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An agreement in principle to avoid government shutdown

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A construction crew works on replacing the US-Mexico border fence as seen from Tijuana, in Baja California state, Mexico, on January 9, 2019.

Guillermo Arias | AFP | Getty Images

A construction crew works on replacing the US-Mexico border fence as seen from Tijuana, in Baja California state, Mexico, on January 9, 2019.

Congressional negotiators said they reached a tentative deal Monday to fund the government and avoid another shutdown.

As always, President Donald Trump will hold the fate of any potential border security agreement in his hands. The announcement came minutes before the president was set to make his case for his proposed border wall in El Paso on the western edge of Texas.

The top four congressional appropriators emerged from a meeting on border security funding Monday night and announced an agreement in principle to fund the government past a midnight Friday deadline. The group, including Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., did not immediately release details of the deal or say when they would release bill text.

If passed, the deal would avoid reopening fresh wounds of the 800,000 federal workers who missed two paychecks during a 35-day partial closure in December and January.

The measure’s passage depends on Trump’s support. Funding lapsed in December after the president threatened to veto any plan that did not include $5.7 billion to build his proposed border wall — and deterred GOP lawmakers from voting to keep the government open.

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ABB names Voser as interim CEO after Spiesshofer quits

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Logos of ABB AG sit on display outside the company's semi-conductor plant in Lenzburg, Switzerland.

Gianluca Colla | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Logos of ABB AG sit on display outside the company’s semi-conductor plant in Lenzburg, Switzerland.

ABB Chairman Peter Voser has taken over as temporary chief executive at the Swiss engineering group, the company said on Wednesday, after CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer resigned.

In a surprise move Spiesshofer, CEO since 2013, agreed with the board to step down and a search has begun for a successor, ABB said. The company, in the midst of its latest overhaul and selling its $11 billion Power Grids business to Toshiba, has struggled with a lacklustre share performance in recent years and pressure from activist shareholders.

It has also been dogged by problems with its internal financial controls, which led to reduced bonuses for some executive committee members.

On Wednesday ABB said its revenues increased by 4 percent on a comparable basis during the first quarter, although net income dropped by 6 percent, as profitability fell due to the integration of the low-margin General Electric Industrial Solutions business.

Voser, the former Royal Dutch Shell CEO who was ABB’s chief financial officer from 2002 to 2004, said he would continue to shift ABB to be more of an industrial automation company.

“To achieve our key financial targets, we will proceed with the divestment of ABB’s Power Grids business as planned, simplify the organizational structure of the group and deliver cost savings,” Voser said.

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China stock markets soar in 2019

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Meanwhile, Beijing appears to be close to striking a trade deal with Washington, following a series of punitive tariffs that both economic giants slapped on each other in 2018.

Chinese negotiators made unprecedented proposals on forced technology transfers, a sticking point in the talks, Reuters reported in late March. But U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday the two sides still have lots of work ahead of them.

Investors have been increasingly optimistic that a deal could be struck between the two economic powerhouses that would end their protracted trade fight.

Looking ahead, one strategist said economic numbers and corporate sentiment need to improve in the next six months or so.

“We’ve started to see retail investors in China feel a little bit more optimistic but they’ve been busy trying to just take their money back after a terrible year in 2018, so the money is not really at work at the moment,” Tai Hui, Asia-Pacific chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday.

“I think the data, both in the economy and the corporate sector, is going to be pretty important to convince investors in China to come back into the market. And that could well be the key theme for the second and third quarter of 2019 for Chinese equities.”

— CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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Sea goddess said to run for Taiwan presidency

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Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou talks to reporters as he exits the White House following a second day of meetings in Washington, U.S., April 28, 2017.

Jim Bourg | Reuters

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou talks to reporters as he exits the White House following a second day of meetings in Washington, U.S., April 28, 2017.

The chairman of Foxconn, a major Apple manufacturer, said Wednesday that a sea goddess has told him to run for Taiwan’s presidency.

Terry Gou, who chairs the company that assembles iPhones and more, had told Reuters on Monday that he planned to step down from his role in coming months. Speculation followed that he would make a bid for his country’s presidency, with local media reporting that he would soon come to a decision about next year’s race.

The election for Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China, is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2020.

Despite receiving a goddess’ request on the matter, Gou told a group in New Taipei City that he had not yet officially declared his candidacy.

Gou was speaking at a temple devoted to the sea goddess Mazu, according to Reuters.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

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