Monday, March 5, 2018
What to watch today
In the week ahead, investors will continue to grapple with the economic consequences of newly-imposed tariffs and potential retaliation from other U.S. trading partners, while also bracing for the month’s biggest economic report — the February jobs report.
Set for release on Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest reading employment in the U.S. is expected to show that 205,000 jobs were added to the economy in the second month of the year while Wall Street economists expect the unemployment rate fell to a new post-crisis low of 4%. This report will come a little less than two weeks before the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate decision, scheduled for March 21, which is expected to see the central bank raise interest rates by 0.25%.
White House: No exemptions from steel, aluminum tariffs: President Donald Trump’s administration appears unbowed by broad domestic and international criticism of his planned import tariffs on steel and aluminum, saying Sunday that the president is not planning on exempting any countries from the stiff duties. Trump’s announcement that he would impose tariffs of 25% and 10%, respectively, on imported steel and aluminum, roiled markets, rankled allies and raised prospects for a trade war. [AP]
IEA sees American energy dominance squeezing OPEC: The U.S. will dominate global oil markets for years to come, satisfying 80% of global demand growth to 2020 as the shale boom keeps the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries under pressure, the International Energy Agency said. OPEC is riding high right now, defying the skeptics by going deeper than their pledged cuts and maintaining them for long enough to deplete bloated oil inventories. [Bloomberg]
China keeps growth target at 6.5%: China aims to expand its economy by around 6.5% this year, the same as in 2017, while pressing ahead with its campaign to reduce risks in the financial system, Premier Li Keqiang said Monday. The goal was kept unchanged even though the economy grew 6.9% last year and exceeded the government’s target. [Reuters]
AXA buys XL for $15 billion in latest insurance mega-deal: France’s AXA moved to buy Bermuda-based XL Group for $15.3 billion on Monday to create what it said would be a world leader in property and casualty insurance. Europe’s second-biggest insurer offered $57.60 for each XL share, a 33% premium to Friday’s closing price, and said buying XL would result in property and casualty insurance rising to half of AXA’s earnings, from 39%. [Reuters]
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