Fed Watchers Seek Clues, Raimondo in China: Sunday US Briefing

Something for your week. 

(Bloomberg) — Here we are, in the waning days of summer and a month marked by wildfires, mug shots, a mysterious plane crash and flip-flopping in the equities market. Nineteen trading sessions have come and gone in August without a single back-to-back gain in the S&P 500. Why are traders so twitchy? “Some clarity on interest rates would certainly help,” said Todd Sohn, ETF and technical strategist at Strategas Securities LLC. Perhaps this week will offer a few clues.  

The big clue. Fed watchers will be seeking that clarity and evidence of the economy cooling down in US GDP and jobless numbers as well as a fresh read on inflation with the PCE gauge. The economic data will be key to divining the central bank’s next step and how the bond market fares. For now, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has bond traders right where he wants them.

The big buy.  Retailers of consumer goods cashed in on surging demand during the pandemic, then ramped up prices as inflation soared. Now the tables are turning. With US shoppers more hesitant to shell out for discretionary goods, they are turning to an old trick: discounts. 

The big settlement. 3M  has tentatively agreed to pay more than $5.5 billion to resolve over 300,000 lawsuits claiming it sold the US military defective combat earplugs, people familiar with the deal said. 

The big trip. Of all the Biden administration officials to travel to China in recent months, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s visit to China starting today may have the best shot at lowering tensions between the world’s two largest economies. Ahead of the trip, she told reporters that she sees opportunities for commercial partnerships in areas such as travel and tourism, while signaling to her hosts that the US won’t compromise on national security.

The big suspension.  FIFA provisionally suspended Luis Rubiales, the head of Spain’s football association, following a week of controversy over his behavior at the Women’s World Cup final, including kissing one of the team’s star players on the lips.

The big ask.  President Joe Biden’s reelection team is drawing on Vice President Kamala Harris’ ties to Hollywood and Silicon Valley to court big-ticket contributions from those spheres as well as from Wall Street. Former President Donald Trump raised $7.1 million since his arrest in Georgia as his campaign sought to capitalize on the mug shot taken at a Fulton County jail.

The big tempest. Florida is bracing for a hurricane to strike as soon as Wednesday as a storm crossing the Gulf of Mexico builds, promising to bring flooding rain to Cuba, Mexico and the southeastern US. Governor Ron DeSantis has urged residents to prepare and declared an emergency in 33 counties mostly along the state’s Gulf coast.

The big tragedy. Also in Florida, a masked white man fatally shot three Black people inside a Jacksonville Dollar General store in a predominately African-American neighborhood. The shooter, who had also posted racist writings, then killed himself.


The big  host.  Bob Barker, who spent nearly four decades hosting The Price Is Right, the longest-running game show in US television history, has died. He was 99.

And finally… the big championship. The US Open heads to its opening matches this week and the women’s division has never been so unpredictable following Serena Williams’s decision to give up the sport last year. Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina stand out as among the most dominant players, but the biggest tournaments have recently demonstrated just how wide open the women’s game has become.That’s it from here. Have a great week.

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