Macro Briefing: 16 April 2018

Russia’s Putin: another Western strike on Syria risks global “chaos”: Reuters
US ambassador to UN: new Russia sanctions to be announced soon: CNN
Missile strikes on Syria could strengthen Trump’s hand in N. Korea talks: CNBC
Former FBI Director Comey says Trump unfit to lead nation: The Hill
Is a war brewing for Israel and Iran? NY Times
China and Japan agree that a trade war would hurt global economy: Reuters
Study finds asset managers still “very dependent” on consultants: Inst Inv
US Consumer Sentiment Index falls in April to 3-month low: MarketWatch
Job openings in US drop in Feb but still near record high: Bloomberg

Book Bits | 14 April 2018

Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?
By Robert Kuttner
Summary via publisher (W.W. Norton)
One of our leading social critics recounts capitalism’s finest hour, and shows us how we might achieve it once again. In the past few decades, the wages of most workers have stagnated, even as productivity increased. Social supports have been cut, while corporations have achieved record profits. Downward mobility has produced political backlash. What is going on? Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? argues that neither trade nor immigration nor technological change is responsible for the harm to workers’ prospects. According to Robert Kuttner, global capitalism is to blame. By limiting workers’ rights, liberating bankers, allowing corporations to evade taxation, and preventing nations from assuring economic security, raw capitalism strikes at the very foundation of a healthy democracy.
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How Long Will The Stock Market’s Momentum Party Last?

Is a death cross near? Yes, according to David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff. Citing a laundry list of reasons for this year’s revival in market volatility, he told CNBC this week that the S&P 500’s 50-day average may soon slip below its 200-day average – a so-called death cross that market technicians say would signal a bearish shift for the market outlook.
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Macro Briefing: 13 April 2018

Defense Secretary urges caution on possible military strike on Syrian: NY Times
Trump says US may rejoin Pacific trade pact: Reuters
Russian lawmakers propose ban on list of US imports: Reuters
US jobless claims drop by 9000, close to 45-year low: MarketWatch
Import price index for US was flat in March: MarketWatch
Weak foreign demand for Treasuries raises concerns on rate outlook: Bloomberg
Q1 earnings season starts on Friday with releases from banks: CNBC
IEA: OPEC’s plan to eliminate oil glut succeeds: Bloomberg
Eurozone industrial output fell for a third month in Feb: RTT
Pension crisis for state governments deepens: Pew Charitable Trusts
California to vote on breaking up into 3 states: Mercury News

Treasury Interest-Rate Spread Narrows To Lowest Level Since 2007

A widely followed measure of the Treasury yield curve has resumed its decline in recent days, dipping to its flattest level in more than a decade. The narrowing between long and short rates is generally considered a signal of weaker economic activity in the future. An inversion of the  curve – short rates above long rates – would be a warning that a new US recession was brewing.
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Macro Briefing: 12 April 2018

West considers Syria attack, which risks confrontation with Russia: Reuters
House Speaker to retire, scrambling GOP plans for mid-term elections: NY Times
Consumer inflation’s annual pace ticks up to one-year high: 2.4%: MarketWatch
Oil jumps to 3-year high on rising Mideast tensions: MarketWatch
Fed: trade-war risk outweighs inflation for setting monetary policy: Bloomberg
Facebook’s Zuckerberg faced tougher questions on 2nd day of testimony: c|net
All Fed policymakers say US economy is strengthening via FOMC minutes: Reuters
US federal deficit widened in first half of fiscal year: WSJ
CBO: US federal budget deficit on track to reach nearly 100% of GDP by 2028: CBO
Business inflation outlook edges up to 2.3% y-o-y, highest since 2011: Atlanta Fed

Is Facebook (And Tech) Having A Standard Oil Moment?

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg endured five hours of questions in the US Senate on Tuesday, at one point conceding what’s probably inevitable: tighter government oversight of social media in general and his firm in particular. “My position is not that there should be no regulation,” he said, trying to get in front of what appears to be a rising political tide of change. “I think the real question as the internet becomes more important in people’s lives is what is the right regulation.”
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Macro Briefing: 11 April 2018

Trump consider robust military strike against Syria: NY Times
Air traffic control agency warns of possible missile strikes into Syria: Reuters
Russia vetoes US resolution that condemns suspected gas attack in Syria: AP
Trump at crisis point with Mueller investigation: The Hill
China outlines plan for more foreign investment in its financial sector: Reuters
Facebook’s Zukerberg endures 5 hours of Congressional grilling: NY Times
Business groups band together to fight Trump’s trade tariffs: Bloomberg
Wholesale inflation in US increased more than expected in March: Reuters
US wholesale trade inventories surged 1% in Feb, a plus for Q1 GDP: MarketWatch
US small business optimism slips, but still close to record high: MarketWatch
US consumer watchdog agency forgoes enforcement actions under Trump: AP
Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate of US Q1 GDP growth slips to 2.0%: Atlanta Fed

Consumer Inflation Expected To Rise Further Over Fed’s 2% Target

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans has been one of the central bank’s doves and so it’s notable that he’s now talking like a hawk, at least on the margins. In a speech on Friday, he said the Fed’s goal of 2% inflation remains on track, which means that “continuing our slow, gradual increases will be appropriate to get us to the point where monetary policy isn’t really providing more lift to the economy.”
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Macro Briefing: 10 April 2018

Trump says US has “a lot of options militarily” for possible Syria strike: Politico
Trump lawyer Cohen under scrutiny for possible bank fraud: WaPo
China’s president discusses plans to further open country’s economy: CNBC
Investors react positive to China president’s economic speech: Bloomberg
GOP tax plan expected to raise growth and boost budget deficit: CNBC
Global debt reached an all-time high of $237 trillion in 2017: IIF
Iran warns that US will “regret” ditching nuclear deal: Reuters
New US sanctions threaten Russia’s ranking as a leading emerging market: FT
GOP tax cuts at federal level triggering wave of tax hikes in US states: Politico
US deficit expected to rise above $1 trillion in 2020: Bloomberg