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Here’s What You Missed (12/4/18)

Daniel Chase

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I am of the persuasion that you can eat what you want, so long as it’s in moderation. For example, let’s assume, for the moment, that you want nothing more than to sink your teeth into a juicy, tender Double-Double (animal style) with well-done French fries from In N’ Out, I give you full permission to do so. If this delectable meal becomes your breakfast, lunch, and dinner then we start to have an issue, my friend. Keep in mind that the key to eating healthfully is simply eating well. Make sure you cook everything you eat if you can manage to control that portion of your life. Also, while we’re at it, don’t eat food while watching television. Studies have shown that we tend to overeat when we stuff our face while watching reruns of the Office. Sit down at the table like a normal person and take your time with every bite. 

Well, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

And The Plot Continues To Thicken

As special counsel Robert Mueller continues down the long and lonesome road of his ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, he consistently finds himself to find one roadblock after another. Whether its potential pardons of key witnesses offered by President Donald Trump, or friends of the president recusing themselves, it just seems like this investigation may never come to a head. 

On Tuesday, Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime political ally elected to plead the Fifth Amendment when he was asked to share documents and testimony with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Politico.

“Mr. Stone’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege must be understood by all to be the assertion of a Constitutional right by an innocent citizen who denounces secrecy.”

Grant Smith, Roger Stone’s Lawyer

Where’s The Beef?

But seriously, everyone wants to know what in the name of Dumbledore’s beard is going on with America’s agricultural framework. Just last week romaine lettuce was placed on red alert, and the United States Department of Agriculture told every restaurant to stop serving romaine lettuce. Luckily for me, I consider myself to be more of an arugula man, myself, but nevertheless, it has been difficult. 

On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture announced yet another recall, but this time it applied to over twelve million pounds of “non-intact” raw beef products after 250 people across 26 different states have been infected with salmonella. 

As for the culprit behind the distribution of the bad beef, JBS Tolleson, Inc, based out of Arizona, is being held responsible for the recent reports of beef-related salmonella. 

“Traceback has identified JBS as the common supplier of the ground beef products. The epidemiological investigation has identified 57 case-patients from 16 states with illness onset  dates ranging from August 5 to September 6, 2018.” 

Official Statement from USDA

Let Them Play

I’m not sure how this even came about but the small town of Severance, Colorado, recently banned all snowball fights indefinitely. What monster would ban such a fan activity? This seems like the type of town that would probably resonate with the town from Footloose. Anyway, Dane Best, a 9-year-old fought the ban in court and successfully overturned the ban on Tuesday.

“Today’s kids need reasons to play outside. Research suggests that a lack of exposure to the outdoors can lead to obesity, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.”

Dane Best 

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Trade Talks Fail, What’s Next For The Market?

Jon Phillip

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The trade war between the United States and China has probably been the biggest economic and diplomatic development since the turn of the year. Although the world’s two biggest economies were locked in talks for months over a new trade deal, it all unraveled quickly.

This happened when US President Donald Trump stated that the Chinese went back on their word. He then imposed tariff hikes on Chinese goods last Friday. The tariffs were raised to an astonishing 25% on goods worth $200 billion. Although Trump might believe this might bully the Chinese into submission, many experts believe that might not be the case.

Difficulty in Completing Deal

The President had imposed these tariff hikes right before the Chinese delegation was supposed to show up at Washington. This was for which many had believed was going to be the last round of talks. However, experts now feel that the escalation of tensions between the two countries following the latest developments will make it difficult to reach a deal that could be considered a win for the US. As soon as the tariffs kicked in, Beijing announced that it was looking at countermeasures as well. However, there were no specifics on the nature of these measures.

Last year, the two nations had been embroiled in a damaging retaliatory tariff war and it could lead to a protracted trade war, if the Chinese decided to resort of the same tactics. The Chinese delegation is going to be in Washington this week to engage in another round of talks but it is believed that a binding trade deal is unlikely to be signed.

Is A Trump Win Likely?

One of the biggest reasons why the deal might not be signed anytime soon is perhaps the fact that the US President needs to be able to claim it as a win for himself. The President has staked his personal weight behind a favorable deal for the US. But with every passing day, it is looking increasingly unlikely that it is going to happen.

If that is to happen, then China’s entire way of doing business will need to change. This is starting at intellectual property theft and expands to technology transfers by force from US companies. If those things are not part of the deal, then it would not be the sort of deal that can be claimed as a win for the US. It doesn’t help that today, China came in with its own tariffs. China will raise tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, the Chinese Finance Ministry said Monday.

And in true Trump fashion, the U.S. may not be done retaliating. The U.S. President has threatened to put 25% tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods that remain untaxed. The president has signaled he is content leaving the duties in place, arguing they will damage China more than the U.S. What are your thoughts?

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Can 102 Words Really Impact Stock Prices?

Joe Samuel

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In short, the answer is yes.  We’ve witnessed, first hand, this week how just a few words can drastically impact the stock market.  If you’re just tuning in, at the beginning of the first full week of May, U.S. President Donald Trump Tweeted out a 102-word post that ended up triggering a sell-off costing the global markets around $1.36 TRILLION…with a “T”!

The “Trump Tweet” expressed that he would once again increase tariffs on Chinese goods by the end of this week. What followed has been a shock to the global markets with futures pointing at dramatic declines every day this week.  Though some say that the decline are all but a speed bump, it still hasn’t helped the fact that this drop is one of the worst seen all year. People like Kerry Craig of JPMorgan Asset Management think that a trade deal can still be reached.  The expectations, however, have been readjusted to reflect a more long-term time horizon.

Eyes Turn Toward The Second Half Of The Week

Other analysts like Oanda Asia Pacific’s Jeffrey Halley feel that investors are prudently “lightening their loads.” Halley said, “My feeling is that investors are lightening their portfolios as a precaution.”

All eyes are on the second half of this week.  As we reported on May 7th, Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator will be heading to the US to talk trade this week.  

“Liu will be in the U.S. from May 9-10. The invite comes from both the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.” Regardless of what “will happen,” what has happened thus far has been an emotionally charged & very fragile global market. As this story develops we will continue to follow with more updates.

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Chinese Negotiators To Visit US As Tariffs Trigger More Concerns

Jon Phillip

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trump like a boss china

Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator will be heading to the US to talk trade this week.  The two countries have been at odds for months now with China trying to leverage the current US tariff situation. Of course, the US has not helped things either by continuing to increase tariffs on Chinese goods. 

Liu will be in the U.S. from May 9-10. The invite comes from both the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The markets took a hit on Monday after U.S. President Trump explained that he was not pleased with the speed of discussions and that he planned to raise tariffs by the end of the week.  Chinese authorities initially considered delaying talks in light of this.

What’s Next For China & The U.S.?

Both Mnuchin and Lighthizer were concerned after it was evident that talks weren’t making progress.  This was during a visit to Beijing just last week. Over the weekend, China sent a new draft of an agreement that outlined a pullback on certain language on several issues.  These issues had “the potential to change the deal very dramatically,” according to Mnuchin.

According to reports from the Global Times newspaper, China was prepared for other outcomes to the deal with the U.S. This also included a temporary breakdown. Furthermore, China had also planned to continue talks even if the U.S. decided to raise tariffs. Of course, time will tell but now we must see how the markets will react to these new developments coming from China.

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