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It’s been 27 years since an incumbent U.S. president lost re-election, and judging by the health of the economy and other traditional metrics, Donald Trump looks unlikely to break the trend.
In addition to presiding over sustained growth and low unemployment, Trump enjoys a nation at relative peace, a well-funded campaign and the strong backing of the Republican Party. And yet, as he prepares to formally kick off his 2020 re-election bid with a prime-time speech in Florida, he has reason to be circumspect, Shannon Pettypiece and Mike Dorning report.
Most private forecasters expect the economy to slow entering the election year, as U.S. trade disputes threaten global commerce — hurting core voters like farmers — and the fiscal stimulus from Trump’s 2018 tax cut fades.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into election meddling by Russia, alongside other controversies that have dogged Trump’s administration, are also potential liabilities.
Trump trails six of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical head-to-head contests, a poll showed last week. And no president since 1952 has been re-elected with an approval rating below 48%. Trump has not exceeded 46% in Gallup polls since taking office.
Much hinges on the Democrats. The question is whether they can select a challenger able to attract the funding and support in battleground states needed to deny Trump a second term.
Iran under pressure | The Pentagon plans to send about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East, even as Trump described as “very minor” the recent attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the U.S. has blamed on Iran. The Pentagon also released new photos and a timeline it said bolstered the case that Iran was behind the incidents. Tehran denies any involvement.
Click here to read how Trump’s campaign vow to get the U.S. out of costly foreign entanglements is colliding with the messy reality of commitments in the Middle East.
Trade turmoil | The chairwoman of the world’s biggest bicycle maker delivered an ominous message to China that its days as a global manufacturing hub may be numbered. Giant Manufacturing started rolling production of its U.S.-bound orders back home to Taiwan when Trump made his tariff threats last year, Cindy Wang reports. Trump’s top trade envoy, Robert Lighthizer, is due to appear before Congress this week to account for the trade conflict.
Scottish dilemma | Scots didn’t vote for Brexit and neither did they elect the Conservatives. So the likelihood of a Brexiteer such as Boris Johnson winning the race to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader and prime minister is forcing some hard choices north of the border. As Alan Crawford and Rodney Jefferson report, the sense in Edinburgh is that another referendum on Scottish independence is now inevitable.
As the Conservative field narrows further today, Alex Morales profiles Rory Stewart, the lesser-known candidate suddenly making waves.
Fall from grace | The holding company of the Brazilian construction and energy giant at the center of a massive Latin America graft probe has filed for bankruptcy protection. Odebrecht has struggled since the “Carwash” investigation, which started in 2014 and brought the construction industry to a halt as access to government projects was cut and executives jailed. The political fallout is still reverberating from Ecuador to Mexico, Peru and Brazil.
Waiting game | Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi still hasn’t named a cabinet five months after taking office, leaving investors in the mineral-rich nation facing endless delays. After a disputed election, Tshisekedi’s protracted talks with his coalition partner have almost paralyzed a nation ranked by the World Bank as one of the most difficult and corrupt places to do business.
What to Watch
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam today apologized for backing a bill to allow extraditions to China, as she seeks to defuse protests that have rocked the city. She declined to resign or withdraw the bill completely — key demands of protest leaders. Rights groups have urged a transparent probe into the death of Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood foot soldier who became Egypt’s first freely elected civilian president. He collapsed during a court hearing over an espionage case, with state-run media saying he suffered a “sudden heart attack.” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s candidate to head the European Commission — Manfred Weber, a German lawmaker in the European parliament — is struggling for momentum, which means she may need to instead focus on getting her preferred person into the European Central Bank’s top job. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo meets today with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Washington. Mogherini said yesterday the EU will not support Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan without a two-state solution included.
And finally…You used to catch only rare glimpses of them in public — a waiter willing to risk jail time might accept them for the right price, street hawkers making offers for them under their breath. Today, U.S. greenbacks are widely used in Venezuela’s supermarkets and bodegas. As Andrew Rosati reports, with the bolivar devalued into irrelevance by Nicolas Maduro’s regime, the cash printed by the gringos he rails against is king.
–With assistance from Karl Maier and Jon Herskovitz.
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FILE PHOTO: Office buildings are pictured in the financial district of Frankfurt, Germany, September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo
June 18, 2019
BERLIN (Reuters) – The mood among German investors deteriorated sharply in June, a survey showed on Tuesday, with the ZEW institute pointing to recent weak economic data and an escalating trade dispute between China and the United States.
ZEW said its monthly survey showed economic sentiment among investors plunged to -21.1 from -2.1 in May. Economists had expected a drop to -5.9.
The June reading was the lowest level since November 2018 and marked the second consecutive monthly drop.
ZEW President Achim Wambach said the steep drop was linked to greater uncertainty about the global economy and a downturn in data on the German economy at the start of the second quarter.
“The intensification of the conflict between the U.S. and China, the increased risk of a military conflict in the Middle East and the higher probability of a no-deal Brexit are all casting a shade on the global economic outlook,” he added.
A separate gauge measuring investors’ assessment of the economy’s current conditions edged down to 7.8 from 8.2 the previous month. Markets had predicted a slightly lower reading of 6.0.
The weaker-than-expected sentiment survey adds to signs that German economic growth will be meager this year and that an expected rebound in 2020 could be less impressive than forecast.
Germany’s influential Ifo institute earlier on Tuesday cut its 2020 growth forecast to 1.7% from 1.8% previously as it warned that a manufacturing recession was starting to spill over into other sectors.
The government expects the economy to grow by 0.5% this year and 1.5% next.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Martin)
Jun 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) and starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) shake hands after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
June 18, 2019
Masahiro Tanaka pitched a two-hitter and was backed by two homers, as the New York Yankees opened a 10-game homestand with a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
Tanaka (5-5) turned in a third straight strong start against the Rays, allowing only a leadoff single to Austin Meadows in the fourth and a two-out single to Willy Adames in the fifth. In three starts this season against Tampa Bay, Tanaka has allowed one run on 10 hits and one walk in 22 innings, with 23 strikeouts.
Tanaka struck out 10, walked one, threw 76 of 111 pitches for strikes, faced two above the minimum and produced his 14th career double-digit strikeout game.
DJ LeMahieu and Cameron Maybin went deep for the Yankees, who homered for the 20th straight game. It is the second-longest streak in team history, behind only a 25-game streak from June 1-29, 1941.
Red Sox 2, Twins 0
J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts each went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Rick Porcello threw seven shutout innings to outduel Jose Berrios and lead Boston past Minnesota in Minneapolis.
It was a season-high sixth straight victory for Boston, which also moved six games above .500 for the first time this season.
Porcello (5-6) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out eight to pick up his first road victory in four decisions. Ryan Brasier pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his seventh save. Berrios (8-3) gave up one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts over eight innings.
Cardinals 5, Marlins 0
Miles Mikolas pitched six scoreless innings, Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler slugged home runs, and host St. Louis earned a win over Miami.
Mikolas (5-7), a native Floridian who lost to his hometown Marlins last week, was much better this time around, allowing six hits — all singles — and no walks while striking out four. He combined with three relievers on an eight-hit shutout and ended his personal five-decision losing streak.
Carpenter went 3-for-4 with his 10th homer of the season, a double and two runs, helping the Cardinals improve to 6-2 in their past eight games. The Marlins have dropped nine of their past 11 games.
Rangers 7, Indians 2
Danny Santana belted a two-run homer, and Lance Lynn struck out nine and allowed just one run in seven innings as Texas defeated Cleveland in Arlington, Texas.
Elvis Andrus ripped a two-run double, and former Indian Shin-Soo Choo and Jeff Mathis each drove in a run for the Rangers, who scored all seven of their runs with two outs.
Francisco Lindor and rookie Oscar Mercado each belted a solo homer for the Indians, who fell for just the fourth time in 12 games.
Braves 12, Mets 3
Ronald Acuna Jr. continued his torrid offensive pace with three more hits, including a leadoff home run, and Atlanta defeated visiting New York.
Acuna was 3-for-5 with his 17th homer and two RBIs and extended his hitting streak to nine games, matching his season best. Acuna, who was 4-for-5 on Sunday, is hitting .409 (18-for-44) with three homers during the streak. He lifted his batting average to .301.
Brian McCann and Ozzie Albies also had three hits and struck back-to-back homers for the Braves in the eighth inning. Atlanta has won 10 of its past 11 games. The Mets have lost four of their past five.
Reds 3, Astros 2
Luis Castillo overcame errant command of the strike zone, and host Cincinnati held on through some tense moments in the latter innings for a victory over Houston.
Castillo (7-1) walked a career-high six batters, but he allowed only two hits and fanned seven while working six-plus innings. Michael Lorenzen got the last two outs for his third save.
The Reds scored all of their runs in the fifth inning, on a two-RBI single from Nick Senzel and an RBI hit from Eugenio Suarez.
Angels 10, Blue Jays 5
Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani each homered and had three RBIs, Felix Pena pitched six-plus innings in relief, and Los Angeles won at Toronto.
Trout had four hits, including a two-run double. Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun also homered for the Angels. Pena (5-1) allowed four runs, six hits and three walks while striking out five.
Cavan Biggio hit two home runs and had three RBIs for Toronto, and Randal Grichuk added a two-run homer.
Giants 3, Dodgers 2
Rookie Tyler Beede gave up just one run over six innings to earn his first major league victory as San Francisco won at Los Angeles.
Brandon Crawford delivered a two-run double in the second inning to help the Giants even the season series against their longtime rivals after 10 games.
Max Muncy hit a second-inning home run for the Dodgers, his 17th long ball of the season and fifth over his past eight games. Chris Taylor added an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth inning, but Los Angeles lost for the second time in three games.
A’s 3, Orioles 2
Mike Fiers outdueled Andrew Cashner in a battle of veteran right-handers handcuffed by shaky defenses, and host Oakland held on to beat Baltimore.
Fiers combined with Liam Hendriks and Blake Treinen on a three-hitter, helping the A’s turn back the Orioles for the fourth time in five tries this season.
Oakland’s Matt Olson hit an RBI double in the first inning, but Baltimore replied with two unearned runs in the second thanks to a three-base throwing error by A’s third baseman Matt Chapman. Orioles catcher Chance Cisco committed a third-inning throwing error that allowed two runs to score.
Padres 2, Brewers 0
Joey Lucchesi allowed just three hits and three walks over seven scoreless innings as San Diego shut out visiting Milwaukee.
Lucchesi (6-4) had five strikeouts while throwing a season-high 103 pitches. Two of the six Brewers who reached base against Lucchesi were eliminated on double plays. Padres reliever Craig Stammen allowed the Brewers’ other hit, a single in the eighth, and Kirby Yates pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save.
Manny Machado, playing while appealing a one-game suspension issued for allegedly bumping an umpire Saturday, hit a third-inning homer. The game’s only other run came on a first-inning wild pitch from Jhoulys Chacin (3-8).
Royals 6, Mariners 4
Jorge Soler hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning as Kansas City rallied to win at Seattle.
Martin Maldonado homered in the ninth inning for the Royals, who won for just the 10th time in 35 road games this season. They were the last team in the majors to reach double digits in victories away from home.
With two outs in the eighth, Alex Gordon grounded a single into left field against Anthony Bass (1-2). Soler then went deep to right-center field, his 19th home run of the season, for a 5-4 lead.
Phillies at Nationals, ppd.
The scheduled game between Philadelphia and host Washington was rained out. It will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem speaks during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia August 30, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
June 18, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Tuesday that he does not want to see fighting between the Syrian and Turkish militaries.
Moualem made the comment in China during a joint briefing with the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
FILE PHOTO: Ships and shipping containers are pictured at the port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California, U.S., January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
June 17, 2019
By Jonathan Saul
LONDON (Reuters) – A group of leading banks will for the first time include efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions in their decision making when providing shipping company loans, executives said on Tuesday.
International shipping accounts for 2.2% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the U.N.’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), has a long-term goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050.
Working with non-profit organisations the Global Maritime Forum, the Rocky Mountain Institute and London University’s UCL Energy Institute, 11 banks have established a framework to measure the carbon intensity of shipping finance portfolios.
The banks involved in the “Poseidon Principles” initiative, which will set a common baseline to assess whether lending portfolios are in line or behind the adopted climate goals set by the IMO, represent around a fifth or $100 billion of the total global shipping finance portfolio.
The results will be published annually in individual sustainability reports and the data will be obtained by banks from borrowers under existing loan agreements.
Although the IMO agreed stricter energy efficiency targets last month for certain types of ships, environmental campaigners are calling for tougher goals.
“We are helping the shipping industry emerge into the 21st century in a responsible way,” Michael Parker, global head of shipping at Citigroup, told Reuters.
Those involved so far are Citigroup, Societe Generale, DNB, ABN Amro, Amsterdam Trade Bank, Credit Agricole CIB, Danish Ship Finance, Danske Bank, DVB, ING and Nordea.
“Banks have a huge role to play here because there is about $450 billion of senior debt that the world’s shipping banks and Chinese lessors grant to the sector and about 70,000 commercial vessels,” Paul Taylor, global head of shipping & offshore with Societe Generale CIB, said.
Banks will in the longer term be more selective about which ships they include in their lending portfolios, bankers said.
“Will there be companies that will find it difficult to get finance as they have less efficient ships, yes, it will be a consequence of it – but it’s not going to be used to look for those companies and somehow find a way of getting them out,” Citigroup’s Parker said.
Oivind Haraldsen, Danske Bank’s global head of shipping, said more institutions would join the efforts to cut the carbon footprint of the sector.
“All of us have to push – we as banks probably have more power than we are aware,” he said.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)
FILE PHOTO: The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
June 17, 2019
By Michael Erman and Tamara Mathias
(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc on Monday said it would buy Array Biopharma Inc for $10.64 billion in cash, a deal it hopes will help make it a leader in colon cancer and build up its pipeline of oncology drugs.
The largest U.S. drugmaker agreed to pay a hefty premium of 62% for Array, which sells the combination treatment Braftovi and Mektovi for melanoma. But those drugs appear poised to become part of a promising triple combination for advanced colorectal cancer.
Pfizer executives said the company began actively pursuing Array last month after it released positive clinical data showing that Braftovi and Mektovi in combination with Eli Lilly and Co’s Erbitux helped reduce the risk of death from colorectal cancer by 48% compared to the standard of care in patients with a gene mutation known as BRAF V600E.
The data “is really a landmark publication in one of the most dismal tumors,” Pfizer research chief Mikael Dolsten said in a phone interview.
“There will be ample opportunities to do combinations and build a whole science platform around colorectal cancer,” said Dolsten, adding that he believes the Array drugs could eventually tackle colon cancer earlier in the disease process.
That is a type of cancer where the class of immunotherapies that include Merck and Co’s blockbuster Keytruda have not been as compelling as Array’s results, Morningstar analyst Damien Conover said.
Braftovi and Mektovi, launched last July for the deadliest form of skin cancer at a price of $22,000 per month, had sales of around $72 million over their first nine months. The company also has revenue from royalty and licensing deals.
Pfizer is paying $48 per share for Array, which rose 55% to $45.95 in midday trading. Pfizer’s shares fell 0.4 percent to $42.59.
(Graphic: Array biopharma shares – https://tmsnrt.rs/2XT8Cv9)
Oncology has become one of the most profitable areas for drug companies as breakthroughs in treatments have improved survival rates and costs for the drugs have surged.
Array is Pfizer’s first major purchase under new Chief Executive Albert Bourla, who took on the role in January. It is also its biggest acquisition since a $14 billion purchase of Medivation in 2016 gave it the prostate cancer drug Xtandi, forecast by analysts to top $1 billion in sales next year.
Bourla and his predecessor Ian Read have been saying for more than a year that the company would eschew transformative deals because of the strength of its pipeline. But in April, Pfizer said it would consider bolt-on deals worth a few billion dollars to complement its pipeline.
Read had previously failed to close megadeals to acquire rivals AstraZeneca and later Allergan.
Pfizer’s growth has slowed in recent years and Bourla has been touting the company’s “15 in 5” plan to launch 15 experimental treatments, each with at least $1 billion annual sales potential, over a five-year period. The company been investing in cancer drugs and gene therapies.
Pfizer said it expects to complete the deal in the second half of 2019.
The transaction is expected to add to earnings beginning 2022, and will reduce adjusted earnings per share by between 4 and 5 cents this year and in 2020, Pfizer said.
Pfizer said it expects to finance the majority of the deal, which has an enterprise value of about $11.4 billion, with debt and the remaining with existing cash.
Pfizer was advised by Guggenheim Securities and Morgan Stanley on the deal. Array’s advisor was Centerview Partners.
(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and Bill Berkrot)
FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
June 17, 2019
By Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper
LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson got a boost in his bid to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday when one of his former rivals backed him and said he was almost certain to win the contest.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who dropped out of the race on Friday after winning 20 votes in the first ballot of Conservative lawmakers, said Johnson was the best candidate to lead the party.
“Boris has run a disciplined campaign and is almost certainly going to be our next prime minister,” Hancock said in an article in The Times newspaper. “My view is that we need to start coming together sooner rather than later.”
The Times said Hancock was a strong contender to be Britain’s next finance minister if Johnson wins the race to replace May.
The Brexit crisis could deepen under a new British leader as Johnson, the face of the official campaign to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, has promised to lead the United Kingdom out of the EU with or without a deal.
The British parliament has indicated it will try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which investors warn could roil markets and shock the world economy, while the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement that May agreed.
Johnson, the favorite to replace May, won the support of 114 Conservative Party lawmakers in the first round of the leadership contest. A total of 313 lawmakers voted.
His closest rivals were: Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, who won 43 votes; Michael Gove, environment minister, with 37 votes and Dominic Raab, former Brexit minister, on 27 votes.
“Boris is the front-runner,” Gove told BBC radio. “But we need to make sure that he is tested.” Johnson has so far kept a low profile during the leadership race and did not take part in a candidates’ debate on Sunday.
The second round of voting will be on Tuesday with the result due around 1700 GMT. Any candidate with 32 votes or fewer is eliminated. If all candidates have more than 32 votes, the one with the fewest is eliminated.
If Johnson does win the top job and does go for a no-deal Brexit, a constitutional crisis could be on the horizon if parliament tries to block such a departure.
Raab has said parliament could be suspended if necessary, a possibility he refused to rule out on Sunday in a debate with other contenders.
But the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said it was fantasy to think that the lower house of parliament could be pushed aside.
“It’s a joke!” Bercow told French newspaper Le Figaro. “The idea that the British parliament can be pushed aside when such a crucial decision is to be made is fantasy.”
But Bercow, whose comments were reported in French, cautioned that the default outcome if no agreement had been ratified and no extension is negotiated was that Britain would leave without a deal to smooth the transition.
“In other words: we will not be able to prevent a hard Brexit,” Bercow said.
The current deadline to leave the EU is Oct. 31.
The likelihood of a no-deal exit has jumped in the past month, according to economists in a Reuters poll.
British companies look set to cut their investment by the most in 10 years in 2019 as the Brexit crisis drags on, a survey showed.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Additional reporting by Richard Lough in Paris; editing by William Schomberg and Janet Lawrence)