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Business Maverick

November 22, Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media about the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald J. Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 14 November 2019. She also spoke about the DACA case before the Supreme Court. EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO

U.S. President Donald Trump receives legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters. Billionaire Louis Bacon calls time on the hedge fund business. Rich Hongkongers plan escape routes for their cash. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.  

Moral Authority

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  sent Donald Trump legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters, and the president is expected to sign the bill into law despite Chinese warnings of retaliation. Trump plans to sign the bill, according to a person familiar with the matter, even as his administration tries to finalize the first phase of a long-awaited trade deal with China. Pelosi acknowledged the economic risks of angering the world’s largest emerging market, but she said if the U.S. doesn’t “speak up for human rights in China because of commercial issues, we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights anywhere in the world.”

Escape Route

Top bankers say Hong Kong’s wealthy are opening more offshore accounts to ensure they have an emergency escape route for their cash if the city’s civil unrest worsens. So far, the money has largely been staying put, the heads of UBS Group AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and Standard Chartered Plc said in interviews at the New Economy Forum in Beijing. While Goldman Sachs Group Inc. isn’t seeing any change of behavior among major financial clients, “the situation needs to be resolved” soon, CEO David Solomon said. The economy of the former British colony is reeling, with retailers, restaurants and hotels cutting wages or letting staff go to survive the downturn in tourism.

Delisting Chinese Firms?

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said calls to oust Chinese companies from American stock indexes was contrary to the foundations of capitalism, as he warned against the dangers of decoupling the world’s two largest economies. Paulson, who’s now chairman of the Paulson Institute, told Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Beijing that moves to reduce ties between the U.S. and China would weaken American leadership and New York’s leading role in finance. He said less cooperation between Washington and Beijing would also make it more difficult to tackle another financial crisis like the one he was forced to manage as treasury secretary in 2008.

‘Giant’ Calls Time

Billionaire Louis Bacon is effectively quitting the hedge-fund business after several years of poor performance, bringing an end to his three-decade run near the pinnacle of global finance. Bacon, 63, will return outside investors’ money in its three main Moore Capital Management funds and step back from trading, he said Thursday in a letter to clients. The move caps a storied career that has traced the arc of modern finance, from the swashbuckling money managers who made fortunes in the 1980s and 1990s to today’s era of computer-dominated trading. “Louis Bacon will go down as one of the giants of our industry,” said legendary trader Stan Druckenmiller. “He was one of the earlier innovators in the genre of global macro. To not only survive, but thrive in our industry for 30 years is an outstanding achievement.”

Markets Steady

Asian stocks looked set for a modest rebound Friday as traders awaited further details on U.S.-China trade discussions. Treasuries and U.S. shares dipped. Futures pointed higher in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. The S&P 500 Index fell for a third day, the longest losing streak in almost two months, but remained within 1% of a record high. The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed to 1.77% while the dollar edged higher against most G-10 counterparts. Elsewhere, oil climbed to a nine-week high as traders latched on to optimistic signals on trade. Gold slipped.

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