February 23, 2018, by Joanna Ossinger
Mnuchin isn’t worried
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brushed aside signs that investors are nervous about the prospect of rising prices and growing public debt in an interview with Bloomberg. “There are a lot of ways to have the economy grow,” he said Thursday. “You can have wage inflation and not necessarily have inflation concerns in general.” He also said he isn’t concerned about foreign investment in U.S. debt, with analysts projecting government borrowing will exceed $1 trillion this year.
Wall Street and guns
With emotions raw over the killings in Florida last week, evidence is mounting that investors may be rethinking their long, fraught relationship with the firearms industry. On Thursday, the day the head of the National Rifle Association issued a searing rebuttal to calls for stricter gun control, the nation’s largest privately owned bank announced it would stop issuing NRA-sponsored credit cards. BlackRock Inc. said it was exploring ways to cull gun companies from the portfolios of clients who no longer wish to invest in them. And in Florida, the site of the latest tragedy, teachers expressed frustration that their retirement funds own gun stocks.
Probe of VIX-fund blowups
U.S. regulators are scrutinizing this month’s implosion of investments that track stock-market turmoil, including whether wrongdoing contributed to steep losses for VIX exchange-traded products offered by Credit Suisse Group AG and other firms, several people familiar with the matter said. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have been conducting a broad review of trading since Feb. 5, when volatility spiked and investors lost billions of dollars, the people said.
Mexico’s pragmatic approach on Nafta
Few people are cheering the prospect of several more months of Nafta talks. Mexico’s ruling party may be among that small group. The country is cranking into campaign mode at the same time as it prepares to host the latest round of trade wrangling next week. That means Mexican negotiators have a kind of dual mandate. They have to pursue the best outcome for the nation, while keeping one eye out for their bosses in the governing PRI, which is seeking to hang on to the presidency in July’s election.
Spend your Saturday with Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders is coming Saturday, and it may bring more clues about the 87-year-old billionaire’s succession plans at his conglomerate. In addition to providing an update on the company he’s been building for more than five decades, Buffett is likely to pack this year’s installment with financial wisdom and optimism about the U.S. economy, plus the occasional risque joke.