Day: June 12, 2017

Political Notebook: Dayton, GOP leaders slated to start talking – Post-Bulletin

Politics

Political Notebook: Dayton, GOP leaders slated to start talking – Post-Bulletin

For the first time since the governor’s surprise move to defund the Minnesota Legislature, he and legislative leaders are slated to start talking.

A meeting between Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is planned for Tuesday morning, according to Matt Swenson, the governor’s assistant chief of staff for communications. The big question is whether the stand-off can be resolved around the negotiating table or if it will be settled in the courts.

It’s been nearly two weeks since the DFL governor announced his decision to sign off on the $46 billion budget passed by lawmakers but added one big catch — he line-item vetoed funding for the Legislature. Dayton was dismayed by a provision in the state government budget bill that would have defunded the Minnesota Department of Revenue if he didn’t sign a $650 million tax cut package. Rather than risk a partial government shutdown, Dayton opted to sign the tax bill and defund the Legislature instead. He said the move was aimed at getting Republican legislative leaders back to the negotiating table to discuss several items he dislikes in the bills he signed. That includes several tax cut provisions, changes to the state’s teacher licensure standards and a provision prohibiting undocumented immigrants from getting driver’s licenses. To make his case, Dayton has held press conferences across the state — including in Rochester.

Republicans argue the governor is violating the state Constitution by defunding a separate branch of government. (Dayton disputes that, saying the Constitution gives him the right to line-item veto any funding he chooses). GOP leaders say the governor also agreed in budget negotiations to all the items he is now seeking to renegotiate. Both Daudt and Gazelka say they are willing to talk with the governor, but they are not interested in rehashing items that had already been settled. The challenge for the public — and journalists — is that all of these negotiations happen behind closed doors, so there is no way to confirm exactly what happened.

If the issue isn’t resolved by July 1 — whether via negotiations or the courts — then money will stop flowing to the Minnesota House and Senate. Leaders have said they have enough money in reserves to operate for a short time after that. But when the money runs out, legislative staffers would be temporarily laid off. Paychecks would no longer be sent out to these employees — or to lawmakers.

A lack of trust

Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller said those wondering why Republicans would add language to a bill defunding the revenue department if the governor failed to sign the tax bill need only look to last year. In 2016, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a $260 million tax cut package that Dayton had said he would sign. But the governor ended up vetoing the bill instead, citing a $100 million error thanks to an “and” being put where an “or” should have been. The move angered Republicans and damaged their trust that the governor would negotiate in good faith.

“We felt from a legislative perspective it could have been fixed a number of different ways rather than vetoing the bill,” the Winona Republican said.

As a result, Miller said Republicans worried that even if the governor said he would sign the tax bill, he would go back on his word and veto it. Miller said he knew the revenue defunding language was in the state government budget bill before he voted on it. However, he said he was not part of the final decision to be put in the bill. He added that he the thought the governor’s office was aware it was in the measure. Dayton has said he did not know about it, and called it a “poison pill.”

Walz hosts roundtables

1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz is hosting a series of roundtables in Southeast Minnesota.

The roundtables are part of the Mankato Democrat’s “Southern Minnesota Way of Life Tour.” The listening events kick off at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Grand Meadow at the Grand Meadow Community Center. At 4 p.m. later that day, Walz will host another roundtable at the Houston Nature Center. On Wednesday, Walz has planned a 9:30 a.m. roundtable at Winona City Hall. The last roundtable begins at 1 p.m. at the Stewartville Civic Center. Walz’s office asks that residents interested in attending one of the roundtables RSVP by sending an email to WalzRSVP@mail.house.gov.

Meet Republican gubernatorial candidate

GOP gubernatorial candidate Blake Huffman is paying a visit to Rochester this week. Voters can meet Huffman at a “coffee talk” from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday at Cafe Steam, 315 S. Broadway. Huffman is a Ramsey County Commissioner. He is one of a number of Republicans who have announced they are running for governor in 2018 including Dellwood Rep. Matt Dean and 2016 gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson. Other GOPers mulling a bid include House Speaker Kurt Daudt, former Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey and Mound Sen. David Osmek. Several Democrats have already announced they are running such as St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Rochester Rep. Tina Liebling, St. Paul Rep. Erin Murphy, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and Walz.

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Technology stocks keep tumbling, pulling major indexes down – Los Angeles Times

Technology

Technology stocks keep tumbling, pulling major indexes down – Los Angeles Times

U.S. stocks remain split as trading begins Monday, with energy companies and oil prices climbing and technology stocks sinking. Even though major indexes are lower, more stocks are rising than falling. Small-company stocks did better than the rest of the market. General Electric jumped after the conglomerate said Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt will step down.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index sagged 10 points, or 0.4%, to 2,421 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average, which closed at a record high Friday, fell 68 points, or 0.3%, to 21,201. The Nasdaq composite dropped 79 points, or 1.3%, to 6,129. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks edged up one point, or 0.1%, to 1,422. The Russell is trading above the record high close it set Friday.

TECH SELL-OFF: Big-name technology companies continued to fall. The stocks gave up a month of gains Friday, and on Monday, Apple sank 4.1% to $142.90 and Google parent Alphabet slid 3.1% to $940.50. Facebook fell 2.6% to $145.64. Microsoft declined 2.9% to $68.28.

Chipmakers fell, with Nvidia off 4.3% at $143.23 and Advanced Micro Devices down 5.3% to $11.63. Software maker Adobe Systems retreated 4.3% to $132.08.

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Why Republicans might let their health care bill fail – CNN

Politics

Why Republicans might let their health care bill fail – CNN

Game Plan For The Week – Cramer's Mad Money (6/9/17)

Finances

Game Plan For The Week – Cramer's Mad Money (6/9/17)

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV Program, Friday, June 9.

Stocks saw rotation on Friday from the hotter names into cooler and more stable names. Such rotation is normal and it could continue for the next few days. Use this weakness as a buying opportunity. With that, Cramer discussed his game plan for the week.

Monday

The Treasury statement will be out on Monday. “The Treasury can’t afford to run out of money and this could further delay the Trump agenda for tax reform and repatriation. I smell trouble here,” said Cramer.

Tuesday

H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) will report earnings. The fears of a simplified tax code affecting the company are over blown. “H&R Block has run, so I prefer Intuit on any continual pullback in growth stocks like we had today,” he added.

Wednesday

This is the most important day of the week due to the Fed meeting. “It’s vital, after day two of this bank stock rally that we had [Friday], that the Fed not only raise rates, but say it will continue to raise rates and leave the door open firmly for another rate hike this year. If the Fed waffles, then the rotation to the banks ends immediately and the money could veer back to the techs,” said Cramer.

Thursday

Kroger (NYSE:KR) will report earnings and Cramer will watch it closely to see if it has become too cheap to ignore.

Friday

Corning (NYSE:GLW) will hold its analyst meeting on Friday. It will give investors an idea on how the tech sector is doing.

CEO interview – CoreSite Realty (NYSE:COR)

CoreSite Realty is a data center REIT, the shares of which are up 34% and it yields 3.4%. Cramer spoke to CEO Paul Szurek to find out what lies ahead for the sector.

Szurek said that they are different from traditional data center REITs as they offer scalable solutions. This allows the customers to host their applications near population centers. They also prioritize on high-efficiency and cooling the units. The data center demand is rising.

He also commented on tech companies driving innovation with faster chips, “As processing power has become more efficient [and] therefore less costly, it has enabled more use cases for data, and as a result, the demand has continued to exceed the improvements in processing power.”

As processing power increases, more use cases arise thereby keeping the demand for data centers exceeding the supply. “There are some things on the horizon that require, probably, this kind of processing power to really go commercial in a big way – you know, autonomous driving vehicles, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and a lot of the really cutting-edge data analytics that I think we’ll see over the next five, 10, 15 years,” he added.

Chicago Bridge and Iron (NYSE:CBI)

Chicago Bridge and Iron was considered a Trump stock but the last year has been bad for the stock. It is cut by 50% in 2017 alone. “Back in November, Chicago Bridge & Iron was seen as a quintessential Trump stock, the kind of company that could benefit from the president’s infrastructure agenda and his embrace of domestic fossil fuel production,” said Cramer. What went wrong with the stock? Cramer has answers.

The company is into infrastructure projects for the energy and utility sectors, like building power plants and fuel transportation systems. It gets business from water, environmental and energy management systems from local governments.

The main reason for the weakness in the stock is due to a decline in oil and natural gas prices in 2014. They made ill-timed acquisitions of Shaw Group in 2012 and purchased the E-gas assets of Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) in 2013. This led to the company’s balance sheet having a debt of $1.9B.

Westinghouse eventually agreed to buy CB&I’s nuclear business but this led to lawsuits due to disparities in numbers. CB&I’s longtime CEO, Philip Asherman also announced he was stepping down. Macquarie analysts have downgraded the stock with a target of $11.50.

The stock is trading at 4 times earnings and Cramer called it a value trap. “Here’s the bottom line: sometimes stocks go lower because they deserve to go lower. Never go bargain hunting with a busted piece of merchandise. Of course, if Chicago Bridge & Iron wins its lawsuit in the near future, the stock will pop. But if they lose, the downside could be enormous, and you never want to speculate on a court outcome that we can’t predict,” said Cramer.

IDEXX Labs (NASDAQ:IDXX)

The stock of animal health and vet care provider IDEXX Labs is up 40% in 2017 on top of a 60% gain in 2016. Cramer found out how the stock has moved up so far and asked, does it have more room to run?

Americans spent $62B on their pets last year and the number will only keep increasing. This is good for IDEXX Labs as they make veterinary testing and diagnostic equipment, along with vaccines for livestock and software for vets to run their practices on. Most pet X-rays are from IDEXX.

“This is a company that’s been innovating almost constantly for the last 20 years, coming up with better and better vet systems. Over the last five years, IDEXX has generated 80% of the entire industry’s investment on new product innovation within the animal diagnostics category,” said Cramer.

The company has great prospects for the future but it trades at a high multiple compared to its peers. Cramer said it’s justified since they are ahead of the competition. He would wait to buy the stock after a pullback. “But given IDEXX’s track record, you might be waiting for a very long time or you’ll only have a small window of opportunity,” he concluded.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM): Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is cheaper than JPMorgan.

IBM (NYSE:IBM): It is at a bottom and the yield is good. It represents value.

Nucor (NYSE:NUE): Cramer’s trust owns Nucor. It is the biggest beneficiary when the administration pushes for US manufacturing being a level playing field.

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Skechers Is Inexpensive – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/9/17)

Finances

Skechers Is Inexpensive – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/9/17)

Stocks discussed on the Lightning Round segment of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Program, Friday, June 9.

Bullish Calls

Disney (NYSE:DIS): Take a long-term view on Disney. Buy some now and some when it comes under $100.

Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF): “I didn’t like the last quarter, but the fact is the stock didn’t go down after they reported, which tells me that you are OK to own Tiffany.”

Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ): Cramer likes the stock as a data company.

Skechers (NYSE:SKX): It has become an inexpensive stock now.

Bearish Calls

Mazor Robotics (NASDAQ:MZOR): Wait till there is clarity on what the raid is about.

Trinseo (NYSE:TSE): No. Axalta Coating (NYSE:AXTA) is much better.

International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT): Book profits. The up move is done.

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Pence Balances Multiple Roles for Trump, GOP – RealClearPolitics

Politics

Pence Balances Multiple Roles for Trump, GOP – RealClearPolitics

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After Rep. Tom MacArthur endured a long, often nasty town-hall meeting in May, he got a call from Mike Pence.

The vice president “said, ‘Can you come over for a meeting?’” MacArthur told RealClearPolitics. He declined to offer details of that conversation, which took place on Capitol Hill, but he recounted how helpful Pence was during the health care debate – calling from Air Force Two during his Europe trip, staying late at the Capitol to meet with doubtful Republicans, and having lawmakers to the vice president’s residence for dinner.

“He has been a bit of an unsung hero in this,” said the New Jersey Republican, who first met Pence during the health care negotiations and noted he was “more than approachable” during the process.

And when Eric Trump announced he was expecting his first child, the first call he received was from Mike Pence, as his brother recounted to an annual Indiana state Republican dinner.

Donald Trump Jr. told the crowd he had called his sibling to congratulate him when “he said, ‘Don, you know who the first call was?’ I go, ‘Dad?’ He goes, ‘Nope… It was Mike Pence,’” the Indianapolis Star reported.

These are just a sampling of the roles Mike Pence has played since he was sworn into office five months ago – Capitol Hill Sherpa, GOP campaign cheerleader and the warm voice on the other end of the phone.

But the fallout from the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller have added another role for Pence – tight-rope walker. He has to be a good soldier to the president while trying to stay out of anything that could involve the special counsel; in other words, he can’t distance himself too far from the man who put him in his job, but at the same time he also can’t be tied too closely to a president whose tenure could erupt in scandal.

He has been balancing these considerations delicately. He has yet to speak on reports Trump divulged classified information to Russian officials or on reports the president asked Comey to back off an investigation of then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn – an assertion Trump denied in a press conference on Friday.

Pence was scheduled to appear on PBS’ “NewsHour” Wednesday, his 58th birthday. But that was the day the Senate Intelligence Committee released Comey’s written testimony. Pence cancelled.

“We were running behind,” Marc Lotter, the VP’s spokesman, offered as an explanation to reporters traveling with the vice president, who was in Houston to visit NASA’s mission control.

That interview is in the process of being rescheduled, Pence’s office told RCP.

Where the vice president has been seen the most is Capitol Hill, where he’s become “the de facto congressional relations guy for the administration,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described him to Reuters.

A former six-term House member, Pence understands the rhythms of the Capitol along with its language and its culture. He has the traditional vice president’s office in the Senate but he also has space on the House side of the Capitol, down the hall from Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, which is unusual for a vice president.

“He has become the ‘Congress whisperer’ for the president. Mike helps translate the president to Congress and helps translate the Congress to the president,” said his longtime friend, Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana.

Pence is at the Capitol nearly every Tuesday, when Senate Republicans have their weekly lunch. He’s attended 12 since taking office, by an RCP count. At those gatherings, which take place behind closed doors and feature senators sitting together at various tables like cliques in a high school, the vice president works the room, never sitting at the same place every week. Plus, he stays late to talk to the lawmakers, which “annoys some of the staff because it messes with the schedule, but the senators appreciate it,” one senior Senate aide said.

And it’s not just about having lunch. He’ll stop by – unannounced — the offices of McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan, whom he often texts, according to a senior House leadership aide.

If all this sounds like the work of a politician, it’s because Mike Pence is a politician. But he’s also become the trusted face of the Trump administration to a group of lawmakers, some of whom expressed skepticism last year about their party’s nominee.

Or as Sen. Jeff Flake, who has known Pence since the 1990s — when each man ran a think tank in their respective home states – put it: “Good guy. Glad he’s there. Makes us all feel better.”

And that is his appeal in a nutshell. No matter what the concerns are about Donald Trump — his lack of government experience, his lack of discipline, his lack of knowledge on foreign affairs, his tweeting — Mike Pence has it covered.

He is well-versed in politics. In addition to his time in the lower chamber, he served a term as governor of Indiana. He is famously disciplined and on message (even if that message turns out to be wrong). He went to Europe in February in what was seen as a reassurance tour for U.S. allies, and was the steady presence abroad that he has been in the U.S. And none of his tweets have gone viral.

“He’s absolutely a no-drama guy,” Messer told RCP. “One of my favorite Mike Pence wisdoms is ‘vote right and then go home for dinner.’ I think he applies the same way of thinking to the office of the vice president.”

The two men first met in 2000 when they ran against each other in a primary for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District (which later became the 6th District), and they’ve been friends ever since. Pence won that primary and later endorsed Messer for the state legislature.  And when Pence left the House to run for governor, Messer ran for the congressional seat again and won.

“I’ve always kidded him it’s easier to stay friends after you win than after you lose,” Messer said. “We’re really friends, not just political friends.”

Flake, who’s also had dinner with Pence at the vice president’s residence, praised his ability to be a spokesperson for the administration.

“He is a very effective marketer of the president’s positions because he’s … articulate, he’s unfailingly on message. He really is good that way,” the Arizona Republican said.

It’s an admirable and necessary quality in a vice president but it has backfired on Pence, most famously on the Comey firing.

When Trump ordered the dismissal, Pence stuck to the original White House line, telling reporters on Capitol Hill that Comey was fired on a recommendation from the deputy attorney general.

Trump contradicted him the next day and Pence has been quiet on the issue since.

But it’s another role the vice president has taken on that has people watching: campaigner for the GOP. It raised questions about Pence’s spot on the 2020 ticket – is he eying the top spot or being a team player who’s laying the groundwork for Trump’s re-election?

RCP asked Flake, who is in a tough 2018 re-election bid, if he’d like the vice president to campaign for him. “I think anybody in the country would love to have him campaign for him – any Republican,” the senator said.

And Pence is hitting the trail hard. He was in Montana to campaign for Republican Greg Gianforte (who won last month’s special election to fill the state’s at-large House seat), he held a rally in Louisiana in mid-May and he recently spoke at a dinner for the NRCC.

On Friday he was in Georgia to campaign for Karen Handel, who’s running in a special election to replace former Rep. Tom Price following his confirmation as secretary of Health and Human Services. Both sides are watching this race as an indicator of how the House may go in 2018. Handel’s Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, is up by 4.8 percentage points in the RCP average.

On Saturday Pence was in Wisconsin, a state that helped make Trump president, to talk about the repeal of Obamacare – an issue that will require the vice president to play a key role in getting it through the Senate.

He’s also formed a PAC, the Great America Committee, so he can directly fundraise for candidates next year, which is unusual for vice presidents, who usually work with the party.

When reports surfaced that Comey wrote memos about his one-on-one meetings with Trump that indicated the president had asked him to stop investigating Flynn, the word “impeachment” began being batted around Washington even as Ryan quickly and publicly slapped it down.

But it didn’t stop whispers that there was someone qualified waiting in the wings — the voice on the other end of the phone.

“It’s kind of hard to dislike him,” MacArthur said of Pence. “He’s very genuine, he’s very experienced and he knows what needs to be done. He’s in a powerful position. I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him.”

Emily Goodin is the managing editor of RealClearPolitics.

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India's Sensex Drops Most in Two Weeks, Led by Technology Stocks – Bloomberg

Technology

India's Sensex Drops Most in Two Weeks, Led by Technology Stocks – Bloomberg

Indian shares dropped as technology stocks followed regional peers lower after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cautioned on Friday that the industry’s share prices may not reflect risk.

The key S&P BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty 50 indexes both fell 0.5 percent at 10:32 a.m. local time. Wipro Ltd. , India’s third-biggest software exporter, dropped 2.2 percent, the worst performer among Sensex companies.

“India has already seen a preview of the global disruption in the technology businesses that is in progress and the sell-off in bigger U.S. rivals only adds to the concerns,” Sanjay Sinha, founder of Mumbai-based Citrus Advisors, said on phone.

The rout in technology stocks began Friday when Robert Boroujerdi, Goldman’s global chief investment officer, warned that low volatility in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet may be blinding investors to their risks.

Seven of the 13 sector gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. retreated, led by the S&P BSE Communication Technology and S&P BSE Information Technology index’s 0.9 percent decline.

A recent announcement by the Maharashtra government to waive of farm credits adds to investor concerns of an addition to the bad loans in the banking system, that is already the highest among major economies globally. “Credit discipline suffers due to these waivers and it is an economically regressive step,” Citrus’s Sinha said.

The S&P BSE Bankex dropped as much as 0.6 percent after Press Trust of India reported Sunday that Maharashtra state announced a farm-loan waiver, following a similar announcement in April by Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous province.

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