Stories by Dion Rabouin

Tech companies slow stock buybacks as the China trade war bites

Data: Catalyst Funds; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Public companies are slowing their stock buybacks in 2019 from 2018's record pace, and the slowdown in the tech sector shows the trade war is beginning to hit the economy in unexpected ways.

Why it matters: "Given the state of the economy, what this really means is that companies are probably likely more concerned now than they were last year that conditions could get far worse and therefore aren’t too excited to start large buyback programs," Catalyst Funds COO Michael Schoonover tells Axios in an email.

Q3 GDP expected above 2% after hot retail sales report

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Atlanta Fed raised its GDPNow forecast to 2.2% for the third quarter — higher than many economists are predicting, but well below enough to bring 2019's growth to the 3%-4% President Trump has sought.

Why it matters: The bump came after U.S. retail sales surged above expectations in July and sales at retailers including Amazon and Best Buy posted their biggest increase in 4 months. A strong earnings report from Walmart also helped drive optimism that American consumers are still shopping and perhaps are confident enough to carry the economy through trade war tensions.

Go deeper: Store closures don't mean retail is dead

Central banking's brave new world

Light shining down on stars
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The European Central Bank is leading the charge in the next wave of central bank stimulus measures, but experts and former central bankers argue it will be insufficient to deal with the looming global downturn.

Why it matters: Central banks see that the global economy is in trouble and they are stepping in to act, but are responding to new problems with old solutions. The eurozone already has negative interest rates and the ECB already has spent trillions buying bonds in an attempt to stimulate the economy. In spite of these efforts, major European economies have been unable to generate inflation or growth that's even close to their targets for years.