Investors ploughed $23.9 billion into stocks this week, bringing cumulative four-week inflows to their strongest ever level, BAML strategists said, citing EPFR data.
The record inflow to stocks reflected investors’ overwhelmingly optimistic view on equities as global indices continued to crank out new records, driving them to add risk and wary of being left out of the final leg of the bull run.
“Happy new ‘Fear of Missing Out’”, BAML strategists quipped.
The funding plan heading toward a House vote as soon as Thursday would keep the government operating through Feb. 16. But after that, Congress will need to confront deep-seated differences to agree on new budget limits, immigration legislation and raising the federal debt ceiling.Democrats are demanding protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children as part of a spending bill. Trump decided in September to end an Obama-era initiative that shielded them from deportation, effective in March. The U.S. counts 690,000 people currently enrolled in the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
“The American people elected us to fund defense and hold the line on non-defense spending," said Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus. “We had a little difference in opinion on a lot of things with our leadership’s decisions last month.”
Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania who is chairman of an appropriations subcommittee, said some of his GOP colleagues need to “grow up” and recognize that a 60-vote threshold for passage of most legislation in the Senate forces compromise from a majority party that holds just 51 seats.
“Leadership has no choice but to reach a deal,” Dent said. “We need a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. We’re going to raise defense spending, the price is going to be that non-defense goes up as well.”
“There is going to be a significant unloading,” particularly of Treasuries, said Reuven Avi-Yonah, a professor who specializes in corporate and international taxation at the University of Michigan Law School. “The general consensus is that the best use of the funds is to distribute it out to shareholders.”Click here to download a pdf of this article, Missile.pdf
Here's a look at the four key obstacles lawmakers face in their efforts to forge a deal by Friday.
Lawmakers are currently faced with tight budget caps, agreed to in 2011, that limit how much they can spend for the rest of fiscal year 2018 and beyond.
The partisan debate over how to deal with the Dreamers — the 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — grew more acrimonious last week after President Trump allegedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and other African nations "s__hole countries" and suggested the U.S. should instead encourage more immigration from Norway, a predominately white country.
As if the negotiations weren't fraught enough, there are also sharp disagreements over a disaster aid package for Texas, Florida and other places devastated by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
The least controversial part of the negotiations: funding for community health centers and a children's health insurance program called CHIP.
“China’s economic expansion has been beating expectations since the second half of last year, boosting demand for all kinds of commodities,” Guo Chaohui, an analyst with Beijing-based China International Capital Corp., said by phone. “We are expecting continued strength in economic growth in 2018 which will keep up the nation’s import appetite.”Click here to download a pdf of this article, Missile.pdf
"The mainland will surely act to make sure Taiwan and the U.S. pay the price for their high-level exchanges," said a Wednesday op-ed published by The Global Times, a nationalistic arm of the Communist Party media apparatus.
"Beijing's diplomatic retaliations toward Washington will come from all sides," it continued. "This will multiply exponentially the costs for the U.S, of handling global affairs and make the country profoundly realize that the Taiwan question is the Chinese mainland's bottom line that it cannot afford to touch."Click here to download a pdf of this article, Missile.pdf
The market for U.S. government bonds is becoming less attractive relative to other assets, and trade tensions with the U.S. may provide a reason to slow or stop buying American debt, the thinking of these officials goes, according to the people, who asked not to be named as they’re not allowed to discuss the matter publicly. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange didn’t immediately reply to a fax seeking comment on the matter.Click here to download a pdf of this article, Missile.pdf
New data from Mexico's auto industry show the country exported 2.33 million vehicles to the U.S in 2017, an increase of 9.4 percent. In addition, 75 percent of the vehicles exported from Mexico wound up being sold in the U.S., far outpacing the next most popular destination, Canada, which received just more than 8 percent of the vehicles shipped out of Mexico.Click here to download a pdf of this article, Missile.pdf
The government has been running on autopilot since the fiscal year began Oct. 1, relying on a series of short-term measures that have kept the government running at last year’s funding levels. The tangle of other issues and the looming deadline makes yet another stopgap bill almost inevitable.
A key test will be whether Democrats and Republicans can agree to add other items to the new stopgap, including a two-year agreement to raise budget caps, changes to immigration laws, funding for natural disasters, and health-care law revisions. Unlike the tax cuts enacted by the GOP in December, Republicans will need votes from Democrats, and significant differences remain in each area, particularly immigration.
Like the retail version of the movie Groundhog Day, Sears Holdings is starting out 2018 the same way it started out 2017. Four days into the new year, Sears just announced the closing of 103 stores. Last year on this date it announced 150 store closings.Click here to download a pdf of this article, Missile.pdf
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