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FCA-Renault deal hopes aid European shares

( ) – Strong Chinese export data and the U.S.-Mexico deal to avoid new import tariffs bolstered the mood on European stock markets on Monday, while car company shares also got a lift from signs of moves to revive Fiat-Chrysler and Renault’s merger.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index rose 0.4% by 0805 GMT, with trading volumes thinned out by the Whit Monday holiday in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and most Nordic countries.

The auto sector gained 0.5% on signs that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Renault SA were looking for ways to resuscitate their collapsed merger plan and secure the approval of Nissan Motor Co.

Fiat Chrysler and Renault’s shares were both up about 2% after sources close to the companies told they were back in discussions on ways to revive the deal.

“We believe it is too early to talk about negotiations being re-opened,” Equita analyst Emanuele Gallazzi wrote in a note.

“Today’s news together with the hypotheses discussed in various press sources relating to alternative scenarios for FCA, including GM, Hyundai and Geely, keep high the speculative appeal of the stock.”

President Donald Trump on Friday retreated on last month’s shock threat of a 5% import tariff on all Mexican goods in exchange for moves on immigration, providing relief to investors worried that a second major U.S. trade dispute would drive the globa上海夜生活网l economy into recession.

“Markets are blowing small celebratory bubbles this morning,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China still lingered, with Group of 20 finance leaders saying that trade and geopolitical tensions have raised risks to improving global growth while stopping short of calling for a resolution of the conflict.

Adding to gains was some residual buying after weak U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday that spurred hopes of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates.

Concerns over the pace of growth in the world’s major economies drove a nearly 6% fall in European stock markets in May, their worst month in more than two years, but have been countered since by hopes of new stimulus from central banks to head off the threat.

Among other stocks, BAE Systems gained 1% on hopes of further deal making in the aerospace and defense space after United Technologies Corp agreed on Sunday to combine its aerospace business with U.S. contractor Raytheon Co, in what would be the sector’s biggest ever merger.

Thomas Cook’s shares jumped 15% after a report that Hong Kong’s Fosun Tourism was in talks to buy its tour operating business as the British group faces breakup after issuing three profit warnings in the past year.

Ferguson Plc fell 4% after the British plumbing products distributor’s third quarter revenue missed analysts’ estimates.

High-yield junk market still attractive: top bond manager Margaret Patel

NEW YORK ( ) – The gains in high-yield junk bonds are not over, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s supportive stance on monetary policy, Margaret Patel, one of the mutual-fund industry’s longest tenured and most well-known bond managers, said on Tuesday.

“The risk-taker will be rewarded,” Patel, a senior portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management, said at the New York headquarters of . The ICE Merrill Lynch U.S. high-yield index has posted returns of 8.92% so fa上海夜生活论坛r this year. Patel’s Wells Fargo High Yield Bond fund is up 8.68% for the same period.

“I see a downward drift in yields in junk bonds,” she said.

Patel, who has more than 40 years’ experience in the business, said the Fed will not be cutting off liquidity and could, in fact, slash interest rates this year. The Fed’s potential cuts will trigger another wave of gains and access to credit for high-yield companies, which issue debt with less-than-stellar credit ratings called junk bonds.

“Why should junk bond spreads be 450 basis points over Treasuries if defaults are a needle in a haystack? Makes no sense,” Patel said.

The economy is slowing down but not to the point of recessionary levels, Patel said. She characterizes the economic backdrop as marked by “low inflation, modest growth, low interest rates and low volatility.”

As a result, junk bond returns will continue to be modest for a number of years, Patel said. She favors the industrial, healthcare and technology sectors.

For their part, U.S. equities “could definitely move higher,” she added.

After starting as an equities analyst, Patel eventually became a portfolio manager where her reputation rose primarily on the bond side. Before joining Pioneer Investments in 1999, Patel had started a bond fund for Third Avenue’s fund family. It was later acquired by the Boston asset manager.

Highlights: The Trump presidency on April 13 at 9:30 P.M. EDT/0130 GMT on Friday

( ) – Highlights for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday:

AFGHANISTAN

The United States drops a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in Afghanistan against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants, the Pentagon says.

NORTH KOREA

Trump says Pyongyang is a problem that “will be taken care of” amid speculation that North Korea is on the verge of a sixth nuclear test.

Military force cannot resolve tension over North Korea, China warns, while an influential Chinese newspaper urges Pyongyang to halt its nuclear program in exchange for Beijing’s protection.

The Trump administration is focusing its North Korea strategy on tougher economic sanctions, possibly including intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang, U.S. officials say.

RUSSIA

Trump says “things will work out fine” between the United States and Russia, a day after declaring U.S.-Russian relations may be at an all-time low.

FEDERAL RESERVE

Trump signals he could be moving closer to the mainstream on monetary policy, saying he has not ruled out reappointment of Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chair as he considers his choices for the U.S. central bank. [nL1N1HL14B]

ABORTION

Trump signs a resolution that will allow U.S. states to restrict how federal funds for contraception and reproductive health are spent, a move cheered by anti-abortion campaigners.

DEUTSCHE BANK

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen presses Deutsche Bank to release information about issues including Trump’s debt and any bank meetings with Trump administration officials, saying he has “great concern” about possible conflicts of interest.

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK

Trump’s office says he plans to revive the hobbled Export-Import Bank of the United States, a victory for American manufacturers such as Boeing Co and General Electric Co that have overseas customers that use the agency’s government-backed loans to purchase their products.

FINANCIAL REGULATION

Top Wall Street bankers say they are having positive discussions about financial regulation in Washington, and downplay the idea U.S. policymakers may force their institutions to split up.

TRADE WITH JAPAN

The United States is pushing for trade to be a key issue in top-level economic talks with Japan, a source says, an unwelcome development for Tokyo, which is seeking to fend off U.S. pressure to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance.

IMMIGRATION

Trump’s administration has focused on one group of illegal immigrants more than others: women with children, according to eight Department of Homeland Security officials interv上海夜生活论坛iewed by about agency planning.

RPT-Fear and fervour propel Shanghai’s tech board amid trade, Huawei tensions

(Repeats with no change to text)

* Huawei ban, trade war fuel patriotic support for the new board

* 120 firms seeking to list, aiming to raise total of $16 bln

* About 100 tech-focused funds awaiting regulatory approval

* Venture capitalists scrambling to grab share of pre-IPO funding

By Samuel Shen and Josh Horwitz

SHANGHAI, June 11 ( ) – Chinese companies and investors are lining up in spades to take part in Shanghai’s new Nasdaq-style tech board, with a groundswell of patriotic support surging further after the U.S. blacklisting of telecom firm Huawei inflamed tr上海夜生活ade tensions.

In the two months since the application period began, 120 firms – many in industries such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence and biotech – have sought permission to list, aiming to raise a combined $16 billion.

By comparison, IPOs on Shanghai’s main bourse last year raised $11.7 billion while those on the Shenzhen exchange raised $8 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

On the investment side, there’s been a rush to launch tech-focused mutual funds, with about 100 currently seeking approval, data from the China Securities Regulatory Commission shows. Since late May, 12 such funds targeting the new board, each with a fundraising cap of 1 billion yuan ($145 million), have been launched.

The first mainland China exchange-run board to not make profitability a listing requirement, Shanghai’s Sci-tech Innovation Board was announced suddenly by President Xi Jinping in November and is widely seen as Beijing’s latest move to become self-sufficient in core technologies such as chips.

Those ambitions, highlighted by the government’s “Made in China 2025” campaign launched four years ago, have now taken on added urgency as the trade war with Washington and anxiety about its impact escalate.

“The trade war is no longer simply about China importing more soybeans, or reducing trade deficits,” Shi Donghui, director of the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Capital Market Institute told a financial forum last month after U.S-China trade talks collapsed.

“It’s essentially a tug of war around industry supply chains and core technologies,” he said, adding that as the two economic powers vie for tech supremacy, exchange staff were working day and night seven days a week to make the new board a success.

PATRIOTIC ENTHUSIASM

Washington’s ban in May on U.S. firms doing business with Huawei without government approval highlighted gaps in China’s tech prowess and has fuelled patriotic enthusiasm for the board.

If the new board can foster internationally competitive technologies, “Trump will no longer be able to choke us,” said Zhou Xiangyong, general manager of Guotai Asset Management, a Shanghai-based mutual fund house.

“China must turn external pressure into internal drive,” said Pan Jiang, CEO at private fund manager Shanghai V-Invest Co, which recently launched eight funds targeting the new board.

China Galaxy Securities estimates domestic mutual fund houses alone could pump more than $40 billion into the board, with about a third of that coming from new funds launching over the next six months.

In addition to allowing loss-making firms to list, the new board is doing away with paternalistic guidance from regulators on IPO pricing and timing – developments that have some bankers and investors calling it China’s boldest market reform yet.

A formal launch date has not been announced but investment bankers have said they expect it to start operating either late this month or in early July.

For Yuan Guowei, founder and CEO of big data startup Shanghai HyperS Data Technology Inc, being able to list while still loss-making is an opportunity not to be missed.

“We see U.S. companies which keep expanding aggressively despite losses. We couldn’t do that in the past, as we want to go public and struggled to balance expansion and making a profit,” he said.

Compared to the United States, stock market investment in China’s tech sector has been low, in part due to stricter listing requirements around profitability.

Tech companies account for roughly 11% of total market value in China’s stock markets, which are heavily weighted toward the financial sector, according to China Securities Index Co. In contrast, IT firms account for nearly 30% of the S&P 500’s market capitalisation, Refinitiv data shows.

Channeling investor money into homegrown technologies via the tech board could also help defuse U.S. criticism over the opaque shareholding structure of some Chinese firms and massive state subsidies for the tech sector, analysts said.

Foreign investors, however, are not expected to have much initial involvement in the new board. There are as yet no plans for it to be part of the cross-border Connect scheme, while overseas investors participating in the QFII investment scheme for mainland stocks tend to buy blue-chip shares due to their limited research capabilities in China.

VENTURE CAPITAL SCRAMBLE

The big unknown, however, is just how successful the new board will be in the long term.

China’s other startup boards have mostly languished despite a wellspring of excitement in their early days. Often speculation sent prices soaring, but those prices later collapsed spectacularly, souring investor sentiment to a point from which it never recovered.

The new tech board “is being propelled directly by China’s top decision-makers, so it has to succeed. It cannot afford to fail,” said Fu Ziheng, economist at China Fortune Securities.

“But there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead….and technology innovation does not happen overnight.”

High-profile companies planning to list on the new board include Beijing Kingsoft Office Software Inc, China’s biggest provider of officer software controlled by Xiaomi Corp founder Lei Jun, as well as chip sector firm Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc.

For a factbox on some of the companies planning to list please click.

Excitement surrounding prospective candidates is so high that venture capitalists interested in pre-IPO financing say they need to move quickly on due diligence or lose out to the competition, particularly in strategic industries such as chips.

“When companies conduct pre-IPO financing, you may have to make decisions in 1-2 weeks, which is very demanding for the investment team. Previously, such decisions were made over 1-2 months,” said Feng Sicheng, an investment manager at private equity firm GP Capital who specialises in the chip sector. ($1 = 6.9082 Chinese yuan)

‘Go to hell!’ A divided America struggles to heal after ugly election

(Editors note: Attention to language in paragraph 30 that may be offensive to some readers)

By Jason Szep

ELLSWORTH, Maine ( ) – “He lies,” huffed Janet Foster.

“And he’s a dirty old man,” chimed in her sister Jean as they discussed Donald Trump’s flaws a few days before he was elected the new president of the United States.

“Well, I am with him,” their brother Paul, 60, interjected, raising his voice over snacks of cheese, muffins and crackers in the family’s living room. “Hillary Clinton is like a puppet – you know it’s all scripted.”

The 2016 U.S. election was unprecedented in the way it turned Americans against each other, according to dozens of interviews in rural United States and across some of the most politically charged battleground states.

It divided families like the Fosters in rural Ellsworth, Maine, broke up friendships and turned neighbor against neighbor.

In a recent /Ipsos survey, 15 percent of respondents said they had stopped talking to a family member or close friend as a result of the election. For Democrats, this shoots up to 23 percent, compared to 10 perce上海夜生活论坛nt for Republicans. And 12 percent had ended a relationship because of it.

There was no comparative polling data from previous elections. But interviews with relationship counselors and voters suggest this election stood out by summoning passions, anger and a divisiveness in ways that will make healing difficult after Clinton’s loss to Trump on Tuesday.

Sarah Guth, a Democrat in Colorado, says her father – an ardent supporter of Trump – no longer speaks with her after they clashed on Facebook over their political views.

“He crossed a line,” she said.

After attending a Trump rally, Guth wrote on Facebook that she saw 10 minorities among thousands of people. “I’m increasingly convinced that this election is about race,” she wrote. “I mean a fear among the white majority that their rule is coming to an end.”

Some posters told her “to go to hell,” she recalled in an interview. “And then my dad very publicly attacked me, telling me that I should be ashamed of myself.” The two have not spoken since.

Ty Turner-Bond, a 35-year-old black man in North Carolina, says he lost friends because of his support for Trump. Some called him an “Uncle Tom,” a slur for African Americans accused of deferring to white people; others threatened violence.

“PEOPLE ARE TENSE”

In Springfield, a city on Ohio’s Mad River, Duke Level, 57, voted for Trump because he wanted “a wrecking ball” to hit Washington. The owner of Un Mundo Cafe isn’t surprised this election created divisions, and he fears they could get worse.

“This is one of those crossroads crisis moments in history,” he said.

Hours earlier, Trump rallied about 5,000 supporters a few miles away in a dirt-floored livestock arena. He blasted Clinton as “the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency,” drawing chants of “lock her up,” as well as a few of “string her up.”

Down the street, Richard Scott, 51, an African-American supporting Clinton, shook his head when told of those chants. Those words, he said, recalled 20th Century lynchings of black Americans – including in Springfield where a black prisoner was shot and hung from a pole on Main Street in 1904.

“It’s terrible,” he said.

Weeks ago, he planted a Clinton sign in his yard. His neighbors put up Trump signs. Outside the funeral home he owns, a pro-Clinton sign was defaced with a “Hillary for Prison” sticker. “People are tense,” said Scott.

The election hardened an already-clear racial divide in the former industrial city of 60,000 people – a snapshot of America at about 75 percent white and 18 percent black. Interviews with residents suggested its northern areas, mostly affluent and white, would vote for Trump, while its mostly black, lower-income southern section would largely support Clinton.

“There is a division in this town, economically and racial. And we saw that in this election,” said Bob Leath, 58, owner of Buckeye PC Repair who voted for Trump to “clean house” in Washington. “If you voted for Clinton, you were most likely either young, lower-income or from the south side of the area.”

For some, the tensions reach the bedroom. Sam Nail, a Cincinnati marriage counselor, said he has two couples who cited the election season as a “stressor” in their relationship.

Much of the anger gets uncorked on social media and will be hard to undo. Some is well publicized. National Review writer David French has written about “an unending torrent of abuse” he and his family faced online from white nationalist Trump supporters, including a Tweeted image of his 7-year-old daughter’s face in a gas chamber.

Others are less well known, like Brenda Thomas’ tangles with her older brother on Facebook. She says her brother unleashed a daily stream of Facebook posts on Clinton and President Barack Obama that she found objectionable. She said when her husband, a Republican, tried to reason with him, he was “unfriended” on Facebook.

“I feel that I have to walk on eggshells with him and it causes problems at family functions,” said Thomas, 63, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Karen Wilson, describes this election as “stressful” on Facebook. “I’ve got family members who are mad at me for deleting entire Facebook threads when I thought they were becoming too negative. I’ve deleted Facebook friends who I realized I never should have been friends with in the first place,” said Wilson, 43.

Fourteen percent of respondents in the /Ipsos poll said they had blocked a family member or close friend from social media because of the election. For Democrats, this rises to 23 percent compared to 8 percent for Republicans.

“FREE SPEECH ATTACK”

The divisions tore into the fabric of some communities. In Provo, Utah, Trump supporter Loy Brunson awoke on an October morning to find his car spray-painted with the words “AmeriKKKa” – a reference to “KKK” white supremacists – and “Fuck Trump.” His two Trump yard signs were destroyed.

“So I doubled down, got motivated and put up 85 signs in my yard,” he said. Within days, all but six of those were stolen.

“This was more than vandalism,” he said in an interview. “This was a free speech attack.”

Some blame the divisiveness on campaign rhetoric that inflamed racial, ethnic and class tensions that have long simmered in America. Angry and extremist language moved into the mainstream.

George Lakoff, a linguistics professor at University of California, Berkeley, blames Trump’s use of language, which he ranks as among the most violent of any candidate in modern times. He specifically notes Trump’s suggestion in August that gun rights activists could take matters into their own hands if Clinton defeated him, as well as the New York businessman’s comments that she should go to prison.

“When you have extremes of that order, you have extremes of anger, extremes of fear,” Lakoff said.

In Mississippi, Chad Scott, an activist in the Clay County Republican Party, fears a post-election split between the party’s working-class Trump supporters and business-minded elites – a sentiment echoed in Maine, where Foster, the Ellsworth resident at odds with his sisters, witnessed the election’s political vitriol first hand. 

Foster’s van was one of 20 vehicles spray-painted outside a Trump rally on Oct. 15 in the city of Bangor. And across Ellsworth, pro-Trump yard signs were stolen almost as fast as they were planted, Republican officials say.

Foster worries about the divisions ahead.

“My sisters will forgive me for my political views,” he said.  “But the country is going to be on fire.”

Trump presidency to create high anxiety among Asian allies

TOKYO/SEOUL ( ) – Republican Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election will deepen Asian allies’ anxiety about Washington’s commitment to post-war security arrangements in the face of a rising China and volatile North Korea, and could bolster calls from conservatives in Tokyo for a more robust defense policy.

Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and calls for allies to pay more of the cost for U.S. troops in the region or face their possible withdrawal have worried officials in some Asian capitals. So has his opposition to a 12-nation pan-Pacific trade pact that was a linchpin of Washington’s “pivot” to the region.

“We should expect dramatic changes in the security environment,” said South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party floor leader Chung Jin-suk in parliament on Wednesday.

But he added: “In any case, there should not be any wavering in the Korea-U.S. military alliance, which has been the foundation of prosperity of this country.”

A Japanese government official, speaking before Trump clinched the election, urged the new president to send a reassuring message.

“The new president-elect should as soon as possible issue a statement reassuring the rest of the world that the strong commitment of the United States to its allies … remains strong and reliable,” said the official, who declined to be identified.

“We are certainly concerned about the comments (Trump) has made to date about the alliance and the U.S. role in the Pacific, particularly Japan,” the Japanese official said, although he added Trump’s policies might not match his rhetoric.

Trump has made several comments that disturbed Washington’s Asian allies, from insisting they must foot more of the two-way defense bill to suggesting it might be alright for Tokyo and Seoul develop nuclear arms capability.

FOOTING THE BILL

In an article criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia as “talking loudly but carrying a small stick” two Trump advisors said he would beef up the U.S. Navy while asserting it was “only fair” that Seoul and Tokyo pay more for defense.

“There is no question of Trump’s commitment to America’s Asian alliances as bedrocks of stability in the region,” wrote University of California professor Peter Navarro and Alexander Gray, a former advisor to U.S. politician Randy Forbes, in the article, which appeared in the Nov. 7 edition of Foreign Policy.

The article also criticized the Obama administration for failing to halt China’s aggressive maritime activities in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing has territorial rows with several countries in the region.

Trump has called for more ships for the U.S. Navy. The “mere initiation of the Trump naval program will reassure our allies that the United States remains committed in the long term to its traditional role as guarantor of the liberal order in Asia”, the authors said.

Trump’s approach to the North Asia security alliances could spark calls in Japan for a more independent security stance, although serious talk of acquiring nuclear weapons is unlikely to emerge in the only nation to suffer atomic bombings.

“I think they will have more legitimacy,” said a Japanese diplomat, referring to those seeking a more robust security stance. “But the Japanese public is reluctant to go in that direction and we don’t have the capacity in terms of budget or (military) personnel.”

TPP NOT JUST TRADE

Asian allies who joined the 12-nation Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, a linchpin of Obama’s Asia pivot, now fear the pact is dead, given Trump’s harsh opposition.

That has implications not only for trade, but security, since Washington and Tokyo had seen the TPP as way of creating a new regional rule-based architecture to counter China.

“TPP was not just a trade deal, it was the United States and Japan, together … these countries with shared values would create an advanced regional order with not just economic, but diplomatic and security implications,” said Toshihiro Nakayama, a professor at Keio University in Tokyo.

“It was a symbol of America being committed to the region.”

Singapore-based security expert Tim Huxley warned of a period of potentially destabilizing uncertainty ahead as the region waits for clearer strategic signs of precisely what a Trump presidency would mean for Asia.

“Unless Trump speaks reassuringly and soothingly about the continued U.S. presence and commitment to the region, I won’t be surprised to see long-held doubts awoken in the minds of many Asian leaders about the durability of the traditional U.S. role,” he said.

Policy-makers expect it will take considerable time for Trump to work out personnel appointments and get down to policy formation. Divisive U.S. politics could also slow things down. That could mean a worrisome vacuum, but also suggests no quick, dramatic changes are in store.

“It will take about half a year for Mr. Trump to firm up his foreign policies. He only has a transitio上海夜生活网n team of about 200 people and his first focus will be domestic policy,” said Masashi Adachi, head of the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s foreign policy panel.

“I don’t think there will be a big change in his stance toward Japan. He has said the Japan-U.S. alliance is important. What he is talking about is details like increasing what Japan pays for U.S. troops in Japan,” Adachi added.

Democratic voter-intimidation cases falter in three U.S. states

WASHINGTON ( ) – Democrats fell short in three U.S. states on Monday in their legal battle to impose tighter restrictions on supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who plan to monitor Election Day voting for signs of fraud.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reimpose new rules on partisan poll watchers in Ohio after an appeals court struck them down, while U.S. judges in Pennsylvania and North Carolina declined Democrats’ request to impose new rules that Democrats had sought.

Voter intimidation is prohibited under U.S. law, but Democrats worry that Trump’s warnings of a “rigged” election in his battle against Democrat Hillary Clinton might inspire supporters to 上海夜生活论坛harass minority voters and create Election Day chaos in big cities as they search for signs of vote manipulation.

Numerous studies have found that U.S. voter fraud is exceedingly rare.

Democrats have asked U.S. courts in six battleground states to impose greater restrictions on partisan poll watchers, arguing that the Trump campaign, state Republican parties and Republican operative Roger Stone are encouraging supporters to intimidate minority voters.

Trump’s campaign and Republican parties in the various states say their poll watchers are trained to bring evidence of any problems to the party and not confront voters directly.

“This was an attempt to intimidate Republican people engaging in lawful activity,” North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse told .

Stone says those working for his planned “exit poll” will be trained to use neutral, non-threatening language.

One day before the election, Democrats so far have failed to win any of their legal efforts.

A U.S. judge denied the Democrats’ case in Arizona on Friday. Monday’s rulings in North Carolina and Pennsylvania give Democrats little time for appeals, while the Supreme Court’s Monday ruling put to rest the case filed in Ohio.

The Supreme Court order, which only covers the Ohio case, included no noted dissents from the eight justices. Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a brief statement noting that “Ohio law proscribes voter intimidation” and citing the relevant law.

U.S. judges in Michigan and Nevada have yet to issue opinions.

Democrats have waged a separate legal battle against the Republican National Committee, arguing in court that the RNC should be prevented from supporting the Trump campaign’s poll-watching effort. A U.S. judge in New Jersey denied that motion on Saturday.

Oil rebounds as Trump says letter revives China trade hopes

HOUSTON ( ) – Brent oil futures settled slightly higher on Thursday, rebounding from a drop after U.S. President Donald Trump revived investor hopes that the United States might not raise tariffs on Chinese imports, a step that could hit economic growth and crimp oil demand.

The trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies and a sharp drop in global equity markets has hit oil prices, outweighing geopolitical tensions and supply cuts that have lowered global supplies from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

Brent settled 2 cents higher at $70.39 a barrel, rebounding from a session low of $69.40 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled down 42 cents at $61.70 per barrel.

Prices bounced off session lows after Trump said he received a “beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump quoted the letter as saying: “Let’s work together let’s see if we can get something done.”

The letter fed investor hopes Washington and Beijing might clinch a trade deal, said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.

The trade row has dragged economic growth in Asia and a breakdown in Sino-American negotiations could call global crude demand forecasts into question, said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management LLC.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects global oil demand to rise by 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) this year.

“It’s why OPEC is being a bit stingy with barrels,” Kilduff said, referring to output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia. “They don’t want to step into that situation if the trade talks go off the rails.”

OPEC’s top producer Saudi Arabia has been reluctant to add barrels to global supply because it fears a price crash, even as the organization is unsure of global supplies for the second half of the year, OPEC sources said.

U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, and threats to oil supplies in Nigeria in Libya have supported oil prices, mitigating the impact of the trade dispute, analysts said. Brent and WTI have risen more than 30 percent so far this year.

“The supply uncertainty is what’s holding the (U.S. oil) market above $60 a barrel,” said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago. “The demand uncertainty is what has it in the red today. But we’re holding pretty good.”

Earlier this week, data showing a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories also buoyed prices.

The U.S. tariffs on $200 b上海夜生活论坛illion of Chinese goods would rise to 25 percent without a deal on Friday. China has threatened to retaliate, triggering a flight to safety among investors.

(Graphic: U.S. crude inventories, weekly changes since 2017 – tmsnrt.rs/2XfuQqn)

Private equity Sycamore says Chico’s declined to engage on buyout offer

May 10 ( ) – Sycamore Partners LP said on Friday struggling women’s apparel retailer Chico’s FAS Inc has declined to engage with the private equity firm on its cash offer to buy the company for $407.8 million.

In an SEC filing, Sycamore disclosed a 6.6% stake in the company, making it the fourth largest shareholder in Chico’s. The private equity had offered about $3.50 per Chico’s share, a discount of 5.4% to the company’s Thursday close.

Chico’s FAS, which is known for its Soma brand of women’s intimate apparels, operates more than 1,000 stores in the United States and Canada and also sells its merchandise online.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 36-year-old retailer has b上海夜网een struggling with sales dropping for at least the last three years and is in the middle of a search for a new chief executive officer after Shelley Broader abruptly resigned in April.

“Given the rate and severity of the deterioration of the company’s business, we believe that it is in the best interests of all stockholders for the board to create those options,” Sycamore said in a letter to Chico’s board, which was part of the filing.

Shares of the company, which have fallen nearly 62% in the last one year, were up 2% in early morning trade.

Wall Street weekahead: U.S. funds focus on media stocks, banks to find value as mid-caps rally

NEW YORK ( ) – The S&P 400 Mid-Cap index has surged to its best start to a year since 1991, both rewarding fund managers and forcing them to work harder to seek out bargains in a group that is now the most expensive part of the U.S. market based on their historical averages.

The rally in mid-cap stocks – companies with a market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion – has come during a broad rally in global stock markets as investors price in a resolution in the trade talks between the United States and China and fewer interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Mid-caps are up 14 percent for the year to date and sport an average price-to-earnings ratio of 16.9 times forward earnings, for their highest valuation premiums to small-cap stocks since 2017, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch research.

Yet fund managers from Janus Henderson, Hotchkis & Wiley, and Fairpointe Capital are among those who are still finding values by concentrating on financial, energy and media stocks and eschewing the high-priced real estate investment trusts and utility companies that make up nearly a fifth of the benchmark index.

“The window for the big bargain bin was the fourth quarter and that was about it,” said Kevin Preloger, a portfolio manager of the $3.3 billion Janus Henderson Mid Cap Value fund. “We’re looking for companies that have good balance sheets and good cash flow, but the tough part is reasonable valuations.”

Preloger’s fund i上海夜生活网s finding them in financial companies such as M&T Bank Corp and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc that are increasing their stock buybacks at the same time they have been beating analysts’ earnings expectations. Shares of M&T, for instance, are up 20.8 percent since the start of the year and trade at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 11.8.

“Financials are the cheapest sector in the space, and their earnings are also growing,” Preloger said.

Stanley Majcher, a portfolio manager of the $1.4 billion Hotchkis & Wiley Mid-Cap Value fund, is buying into overlooked financial and energy stocks because he considers them less risky than utility companies or REITs with higher valuations.

“Energy is very out of favor and there’s a perception that it’s a risky business because oil prices are likely to be low for a long period of time because of the market share war between OPEC and the U.S.,” he said. “But we see low volatility of demand and more discipline on the supply side.”

Among its largest holdings, Majcher’s fund has several energy companies, including Whiting Petroleum Corp, Kosmos Energy Ltd and Ophir Energy PLC, according to Morningstar data, with mixed results for the year to date. Shares of Whiting are up 12.4 percent year-to-date, while shares of Ophir are up nearly 53 percent over the same time.

Thyra Zerhusen, a portfolio manager of the $2.6 billion AMG Managers Fairpointe Mid Cap fund, said her fund is finding opportunities in media stocks such as broadcast company Tegna Inc, which was spun off of Gannett Co, magazine and local broadcasting company Meredith Corp, and New York Times Co, all of which should see a significant boost in revenues from the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, she said.

“With everybody running for president, the political advertising goes to these smaller market stations. Newspapers are almost non-existent now,” except for the New York Times, which continues to grow its digital subscriptions, she said.

She is also adding opportunistic positions in companies such as Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp, which completed its merger with the transportation unit of General Electric Co on Feb. 25. Shares of the company are up 2.9 percent year-to-date, and remain 35 percent below where they were trading six months ago.

“We’re trying to add stocks where there may be a short-term problem hitting the share price but the long-term outlook looks okay,” she said.

METALS-Copper steady as economic concerns jostle with China demand hopes

* LME copper stocks 30 pct below levels last August

* Zinc stocks d上海夜生活own nearly 80 percent since August

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with official prices)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, March 18 ( ) – Copper prices held steady on Monday, bolstered by expectations of seasonally strong Chinese demand in the second quarter and low stocks but capped by concern over the impact of continuing trade tensions on the global economy.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed little changed at $6,425 a tonne, down 0.1 percent, with prices having traded in a $200 range since the middle of February.

“The second quarter is normally the strongest in terms of physical activity; stocks are low and supply tightness is evident in metals like copper,” said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.

“Our concerns would be the macro overlay, slowing global growth and the unresolved U.S.-China trade dispute.”

CHINA: China accounts for about half of global demand for industrial metals, which increases in the April to June period because of restocking ahead of rising construction activity in the second quarter.

TRADE: Investor sentiment on trade has see-sawed on rumblings coming out of the negotiations between the world’s two biggest economies after the imposition of tit-for-tat tariffs.

“The uncertainty over U.S.-China trade could be decisive for industrial metals in the short term,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“We see renewed supply issues in some of the metals, copper and zinc, which could widen the market deficit. This leaves little room for replenishing depleted inventories.”

STOCKS: Copper inventories of 183,825 tonnes in LME-approved warehouses are up from less than 112,000 tonnes last Tuesday but still more than 30 percent below levels last August. MCUSTX-TOTAL

Higher stocks have shrunk the premium for the cash contract over three-month copper to about $30 a tonne from $70 in early March. CMCU0-3

ZINC: Stocks of zinc under LME warrant are down nearly 80 percent since August to less than 60,000 tonnes, creating a large premium for the cash contract over three-month metal. MZNSTX-TOTAL The premium was last at $50 a tonne. CMZN0-3

In contrast, stocks in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed above 124,000 tonnes from around 20,000 tonnes at the end of last year. ZN-STX-SGH

Combined with an estimated 80,000 tonnes of zinc stocks in bonded warehouses in Shanghai, that takes the total in China to more than 200,000 tonnes.

PRICES: Aluminium closed 1.2 percent up at $1,920.50 a tonne, zinc dipped by 0.3 percent to $2,781, lead slipped by 1.1 percent to $2,040, tin added 0.5 percent to $21,175 and nickel firmed by 0.1 percent to $12,950.

Preview: Bayern Munich – Hoffenheim

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Bayern Munich will host Hoffenheim in the 20th round of the Bundesliga. The Bavarians are on top of the table with 37 points, while Hoffenheim are 8 points behind, placed ninth.

Since the appointment of Jupp-Heynckes as the manager of the club, Bayern Munich have won 33 points in 12 games, while Hoffenheim have claimed just 13 points from the same number of games.

The Bundesliga champions have won their last five games, netting 20 goals in the process. Hoffenheim have won just one,上海夜生活网 drawn two and lost two.

While Bayern Munich’s boss Jupp Heynckes is the oldest in the league – 72, Hoffenheim’s boss is the youngest one – 30.

Players to watch: Thomas Muller netted his 100th goal for the club last week. A curious fact is that the Bavarians have not lost a game in which the German has scored. 78 games – 74 wins and 4 draws. Meanwhile, Sandro Wagner can make an appearance and punish his former team-mates, having joined Bayern Munich earlier in the January transfer window from Hoffenheim.Neuer & Ter Stegen to share Germany goalkeeping duties Andrew Smyth – Joachim Low has announced that he will select both goalkeepers Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen for Germany during this month’s international break.

Missing players:

Bayern Munich: Neuer M.(leg injury).

Under question:

Bayern Munich: Alcantara(thigh injury), Fruchtl(ankle injury), Hummels (groin injury).

Hoffenheim: Akpoguma (injury), Demirbay (thigh injury), Kobel G. (illness).

Preview: Southampton – Tottenham

The Sunday action from the Premier League will finish off with a match between two teams that going into this round of games are in different, but equally precarious positions just outside the relegation and the Champions League spots, respectively.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

This season is turning out to be a nightmare for many of the Southampton faithful. The club finally gave in to ‘bigger money’ and let their best defender leave for Liverpool (Virgil van Dijk), and find themselves lacking on several fronts on the pitch: the team has not won once in their last ten PL games!

Tottenham are, together with Liverpool, the league’s in form outfit and have gained points on Chelsea and Manchester United in recent weeks as well as pulling five points clear of their eternal enemies Arsenal. If they are to further climb, they will need all three points here.

Son Heung-min has one explanation as to why the team are in great form – they’re striving to be like Harry Kane! He recently said: “I want more, like Harry Kane. He beats every record and I want to beat every record as well. I want to try to be a top player”.

Players to watch: Hurricane Kane needs no introduction. With 20 PL goals to his name already, Kane is aiming for yet another top scorer title.Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We 上海夜网need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

With Charlie Austin still out injured, Southampton fans will hope that Shane Long can rediscover his goalscoring form – and fast. Besides Austin, no Southampton player has more than three goals this season!

Stat attack: Since 2012, Tottenham have won four out of five games at St. Mary’s, scoring two goals or more on each of the five (one draw). In total, Southampton have only won one of the last ten head to head matches.

1-2? Tottenham average precisely 2.0 goals scored per game this season, Southampton precisely 1.0.

Missing players

Southampton: C. Austin (thigh injury), M. Yoshida (thigh injury)

Tottenham: T. Alderweireld (thigh injury), D. Rose (knee injury), H. Lloris (doubtful), H. Winks (doubtful).

Preview: RB Leipzig – Hamburger SV

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Hamburger will definitely look for the win, in order to have a good start under their new manager, Bernd Hollerbach.

RB Leipzig have been highly-inconsistent since the start of the new season, falling short of the high expectations they set up last year. Their disappointing 2-1 loss to Freiburg last weekend simply came to show the problems in the team, who have won just one out of their last six Bundesliga games ( W1, D2, L3 ).

Hamburger, however, are not in a bright spot either. They are deep in the relegation zone with just 15 points after 19 games. They have lost their last four Bundesliga games.

Hamburger’s last win came in November. Only bottom-placed Cologne have lost more league games than Hamburg so far (12).

Players to watch: Timo Werner has scored three goals in the last three games between the two sides. Will he be able to add more ?Four-goal hero Gnabry’s father banned him from joining Bayern Andrew Smyth – Bayern Munich’s four-goal hero Serge Gnabry revealed that his own father initially banned him from signing up for the club as a 10-year-old.

Missing players:

Hamburger: Ekdal A. (上海夜生活论坛ankle injury), Muller N.(knee injury).

Under question:

RB Leipzig: Coltorti F.(Muscle Injury), Forsberg E.(Injury), Halstenberg M.(Hand Injury), Keita N.(Thigh Injury).

Hamburger: Hunt A.(Injury), Thoelke B.(Injury).

Zidane annoyed by Kepa’s situation

Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid head coach, spoke about his side’s failed transfer talks with Kepa Arrizabalaga as the young Spaniard decided to sign a new contract with Athletic Bilbao instead of moving to Madrid.

The Frenchman coach said that he is “annoyed” by the rumours saying that he won some kind of an internal battle and he decided not to sign this young and talented keeper. Arrizabalaga admitted that he was annoyed as well by the long negotiations and he decided to sign a new deal with his current club which will end in 2025.上海夜生活

The French coach spoke about this transfer saga as he said, according to ESPN: “In June any player can come to Madrid, if the club’s strategy is to change something, along with the coach. But my idea and that of the club too as we are all together here was to not change many things. I get annoyed when I hear comments saying I have won [an internal battle]. The important thing for me is to protect my squad, the players here are those who concern me. But I have nothing against Kepa or any other player.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He continued by adding that Ronaldo’s reaction after his facial injury was understandable: “Cristiano wanted to know whether the cut was very deep or not. I am saying exactly what he told us in the dressing room. The doctors stitched it up and today he was back. If he is training with us, with his eye like this [swollen] it shows how important it is for him to be on the pitch.”

In the end, Zinedine Zidane claimed that he is happy that he can rely on Isco: “Isco will always have an important role here, whether I am coach or not. I have always shown my confidence in him, he can be a decisive player. That will not change. He did not get any time [before Christmas] against Barcelona, although that was not the plan. Isco can play in many positions, in a 4-3-3 he can play up front, as he has done before, or in midfield. So there is no problem.”

Pep adamant City are not fatigued

The Citizens show no signs of slowing上海夜生活 down and their manager is confident that fatigue will not be an issue within his squad.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes that exhaustion will not be a problem that will affect the performance of his high-flying squad.

The Blues from Manchester are 13 points clear on top of the English top-flight, winning 18 out of 19 games this season, while scoring 60 and conceding just 12. However, a lot of people believe that the high-energy style of Guardiola might prove to be a problem over the festive period in England, but the Catalan has little to no worries about that.

“Fatigue, I don’t think so. It may happen but we’ve a good enough squad,” Pep was quoted by UK newspapers.Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

“Gabriel [Jesus] didn’t play against Bournemouth – he played 120 minutes against Leicester and he’s the biggest fighter in high pressing I’ve seen in my life. He helps us a lot with our intensity.

“Danilo, Bernardo [Silva], [Ilkay] Gundogan all helped us against Bournemouth. We have Yaya [Toure]. Last game, [Oleksandr] Zinchenko was man of the match and he was not in the squad against Bournemouth.

“Of course we will rotate in this period. We have a game every four days. Everyone that has played in the past is going to play in the future.”

Howe: “The key period is about to begin now”

Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth coach, knows very well that his team are about to enter the key period of the whole season as his Bournemouth are about to play a lot of matches in the upcoming weeks.

It was clear that Bournemouth were not about to gain something from their last match against Manchester City and Eddie Howe admitted that he was focusing more on the upcoming period that on that particular match. The Cherries were beaten 4-0 by the Premier League leaders and they were clearly the worse side for the majority of the fixture so this loss was deserved.

The talented British coach spoke about the upcoming series of matches as he said, according to Sky Sports: “Those games will take on even more significance. We came here trying to get something but we knew it would have been incredibly difficult and we have to look at these games [against United, Liverpo上海夜生活论坛ol and City] as one-offs because of the quality of opposition we were playing. We had an incredibly tough run but my hope is the players have come through it okay and we’re ready to go into an important spell for us.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that his side did well in the match against City: “I thought we did okay. It was a huge task for us today, not just the team we were facing but also the injuries we’ve got. We were okay in the game until we conceded the first goal, which was our own doing, and it was hugely frustrating with the game plan we had. From then on it is difficult.”

In the end, Howe admitted that the second goal meant that the match was over: “The second goal is the killer for us. We still had a go to try to chase it and then opened ourselves up to concede a couple more. I’ve not spoken to [Stanislas] but I think it’s his hamstring feeling tight. We had a patched up team anyway and to lose another important player for us made it very difficult. It was a difficult afternoon.”

Bernardo Silva comfortable with City rotations

The Portugal international is not a regular starter at the Etihad Stadium, but insists he enjoys life in England.

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is adamant he has no issues with the constant rotations at the Citizens. The 23-year-old joined Pep Guardiola’s team in the summer transfer window from AS Monaco in a £43.5m move.

Even though City paid a serious amount for his services, the Portuguese has not been part of the starting XI on a regular basis, mostly appearing as a substitute. Silva has started only five Premier League games so far, but insists he is happy to be involved with the Citizens squad and their project.

“It’s fantastic to be part of this group, and to be part of a team that wins so many games in a row and has been so successful so上海夜生活论坛 far.“ the 23-year-old told ESPN Brasil.Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

“The atmosphere in this club at the moment is fantastic, and like I said, it’s great to be part of this team.”

“We still have a game before the New Year, so we still have a game on the 31st against Crystal Palace. ” he added.

“Of course that’s a good difference. But in football everything is possible, we have to keep winning to keep the distance and not give a chance for our rivals to approach.” Silva concluded, urging his team-mates to not relax.

Clattenburg talks about Premier League leave

The 42-year-old revealed what caused him to quit his job in England and go through a change of scenery.

Mark Clattenburg insists he made up his mind to give up on being a referee in England following a game between Stoke City and Manchester United. After the final whistle, the Red Devils’ boss went to the officials’ dressing room and questioned Clattenburg’s penalty decision, which got to the Englishman.

The 42-year-old referee is now working as head for refereeing at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation after a 13-year spell in England.

While on the Men in Blazers podcast, Clattenburg spoke about his decision to leave the Premier League and start over somewhere else.

“I was refereeing the game when Wayne Rooney broke Bobby Charlton’s record and Mourinho came into my dressing room and he was unhappy about a handball penalty that I didn’t give.Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

“I’d walked off that pitch at Stoke, which was always the coldest stadium, it was always wet and miserable, and refereeing Man United was never an easy match.

“To come off that match it felt immense that I’d actuall上海夜网y had a good performance, and for him to come into my dressing room and criticise my performance for a handball that I’d seen, that had clearly come off his chest, I knew that I was right but he’d put a seed of doubt into my mind.

“I drove home 250 miles thinking I’d made a big error, my wife knew my attitude had changed, and I thought to myself, ‘Do I really want to be a part of this anymore? Do I really want to referee?’

“And I went soul-searching, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to and I had to get out.”

Lingard wants to make sure that Manchester will be red

The Manchester United youngster, Jesse Lingard, tried to boost the confidence of his side before the upcoming derby clash against Manchester City by saying that the city has to be red after that fixture.

The young winger insisted that he can’t see any reason why his Red Devils can’t beat the league leaders at home and start chasing them – the Citizens are now eight points ahead of their rivals but the title race is still far from being over. Jesse Lingard seems to be highly motivated for that clash and he wants to do his best to help his side in their effo上海夜生活rt to minimize the deficit in the Premier League table.

The Englishman spoke about the upcoming game as he said, according to Goal: “I am confident. It’s two great teams going out there and you don’t know what the game is going to be like. It might be a battle; it might not be pretty. But if we come out on top, it’s always good for the city of Manchester. We need to make sure that Manchester is red at the end of the day. Like us, they have lots of big players.”Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

He added that Manchester City are very strong and he pointed out two specific key players: “When [Kevin] De Bruyne’s on the ball, he’s always got that eye for a killer pass that can put a player one-on-one with the keeper, and Raheem Sterling’s been popping up with the late goals.”

In the end, Jesse Lingard claimed that he will forget his friendships with the opposition players for these 90 minutes: “You know quite a lot of them [City’s Academy players] growing up, and through the England set-up as well. I’m good friends with Raheem [Sterling] off the pitch. But when you’re on the pitch, there are no friends and we’re there to do a job and win the game.”