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US stocks end higher; Macy’s leads retailers down

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US stocks end higher Macys leads retailers down

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks rose for a fifth straight session on Thursday, overcoming disappointing holiday sales from Macy’s and other retailers following a day of choppy trade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.5 percent at 24,000.76.

The broad-based S&P 500 also gained 0.5 percent to 2,596.59, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 percent to 6,986.07.

Stocks were pressured early after Macy’s cut its profit forecast following a disappointing holiday shopping season. Macy’s sank 17.7 percent and other retailers also fell.

After recovering, Wall Street again tumbled into negative territory after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told an afternoon Washington event that the Fed’s large securities holdings should be “substantially smaller” than the current level of just under $4 trillion.

But stocks again recovered after that, extending a rally spurred by dovish comments by Powell last Friday and prolonged by US-China talks that were seen as boosting the odds of a trade agreement.

Among retailers, Target fell 2.9 percent after it reported a 5.7 percent jump in comparable holiday sales but did not boost its profit forecasts.

Other retailers that fell included Best Buy, down 1.6 percent, Gap, down 3.1 percent and Williams-Sonoma, down 2.4 percent. Walmart gained 0.1 percent.

American Airlines shed 4.1 percent as it cut its profit forecast range and some other key financial projections following the key holiday travel season.

Ford fell 0.5 percent after announcing a major restructuring in Europe that will include job cuts and the phasing out of some car models that are not selling well.

 

 

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Dollar extends losses, Asia markets rally after Fed’s dovish tilt

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US Dollar

HONG KONG: The dollar extended losses and Asian markets enjoyed another day of gains Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated it could soon cut interest rates.

The softer slant from the US central bank provided more support to global investors, who were already in buoyant mood after Donald Trump flagged positive talks with China’s Xi Jinping and raised hopes of a trade deal between the economic giants.

After a much-anticipated meeting, Fed boss Jerome Powell said officials felt the case for a reduction had “strengthened”, citing the trade standoff with China and weak inflation, adding it would “act as appropriate” to support growth.

The bank also dropped the word “patient” in describing its assessment of economic data, fuelling speculation of a reduction as soon as July.

“The forward guidance from the Fed was no longer about being patient but being pragmatic,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management. “As inflation is taking longer to return to target and trade uncertainty is weighing on the global outlook, the Fed is singing a dovish tune.”

He added that Powell “walked a fine line, highlighting a level of confidence in the US economy, even as growth is expected to slow and vulnerabilities from global politics increase”, which was enough not to cause concern to traders.

Analysts at NAB bank said “the change in the Fed’s bias has encouraged the market to increase its expectations that a new round of easing is just around the corner”.

The news hit the dollar, which fell across the board on foreign exchanges with the South African rand 1.6 percent higher, Canada’s dollar rising one percent, South Korea’s won up 0.5 percent and the Indonesian rupiah 0.3 percent stronger.

It was even down against the euro, which has come under pressure since the European Central Bank hinted Tuesday at its own rate cuts, and the Brexit-battered pound.

 

 

 

 

 

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U.S. China trade tensions likely to disrupt global economy: Kenyan official

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Raphael Tuju

NAIROBI: The U.S.-initiated trade war against China is likely to disrupt the global trading system and economic growth, a Kenyan official said here Monday.

“The trade disputes between the world’s two biggest economies will affect Kenya negatively,” Raphael Tuju, Kenyan secretary general of the ruling Jubilee Party, said in an interview.

The United States has imposed a 25 percent tariff on 250 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Chinese imports in May and has threatened to impose additional tariffs on another 300 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports.

In addition, the United States has blacklisted a number of Chinese technology companies from doing business in the North American country.

Tuju said that China’s white paper titled “China’s Position on the China-U.S. Economic and Trade Consultations” is an important piece on public diplomacy, which will guide the trade talks between the two countries.

Kenya supports multilateralism because it is the future and the global community should promote it as much as possible, he added.

The former foreign affairs minister revealed that the world is truly interdependent, hence it needs to promote more trade and less barriers.

“I think there is some middle ground that ought to be investigated and negotiated to seek a permanent solution,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pakistan, WB sign $918 mln loan agreements to support revenue mobilization, higher education

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Hafeez Sheikh 1 1

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and World Bank (WB) Tuesday signed three loan agreements worth US$ 918 million to help support revenue mobilization and higher education development in the country.

The agreements were signed by Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Noor Ahmed on behalf of federal government, WB Country Director and World Bank, Patchamuthu Illangovan while the representatives of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signed their respective Project Agreements.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, witnessed the signing ceremony.

 

 

 

 

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