Monday, March 26, 2018
What to watch today
In the week ahead, the economic calendar’s main highlight will be the third estimate for fourth quarter GDP, due out on Wednesday morning. This report is expected to show the economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.7% in the final three months of 2017, up from the 2.5% pace previously estimated.
This week will also be a holiday-shortened one with markets closed on Friday for Good Friday, and investors will also see the end of the first quarter in the week ahead.
Primary market catalysts this week, however, are likely to be any additional developments on trade from the Trump administration, China or other trading partners, as well as the market’s recent action itself. Friday’s close on the S&P 500 was 7 points above its Feb. 8 low, and the question for investors this week will be to see if this low holds and if markets can find a way to push higher from here.
US, China quietly seek trade solutions: China and the U.S. have quietly started negotiating to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets, after a week filled with harsh words from both sides over Washington’s threat to use tariffs to address trade imbalances, people with knowledge of the matter said. The talks, which cover wide areas including financial services and manufacturing, are being led by Liu He, China’s economic czar in Beijing, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington. [The Wall Street Journal]
Reports of Williams heading to New York Fed spur pro-diversity backlash: The Federal Reserve is facing a backlash over its lack of diversity in key positions after reports this weekend that John Williams, the current president of the San Francisco regional branch, is the front-runner to succeed William Dudley as head of the powerful New York Fed. It’s one of the most important roles in global central banking. [Bloomberg]
Gunmaker Remington files for bankruptcy: Remington Outdoor Co. Inc., one of the largest U.S. makers of firearms, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday to carry out a debt-cutting deal with creditors amid mounting public pressure for greater gun control. The company’s chief financial officer, Stephen Jackson, said in court papers that Remington’s sales fell significantly in the year before its bankruptcy, and that the company was having difficulty meeting requirements from its lenders. [Reuters]
JD Sports in deal to acquire Finish Line for $558M: JD Sports Fashion Plc. agreed to buy U.S. sportswear retailer Finish Line Inc. (FINL), seeking to snatch away a company in which Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International Plc. has built a stake. The agreement is valued at a total of $558 million. Ashley’s Sports Direct International, a U.K. rival of JD Sports, is the second-largest shareholder in Indianapolis-based Finish Line, with a 9.9% stake. Ashley’s company also holds an indirect interest of 32%. [Bloomberg]
Stormy Daniels breaks silence on Trump relationship: Stephanie Clifford, the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels, said she had sex with Donald Trump in 2006 in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” recanting a statement denying the affair that Trump’s personal lawyer issued under her name in January. Clifford said she signed the denial, after the Wall Street Journal reported she’d been paid $130,000 to remain silent a month before the 2016 election, because she believed Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, would make her “life hell in many different ways.” [Bloomberg]
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