb quietly to new highs,” said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.

“There is (also) some concern that talk of possible scrap metal export ban in Russia could impact already extremely stretched palladium supplies,” Wong added.

With the intention of promoting domestic refining of materials, Russia’s trade and industry ministry is considering banning exports of precious metals scrap and tailings from the country, the world’s largest producer of palladium, local newspaper Kommersant reported.

The price of the metal, used mainly in emissions-reducing catalysts for vehicles, has risen almost 90 percent from a trough in mid-August last year and is up about 24 percent so far in 2019.

“Palladium is starting to reach lofty levels off of which it could correct a bit in the short term,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

Meanwhile, gold rebounded following the previous session’s decline, gaining 0.5 percent to $1,302.62 an ounce en route to its second straight weekly rise.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.6 percent higher at $1,302.90 an ounce.

Fueling gold’s advance, the dollar fell against its rivals, weighed down by weak manufacturing and factory output data, ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting next week expected to shed more light on the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

“For gold, whether it closes above or below $1,300 will help determine sentiment early next week before focus moves to the new Fed dot plot,” said BMO’s Wong.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar. In other precious metals, silver gained nearly 1 percent to $15.31 per ounce, and platinum jumped 1 percent to $826.40.

In a potentially bearish development for the dollar, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported representatives from Beijing and Washington had made some progress on trade in a call held on Thursday.

The dollar has been preferred by investors as a safe haven amid deteriorating trade relations between the two countries.

As clock ticks, Senate seeks way to avert shutdown

WASHINGTON ( ) – Plans to avert a U.S. government shutdown began taking shape in the Senate on Tuesday, but it was still far from certain whether a dispute over funding for women’s healthcare group Planned Parenthood could be overcome.

With only days remaining before an Oct. 1 deadline, Senate leaders said they were pursuing a stop-gap funding bill to extend the present federal budget for about 10 weeks beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

Known as a continuing resolution, or CR, this approach was gaining traction, said senior senators from both parties.

Meanwhile, the White House budget office began working with government agencies on shutdown plans.

“Prudent management requires that the government plan for the possibility of a lapse,” a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement, emphasizing that the White House believes there was still time to prevent a shutdown.

The Senate’s CR approach may fail if conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives stand by their threat to oppose any spending plan that preserves federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is under attack over allegations that it improperly sells aborted fetal tissue.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats oppose defunding the group, which has said it has done nothing wrong and blasted the allegations as deceptive and unfair.

“Given the president’s opposition and Democrats’ opposition, at some point I anticipate there will be a clean CR,” said Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid largely concurred saying, “We’re going to move to a clean CR on Thursday.”

There were no signs, however, that House Republicans would go along with this plan. Abortions are a small part of Planned Parenthood’s services, making it a perennial target for anti-abortion forces among conservative Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote on Thursday on a CR keeping federal agencies funded through Dec. 11 and giving Congress time to work out a longer-term budget deal.

McConnell’s measure would try to strip the portion of Planned Parenthood funding from discretionary programs. Democrat上海夜生活s were expected to block that version of the bill.

Conservative Republicans have called for an end to the group’s current funding of about $500 million a year, mostly from Medicaid healthcare reimbursements independent of annual spending bills. McConnell’s bill would attack a much smaller portion, about $50 million.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares steady ahead of Fed meeting; May’s Brexit deal in chaos

* Asian stock markets : tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

* Wall St advance, dollar flat as traders brace for a dovish Fed

* Pound choppy as UK parliament bans vote on same Brexit deal

By Tomo Uetake

March 19 – Asian shares treaded water on Tuesday ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, hovering near six-month highs, while sterling was choppy as the speaker of Britain’s parliament banned another vote on same Brexit deal.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was virtually flat, just a hair away from the highest level since Sept. 21.

Japan’s Nikkei average dropped 0.5 percent, while Australian stocks eased 0.1 percent.

All three major U.S. indexes rose overnight, lifted by banks and tech names, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite adding between 0.3 and 0.4 percent each.

“Speculators appear to be betting on rise in stock prices on the back of a dovish Fed. The Fed is unlikely to kill such hopes. Yet there is a risk the Fed could tone down its dovishness,” said Masanari Takada, cross-asset strategist at Nomura Securities.

With signs of global economic growth slowing, traders were focused on the Federal Reserve, which is kicking 上海夜网off its two-day policy meeting on later in the day, for clues about the likely path of U.S. borrowing costs.

In particular, investors will be focusing on whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot”, a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.

Also expected is more detail on a plan to stop cutting the Fed’s holdings of nearly $3.8 trillion in bonds.

“A key focus is when the Fed will omit the word ‘patient’ from its statement, as that would be a pre-requisite for a rate hike,” said Toru Yamamoto, chief fixed income strategist at Daiwa Securities.

In the currency market, the pound found firmer footing on Tuesday after slipping to as low as $1.3183 overnight as lawmakers cast doubt on Prime Minister Theresa May’s third attempt to get parliament to back her Brexit deal.

May’s Brexit plans were thrown into further turmoil on Monday when the speaker of parliament ruled that she could not put her divorce deal to a new vote unless it was re-submitted in fundamentally different form.

May has only two days to win approval for her deal to leave the European Union if she wants to go to a summit with the bloc’s leaders on Thursday with something to offer them in return for more time.

Meanwhile, senior diplomats said the European Union leaders could hold off making any final decision on any Brexit delay when they meet in Brussels later this week, depending on what exactly May asks them for.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies barely moved and was at 96.498.

The Japanese yen edged up 0.1 percent to 111.27 yen to the dollar, while the euro was almost flat at $1.1334.

Oil prices rose to near four-month highs on Monday, supported by the prospect of extended OPEC-led oil supply curbs and signs of inventory declines in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Early on Tuesday, U.S. crude futures slipped 0.2 percent to $58.99 a barrel.

UPDATE 2-Argentina inflation accelerates again in challenge for Macri

* February prices rise 3.8 pct vs month earlier

* Rolling 12-month inflation running at 51.3 pct

* Inflation rose almost 50 pct last year

* Central bank chief promises measures to curb inflation (Adds central bank chief comments)

BUENOS AIRES, March 14 ( ) – Argentina’s stubbornly high inflation accelerated again in February, the government said on Thursday, sparking the central bank chief to pledge new measures to rein in rising prices that have dogged the South American economy over the last year.

Inflation rose 3.8 percent in February, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) said, as President Mauricio Macri struggles to bring down prices ahead of key national elections this year.

The rise marked the second straight month where inflation has accelerated, underscoring the challenge facing Argentina’s leadership who are battling to stem a slide in the peso, rein in inflation and dig the country out of a recession.

Argentina’s central bank president Guido Sandleris held a press conference later in the day, slamming “too high” 上海夜网inflation and promising new measures to curb one of the steepest inflation rates in the world.

Sandleris said the central bank would extend its goal of zero growth in the monetary base to the end of 2019 but would not freeze the exchange rate as a measure to lower inflation.

He added a non-intervention trading band for the peso agreed with the International Monetary Fund last year would be tweaked so it depreciated more gradually than the current track.

The band, which sets an upper and lower limit for the peso to trade against the dollar, will depreciate at 1.75 percent per month starting from the second quarter versus 2 percent currently – meaning it should guide the peso lower more slowly.

The February inflation increase, the sharpest since October, took 2019 year-to-date inflation to 6.8 percent. Rolling 12-month inflation in the month was 51.3 percent, INDEC said.

Fueled by a weak peso, consumer prices in Argentina rose 47.6 percent in 2018, which analysts said was the highest annual rate in nearly three decades, hitting the country’s spenders as wage growth failed to keep apace.

Earlier this month economists raised their forecast for 2019 inflation to 31.9 percent from a previous estimate of 29.0 percent.

All Americans would pay some income tax under Republican Jindal’s plan: WSJ

( ) – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, trying to revive his ailing Republican presidential bid, will unveil a tax plan on Wednesday whose goal is to make all citizens pay at least some federal income taxes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

“If we have generations of Americans who never pay any taxes, it will be very easy for them to turn a blind eye to absurd government spending and to continue to allow our government to bankrupt our nation,” Jindal said in a written statement, according to the Journal.

The Tax Policy Center estimates that 45.3 percent of households will pay no federal income taxes this year. Roughly half do not make enough money and the others qualify for deductions and credits that reduce their tax burden to zero, the newspaper said.

Jindal will announce his plan in Iowa, the Journal reported. Iowa holds the first contest to choose the Republican nominee for the November 2016 presidential election.

Jindal’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request from for comment.

The 44-year-old governor is lagging badly in opinion polls. A Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows him with 0.6 percent support, near the bottom of a crowded Republican field.

Jindal’s plan seeks to compress the current seven income tax brackets to three, with those in the lowest rung paying a 2 percent rate, the Journal reported.

It would also eliminate most deductions, including those that allow millions to pay nothing in federal income taxes, the newspaper said.

Jindal’s proposal takes a different approach from those of several of his Republican rivals.

Businessman Donald Trump, the front-runner in the Republican race, announced a plan last month in which individuals earning less than $25,000 a year a上海夜生活论坛nd married couples earning under $50,000 would pay no income tax.

Candidate Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor, proposed a tax plan last month that he said would eliminate income taxes for roughly 15 million more people.

Jindal wants to eliminate corporate taxes, the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax, as well as all the taxes in the Affordable Care Act, the Journal said.

He would scrap itemized deductions, except for some of the biggest and politically sensitive, such as those for charitable contributions and mortgage interest, the newspaper said.

Jindal estimates his changes would reduce federal tax revenue by 22 percent over 10 years, the Journal reported.

Gracia honoured to be a Watford coach

Javi Gracia, the new Watford coach, admitted that it is a big honour for him to be given this big chance to prove himself in the Premier League as he was chosen as the replacement of Marco Silva.

Watford decided to sack Silva as he was able to win just one match out of his side’s last 11 games and the Hornets are really close to the relegation zone right now – which is the thing that Gracia is expected to change immediately. The Spaniard was most recently the head coach of Rubin Kazan, the Russian side, and he signed the deal until 2019.

The former Malaga coach spoke about his feelings after being appointed as he said, according to Sky Sports: “I feel like I have been here many months. I feel happy, comfortable. I feel that this is like a family. This is an important step in my career. It was a dream. Not only as a coach, but as a professional player. The fans want to win matches. If you win playing well, it is better.”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 continued by adding that his main goal is to avoid the relegation: “In this moment, after 11 matches without a win, they want to win a match and get the points to play in the Premier League next season. The principal target is to remain in the Premier League.”

In the end, Javi Gracia insisted that he doesn’t want to make any statements about his goals in the transfer window and he is looking forward to having the injured players back: “In this moment I am worried because we have many players injured and the most important thing for me now is to recover these players. The tr上海夜网ansfer window is open at this moment but I don’t mind about this. I prefer to try to recover players and make a team.”

Manchester City target Laporte

Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte has now become subject of a club-record £57m deal for Premier League side Man上海夜生活论坛chester City.

According to the BBC, the 23 year old Frenchman has been long admired by Manchester City Pepe Guardiola and the club now appear to be willing to meet the release clause for the centre-back. No deal has yet to be concluded but the transfer is expected to be completed before Wednesday’s transfer windows deadline.

Should the transfer be made it will eclipsed the record fee that City paid for midfielder Kevin de Bruyne back in 2015.

Laporte joined Bilbao at the tender age of 16 and has gone on to score 10 goals in 222 appearances for the Basque club and is regarded as one of La Liga’s most promising young defender’s. He has yet to feature for the senior side on French national squad, but has featured 19 times for France at under-21 level.Opinion: Marcelo Gallardo deserves a shot at FC Barcelona Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Due to his level of success at River Plate, we will tell you why Marcelo Gallardo deserves a shot to coach FC Barcelona in…

With the questionable fitness of skipper Vincent Kompany and the evident lack of confidence Guardiola appears to have in Eliaquim Mangala, Laporte’s timely arrival will certainty provide Guardiola a valuable option in central defence.

Also being linked to City is West Brom captain Jonny Evans. But it appears more likely that Evans will move to either Arsenal or Leicester City, as it appears City will only make a move should Mangala leave before the January transfer window closes.