“Trump Tells Putin the World Wants Them to ‘Get Along’.”
President Donald Trump began his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, testing his campaign pledge to revive ties with Russia amid pressure to confront the Kremlin leader over election meddling and growing concern that the U.S. is abandoning the current international order.
The highly anticipated event started with a one-on-one session between the former property developer and the former KGB agent that stretched to more than two hours — with only their respective translators in attendance. For Putin, the meeting is a win even before it began, as it helps restore an image of parity with the U.S. that Russia lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Earlier, as the summit opened, Trump said their discussions would cover “everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China.” He didn’t mention the indictments or the Kremlin’s interference in the U.S. election.
In a bit of gamesmanship, Putin arrived in Helsinki about a half-hour late, while Trump didn’t depart the resort home where he was meeting with advisers for the summit until after the Russian leader arrived at the presidential palace. The meeting was delayed about an hour as a result.
Having campaigned on a promise to improve ties with Putin, Trump’s met the Kremlin leader over the objections of U.S. lawmakers after a grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday for their alleged role in meddling with the 2016 election. The Russian agents are accused of hacking email accounts controlled by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and publicizing messages. The indictments raised the stakes for the Helsinki summit, even as aides to both Trump and Putin ratcheted down expectations.
“BofA profit beats on consumer loan growth, lower expenses.”
Bank of America Corp reported quarterly profit above expectations as the second-largest U.S. lender cut expenses and benefited from growth in loans and deposits on the back of a strengthening economy. The bank, like its other Wall Street peers, is getting a boost from recent moves by regulators and politicians to lower tax rates and raise interest rates. But concerns around an escalating trade war between the United States and China have cast some doubt on future loan growth.
BofA’s total loans increased 2 percent in the quarter, with its consumer banking and wealth management businesses both recording growth of about 7 percent. BofA’s shares rose 1 percent in premarket trading.
Net income applicable to common shareholders rose 36.3 percent to $6.47 billion in the second quarter. Excluding items, it earned 64 cents per share compared with the average expectation of 57 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net interest income rose 6 percent as the bank’s large stock of deposits and rate-sensitive mortgage securities helped it take advantage of four interest rate hikes in the past year. Revenue, net of interest expense, fell 1 percent to $22.76 billion. Revenue in the year earlier quarter included a $793 million pretax gain on the sale of the bank’s non-U.S. consumer card business. Analysts had expected revenue of $22.29 billion.
“EU calls for more open Chinese economy.”
China should make its economy more open to foreign firms, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said while on a visit to Beijing. Mr Juncker was accompanied by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who warned that worsening trade tensions could lead to conflict. They were met by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who stressed the need to uphold free trade.
Meanwhile, China has filed an official complaint against new US trade tariffs. Last week, the US listed $200bn (£150bn) worth of additional products that it intends to penalise as soon as September.
The US move is the latest salvo in a growing trade war started by the imposition of US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. Mr Juncker said that China, often criticised for protectionist attitudes towards foreign companies, could help matters by being more open. Speaking at a news conference, he said: «If China wishes to open up, it can do so. It knows how to open up.»
The two senior European politicians came to Beijing for an EU-China summit, which produced a communique committing both sides to the multilateral global trading system. China’s Mr Li asked foreign companies to tell him if they had suffered any theft of intellectual property, one of the US’s complaints against China’s trading methods.
“Pound Gains as Traders Await Brexit Progress, Economic Data.”
The pound picked up Monday against a weaker dollar, with further gains seen dependent on the progress of the U.K.’s Brexit plans and whether data will cement the odds of a Bank of England interest-rate increase.
Sterling’s moves could be influenced by any response from U.K. lawmakers or the European Union to the British prime minister’s “white paper,” published Thursday, on her vision of the country’s future relationship with the bloc. Traders will also watch tier-one data releases this week covering employment, consumer prices and retail sales.
The pound recovered most of last week’s losses by Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump made conciliatory remarks Friday on the potential for a trade deal with the U.K. following a meeting with his British counterpart. Sterling had been hurt by Trump’s criticism of Theresa May over Brexit and the resignation of two of her senior ministers.
“With pound markets now scrutinizing every bit of Brexit news, the focus really turns to the next round of U.K.-EU negotiations,” said Viraj Patel, a strategist at ING Groep NV. “What Brussels says about May’s Brexit plan, and whether there is room for negotiation, matters for the pound. It’s a heavy week for U.K. data — but, for now, the BOE story is a secondary factor for markets.”
The pound climbed 0.4 percent to $1.3274 by 1:30 p.m. in London, though was little changed against the euro.
BOE Governor Mark Carney and Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe will speak on the Financial Stability Report with the U.K.’s Treasury Committee Tuesday. The employment figures come out the same day, the inflation report Wednesday and retail-sales data Thursday. Money markets are pricing in a more than 80 percent chance that the central bank will raise rates next month.
Given the market’s high BOE pricing, this week’s important data and the political situation, the balance of risks is skewed to the downside for Jordan Rochester, a currency strategist at Nomura International Plc.
ING continues to expect an August hike barring any data surprises. Still, markets will maintain caution given the political risk, “which needs to show signs of easing before pound bulls can get excited about chasing a Bank of England normalization story,” said Patel.