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A trade deal between the U.S. and China looks more uncertain, while Theresa May wins Parliament’s backing for her plan to delay Brexit. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Trump-Xi Meeting Postponed
A meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping to sign an agreement to end their trade war won’t occur this month and is more likely to happen in April at the earliest, three people familiar with the matter said. Despite claims of progress in talks by both sides, a hoped-for summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort will now take place at the end of April if it happens at all, according to one of the people. China is pressing for a formal state visit, which traditionally takes place in Washington, rather than a lower-key appearance just to sign a trade deal, the person said. Xi’s staff have scrapped planning for a potential flight to the U.S. following a trip to Europe later this month, a separate person said.
U.K. Votes to Delay Brexit
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May enjoyed a rare good day in Parliament, fighting off her opponents and winning the endorsement of British politicians to seek to delay Brexit day. The result on Thursday means her Brexit plan -- which has twice been rejected by huge majorities in the House of Commons -- is still in play. The House of Commons voted 412 to 202 to support May’s motion, which sets out how she will ask the European Union to extend the Brexit deadline from March 29 to June 30, if a deal can be reached next week. The motion also opens the door to a potentially much longer postponement. If no Brexit agreement is passed in another parliamentary vote by March 20, more time will be needed to find a solution, and the U.K. will have to take part in European Parliament elections in May, it says. This is aimed at encouraging opponents to back her deal.
Boeing Jets May Be Grounded Through April
Boeing Co. has temporarily halted deliveries of its 737 Max jetliner because of restrictions imposed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The family of passenger jets could remain grounded in the U.S. at least through April, U.S. House lawmakers said Thursday after they were briefed by aviation regulators. Flights won’t resume until the planes receive updated flight control software that Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are racing to finalize, Pete DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Missouri Republican Sam Graves, that panel’s ranking member, said after a briefing by FAA officials on Thursday. That process could last for six weeks or more depending on additional training needed for pilots, said Representative Rick Larsen, the Democratic chairman of the panel’s aviation subcommittee.
U.S. Stocks End Rally
Asia stocks look ready for a mixed open after U.S. shares halted a three-day rally. Futures pointed to small gains for shares in Japan and Australia, while Hong Kong stocks were indicated lower. The dollar surged amid concern a trade deal with China remains elusive, while the pound fell as the Brexit saga rumbled on. The S&P 500 spent most of the session fluctuating between gains and losses in thin trading, before a slight fade at the close. The index had jumped 2.5 percent over the prior three days, pushing past the 2,800 level that had capped prior advances. Consumer and material shares were the worst performers Thursday. Bank and technology shares led gains.
Facebook Blames Servers for Huge Outage
Facebook Inc. said a shift in the setup of its computer servers caused a widespread outage described as the largest ever recorded to hit the social-media network and its other services. “As a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services,” Facebook said in a tweet. Beginning about 11:15 a.m. New York time Wednesday, global users encountered only partially loaded pages or no content at all on Facebook’s main social network and its related services, including photo-sharing site Instagram and messaging tools Messenger and WhatsApp. The outage continued into Thursday. It was the longest time Facebook’s properties have been offline since 2012, when Downdetector began tracking the company’s service level.
What we’ve been reading:
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- China’s biggest meeting of the year wraps up.
- Abu Dhabi blacklists Goldman Sachs over the 1MDB scandal…
- … Meanwhile, the firm plans to cut 65 investment-banking jobs.
- Australia’s spending bonanza gives the central bank some breathing room.
- Toyota boosts U.S. spending with an eye on Trump.
- Real estate developers are now designing with Instagram in mind.
- The future of dim sum is pokemon buns.
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