Dollar near 10-week high vs. yen on upbeat U.S. GDP

© Reuters. U.S. dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration © Reuters. U.S. dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar hovered near a 10-week high against the yen on Friday, thanks to a surge in Treasury yields after U.S. gross domestic product data topped expectations.

The greenback was a touch higher at 111.445 yen and within striking distance of 111.495, its strongest level since Dec. 20 brushed overnight.

The against a basket of six major currencies stood at 96.222 after grinding out a 0.15 percent gain on Thursday, when it pulled back from a three-week trough of 95.824.

The overnight wobbles in the U.S. currency came as the euro rallied on growing expectations that the European economy may have turned a corner.

But the dollar managed to claw back its losses after data showed U.S. gross domestic product increased at a 2.6 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, above economists’ forecasts for a 2.3 percent gain.

"The dollar received a clean break as Treasury yields rose in earnest following the robust U.S. GDP data," said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

"The strong response to the U.S. GDP data shows that the market is currently focused on fundamentals, rather than geopolitical factors."

The dollar suffered brief dips against the yen, a perceived safe-haven, this week as tensions between India and Pakistan flared and as a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended without an agreement.

But the U.S. currency was on track for a 0.70 percent weekly gain against its Japanese peer.

The euro was steady at $ 1.1369, having slid from a three-week peak of $ 1.1420 scaled the previous day.

The Australian dollar nudged up 0.1 percent to $ 0.7099, trimming some of the previous day’s sharp losses.

The took a hit on Thursday after a disappointing reading on Chinese manufacturing overshadowed a solid report on domestic business investment.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield stood at 2.720 percent after surging to 2.731 percent on Thursday, its highest since Feb. 6.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Trump admin extends immigration protection for certain immigrants

Washington — Complying with a court injunction, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday it was extending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Sudan — which the Trump administration has sought to terminate.

In a notice that is scheduled to be officially published on March 1, DHS said current TPS holders from the four nations will have their protections extended through Jan. 2, 2020. By extending the legal status of more than 250,000 immigrants facing possible deportation, the administration is complying with a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. Circuit Court for the Northern District of California in October. 

“After the Trump Administration cruelly threw the lives of TPS holders into disarray in an illegal revocation of their temporary immigration status, it was high-time that the Department of Homeland Security extended their status after the court ruling,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva wrote in a statement Thursday. “Xenophobia should never be the driving force of immigration policy, and DHS should also extend TPS status to those from Nepal and Honduras after they callously removed their protections in 2018.” 

Since President Trump was sworn in, his administration has sought to end TPS programs for several countries, including El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan, Nepal and Nicaragua. But, like the attempt to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, the administration’s efforts have been hampered by court rulings.

The October decision by the Northern District of California stemmed from the Ramos v. Nielsen lawsuit, in which the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and immigrant rights organizations sued DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the agency for alleged discrimination and rulemaking violations in their decision to end the TPS programs for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Sudan. Advocacy groups have also filed another lawsuit to block the administration from terminating TPS for Honduran and Nepalese immigrants.

About 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians, 2,500 Nicaraguans and 1,000 Sudanese currently have TPS protections. 

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Reports: Harper to join Phillies on $330 million deal

© Reuters. MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals © Reuters. MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper’s major payday finally arrived Thursday, as the outfielder landed a 13-year, $ 330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to multiple reports.

The contract, when signed, would be the largest guaranteed deal in North American professional sports.

Harper, 26, is a six-time All-Star who was pursued to the end by the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. The 2015 MVP with the Washington Nationals, Harper has hit 184 home runs with 521 RBIs over 927 games, with a .279 career batting average.

Harper reportedly rejected a $ 300 million offer to stay in Washington and instead entered a turbulent free-agent market. But while his deal did not come until teams already had started to play spring-training games, Harper still landed the major contract he was seeking.

The Harper deal came over a week after Manny Machado signed a 10-year, $ 300 million deal with the San Diego Padres.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Harper’s deal will not have an opt-out clause, per the player’s request. It will include a full no-trade clause, which Harper could waive.

Harper’s annual average deal is $ 25.38 million, or about $ 4.5 million less than Machado’s contract. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, said contract length was more important than money, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.

Sherman attributed the following to Boras, via Twitter:

"The goal was to get the longest contract possible. Bryce wanted 1 city for the rest of his career. That is what I was instructed to do. It is very difficult in this time to get length of contract that takes a player to age 37, 38, 39."

Boras added that shorter-term deals were offered with an annual average value of $ 45 million, but the commitment of Philadelphia’s owners and a chance to play in their ballpark helped to sway him to the Phillies.

Harper’s 14 home runs at Citizens Bank Park are his most in any stadium other than Nationals Park. He has a .564 slugging percentage at Philadelphia, and a .930 OPS in 50 games.

Harper was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft and made his major league debut less than two years later with the Nationals. He hit 22 home runs and batted .270 in that first season to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

During his MVP season of 2015, Harper led the National League in runs scored (118), home runs (42), on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.649) and OPS (1.109). He led the National League with 130 walks last season, while hitting 34 home runs and collecting a career-best 100 RBIs.

But while the Nationals advanced to the playoffs in four of Harper’s first six seasons, they did not reach the postseason last year, finishing a disappointing 82-80, while ending the season eight games back in the National League East.

In going to Philadelphia, Harper joins a club that has not reached the postseason since 2011, although their 80-82 record last season showed the Phillies to be a team on the rise. The club’s .494 winning percentage was their best since they finished .500 in 2012.

–Field Level Media

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North Korea foreign minister: Made realistic proposal that summit with US

Response to the meeting with US/Pres. Trump

  • North Korea made realistic proposal at summit with US
  • North Korea offered to dismantle Yongbyon nuclear complex in return for lifting of sanctions
  • Pyongyang asked United States to live some of the sanctions, not entirely
  • seeks partial sanctions relief, not complete listing
  • If US lifted sanctions North Korea would denuclearize
  • Talks US were serious, North Korea demonstrated patience. 
  • offered to permanently halt nuclear test that Hanoi summit
  • offer to permanently halt nuclear longer-range rocket testing
  • US demanded one more measured beyond Yongbyon dismantlement
  • if US removes partial sanctions North Korea can permanently dismantle all nuclear material production including plutonium and uranium observed by us experts
  • North Korean position won’t change if US proposed further talks
  • I get the feeling Kim Jong Un may have “lost the will” 

The US/Pres. Trump view is denuclearize first, and we will go from there.  In other words, the US does not trust the promises from North Korea.

ForexLive

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USDJPY stuck in the mud. When will it break free? The price action will tell us.

Last week’s range was the lowest since January 2012

The USDJPY is stuck in the mud.

Last week, the range for the pair was only 52-53 pips wide. That was the most narrow trading week since January 2012. Its is 2019 now, so that makes it a 7+ year record.  That’s a long time and says the market is non-trending.

Last week's range was the lowest since January 2012

Non-trending leads to trending (it is either one or the other)   Looking at the hourly chart, the 110.55 to 110.94 is the “Red Box” that has confined the range over the last 3+ days.  The low is above the low from last week which was down at 110.42.   We currently trade at 110.83. 

If the price is to extend one way or the other, getting out of the “Red Box” is what traders will look for. The next thing they will look for is staying out of the “box” and showing momentum.   Absent that, and we remain in the mud.

I know that is somewhat obvious, but we as traders, need to recognize what is happening and then anticipate what might happen next.   

What I know is the price action tends not to sit in a 52 pip range for too long (or more recently a 40 pip range). At some point, there will be a shove that breaks the market higher or lower (PS. the price is doing nothing because “the market” does not know what to do next…yet).

Is there any other levels to eye other than the extremes?

The 100 and 200 hour MA (blue and green lines at 110.724 and 110. 683) tends to see the price action move above and below in non-trending markets. However, it still defines the bias. Trade above is more bullish. Move below is more bearish. 

Today, the price last tried to trade below,but that move failed near the 3 day lows.  However,  note what happened on the move back higher.  The price used the 200 hour MA (green line) as support and has moved higher over the last 3 hours or so.  

The buyers are making a play. They are more in control. Can they push above and outside the “Red Box”?  No one really knows (it might fail in which case buyer turn to sellers), but traders can anticipate the future from the wiggles and waggles from the intraday technical clues and hope that the bigger shove is just around the corner.

ForexLive

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EUR/USD climbs to three-week high as buyers attempt a break of the 1.14 handle

EUR/USD touches its highest levels since 5 February

EUR/USD H1 28-02
ForexLive

The euro is picking up a strong bid on the session as buyers look to clear the 1.1400 handle now and break resistance around 1.1410-20 as well. Of note, price is also rising above the 100-day MA today and that will be a positive platform for buyers to build on from a technical perspective.

The real question now will be, can this break hold? The next key risk event up ahead is the US Q4 GDP release so that will help to provide traders with more clues on whether or not to extend the break here to the upside even more.

Inflation data from Europe today hasn’t been stellar but they aren’t necessarily bad either. If anything, the figures from France, Spain, Italy and Germany’s states are collectively showing a bit of a rebound. That suggests that the ECB should not stray away from its rate guidance in next week’s monetary policy meeting.

With downside risks only set to come from the central bank’s downwards revision to economic forecasts, it’s hard to imagine the euro being heavily sold off barring any surprises considering that the revisions are very much expected since the start of the year.

Either way, be wary of the repercussions of the technical break here. If price climbs above 1.1420 handily and the dollar suffers further from the GDP report, it could be a quick climb back towards 1.1500 for the pair.

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Thai baht leads Asia's bullish prospects; yuan long bets on the mend: Reuters poll

© Reuters. Thai baht notes are seen at a Kasikornbank in Bangkok © Reuters. Thai baht notes are seen at a Kasikornbank in Bangkok

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

(Reuters) – Investors remained bullish on China’s yuan for a third straight fortnight, a Reuters Poll showed on Thursday, as markets turned optimistic about the progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks.

Long positions on the yuan rose to their highest since February last year, the poll of 10 analysts showed, with investors regaining some of their lost appetite for a currency that shed nearly 6 percent against the dollar in 2018.

Global markets have taken heart from U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this week to extend a deadline to increase tariffs on imports from China, although he did not give away any clear-cut indications whether a resolution is possible or not.

Progress in trade talks between the world’s top two economies offset any dent in sentiment from soft economic data out of China lately.

Official survey results released on Thursday showed China’s service industry slowed in February, with analysts expecting further weakness this year as a slowing economy makes consumers more cautious on the spending front.

The poll respondents maintained bullish positions on the Singapore dollar, the Indonesian rupiah, the Malaysian ringgit and the Philippine peso as well.

Bullish sentiment for the Thai baht remained the strongest in the region for a third successive poll, with long bets at their highest in 13 months.

Thailand’s strong economic fundamentals, which consist of steady exports and domestic production, have made the baht a bastion of stability in Asia.

The Taiwan dollar, however, remained under pressure with bearish positions on the currency piling up in the past month and a half.

Taiwan’s export orders contracted in January for a third month on the trot, data showed last week, adding to evidence of a global tech slowdown that will likely hit profits for the island’s many technology manufacturers this year.

Meanwhile, short positions on the Indian rupee fell to their lowest since early April last year, when investors were bullish on the currency.

A bulk of the poll responses came in before India and Pakistan got involved in a military conflict this week, prompting leading powers to urge the nuclear armed neighbors to show restraint.

That sent Indian and Pakistani stocks lower on Wednesday, and caused the Indian rupee to weaken.

The Reuters survey is focused on what analysts believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the , South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.

The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3.

A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long U.S. dollars. The figures included positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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George H.W. Bush’s former service dog Sully gets new role

Former President George H.W. Bush‘s service dog Sully captured the hearts of the nation last winter when a photo of him laying beside the late president’s flag-draped casket went viral. Now, the dedicated yellow Labrador has a new way to serve his country.

The two-year-old pup began his new job as a member of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s facility dog program on Wednesday. During the ceremony that was live streamed on Facebook from Bethesda, Maryland, Sully took a personalized oath of enlistment as service members and dogs in the program looked on. 

“Do you affirm or pant as a hospital corpsman in the United States Navy that you will support, comfort and cheer warriors and their families, active duty and retired?” asked a service member during the ceremony. “That you embrace our staff and bear unconditional love and solace, especially on busy days? That you take this obligation freely, without any promise of treats or tummy rubs and that you will faithfully discharge the duties to provide joy, love and nurturing for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and sailors and their families?”

Sully gave a paw-shake as a resounding yes and was then appointed as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman, second class. He even received a new “military uniform,” a vest to signify he is a member of the facility’s dog team.

The now-petty officer pup’s Instagram account posted a photo of the ceremony with a caption honoring his former owner, Mr. Bush: “It’s an honor and privilege to join a wonderful group of dogs at @WRNMMC and I look forward to continue my mission to serve veterans as my best friend wanted me to.” 

Sully was trained by the charity America’s VetDogs, a nonprofit that provides veterans, active service members and first responders who have disabilities a service dog for free, according to its website. The dogs are trained to help their owners cope with various disabilities that range from blindness to PTSD.

The skilled dog joined the Bush family in June, shortly after Mr. Bush’s 94th birthday. John Miller, the CEO of America’s VetDogs, told CBS News that the pair were a perfect match. “I think it was Sully’s old soul, so to speak, that really won him over with the president,” said Miller.  

Sully is named after Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, the airline pilot who was heralded as a hero after he landed a plane on the Hudson River in 2009, saving everyone on board. The incident came to be dubbed “the Miracle on the Hudson.”

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The phone-makers bringing buttons back

An Android phone that slides open to reveal a physical qwerty keyboard inside has launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The F(x)tec Pro1 phone also has a bespoke shutter button on the side to click when taking photos.

The London start-up behind it said it wanted to “return the keyboard” to consumers.

Other handsets with keyboards built in, from brands such as BlackBerry Mobile and Swiss firm Punkt, were also on show.

“A lot of consumer tech still has buttons even though the tech is there to get rid of them,” said Adrian Li Mow Ching, founder of F(x)tec.

“Haptic feedback never gives the same satisfaction as pressing a physical button.”

He said that the folding handsets unveiled by phone giants Huawei and Samsung demonstrated that “people want more than the single slab”.

The handset I tried was a prototype, but it ran pretty smoothly. It was chunkier than a standard smartphone and a little heavier.

While I cannot deny that the sliding keyboard was fun to open, I did fear for the hinge and the plastic stand on which the screen sits at an angle.

The keys did take a little getting used to if you are more familiar with a touchscreen pad, but I found I made fewer typos when writing.

The Pro1 will go on sale in July for £649, or $ 649 in the United States.

Lianchen Chen, who designed the device, describes himself as a BlackBerry fan. However, his device was inspired by a prototype from Nokia he was given in 2010, which was never released to the public.

The Nokia 950 had a slide-out keyboard hidden beneath the screen but was only ever given to app developers. Mr Chen said he used it until 2015.

More Mobile World Congress stories:

The Pro1 features a full touchscreen in addition to its physical keyboard, an approach shared by BlackBerry Mobile’s Key2.

Punkt’s MP02 phone is also covered in buttons, but it has limited functionality compared to modern smartphones. It is designed to be a so-called companion phone rather than a primary device.

Punkt chief executive Petter Neby said the device would have been 75% cheaper to manufacture if it had just a touchscreen rather than physical keys. But he said physical keys gave people a more “optimal” experience.

“We press keys and buttons all the time and expect something to happen,” he told the BBC.

“The touchscreen is a convenience, it’s not optimal for a call to action.”

Both F(x)tec and Punkt deny that the hardware required for a physical keyboard limits the life of their devices.

Mr Neby says he still uses a 10-year-old BlackBerry with physical keys as his primary phone and has experienced no issues with it.

UK start-up Planet Computers is another company producing Android phones with physical keyboards. In 2018, it successfully crowd-funded a modernised “digital assistant” device, and is now working on a follow-up phone.

However, there is no indication that the broader mobile phone industry is planning a physical keyboard comeback.

“I am not sure if this is nostalgia or trying to find a way in the market serving those groups that the big guns have no interest in serving,” said analyst Carolina Milanesi from the consultancy Creative Strategies.

“I think this is really more what we see in a market where competing with the top players requires not just different hardware but a different approach to the market.”

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BBC News – Technology

Michael Jackson's legacy under microscope in new sex abuse film

Michael Jackson's legacy under microscope in new sex abuse film Michael Jackson’s legacy under microscope in new sex abuse film

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Almost 10 years after his sudden death, Michael Jackson’s legacy is under fresh scrutiny in a documentary about alleged child sex abuse that has been met with outrage by the singer’s family.

"Leaving Neverland" features two men now in their 30s and 40s who say they were befriended by Jackson and sexually abused by him starting from when they were 7 and 10 years old. It will be aired on U.S. channel HBO on March 3 and 4 and on Britain’s Channel 4 on March 6 and 7.

Jackson’s family has attacked the film and the "Thriller" singer’s estate last week filed a lawsuit against HBO saying the documentary breached a 1992 agreement that the cable channel would not disparage him. "Michael Jackson is innocent. Period," the estate said in the lawsuit.

HBO said in a statement however it would go ahead with the four-hour documentary and "allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves."

After the broadcast, HBO will air a conversation hosted by Oprah Winfrey with the director and the two men in front of an audience of sexual abuse survivors.

Jackson, who died in June 2009, was acquitted at a 2005 trial in California on charges of molesting a different, 13- year-old boy at his Neverland ranch in California. In 1994, he settled a sexual abuse lawsuit concerning another 13 year-old boy.

Jackson’s death was met with an outpouring of grief worldwide, a spike in record sales and new projects including a Cirque du Soleil show that have made him the highest-earning dead celebrity for the past six years, according to an annual Forbes survey.

"This is the 10-year anniversary of my uncle’s death. We should be mourning, but instead we are being bombarded with lies," the singer’s nephew, Taj Jackson, told Reuters.

"Leaving Neverland" focuses on Wade Robson and James Safechuck who relate in graphic detail their experiences in the early 1990s at Neverland and elsewhere. They say that, as boys, they were in love with Jackson.

Robson, now 36, had testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial in the singer’s defense. He and Safechuck said they saw their childhood experiences in a new light after they both became fathers to young sons of their own.

The singer’s brothers and nephew Taj, who spent years as a child at Neverland, say the accusations are untrue, hurtful and motivated by money. No one in the family was contacted for the documentary, and they said none of them have seen it.

"I don’t care to see it, because I know my brother," said Jackie Jackson, 67, the oldest of the Jackson 5 brothers.

Robson, who met Jackson after winning a dance contest in Australia at age 5, and Safechuck, who appeared with Jackson in a Pepsi commercial in 1986, filed after the singer’s death lawsuits seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from the Jackson estate. Both cases alleging sexual misconduct were dismissed but are being appealed.

Director Dan Reed says he wanted to make a film specifically about the experiences of Robson and Safechuck. He noted that the documentary includes interviews and denials the pop star gave about sexual misconduct accusations when he was alive.

"I don’t know that the Jackson family has any direct knowledge of what happened to Wade and James," Reed told CBS Television’s "This Morning" in an interview on Tuesday. "There was no one else in the room."

His family say they remember Jackson as a generous person who gave millions to charities, loved to have fun and wanted to unite people through his music.

"He was a family man. He loved kids around the world. He wanted to be the best at his craft. His music lives on," said Jackie Jackson.

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