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Investors back on the defensive, but where to hide?

LONDON ( ) – Equity investors looking for protection from tech-led share reversals, trade wars and Europe’s slowing economic momentum may find that the “defensive” sectors they usually seek out during market storms are no longer the safe havens they once were.

Earnings of telecom, consumer staples and healthcare companies and utilities tend to hold up when macro indicators turn south, but many of these now face disruptive or competitive forces that threaten their traditionally robust income streams.

“‘Defensive value’ stocks have become a very small niche this cycle. Those that appear defensive and not aggressively priced typically have some structural or regulatory issues,” said Pau,夜上海论坛Dahlia,l Harper, equity strategist at DNB in Oslo.

Big European telecom firms for instance are struggling to get hoped-for returns from their investments in broadband and mobile infrastructure as smaller rivals nip at their heels with simple, cheap data plans.

And competition rules and the lack of a unified European telecom market are making defensive mergers hard to pull off.

Utilities face similar challenges and are also grappling with weak wholesale energy prices, an increasingly redundant model of centralized power generation and the cost of building new networks to manage a rapid switch to renewables.

Tobacco companies are pushing new technologies but they are at a relatively early stage, the results are patchy and it is unclear whether they can offset the gradual decline in revenue as more smokers kick the cigarette habit.

And the food industry is going through unprecedented upheaval as big brands face competition from retailers’ own labels and activist investors push for swingeing cost cuts, making it harder for companies like Unilever and Nestle to defend their profit margins.

In healthcare, drug distribution and health insurance face the threat of disruption by e-commerce giants, forcing prices lower even as pressure grows on state health budgets.

“A number of politicians have talked about tighter regulations on pricing of pharmaceutical products which is a risk for defensive healthcare stocks,” said Harper. “In the UK, a change of government could potentially hit some utilities with nationalisation.” 

WARNING SIGN

The recent rise of tech stocks to rule global markets, and the dominance of banks in the rally starting after U.S. President Trump was elected in November 2016, have combined to create a highly cyclically-led market.

“Defensive” sectors look cheaper on some measures than cyclical stocks after rising less during the breakneck equities rally.

Morgan Stanley said on Thu上海夜网rsday that European cyclicals were now trading at a rare premium to defensives on price-to-book.

This historically was a reliable warning signal for cyclicals’ price and earnings per share performance over the following 12 to 24 months, MS said.

Investors’ positioning on cyclicals has also begun to look elevated. Barclays found both European and global funds have increased their cyclicals exposure to near the highest levels in the last decade.

Among the best-performing STOXX 600 sectors over the past five sessions are utilities .SX6P and consumer staples .SCOST, which rose while banks, tech stocks and industrials fell.

Those now looking at defensives are being very selective. Chris Dyer, global investment director at Eaton Vance, said investors should look for high quality companies with strong pricing power, including powerful consumer brands and franchises.

“You look at the derating of the defensive sectors and see some good opportunities,” he said.

Angelo Meda, head of equities at Banor SIM in Italy, is adding to positions in Italian utilities, Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) and Nestle (NESN.S). He also holds German utilities E.ON (EONGn.DE) and RWE (RWEG.DE).

Even tobacco stocks look attractive to some. Saracen Global Income and Growth Fund has bought back into Imperial Brands (IMB.L), a stock that has tumbled 24 percent this year, saying it was generating strong enough cash to maintain its dividends.

OTHER DEFENSIVE OPTIONS

Some investors, reluctant to bet on defensives, are looking for protection elsewhere.

“We haven’t made any specific changes, but our portfolio managers have been holding some portfolio insurance in case of a setback,” said Kevin Gardiner, global investment strategist at Rothschild.

The insurance is a mix of put options and third-party funds that either trade volatility themselves, or can deliver uncorrelated returns, he added. “[It] means we have been spared the difficulties of having to choose speci,上海夜生活Nala,fic “defensive” sectors – it wouldn’t be easy!”

This reluctance to opt for specific defensive sectors and risk choosing the “wrong” one has also inspired some to look to exchange traded funds.

“The interest in more defensive, high quality, low volatility (factor ETFs), has increased,” said Michael Hunstad, ,上海夜生活男人好去处Cain,head of the quantitative strategies group at Northern Trust Asset Management. “Investors don’t want to just buy a Utilities ETF, they want something more diversified.”

Written by shyw on October 31, 2018 Categories: uyreiggv Tags: , , ,

G20 sees need for ‘dialogue,’ fails to defuse trade war threat

BUENOS AIRES ( ) – The world’s financial leaders rejected protectionism on Tuesday and urged “further dialogue” on trade, but failed to defuse the threat of a trade war days before U.S. metals tariffs take effect and Washington is to announce measures against China.

Finance ministers and central bankers of the world’s 20 biggest economies, which represent 75 percent of world trade and 85 percent of global gross domestic product, discussed trade disruptions as a risk to growth at a two-day meeting.

But after talks described by participants as “polite” and mainly consisting of read-out statements with no debate, the G20 agreed only to stand by an ambiguous declaration on trade from 2017 and “recognize” the need for more “dialogue and actions”.

“We reaffirm the conclusions of our leaders on trade at the Hamburg Summit and recognize the need for further dialogue and actions. We are working to strengthen contribution of trade to our economies,” the final G20 ministers’ statement said.

But the declaration did little to dispel concern over a global trade war as the United States’ tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum take effect on Friday.

Two officials briefed on the matter said U.S. President Donald Trump would also unveil tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese technology and telecoms products by Friday, a move stemming from Beijing’s intellectual property practices.

The 2017 Hamburg declaration, which the financial leaders referred to on Tuesday, said G20 countries would “continue to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices.”

Related CoverageTreasury’s Mnuchin says U.S. tariffs ‘not about protectionism’Former PBOC governor: China will continue to adopt proactive fiscal, neutral monetary policiesSee more stories

But it also said G20 leaders “recognize the role of legitimate trade defense instruments,” an ambiguity which provides the United States with a way to argue its cause on the tariffs.

U.S. Treasury Secretary ,上海夜生活论坛Fabi,St,上海新夜网龙凤Dalton,even Mnuchin made clear Washington’s tariff action was such a legitimate defense.

“We need to be prepared to act in the U.S. interest, again, to defend free and fair, reciprocal trade,” he said in a press conference after the talks, adding that there was always a risk that others would reciprocate.

“There’s a risk of a trade war, the president has said we’re not afraid of getting into a trade war, given the size of our market, the size of our economy, and the fact that we have a big trade deficit,” Mnuchin said.

“On the steel and aluminum issue, this is a result of unfair trade practices and that’s why we’ve responded that way.”

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, comparing this G20 meeting to the one in Germany last year when Mnuchin demanded a rewrite of the longstanding communique language on trade, said the rest of the world now has a better sense of the U.S. view on how the rules of trade should be reworked.

“There’s not a consensus, everyone around the table doesn’t have the same point of view, but there’s a greater understanding of what it is they’re trying to achieve,” Morneau said.

EUROPE READY TO RETALIATE

The European Union, the biggest U.S. trading partner, wants to be exempt from the metals tariffs like Canada and Mexico, but so far has not had any success.

The EU, as a result, is preparing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products ranging from bourbon and jeans to Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

European officials said a trade上海夜生活 war would produce only losers and the G20 were united in support of “multilateralism” – G20 jargon for solving disputes through negotiations in the World Trade Organization.

“We all agreed trade wars are a negative sum game,” Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting. “There hasn’t been any voice against rule-based multilateralism.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stressed Europe expected to get exemptions from the U.S. tariffs without any conditions and warned protectionism would hurt world growth.

“It is of the utmost importance to avoid any u,上海021夜网Queena,nilateral choice that might jeopardize our growth. Unfair trade conditions, protectionism might jeopardize the economic recovery all over the world,” he said.

Mnuchin said he has had very direct conversations with his counterparts in China and that he looks forward to working with Liu He, China’s newly-installed, Harvard-educated vice premier in charge of financial and industrial policy, on getting better access to the Chinese market.

“I think there’s a general view among the G20 that it is our desire to see China open their markets so that we can participate in their markets the way they participate in ours in a much more … reciprocal … relationship,” Mnuchin said.

The G20 also called for continued international monitoring of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and the risks they posed.

It said these assets raised issues with consumer and investor protections, market integrity, money laundering and terrorist financing.

(This story has been refiled to correct the spelling of “defuse” in first paragraph)

Akzo Nobel reshapes business with 10 billion euro sale

AMSTERDAM ( ) – Akzo Nobel will sell its chemicals business in a 10.1 billion euro ($12.6 billion) deal to buyers led by Carlyle Group, the maker of Dulux paints said on Tuesday, making good on a promise made as it fought off a takeover last year.

The sale of the Specialty Chemicals operation to Carlyle and Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund for a slightly better than expected price will allow Akzo to focus on its main paints and coatings business.

It delivers one of the biggest commitments made by Akzo Nobel in its defense against a 26 billion euro ($32 billion) takeover offer from U.S. rival PPG Industries last year.

It may also help to repair strained relationships with shareholders unhappy with the rejection of the bid.

Akzo Nobel CEO Thierry Vanlancker, who took charge last July after the bid battle, expects 7.5 billion euros in net proceeds from the sale. The 10.1 billion euro valuation includes debt.

The division being sold produces an array of chemicals used in plastic packaging, tissue paper, cleaning materials, pharmaceuticals, food products, salts and adhesives.

The 7.5 billion euro total will be returned to shareholders, Vanlancker told , with the company deciding on the distribution through dividends or share buybacks in the coming months.

The deal leaves Akzo as “one of the top 3 largest paint,上海夜生活群Sabia,s and coatings companies in the world,” Vanlancker said.

He said Akzo must now deliver on a goal to achieve a 15 percent margin on上海夜生活网 sales by 2020, after that measure fell to 9.4 percent last year.

That goal will mainly be delivered through cost savings and efficiency measures, Vanlancker said, as overall sales growth in the paints and coatings market is expected to remain modest.

“We will be looking at size (acquisition) opportunities as they come along”, Vanlancker said. “But size is really not top of mind, it’s performance of the business.”

The remaining Akzo business will have 35,700 employees, while Speciality Chemicals employs around 10,000,上海夜生活桑拿会所Macauly,.

DEFENSE PLAN

Akzo will try to strengthen its position in promising markets such as powder coatings, which showed 10 percent global growth last year, the CEO said. Akzo also expects its sales of decorative paints in China and Europe to increase.

Shares rose 2.7 percent to 77.70 euros. That is well short of the figure of around 95 euros in the cash and share offer from PPG last year.

Analyst Wim Hoste of KBC said the sale price for Specialty Chemicals represented a multiple of 9.8 times core earnings, “which is a bit higher … than we were banking on.”

Bankers advising potential buyers had said they expected the business to fetch an enterprise value of 8-9 times the unit’s expected earnings before interest,,上海凤楼夜网Mace, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Carlyle had been vying for the asset with U.S. private equity firm Apollo and its consortium partner, Dutch fund PGGM, as well as Dutch investor Hal Investments, and Advent International partnered with Bain Capital Private Equity, people familiar with the matter had told .

Akzo first announced plans to sell the business last April, when PPG was in full pursuit. Many shareholders were dismayed as Akzo’s boards appeared uninterested in talks with PPG and when they ultimately rejected the U.S. company’s best offer.

With support from Dutch politicians, Akzo argued a takeover was not in the interest of other stakeholders, including employees.

Shareholders sued unsuccessfully to have chairman Antony Burgmans removed. Akzo’s CEO and chief financial officer both resigned last year on health grounds. Burgmans is due to retire after next month’s annual meeting, with former Maersk CEO Nils Andersen nominated to take his place.

Vanlancker said Akzo had extracted promises from Carlyle to keep the chemicals company’s head offices in the Netherlands, though it made no commitment to retain all of the business’s 2,500 employees in the Netherlands.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be concluded before the end of the year, Akzo said.

Lazard, JPMorgan Chase and HSBC advised Akzo Nobel on the sale.

($1 = 0.8023 euros)

Equities, commodities hit by trade war worries

NEW YORK ( ) – The threat of a global trade war pushed benchmark equity indexes in the United States and Europe deep into the red on Thursday and cut into commodity prices, a day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Thursday that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China. Under the terms of the memorandum, Trump will target the Chinese imports only after a consultation period.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 724.42 points, or 2.93 percent, to 23,957.89, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 68.24 points, or 2.52 percent, to 2,643.69 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 178.61 points, or 2.43 percent, to 7,166.68.

Equity markets were down worldwide, with the 1 percent increase in Japan’s Nikkei the only positive among major indexes for上海夜网 the day. Emerging market stocks lost 1.21 percent, and MSCI’s gauge of stocks a,上海夜网千花Eason,cross the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 1.65 percent.

China blamed U.S. export restrictions for its record trade surplus with the United States, but expressed hope that a solution can be found to settle trade issues.

China also gingerly raised a key short-term interest rate.

“Markets are saying that these tariffs are going to cut into the global growth story that looked pretty strong just a few weeks ago. The prospect of more tariffs is making markets very unsettled and you’re going to see choppy trading until we see the effect they are having on earnings,” said Jamie Cox, a managing partner for Harris Financial Group.

Those jitters, plus weaker-than-expected German business confidence data, caused European shares to fall 1.6 percent.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.03 percent, with the euro EUR= down 0.19 percent to $1.2312. The yen rose to a three-week peak against the dollar as traders piled into the Japanese currency in a safe-haven move.

The Fed raised its key rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent on Wednesday and flagged at least two more increases for the ye,上海夜生活服务Oakley,ar, short of the three that some economists had been predicting.

Shares in U.S. social media giant Facebook fell 2.6 percent. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized for a “major breach of trust” over how it had handled data belonging to 50 million users. That did little to ease investor worries about the cost to fix mistakes and lawmakers’ dismay that his response did not go far enough.

Bond yields fell broadly. Borrowing costs on 30-year German debt hit their lowest level of the year.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR last rose 22/32 in price to yield 2.8263 percent, from 2.907 percent late on Wednesday.

Concern about a trade war between the world’s two largest economies also rattled,上海夜网推油Balthazar, commodity markets.

U.S. crude CLcv1 fell 1.41 percent to $64.25 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $68.90, down 0.82 percent on the day.

Spot gold XAU= dropped 0.2 percent to $1,328.61 an ounce. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 gained 0.55 percent to $1,328.80 an ounce.

Appellate judges Garland, Srinivasan considered for U.S. top court:…

WASHINGTON ( ) – The White House is vetting federal appellate j上海夜生活网udges Merrick Ga,上海夜生活论坛Macauly,rland and Sri Srinivasan as possible nominees to the Supreme Court to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia, the New York Times reported on Friday.

The FBI has been conducting background checks ,上海夜生活网419Gabe,on Garland and Srinivasan, the Times said, citing a person with knowledge of the process. Scalia, a long-serving conservative justice, died on Feb. 13.

Srinivasan, 49, has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals since he was confirmed on a 97-0 bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate in May 2013. As a senior Justice Department lawyer in 2013, he was part of the legal team that successfully urged the high court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples for the purposes of federal benefits.

Garland, 63, was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997 and became the chief judge in 2013.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans say the decision on who to nominate to the Supreme Court should be left to the next president, who will be elected on Nov. 8. Under the U.S. Constitution, the president nominates Supreme Court justices and the Senate must confirm them.

Earlier this week, the Times said that federal appellate Judge Jane Kelly was being vetted. Last month the National Law Journal reported that Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal trial judge in Washington, was also being considered.

Without Scalia, the court has four conservative and four liberal justices, meaning any potential Obama nominee could tip the court to the left for the first time in decades.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a mod,上海夜生活乌托邦Barney,erate Republican, took himself out of consideration for appointment to the Supreme Court recently.

Whistleblower says Walmart, eyeing Amazon, cheated on e-commerce

( ) – Walmart Inc (WMT.N) was sued on Thursday by a former executive who accused the world’s largest retailer of issuing misleading e-commerce results, amid growing pressure from Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), and firing him for complaining about it.

Tri Huynh, a former director of business development, accused Walmart of having betrayed the principles of integrity and honesty espoused by founder Sam Walton in its push to show “meteoric growth” in e-commerce.

The complaint alleges various wrongdoing, including the mislabeling of products, enabling Walmart to charge excessive sales commissions, and failure to properly process customer returns, enabling it to boost results.

“Wal-Mart cut corners and ch,上海夜网官方网站Fabi,eated in a race to expand and gain market-share,” having been “desperate to gain the ground it had long lost to Amazon,” Huynh said in his complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the litigation is based on allegations by a上海夜生活 disgruntled former employee, who was let go when the business was restructured.

“We take allegations like this seriously and looked into them when they were brought to our attention,” he said. “The investigation found nothing to suggest that the company acted improperly.”

Walmart will vigorously defend itself against the claims, Hargrove added.

The retailer’s shares closed down 16 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $87.51, after earlier falling as much as 2 percent.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has spent billions of dollars in recent years to compete with Amazon, including through its 2016 purchase of Jet.com, and last month said quarterly online sales, including the December holidays, had risen 23 percent.

But Amazon’s sales in North America grew 40 percent in the same quarter, and analysts have said its price war has weighed on Walmart’s margins.

Huynh accused Walmart of charging higher sales commissions from sellers on its online marketplace, where third-party sellers list and sell products, with commissions rising as high as 15 percent compared with the normal 6 percent to 8 percent.

Walmart’s internal controls allegedly failed to detect the problem, causing the retailer to overstate revenue.

Huynh also said Walmart failed to process more than $7 million of customer returns, inflating the total value of merchandise sold from September 2015 to March 2016.

The plaintiff, who was born in Vietnam and lives in Washington state, said Walmar,上海高端夜生活在那里Hadleigh,t abruptly fired him in January 2017 in retaliation ,上海夜生活乌托邦Ida,for his repeated complaints about its e-commerce reporting and internal controls.

Huynh said he was fired not long after raising concerns with U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore, and was dismissed under the “false pretenses” of a broader workforce reduction and alleged performance issues.

He said he had told human resources the prior May of his efforts to deal with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“Wal-Mart sacrificed and betrayed its Founder’s key principles of integrity and honesty, pushing those core values aside in its rush to win the E-commerce war at all costs,” Huynh said. “In doing this, it realized it must silence any whistleblower who spoke up.”

The lawsuit, which accuses Walmart of violating the federal Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower law and various California state laws, seeks punitive and other damages.

The case is Huynh v Wal-Mart Stores Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-01631.

Amazon tracks repeat shoppers for line-free Seattle store – and…

LAS VEGAS ( ) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is tracking how regularly customers shop at its store without checkout lines in Seattle, and so far, the verdict is they keep coming back.

“The ones who work very close, like in the building up above, will come down even just to grab a drink because it’s so fast and easy,” Amazon Vice President Gianna Puerini said in an interview at the ShopTalk e-commerce conference in Las Vegas.

The detai,上海夜生活网交流Radcliff,l offers an early glimpse at how the store, known as Amazon Go, is faring two months after opening its d,上海夜网后花园Jace,oors to the public. Shopping frequency, sales and other metrics reviewed by Amazon will likely inform how it thinks about expanding the concept elsewhere in the United States, if at all.

Amazon Go is fashioned after small grocery stores, with a crucial difference: it has no cashiers. Customers scan a smartphone app to enter the store, and then cameras and sensors track what they remove from the shelves and what they put back.

Amazon then bills shoppers’ credit cards on file after they leave.

Puerini said store associates spend the vast majority of their time restocking shelves – another indication of the shop’s popularity.

Research-focused venture capital firm Loup Ventures wrote of Amazon Go last month: “Our experience was flawless, leaving us increasingly confident that Amazon is best positioned to own the operating system of automated retail. Eventually, we expect Amazon to make this technology available to other retailers.”

The world’s biggest online retailer first announced a test of Ama上海夜生活zon Go in December 2016, in a challenge to brick-and-mortar rivals that are working to keep their own stores up to date.

However, old practices die hard.

“What we didn’t ,上海会所夜网Idaia,necessarily expect is how many people would stop at the end, on their first trip or two, and ask, ‘Is it really OK if I just leave?’,” Puerini said.

She declined to discuss specific expansion plans and said there were no plans to add the technology to Whole Foods Market, the upscale grocery chain Amazon bought last year. Analysts have speculated otherwise.

In any case, Amazon is still researching how to improve technology at the store.

“If you show a child a can of Coke, you have to show it to them maybe once or twice, and it’s very easy for them to be able to recognize it,” Amazon Vice President Dilip Kumar said in the same interview with . “Not so much with computers.”

The company is working to teach computers to recognize items or activities with as little information as possible – a problem that some of Amazon’s thousands of experts are addressing, Kumar said.

Tencent loses $24 billion in market cap after Naspers’ selldown

HONG KONG ( ) – China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) saw its shares down 4.51 percent at the midday trading break on Friday after the internet firm’s largest shareholder, Naspers Ltd (NPNJn.J), said it would lower its stake for the first time in 17 years.

The Hong Kong-listed stock opened 7.8 p,上海夜生活怎么玩Radcliff,ercent lo,上海夜生活服务Easton,wer at HK$405, its lowest opening price since Feb. 9, before regaining ground to HK$419.6 by noon. The benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI was down 2.81 percent.

A day earlier, the stock fell 5 percent following Tencent’s late Wednesday report showing quarterly revenue missed estimates as well as expectations of margin pressure, although profit beat forecasts.

Friday’s decline wiped $24 billion off Tencent’s market value, though at $508 billion, it is still Asia’s most valuable listed company and fifth globally behind Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

South African media and e-commerce group Naspers said on Thursday it planned to sell up to 190 million Tencent shares, or 2 percent of its holding, in a sale that could earn Naspers up to $11 billion. It also said it had no plans to further reduce its holding for the next three years.

Related CoverageNaspers raises $9.8 billion from Tencent stake sale

“The funds will reinforce Naspers’ balance sheet and be invested in classifieds, online food delivery and fintech globally,” said CICC analyst Natalie Wu. “We think it is a good opportunity to buy into dips given Tencent’s solid fundamentals.”

Jefferies analyst Karen Chan said, “Given Naspers’ largest single shareholding and board representation in Tencent, we believe its stake sale is unlikely to be a reaction to Tencent’s quarterly results. Instead of a timed profit-taking move, we believe this is more to improve Naspers’ own free cash flo,上海021夜网Octavien,w and allow it higher flexibility in pursuing investment opportunities.”

A Tencent spokeswoman said it was informed and supportive of Naspers’ decision, and that Naspers’ intention to keep its remaining stake for the next three years demonstrated its confidence in Tencent. 上海夜生活

Investors flock to safe-haven bonds; stocks end mixed

NEW YORK ( ) – The S&P 500 edged slightly lower on Thursday, in its first four-day losing streak of 2018, while global political tensions kept demand high for safe-haven government bonds on both sides of the Atlantic.

It was a choppy day overall for stocks, with MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shedding 0.07 percent.

European indexes closed in the black. The S&P was modestly higher until a late-afternoon report that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization, which President Donald Trump ran with his family before entering the White House.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 115.54 points, or 0.47 percent, to 24,873.66, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 2.15 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,747.33, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 15.07 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,481.74.

The pan-Euro,上海夜生活网419Falkner,pean FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose 0.53 percent.

Concerns about moves by Trump viewed as protectionist, including his seeking to impose duties of up to $60 billion on Chinese imports, had pressured equities this week, particularly shares of manufacturers.

Before the disclosure of the Mueller subpoena, those concerns showed signs of easing after Peter Navarro, Trump’s top adviser on international economic exchanges, said on CNBC that the tariffs would not necessarily provoke a trade war.

That helped buoy companies like heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), which rose 1.3 percent, while S&P’s industrial index rose 0.4 percent.

In Europe, a strong showing by insurance companies like Munich Re (MUVGn.DE) and Generali (GASI.MI), both up more than 2.5 percent, offset political concerns over creeping far-right influence in Italy and growing tensions between Russia and the U.K..

The U.S. dollar gained against a basket of six other currencies. The dollar index .DXY rose 0.47 percent, with the euro EUR= up 0.01 percent to $1.2305.

But the dollar remained down against the safe-haven Japanese yen, a sign investors remain concerned about political and economic instability.

Bond yields, too, reflected an increased appetite for government assets viewed as less risky.

Many yields in the euro zone fell to their lowest levels since late January, pushed down by both political uncertainty and expectations for a slow exit from the European Central Bank’s stimulus.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield fell to 0.57 percent, its lowest level in seven weeks. French and Dutch 10-year bond yields also fell to their lowest levels since January.

“It’s the backdrop that’s leading yields to drop, with … concerns from investors about the U.S. trade war and Trump rebuilding his cabinet, as well as political reports from Italy about populist party negotiation,” said ING rates strategist Benjamin Schroeder.

The U.S. Treasur上海夜生活网y yield curve continued to flatten, with the spread between the 2- and 10-year yields shrinking to 53.40 basis points, a fourth straight day of contraction, reapproaching the decade low hit in January.

The spread between 5- and 30-year yields was down to 43.70 basis points, also approaching decade lows h,上海夜生活Rachel,it in early February.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.8262 percent, from 2.817 perce,上海夜生活男人好去处Jackson,nt late on Wednesday.

The 30-year bond US30YT=RR last /32 in price to yield 3.0576 percent, from 3.058 percent on Thursday.

Oil prices edged higher in choppy trade. U.S. crude CLcv1 rose 0.38 percent to $61.19 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $65.05, up 0.25 percent on the day.

Japan gets its way at G20 on warning against recent market rout

BUENOS AIRES ( ) – Japan’s calls to add a warning against recent market volatility were reflected in the G20 finance leaders’ communique, its vice finance minister said in a sign of Tokyo’s concern over the risk of another yen spike that could hurt an export-reliant economy.

In their communique issued after a meeting on Tuesday, Group of 20 finance leaders said “recent market volatility despite sound fundamentals of the global economy is a reminder of risks and vulnerabilities” of markets to sudden, shock events.

The wording, which was not included in previous communiques, took into account Japan’s view that the market rout in February, which caused a spike in the safe-haven yen, was out of line with economic fundamentals, senior Japanese officials said.

“I told the G20 we need to send a joint message on this point, and our view was taken into account in the communique,” Japan’s vice finance minister Minoru Kihara told a briefing on Tuesday after attending the G20 finance leaders’ gathering.

“It’s not just currency moves but the recent market volatility doesn’t reflect fundamentals,” another senior finance ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The Nikkei stock average dived to multi-month lows in February and the yen rose past levels many manufacturers base their earnings forecasts on, over investors’ concern that major central banks may roll back stimulus quicker than expected.

The yen has stayed stubbornly high despite repeated verbal warnings by Japanese policymakers, who fret a strong yen could hurt corporate profits and the export-reliant economy.

Concern of triggering a renewed yen spike may also force the Bank of Japan to lag well behind its major peers in dialing back crisis-mode,上海夜生活论坛Faith, monetary stimulus, some analysts say.

As the Federal Reserve proceeds toward policy normalization, the G20 communique warned of “financial vulnerabilities that could be revealed with a faster than expected” monetary tightening.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told the same news conference that central banks would “no ,夜上海419龙凤论坛Barrett,doubt” head for an exit from ultra-loose monetary policies if their economies were in good shape and inflation hit their targets.

The communique did not mean to imply that th上海夜生活网e Fed’s policy normalization could directly hurt global growth, but reminded central banks to be mindful of the impact their policy shifts could have on emerging markets, he said.

“There has always been concern expressed in global meetings that (policy normalization of major central banks) could have a negative effect o,上海夜玩网论坛Lake,n some emerging economies,” Kuroda said.

Lawmakers see strong board as part of Puerto Rico debt fix

SAN JUAN/WASHINGTON ( ) – Republican lawmakers are writing a fix to the Puerto Rico debt crisis that would give an independent financial review board sweeping power to arbitrate creditor disputes and map a future for the U.S. territory’s pension system.

Rather than pick winners and losers among investors who hold roughly $70 billion of Puerto Rican debt, the Republican plan envisions leaving key questions to a newly-created board, according to legislative sources familiar with the work. Republicans control both houses of Congress and so the party leaders often write the first draft of legislation.

Under the proposal, White House and congressional leaders would appoint a board of financial experts to arbitrate politically-charged questions like whether bonds issued by utilities or even the island’s government should be written down.

“We expect to have a framework that protects taxpayers and restores solvency to the island,” said Parish Braden, spokesman,上海夜生活论坛Lake, for the Natural Resources Committee that is writing legislation in the House of Representatives.

A crucial issue for lawmakers is whether Puerto Rico will have a clear path to restruc,上海夜生活男人好去处Easton,ture debt through the courts, in a process akin to U.S. bankruptcy, if the new board could not facilitate a deal among stakeholders.

The U.S. Treasury Department has long called for a debt restructuring for Puerto Rico. So have Congressional Democrats, and Puerto Rico’s leaders.

A spokesman for the Treasury Department said officials were “encouraged by the increased legislative activity,” but declined to speculate on the Republican legislation that was expected to be finished before the end of the month.

And while Republicans will write the first draft of the rescue bill, Democrats in Congress and the White House will have a say as legislation moves toward approval from President Barack Obama.

On Monday, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, proposed putting roughly $45 billion in unfunded pension liabilities at the top of the list of creditors.

Some creditors are concerned where they might rank with such a move and many oppose any provision that would allow the island to file for bankruptcy. Municipal bond markets would be roiled if Puerto Rico were cleared, some Republican lawmakers have argued.

“These are complicated issues and Congress needs to empower people qualified to handle them,” said one staffer working on the plan.

The 3.5 million residents of Puerto Rico may face a reduction of “essential government services” like public safety and health care if there is no fix before the next debt payments in May, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla told Congress last year.

The Menendez plan would restructure all of Puerto Rico’s debt, establishing a chief financial officer, a “Fiscal Stability and Reform Board” and require the island’s governor to develop a 5-year fis,上海夜生活Barbara,cal plan.

If Puerto Rico accepts the plan Menendez proposes then an automatic 12-month stay on debt payments would go into effect, after which a restructuring plan with creditors would be crafted.

The plan would see that pensions would be paid be上海夜生活fore the island’s General Obligation debt, which is typically the first in line for payment.

Padilla praised Menendez’s plan for providing tools needed to stave off the immediate impact of the crisis while helping to stabilize the economy.

Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who is chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, swatted away Menendez’s proposals.

“While I have yet to see the full legislative text of the proposals, from what I’ve read, Senate Democrats appear to want to move the goal posts on broad debt restructuring,” Hatch said in a statement emailed to .

Ten years after crash, Americans still have not fallen back in love…

NEW YORK ( ) – Luke Thomas, 44, an information technology field manager who lives in Miami, began investing in the U.S. stock market in his early 20s, attracted by the prospect of learning “how to grow a little bit of money into a lot,” he said.

At the time, he put most of his money into a handful of small-cap and over-the-counter stocks. Yet watching the Russell 2000 index of small-cap companies fall more than 60 percent during the 2008-2009 financial crisis scared him into diversifying his portfolio. He now invests in large-cap stocks, real estate, options, and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, spreading his risk over several asset classes.

“A younger Luke would have focused 90 percent on crypto, putting all my eggs in one basket. But this way, I’m not overly exposed,” he said.

Thomas is not alone in his hesitation to make big bets.

Ten years after the start of the financial crisis that erased $16.4 trillion in assets from U.S. households, Americans have yet to embrace the U.S. stock market with the same fervor as before, holding fewer individual stocks and putting less money into equities overall despite an uninterrupted 9-year bull market that has pushed the S&P 500 up nearly 310 percent from its 2009 lows.

Overall, U.S. households have $900 billion less invested in stocks than in 2007, according to Goldman Sachs research, leaving buying by U.S. corporations now the greatest driver of demand. In 401(k) retirement plans, meanwhile, investors now hold an average of 52.4 percent in equity-only funds, down from the 64.7 percent they held in 2007, according to Fidelity.

Instead, investors now hold an average of 33.2 percent of their assets in blended target-date funds that combine stocks, bonds and cash based on a person’s expected retirement date, more than double the 14.5 percent of assets invested in the category in 2007.

The decline in the assets invested in stocks comes even as investors have largely benefited from the recovery in equity prices. The average 401(k) balance at the end of 2017 was $104,300, up 112 percent from the average of $49,000 at the end of 2008 and up 54 percent from the pre-crisis average of $67,600 at the end of 2007, according to Fidelity.

“There just doesn’t seem to be the same level of interest or animal spirits” among investors now for equities, said Mark Paccione, director of上海夜生活论坛 investment research at Raleigh, North Carolina-based Captrust Financial Advisors, which oversees $250 billion in assets.

Clients are much more concerned about the effect of rising interest rates and inflation on their bond portfolios, he said.

“They’re very worried we will have a bear market in bonds and direct almost all of their focus there,” he said.

ERA OF STOCK-PICKING LOOKS OVER

Investors are not only holding fewer assets in stocks overall, but those dollars that are invested in the market are increasingly likely to be put into index funds or exchange-traded funds that track broad indexes rather than in individual shares or funds that are run by a stockpicker.,上海夜生活去哪玩Cadence,

Financial advisors say that the push is driven by clients who lost trust in the ability of professional fund managers after nearly all of them failed to anticipate the financial crisis.

“Index investing is more prevalent than i,上海新夜网龙凤Landon,t’s ever been, and that’s because active management didn’t protect you from losses during the crisis and has underperformed over the last 10 years,” said Matt Hanson, a senior wealth advisor at Los-Angeles based Kayne Anderson Rudnick, which oversees approximately $18.9 billion in assets.

Passive funds now comprise about 46 percent of total mutual fund and ETF assets, compared with just 8 percent in early 2008,,夜上海论坛Kaiden, according to fund-tracker Morningstar. There are now 1,400 passively managed equity mutual funds and ETFs, with a total of $5.4 trillion in assets, compared with 707 funds holding $1.2 trillion in 2007, according to Lipper data. That push toward passive investing has helped make index-based fund providers BlackRock Inc and privately-held Vanguard the world’s two largest money managers.

The growth rates of the trading of options are accelerating faster at brokers such as E Trade Financial and TD Ameritrade than they are for the trading of individual equity shares, said Mac Sykes, an analyst at Gabelli & Co. Monthly stock trading volume for the NYSE Group, meanwhile, was 43 percent lower in 2017 than in 2007, according to NYSE data.

Instead of the day-traders of the 1990s dot-com craze or the house-flippers of the mid-2000s, small-scale investors say they are looking for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to deliver the outsized returns they no longer believe the stock market can deliver.

Layla Tabatabaie, an entrepreneur and advisor to tech startups who lives in New York, began investing in initial coin offerings, or ICOs, about a year and a half ago, she said. She now holds the majority of her portfolio in cryptocurrencies, which she sees as offering the possibility for greater gains.

“The way that I see crypto as being more favorable than stocks is it seems like there is more of an opportunity for retail investors to get in earlier,” she said. “Crypto now is taking the place of the way stocks used to behave 10 years ago, 15 years ago.”

Exclusive: S&P Global cuts top sovereign analysts as part of…

LONDON ( ) – The world’s biggest credit ratings agency S&P Global has cut more than five of its most senior sovereign analysts as part of a broader reduction of in excess of 100 staff, a source told .

The firm’s highly-regarded sovereign division, which monitors the creditworthiness of some 130 countries, is also being folded into its bank-focused Financial Services arm.

The most high-profile exit under that reorganization has been its top global analyst, Moritz Kraemer, the source with knowledge of the cuts said.

Kraemer was the firm’s public face for its mass downgrades of euro zone countries during the debt crises of 2011 and 2012, and for states hit by the commodity price collapse of 2014.

Others veterans to have left include its chief Europe, Middle East and Africa analyst Myriam Fernandez de Heredia Martinez and Liesl Saldanha, who oversaw Asia-Pacific from Singapore as well as a number of their deputies.

“The sovereign group has basically been dismantled,” said the source who spoke to on the condition of anonymity. “It’s a major decision. It took 25 years to build up the reputation as a leader in the sector.”

An S&P spokesman confirmed changes had been made but did not put a figure on departures.

“We have made some organizational changes globally as we continue to move toward a structure that is simpler and more effective,” the spokesman said. “Some individuals are leaving the organization as a result.”

S&P Global, which is home to the Standard and Poor’s name and employs around 1,400 analysts, has been in flux since it was rebranded from McGraw Hill Financial two years ago.

The latest cuts took shape last month when two of the firm’s three rating divisions, Sovereigns-International Public Finance and Financial Services’ were combined at a regional level.

It w,上海夜网官方网站Nadia,as the sovereigns arm that took the hit in terms of senior staff though. The top Financial Services analysts took over the combined units in U.S. and Canada, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, while in Latin America the lead analytical manager for Corporates took ,上海新夜网龙凤Talon,control.

The source estimated that around 110 analysts had either been cut or left S&P’s three ratings divisions.

UNDER SCRUTINY

The changes are likely to raise eyebrows within the sector and the governments that S&P and its main rivals,,上海夜网Gabrielle, Moody’s and Fitch, monitor.

S&P has generally been faster and more aggressive with its sovereign rating moves than Moody’s and Fitch over recent years, which has also led to some intense public scrutiny.

The firm and five of its former and current managers were acquitted last year after Italian prosecutors had accused them and Fitch’s top sovereign analyst of market manipulation at the peak of the euro zone’s downgrades.

It was censured for wrongly announcing France’s rating had been downgraded in 2011 and that year had to hire round-the-clock guards for some top staff after it stripped the United States of its triple-A rating.

The sovereigns business brings in only about 8 percent of the firm’s revenues – roughly the same as it was a decade ago. The larger Corporates division has doubled its contribution over that period to 55 percent.

S&P has an EU market share of 46 percent, ESMA data shows, well ahead of Moody’s on 31 percent.

It recently announced plans to make a new Dublin office its post-Brexit EU headquarters, despite already having sizable offices and staff n上海夜生活论坛umbers in Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid and Milan.

“It shows the desire of the firm to extract regulatory rent from this,” the source said referring to the potential benefit of Ireland’s lower taxes and more flexible labor laws.

The big three agencies have most of their European staff in London, and are facing regulatory demands to move “sufficient” numbers of senior personnel to the EU when Britain leaves the bloc.

Accenture trims profit margin forecast as spending grows; stock dives

( ) – Consulting services firm Accenture Plc (ACN.N) trimmed its yearly forecast for profit margins, driving its stock down 6 percent on Thursday and overshadowing quarterly results that comfortably topped Wall Street targets.

Accenture now expects fiscal 2018 operating margin — profit as a proportion of revenue — of 14.8 percent, a level consistent with results in fiscal 2017, but lower than the 10- to 30-basis-point expansion originally expected by the company.

Dublin-based Accenture flagged lower profits from services for healthcare and public service clients as well as higher spending as reasons for the rev,上海晚上耍女人的地方Kai,ised forecast.

The company also said it expects operating margin to expand in the second half of the year.

“Operating margin was light of (Wall Street) expectations … operating profit in the Health & Public Service sector has declined significantly,” Atlantic Equities analyst Chris Hickey said.

Accenture上海夜生活 has spent more than $3 billion over the last three years — nearly half of it in fiscal 2017 — on some 70 acquisitions, to boost its digital and cloud services in order to compete better with Cognizant (CTSH.O) and IBM (IBM.N).

Those services helped Accenture grow net revenue by 15.2 percent to $9.59 billion in the second quarter ended Feb. 28, the biggest increase in at least five years.

Net revenue also soared past analysts’ average expectation of $9.31 billion, according to Thomson I/B/E/S.

The digital an,夜上海论坛Hadrian,d cloud services, which Accenture calls “the New,” also made up more than 55 percent of revenue, reaching a record level.

“‘The New’ is really impacting across the board,” Chief Executive Pierre Nanterme said on a call with analysts.

Accenture began investing in businesses such as digital marketing and cybersecurity about five years ago, compared with its peers that began a similar effort only one or two years back, said Wedbush Securities analyst Moshe Khatri.

The company forecast current-quarter revenue between $9.90 billion and $10.15 billion, well ahead of analysts’ average estimate of $9.68 billion.

Net income attributable to the company rose to $863.7 million in the second quarter, from $838.8 million a year earlier. Accenture reported earnings of $1.37 per share in the latest quarter.

Results included a $137 million charge related to the ,上海夜生活服务Qirin,new U.S. tax code.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.58 per share, topping market estimates of $1.49 per share.

UBS in $230 million settlement of New York mortgage securities probe

NEW YORK ( ) – UBS AG (UBSG.S) has reached a $230 million settlement to resolve charges brought by New York state that it misled and hurt investors by selling subprime mortgage securities that contributed to the 2008 global financial crisis.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Wednesday said the Swiss bank will pay $41 million in cash to the state, and provide $189 million of relief to homeowners and communities.

The bank is the seventh to settle similar claims by New York, resulting in roughly $3.93 billion of settlements.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Bank ,上海夜生活群Radcliff,of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) have also set,上海凤楼夜网Radcliff,tled, as did Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L), which reached a $500-million accord on March 6.

The New York probe into UBS focused on more than $10 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) backed by subprime collateral, from 15 offerings sponsored by UBS in 2006 and 2007.

New York said UBS admitted to having misled investors into believing the RMBS it sold were properly underwritten and complied with applicable laws and regulations.

It 上海夜网also said the bank ignored advice from its own diligence vendors when packaging and selling loans that did not comply with underwriting standards.

Schneiderman said in a statement that earlier settlements ,上海夜生活男人好去处Nadine,have funded “critical housing programs,” and UBS’ settlement “means even more community revitalization work in the years to come.”

UBS said in a statement: “We are pleased to have resolved this legacy RMBS matter from 2006-2007, for which UBS is fully provisioned. It was achieved with the best interests of shareholders in mind.”

Best Buy cuts ties with China’s Huawei: source

LAS VEGAS/HONG KONG ( ) – Best Buy Co Inc, the largest U.S. consumer electronics reta,上海夜生活男人好去处Queena,iler, will cut ties with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a person familiar with the matter said, amid heightened scrutiny on Chinese tech firms in the United States.

Best Buy will stop selling Huawei’s devices over the next few weeks, according to the person with knowledge of the matter, a setback for the Chinese telecommunications giant as it looks to expand in the U.S. market.

The move, after similar actions from U.S. carriers including AT&T Inc, comes as U.S. scrutiny of Chinese tech firms grows amid simmering tensions over U.S.-China trade and concerns of security.

A Best Buy spokesman told the firm could not comment on specific contracts with vendors. “We make decisions to change what we sell for a variety of reasons,” he said.

Huawei said in emailed comments on Thursday that it valued its relationship with Bes,上海夜哪里艳遇Paisley,t Buy but could not discuss details of its partnership with the U.S. firm.

“Huawei currently sells its prod,上海新夜网龙凤Jacklyn,u上海夜生活论坛cts through a range of leading consumer electronics retailers in the U.S.,” the firm said, adding its products met the “highest security, privacy and engineering standards in the industry”.

Earlier this year, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer Huawei handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told . Verizon Communications Inc also ended its plans to sell Huawei phones last year, according to media reports.

Last month two Republican Senators introduced legislation that would block the U.S. government from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment from Huawei or Chinese peer ZTE Corp, citing concern the firms would use their access to spy on U.S. officials.

The tougher climate in the United States has forced Huawei to sell its flagship smartphone Mate 10 Pro – its challenger to the iPhone – in the United States only through open channels.

U.S tech and electronics website CNET.com first reported the termination of the agreement on Wednesday.

Four Breitbart journalists quit after alleged Trump rally assault

( ) – Two reporters and two editors from Breitbart News resigned to protest how the conservative website handled an alleged assault last week on one of the reporters by a senior aide to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Reporter Michelle Fields filed a criminal complaint on Friday against Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, saying he grabbed her arm at a rally on March 8 in Florida with such force that he left bruises. Lewandowski and Trump have denied the accusation.

The incident sparked a spat at Breitbart, with journalists accusing management of kowtowing to the Trump campaign.

Breitbart published an account on Friday of the incident that raised questions over Fields’ version of events and suggested i,上海仙霞路夜生活Hallie,t was not Lewandowski who grabbed her. According to a report on Saturday on the BuzzFeed news website, Breitbart senior editor-,上海夜网后花园Quay,at-large Joel Pollak also ordered staffers in an internal chatroom to stop defending Fields.

Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro resigned in response to that late on Sunday. National security correspondent Jordan Schachtel and editor Jarrett Stepman resigned on Monday, according to a letter by them that was posted to Twitter, in which they accused the news site of becoming a propaganda arm for the Trump campaign. (bit.ly/1pHhUc9)

Breitbart News Chief Execu,上海夜生活网交流[上海夜生活论坛随机符],tive Larry Solov said in an emailed statement late on Monday, “Breitbart News thanks Kurt, Ben, and Michelle for their work for us. We wish each of them the best in their future endeavors.” He was referring to Kurt Bardella, who resigned as Breitbart’s spokesman last week.

The alleged assault on Fields took place days before a series of clashes between supporters of Trump, the front-runner to be the Republican presidential candidate in November’s election, and protesters at campaign rallies.

The allegations were being investigated, a spokesman for the Jupiter, Florida police department said on Monday.

After Jindal, Louisiana reels from corporate tax giveaways

( ) – Near the end of his eight years as Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, a tax-slashing conservative and presidential hopeful, acknowledged that the state’s business tax breaks had gone too far.

“The truth is, we have a system of corporate welfare,” Jindal said during an April speech to legislators.

The comment resonates now as the state faces its worst budget crisis in three decades – largely because of the soaring cost of subsidies, as well as personal income tax cuts, championed by Jindal.

Business tax subsidies peaked in 2012, when the state exempted 88 percent of corporate income taxes, or about $1.8 billion. It has exceeded 80 percent since then, according to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

For a graphic showing how corporate tax exemptions soared as state revenue fell, see tmsnrt.rs/1T7qbm9

Plummeting oil prices dealt the latest blow to state revenues. Deficits are projected at $940 million for the fiscal year ending June 30 and about $2 billion for next year.

“It’s gotten pretty bad, pretty rapidly,” said the state legislature’s chief economist, Greg Albrecht, who believes Louisiana is heading into a recession.

Jindal has kept a low profile since leaving office in January and could not be reached for comment. In a January speech, he highlighted efforts to cut government and stimulate the economy without raising taxes.

“You look at the projects — the employers coming in and those who are expanding — we’ve seen tremendous progr上海夜生活论坛ess,” he said.

RISING STAR

In 2008, when Jindal became governor at 36, he was a rising GOP star, often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. He cultivated that image, staking his political fortunes on a platform of slashing taxes, dismantling big government and attracting business.

The next year, Jindal helped push through legislation to cut personal income taxe,上海夜生活服务Sabrina,s and worked to enhance Louisiana’s already robust corporate tax breaks.

In July of 2009, he signed bills that created or expanded nine tax credits to sectors including film, port cargo and infrastructure. The credits are typically worth 20 to 40 percent of a company’s in-state spending, or in some cases spending on payroll or research.

In all, annual corporate tax exemptions rose during Jindal’s term by about $1 billion, to $1.96 billion in 2014, according to state data.

His tax-cutting hit a wall in 2013 when he failed to convince a Republican-controlled legislature to abolish personal and business income taxes.

“He really wanted to go to a national stage, run for president, and say he repealed the personal income tax,” said Robert Travis Scott, president of the Public Affairs Research Council, a nonpartisan organization.

Many of Jindal’s political successes had consequences for Louisiana’s budget. A state-commissioned study found that film tax credits, for example, cost the state an estimated $171 million in 2014.

“The state ends up with the short end of the stick,” said Loren Scott, author of the study, which also found some economic benefits.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of Louisiana subsidies is the petrochemical industry. One massive project under construction in Southwestern Louisiana – Sempra Energy’s $6 billion liquefied natural gas processing complex and export terminal – will receive a $2.2 billion property tax break over a decade, records show.

The plant will create 130 permanent jobs with average salaries of $80,000, records show. The California-based company also got rebates on some payroll costs and a capital investment tax credit.

Louisiana’s subsidies are getting more scrutiny in the budget crisis. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who took office in January, has proposed cutting incentives but faces resistance from Republican legislators and business groups.

“The previous administration,” Edwards said, “blew a hole in our state budget by writing chec,上海夜玩网论坛Mace,ks for tax credits, rebates, or refunds to corporations with no consideration of whether Louisiana receives a good return on our investment.”

Jindal advisor Curt Anderson said the subsidies resulted in new jobs and higher wages. “His de,上海夜生活Hadley,cision to shrink the government and grow the private sector economy was purposeful.”

Business groups continue to support the incentives, saying they are invaluable to the state economy.

“In terms of economic development, Jindal was an outstanding governor,” said Michael Hecht, president of Greater New Orleans Inc. “Corporations are being scapegoated.”

Falling oil prices and personal income tax cuts also played major roles in the crisis, according to state data. Oil-related revenues are projected to drop by nearly $400 million this fiscal year, the data shows. Personal income tax breaks pushed by Jindal and predecessor, Democrat Kathleen Blanco, reduced revenues by about $800 million annually, said Albrecht, the state economist.

Most Louisiana business subsidy programs preceded the Jindal administration, but their use and cost shot up during his tenure, said Jan Moller, director of the nonpartisan Louisiana Budget Project. The governor, he said, directed state economic development officials to “aggressively pursue companies and give them as many incentives as possible.”

CRISIS MANAGEMENT

As Louisiana faced mounting shortfalls, Jindal sought solutions that didn’t involve raising taxes.

“Despite the fact that the state was hemorrhaging money, he just wanted to keep his tax virginity” for his presidential campaign, said Edward Chervenak, a political science professor at the University of New Orleans, echoing a theme common among Democrats and Republicans alike in the state.

Having signed a pledge not to raise taxes, Jindal turned to one-time fixes, such as offering tax amnesty to delinquent taxpayers and raiding state trust funds. That included drawing down $520 million from the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly and $540 million from a reserve fund for state employee healthcare, according to Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy.

Jindal failed last year to sell the state’s tobacco settlement, worth $1.2 billion over time, for an upfront lump sum of $750 million – a move Kennedy compared to “a junkie selling his TV or smartphone to buy another fix.”

Lawmakers now face tough choices. Healthcare and education budgets – particularly colleges – already have been slashed and could see more cuts. And legislators are considering raising sales taxes by up to 2 cents.

State Representative Julie Stokes, a Republican from the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, said her GOP colleagues have been reluctant to raise taxes, and she understands.

“Look, I don’t want to talk about it – I’m a conservative Republican from a conservative Republican district,” she said. “But I just feel like we’ve got to lose the talking points and have an honest dialogue.”

Canadian dollar rallies as rising inflation boosts rate hike chances

TORONTO ( ) – The Canadian dollar strengthened to an 11-day high against the greenback on Friday as oil prices rose and hotter-than-expected domestic inflation data raised the chances of a further Bank of Canada interest rate hike over t,上海凤楼夜网Cadence,he coming months.

The annual inflation rate rose to 2.2 percent, a three-year high, from 1.7 percent in January,,上海夜网推油Kaiden, Statistics Canada said. Economists had forecast a rate of 2.0 percent.

The Bank of Canada’s three measures of core inflation also all strengthened.

“I think it will reinforce the view that the bank will keep slowly grinding rates higher,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

The central bank has hiked rates three times since July even as it worried about a more uncertain outlook for trade. Chances of a hike in May rose to 82 percent from 74 percent before the data, the overnight index swaps market indicated. BOCWATCH

Still, separate data showing a weaker-than-expected 0.3 percent rise in January retail sales added to the picture of a domestic economy that has lost some momentum 上海夜网in recent months.

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, rose after the Saudi energy minister said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would need to keep coordinating supply cuts with non-member countries including Russia into 2019.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices were up 1.1 percent at $65.02 a barrel.

At 9:49 a.m. EST (1349 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading 0.7 percent higher at C$1.2846 to the greenback, or 77.85 U.S. cents.

The currency touched its strongest since March 12 at C$1.2825.

The U.S. dollar .DXY fell against a basket of major currencies as investors,上海夜生活群Eason, weighed escalating global trade tensions.

Canada’s commodity-linked economy could be hurt if global trade slowed. But the loonie has benefited this week from optimism about a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve, with the two-year CA2YT=RR price down 8 Canadian cents to yield 1.868 percent and the 10-year CA10YT=RR falling 18 Canadian cents to yield 2.202 percent.

The gap between Canada’s 2-year yield and its U.S. equivalent narrowed by 5.3 basis points to -41.1 basis points.