Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 13, 2017

Trump comments drag down the dollar, Trump reverses course on several key economic policies, and more

1

Dollar drops after Trump says it's 'getting too strong'

The dollar dropped on Wednesday after President Trump told The Wall Street Journal that the U.S. currency was "getting too strong," saying that "it's very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency." Trump also said the U.S. would not label China as a currency manipulator in an upcoming report, saying China had not done so in months, and he didn't want to torpedo his push to get China to help rein in North Korea. Trump said he was partly to blame for pushing the greenback too high, "because people have confidence in me." The dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of other currencies, fell by 0.6 percent and the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to a five-month low. U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday, too.

2

Trump reverses course on China, Yellen, Export-Import Bank

President Trump is reversing himself on several key economic issues, moving closer to policies favored by centrist Republicans and even, in some cases, those of his predecessor, Barack Obama. In addition to saying he would not label China a "currency manipulator," even though he recently called Beijing the "world champion" of currency manipulation, Trump said he was open to reappointing Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Last year Trump said Yellen should be "ashamed" of what the Fed had done to the country on her watch. Trump also praised the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which he mocked last year, telling The Wall Street Journal the agency is "a very good thing, and it actually makes money."

3

JPMorgan Chase shares rise on unexpectedly strong earnings

JPMorgan Chase & Co. reported quarterly earnings that surpassed analysts' estimates, sending its shares higher in early Thursday trading. The bank reported an unexpectedly strong 2 percent increase in equity trading, to $1.6 billion, helping to fuel profits of $1.65 a share. Analysts had predicted profits of $1.52 a share. The report was the first indication of how much money major U.S. banks have made from stock and bond trading this year. Bank stocks have risen since the November election on expectations of President Trump's pro-business policies and Federal Reserve interest rate hikes that could help lift bank profits.

4

Writers Guild stages reality-show walkout

The Writers Guild of America on Wednesday staged a walkout of reality show writer-producers in a renewed push to get them and traditional screenwriters separate contracts. The walkout, which included at least 100 workers, affected a dozen reality show companies in New York and Los Angeles, including Peacock Productions (a unit of NBCUniversal) and Leftfield Entertainment, which makes Pawn Stars. "It's about asserting power," said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, which spearheaded the effort. "Conditions are still rough in this part of the business, and we are determined to change that." Last year, 50 guild members picketed Leftfield in what the company called an "unprofessional and egregious" move.

5

IEA says oil demand growth slowing as market comes 'very close' to balance

Oil prices erased early losses on Thursday after the International Energy Agency said it expected growth in global crude oil demand to slow for a second consecutive year in 2017. The Paris-based agency predicted growth of 1.3 million barrels a day this year, down from an earlier forecast of 1.4 million barrels, thanks to stalled demand in many markets, including the U.S. The energy watchdog said in its Thursday report that the market is "very close" to a balance after a years-long glut, partly due to pledges by OPEC and some non-OPEC producers to limit output. On Thursday, the international benchmark oil rose by 2 cents to $55.88 a barrel.

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