Dec 23, 2018

Almost everything going on in the world is bad for the economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump is attacking the Fed and picking trade fights with a China that faces slowing economic growth, the EU is a political and economic mess, and Japan is near another recession, if it's not already in one.

The big picture: The Fed is the only central bank that could realistically help the stock market. The market goes up (like on November 28) and goes down (like on Wednesday) according to its optimism or pessimism about whether the Fed will stop raising rates.

Global central banks mostly can't come to the rescue.

  • The European Central Bank has negative interest rates, and says it's going to tighten next year. Same for Japan.

The bottom line: A U.S. recession isn't imminent, but with all the bad news around the world, it's hard to see why U.S. stocks should be moving higher. The only bid in the market comes from whatever hope remains that Powell will ride in on a white horse to save the day. After all, that's what the Fed has generally done in the past.

Go deeper

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - Health

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."