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US stocks bounce back after trade war swoon

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Asian stocks edge up ahead of US growth data

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks bounced early Thursday, recovering some of the prior session’s declines that were stoked by trade war worries.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 24,840.58, up 0.6 percent. The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to 2,784.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.5 percent to 7,753.76. US stocks snapped a four-day winning streak on Wednesday after President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would push ahead with new tariffs on China, prompting a sharp response from Beijing.  But stocks pushed back higher again on Thursday, with some analysts pointing to a more conciliatory stance by Trump at a NATO summit in Brussels. Trump had on Wednesday lambasted Germany and other allies for not contributing enough funds for defense. But Trump said Thursday he supported NATO and claimed to win concessions for more funds from allies.

Among data releases, the annual measure of US consumer inflation stayed at a six-year high in June, the Labor Department reported. For the last 12 months the consumer price index, which tracks prices for household goods and services, was 2.9 percent higher, the same as in May which was the highest rate since February 2012. Software and services firm CA Technologies surged 17.9 percent after agreeing to be acquired by semiconductor giant Broadcom for $18.9 billion. Broadcom slumped 17.9 percent. Delta Air Lines gained 2.1 percent after reporting better-than-expected second quarter profits. However, the US carrier projected annual earnings between $5.35 to $5.70 per share, below the $5.74 expected by analysts. Delta cited the drag from higher fuel costs as a factor.

A relevant piece published earlier: 

The EU on Thursday slashed its growth forecast for the eurozone in 2018, warning that the rising trade tensions with the United States were hitting the economy.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the 19-country single currency bloc would expand by 2.1 percent in 2018, lower than the 2.3 percent forecast just weeks ago in early May. “Our forecast is for a continued expansion in 2018 and 2019, although a further escalation of protectionist measures is a clear downside risk,” said EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici in a statement. “Trade wars produce no winners, only casualties,” he added.

The commission added that the economy in the eurozone would expand by 2.0 percent in 2019, the same forecast as in May. The worry about the European economy stems from the ongoing trade dispute with the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has now threatened to impose tariffs on European auto imports, with German auto giants the intended target.

If confirmed, the policy would be one of the most aggressive transatlantic blows since the Great Depression and risks bitterly splitting the allies amid divisions over the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord. The threat by Trump comes after the mercurial leader already slapped 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on imports from Europe and other key allies.

“First and foremost, if trade tensions with the US were to escalate further, this could dampen confidence more permanently, … likely disrupting the current global (economic recovery),” the commission said in its forecast report. The commission also pointed to “political and policy uncertainty in a number of EU countries” as an important downside risk to the forecast, which included the fallout of stalled Brexit talks.

This also included heavily-indebted Italy, after a far-right/populist coalition formed a government on the promise to break EU budget and spending rules. The commission said higher oil prices, which have spiked partly due to growing tensions over Iran, were also a negative factor. (Published on 12th July 2018) 

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Improving ease of doing business

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Imran Khan on solution to poverty

ISLAMABAD: PM has today directed Board of Investment (BoI) chairman to present a comprehensive plan, listing all the issues in various sectors and their sub-sectors and how the processes could be streamlined to simplify procedures related to government approvals, addressing taxation issues, dispute resolution and facilitating investors/businesses. 
He said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on improving ease of doing business and creating an enabling environment to facilitate the conversion of interest of the local as well foreign investors into actual investments in the country. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif, federal secretaries and senior officials. 
BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif while briefing the prime minister about the steps taken so far said the Board would be serving as an agent of change for facilitating business transactions, removing impediments in the way to the materialization of investors’ interest into actual investments and smooth functioning of the businesses in the country. He also briefed about various issues being faced by the business community including taxation, access to finance, regulation and policy issues and red-tapism.
He said the BoI was also actively working with the provinces and relevant ministries for removing barriers in the way of establishing Special Economic Zones.  He said special efforts were being made to bridge the gap between private and public sector and to reach out to the private sector to revive their confidence in government policies and put in place a framework that facilitates business community in its business pursuits.  The BoI chairman also briefed about Naya Pakistan Diaspora Fund which was being set-up to promote SMEs and rural development in key areas of education, health, and infrastructure development.
He also apprised the prime minister of the investment framework which had been structured for attracting and materializing investment from UAE, KSA, China, Japan, and Malaysia.   It was decided during the meeting that the prime minister would chair a review meeting every month on ease of doing business in the country.

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KARACHI: Removal of encroachments

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KARACHI: The Anti-Encroachment Department of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) demolished more than 35 shops and other constructions in front of shops and footpaths with the help of heavy machinery in district West and Korangi on Tuesday.
Metropolitan Commissioner Dr. Syed Saif-ur-Rehman who is monitoring anti-encroachments drive in the city, said that footpaths are for pedestrians and no one can be allowed to block the footpaths by extending shops or putting stuff to create problems for citizens, said a statement. He said that the anti-encroachment drive was meant to bring improvement to the city and make it clean and beautiful.
Traders community have so far cooperated with the KMC in its action against encroachments and removed their stuff and an additional portion of their shops.
He said that the city roads, streets, and footpaths are widened after the removal of encroachments. Meanwhile, senior director anti-encroachments Bashir Siddiqui with his team took action in districts West and Korangi.
They removed the encroachments from different areas including Pak Colony in district West and Malir Saudabad in district Korangi where walls, shops, and other structures were demolished.

 

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Tokyo stocks close lower

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Tokyo stocks close down

TOKYO: Shares here closed lower today as uncertainty caused by factors including Brexit and trade tensions weighed on the market, wiping out early gains.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.34 percent or 71.48 points to 21,148.02 while the broader Topix index was down 0.91 percent or 14.50 points at 1,575.31. Tokyo shares opened higher, rebounding from sharp drops the previous day, with investors apparently relieved that Wall Street eked out gains after a volatile session.
“But sentiment worsened as investors remained cautious amid uncertain elements such as the postponement of Britain’s Brexit vote and the US-China trade war,” Daiwa Securities senior technical analyst Hikaru Sato told AFP. European stock markets and the pound slid Monday after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was delaying a parliamentary vote on her deal to leave the EU after conceding it would not win sufficient support.
“The market is concerned that the postponement uses up valuable time before the 29th March exit date, and the risk of a no-deal scenario is growing,” David de Garis, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank said in a commentary. The dollar slipped to 113.10 yen in late Asian trade from 113.35 yen in New York Monday afternoon. In individual stocks trade, SoftBank Group jumped 2.44 percent to 8,827 yen after announcing Monday it aims to raise over $23 billion by listing its Japanese mobile unit next week.
Nissan kept falling, down 3.10 percent at 915.7 yen after tumbling 2.90 percent on Monday as ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn was charged and faced new allegations of alleged financial misconduct. Prosecutors also charged Nissan for filing documents that allegedly understated Ghosn’s earnings. The Nikkei daily reported Tuesday that Nissan plans to book years of under-reported compensation paid to Ghosn as expenses in the year to March 2019 all at once, a move that could worsen the automaker’s balance sheet. Toyota lost 1.09 percent to 6,745 yen but Sony rose 0.72 percent to 5,735 yen.

 

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