Inflation is ‘always going to be a risk’ with the U.S. economy now fundamentally changed, ADP chief economist says

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A help wanted sign on a storefront in Ocean City, New Jersey, US, on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. Surveys suggest that despite cooling inflation and jobs gains, Americans remain deeply skeptical of the president’s handling of the post-pandemic economy. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Inflation is “always going to be a risk” in the U.S. due to structural changes in the labor market, according to Nela Richardson, chief economist at payroll processing firm ADP.

Last year, with inflation spiraling out of control across major economies in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Federal Reserve began a run of interest rates hikes that would take the Fed funds rate target range from 0.25-0.5% in March 2022 to a 22-year high of 5.25-5.5% in July 2023.

Prior to that, interest rates had remained low for a decade as central banks around the world looked to stimulate their respective economies in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday, Richardson said the past 10 years of U.S. economic growth had been driven by low interest rates as policymakers focused on negating recession in the absence of inflationary pressures.

“This was an economy built on very close to zero interest rates for 10 years of economic expansion, and that was OK because inflation was super low,” she said.

VIDEO6:1406:14
U.S. labor shortages and inflation risks are here to stay, ADP chief economist says

“But now inflation has awakened, and if you look at demographic trends, labor shortages are not going away. It’s getting better but that’s a structural change in the labor market because of the aging of the U.S. population, so what that means is inflation is always going to be a risk, it’s going to prop up, and so going back to zero or near rock bottom interest rates is going to be difficult to support the economy.”

Richardson added that the “training wheels have come off” the U.S. economy and that both businesses and consumers are now having to “ride a regular bike.”

Despite fears of a recession on the back of the Fed’s extraordinary run of monetary policy tightening, the U.S. economy has remained surprisingly robust. The rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee paused its hiking cycle in September and sharply increased its economic growth projections, now forecasting 2.1% growth in GDP this year.

Meanwhile, inflation is coming back toward the Fed’s 2% target and the labor market tightness that some economists feared was adding to inflationary pressures has shown signs of abating, though unemployment still remains relatively low by historic comparisons.

ADP’s monthly report on Wednesday showed that private payrolls rose by just 89,000 in September, well below a Dow Jones consensus estimate of 160,000 and down from an upwardly revised 180,000 in August.

VIDEO3:5603:56
Central banks should pause now to allow monetary policy to take effect: CIO

This offered a contrasting signal to a Labor Department report earlier in the week in which job openings posted a surprising jump in August, rising to their highest level since the spring and reversing a recent trend of declines.

Markets, and Fed policymakers, then turned their attention Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report for further indications as to the health of the U.S. labor market.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 336,000 for the month, vastly exceeding a Dow Jones consensus estimate of 170,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate was 3.8%, slightly above the 3.7% consensus estimate.

Richard Flynn, managing director at Charles Schwab UK, said investors would interpret the jobs report as a sign that there is a “healthy level of demand in the labour market.”

“Job growth has been a key driver of economic resilience recently, balancing out weaknesses in areas such as housing and consumer goods,” he said in an email Friday.

“The strong figures released today should help to keep fears of recession at bay and offer optimism for economic sectors that are likely on their way to stability.”

Though jobs reports have been traditionally viewed as a lagging indicator, ADP’s Richardson noted that the relationship between the labor market and monetary policy has been overhauled in the course of the current cycle.

“I think there is a feedback loop that is underappreciated. People say the labor market or a good jobs picture is lagging, but the jobs picture is actually feeding current Federal Reserve policy, so it’s not just going in just one direction, there’s a feedback loop in between and these effects can amplify,” she explained.

“A simple relationship no longer exists. We are in a complex period of the global economy, not just the U.S., and the actions taken by the Fed affect the labor market but vice versa. So we can’t just say ‘oh this is lagging, six to nine months of Fed policy is going to show up in the labor market’ — the labor market is driving Fed policy now.”

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Here are Friday’s biggest analyst calls: Netflix, Nvidia, Eli Lilly, Disney, Levi’s, Exxon, Walmart & more

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Here are Friday’s biggest calls on Wall Street: Piper Sandler upgrades Shoals to overweight from neutral Piper said investors should buy the dip in shares of the solar technology company. “The weakness in SHLS is in part driven by equity weakness of the largest renewable utility/developer stemming from higher interest rates.” Bernstein initiates Disney as outperform Bernstein said Disney is a real challenger to Netflix. ” Disney (Outperform, $103 TP, implied upside 29%): The Only Credible Challenger To Netflix. Oh, Plus Parks. Despite our bearish view on Linear vs. consensus, we are bullish on DIS’s potential to transition to DTC at scale once combined with Hulu.” Read more about this call here . JPMorgan reiterates Exxon as overweight JPMorgan said it’s standing by its buy rating on the oil and gas giant. “We think XOM has multiple re-rating potential from its diversified portfolio, improved execution, portfolio management, and return of capital.” Barclays reiterates Nvidia as overweight Barclays said it sees AI restrictions ahead for companies, but that’s standing by its overweight rating on the stock. “We see further restrictions to AI as the highest likelihood. Given the likely $3B+ in shipments of solutions per quarter by NVDA to China and the $1B pipeline noted by Intel for Gaudi, we believe the AI restrictions may shift to all AI products vs the performance threshold that companies are currently working around.” Citi adds a positive catalyst watch on Discover Citi said it sees numerous positive catalysts ahead for the credit card and financial services company. “We are opening two new positive catalyst watch calls, for DFS and NAVI, as we see potential catalysts in the coming months, not necessarily into the quarterly results.” Seaport initiates Netflix as buy Seaport said it sees plenty of upside in shares of Netflix. “Early stages of converting ‘borrowers’ (password sharers) and entrée into advertising has helped 73 sentiment, but we think there is plenty of upside if NFLX can capture fair share of the global ad market.” Bank of America upgrades Xcel Energy to buy from neutral Bank of America said the energy company is an “emerging growth story.” “In a sector with companies largely playing defense given interest rate and inflationary pressures, the XEL emerging growth story comes across as all the more compelling.” Jefferies upgrades e.l.f. beauty to buy from hold Jefferies called the beauty company is an innovator. ” ELF is the leader in bringing ‘first to mass’ items to market and somewhat relies on newness in prestige for its own innovation.” TD Cowen initiates Block as buy TD initiated the company formerly known as Square with a buy and says it’s well positioned. “Fintech & Payments has attractive secular growth trends despite massive disruption and digitization of financial services in recent decades; ongoing innovation fuels growth.” Citi upgrades Formula One Group to buy from neutral Citi said in its upgrade of Formula One that it sees even more upside if Apple gets the company’s media rights. “We believe recent concerns about the Vegas Grand Prix and disappointing US sports rights renewals (following WWE’s renewal) are overblown. In addition, we see upside if Apple secures F1’s global media rights.” Bank of America upgrades Clearway Energy to buy from neutral Bank of America said shares of the energy company are compelling. “We upgrade shares of Clearway Energy (CWEN) to Buy from Neutral as we view the company as one of the more compelling opportunities.” JPMorgan upgrades Eaton to overweight from neutral JPMorgan said the industrial and electrical company is best-in-class. “Lastly, we are adding some growth in ETN after its 15% draw down, reflecting a softening in orders, and while its not ‘cheap’ it screens as best in class in growth and potential revisions.” Bank of America reiterates Eli Lilly as buy Bank of America raised its price target on the stock to $700 per share from $600 and says it’s standing by shares. ” Eli Lilly (LLY) shares have been under pressure over the past 3 weeks mostly based on macro uncertainties / selling pressure, not from any fundamental concerns.” Citi reiterates Walmart as buy Citi says Walmart remains a favorite idea. “We reiterate our Buy rating and WMT as top pick: Our thesis is unchanged. After years of investment, we believe WMT is at a point where (as CEO Doug McMillon describes it) its traditional P & L is driving a second P & L that is comprised of higher growth/higher margin businesses.” TD Cowen upgrades TE Connectivity to outperform from market perform TD said shares of the auto sensor company are less exposed to the UAW strike. “The number of known unknowns is shrinking. Auto strike already in effect and TEL less US exposed. Weakness in markets like industrial equipment, appliance, and data/devices known and modeled – further downside possible but wouldn’t come with ‘shock factor.'” Berenberg initiates Shift4Payments as buy Berenberg said the payments company will continue to take share. “However, we believe FOUR’ s demonstrated ability to drive growth amid challenging market conditions by taking market share supports our bullish stance toward the stock.” Morgan Stanley reiterates Meta as overweight Morgan Stanley said Temu’s ad impact is a nice tailwind for Meta shares. “So while Temu is a nice extra tailwind, we remain bullish because of broad-based (and growing) reach and ad performance improvements across META’s 10mn+ advertisers. OW, $375 PT has 23% upside.” UBS reiterates Levi’s as buy UBS said Levi’s is still an attractive stock despite the company’s disappointing earnings report on Thursday. ” LEVI’s US and EU wholesale businesses are being negatively impacted by the weak macro, challenges among some of its retail partners, and unfavorable weather. Importantly though, LEVI’s Q3 report indicated key aspects of our Buy thesis remain intact.” Oppenheimer downgrades O’Reilly and AutoZone to perform from outperform Oppenheimer said it’s taking a “less upbeat stance” on auto parts. “As we sharpen our focus on 2024 and evaluate more closely ongoing shifts within discretionary, we assume a less upbeat stance upon auto parts retail, and downgrade shares of AZO and ORLY to perform.” JPMorgan upgrades Apellis to overweight from neutral JPMorgan said the pharmaceutical company is well positioned for more upside. “We believe Apellis lead asset, pegcetacoplan, represents a differentiated asset in the complement space, with opportunities in a broad range of ophthalmology, hematology, neurology, and nephrology indications. Read more about this call here. Truist upgrades frontdoor to buy from hold Truist said shares of the appliance repair and maintenance company are attractive. “The stock’s valuation is attractive at 17x our 2023 forecast or just off its all-time low multiple; our target of $42 (from $40) assumes FTDR trades at 22x our new 2024 estimate, still below the long-term norm in the mid-twenties.”

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Endorsements are piling up. But the House is no closer to deciding who will win the speaker’s gavel.

Congress 

It’s Friday morning, do you know who the next speaker of the House will be? Neither do House Republicans.

Right now House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are in the race, and Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) hasn’t formally declared but is certainly flirting with a bid.

Overnight, former President Donald Trump gave a serious boost to one candidate: He endorsed Jordan. That may not be enough to get the onetime Freedom Caucus founder to 218 votes in the House. But it is likely to quiet the rampant speculation of what a Trump speakership would look and function like.

Timeline: House Republicans are expected to host a candidate forum on Tuesday and hold a closed door, secret ballot internal election on Wednesday.

But when does the speakership fight will hit the House floor? TBD. At this point, it seems unlikely this will be neatly wrapped up anytime soon.

Candidates are still meeting with different groups within the House GOP to make their pitches, from the freshmen class to the House Freedom Caucus.

MTV vengeance: Many Republicans are calling for changes to the one-member motion to vacate that conservatives negotiated into the House Rules in January as part of speakership talks. Unless the House limits the ability of one member to force a vote on booting the speaker, these GOP lawmakers say, it simply can’t function.

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In Lebanon, less than half of the 4 million people that need humanitarian aid have received help, UN says

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Lebanon faces one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with nearly 4 million people in need of food and other assistance, but less than half getting aid because of a lack of funding, a U.N. official said Thursday.

Imran Riza, the U.N. humanitarian chief for Lebanon, adds that the amount of assistance the world body is giving out is “much less than the minimum survival level” that it normally distributes.

Over the past four years, he said, Lebanon has faced a “compounding set of multiple crises ” that the World Bank describes as one of the 10 worst financial and economic crises since the mid-19th century. This has led to the humanitarian needs of people across all population sectors increasing dramatically, he said.

GOVERNMENT CUTS FORCING WORLD FOOD PROGRAM TO REDUCE RATIONS TO MOST HUNGER-STRICKEN PEOPLE, UN WARNS

Since the financial meltdown began in October 2019, the country’s political class — blamed for decades of corruption and mismanagement — has been resisting economic and financial reforms requested by the international community.

Lebanon started talks with the International Monetary Fund in 2020 to try to secure a bailout, but since reaching a preliminary agreement last year, the country’s leaders have been reluctant to implement needed changes.

Riza noted Lebanon has been without a president for almost a year and a lot of its institutions aren’t working, and there is still no political solution in Syria.

The U.N. estimates about 3.9 million people need humanitarian help in Lebanon, including 2.1 million Lebanese, 1.5 million Syrians, 180,000 Palestinian refugees, over 31,000 Palestinians from Syria, and 81,500 migrants.

Last year, Riza said, the U.N. provided aid to about a million Syrians and slightly less than 950,000 Lebanese.

“So everything is on a negative track,” Riza said. In 2022, the U.N. received more or less 40% of funding it needed and the trend so far this year is similar, “but overall the resources are really going down and the needs are increasing.”

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC FACES HUMANITARIAN CRISIS WITH 2.4M PEOPLE IN NEED OF AID, UN SAYS

“In a situation like Lebanon, it doesn’t have the attention that some other situations have, and so we are extremely concerned about it,” he said.

According to the U.N. humanitarian office, more than 12 years since the start of the conflict in Syria, Lebanon hosts “the highest number of displaced persons per capita and per square kilometer in the world.”

“And instead what we’re seeing is a more tense situation within Lebanon,” Riza said. There is a lot of “very negative rhetoric” and disinformation in Lebanon about Syrian refugees that “raises tensions, and, of course, it raises worries among the Syrian refugees,” he said.

With some Lebanese politicians calling Syrian refugees “an existential threat,” Riza said he has been talking to journalists to get the facts out on the overall needs in Lebanon and what the U.N. is trying to do to help all those on the basis of need — “not of status or a population.”

 

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31 dead in India’s Himalayan northeast after lake bursts through major dam

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Ice-cold floodwaters swept through mountain towns in India’s Himalayan northeast, killing at least 31 people, washing away houses and bridges, and forcing thousands of people to leave their homes, officials said Friday.

The flood began shortly after midnight Wednesday, when the waters of a glacial lake overflowed, cracking open Sikkim State’s biggest hydroelectric dam and then cascading through towns in the valley below.

It was the latest deadly flood to hit northeast India in a year of unusually heavy monsoon rains. Nearly 50 people died in flash floods and landslides in August in nearby Himachal Pradesh state, record rains in July killed more than 100 people over two weeks in northern India.

6 DEAD, 38 INJURED IN MUMBAI AFTER FIRE ENGULFS 6-STORY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING

More than 2,000 people were rescued after Wednesday’s floods, the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority said in a statement, adding that state authorities set up 26 relief camps for more than 22,000 people impacted by the floods.

Rescue workers were still searching for nearly 100 missing people, including 22 soldiers, on Thursday, according to the Sikkim state government.

Vinay Bhushan Pathak, the state’s top bureaucrat, said that 26 people had been taken to hospitals with injuries, while nearly 3,000 tourists were stranded in the flood-hit areas along with 700 taxi drivers.

“We are evacuating them through helicopters provided by the army and the air force,” he said.

The South Llonak Lake has been rising in recent years as a warming climate melts the glaciers that feed it, putting pressure on the dam that contains it, but it wasn’t clear what triggered the breach Wednesday. Experts and varying government reports have pointed to sudden, intense rains in the area, and a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck nearby Nepal on Tuesday afternoon.

Eleven bridges in the Lachan Valley were washed away by the floodwaters, which also hit pipelines and damaged or destroyed more than 270 houses in four districts, officials said.

Several towns, including Dikchu and Rangpo in the Teesta basin, were flooded, and schools in four districts were ordered shut until Sunday, the state’s education department said.

Parts of a highway that links Sikkim, the state capital, with the rest of the country were also washed away.

HEAVY RAINFALL TRIGGERS SUDDEN FLOODING IN NORTHEASTERN INDIA, RESULTING IN FATALITIES AND SUBMERGING TOWNS

The floods also hit several army camps, burying vehicles in feet of mud, according to images released by the Indian military.

The Press Trust of India news agency cited a statement by neighboring West Bengal state as saying that the bodies of four soldiers were found. However, it wasn’t immediately clear whether they were among the 22 missing soldiers, or had died separately.

One soldier who had been reported missing on Wednesday was later rescued by authorities, the army said in a statement.

The army is providing medical aid and phone connectivity to civilians in the areas of Chungthang, Lachung and Lachen in north Sikkim, the army statement said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said in a statement that the government would support state authorities in the aftermath of the flooding.

The Teesta 3 hydropower project, built on the Teesta River, took nine years and cost $1.5 billion to construct. The project was capable of producing 1,200 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 1.5 million Indian homes — and began operations in 2017.

Despite risks to dams due to increasing frequency of extreme weather, the Indian federal government aims to increase India’s hydroelectric dam output by half, to 70,000 megawatts, by 2030.

Disasters caused by landslides and floods are common in India’s Himalayan region during the June-September monsoon season. Scientists say they are becoming more frequent as global warming contributes to the melting of glaciers there.

“This is, incredibly sadly, another classic case of a cascading hazard chain that amplifies as you go downstream,” said Jakob Steiner, a climate scientist with the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, commenting on Wednesday’s flash flooding.

Earlier this year, Steiner’s organization published a report saying that Himalayan glaciers could lose 80% of their volume if global warming isn’t controlled.

Last month, dam breaches caused by Storm Daniel caused devastating damage to the city of Derna in Libya.

In February 2021, flash floods killed nearly 200 people and washed away houses in Uttarakhand state in northern India.

 

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UK’s embattled Metro Bank expected to struggle to raise capital with ‘no easy solutions’

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The U.K.’s embattled Metro Bank has launched talks to sell a third of its mortgage book in an urgent attempt to shore up its balance sheet.
Matthew Horwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON — The U.K.’s Metro Bank will likely struggle to raise fresh capital to shore up its balance sheet, according to analysts, who outlined bleak prospects for the beleaguered bank.

A number of ratings agencies and investment banks have downgraded the bank’s stock following a turbulent 24 hours in which its shares were briefly suspended from trading twice after plunging more than 29% from Wednesday’s close.

Metro Bank reversed its losses Friday and was trading up around 34% at 12:55 p.m. London time.

The turmoil came amid reports that the embattled bank was seeking to raise up to £250 million ($305 million) in equity funding and £350 million of debt. Metro Bank confirmed in a statement early Thursday that it was considering “how best to enhance its capital resources.”

Late Thursday, reports emerged that the bank was in talks to sell a third of its mortgage book. Rival banks including HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and NatWest Group are now being sounded out to buy around a £3 billion chunk of its mortgage book, according to sources who spoke to Sky News and the FT.

Selling the assets would reduce the bank’s earnings but also sharply reduce the amount of capital it is forced to hold.

Metro Bank did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the reports; nor did any of the rival banks cited.

However, analysts said the bank’s fund-raising prospects did not look good.

Investment bank Stifel on Friday downgraded the stock from “hold” to “sell,” saying it thinks there are “no easy solutions for the bank and risks to the bonds remain skewed to the downside.” It noted that the bank could be nationalized under the Bank of England’s resolution scheme and then sold on, either as a whole or in parts.

“We think at this point the bank is in a difficult position, with capital needs potentially of up to a billion over the next two years,” the analysts said, adding that the bank is just about breaking even or marginally profitable under “currently benign market condition.”

Barclays Bank also downgraded the stock to underweight on Friday.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings on Thursday placed the bank on “ratings watch negative” based on its assessment that “short-term risks to the UK challenger bank’s business model stabilization, capital buffers and funding have risen.”

A challenge to traditional banking

The developments mark the latest phase in an ongoing saga for Metro Bank, which launched in 2010 with a pledge to challenge traditional banking in the wake of the financial crisis.

Last month, the Bank of England’s main regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, suggested that it was unlikely to allow the lender to use its own internal risk models for some mortgages.

The bank’s chair Robert Sharpe was called in on Thursday to meet officials from the central bank’s regulatory authority, as well as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), according to the FT, which cited people briefed on the situation.

The sources said it was the latest in a series of contacts between regulators and the bank over the past month as its share price almost halved.

When contacted by CNBC, the Bank of England declined to comment on the meeting.

Limited risks of contagion

Shares of Metro Bank have lost around two-thirds of their value since the middle of February. The bank was valued at £87 million as of the Wednesday close, according to Reuters.

Given its relatively low market cap, ratings agency DBRS Morningstar, which holds no rating on the bank, said in a note that Metro Bank’s ability to access external financing will be “highly constrained.”

However, it added that the bank’s difficulties were unlikely to have a broader impact on the U.K.’s financial sector due to its size and idiosyncratic issues.

In 2019, the bank reported a serious miscalculation of its risk-weighted assets, damaging its reputation and resulting in fines of £10 million and £5 million from the FCA and the PRA, respectively.

In the meantime, short sellers have been tapping into the bank’s misfortunes. Investors betting against the bank have gained £4.8 million so far in 2023, and £2.5 million in October alone, according to financial analytics firm Ortex.

“The short interest in Metro is very high,” it said in a note. “ORTEX currently estimates that 9.35% of the freely tradable shares are on loan and most likely shorted.”

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[World] Trump endorses Jim Jordan for House Speaker

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Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

The hardline conservative from Ohio has led the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden

Donald Trump has endorsed staunch conservative Congressman Jim Jordan’s bid to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“He will be a GREAT Speaker of the House,” Mr Trump said on Friday. “[He] has my complete & total endorsement!”

Mr Jordan, 59, was one of the first Republicans to join the race to replace Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted by members of his own party last week.

It was the first time in history that a Speaker has lost a no-confidence vote.

In a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Mr Trump said Mr Jordan had “been a STAR long before making his very successful journey to Washington”.

“He is a STRONG on Crime, Borders, our Military/Vets, & 2nd Amendment,” he added.

Mr Jordan is one of the most vocal defenders of the former president in Congress.

The hardline conservative from Ohio, currently serving his ninth term, has also led the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

He was founding chairman in 2015 of the House Freedom Caucus, a disruptive hardline group one former Republican speaker labelled “legislative terrorists”.

His bid has already received the backing of several prominent conservatives, with Matt Gaetz – the rebel who led the coup against Mr McCarthy – writing: “My mentor Jim Jordan would be great!”

But he could struggle to win the the support of centrist Republicans and, if he needs Democratic support, he will likely receive none. Candidates need a simple majority of 218 votes to secure the position.

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Watch: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy… 9 months in 90 seconds

Mr Trump opted to endorse Mr Jordan over Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who has also announced his candidacy.

Other possible successors include the political newcomer Kevin Hern and Patrick McHenry, who is temporarily serving in the role while the process to appoint a permanent Speaker takes place.

Mr Trump earlier teased that he would be open to temporarily filling the role, with reports suggesting he was considering visiting Capitol Hill. But sources told CNN on Thursday that visit was now unlikely to happen.

Members will begin to discuss who could serve in the role next week, but it could take days or weeks to find someone who could win enough support in the divided House.

Mr Gaetz triggered the process to remove the Speaker after saying he was unhappy with Mr McCarthy for working with Democrats to pass a short-term spending deal to avert a government shutdown.

It was representative of larger tensions between Mr McCarthy and a right-wing faction of his party that previously tried to block his election to Speaker in January.

 

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JPMorgan says controversial eye disease treatment can more than double this biopharma stock

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A controversial eye treatment from Apellis can lead to sharp returns for investors, according to JPMorgan. The bank upgraded the biopharmaceutical stock to overweight from neutral and raised its price target to $81 from $60. JPMorgan’s new forecast implies more than 104% upside from Thursday’s $39.64 close. Shares of Apellis are down more than 23% since the start of the year. The firm has recently garnered controversy as safety issues have arisen regarding its Syfovre injection, which was approved earlier this year. The drug aims to treat an eye disease called geographic atrophy, which, according to the Syfovre website, affects about 1 million people. APLS YTD mountain Apellis ytd chart Analyst Anupam Rama believes that Apellis’ overall pipeline has only been strengthened by recent approvals of Syfovre. “Indeed, we view Syfovre as a ~$3B peak potential drug, even with conservative assumptions,” he wrote. “With Syfovre growth largely stemming from the back half of 3Q, we see this as a tailwind heading into 4Q and 2024.” While safety concerns may have cast Apellis in a negative light, causing a short-term sell-off, Rama thinks the stock is already on the road to recovery. The analyst noted that some physicians who had initially paused treatment of Syfovre have already begun to return to prescribing the injection. “Of note, the company does need to work through physician perception of Syfovre, given recent disclosures of cases of retinal vasculitis and this could take time (there is risk of disclosure of additional headline with more cases),” he said. “That said, physicians continue to use the product driven growth and we anticipate a fundamental and sentiment shift driving upside in APLS shares.” — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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Putin suggests adding India, other countries to UN Security Council

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There could be a shakeup in which countries are allowed on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), as Russian President Vladimir Putin has advocated countries like India be given a seat at the proverbial table.

During an annual discussion forum Thursday, Putin praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed support for reforming the United Nations Security Council to include his country as a member. The UNSC previously accepted India as a temporary member, allowing it to join for two years. This membership expired in 2022.

“I believe we should adapt international law to current needs and changing global situations. Countries with substantial influence in international affairs, like India with its 1.5 billion people and over 7% GDP growth, deserve representation and the opportunity to contribute to resolving global issues,” Putin said at the Valdai Discussion Club’s annual conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia.

He added, “India’s high-tech exports are growing exponentially, making it stronger each year under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership.”

RUSSIAN STRIKE ON UKRAINIAN CAFÉ LEAVES AT LEAST 51 DEAD AS UKRAINE’S ZELENSKYY VISITS SPAIN

India and Russia share a unique international partnership, with India purchasing record quantities of Russian oil.

The southern Asian country has also refrained from getting involved with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which includes abstaining from U.N General Assembly votes denouncing Russia.

RUSSIA CLAIMS TO FOIL MAJOR UKRAINE DRONE ATTACK AS KYIV FACES DEPLETION OF WEAPONS, AMMUNITION STOCKPILES

India has also maintained a long history of buying and using Russian weapons for its military.

China, France, the Russian Federation, the U.K. and the U.S. are the only five permanent members of the UNSC, although it elects 10 non-permanent members for two-year terms.

India previously served as a member of the UNSC and has spent decades arguing for a permanent seat.

Such a move has been strongly resisted by China, which has emerged as a diplomatic ally of Russia’s, especially as Moscow faces international sanctions over its ambitions in Ukraine.

Putin’s suggestion to change international laws comes as he has also advocated for lifting atomic test bans.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house, the State Duma, followed Putin’s warning by saying Moscow could rescind the ratification of the international pact banning nuclear tests since the United States has never ratified it.

“It conforms with our national interests,” Volodin said of rescinding the 2000 ratification. “And it will come as a quid pro quo response to the United States, which has still failed to ratify the treaty.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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Formula One gets upgraded by Citi, which says concerns around Las Vegas race are ‘overblown’

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Citi thinks it’s time to to buy shares of Liberty Media Formula One . The investment bank upgraded shares of Formula One Group to buy from neutral, maintaining its $71 price target. This implies a potential upside of more than 17% from the stock’s closing price of $60.34 on Thursday afternoon. It’s been a highly volatile year for shares of Formula One, which are overall up 17.7% in that time. Over the past three months, however, they are down 6.7%. Analyst Jason Bazinet cited two key drivers behind the stock’s volatility: growing skepticism around the Las Vegas Grand Prix and rising optimism around a potential deal with Apple. The race is slated for 1 a.m. ET on Nov. 19. FWONA YTD mountain FWONA ytd chart Upon the introduction of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Formula One raised its capex outlook to $400 million from its previous $270 million, escalating investor skepticism around the race. But Bazinet called these concerns “overblown,” noting that the upcoming event acts as an opportunity to ultimately grow Formula One’s U.S. presence. “Based on our estimate of Vegas’s race economics, we believe F1’s new capex guide extended the payback period by ~3 years,” he wrote. “Ultimately, we are not overly concerned by the extra capex, as the Vegas event could help drive U.S. engagement by bolstering media rights revenue.” Bazinet added that following WWE’s disappointing deal, investors have grown overly bearish on U.S. sports rights renewals, although this negative sentiment is not applicable to Formula One for two reasons. First, F1’s total U.S. rights only comprise 3% of the company’s total revenue versus 38% of TKO’s. Second, Formula One’s U.S. viewership has been consistently growing, while the latter has come under pressure. This optimism is supported Apple’s reported interest in buying F1’s global TV rights for $2 billion, the analyst added. “As such, if these reports prove true, we see incremental upside ~10% from prevailing levels,” Bazinet said. “We view the relative risk-reward associated Apple’s prospective interest in F1’s global media rights as attractive at prevailing levels.” — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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