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U.S. STOCKS RISE AS CHINA PLANS NEW STIMULUS MEASURES

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US FINANCIAL MARKET | US ECONOMY & POLITICS
 EUROPE & WORLD | TODAY IN HISTORY

DAILY MARKET REPORTS

  • U.S. equity markets rose Tuesday, boosted by fresh stimulus measures out of China designed to support the world’s second-largest economy.
  • Chinese stocks enjoyed their best day in over a month as Beijing said it would accelerate financing of major infrastructure projects via “special-purpose bonds” issued by local governments.
  • With fears easing that the United States would launch a trade war with Mexico, investors appeared to shrug off Trump’s threat to impose more tariffs on China if no progress was made in talks with President Xi Jinping.
  • They are expected to meet at a Group of 20 summit on June 28-29.
  • Beyond trade tensions between the U.S., China and Mexico, investors have been watching closely for new signaling from central banks across the globe this week.
  • With the Federal Reserve set to meet next week, investors were looking for any information that could provide clues as to whether rate cuts lie ahead for the world’s largest economy.

US FINANCIAL MARKET

Slack Projects 50% Revenue Growth in Current Year

  • With its IPO expected later this month, Slack Technologies expects revenue to grow by as much as 50% in the current fiscal year.
  • Slack said it expected fiscal 2020 revenue between $590 and $600 million this year, with an estimated adjusted loss of 41 cents to 44 cents a share.
  • It had revenue of $400 million in fiscal 2019, which ended Jan. 31.
  • The company said calculated billings, which reflects sales to new customers plus renewals and sales to existing paid customers, for the year are projected to be between $725 million to $745 million.
  • It had $517 million in billings in fiscal 2019.
  • The messaging company, based in California, said in an amended filing last month that it planned to begin trading its class A shares on or about June 20 on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WORK.

Foxconn Says Prepared to Move Apple Production Out of China if Necessary

  • Foxconn Technology said it is ready to shift production out of China if necessary for Apple, its biggest customer, as the electronics assembler tries to assuage investors’ concerns over the U.S.-China trade conflict.
  • In its first-ever investor meeting and conference call since going public in 1991, senior executives at Taiwan-based Foxconn sought to address investor uncertainty as it prepares for a leadership transition.
  • Much of the discussion, however, centered on the worsening trade dispute between China and the U.S. and the impact it might have on the core of Foxconn’s business—assembling iPhones and iPads for Apple, mostly in China.
  • “We are totally capable of dealing with Apple’s needs to move production lines if they have any,” said Young-Way Liu, who heads Foxconn’s semiconductor business group, during the meeting at the company’s headquarters outside Taipei.

Top Japanese chip gear firm to honor U.S. blacklist of Chinese firms – executive

  • Japan’s Tokyo Electron, the world’s No.3 supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, will not supply to Chinese clients blacklisted by Washington, a senior company executive told Reuters.
  • The decision shows how Washington’s effort to bar sales of technology to Chinese firms, including Huawei Technologies, is ensnaring non-American firms that are not obliged to follow U.S. law.
  • “We would not do businesses with Chinese clients with whom Applied Materials and Lam Research are barred from doing businesses,” the executive said, referring to the top U.S. chip equipment firms.
  • Today, only 16% of the semiconductors used in China are produced in-country, half of which are made by Chinese firms, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Intel Agrees to Acquire Networking Startup Barefoot Networks

  • Intel is buying Barefoot Networks in a bid to scale up the company’s networking-chip technology and compete with Broadcom.
  • The purchase, Intel Executive Vice President Navin Shenoy said, is aimed at addressing an explosion of data that has bolstered demand for computing power to analyze it and networking systems to exchange it within data centers.
  • While Intel is the largest computer-chip maker in the U.S., it doesn’t currently make chips that manage communication via Ethernet, a widely used technology to connect a vast network of computers and servers.
  • That arena is dominated by San Jose-based Broadcom.
  • Barefoot’s technology stands out from other Ethernet chips because of its flexibility: Customers can program the chips to operate more efficiently according to their specific uses of it.

Defense Contractors Join Forces as Pentagon Spending Slows

  • The biggest aerospace-and-defense merger ever caps two years of deal making in an industry that is reorganizing in anticipation of slower growth in Pentagon spending and new priorities such as space systems and hypersonic missiles.
  • Cuts to U.S. military spending also contributed to an estimated 17,000 U.S. firms leaving the industry between 2001 and 2015, according to a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank.
  • The Pentagon has also streamlined military operations in ways that have left less room for multiple contractors.
  • Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet fighter, for instance, is meant to replace multiple other types of aircraft, and has contributed to the U.S. aerospace industry shrinking to three plane makers versus a dozen just decades ago.

Planemakers race for wide-body orders in Asia showdown

  • Airbus and Boeing are battling for wide-body aircraft orders worth well over $10 billion as the clock ticks towards next week’s Paris Airshow, industry sources said.
  • The contests include a fight for business at Philippines budget airline Cebu Air as Airbus seeks a new foothold for its slow-selling A330neo airliner in the face of competition from Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
  • The budget carrier is leaning towards breaking its exclusive ties with Airbus by selecting the Boeing 787 for its requirement for up to 16 wide-body jets to be delivered in 2020 and 2021, but negotiations are set to go down to the wire, the sources said.
  • Airbus is close to signing a deal to sell A330neo jets to Virgin Atlantic, Reuters reported last week.
  • Boeing looks set to win an order for its upcoming 777X long-haul jet from Korean Air, industry sources said.

Wells Fargo CEO Search Drags On as Two Top Candidates Take a Pass

  • The bank’s board has approached a small group of top candidates, including JPMorgan Chase consumer banking chief Gordon Smith, PNC Financial Services CEO William Demchak and former U.S. Bancorp chief Richard Davis.
  • Demchak and Davis took a pass on potentially replacing Timothy Sloan, who resigned in late March, the people said.
  • Wells Fargo continues to pursue Mr. Smith, who is JPMorgan’s co-chief operating officer, but he has told confidants that he is reluctant to take the job and is likely to stay at JPMorgan, some of the people said.

U.S. state AGs prepare lawsuit to stop Sprint and T-Mobile merger

  • A group of at least 10 state attorneys general are preparing on Tuesday to file a lawsuit to stop the $26 billion merger of Sprint and T-Mobile, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
  • New York’s state attorney general is leading the lawsuit, one source said.
  • New York’s attorney general’s office has announced a press conference for this afternoon.

Amazon Ends Restaurant Delivery in Face of Fierce Competition

  • Amazon is shuttering its restaurant delivery service Amazon Restaurants in the U.S., putting an end to a four-year experiment that sought to compete with the likes of Grubhub and Uber Eats but failed to gain much traction.
  • Amazon said it would discontinue the service on June 24 and that the small number of employees who made up the division have found new roles within the company or will be provided assistance with finding new positions.
  • The demise of Amazon Restaurants is a rare logistical misstep by a company that is a dominant force in e-commerce and prides its delivery prowess.
  • The rough-and-tumble food-delivery business is swarming with competitors and is largely unprofitable.

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US ECONOMY & POLITICS

U.S. Producer Prices Up Slightly in May, Showing Little Inflation Pressure

  • Business prices rose slightly in May, the latest signal there is little inflation pressure in the economy.
  • The producer-price index (PPI), a measure of the prices businesses receive for their goods and services, advanced a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in May from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
  • Excluding the often-volatile food and energy categories, business prices were up 0.2% from the prior month.
  • Both readings matched expectations of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.
  • Compared with May 2018, producer prices were up 1.8%, considerably less than the recent peak of up 3.4% reached last summer.
  • Excluding food and energy, the index was up 2.3% from a year earlier.

U.S. Inflation Expectations Decline to Lowest Level Since Late 2017, N.Y. Fed Says

  • Inflation expectations are continuing to fall, in what is likely to be a worrisome development for the Federal Reserve as it contemplates whether to lower its short-term rate target.
  • The New York Fed reported in its Survey of Consumer Expectations that the public expects to see slower increases in price pressures over coming years.
  • At the one-year horizon, the survey found an expected 2.5% gain, with a 2.6% gain seen three years from now.
  • Both numbers were down by 0.1% from April and represent the lowest readings since late 2017, the bank said.
  • In the New York Fed report, households also reported lower expectations of future income growth.
  • That measure declined to a 2.8% gain in May, from 2.9% the month before.

IT Unemployment Rate Estimated at 20-Year Low

  • Demand is surging for information-technology workers with advanced digital skills, as more companies seek help developing data analytics, artificial intelligence and other emerging business tools.
  • Tech trade group CompTIA estimates that the unemployment rate for IT occupations in the U.S. dropped to 1.3% in May, a 20year low, according to an analysis of the latest Labor Department jobs data.
  • Tech jobs accounted for 7.6% of the total U.S. workforce last year, up from 7.2% in 2017, and on pace to grow 13.1% between 2016 and 2026—creating roughly 8.6 million new jobs, CompTIA said in a separate report earlier this year.

Trump defends tariff strategy as China says it’s ‘not afraid of a trade war’

  • U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended the use of tariffs as part of his trade strategy while China vowed a tough response if the United States insists on escalating trade tensions amid ongoing negotiations.
  • Tariffs are a great negotiating tool,” Trump tweeted, one day after saying he was ready to impose another round of punitive tariffs on China.
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang again would not be drawn into confirming a Xi-Trump meeting at G20, saying information would be released once it was available to the foreign ministry.

Trump Blasts Fed Policies, Euro’s Value to the Dollar

  • President Trump renewed his criticism of the Federal Reserve Tuesday morning on Twitter, saying that the Fed has raised rates too high and that its policy of shrinking its bond portfolio is “ridiculous.”
  • The president has repeatedly berated the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates during his time in office, and for its decision two years ago to slowly shrink its $3.8 trillion asset portfolio, a process sometimes referred to as “quantitative tightening.”
  • “They don’t have a clue!” Mr. Trump tweeted. Mr. Trump has appointed four of the five members of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors to their current roles, including Chairman Jerome Powell, and both of the Fed’s vice chairmen.
  • The immediate impetus for Mr. Trump’s Tuesday comments appeared to be a Bloomberg opinion piece about the affordability of European tourist destinations.
  • Mr. Trump said “this is because the Euro and other currencies are devalued against the dollar, putting the U.S. at a big disadvantage.”

Trump Returns to Iowa Amid Unease Over Farm Tariffs

  • After months of Democratic presidential hopefuls flooding Iowa, President Trump is making his first pilgrimage to the perennial battleground state this year.
  • Heading into 2020, polling suggests that the president’s support among Iowa Republicans has held firm, despite his aggressive tariff moves that have disrupted business for farmers and drawn bipartisan criticism from elected officials.
  • But his standing overall in the state is more mixed—a recent Morning Consult poll showed Mr. Trump with a 42% approval rating and 54% disapproval among Iowans.
  • The president’s trip underscores that he plans to leave nothing to chance in a state he captured by nearly 10 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton but that Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012.
  • Mr. Trump enjoyed an 81% approval rating from registered Republicans in Iowa in a March poll sponsored by the Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom.
  • That survey showed that 40% of Republicans believe Mr. Trump’s tariffs have helped agriculture more than hurt it, with 28% saying the tariffs have hurt more and 32% uncertain.

Third U.S.-North Korea summit entirely possible, up to Kim: Bolton

  • A third summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is entirely possible and is up to Pyongyang, White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday, saying Washington is ready to hold one when Pyongyang is.

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EUROPE & WORLD

China Stocks Rally the Most in a Month on Local Stimulus Steps

  • China’s beaten down stocks posted their best gains in weeks on news local governments will have more room to spend on infrastructure, offsetting U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest threat of more tariffs.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.6%, the most since May 10, though volume was only a little over half the three-month daily average and the benchmark is still down about 10% in the past two months.
  • Construction-related stocks rallied after the finance ministry said Monday it would ease restrictions on the spending of proceeds from special bond sales and encourage banks to offer loans to projects funded by such debt.

Hong Kong braces for new mass protests against planned extraditions to China

  • Hong Kong braced for strikes, transport go-slows and another mass demonstration in protest against a proposed extradition law that would allow people to be sent to China for trial, as the Chinese-ruled city’s leader vowed defiance.
  • Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she would push ahead with the bill despite deep concerns across vast swaths of the Asian financial hub that triggered its biggest political demonstration since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
  • In a rare move, prominent business leaders warned that pushing through the extradition law could undermine investor confidence in Hong Kong and erode its competitive advantages.
  • The extradition bill, which has generated unusually broad opposition at home and abroad, is due for a second round of debate on Wednesday in the city’s 70-seat Legislative Council. The legislature is controlled by a pro-Beijing majority.

EU Blocks Merger of Steelmaking Units of Tata, Thyssenkrupp

  • The EU’s antitrust enforcer blocked the planned merger of the steel businesses of India’s Tata Steel and Germany’s Thyssenkrup, saying the result would have reduced competition in the supply of special steel for the car and packaging industries.
  • The blocked merger marks another defeat for executives and politicians who have been pushing for the formation of more European giants to counter competition from the U.S. and China.
  • Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager dismissed criticism about her blocking the merger of European companies able to compete globally. She said that over the past 10 years, only 10 mergers were blocked, while 3,000 were approved.

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TODAY in HISTORY

  • James Cook discovered the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. (1770)
  • Timothy McVeigh, the 1995 Oklahoma City bomber, was executed. (2001)

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