Morning briefing: Five things you need to know to start your day

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Published: January 10, 2019 6:44:45 AM

U.S. stocks pushed their rally to a fourth day, the longest streak since September after Fed meeting minutes confirmed dovish signals that members have been giving since they raised rates last month. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.

Representative Image: Reuters

U.S. stocks pushed their rally to a fourth day, the longest streak since September after Fed meeting minutes confirmed dovish signals that members have been giving since they raised rates last month. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.

Trade Enforcer
The Trump administration is pushing for a way to make sure China delivers on its commitments in any deal the two nations reach to a trade war that has roiled financial markets and dimmed the outlook for global growth. In a statement Wednesday, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said it wants any deal to include “ongoing verification and effective enforcement.” The U.S. will decide on next steps after officials report back to Washington, USTR said. The U.S. wrapped up three days of mid-level talks with China in Beijing on Wednesday, noting a commitment by President Xi Jinping’s government to buy more U.S. agricultural goods, energy and manufactured products.

Stocks Continue Rally
Asian stocks looked set to open mixed following a rally in U.S. equities as investors cheered the dovish approach discussed in minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting. But gains were muted by concerns that the partial shutdown of the U.S. government will continue for some time. The dollar fell and Treasuries rose, while oil surged above $52 a barrel and entered a bull market. The S&P 500 Index was up for a fourth consecutive day led by energy producers, reaching the highest level in almost a month. The Nasdaq benchmarks were the strongest performers on strength in semiconductors and technology hardware manufacturers.

Fed Touts Patience in Minutes
U.S. central bankers could place interest rates on hold through March or longer as they wait for clarity on risks to global growth that could affect the U.S. economy. That’s the message from recent comments by Federal Reserve officials, reinforced by minutes of their Dec. 18-19 meeting on Wednesday which showed many policy makers felt the central bank “could afford to be patient about further policy firming.’’ U.S. central bankers raised the benchmark lending rate last month and said some “some further gradual increases’’ would be consistent with continued growth. However, the record of their discussion during the meeting revealed that policy makers preferred a more cautious approach — one that dovetails with their subsequent comments.

Read Also| Oil prices: Crude bounces back to bull market fueled by OPEC cuts, trade talks

China’s Accusations
China’s ambassador to Canada has accused the country of adopting “Western egotism” and “white supremacy” in its reaction to the detention of two Canadians following the arrest of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Canada last month. The envoy said Canada is employing a double standard in demanding the release of two men who were detained in China nine days after the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. authorities. He also took aim at “elites” and “some in the Canadian news media” for saying that China’s judicial system is less independent than Canada’s. “It seems that, to some people, only Canadian citizens shall be treated in a humanitarian manner and their freedom deemed valuable, while Chinese people do not deserve that,” Lu Shaye wrote in an op-ed published in the Ottawa-based Hill Times newspaper on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Trader Suspended
Citigroup Inc. suspended an equities trader in Hong Kong in the past few weeks as the firm kick-starts an internal investigation into its dealings with some clients, people familiar with the matter said. Officials at the U.S. bank are examining whether certain traders in Hong Kong properly disclosed to its clients its own financial interest in stock trades, said the people, who requested anonymity as details are private. Cindy Lui, a Citigroup employee since 2007, hasn’t been at work as a result of the ongoing review, the people said. The review followed an industry wide probe last year by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission into whether brokers in the city are providing the best possible prices to their clients when executing trades.

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