Defense stocks at record highs after Trump signs $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia

Several well-known American defense contractors got a big lift Monday thanks to new deals by the Saudi Arabian government to purchase weapons, ships, aircraft and other military equipment in the wake of President Trump’s visit to the kingdom. Lockheed Martin (LMT) said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia was spending more than $28 billion on missiles, radar defense systems and 150 S-70 Black Hawk helicopters, among other things…

U.S. unemployment rate drops to 4.4$, lowest level in 10 years

America’s job market rebounded in April. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.4%, its lowest level since May 2007. America added a solid 211,000 jobs in April, far surpassing the disappointing 79,000 jobs gained in March, according to Labor Department figures released Friday. “It’s a very strong report,” says Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors. “We’re nearing full employment in the US economy.”…

America’s largest oil refinery is now fully owned by Saudi Arabia

America’s largest oil refinery is now fully owned by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state-owned oil behemoth, took 100% control of the sprawling Port Arthur refinery in Texas on Monday, completing a deal that was first announced last year. Port Arthur is considered the crown jewel of the US refinery system. The Gulf Coast facility can process 600,000 barrels of oil per day, making it the largest refinery in North America…

U.S. durable goods orders rise less than expected in March; jobless claims up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New orders for U.S.-made capital goods rose less than expected in March, but a second straight monthly increase in shipments suggested business investment accelerated in the first quarter amid a recovering energy sector. While other data on Thursday showed a bigger-than-expected increase in first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week, the trend in claims remained consistent with tightening labor market conditions…

Why the Bank of England won’t even considers higher rates

Savers lost one of their last hopes for an interest rate rise when Bank of England rate-setter Kristin Forbes announced she would be heading back to her home in Massachusetts in June. Forbes, a US academic who craves a return to the “economic normality” of 4%-5% base rates, has consistently called for an increase, though never actually voted for one…

Is Donald Trump making China look great again?

Two years ago, some European and US experts gathered to discuss China in an elegant English country house. The setting was seductive, but the mood was dark. Two years into Xi Jinping’s presidency, China’s politics were turning away from the liberalising trend of the previous three decades, towards a hard-edged nationalism that was discomfiting China’s immediate neighbours and their western allies…

Dollar rallies, U.S. yields hit 2-week high on expectations of Fed rate hike signal

The dollar strengthened and U.S. Treasury yields hit a two-week high on Monday on expectations the Federal Reserve will give a signal this week that it is gearing up to raise interest rates. An upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy’s strength from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer on Sunday was seen raising the prospect of Fed chair Janet Yellen flagging up a rate rise at a meeting with the world’s central bankers on Friday…

Saudi Aramco chief executive Khalid al-Falih becomes the kingdom’s new energy minister

The new energy minister of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, on Sunday pledged continuity in the kingdom’s oil policy, after being named in a major government overhaul. “Saudi Arabia will maintain its stable petroleum policies,” Khalid al-Falih said a day after King Salman appointed him to replace longtime former oil minister Ali al-Naimi…

North Korea threatens strikes against targets in South Korea, U.S. bases

North Korea has threatened to turn Washington and Seoul into “flames and ashes”, warning of an indiscriminate “pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice” in reaction to the start of US-South Korean military drills. Such threats have been a staple of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, since he took power after his father’s death in December 2011. But they tend to increase when Washington and Seoul stage what they describe as annual defensive springtime war games…

North Korea claims it has successfully tested a ‘miniturised hydrogen bomb’

North Korea has conducted its fourth nuclear test, the country’s state media has announced, in a move that could take it a step closer to developing nuclear warheads capable of striking the US mainland. Some experts, though, said initial evidence was pointing towards a test involving a uranium or plutonium device and not, as Pyongyang has claimed, a far more powerful hydrogen bomb…

U.S. economic growth slows to 1.5% in third quarter amid inventory glut

U.S. economic growth braked sharply in the third quarter as businesses cut back on restocking warehouses to work off an inventory glut, but solid domestic demand could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December. Gross domestic product increased at a 1.5 percent annual rate after expanding at a 3.9 percent clip in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said on Thursday…

Debt ceiling: A crisis unfolding yet again on Capitol Hill

Over four different days in November, the U.S. government has to cut checks to Social Security recipients totaling close to $70 billion. Then there is the salary for federal workers and the military: $12 billion must be paid over five different days. And don’t forget the interest to all those bond holders with U.S. Treasuries: $30 billion due on November 16…

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