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posted on 21 August 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar, Oil And Gold All Flat, Record $5bn A Day Dividends, Trump Afghan Speech, Another Navy Collision, Eclipse Today, Euro Apprec. Problem, Brexit Chatter, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 21 August 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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  • Shareholders reap rewards as dividends hit $5bn a day (The Times) Companies worldwide are handing cash to shareholders in unprecedented amounts, paying out dividends at the rate of $5 billion a day in the second quarter of this year. Dividend growth has sprung back to 7.2%, the fastest since late 2015, emphatically ending the hiatus of last year when payouts were dampened by US political uncertainty and Chinese growth worries.

Companies raised payouts in almost every region of the world, according to the Janus Henderson global dividend index, with the US, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands and South Korea all posting record payouts in dollar terms.


  • Trump fights to keep aide Gary Cohn amid West Wing turmoil (The Times) President Trump was last night battling to prevent another key adviser from leaving the White House in what would represent a stinging blow to the administration’s credibility on Wall Street. Gary Cohn, a former executive at Goldman Sachs who is the White House chief economic adviser, is said to have been deeply dismayed by the president’s response to neo-Nazi and white nationalist rallies in Virginia.

Friends have urged him to step aside and Mr Cohn, who is Jewish, was said to be considering his position after a week in which a series of business leaders stepped down from White House business advisory councils. He was said to have reached “a real inflection point", according to Vanity Fair, which cited sources close to Mr Cohn, but claimed he had clung on in the hope of being appointed head of the Federal Reserve.

  • Donald Trump to announce new strategy on Afghanistan in major speech (The Guardian) Donald Trump will announce his decision on America’s strategy in Afghanistan on Monday night in an address to US troops and the nation almost 16 years after the war began. The US president will “provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia" in an address to be delivered at 9pm ET from the military base at Fort Myer, southwest of the capital, the White House said in a statement.
  • No, Trump's support hasn't collapsed, but yes, he's increasingly alone (Los Angeles Times) In the annals of the modern presidency, few chief executives have been as alone as President Trump appears now - shunned by major business leaders, at odds with his party’s congressional leadership and deeply estranged from more than half the nation. Polls taken in the past week, since Trump made comments that seemed to make excuses for neo-Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., have shown the negative reaction.

But they’ve demonstrated something else as well: Like other embattled presidents, including even Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate, Trump continues to hold the support of a hard core of determined backers.

They are not as numerous as the group that voted for Trump in November; their ranks have eroded steadily since he took office.

Trump’s support, however, remains big enough to threaten Republican elected officials who might be tempted to openly break with the president. Potentially, it could also serve as a political base from which he could bounce back.

  • Ten US sailors missing after destroyer USS John S McCain collides with oil tanker (The Guardian) Ten American sailors are missing and five injured after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore. Singaporean, Malaysian and US search and rescue teams, consisting of patrol ships, helicopters and tug boats, were deployed to the area to look for the missing crew.

The US navy said the warship had “sustained damage to her port side aft" in the collision with the Alnic MC east of the straits of Malacca and Singapore. The head of the Malaysian navy posted a photo of the US ship with damage to its hull.

  • Where the robots are (Brookings) Trade didn't take jobs out of the Rust Belt (at least not the majority of jobs) - that's where the robots are:

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  • On August 21, Americans in a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will be treated to a total eclipse of the sun.
  • The eclipse offers a rare and precious opportunity to study the sun under conditions impossible at any other time.
  • Scientists will be seeking answers to lingering mysteries such as how the sun's magnetic field shapes the solar corona, why the corona is so hot, and more.

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  • Leading European judge promotes plan for UK access to single market after Brexit (The Times) Britain could retain access to the single market without answering to the EU’s court under plans put forward by one of Europe’s leading judges. The compromise over one of the most intractable disputes of the Brexit process is being brokered by Carl Baudenbacher, president of the court of the European Free Trade Association.

His proposals would allow Theresa May to retain her red line of withdrawing from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) while accepting European demands for independent judicial oversight of any future “deep and special partnership". The UK would maintain close links to the EU’s programmes and markets.

Britain would agree to accept the jurisdiction of the Efta court, which oversees the EU’s relationship with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and their access to the European single market. The court decides on matters of EU law, but its judgments are not automatically binding on domestic legislation.

  • UK hopes of EU trade talks this autumn 'will be dashed', says Slovenian PM (The Guardian) The British government’s hopes of opening discussions on a future trade relationship this autumn will definitely be dashed by the European Union due to the slow progress of Brexit negotiations, one of 27 prime ministers who will make the decision has said. Miro Cerar, the prime minister of Slovenia, revealed in an interview with The Guardian that it had proved too difficult to close the differences between the two sides in the opening rounds of talks, with the UK producing some unrealistic proposals. Cerar says after opening talks the two sides are too far apart on citizens’ rights, financial settlement and the Irish border.
  • Brexit secretary David Davis to try to seize control of EU negotiation with flurry of papers but City still awaits its moment (City A.M.) The government will this week publish a flurry of new position papers outlining its stance on some of the key issues in the Brexit negotiations, as it tries to seize control of the timetable for talks.

The papers will address a broad range of concerns, starting today with goods on the market. While that paper will address some issues around services associated with the trade in goods, the government’s position on the broader services industry post-Brexit - including financial services - remains uncertain.

The document outlining the government’s stance on goods trade will be accompanied by another on confidentiality of information exchanged, followed by papers this week on civil judicial cooperation, ending the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the flow of data across borders.


North Korea

Like its predecessors, the Trump administration is trying to pressure North Korea through sanctions to dismantle its nuclear program. But both President Trump and his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, have talked openly about a last-resort option if diplomacy fails and the nuclear threat mounts: what General McMaster describes as “preventive war."


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