Friday, March 9, 2018
What to watch today
On Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its employment report for the second month of 2018. And this report should show continued strength in the U.S. labor market. According to Wall Street estimates compiled by Bloomberg, economists expect nonfarm payrolls grew by 205,000 in February while the unemployment rate likely fell to 4%.
Average hourly earnings will also be in focus, with expectations that wages rose 0.2% over the prior month and 2.8% over the prior year. In January, wages rose 2.9% over the prior year, the most since the financial crisis and a development that caused a spike in Treasury yields which some cited as the beginning of the stock market sell-off which roiled markets in early February. Friday’s report comes less than two weeks before the Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy announcement, set for March 21 and at which the central bank is expected to raise interest rates by 0.25%.
Buffett: We need an ‘Educator-in-chief’ on trade: Warren Buffett thinks free trade is a positive for the U.S. and the world economy. But it takes a clear, concise message from elected officials to explain why. Speaking exclusively with Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer on Thursday, Buffett said that when it comes to programs like trade an “Educator-in-Chief” is needed to outline why these painful policies for a specific few will benefit the masses. [Yahoo Finance]
Trump takes the sting out of his tariffs: As promised, President Donald Trump will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, starting March 22. But Trump has made significant concessions, in response to protests from some of America’s key trading partners. The tariffs — 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports — will exclude Canada and Mexico. And there will be a provision allowing other trade partners to essentially appeal the tariffs, find ways around them, or make the case that their imports don’t really harm the U.S. economy. [Yahoo Finance]
Amazon is shifting Prime Pantry service to subscription model: Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is shifting its Prime Pantry service, which focuses on non-perishable household goods like breakfast cereal, laundry detergent and shampoo, to a $5 per month membership model. Amazon will make the change gradually, encouraging Prime Pantry shoppers to commit to a monthly service charge that gives them free shipping on orders of at least $40, a company spokeswoman said. [Bloomberg]
Toys ‘R’ Us prepares to liquidate operations: Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. is preparing for potential liquidation if its negotiations with creditors do not result in a deal that can help the struggling toy retailer to emerge from bankruptcy, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. These talks are continuing and no decision has yet been taken. The company is also considering other options, including a potential sale in bankruptcy if possible, according to the source. [Reuters]
Obamas reportedly in talks for a programming deal with Netflix: Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is in talks to pay Barack and Michelle Obama for a series of original shows, the New York Times reported, a potential return to the global limelight for the former president and first lady. While the precise content of the programming hasn’t been decided, it would give the Obamas a platform to promote issues they championed in Washington, including health care and nutrition, the Times said, citing unidentified people familiar with the discussions. [Bloomberg]
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