Stock markets higher…Aides: Trump’s wall may be different than advertised…Judge clears way for appeal of ruling against health law
BANGKOK (AP) – Stock markets turned higher today on the last day of a volatile year. In Europe, the CAC 40 of France rose 1 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.3 percent. Many markets were closed for the New Year holiday. Wall Street is expected to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.9 percent and S&P futures up 0.8 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Three confidants of President Donald Trump, including his departing chief of staff, are indicating that the president’s signature campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would not be fulfilled as advertised. White House chief of staff John Kelly told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Sunday that Trump abandoned the notion of “a solid concrete wall early on in the administration.”
WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge in Texas who recently declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional has stayed his ruling to allow for appeals. That means “Obamacare” remains in effect while litigation continues. In a ruling issued Sunday, Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth wrote that he stands by his earlier conclusion that the entire law is invalidated by congressional repeal of its fines on people who remain uninsured, like a house of cards collapsing.
UNDATED (AP) – Trading has been highly volatile in December, capping a year of turbulence for markets. The major U.S. stock indexes closed last week with their first weekly gain in what’s been an otherwise painful month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose more than 2 percent for the week, while the Nasdaq added nearly 4 percent. The indexes are still all down around 10 percent for the month and on track for their worst December since 1931.
BEIJING (AP) – An official survey shows China’s manufacturing activity contracted in December, boosting pressure on Beijing to reverse an economic downturn amid trade tension with Washington. The purchasing managers’ index of the National Bureau of Statistics and an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, fell to 49.4 from November’s 50.0 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. A statement by the groups cited a domestic slowdown and weak global demand.