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Five Things to Know in World Business Today


Feb 5, 2019  by Lorcan Roche Kelly

(Bloomberg)

SOTU

Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress later today promises to be the most dramatic in years, with the president hinting that he may declare a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall. Democrats have selected recent Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to deliver the party’s response. While the wall and shutdown issues are likely to dominate proceedings, Trump may also make proposals on drug prices and announce details for upcoming summits with Chinese and North Korean leaders.

Dinner date

The president got an update on the economy from Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell and Vice Chairman Richard Clarida over dinner in the White House, a meeting also attended by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The central bank said that Powell did not reveal expectations for monetary policy, adding in a statement that the chair’s comments were “consistent with his remarks at his press conference of last week.” The rare, but not unprecedented, meeting comes as Powell marks one year as Fed chief, an anniversary that looked in some doubt as recently as December.

U.K. stagnates

The British economy is at risk of stalling after the dominant services sector barely grew in January, with IHS Markit’s gauge for the industry falling to 50.1. Companies said they were less likely to start new projects and that clients were being cautious as Brexit uncertainty continues to fester. In the euro area, composite PMI was revised higher to 51 from an initial reading of 50.7, with IHS saying the survey still signals “only weak growth in business activity.”

Markets rise

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 percent in a quiet session with much of the region closed for Lunar New Year. Japan’s Topic index edged 0.1 percent higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index gained 0.8 percent by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, with the energy sector leading after positive results from BP Plc. S&P 500 futures pointed to a green open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.732 percent and gold was up.

Coming up…

At 9:45 a.m., U.S. services and composite PMIs are published by Markit, with the ISM non-manufacturing index due at 10:00 a.m. After more positive tech earnings yesterday, today is the turn of entertainment giants to show their hands with The Walt Disney Co. and Viacom Inc. due to post results. The State of the Union address is at 9:00 p.m.



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