WALL

A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archive
A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archive. REUTERS/File Photos

April 12, 2019

By Matt Scuffham

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co’s better-than-expected first-quarter earnings raised expectations that rival Wall Street lenders would follow suit when they report next week, pushing most bank stocks higher on Friday.

Shares in JPMorgan jumped as much as 4.7 percent in morning trading, touching a more than four-month high before paring some gains.

Morgan Stanley shares were up 3.8 percent and Bank of America Corp rose 2.8 percent. Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup shares both climbed 2 percent.

JPMorgan is the largest U.S. bank by assets and a bellwether for the U.S economy and financial sector. It reported strong results across its businesses, with Chief Executive Jamie Dimon citing solid U.S. economic growth, moderate inflation and robust consumer and business confidence.

Even a 10 percent fall in JPMorgan’s trading revenue from a year earlier was viewed as boding well for others, since analysts had been bracing for a bigger drop in fixed-income and equities trading.

“JPMorgan had a positive read-across for trading results in the quarter,” said KBW analyst Brian Kleinhanzl. “We believe FICC (fixed income, commodities and currencies) trading should be a positive read-across to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.”

Bank stock investors appeared to zero in on JPMorgan and ignore Wells Fargo & Co, the other big bank that reported on Friday.

Wells Fargo reported higher first-quarter earnings but lowered its forecast for net interest income this year, a move that sent its shares tumbling as much as 3 percent.

U.S. bank stocks had underperformed in recent months as economists and investors fixated on a flattening yield curve, normally the precursor to a recession. Bank executives have downplayed those concerns, pointing to continuing loan growth in the first quarter of 2019.

Since the start of December, the S&P 500 financial sector is up 0.3 percent, while the overall S&P 500 is up 5 percent. The S&P 500 banks index fell 2.5 percent over the same period. Brushing aside global economic concerns such as Brexit and U.S.-China trade tensions, JPMorgan’s Dimon said the U.S. economy “continues to grow, employment and wages are going up, inflation is moderate, financial markets are healthy and consumer and business confidence remains strong.”

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Neal Templin and Meredith Mazzilli)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

April 12, 2019

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global stock markets rose on Friday after JP Morgan’s results kicked off the U.S. corporate earnings season in style, while signs of stabilization in China’s economy also helped riskier assets on views the growth outlook worldwide is better than thought.

Chinese data showed exports rebounded last month, driving U.S. and euro zone bond yields to three-week highs and helping offset weaker imports and reports of another cut in German growth forecasts.

Investors are looking for signs of a Chinese economic recovery to temper global growth worries, especially after the International Monetary Fund this week downgraded its 2019 world economic outlook for the third time.

China’s trade results, as well as credit data, have helped boost risk appetite and reinforce the stabilization thesis, which should have spill-over effects for the global economy, said Candice Bangsund, a portfolio manager with the global asset allocation team at Fiera Capital in Montreal.

“The whole China situation really appears to be gaining some ground,” Bangsund said. “We saw a very impressive rebound in exports, this of course is helping alleviate fears of a hard landing.”

MSCI’s gauge of equity market performance in 47 countries gained 0.37%, while the EURO STOXX 50 index rose 0.31%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 186.88 points, or 0.71%, to 26,329.93. The S&P 500 gained 12.47 points, or 0.43%, to 2,900.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.07 points, or 0.24%, to 7,966.43

The euro gained despite the German growth concerns. Dealers were gearing up for demand from Japan as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial closed in on its multi-billion-euro acquisition of DZ Bank’s aviation-finance business.

The dollar index fell 0.37%, with the euro up 0.56% to $1.1313. The Japanese yen weakened 0.28% versus the greenback at 111.99 per dollar.7

Euro zone and U.S. government debt yields rose after the rebound in Chinese exports.

Yields on Germany’s 10-year government bond crossed into positive territory, to 0.054%.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell 13/32 in price to push up their yield to 2.5507%.

CRUDE OIL’S BIG 2019 START

Oil provided the big milestones. Brent was at $71.4 a barrel, having broken back through the $70 threshold this week, and U.S. WTI was heading for a sixth straight week of gains for the first time since early 2016.

Involuntary supply cuts in Venezuela, Libya and Iran have supported perceptions of a tightening market, already constrained by production cuts from OPEC and its allies.

Brent crude oil futures rose 64 cents to $71.47 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. benchmark, added 64 to $64.22.

Commodities have had the best first-quarter start ever, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said, calling the annualized returns they are tracking the strongest in the past 100 years.

Taking advantage of strong prices and subdued valuations for oil producers, Chevron said it will buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp for $33 billion in cash and stock.

Gold steadied en route to its first weekly gain in three weeks as the dollar weakened, although the metal’s advances were capped by stronger equities.

Gold crept higher after falling more than 1 percent on Thursday to break below $1,300 following solid U.S. data. Spot gold traded at $1,292.41 per ounce.

For a graphic on Falling volatility, see – https://tmsnrt.rs/2X40O8U

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

After nearly seven years holed up inside the cramped Ecuadorian Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is dreading the prospect of violent attacks on him in an American prison, one of his regular visitors told ABC News’ The Investigation podcast on Thursday.

In an interview for ABC News’ “The Investigation” podcast conducted one day after Assange’s long-anticipated arrest by London police and court appearance on a 2012 bail jumping warrant and U.S. extradition request, one of his most frequent visitors described Assange’s fears of being sent to a US prison and subjected to violence inside.

“He did say he was worried that, if he was in a normal American prison, being beaten up,” war documentary filmmaker and former Taliban hostage Sean Langan, who has spent more than 50 hours with Assange in the past year, told ABC News. Langan’s last visit to Assange at the embassy was on March 22, he said.

Film maker and former hostage Sean Langan sits in the audience during a WikiLeaks discussion at The Front Line Club in London, Dec. 1, 2010.(REX/Shutterstock, FILE) Film maker and former hostage Sean Langan sits in the audience during a WikiLeaks discussion at The Front Line Club in London, Dec. 1, 2010.

“And then I said, ‘Well, the chances are you’re most likely’ — slightly gallows humor, it didn’t make him feel better – ‘you’re most likely going to be put into one of those federal Supermax prisons where you won’t see a soul,” said Langan, an ABC News contributor.

Perhaps most surprising to many who saw his leaks of embarrassing Democratic party emails during the 2016 campaign — which Special Counsel Robert Mueller has alleged were hacked by Russian spies in an effort to hurt rival Hillary Clinton’s chances — Assange was often sharply critical of Trump in casual conversation with a handful of visitors.

Langan says Assange described longtime Trump friend and political adviser Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr. as intellectually incapable of a conspiracy, much less one that included WikiLeaks or him, and he rejoiced when Special Counsel Robert Mueller recently closed his investigation without indicting him for conspiring with Russian military intelligence to tilt the U.S. election.

“‘Those bunch of clowns’ — that was the exact quote — ‘those bunch of clowns couldn’t conspire and organize this kind of thing’,” Langan recalled Assange telling him. “He certainly did not hold [President Trump] in high regard. He was quite dismissive.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures as he leaves the Westminster Magistrates Court in the police van, after he was arrested in London, April 11, 2019.(Henry Nicholls/Reuters) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures as he leaves the Westminster Magistrates Court in the police van, after he was arrested in London, April 11, 2019.

Langan and Vaughan Smith, an Assange confidant and owner of London’s Frontline Club, began making “social visits” — as the Ecuadorian Embassy called them — with Assange in early November. The pair was among the first people summoned by the controversial publisher of sensitive secrets after Ecuador lifted a ban on his visitors and most of his communications, a loosening of restrictions on Assange that lasted six months in 2018.

Inside, they didn’t find an apartment littered with cat dropping or feces on the wall — as alleged by his Ecuadorian hosts who over time turned against their notorious asylee — but instead the “claustrophobic” quarters of a man in poor health toughing out intense surveillance of the tiny rooms he has occupied since entering the embassy in August, 2012.

That year, fearing he would extradited to the United States, Assange skipped out on his bail during a rape inquiry in Sweden. The rape inquiry was dropped two years ago but reopened today in the wake of Assange’s removal from the embassy in London, Swedish prosecutors said. Assange has denied the rape allegation.

Assange shared his recollections with Langan in five-hour rolling conversations at a table between two speakers meant to deter electronic surveillance by Ecuador or other countries. One speaker blared symphony music and the other David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Langan told ABC News.

Asked about a controversial November, 2018 report in the Guardian newspaper that Assange had met with Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort — since convicted on financial crimes related to lobbying in Virginia and in Washington — he was adamant it never happened. “He said, ‘That’s [bull]. Never met him.’ So he strongly denied that,” Langan said.

President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks speaks to the press during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, April 11, 2019.(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images) President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks speaks to the press during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, April 11, 2019.

The Guardian report has not been matched by any other major news organization or corroborated since it was published.

Langan said that Assange seemed to acknowledge that he had communicated with Guccifer2.0, an online persona Mueller has said in a U.S. indictment was really an amalgam of Russian spies who stole the Democratic party emails and coordinated with WikiLeaks to leak them, but said that he believes Assange was unaware of Guccifer 2.0’s true identity.

Langan said that Assange complained to him that other news outlets were communicating with Guccifer2.0 too but the U.S. government was unfairly picking on him.

“I took it to be a non-denial denial,” Langan said.

With his arrest and the prospect of a trial in the U.S. for computer intrusion relating to WikiLeaks document dumps of military and intelligence secrets almost a decade ago, Langan said Assange now realizes “that he could face the rest of his life in isolation.”

The idea of further confinement weighs on Assange, he said.

“You can see the toll it is taking on him,” Langan added. “It’s an unpleasant thing to see in any man.”

He is no doubt glad to be out of the embassy, however, Langan added.

“It’s like a gilded cage. But a cage is a cage is a cage,” said Langan.

Smith always brought lunch from the club and Assange would fetch plates to serve the food on, then step back into his tidy galley to wash each plate after they dined.

Langan said Assange expressed frustration with what he described as false news reports that claimed Assange wore smelly socks and did not care for the cat his kids gave to him as a gift.

“That really hurt him,” Langan recounted.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, a multimedia artist whose work now spans the second floor of the Hirshhorn Museum in D.C., wants to resist nationalism.

He says that’s the purpose of his three-part, interactive installation, “Pulse.” The exhibit replicates the participant’s heart rate in different ways, converting it to waves in a shallow pool and flickering lights, among other things. Lozano-Hemmer says it’s not just about hearing many hearts beat as one. It’s about repurposing technology, fingerprinting, for instance, for purposes of connection rather than control.

“At a time when we are seeing ethnic nationalisms on the rise, dividing people along simplistic categorizations, it is critical to misuse these mechanisms of control to create connective, anonymous landscapes of belonging,” he says.

The message of “Pulse” is powerful, even if its connection to nationalism is more an intention than a result. On the other hand, “Pulse” is overwhelmingly pro-life.

The exhibition is the Hirshhorn’s largest interactive technology display ever, and it wows its audience in three parts. In “Pulse Index,” participants put their fingers on a screen, which snaps a photo and projects the fingerprint onto the wall.

Each panel has more fingerprints than the last, and 10,000 of them stretch before you. A father puts his finger in the slot while his young son holds the rest of his hand, presumably imagining that his own finger is projected onto the screen.

In “Pulse Tank,” your fingerprint causes a device to hit a small pool of water at your heart rate. As the waves reverberate throughout the pool, a spotlight reflects the patterns on the ceiling. As more viewers participate, more of their heartbeats intersect.

In “Pulse Room,” more than 200 light bulbs flicker on the ceiling. You enter to the sound of a low boom. Hundreds of heartbeats are resonating together. A crowd forms, and at the end of a long line a girl holds a pair of metal rods, waiting for them to pick up her heartbeat.

It’s been several seconds, and she seems ready to leave. But the woman behind her, perhaps her mother, encourages her to stay on. “She’s human, I promise,” she quips to the people waiting in line. Moments later, hundreds of light bulbs flicker with the girl’s pulse.

On Lozano-Hemmer’s description at the face of the exhibit, he says the poetry of the heartbeat begins in the womb.

“During my wife’s first pregnancy in 2003, I learned that we could listen to the pulse of the fetus,” he says. “That the heartbeat is widely used as a poetic representation of life and love is due in part to this facility for translation and the universal recognition of the rhythmic sound we first hear in the womb, our mother’s heart, which is then accompanied and superseded by our own.”

Three years later, his wife was pregnant again, this time with twins. With two ultrasound machines, the expectant parents listened to the boy and girl’s heartbeats simultaneously. The cadence reminded Lozano-Hemmer of the work of modern composers. That same year, he created “Pulse Room.”

Lozano-Hemmer may have had another intention for the exhibit, and he may not even be pro-life. But art speaks for itself. As hundreds of fingerprints flash on a wall behind you, and hundreds of heartbeats rumble in the room before you, it’s hard not to remember that we’re all connected by a beating heart, and in the same moment, to remember when that heartbeat begins.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein called the pushback to Attorney General William Barr’s actions surrounding the Russia report “bizarre,” saying in a new interview that Barr is doing all he can to follow the law and make as much of the report public as possible.

“He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein told The Wall Street Journal.

“It would be one thing if you put out a letter and said, ‘I’m not going to give you the report.’ What he said is, ‘Look, it’s going to take a while to process the report. In the meantime, people really want to know what’s in it. I’m going to give you the top-line conclusions.’ That’s all he was trying to do.”

Rosenstein was referring to Barr’s four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller concluded that neither President Donald Trump nor his campaign conspired with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. He could not say whether or not Trump obstructed justice, however, but Barr wrote in his summary he and Rosenstein decided there was not sufficient evidence to pursue an obstruction charge.

Democrats are demanding to see Mueller’s full report, but Barr said it must be redacted to conceal classified and privileged information.

Rosenstein told the Journal the American public should have “tremendous confidence” in Barr’s efforts on the report.

Source: NewsMax America

President Trump loves to anger the entertainment industry by appropriating its materials for his own propaganda. In November, he angered “Game of Thrones” fans, but probably not Iran, by tweeting a photo of himself with the caption, “Sanctions are coming.”

Now he’s ruining “The Dark Knight Rises,” and Warner Bros. isn’t happy. On Tuesday Trump tweeted a video showing various left-wing celebrities (Rosie O’Donnell, Amy Schumer) and politicians (former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton) in between shots of himself supposedly making America great again — as he meets with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (upon whom he hasn’t exactly been tough).

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they call you racist,” text reads. “Your vote proved them all wrong.” Amid the glorious display of lib-owning, Hans Zimmer’s “Why Do We Fall?” swells in the background.

By Tuesday night, Warner Bros. had contacted Twitter about copyright infringement over the song from the score of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Twitter took down the video, and YouTube removed the fan-made clip it appears to have come from.

“The use of Warner Bros.’ score from The Dark Knight Rises in the campaign video was unauthorized,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed before the video came down. “We are working through the appropriate legal channels to have it removed.”

Besides his copyright infringement, Trump should never have used the song in the first place. He probably believes his success parallels a storyline from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. But to compare your presidency to a superhero’s plotline is weird at best and, well, embarrassing at worst.

In “Batman Begins,” the first film of the “Dark Knight” trilogy, Alfred asks Bruce Wayne, “Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” The song “Why Do We Fall?” plays in the third film as Wayne repeatedly tries to scale a wall so he can return to save his city.

In “The Dark Knight Rises,” the song can give you goosebumps. In a Trump tweet, it can remind you that the president is no good with copyright laws, or with rhetoric, either.


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