Traders gather at the post that trades Pfizer's stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange October 29, 2015.   REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Global stocks rose on Monday as investors held onto hopes for a prompt deal on a new round of US fiscal stimulus, boosted by the White House’s change in position over the weekend.US stock futures rose as much as 1%, even after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the Trump administration’s latest proposal on Sunday.In Asia, China stocks rose to a two-year peak, driven by a new central bank policy that makes it easier to sell the yuan.The FTSE 100 edged slightly lower ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s expected announcements on stricter COVID-19 restrictions across the country.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Global stocks rose on Monday as investors largely pinned hopes on a new US fiscal stimulus deal to get across the line. 

US stock futures rose as much as 1% even after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the Trump administration’s latest proposal, or a stripped-down version of the coronavirus relief bill, calling it “grossly inadequate” over the weekend. The dollar index, meanwhile, fell 0.5%.

President Donald Trump’s team proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus package, which includes a $400 boost in weekly unemployment insurance, $1,200 stimulus checks for US adults, and $1,000 checks for every child. 

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 15 stocks set to deliver the strongest possible profit growth and subsequent returns through year-end

The MSCI World Index rose 0.7% as global markets rotate into a risk-seeking position and investor hopes persist that a fiscal stimulus package is on the horizon. But House Democrats appear to be sticking to their original $2.2 trillion plan

“Even if the White House capitulates, getting that number through the Senate will be challenging,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. “With markets now totally ignoring the possibility of a fiscal stimulus package not happening and piling into the ‘buy everything’ trade, the correction if negotiations fall apart could be something to behold.”

Nonetheless, the more positive mood carried over to the European region, where the Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue-chip shares rose 0.3% and Germany’s DAX rose 0.2%.

London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2%, ahead of a slew of new  COVID-19 restrictions across the country from Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson following an explosion in new cases. Britain already has the highest death rate in Europe.

In Asia, China’s benchmark index jumped to a two-year peak, after the People’s Bank of China unveiled a new policy that makes it easier to short the yuan, which was down almost 1% against the dollar.

The central bank no longer requires lenders to hold reserves when buying foreign currency forward contracts. The yuan’s appreciation is likely to resume after these measures run their course, OANDA’S Halley said.

China’s Shanghai Composite index rose 2.6%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 2.2%, while a stronger yen knocked 0.3% off Japan’s Nikkei.

Gold rose 0.2% to $1,929 an ounce, lifted by a weaker dollar. Gold’s firmness points to “positive technical developments that should signal further gains in the week ahead,” Halley said.

Read more: SPACs have generated a $39 billion frenzy in the US this year. The executive behind their first ETF explains how retail investors can use them to level the playing field with Wall Street titans like Warren Buffett.

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Trader NYSE

US stocks closed lower on Thursday as investors continued to digest the Fed’s uncertain economic outlook and weekly jobless claims that still exceed the highs of the Great Recession.Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments on Wednesday expressed uncertainty in the economic recovery and mentioned that the Fed didn’t expect to raise interest rates until at least 2023.Additionally, weekly jobless claims fell by more than 30,000 from the previous week, to 860,000, though that was higher than the consensus estimate of 850,000. The current weekly jobless claim figures are still well above the 6650,000 peak reached during the Great Recession in 2009.Oil prices traded higher after reports that Saudia Arabia stressed OPEC+ compliance to its members. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 2.6%, to $41.22 per barrel.Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks fell on Thursday as investors continued to digest comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and weekly jobless-claims data.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments on Wednesday expressed uncertainty in the economic recovery and mentioned that the Fed didn’t expect to raise interest rates until at least 2023.

In a signal that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is muddling along, weekly jobless claims fell by more than 30,000 from the previous week, to 860,000, slightly higher than the consensus estimate of 850,000.

The current weekly jobless claim figures are still well above the 6650,000 peak reached during the Great Recession in 2009.

Tech stocks led the decline even after the cloud-tech platform Snowflake staged the biggest initial public offering of the year on Wednesday. Its stock more than doubled in its first day of trading.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. market close on Thursday:

S&P 500: 3,357.01, down 0.8%Dow Jones industrial average: 27,901.98, down 0.5% (130 points)Nasdaq composite: 10,910.28, down 1.3%

Read more: A Wall Street firm says investors should buy these 15 cheap, high-earning stocks now to beat the market in 2021 as more expensive companies fall behind

Going forward, investors will likely turn their attention to additional stimulus measures from Congress. While Republicans and Democrats haven’t landed on the same page on a “skinny” deal, key negotiators have seemed increasingly optimistic about a deal, and pressure is mounting to get a deal done before the November election.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said Republicans should warm up to the idea of sending bigger direct payments to Americans.

Meanwhile, technical traders likely have their eye on the 50-day moving average, as multiple US stock market indexes converge on the important support level.

Read more: Legendary options trader Tony Saliba famously put together 70 straight months of profits greater than $100,000. Here’s an inside look at the strategy that propelled him to millionaire status before age 25.

Elsewhere, Yelp said in a report that 60% of the 163,735 businesses that had closed in the US as of August 31 because of the pandemic wouldn’t reopen, suggesting that small businesses have fared worse than big ones. The total business closures represented a 23% jump since mid-July, Yelp said.

The SPAC craze continued as Richard Branson announced plans to launch a $400 million special-purpose acquisition company. Branson has experience with SPACs: His Virgin Galactic went public via merging with a SPAC led by the billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya.

Spot gold fell as much as 1.3%, to $1,932.95 per ounce. The US dollar extended its decline while Treasury yields were mostly flat.

Crude-oil futures rose markedly after Saudia Arabia stressed to OPEC+ members to stick to their production quotas and to not overproduce,according to Bloomberg. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 2.6%, to $41.22 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, rose 3%, to $43.50 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Read more: 3 top investing executives lay out the biggest risks to markets heading into a volatile election season — and share their best recommendations for navigating what happens next

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Wrong Way

Filings for weekly unemployment benefits rose for the first time in nearly four months, a sign the jobs recovery could be faltering. Initial unemployment claims rose by a seasonally adjusted 109,000 to 1.4 million for the week ended July 18, halting what had been a steady descent from a peak of 6.9 million in late March. The data also show that the number of people receiving benefits has shrunk in recent weeks. Taken together, claims and benefits totals suggest new layoffs are being offset by hiring and employers recalling workers, though at a slower pace than a few weeks ago, Eric Morath reports.

Last week’s increase in applications came after several states imposed new restrictions on businesses such as bars and restaurants when coronavirus cases rose.

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

IHS Markit’s U.S. manufacturing index for the opening weeks of July is expected to rise to 52.0 from 49.8 at the end of June. Services are expected to rise to 51.0 from 47.9. (9:45 a.m. ET)

U.S. new-home sales for June are expected to rise to an annual pace of 702,000 from 676,000 a month earlier. (10 a.m. ET)

The Baker Hughes rig count is out at 1 p.m. ET.

TOP STORIES

Ugly, Bad and Good

Jobless claims aren’t the only data suggesting trouble for the labor-market recovery. U.S. employers added 4.8 million jobs in June, helping recoup some of the massive losses from earlier in the year. But the Census Bureau’s weekly household pulse surveys, which tracked the big rise that month, now indicate that a resurgent pandemic has reclaimed most of those gains. Of course, other indicators point to continued job gains, the weekly survey is a new product and it isn’t meant to stand in for the official monthly report. Even so, the dropoff is a worrisome sign for a struggling labor market.

Time is running short for millions of unemployed Americans. Senate Republicans scrapped their plans to release a proposal for the next coronavirus relief bill after continued differences with the White House on unemployment insurance and direct cash payments. With the delay, Republicans won’t roll out their roughly $1 trillion legislation until next week, further compressing an already tight timeline to reach an agreement with Democrats and pass a fifth coronavirus relief bill. A $600 weekly supplement to state unemployment benefits is set to expire July 31, though it will effectively end in many states this weekend, Andrew Restuccia and Andrew Duehren report.

Once Congress does approve an economic relief package, a second round of stimulus payments could reach many Americans faster than last time. The Internal Revenue Service now has procedures, online tools, bank-account information and coordination with other agencies that it didn’t have set up in advance when the first round of payments was approved in the spring, Richard Rubin reports.

Another bit of good news: Some of the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic are driving the jobs recovery. Health-care providers and restaurants—which closed during lockdowns—have recalled millions of laid off workers. Job growth has also been boosted by increased demand in a handful of industries, including logistics firms, financial services and retailers such as furniture stores, Eric Morath and Kim Mackrael report.

Corporate America Doesn’t Expect This to Be Over Soon

Hershey said subdued Halloween celebrations this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic could hurt candy demand during a holiday that typically generates a tenth of its sales. The owner of Reese’s and Jolly Rancher said it is planning to make less Halloween-themed candy to avoid having loads of leftovers that it would have to pull back or try to sell at a discount, Annie Gasparro reports.

AMC Entertainment is pushing back the reopening of its U.S. theaters to mid-to-late August, after a number of summer blockbusters delayed their release dates. The nation’s largest theater chain previously said it would reopen at the end of July. U.S. theaters closed and Hollywood studios halted the release of major motion pictures in March as the pandemic took hold, and they remain in a holding pattern as several states are experiencing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, Dave Sebastian reports.

Walt Disney canceled the planned August release of “Mulan” and said it would also delay the release of future installments in the “Avatar” and “Star Wars” series by a year, R.T. Watson and Erich Schwartzel report.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines said they were tempering expectations for an air-travel recovery, as mounting coronavirus cases have driven down bookings by as much as 80% in some parts of the U.S. Southwest said cancellations are picking up and demand looks weaker heading into fall. Executives at American said bookings have started to slide and business travel, which usually picks up after Labor Day, shows no signs of resuming, Alison Sider and Doug Cameron report.

“In short, the crisis continues,” American Chief Executive Doug Parker said.

Europe’s Comeback

Encouraging news from Europe: Purchasing managers indexes for the U.K. and eurozone returned to growth this month, with output advancing at the fastest rate in years. The data suggest some economic rebound in the third quarter after a disastrous spring. “The concern is that the recovery could falter after this initial revival. Firms continue to reduce headcounts to a worrying degree, with many worried that underlying demand is insufficient to sustain the recent improvement in output,” IHS Markit economist Chris Williamson said. Manufacturing and service-sector activity are still contracting in Japan, though not as severely as prior months. U.S. data are out at 9:45 a.m. ET.

There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills

The price of gold neared an all-time high that has stood for almost nine years on Thursday, punctuating a furious rally driven by anxious investors seeking refuge from the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown. Prices have risen nearly 25% this year, extending an advance that began early in 2019. The coronavirus has sparked a global gold rush, with physical traders in London and New York trying to get their hands on more metal and individuals around the world ordering bars and coins, Amrith Ramkumar reports.

TWEET OF THE DAY

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The American Express® Gold Card wants a seat at your table, whether you’re dining out or buying groceries. With four points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 a calendar year, then 1x), along with airline and dining credits that almost entirely cover its annual fee, Gold is looking better than ever.

When American Express first rebranded and updated the American Express® Gold Card with new benefits and earning rates in 2018, I was a little disappointed. The 4x bonus categories made this card one of TPG’s best credit cards for dining, but it was limited to purchases in the U.S.

That didn’t do me much good as an expat, and frankly, I was a bit disappointed to see a top-notch travel rewards card that didn’t work well for people traveling internationally. However, Amex has since expanded the dining bonus category to offer 4x points for restaurants worldwide — and although transactions don’t always code properly, I’m finally able to use this card while living abroad in Shanghai.

The Amex Gold card sits squarely between entry-level credit cards that have annual fees hovering around $100 and premium cards that have annual fees starting at $450 or more. The Amex Gold offers up to $220 in combined annual statement credits, which make it easy to justify this card’s $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). Whether your perfect meal is homecooked or at a fancy restaurant, let’s dig in to see what makes this card worth it.

Who is this card for?

If you like to dine out (or order in using delivery services such as Grubhub/Seamless) and you can make good use of American Express Membership Rewards points, this card is a no-brainer, with its valuable bonus categories and up to $220 in annual statement credits. It’s possible to offset the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) to keep your out-of-pocket cost for this card as low as $30. If you’re a foodie, the 4x bonus points for global restaurants and U.S. supermarkets is a great way to earn bonus points with your American Express card.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has helped remind us that food and groceries are among the most essential line items in our budget, and the ones that are the most resilient during a recession. While other cards are offering limited-time bonus points for groceries and food delivery, in the long term, the Amex Gold is one of the best options in both of these categories.

Current welcome offer

The Amex Gold card is currently offering a welcome offer of 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, that bonus is worth $700. It’s not the most impressive bonus, considering that we see offers ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 points on other cards.

However, it may be possible to get a 40,000-point welcome bonus via referral links or a 50,000-point welcome bonus through the Amex website or the CardMatch Tool (offer subject to change at any time). It’s definitely worth looking for one of these higher offers, which would be worth $800 or $1,000, respectively, based on TPG’s valuations.

Perks

The Amex Gold offers the following benefits, which go a long way toward offsetting the annual fee of $250 (see rates and fees):

Note that there are no foreign transaction fees with this card (see rates and fees), adding to its value as one of the best rewards credit cards on the market.

Up to $120 annual dining credit.Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at participating dining partners, including Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, some Shake Shack locations and Boxed. This perk is a monthly statement credit similar to the Uber credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express. Enroll through the Amex website to get this benefit.

Up to $100 annual airline fee credit. Each calendar year, you’ll receive up to $100 in statement credits toward incidental airline fees such as baggage fees and inflight purchases. This works the same as the credit on the Amex Platinum cards. You must designate a qualifying airline, which you can change once a year.

The Hotel Collection. When you book a stay through the Amex Hotel Collection, you’ll earn 2x points on your purchase and enjoy an up to $100 credit toward dining, spa and resort activities at the property. Note that the credit only applies to stays of two consecutive nights or longer.

Baggage insurance. If your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged when you’re traveling with a common carrier and you purchased your ticket with the Amex Gold, you’ll be eligible for up to $1,250 in coverage for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage.

Trip delay reimbursement: This is one of the newest perks on the Amex Gold. If you purchase your trip with the card and your travel is delayed more than 12 hours because of a covered reason, you’ll be eligible for a reimbursement of up to $300 for eligible expenses, like meals, lodging and toiletries. You are allowed up to two claims per account every 12 months.

Earning

Despite not having the most impressive welcome bonus, the Amex Gold card really impresses when it comes to its bonus categories and long term earning potential (terms apply):

4x points on dining worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (U.S. supermarkets capped at $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x)
3x points on flights booked directly from the airline or amextravel.com
1x points on everything else

The 4x on dining is an especially strong earning rate — equal to an 8% return based on our valuations. Even better, Amex has expanded the bonus multiplier to apply to restaurants worldwide, matching the broader dining bonus category on cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The 4x points at U.S. supermarkets is also very strong, though it’s capped at the first $25,000 you spend per calendar year (then 1x). Despite the cap, the Amex Gold is one of the best cards to use at U.S. supermarkets. The 3x points on flights purchased directly from the airline or at amextravel.com isn’t bad, either — equal to a 6% return based on TPG’s valuations. Although other premium cards like the Amex Platinum offer higher returns on airfare, many of them also have higher annual fees.

Redeeming

The Membership Rewards points you earn with the Amex Gold can be transferred to 19 airline and three hotel partners. For instance, you can transfer points to Etihad Guest to book business class flights to Europe on American Airlines for 50,000 miles each way (one of many great redemption options available through this unsung program).

Virgin Atlantic also provides plenty of value — like the ability to score round-trip, first-class flights on ANA for as little as 110,000 points or Delta One Suites awards to Asia for only 60,000 miles each way. Another great redemption option is transferring points to Avianca LifeMiles for cheap rates on Star Alliance premium cabin awards. On the hotel side, you can transfer points to Choice Hotels, Hilton and Marriott.

You’ll generally get the most value from your Amex points by transferring them to a travel partner, although that isn’t your only redemption option. You can also use points to buy gift cards, cover charges on your billing statement, shop at Amazon or ride with Uber. You can also use points to book travel directly through Amex, though with the exception of transfer partners, all of these redemption options fall well short of TPG’s valuation of two cents per point.

One year of earning and burning with the Amex Gold

Although the Amex Gold is one of the most valuable cards in my wallet, it’s not the simplest to use. Getting the most value out of this card requires an effort to maximize both the dining and airline annual statement credits, though using the card at restaurants anywhere in the world and U.S. supermarkets is fairly straightforward. Everyday spending only earns 1x points.

If you put in all that work, it’s fair to ask what you get in return, so let’s take a look.

For starters, in your first year will see you earn a welcome bonus worth at least $700, and possibly up to $1,000 if you’re targeted for the 50,000-point offer through CardMatch. That’s a solid haul, and although it’s not the best bonus on the market, it’s good enough for a card that shines long past the first year.

I use Personal Capital to keep track of my finances and make sure I don’t forget about bills on my two dozen different credit cards. I also love that it tells you how much you spend each year in different categories. According to Personal Capital, the year before I moved abroad I spent roughly ~$4,500 in each of two categories: groceries and dining out. (Whenever I’m out to dinner with friends I try to put the bill on my credit card and have them pay me back over Venmo.)

So with $9,000 worth of eligible purchases in the Amex Gold’s 4x categories, I earned about 36,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, worth $720 based on TPG’s valuations. Add in the welcome offer and my total haul was worth $1,420.

Then there are the statement credits. I was able to use all of the monthly dining credits through Grubhub, and I fully utilized the $100 in airline incidentals as well covering checked bag fees when moving stuff home from college. In other words, I paid $250 for my annual fee (see rates and fees) but got $220 of it back in the form of statement credits, dropping my real (net) cost to just $30. That brings my first year total haul to $1,390, which I’m incredibly happy about.

For my last flight before the pandemic hit, I redeemed 90,000 Membership Rewards points for a $16,000 ANA first-class award ticket, further solidifying the outsized value I’m able to get from this card

Which Cards compete with the Amex Gold?

As noted earlier, the Amex Gold’s $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) places it between mid-tier and premium-level cards. However, although there’s no direct comparison on the annual fee front, there are several cards that offer similar bonus categories and perks.

One of the most obvious comparisons is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with a $95 annual fee and 2x earnings on all dining (and travel) purchases. We value Chase points at 2 cents apiece (same as Amex points), so you’re looking at an effective return of 4% with the Chase Sapphire Preferred versus 8% with the Amex Gold on dining purchases. And while the fee is lower, the Sapphire Preferred doesn’t offer annual statement credits like the Amex Gold does.

On the premium end, the Chase Sapphire Reserve deserves a mention, as it was previously the reigning champ for the highest return on dining spending with a 3x earning rate. But the Amex Gold now tops that card’s 6% return, as does the Citi Prestige® Card with 5x on dining (though the Citi Prestige comes with a high $495 annual fee and awards less-valuable ThankYou points). The Sapphire Reserve also has a $550 annual fee, but, as you’d expect, it offers considerably more perks than the Amex Gold, such as a $300 annual travel credit and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit and Priority Pass lounge access. The information for the Citi Prestige cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you’re enticed by the Gold Card’s 4x bonus at U.S. supermarkets, you could also consider the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express. It earns 3x points at U.S. supermarkets on the first $6,000 spent each year (then 1x), and if you make at least 30 purchases in a billing cycle, you’ll get a 50% bonus. That means you’d get a return of 9% with the bonus based on TPG’s valuations. This card also has a much lower $95 annual fee, but note the much lower cap on bonus earnings for U.S. supermarket purchases each year. The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

The Amex Gold isn’t just a pretty card. Its 4x earning rate on dining worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets makes it a strong pick for pretty much all food purchases. The $220 in annual statement credits — between the dining credit and the airline fee credit — add value, and also make the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) easier to swallow. The welcome bonus doesn’t turn heads, but the American Express Gold Card still earns a spot as one of our best cards and can rack up plenty of points for those with appetites for dining out or dining in.

Apply here for the American Express® Gold Card with a 35,000-point welcome bonus.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

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