Economists at ratings agency S&P Global raised the probability of a U.S. recession in 2019 to 20–25% on Wednesday, in large part because of the flattening U.S. Treasury yield curve.

Flashback: Its previous assessment was 15–20%, 3 months ago.

"Although economic indicators continue to point to a sustained economic expansion, heightened investor concerns over global economic developments led to market volatility and disruptions late last year, leaving a mixed picture for the second oldest expansion in U.S. history."
— Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist at S&P Global

Between the lines: S&P Global releases a quarterly publication that examines 10 leading indicators of near-term economic growth. Two indicators turned negative this quarter for the first time since mid-2017, when the ratings agency's economics group first began to look at these metrics.

  • "Financial conditions have eased in recent weeks, stemming from a significantly more dovish communication by the Fed," Bovino said. "If the easing persists, the quantitative assessment will likely decline in the coming months."

As S&P raises its U.S. recession worries, a new survey shows European money managers are growing increasingly wary of a global recession.

The bottom line: Almost 30% of respondents to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's latest survey of European money managers said a worldwide economic contraction was their biggest concern, the strongest consensus for any single risk since June 2017.

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Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down and will be replaced by Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who currently serves as Trump's envoy for Venezuela, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. Abrams will continue to serve in his role as Venezuela envoy.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has tested positive for COVID-19 and plans to quarantine at his home for the next 14 days, his office announced Thursday. He currently has no symptoms.

Why it matters: The 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol. He is the second governor known to have contracted the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 18,860,908 — Total deaths: 708,676— Total recoveries — 11,394,821Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 4,834,546 — Total deaths: 158,445 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Fauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery — Teladoc and Livongo merge into virtual care giant.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.