Connect with us

World

Trump ‘radio silent’ on his vow to force pipelines to buy US steel

Published

on

To be sure, this is not proof that Trump has dropped the plan.

During a White House meeting last week with lawmakers, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon expressed concern that the infrastructure plan would allow states to walk back commitments to using U.S. steel. In response, Trump brought up his approval of Keystone XL and Dakota Access.

“When I approved them, I said, ‘Where’s the steel being made?’ And they told me a location that did not make me happy. And I wrote down that from now on steel is being made for pipelines, as you know, it’s got to be made in the United States. And it’s got to be fabricated in the United States. And so I’m a believer in that also.”

Bell, the steel association president, says the president’s impending decision on whether to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum could present another opportunity to resurface the plan. There was no mention of the plan in the Commerce Department’s tariff recommendations to the president released on Friday.

Bell also believes the final infrastructure plan should require projects built by public-private partnerships to use American-made products.

Stoody from the pipeline association says the industry is pleased with Trump’s efforts to streamline federal permitting under the infrastructure plan, but it will continue to watch for updates on the made-in-America requirement.

“Things are going well and [Trump’s] overall goal of improving the economy, improving opportunities for American workers has succeeded, so we certainly would hate to see a turn to something that might threaten jobs for American construction workers building pipelines,” Stoody said.

Source link

World

Stock futures lower after major averages dip amid rising bond yields

Published

on

U.S. stock index futures slid during overnight trading on Wednesday, accelerating losses from the regular trading session which saw the major averages finish in the red across the board.

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 62 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively.

Stocks posted heavy losses during regular trading as rising bond yields spooked investors. The S&P 500 dipped 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 119 points, or 0.38%, lower. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative underperformer, falling 2.7% as tech names declined. The index is on track to post its third straight negative week — the longest weekly losing streak since September.

The weakness came as the 10-year Treasury yield extended gains. The benchmark rate climbed to a high of 1.49% on Wednesday before retreating slightly. Last week, the yield surged to a high of 1.6% in a move that some described as a “flash” spike.

“Our current strategy work suggests robust economic growth this year with a modest increase in inflation,” noted Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “In attempting to read the tea leaves, the steepening of the yield curve, in our opinion, reflects the market’s belief that growth and inflation should continue to move back toward appropriate levels as the pandemic eases. We view this as a positive for stocks and other risk assets, like commodities,” he added.

During Wednesday’s session, one bright spot was companies tied to the economy’s reopening. Shares of airline and cruise line operators advanced after President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the U.S. will have enough Covid-19 vaccines for all adults by the end of May.

Additional stimulus measures could also inject optimism into the market. The Senate is currently debating the $1.9 trillion relief package passed by the House on Saturday.

“Our macro team sees the economy as spring loaded given the vaccinations and additional stimulus,” Keith Lerner, Truist chief market strategist, wrote in a note to clients. “The ability and desire of the consumer to spend on services and experiences should lead to the best economic growth we have seen in over 35 years.”

On Thursday investors will get another look at the ongoing economic recovery when first-time jobless claims data for the week ending Feb. 27 is released. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are forecasting 750,000 first-time filers.

On the earnings front, BJ’s Wholesale and Kroger are among the names reporting before the open, while Broadcom, Costco and Gap are on deck to provide quarterly updates after the closing bell.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

WHO warns of uptick in Covid cases globally after weeks of decline

Published

on

Medical workers move a patient at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Sotiria hospital, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Athens, Greece, March 1, 2021.

Giorgos Moutafis | Reuters

World Health Organization officials said Wednesday that scientists are trying to understand why Covid-19 cases are suddenly ticking up across much of the world after weeks of falling numbers.

There were 2.6 million new cases reported across the world last week, up 7% from the prior week, the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update that reflects data received as of Sunday morning. That follows six consecutive weeks of declining new cases all over the world.

The reversal could be caused by the emergence of several new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus, relaxing public measures and so-called pandemic fatigue, in which people become tired of following precautions, the WHO said in its weekly report. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said during a Q&A event at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday that the global health agency is trying to better understand what’s causing the reversal in trends in each region and country.

“I can tell you what we’re worried about is with the introduction of vaccines and vaccination in a number of countries, we still need people to carry out their individual-level measures,” she said, urging people to practice physical distancing and continue to wear masks when around others.

“By seeing this one week of increase in trends, it’s a pretty stern warning to all of us that we need to stay the course,” Van Kerkhove said. “We need to keep adhering to these measures at hand.”

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, suggested that the uptick could be because “we may be relaxing a little before we’ve got the full impact of vaccination.” He added that he understands the temptation to socialize more and to revert to more normal behavior, but “the problem is every time we’ve done that before the virus has exploited that.”

Ryan reiterated that the cause of the uptick in cases remains unclear, but added that the tried-and-true public health measures that have been emphasized throughout the pandemic are still effective.

“When cases are decreasing it’s never everything we do and when they’re increasing it’s never all out fault,” he said.

Ryan noted that deaths have not yet risen with cases, but that could change in the coming weeks. Hopefully, he said, a rise in deaths can be avoided due to the vaccination of those most vulnerable to the disease.

While the rollout of vaccines is cause for optimism in some countries, Ryan noted that many nations across the world have not yet received doses. He said that 80% of doses have been administered in just 10 countries.

The WHO remarks echo those made recently by federal officials in the United States. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been warning for days that the decline in daily new cases in the U.S. has stalled out and ticked upward.

Over the past seven days, the U.S. reported an average of more than 65,400 daily new cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s far below the peak of about 250,000 new cases every day that the country was reporting in early January, but it’s still well above the rate of infection the U.S. saw over the summer when the virus swept across the Sun Belt.

“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Walensky said Monday. “With these statistics, I am really worried about more states rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19.”

“Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Department of Defense confirms rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase

Published

on

Iraqi Air Force helicopters land at Ain al-Asad airbase in the Anbar province, Iraq December 29, 2019.

Thaier Al-Sudani | Reuters

The Pentagon on Wednesday confirmed that nearly a dozen rockets struck an Iraqi base hosting U.S. troops.

The initial report, tweeted by Army spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto, said 10 “indirect fire” rockets hit Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province, where some of the 2,500 U.S. forces in Iraq are based.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said no U.S service members were injured in the attack. He added that “a U.S. civilian contractor suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering and sadly passed away shortly after.”

The Pentagon said the Iraqi military is handling the investigation.

“Iraqi security forces are on scene and investigating. We cannot attribute responsibility at this time, and we do not have a complete picture of the extent of the damage. We stand by as needed to assist our Iraqi partners as they investigate,” the statement said.

The Biden administration was briefed on the attack overnight and has “reached out to field and military to assess the damage and check on personnel,” a White House official told NBC News.

Wednesday’s attack on Ain al-Asad comes on the heels of Biden’s decision to strike Iran-aligned militia targets in Syria.

Those strikes in Syria were seen as a retaliatory effort against the Feb. 15 rocket attack in Erbil. Two days later, the Biden administration had hinted at retaliation.

“It is fair to say that there will be consequences for any group responsible for this attack,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at the time.

The skirmishes could upset what the Biden administration considers a foreign policy priority: a return to the Iranian nuclear deal reached during the Obama administration with several world powers. The agreement lifted economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program.  

The deal has all but collapsed since the Trump administration unilaterally ditched it in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iran that have crippled its economy.  

-CNBC’s Natasha Turak and Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending