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Morning Brief: Xi vows to open China's economy, defuses US trade tension

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What to watch today

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone to Washington, D.C. for two days of testimony set to begin Tuesday with an appearance before a Senate committee. Zuckerberg’s prepared remarks to be made before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday were released Monday, with Zuckerberg set to tell lawmakers, “it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.” Adding, “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.” Expect Zuckerberg’s opening statement on Tuesday to be similar.

Markets are likely to be fixated on Zuckerberg’s testimony over the next two days as investors continue to sort out the business implications of Facebook’s increasingly messy image. Shares of the company gained 0.4% on Monday but remain about 10% off record highs.

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China’s Xi renews pledges to open economy: Chinese President Xi Jinping promised on Tuesday to open the country’s economy further and lower import tariffs on products including cars, in a speech seen as an attempt to defuse an escalating trade dispute with the United States. While most of the pledges were reiterations of previously announced reforms, which foreign businesses complain are long overdue, Xi’s comments sent stock markets and the dollar higher on hopes of a compromise that could avert a trade war. [Reuters]

Bayer shares jump on report of U.S. antitrust deal on Monsanto: Bayer shares jumped nearly 5% on Tuesday following a media report that the U.S. Justice Department will allow the German drugs and pesticides group to acquire Monsanto (MON) in a $62.5 billion deal. The Justice Department reached an agreement in principle with Bayer and Monsanto in recent days after the companies agreed to sell more assets, the Wall Street Journal said late on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. [Reuters]

Trump escalates Mueller criticism, calling probe attack on US: Donald Trump escalated his criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions following a raid on the office of the president’s personal attorney, describing the probe as an attack on the U.S. The FBI raid on Monday, which was approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, represents “a whole new level of unfairness” in Mueller’s investigation, Trump complained to reporters in a meeting with military leaders. [Bloomberg]

PayPal makes a move toward traditional bankingThe San Jose, Calif.-based payments company has been reaching out to groups of customers in recent months with an offer to add basic banking features to their PayPal (PYPL) digital wallet. The features include Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance for balances up to government-set limits, a debit card that can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs and the ability to add funds to accounts by taking a photo of a paper check or by having employers direct-deposit earnings there. [The Wall Street Journal]

For more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks to Arizona National Guard soldiers prior to deployment to the Mexico border at the Papago Park Military Reservation Monday, April 9, 2018, in Phoenix.  Ducey said 225 members of the state’s National Guard were heading to the U.S.-Mexico border to support President Donald Trump’s call for troops to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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The Morning Brief provides a quick rundown on what to watch in the markets, top news stories, and the best of Yahoo Finance Originals.