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A cargo ship in a port in Longbeach, California, in 2019. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

The phase one U.S.-China trade deal will have little to no impact on sales this year, according to 63% of companies who participated in the latest business conditions survey released today by the National Association for Business Economics.

Why it matters: President Trump has championed the agreement as a "sea change in international trade" and the deal's signing has helped power U.S. stock indexes to fresh record highs, but business owners and economists are less enthusiastic.

  • Of those respondents who do expect an impact, views are equally split, with 15% anticipating a positive impact and 15% expecting a negative impact on their firms’ sales outlook.

Flashback: Last week, a "Reuters poll of more than 100 economists ... showed a significant pickup in the U.S. economy was not on the cards" as a result of the trade deal.

Between the lines: Just 8% of finance, insurance, and real estate businesses (FIRE) and 10% of those in transportation, utilities, information and communications (TUIC) expect a positive effect from the deal, while 30% of TUIC firms and 13% of FIRE firms see negative impacts.

  • Conversely, more than 41% of goods-producing companies and 50% of TUIC companies say tariffs and the trade war had a negative effect on sales.

The big picture: Overall, the survey found businesses were more bullish about economic growth over the coming 12 months than they were in NABE's last outlook in October.

  • Still, NABE Business Conditions Survey chair Megan Greene notes, “For the first time in a decade, there are as many respondents reporting decreases as increases in employment at their firms" over the last three months.

Of note: The Dec. 23–Jan. 8 survey includes responses of 97 NABE members.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.