1. Dow to fall, Trump’s Fed picks on Capitol Hill, Tesla to issue more stock
Trader Michael Urkonis works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 28, 2020.
Bryan R Smith | Reuters
U.S. stock futures were pointing to declines at Thursday’s open, with Wall Street set to give back a large chunk of the prior session’s strong gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs Wednesday. After two days of testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill, the Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing for President Donald Trump‘s two picks to the Fed’s board of governors. Central bank critic Judy Shelton is likely to get more attention than fellow nominee Christopher Waller. The government said Thursday that consumer prices in January rose 0.1%, just half the monthly inflation increase that had been expected.
Meanwhile, Tesla shares, after surging recently, were under some pressure in the premarket Thursday after the electric auto maker announced a $2 billion common stock offering. CEO Elon Musk will buy as much as $10 million worth of stock in this offering, while Tesla board member Larry Ellison will buy up to $1 million. Tesla said it plans to use the proceeds from the offering “to further strengthen its balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes.”
2. China coronavirus cases surge as officials introduce a new classification
Medical staff receive a patient infected with the novel coronavirus at the temporary hospital converted from Wuhan Sports Center in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, Feb. 12, 2020.
Xiao Yijiu | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
3. Federal budget deficit soars to nearly $1.1 trillion over 12 months
Copies of U.S. President Donald Trump’s FY2021 budget proposal sit on display for the news media on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 10, 2020.
Leah Millis | Reuters
After Trump revealed his fiscal 2021 budget blueprint, new Treasury Department data shows the federal budget deficit for the first fourth months of fiscal 2020 soared 25% to $389.2 billion. That’s already about 40% of the total deficit for fiscal 2019. Revenue to the government actually rose comparatively during the period, but a 9.6% increase in the rate of spending added to the budget shortfall. Over the past 12 months, the gap has been nearly $1.1 trillion as the national debt has swelled past $23 trillion. The president has insisted that stronger economic growth over time would take care of the debt and deficit over time.
4. Biden looks to reinvigorate his campaign with TV stops
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden visits a polling station on the day of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary in Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., February 11, 2020.
Carlos Barria | REUTERS
Joe Biden is hoping a blitz of TV appearances will help him bounce back from disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire — states where rivals Sen. Bernie Sanders and ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg had strong finishes. Biden campaign officials told donors in a call on Wednesday that they plan to have the former vice president appear on more news programs and talk shows, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Biden, the onetime front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, is looking to bounce back in the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22 and the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29.
5. Barclays reveals its CEO is being probed over links to Jeffrey Epstein
Jes Staley, CEO, Barclays Plc
Christopher Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Barclays CEO Jes Staley is being investigated over his links to Jeffrey Epstein, the American financier and convicted sex offender who committed suicide in jail last year. Barclays said Thursday that Staley developed a “professional relationship” with Epstein earlier in his career, but they had no contact since Staley joined the British bank in 2015. U.K. regulators are looking into Staley’s ties to Epstein, said Barclays. The bank also conducted its own review and concluded that Staley “has been sufficiently transparent.” As a result, Barclays’ board has decided to unanimously suggest the reelection of Staley as the bank’s chief executive