Tariffs

The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

April 12, 2019

By Susan Mathew

(Reuters) – European shares finished higher for a third straight day on Friday, with investor sentiment getting a boost from JP Morgan setting a strong start to U.S. earnings and amid signs of stabilization in China’s economy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.16 percent, but ended the week lower after two weeks of gains. Banks and the auto sector were the biggest boosts to the benchmark on the day.

Italy’s MIB led gains in the region with its 0.8 percent rise, having hit an eight-month high earlier the session, while German shares closed up 0.5 percent.

Data showed that China’s exports rebounded to a five-month high in March, but imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a faster pace, painting a mixed picture of the economy.

“The markets seems to have shaken off the negative aspects of the Chinese trade data, but it’s a minor rise at the end of a fairly limp week,” said Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex.

Banks got a boost after shares of the largest U.S. bank by assets rose after the company beat quarterly profit estimates, easing fears that slowing economic growth could weigh on its results.

Regional lenders, such as StanChart, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse rallied, taking the European bank index up 1.9 percent to a five-month high.

HSBC was among the biggest driver of gains on the pan-region benchmark. The firm said it so far moved only a “tiny” number of jobs to Paris in order to deal with Brexit..

Italy’s biggest bank, UniCredit rose more than 4 percent even after it said is one of the banks accused of running a cartel in trading euro zone government bonds between 2007 and 2012, when financial crises dragged down banks and several European economies.

The auto sector followed suit with car-makers such BMW, Daimler and Fiat Chrysler gaining more than 2.2 percent each.

Amid warnings that proposed U.S. automotive tariffs could do more damage to global growth than the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute, BAML analysts point to a lack of action out of the U.S. on threatened auto tariffs.

“In our view, the reluctance to move forward is because actually imposing auto tariffs would be both deeply unpopular and a major shock to the equity markets.”

Basic resources stocks also gained with iron ore and copper prices on the rise. Rio Tinto and Glencore were among top boosts to Britain’s blue-chip index higher.

Airbus gained as its new chief executive, Guillaume Faury, imposed a simplified management structure and a manifesto for factory modernization.

GN Store Nord rose 7.8 percent after the Danish audio-maker raised financial guidance. Medical technology supplier Carl Zeiss climbed 6.6 percent on strong full-year guidance.

Swiss train and carriage manufacturer Stadler Rail jumped 13.4 percent after its debut on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

On the other hand, London-based online trading platform Plus500 tumbled 31.2 percent as revenue for the first quarter dropped to around a fifth of last year’s, hurt by a fall in trading volumes.

(This story has been refilled to correct country of index in paragraph 3 to say Italy’s MIB, not Spain’s MIB)

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)

Source: OANN

U.S. and EU flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels
U.S. and European Union flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Mike Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

April 12, 2019

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has drawn up a list of U.S. imports worth around 20 billion euros ($22.6 billion) that it could hit with tariffs over a transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute, EU diplomats said.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to impose tariffs on $11 billion worth of European Union products over what Washington sees as unfair subsidies given to European planemaker Airbus.

The EU measures would relate to the EU’s World Trade Organization complaint over subsidies to Boeing.

WTO arbitrators have yet to set final amounts of potential countermeasures in each case.

The Commission said earlier this week that it had begun preparatory work on countermeasures in the Boeing case.

It added then that it was open for discussions with the U.S., provided these were without preconditions and aimed at achieving a fair outcome.

EU diplomats said the Commission was expected to publish a list of products on April 17 and begin a process of public consultation, after which the list could then be adjusted.

The final amount decided by the WTO arbitrator could also be lower. The EU had also initially requested that the WTO authorize countermeasures of $12 billion. The arbitrator’s decision may not come before March 2020.

The U.S. and Europe have been locked in dispute over mutual claims of illegal aid to their respective plane giants. The case has been grinding through the WTO for almost 15 years, yielding partial victories for both sides.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robin Emmott and Mike Harrison)

Source: OANN

The last time a Democrat won an open Senate seat in Arizona, he was helped along by a GOP candidate who never recovered from a campaign misstep in which he “shot a burro in the ass,” as the winning candidate’s campaign manager memorably put it recently. That candidate, Dennis DeConcini, was last elected in 1988. He retired after that term.

So how will liberal activists reward Kyrsten Sinema for becoming the first Democratic senator from Arizona since DeConcini? If Fight for the Future, a net neutrality pressure group, has its way, thanks will come in the form of a giant billboard “at one of the busiest intersections in Phoenix” calling Sinema “corrupt” and in the pocket of “corporate donors.” Her infraction is to be the only Democrat not to sign on to a net neutrality bill and instead to work with Republicans to craft a bipartisan bill that stands a chance of passing.

In this political climate, bipartisan cooperation is an unforgivable sin, and Sinema is repeatedly guilty of it.

Arizona has a new maverick.

Sinema, 42, has a compelling personal story that’s unique in one way: It informs her centrism, rather than serving as a platform for radicalism. By the time Sinema was 5, her middle-class Tuscon family was fracturing, her father mired in debt. He and her mother divorced, and Sinema was put into poverty. For a time, her Florida home was an old, remodeled gas station. “She’s a survivor,” former Democratic caucus Vice Chairman Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., said in 2015. “I think she’s smart about how she does it. I think a lot of people underestimate her.” The comment rings prophetic; in 2018, Crowley lost his own reelection bid against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the phenom freshman. In the same year, Sinema turned one of Arizona’s Senate seats blue for the first time in three decades.

[ Related: Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have one thing they agree on: They hate each other]

During that winning campaign, she emphasized her credibility as a independent Democrat rather than a party hack. Asked by an Arizona radio station if she considered herself a “proud Democrat,” she responded: “Gosh, it’s hard to say proud. I don’t know that — I’m not sure that people are even proud of parties anymore, because I feel like the parties are not doing a good job. So I would say that I’m a proud Arizonan. That’s something I’m very proud of. And I’m proud of the work that I have done in Washington, D.C., and the work I’ve done in the state Senate and the statehouse before going to Congress. But I’m not particularly proud of the parties.”

Sinema was, according to the Arizona Republic, one of two members of the state’s Democratic House delegation who “sided with President Donald Trump’s agenda more in the past three months than most Republicans in the state’s House delegation.” But those three months weren’t much of an outlier for Sinema. In 2015, she opposed President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. She didn’t buy into the aggressive selling point that the only alternative to it was war. “I think it’s hyperbole and I think it’s not necessarily true,” Sinema told the Huffington Post. “It’s possible that if the deal didn’t go through, war could be one option and it could become more likely. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have options in front of us. I’m frustrated by these false dichotomies.”

Sinema also is a dissenter from left-wing orthodoxy on big banks. When, as senator-elect, she was given a spot on the Senate Banking Committee, the Washington Examiner wrote, “Sinema was long a friend of big banks in the House, and the committee appointment represents the return on a well-made investment. … During her Senate race against Republican Rep. Martha McSally, Sinema was in the top 20 of recipients of campaign contributions from both the banking and the finance sectors.Washington Examiner Commentary Editor Timothy P. Carney explained: “Sinema fought for the realtors and against Arizona’s taxpayers (disdain for whom she has repeatedly shown). Those efforts may explain why the realtors have spent $34,000 on ads supporting her Senate bid — the most they’ve spent on any Senate race this fall. In the House, one of Sinema’s core crusades was saving and expanding the Export-Import Bank. … Ex-Im is a corporate welfare agency that extends taxpayer-backed financing to foreign buyers of U.S. goods.”

[ Also read: Sinema forging paid leave plan deal with GOP]

And then there’s the issue that’s always a touchstone for Arizonans, immigration. In the House, Sinema had voted for legislation that would impose stiffer penalties on undocumented immigrants who reenter after being deported, as well as forcing immigrants who seek a healthcare tax credit to verify their status with the government first. Sinema took a harder line on asylum-seekers and, in October, backed Trump’s call to station more military personnel on the border with Mexico.

One advantage, according to Democratic campaign strategist Brad Todd, is that “she has been everything from a socialist anti-war protester to a vote against Nancy Pelosi, depending on what advanced her most in the moment.” Todd told the Washington Examiner that this worked especially well in 2018 because “Arizona’s Democratic talent bench was short and its base desperate for victory.”

Her Senate victory over McSally, who was later appointed to fill the seat of the original “maverick,” the late Republican Sen. John McCain, seemed only to reinforce her independent streak. In addition to her net neutrality sacrilege, Sinema is joining Republican colleagues to address paid family leave. According to Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is leading the effort, Sinema was the first to cross the aisle on it, making it “the first bill that is bipartisan” on the issue. The plan, Cassidy told the Washington Examiner in early April, is likely to involve Social Security, perhaps allowing people to take benefits earlier to pay for family leave in return for delaying retirement.

Sinema signed on to an effort led by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to get the Commerce Department to release a classified report on auto tariffs and national security. She took heat from pro-abortion groups for supporting one of Trump’s judges, Arizona District Court nominee Michael Liburdi, in February. She was also one of only three Democrats to back the confirmation of Attorney General William Barr. She defended her vote in a statement: “As Arizona’s senior Senator, I will evaluate every presidential nominee based on whether he or she is professionally qualified, believes in the mission of his or her agency, and can be trusted to faithfully execute and uphold the law as it exists. After meeting with Mr. Barr and thoughtfully considering his nomination, I believe Mr. Barr meets this criteria.”

Perhaps most significant, however, was Sinema’s reaction to the controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Omar is one of the members of the “Squad,” most notably the freshman trio of Omar, Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ocasio-Cortez, who has turned her social media fame and grassroots devotion into an ability to set congressional Democrats’ priorities. An example is her climate boondoggle, the Green New Deal. It’s opposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but that didn’t stop Democratic presidential hopefuls from signing on to it. This tension really came to a head over Israel, however.

Omar has repeatedly accused American Jews of dual loyalty. On one occasion, she claimed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, was paying off politicians to put Israel’s welfare before America’s. Tlaib had made similar dual-loyalty insinuations. Ocasio-Cortez stood by her colleagues, and when Pelosi tried to pass a resolution criticizing Omar’s anti-Semitism, Ocasio-Cortez and the grassroots led a revolt and won. The resolution was broadened far beyond anti-Semitism, and the final version was aimed at white nationalists more than anyone else. In March, the pro-Israel lobbying group held its annual conference, and Omar pushed Democrats to avoid it.

What was Sinema’s reaction to all this? The day of Omar’s tweet about the group, Sinema was at its regional dinner. The next morning, she tweeted: “Our support for a secure Israel as a beacon of democracy must remain unwavering. Proud to speak at @AIPAC‘s Phoenix dinner last night about strengthening and deepening this alliance.” She also spoke at the group’s national conference on March 25.

With Democrats increasingly souring on the alliance with Israel, Sinema is determined to stand athwart history shouting “Stop.”

Is her maverick status sustainable, or will pressure to conform amid increasing polarization be too strong? “My guess is if she’s going to have a primary challenge,” Brad Bannon, president of the D.C.-based Bannon Communications Research, told the Washington Examiner, “it’ll be more likely she gets a primary challenge from a Latino, because of the demography of the state, more than an ideological challenge.” Bannon says, “Politics is very much a function of the state you represent.” And Sinema “represents a state that is about as closely divided, in partisan terms, as you can get.”

Perhaps being a maverick in the McCain mold is the way to survive in Arizona statewide politics. For Sinema, that required transcending her reputation for radical anti-war politicking in the early 2000s. She was up to the task. “Few blue state politicians have the range to pull off that transformation, or the electoral room to pull it off,” says Todd. More Democrats, Todd told the Washington Examiner, should be taking notes: “I have been surprised [Alabama Sen.] Doug Jones has not tried it. Or that [former Missouri Sen.] Claire McCaskill didn’t try it.”

Despite the heat Sinema is taking from her left flank, Bannon thinks Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other party floor leaders will happily shrug off left-wing complaints: “My guess is Chuck Schumer doesn’t care. He’s trying to assemble a Democratic Senate majority, and in order to do that, he’s going to accommodate Kyrsten Sinema and other Democrats like her who may be running for either open seats or GOP seats in 2020.” Party leaders understand reality, Bannon told the Washington Examiner, and “the reality is, you can have a caucus that is monolithically liberal or monolithically conservative, but you can’t have a monolithic caucus if you’re in the majority.”

For that reason, Bannon says, “they’re willing to accommodate mavericks like Kyrsten Sinema.”

Seth Mandel is executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine.


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