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posted on 04 May 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar And Gold Up, Oil Down, Puerto Rico BK, Commodities Fade, GOP Health Vote, TBTF Banks Grow, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 04 May 2017

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.


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  • Most Asia markets lower as Fed sticks to hawkish bent, metal prices eyed (CNBC) Asian markets were mostly lower on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve 'stuck to a hawkish bent overnight and as metals prices tumbled. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose as high as 99.394, compared with around 99 in Asia trade Wednesday. At 2:33 p.m. HK/SIN, it was at 99.320. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost $0.18 cents, or 0.4%, to $47.64 a barrel by 2345 GMT. Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,240.81 per ounce as of 0100 GMT, but fell 1.5% on Wednesday, its worst single-day drop since Nov. 23, breaching the 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Prices hit a low of $1,236.01, a level not seen since March 21.



  • Puerto Rico files for biggest ever U.S. local government bankruptcy (Reuters) Puerto Rico announced a historic restructuring of its public debt on Wednesday, touching off what may be the biggest bankruptcy ever in the $3.8 trillion U.S. municipal bond market. While it was not immediately clear just how much of Puerto Rico's $70 billion of debt would be included in the bankruptcy filing, the case is sure to dwarf Detroit's insolvency in 2013. The move comes a day after several major creditors sued Puerto Rico over defaults its bonds.

  • Trump's Commodities Rally Is Almost Gone (Bloomberg) Commodities are sinking to a five-month low, almost erasing the rally that followed Donald Trump’s surprise election win. The selloff has been led by industrial metals and oil, two sectors that fueled raw-materials gains earlier this year on the view that faster global growth would boost demand.

  • GOP Sets Health Bill Vote Thursday Amid Doubts About Count (Bloomberg) House Republicans plan to vote Thursday on their long-stalled Obamacare repeal measure, setting up a high-stakes test given the continuing doubts about whether they have enough votes to guarantee passage.

  • Trump order to ease ban on political activity by churches (Reuters) President Donald Trump will take executive action on Thursday to ease a ban on political activity by churches and other tax-exempt institutions as part of an order on religious liberties, a senior White House official said on Wednesday. Trump's executive order to mark the National Day of Prayer will also mandate regulatory relief to religious employers that object to contraception, such as Little Sisters of the Poor, the official said in a briefing. The order does not include provisions to allow government agencies and businesses to deny services to gay people in the name of religious freedom, as was feared by some civil liberties and gay rights groups.

  • Comey Tries to Warn About Russia, Senators Ask About Hillary’s Emails Instead (The Daily Beast) The Kremlin isn’t done messing with American elections, but Democrats and Republicans are still fixated on Hillary Clinton’s private email server. FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the Russian government is actively interfering in the U.S. political process, and that Moscow’s danger to democracy is “the greatest threat of any nation on earth, given their intention and their capability." But Democrats and Republicans on the committee seemed far more interested in relitigating Comey’s decision to tell Congress on Oct. 28 that the FBI had reopened its investigation into whether or not Clinton and her aides had deliberately mishandled classified information, despite the fact that Comey has repeatedly been grilled by Congress on his letter already.

  • Jury Convicts Woman Who Laughed At Jeff Sessions During Senate Hearing (The Huffington Post) A jury convicted a woman on Wednesday who was arrested during a congressional hearing in January after laughing at the claim that now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a record of treating Americans equally. Desiree Fairooz, an activist associated with the organization Code Pink, was found guilty on two counts: one for engaging in “disorderly or disruptive conduct" with the intent to disrupt congressional proceedings and a separate count for parading, demonstrating or picketing. Several jurors who spoke with HuffPost after the verdict emphasized that they were focused on Fairooz’s actions after a rookie Capitol Police officer approached Fairooz when she laughed at Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) claim that Sessions had a clear, well-documented and “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law." A group of jurors spoke to HuffPost on the condition of anonymity. The jury foreperson said:

“She did not get convicted for laughing. It was her actions as she was being asked to leave."



In creating political scapegoats to recruit her own supporters, she must also be careful not to make martyrs to win the sympathies of others.



Only about 1.1% of the world population is German. However, 48% of the mid-sized world market leaders come from Germany. These firms, which I call “Hidden Champions," are part of what makes German economic growth more inclusive: by my calculations, they have created 1.5 million new jobs; have grown by 10% per year on average; and register five times as many patents per employee as large corporations. And they are resilient: my estimate is that in the last 25 years no more than 10% of them disappeared or were taken over, a distinctly lower percentage than for large corporations. Nearly all of them survived the great recession of 2008-2009.


  • Strong Rupee May Help Ease India Outbound Investment Rules (Bloomberg) A surging rupee, rising currency reserves and a comfortable current-account gap could see India’s central bank consider relaxing rules on outward investments, paving the way for domestic companies to step up their shopping abroad, especially in Latin America and Africa.



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