Bannon could reportedly help to sway Trump on key House GOP tax proposal

House Speaker Paul Ryan has found top White House advisor Steve Bannon receptive to a border adjustment tax, a key piece of his tax reform plan that has faced opposition in the Senate, according to Bloomberg. Disputes over the provision, among other pieces of the House plan, threaten to slow Republicans’ efforts to change the American tax system this year. Continue reading “Bannon could reportedly help to sway Trump on key House GOP tax proposal”

Number of distressed U.S. retailers at highest level since Great Recession

Moody’s says 14% of its retail names are sitting at the lowest level of the credit-rating spectrum. The number of U.S. retailers ranked at the most-distressed level of the credit-rating spectrum has more than tripled since the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and is heading toward record levels in the next five years. Continue reading “Number of distressed U.S. retailers at highest level since Great Recession”

Target has terrible holiday and warns of awful 2017

Target missed the bullseye badly during the holidays, reporting earnings that were below forecasts. And the company’s outlook for this year was much worse than expected, sending the stock down 13% in early trading. Shares are down 20% this year. The terrible numbers from Target are just another sign of how tough it is for traditional retailers to compete against the online juggernaut that is Amazon. Continue reading “Target has terrible holiday and warns of awful 2017”

Trump’s budget entails steep cuts for diplomacy, foreign aid

U.S. officials say the Trump administration is proposing deep cuts in spending for diplomacy and foreign aid programs to help pay for increased military spending. Officials familiar with the proposal say it calls for slashing 37 percent of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development budgets. Development assistance would take the biggest hit. Continue reading “Trump’s budget entails steep cuts for diplomacy, foreign aid”

Trump’s goal of 3 percent economic growth is somewhat unrealistic, Cramer says

President Donald Trump’s goal of 3 percent economic growth is somewhat unrealistic, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said on Tuesday. In an interview with Fox & Friends that aired Tuesday morning, Trump said part of the money for a proposed increase in military spending would come from a revved-up economy. “If I can get that up to 3 percent or maybe more, we have a whole different ball game,” he said. Continue reading “Trump’s goal of 3 percent economic growth is somewhat unrealistic, Cramer says”

Top GOP senator: It will be ‘difficult’ to get key House tax proposal through Congress

A key Republican senator signaled Tuesday that Republicans have much more to hash out before they can pass tax reform this year. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah told CNBC that a tax system overhaul could prove “very difficult” due to Democrats’ reluctance to cooperate on a bill. In addition, Hatch and other senators have signaled they may not back border adjustment, a key provision of the House GOP tax plan that could trip up Republicans’ efforts to pass significant reform this year. Continue reading “Top GOP senator: It will be ‘difficult’ to get key House tax proposal through Congress”

Trump’s impossible task when it comes to the budget and tax cuts

President Donald Trump’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress Tuesday night will be a de facto State of the Union address where he will discuss his specific budget and tax plans for this year and beyond. And from what we know about those plans already, the key components of that plan will be increases in defense and infrastructure spending, tax cuts, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and paying for all of that with significant spending cuts to other federal agencies and programs. Continue reading “Trump’s impossible task when it comes to the budget and tax cuts”

Trump’s pledge to cut health-care costs won’t come cheap

Though short on details, President Donald Trump redoubled his commitment Tuesday night to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. In a speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump vowed to “decisively to protect all Americans.” from a “broken” health-care system. “The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance,” Trump said to sustained applause. Continue reading “Trump’s pledge to cut health-care costs won’t come cheap”

Trump’s budget plan has billions for border, cuts elsewhere

President Donald Trump wants billions of dollars to start building a wall at the Mexican border and fund efforts to find, jail and deport immigrants in the country illegally, according to White House budget documents The Associated Press obtained on Tuesday. The Office and Management and Budget’s financial outline for the Department of Homeland Security also calls on the Coast Guard to scrap the agency’s counterterrorism Maritime Security Response Team, and all of its Maritime Safety and Security Teams. Continue reading “Trump’s budget plan has billions for border, cuts elsewhere”

Trump Pinning Hopes on Economic Growth to Avoid Budget Cuts

President Trump suggested on Tuesday that a revved-up economy could generate enough additional tax revenue to pay for his proposed $54 billion military buildup, relieving pressure on him to cut Social Security. The White House had said Monday that the extra money for the Defense Department would be offset dollar-for-dollar with cuts elsewhere in the government. Continue reading “Trump Pinning Hopes on Economic Growth to Avoid Budget Cuts”

Commerce Department said the goods trade deficit jumped 7.6 percent to $69.2 billion in January

Inventories at wholesalers fell 0.1 percent last month, while stocks at retailers increased 0.8 percent. However, retail inventories excluding automobiles, which go into the GDP calculation, were unchanged after increasing 0.3 percent in December. Economists said the wider goods deficit and weak inventories posed a downside risk to first-quarter GDP growth estimates, which are currently around a 2 percent rate. Continue reading “Commerce Department said the goods trade deficit jumped 7.6 percent to $69.2 billion in January”

U.S. economy slowed in fourth quarter despite robust consumer spending

The U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace in the fourth quarter, as previously reported. Trump has pledged to boost annual economic growth to 4 percent through a mix of infrastructure spending, sweeping tax cuts and deregulation. He is expected to outline part of his program in a speech to Congress on Tuesday night. Continue reading “U.S. economy slowed in fourth quarter despite robust consumer spending”

Trump mulling immigration bill with pathway to legal status: CNN

President Donald Trump is considering introducing legislation to provide a pathway to legal status, but not immediately to citizenship, for illegal immigrants in the United States, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing a senior White House official. CNN said the president thinks a comprehensive immigration bill that would allow illegal immigrants to hold a job and require them to pay taxes has a chance of clearing Congress, and it said Trump may refer to the idea of legislation in a speech on Tuesday night.

Trump administration has found only $20 mln in existing funds for wall

President Donald Trump’spromise to use existing funds to begin immediate construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has hit a financial roadblock, according to a document seen by Reuters. The rapid start of construction promised throughout Trump’s campaign and in an executive order issued in January on border security, was to be financed, according to the White House,with “existing funds and resources” of the Department of Homeland Security. Continue reading “Trump administration has found only $20 mln in existing funds for wall”

Trump’s immigration mixed message draws skepticism

President Donald Trump surprised congressional leaders when he suddenly suggested he was open to broad immigration reform. But while there is appetite on Capitol Hill for legislation, there is also skepticism, and the president’s hard-line rhetoric over the past two years could make a compromise bill much harder. Trump signaled a potential shift on Tuesday in a private meeting with news anchors. Continue reading “Trump’s immigration mixed message draws skepticism”

China bankruptcy cases surge as economy slows

Bankruptcy cases surged in China last year, indicating growing economic stress as well as progress in the ruling Communist party’s efforts to use the country’s courts to deal with indebted “zombie” companies and reduce industrial overcapacity. Chinese courts accepted 5,665 bankruptcy cases in 2016, an increase of 54 per cent from the year before, the country’s top court said on Friday. Continue reading “China bankruptcy cases surge as economy slows”

Trump proposes defense spending boost, $54 billion in cuts to ‘most federal agencies’

President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal will look to increase defense and security spending by $54 billion and cut roughly the same amount from non-defense programs, the White House said Monday. The budget blueprint, which was sent to government agencies Monday, would increase defense spending to $603 billion and decrease non-defense discretionary spending to $462 billion, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said. Continue reading “Trump proposes defense spending boost, $54 billion in cuts to ‘most federal agencies’”

Trump pledges to spend ‘big’ on infrastructure

President Donald Trump on Monday pledged “big” infrastructure spending, putting focus on a key campaign proposal that has taken a back seat in the first month of his administration. Speaking to a group of governors at the White House, Trump said he will make a “big statement” about fixing roads and bridges in his Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress. Continue reading “Trump pledges to spend ‘big’ on infrastructure”

Starsky Robotics sees ‘last mile’ solution for driverless trucks

California-based Starsky Robotics said on Tuesday it has a solution to on- and off-highway deliveries by self-driving trucks, including the “last mile” issue for how a driverless vehicle will deliver cargo at its final destination. In an interview, Starsky founder and Chief Executive Stefan Seltz-Axmacher said the company’s goal is to employ robotics, sensors and software to “make trucks completely driverless.” Continue reading “Starsky Robotics sees ‘last mile’ solution for driverless trucks”

Dow hits 12th record high close; Trump talks up infrastructure spending

U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Monday and the Dow closed at a record high for a 12th straight session, as President Donald Trump said he would make a “big” infrastructure statement on Tuesday. The Dow’s streak of record-high closes matches a 12-day run in 1987, with Boeing and UnitedHealth among the biggest boosts for the Dow on Monday. Continue reading “Dow hits 12th record high close; Trump talks up infrastructure spending”

Made in China’ isn’t so cheap anymore, and that could spell headache for Beijing

Turns out that “made in China” is not so cheap anymore as labor costs have risen rapidly in the country’s vast manufacturing sector. Chinese factory workers are now getting paid more than ever: Average hourly wages hit $3.60 last year, spiking 64 percent from 2011, according to market research firm Euromonitor. Continue reading “Made in China’ isn’t so cheap anymore, and that could spell headache for Beijing”

No debt relief for Greece, Germany’s deputy finance minister says

Greece must not be granted a “bail-in” that would involve creditors taking a loss on their loans, Germany’s deputy finance minister said in an interview broadcast on Sunday, reiterating the German government’s opposition to debt relief for Athens. “There must not be a bail-in,” Jens Spahn told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, according to a written transcript of the interview. Continue reading “No debt relief for Greece, Germany’s deputy finance minister says”

Funds prepare $2 billion oil market play as supply tightens

Passive investment funds are poised to shift an estimated $2 billion from far-term to near-term crude futures over the next week, anticipating an energy market rally as a historic OPEC output cut slashes supply. The switch may foreshadow the end of a global oil glut that built up during a two-year price war. An S&P bulletin late Friday confirmed the rule had been triggered for Brent contracts. Continue reading “Funds prepare $2 billion oil market play as supply tightens”

Trump administration re-evaluating self-driving car guidance

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said on Sunday she was reviewing self-driving vehicle guidance issued by the Obama administration and urged companies to explain the benefits of automated vehicles to a skeptical public. The guidelines, which were issued in September, call on automakers to voluntarily submit details of self-driving vehicle systems to regulators in a 15-point “safety assessment” and urge states to defer to the federal government on most vehicle regulations. Continue reading “Trump administration re-evaluating self-driving car guidance”

Wal-Mart launches new front in U.S. price war, targets Aldi in grocery aisle

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is running a new price-comparison test in at least 1,200 U.S. stores and squeezing packaged goods suppliers in a bid to close a pricing gap with German-based discount grocery chain Aldi ALDIEI.UL and other U.S. rivals like Kroger Co, according to four sources familiar with the moves. Continue reading “Wal-Mart launches new front in U.S. price war, targets Aldi in grocery aisle”

When selling starts in markets, it’ll trigger an ‘avalanche’, Marc Faber says

The man often hailed as the original ‘Dr. Doom’ is warning investors that the U.S. stock market is vulnerable to a seismic sell-off—one that could start any time in a very unassuming way. Marc Faber, predicted the rally’s disruption won’t be caused by any single catalyst. His argument: Stocks are very overbought and sentiment is way too bullish for the so-called Trump rally to continue. Continue reading “When selling starts in markets, it’ll trigger an ‘avalanche’, Marc Faber says”

Your Car Insurance Rates Are Going Up Because Everyone Keeps Texting and Driving

American drivers are taking their eyes off the road more than ever before — and that danger behind the wheel is now going after your wallet. Since 2011, the average insurance premium has jumped 16 percent to $926. Insurance companies say the sharp spike is partly caused by more drivers distracted on their smartphones and getting into accidents. Continue reading “Your Car Insurance Rates Are Going Up Because Everyone Keeps Texting and Driving”

The US is working on a $1 trillion modernization of its submarines, bombers, ballistic and land-based missiles over the next 30 years

Current US nuclear forces consist of submarines that launch ballistic missiles, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, long-range bomber aircraft, shorter-range tactical aircraft, and the nuclear weapons that those delivery systems carry, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan research arm of Congress. Continue reading “The US is working on a $1 trillion modernization of its submarines, bombers, ballistic and land-based missiles over the next 30 years”

Trump’s call for US nuclear supremacy raises questions

President Donald Trump would like the US to be “at the top of the pack” when it comes to having nuclear weapons. The statement, in an interview with Reuters Thursday, left non-proliferation experts puzzled and concerned. The President said the US has “fallen behind on nuclear weapons capacity” and that, while he would like to see the lethal weapons abolished, as long as they exist “we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.” Continue reading “Trump’s call for US nuclear supremacy raises questions”

Buffett slams Wall Street ‘monkeys’, says hedge funds, advisors have cost clients $100 billion

Warren Buffett on Saturday devoted more than four pages of his 29-page annual shareholder letter to criticism of active managers on Wall Street, excoriating what he perceived as exorbitant fees they charge for returns that fail to live up to lofty assumptions. Meanwhile the legendary stock picker extolled the virtues of passive investing and its advantages for regular investors. Continue reading “Buffett slams Wall Street ‘monkeys’, says hedge funds, advisors have cost clients $100 billion”

Starbucks Brand Crashes After Announcement of Plan to Hire 10,000 Muslim ‘Refugees’

In response to President Donald Trump’s temporary travel moratorium in January. Starbucks was one of those early to criticize President Trump for putting a temporary hold on immigration from a list of seven terror-torn countries flagged by the Obama administration. In response, the coffee house giant pledged to hire 10,000 Muslim refugees over five years in protest against Trump’s order. Continue reading “Starbucks Brand Crashes After Announcement of Plan to Hire 10,000 Muslim ‘Refugees’”

Gundlach expects U.S. 10-year T-note yield to drop below 2.25 percent

Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive of DoubleLine Capital, said on Friday he expects the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note to drop below 2.25 percent as global investors seek safety. “There is a stealth flight to safety going on. German bond yields are leading the way down,” Gundlach said in emailed comments. Continue reading “Gundlach expects U.S. 10-year T-note yield to drop below 2.25 percent”

Greeks bridle against ‘never-ending’ austerity

I Won’t Pay movement have been turning routine eviction proceedings into the frontline in a popular fight-back against austerity. The protesters – noisy and feisty but non-violent when we saw them – turn out in force to block the progress of cases where banks seek to repossess houses where loans have fallen into arrears. Continue reading “Greeks bridle against ‘never-ending’ austerity”

White House briefing bar: Media groups condemn exclusion

Media groups have reacted angrily after several, including the BBC, were barred from an informal briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The excluded New York Times said the move was “an unmistakable insult to democratic ideals”. The bar came hours after President Donald Trump delivered another attack on the media, saying that “fake news” was the “enemy of the people”. Continue reading “White House briefing bar: Media groups condemn exclusion”

America’s battle with drugs: Fatal overdoses spike among white, middle-aged men

America appears to be losing its battle against drug addiction. The rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015, adjusted for age, was more than 2.5 times the rate in 1999, according to data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, due to a fall in the price of heroin and accessibility to prescription drugs, The rate of drug overdose deaths increased from 6.1 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 16.3 per 100,000 in 2015, an average rise of 5.5% a year, the government agency concluded. Continue reading “America’s battle with drugs: Fatal overdoses spike among white, middle-aged men”

Ivory Coast’s cocoa farmers face financial crisis

Ivory Coast is facing an unprecedented cocoa crisis and it is all down to the price. The international price has fallen sharply since the end of 2015, in part due to abundant supply and weak demand. Parts of the world like China and India haven’t caught up with Europe and North America in their love of chocolate as quickly as was expected. The price is down 40% from July last year. Continue reading “Ivory Coast’s cocoa farmers face financial crisis”

China overtakes US and France as Germany’s biggest trading partner

China for the first time became Germany’s most important trading partner in 2016, overtaking the United States, which fell back to third place behind France, data showed on Friday. German imports from and exports to China rose to 170 billion euros ($180 billion) last year, Federal Statistics Office figures reviewed by Reuters showed. Continue reading “China overtakes US and France as Germany’s biggest trading partner”

Meg Whitman: A border adjustment tax will not create US jobs

Republican businesswoman Meg Whitman told CNBC that she’s “very concerned” about a proposed border adjustment tax being discussed in Congress. “My view is that this does not create jobs,” Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Whitman told “Squawk on the Street” on Friday. “It actually lowers the number of jobs for many, many companies.” Continue reading “Meg Whitman: A border adjustment tax will not create US jobs”

Greece’s Tsipras: the era of austerity is over

Greece’s era of austerity is over, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras claimed Friday, as he painted a positive picture of the reforms his government has agreed to take after the bailout program ends in 2018. Speaking in parliament, Tsipras described the deal reached Monday as an “exceptional success” and said it showed the country’s creditors accepted Greece’s insistence that it could no longer bear further budget austerity. Continue reading “Greece’s Tsipras: the era of austerity is over”

Dakota Access oil pipeline could be operating within weeks

Oil could be flowing through the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline in less than two weeks, according to court documents filed by the developer just before police and soldiers started clearing a protest camp in North Dakota where pipeline opponents had gathered for the better part of a year. Energy Transfer Partners has finished drilling under Lake Oahe and will soon be laying pipe under the Missouri River reservoir, the Dallas-based company said. Continue reading “Dakota Access oil pipeline could be operating within weeks”

Royal Bank of Scotland has lost money for 9 straight years

Royal Bank of Scotland has lost money for nine consecutive years after it set aside another 4 billion pounds ($5 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2016 to cover the costs of misconduct during the financial crisis and targeted a return to profits in 2018. Taxpayer-owned RBS on Friday reported a fourth quarter net loss of 4.44 billion pounds, compared with a loss of 2.74 billion pounds in the same period a year earlier. Continue reading “Royal Bank of Scotland has lost money for 9 straight years”

Agency plans to award Mexico border wall contracts by April

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday that it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, signaling that he is aggressively pursuing plans to erect “a great wall” along the 2,000-mile border. The agency said it will request bids on or around March 6 and that companies would have to submit “concept papers” to design and build prototypes by March 10, according to FedBizOpps.gov, a website for federal contractors. Continue reading “Agency plans to award Mexico border wall contracts by April”

Mall REITs rocked by news of J.C. Penney store closures

Shares of real-estate investment trusts tied to malls fell sharply Friday, after J.C. Penney Co. became the latest retailer to announce plans to close stores, further shaking confidence in the sector at a time of slowing traffic. J.C. Penney said it will close 130 to 140 stores in the next few months, to “help align the company’s brick-and-mortar presence with its omnichannel network, thereby redirecting capital resources to invest in locations and initiatives that offer the greatest revenue potential.” Continue reading “Mall REITs rocked by news of J.C. Penney store closures”