U.S.-China trade deal, U.S.-Iran conflict, HP/Xerox takeover tussle, and more

Wall Street

Beijing confirms Liu He will travel to Washington for the signing of phase one trade deal next week

Wall Street futures advanced on Thursday morning, after Chinese commerce ministry confirmed that Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington next week to sign the first phase of a trade pact with the United States.

“[Liu] will lead a delegation to visit Washington from January 13 to 15 to sign the phase one deal with the U.S.,” Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters at a regular briefing.

Gao also said that negotiating teams from both sides are in close contact on the particular arrangements of the signing.

President Donald Trump tweeted on New Year’s Eve that the phase one trade deal with China would be signed on January 15 at the White House. He also revealed that he would later travel to Beijing for talks on the second phase of the deal.

At 4:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 85.5 points, or about 0.30% to 28,855.5. The S&P 500 futures rose 10.37 points, or around 0.32% to 3,270.62 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 40.88 points, or roughly 0.46% to 8,985.38.

U.S.-Iran tensions cool

Meanwhile, tensions between Washington and Tehran have eased with President Trump declaring on Wednesday that Iran “appears to be standing down” after days of heightened concerns in the wake of U.S. killing of Qasem Soleimani.

In an address to the nation hours after Iran attacked military bases housing American troops in Iraq, Trump signaled that he would not respond militarily in order to deescalate the crisis.

“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump said, adding that no Americans or Iraqis were killed by Iranian missiles.

He said his administration would impose “punishing economic sanctions” on Iran and called on NATO members to become “much more involved in the Middle East.”

HP snubs Xerox’s takeover bid, again

HP (NYSE: HPQ), a prominent maker of printers and PCs, is once again rejecting a $33 billion takeover bid from Xerox (NYSE: XRX).

In a letter addressed to Xerox CEO John Visentin on Wednesday HP CEO Enrique Lores and Board Chair Chip Bergh said: “Your letter dated January 6, 2020 regarding financing does not address the key issue – that Xerox’s proposal significantly undervalues HP – and is not a basis for discussion.”

Earlier this week, Xerox revealed that it had secured $24 billion in financing from big banks to pursue the takeover.

HP and Xerox have been at loggerheads for about two months now. Xerox has made several unsolicited bids that have unanimously been dismissed by HP’s board of directors.