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TREASURIES-Yield curve flattens after inflation edges higher

NEW YORK, June 11 ( ) – A drop in two-year Treasury prices flattened the yield curve on Tuesday after a Labor Department report showed producer prices increased in May for the second consecutive month, pointing to a steady pick-up in underlying inflation pressures.

Producer prices excluding food, energy and trade services rose 0.4% last month, matching April’s gain, the government said. The so-called core PPI increased 2.3% in the 12 months through May after rising 2.2% in April.

The report appears supportive of the Federal Reserve’s view that recent weak inflation readings are transitory. Fed policymakers are scheduled to meet on June 18-19 against the backdrop of rising trade tensions, slowing U.S. growth and a sharp step-down in hiring in May that have led financial markets to price in at least two interest rate cuts by the end of 2019.

A rate cut, however, is not expected next Wednesday.

An increase in inflation could temper those expectations, because the Fed uses rate hikes to contain gains in inflation. The two-year yield, which reflects market expectations of rate hikes, rose 3.4 basis points to 1.934% in morning trade. That narrowed the spread between two- and 10-year yields, the most common measure of the yield curve, to 22.1 basis points from 23.9 on Monday.

Investors will closely watch the consumer price index report on Wednesday for further evidence of inflation. Expectations for a cut in July have been roughly stable since Monday, last around 66.7%, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“Really the key data point for this week is going to be CPI. It is a question of whether inflation is transient – every data point is going to be important to make that determination,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale.

The Treasury Department’s auction of $78 billion of government debt this week, beginning with the sale of $38 billion in three-year government notes on Tuesday, will also be in focus. Increased supply tends to lower prices and lift yields, broadly the trend in Tuesday morning trade.

“The focus is going to be on supply so there might be a little bit of a concession getting built into the market ahead of the auctions,” said Rajappa.

“We’ve seen a tremendous rally in bonds, so given today’s concession I think the three上海夜生活网-year auction should go OK.”

FOREX-Euro poised for 2nd week of gains as China-U.S. trade talks eyed

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON, May 10 ( ) – The euro edged higher on Friday and is poised for a second consecutive week of gains on growing fears that any escalation in the trade conflict between the United States and China would force U.S. policymakers to cut interest rates.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff increase to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods kicked in on Friday, and Beijing said it would strike back. The two sides are pursuing last-ditch talks to try to salvage a trade deal.

While U.S. and Chinese 上海夜生活论坛officials return to the negotiating table later on Friday, investors have quietly ratcheted up bets of a U.S. interest rate cut with markets now roughly expecting one rate hike by the end of 2019.

Athanasios Vamvakidis, an FX strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said if China retaliated then the threat of a global trade war will affect the outlook of the U.S. economy and increase the chances of a Fed rate cut.

“In this case, the Fed has more room to ease than most other central banks, suggesting eventually a weaker dollar against both the euro and the yen,” he said.

The single currency edged 0.1% higher to $1.1220 on Friday and was on track for a second consecutive week of gains.

Broadly, risk appetite was muted though some of the higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar which was heavily sold earlier this week when Trump unexpectedly ratcheted up trade tensions, gained.

The dollar index measuring the U.S. currency against a basket of six major currencies, of which the euro is a main component, was slightly firmer at 97.43.

Still, trade tensions have had broadly little impact on foreign exchange markets with typical perceived safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen only gaining 1.2% this week while broader currency market volatility gauges were subdued despite a minor bounce this week.

Elsewhere, the pound held around the $1.30 level after sustaining some losses this week before first quarter British GDP data where expectations are for a 0.5% expansion compared with 0.3% growth in the previous quarter.

Rhetoric or reality? Arabs struggle to decode Trump’s Mideast rhetoric

DUBAI ( ) – The future leader of the Middle East’s top foreign ally is, in the words of a Saudi prince, an anti-Muslim “disgrace”, openly disdainful of Arab security partnerships, who believes Saudi Arabia would cease to exist for long without the United States.

Donald Trump’s presidential election victory means he is the man Washington’s Arab allies must deal with after his January inauguration, as they seek U.S. help to end wars from Syria to Mosul, manage humanitarian crises and provide jobs for their populations at a time of low oil prices.

Trump’s campaign tirades against Muslim migrants – the target of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s comments on Twitter – and against Arab allies who don’t “pay” for U.S. support suggest the relationship could be delicate.

How far Trump the president will differ from Trump the polarizing election candidate is not clear.

Brief, congratulatory messages flowed quickly from Arab allies, including one from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who wished Trump success in “achieving security and stability in the Middle East and the wider world”.

But underneath the protocol, for many Arab rulers and royals Trump’s victory is a source of anxiety. They now face a new America led by Trump who, they fear, could upend a regional order that has prevailed for decades.

Some ordinary Arabs like Trump’s no-nonsense style, and praise what they see as his capacity for tough leadership.

“A strong leader … that is what is needed here in the Middle East and all across the world,” said Ali al-Muhannadi, 57, a Qatari owner of an electrical company, filling his car up at a petrol station in Doha on Wednesday.

Muhannadi saw Trump as a useful ally in confronting the jihadist threat, saying he is “very frank and not like a politician. Islamist radicals are bad for the West and for us too”.

But privately there are concerns about a lack of clarity in Trump’s policies for the world’s most combustible region as it struggles to break free from war while trying to safeguard the free flow of its oil exports.

DISAFFECTED ARAB YOUTH

In particular there are worries that Trump’s hostile rhetoric towards Muslim migrants will play into the hands of Islamic State and al Qaeda, w上海夜生活网hich are eager to recruit disaffected young Arabs to wage war on the regional governments they despise as stooges of Washington.

Gulf Arab leaders want a U.S. president who understands their concerns after eight years of what they regard as diffidence under President Barack Obama, someone who did not provide the kind of personal contact they value.

In particular they want help to push back against Iran, their main rival. But they fear Trump’s public praise for Vladimir Putin will encourage Russia to expand its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran and an enemy of most Gulf Arab states.

Apart from a commitment to Israel’s security, a constant in U.S. foreign policy, and an isolationist tone to his comments, much in Trump’s statements about the region remains vague and poorly thought out, diplomats and analysts say.

Opinion is divided about whether Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail will be enacted when in office. Among these is his comment that he would consider halting U.S. purchases of Saudi oil unless Riyadh provides troops to fight Islamic State.

Faisal Al Yafai, a commentator at The National newspaper, said many people thought Trump had used his extravagant comments to win votes and once in office he would mellow.

“I am unconvinced. I think he actually believes his rhetoric. It’s quite worrying that he doesn’t seem to understand how global politics works,” he said. “For example you don’t go around saying ‘if our allies were threatened we wouldn’t intervene, why can’t they build their own nuclear weapons?’”

“That sort of stuff doesn’t help confidence. That collapse of confidence between the U.S. and its allies has a knock-on impact on the economies and in the decisions those countries take on a political level.”

Yafai, whose newspaper is based in the United Arab Emirates, noted Iraqis were putting their lives on the line to regain Mosul, Islamic State’s main stronghold in the country. “That is not just a war for the region, it is a war for the world,” he said.

Others are more sanguine.

A senior Turkish official predicted continued strong relations with the United States and argued that “comments in an election period always have a harder and more hawkish tone than is necessary. But they remain peculiar to the election period.”

SAUDIS “READY TO TAKE A RISK”

Prince Sultan bin Khaled al Faisal, a former Saudi special forces officer and now senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, said that in U.S. elections “what they say and what they do are two totally different things”.

“Foreign policy is not made by one man,” he said. “But it’s difficult to pinpoint what his policy actually is.”

Trump’s remarks have been combative, and eye-catching. He has said the United States should be reimbursed by the countries it provides protection for.

Without America, “Saudi Arabia wouldn’t exist for very long,” Trump told the New York Times in March.

Trump’s win drew a cautious welcome in Syria, which has entered its fifth year of war between rebels and Assad’s forces.

In Damascus, Syrian member of parliament Sherif Shehada said U.S. policy could shift Assad’s way. “We must be optimistic, but cautiously optimistic,” Shehada told by telephone.

Trump’s statements on Syria, and his more open-minded stance towards Assad’s ally Russia, have fueled rebel concern about the policy he may adopt on the conflict, in which the Russian air force has been bombing insurgents.

But beyond all that, many officials and observers see another ominous consequence.

Trump’s win has not only delighted Western right-wingers but also jihadists who told supporters the election had revealed the true position of the United States towards Muslims.

“The masks have slipped,” one supporter said on Islamic State websites. “(Trump’s) moronic declarations alone serve us even if his decisions will be under the supervision of the Senate…,” wrote another.

Congress should act on ‘scandalous’ fantasy betting: Reid

WASHINGTON ( ) – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate called on Congress to examine fantasy-sports betting services on Tuesday after reports that an employee with access to insider information placed bets in the unregulated multi-billion-dollar industry.

“There’s absolutely scandalous conduct taking place through those programs, fantasy sports,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters.

“I think it also should be a warning-shot to everybody that online gaming is a real scary thing and we ought to look at all of it,” said Reid, who is a former Gaming Commission head in Nevada, a hub of the industry.

Reid’s statement raises the prospect of congressional scrutiny and possibly new regulations for websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel that have drawn millions of users who pay a fee to compete for daily prizes by assembling teams that accumulate points based on how the players did in actual games.

Meanwhile, Representative Frank Pallone and Senator Bob Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats, asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the fantasy scandal.

Both companies confirmed on Monday that a DraftKings employee won $350,000 from a $25 entry fee in an American football contest. According to a trade group, the employee inadvertently released player data – a practice that experts liken to insider-trading.

The two privately held companies say they temporarily banned employees from playing daily fantasy sports.

The House of Representatives could hold hearings this fall, said Pallone, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Republican-controlled committee is looking into the issue, a spokesman said.

The issue could draw the attention of conservatives like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who has pushed to outlaw other forms of online gambling.

Critics say daily fantasy sports services allow fans to bet with a frequency akin to gambling and led to the rise of the two industry leaders.

So far, fantasy sports services have escaped the restrictions that have outlawed sports betting in most states.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association has spent $80,000 over the past year to defend its interests in Washington, lobbying records show. The group declined to comment.

Online gambling foes who are pushing for a nationwide ban on casino-style Internet gambling are not yet targeting fantasy sports services. But they may raise th上海夜生活网e DraftKings incident as another example of perils of online betting as they make their case, according to a former congressional aide now working to ban online gambling.

Saudi stocks set to receive $20 bln windfall even as some investors sit out

* Saudi stocks to suck in $20 bln in passive flows

* Foreign ownership in Saudi stocks just 2 pct

* Khashoggi affair might stem active flows -analysts

* Slow reform, high valuations also factors

By Tom Arnold and Saeed Azhar

LONDON/DUBAI, March 17 ( ) – Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in major emerging m上海夜生活论坛arkets stock indices from Monday is likely to suck in around $20 billion in passive inflows, but unease after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and sluggish reforms could lead some active foreign investors to steer clear.

Saudi Arabia will be the biggest recent addition to the global indices, the largest of which is the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which it joins from May. MSCI will give the kingdom a weight of 2.7 percent, between Russia and Mexico.

The kingdom is hoping the inclusions, starting on Monday when Saudi stocks join the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index, will kickstart its drive to become a major destination for foreign capital, after its global reputation was tainted by Khashoggi’s killing at the hands of Saudi agents in October.

The process should help bring in about $20 billion of combined passive inflows during 2019, analysts estimate. That would push up foreign ownership from around 2 percent, one of the lowest in the region, to around 6 percent, according to Al Mal Capital.

“The 2.7 percent pro-forma benchmark weight [within the MSCI index] is much more significant than prior index inclusions during the past decade,” said Alexander Redman, head of global emerging market equity strategy at Credit Suisse.

“And given that the proportion of assets under management within emerging markets passive funds is much larger than during previous index inclusions, it means there will be a significant amount of net foreign buying of Saudi equities.”

Analysts say pre-positioning by investors has been slow ahead of the process, however. Arqaam Capital attributes that to concern about delays to mega-projects, the kingdom’s fiscal constraints, high valuations for Saudi-listed firms and concerns that government asset sales will oversupply the stock market.

“As has been seen with a lot of other markets undergoing emergence, the reform process is not always smooth,” said Edward Evans, emerging markets equity portfolio manager at Ashmore Group.

“We’ve seen that in Saudi Arabia with their somewhat unorthodox approach to policymaking over the last few years, and the hope is that as the kingdom becomes more integrated in global financial markets, policy will become more predictable.”

The kingdom’s drive to diversify its economy away from oil dependence has had some hiccups, including a recession in 2017 and delays to plans to float shares in oil giant Aramco.

A source at a major western investment firm, who asked to remain anonymous, highlighted another reason why investors might be cautious. “I would find it unlikely that the active funds coming in will be anywhere close to benchmark as there are still reputation issues from holding Saudi assets,” the source said.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and other state-owned funds indirectly own the lion’s share of Saudi stocks.

Many stepped in to limit a market crash in October last year caused by foreign investors dumping stocks after Khashoggi’s killing. Some had made similar moves when foreign investors were spooked after the government detained hundreds of officials under an anti-corruption drive in November 2017.

The index inclusions are seen as an opportunity for those funds to sell their positions in around 4 percent of the market, estimate analysts.

Foreign net buying has picked up since the start of the year, hitting $2.1 billion year-to-date. That is still below the expected passive and active inflows that could reach a total of up to $60 billion, said Arqaam.

For an interactive version of the below chart, click here tmsnrt.rs/2NXK0gp.

Arqaam said concerns the government could oversupply the market and, in turn, pressure valuations were misplaced, with local institutional selling, particularly from mutual funds, well below foreign buying in recent days.

“We expect the Saudi government-related entities such as PIF to cater to the required demand of stocks in a controlled manner,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital in Dubai.

Publishers sue Peloton for using songs by Katy Perry, Rihanna, Timberlake, others

NEW YORK ( ) – Publishers representing the writers of songs by Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood and hundreds of other artists sued Peloton Interactive Inc on Tuesday, accusing the maker of video-streaming stationary bicycles of copyright infringement.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the 10 publishers are seeking more than $150 million in damages, accusing Peloton of exploiting their songs by using more than 1,000 in its videos without permission.

They said Peloton must stop “trampling” their rights by using their songs for free. They noted that the company having obtained song licenses from other publishers showed it “full上海夜生活网y understood what the copyright law required.”

Peloton, in a statement, said it is reviewing the complaint. It also said it has “great respect for songwriters and artists,” and has “invested heavily to build a best-in-breed reporting and licensing system.”

The New York-based company is expected to seek a more than $4 billion valuation in an initial public offering that could occur in the second half of 2019, The Wall Street Journal said.

Founded in 2012, Peloton sells bicycles starting at $2,245, in packages that it said require signing up for memberships to access live and on-demand classes for cycling, running, yoga and other activities. Access to unlimited classes costs $39 a month.

The 10 music publishers include Big Deal Music, Downtown Music Publishing, Ole, Peermusic, Pulse Music Publishing, Reservoir, The Richmond Organization, Round Hill, Royalty Network and Ultra Music.

They said Peloton’s infringements cover songs by a who’s who of the music industry, such as the unauthorized use of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” in at least 55 workout videos.

The list of alleged infringements includes such songs as Mars’ “Grenade,” Perry’s “Roar,” Timberlake’s “SexyBack” and Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.”

It also includes older songs such as Celine Dion’s version of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Halloween staple “Monster Mash.”

David Israelite, chief executive of the National Music Publishers’ Association, a trade group representing the plaintiffs, in a statement said music was responsible for much of Peloton’s business success.

“We look forward to getting music creators what they deserve,” he said.

The case is Downtown Music Publishing LLC et al v Peloton Interactive Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-02426.

Obama, Putin spar over Syria

UNITED NATIONS ( ) – Russia and the United States agreed on Monday to look for a diplomatic end to the Syrian civil war but clashed over the central question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should retain power.

During a 90-minute meeting, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that their armed forces should hold talks to avoid coming into conflict in Syria after a Russian military buildup there over the last several weeks.

The United States, France and allied countries are bombing Islamic State militants, who have exploited power vacuums to seize parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq as part of a stated goal of creating an Islamic caliphate.

The reinforcement of the Russian military presence in the country, including the addition of tanks and warplanes, has brought fears of inadvertent or accidental clashes among the forces as well as U.S. questions about Moscow’s main goal.

Speaking after his meeting with Obama, Putin told reporters Russia was pondering what more it could do to support Syrian government and Kurdish forces against Islamic State militants.

“We are mulling over what we would really do extra in order to support those who are in the battlefield, resisting and fighting with terrorists, ISIS (Islamic State) first of all,” Putin said, ruling out deploying Russian ground troops.

“There is (an) opportunity to work on joint problems together,” Putin said of his talks with Obama, which a U.S. official described as “businesslike.”

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters after the meeting: “The Russians certainly understood the importance of there being a political resolution to the conflict in Syria, and there being a process that pursues a political resolution.”

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U.S.-Russian ties have been deeply strained by Moscow’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its support of pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Earlier in the day, relations between the two leaders appeared frosty – they clinked glasses at a lunch, but Obama had a piercing look as Putin smiled – and they laid out starkly differing positions toward Assad in their addresses before the annual United Nations General Assembly gathering of world leaders.

Obama said he was willing to cooperate with Russia and Iran to try to end the four-year civil war in Syria, in which at least 200,000 people have died and millions have been driven from their homes. But he described Assad as its chief culprit.

In contrast, Putin said there was no alternative to cooperating with Assad’s military to fight Islamic State militants, and called for the creation of a broader international anti-terrorist coalition. This appeal may compete with the coalition that the United States has assembled to fight Islamic State.

“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama, who spoke before Putin, told the world body. “But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo.”

OBAMA: NO ROLE FOR TYRANTS

Obama did not explicitly call for Assad’s ouster, and he suggested there could be a “managed transition” away from the Syrian president’s rule, the latest sign that despite U.S. animus toward Assad it was willing to see him stay for some period of time.

Obama dismissed the argument that authoritarianism was the only way to combat groups such as Islamic State, saying: “In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse.”

Putin differed, suggesting there was no option but to work with Assad, a longtime ally of Russia.

“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face-to-face,” Putin said in his speech.

“We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and (Kurdish) militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu both rejected the possibility of allowing Assad to stay.

BITTER PILL

In voicing a willingness to deal with Iran and Russia, both backers of Assad, Obama was openly acknowledging their influence in Syria and swallowing a somewhat bitter pill for the United States.

Tehran has armed the Syrian government and, through its backing of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, has helped Assad combat rebels seeking to end his family’s four-decade rule.

U.S. officials say they believe Putin’s buildup of Russian forces in Syria mainly reflects Moscow’s fear that Assad’s grip might be weakening and a desire to shore him up to retain Russian influence in the region.

They also see it as a way for Putin to try to project Russian influence more widely, a goal he appeared to achieve on Sunday with Iraq’s announcement that Russia, Iran, Syria and the Iraqi government were sharing intelligence on Syria.

Despite t上海夜网heir differences over Syria and Ukraine, the United States and Russia have worked with Britain, China, France and Germany, a group known as the P5+1, to secure a nuclear deal with Iran this summer.

The same group could also take up the issue of Syria, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said after a meeting of the six foreign ministers and Iran on Monday evening.

De Bruyne decided to extend his contract

Kevin De Bruyne, the Manchester City playmaker, decided to extend his contract and sign the new deal and it means that it will stay in this town until 2023 as the club announced it on Monday.

The Belgium international had his previous contract running until 2021 and there were talks between the club and the player since the beginning of the season as he was thought to deserve a better contract that will reflect his value for the club. He has been evaluated as one of the best world’s midfielders this season and he has been a crucial part of Pep Guardiola’s squad…

The former Chelsea player spoke about his feelings as he said, according to ESPN: “I am really happy to have signed this new deal. As I’ve said previously, my intention has always been to stay here at City, where I’ve felt at home from day one. Not only are we winning — we are playing great football. It’s a pleasure to be a part of and I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the coming years.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He also admitted that this decision was an easy one for him: “It was pretty easy [the decision to stay]. Obviously, you hear a lot of people talk about other clubs but I think at the moment we are 上海夜生活one of the best clubs in the world. The way this club is working as a whole unit is unbelievable. I’ve never witnessed it in other clubs before like that.”

In the end, Txiki Begiristain, the director of football, claimed: “Kevin’s new deal is great news for our club. He has shown this season how important he is to the team and has been integral in everything we’ve done so far. We are thrilled he has committed his long-term future to Manchester City.”

Pochettino urged Kane to play even better

Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham coach, admitted that he believes that Harry Kane, his side’s best striker, can continue in his improvement and will start to play even better than he has done so far this season.

The Englishman managed to score a hat-trick in his team’s latest 3-0 away win against Burnley and he proved himself to be a key player for the Spurs once again. His coach admitted that the young England international is very important for his system of play but he also claimed that he can see a space for a possible improvement and he hopes that Kane will not stop with his progress.

The former Southampton coach spoke about his star striker as he said, according to ESPN: “I think he still can improve. He’s 24, I think the player arrives at their best at 27, 28, 29, depending on how professional you are. But Harry Kane, if he keeps that mentality, keeps working hard every day in the training sessions and never changes that mentality, he can play until he wants to.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that Kane can break Shearer’s record: “Of course the record of Alan is fantastic. He was a fantastic player, but Harry is doing so well. I think Alan was consistent during 10 years scoring goals and you need to show massive respect because it was amazing what he did. Now Harry is doing well, we hope for Tottenham, for him, for everyone that loves the club, tha上海夜生活网t every season he scores 50 or more than 50.”

In the end, Mauricio Pochettino insisted that his team have to start being consistent: “We need to keep the momentum, to try to win again, to be consistent. If we want to fight at the end for big things we must try to be consistent. But I’m sure that the team is focused, like we showed today. It was tough last week against City, but the team is in a good way.”

AC Milan prepare January bid for Aguero

AC Milan are prepared to further invest in transfers and are monitoring the situation of Sergio Aguero.

Pep Guardiola has long been targeting his former player Alexis Sanchez, whose contract with Arsenal is set to expire next summer. In fact, Manchester City were very close to secure the transfer of Sanchez last summer, when they had a €70m bid accepted. However, the move collapsed after Arsenal failed to sign Thomas Lemar as a replacement.  The Citizens are now confident that a €20m bid in January will persuade the Gunners to allow the Chilean to move to Emirates.Report: West quit Milan because of the Mafia George Patchias – Taribo West claims he quit AC Milan because of the Italian mafia.The retired Nigerian international defender Taribo West claims he left Milan almost 19…

And now AC Milan are set to look into how they can benefit from Sanchez’s move to Manchester City. According to Daily Mail, the Rossoneri will enquire about Sergio Aguero in January, confide上海夜网nt that they could lure the Argentinian away from Etihad.

Sergio Aguero is on track to become Manchester City’s all-time top goalscorer. The Argentinian scored seven goals in eight matches this season and is very close to break the record of Erik Brook, who scored 177 goals for the Citizens. However, the 29-year-old is currently out of action after suffering a broken rib in a car crash in Amsterdam at the end of last month.

Preview: Monaco – Besiktas

Besiktas are top of Group G with six points and will be travelling to Monaco to face the team at the bottom of the group, with only one point acquired in the first two matches.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Alvaro Negredo (Besiktas) scored the goal to knock Monaco out of the tournament (4-3 aggregate win) in the play-off round of ‘15/16 when he was a Valencia player.

Falcao has scored 14 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season. He also has history with Besiktas, having scored home and away whilst at Porto in the Europa League campaign of ‘10/11.

Monaco have a strong home record in European competition and are unbeaten in 12 of their last 15 home games, a run they will hope carries on after a poor start to the group stage (D1, L1).Willian warns Chelsea of ‘difficult’ Ajax threat Andrew Smyth – Willian admits Chelsea will need to prepare well for their next Champions League clash at Ajax after overcoming Lille OSC 2-0 on Wednesday.

There is always potential for a goal fest when Monaco take to the field, as there has been over 2.5 goals in 9 of their last 11 games.

Besiktas are not afraid of a big challenge, with on average 16.25 fouls, and 2.5 cards per game this season. They have a foul per tackle r上海夜网atio of 1.05, making on average more fouls than clean tackles per game.

Missing players

Monaco: L. Badiashile (arm injury), G. Carillo (foot injury), S. Jovetic (thigh injury)

Besiktas: D. Boyko (doubtful), A. Nukan (doubtful), G. Tore (doubtful)

Real need someone like Mbappe

Former Madrid star Steve McManaman thinks Real need a player like Mbappe, and not Harry Kane

Steve McManaman says Los Blancos should be looking for a young prospect like Kylian Mbappe. The former 上海夜生活Real star doesn’t like the idea of spending €200 million on Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

Real Madrid continue to be linked with Spurs’ outstanding attacker, Harry Kane. The English striker has already been called as the “successor” of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kane’s impressive form for both Spurs and England has made him Real Madrid’s target. The English striker has won two Golden Boot awards in the last two seasons in London and is likely to win the third one at the end of this season.

McManaman, though, feels that Real would be better advised signing a player with potential to unlock rather than paying over the odds for a proven performer, GOAL reports.

The former Real midfielder spoke to MARCA before the highly-expected game between Tottenham and Real Madrid at Wembley:  “I would prefer [to sign] a young boy like Kylian Mbappe.”

“It’s very difficult to sign Kane. The price of footballers today is crazy,” McManaman said.Explaining FC Barcelona’s war between players and board Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to shed some light into what is actually happening between FC Barcelona’s players and the board of directors.We need to address this…

The 45-year-old retired midfielder said he can’t understand Kane’s price: “You need to pay €200 million for Kane and I do not understand those figures.”

While McManaman feels a big-money move for Kane makes little financial sense, he does believe that the 24-year-old would find it easy to settle in Spain, GOAL continues.

Not many players are willing to make the move from the Premier League to any Spanish clubs, because of the huge differences in for example culture and language.

McManaman added: “In England the clubs are very professional, and it is a great place to be.”

The 45-year-old said Kane wouldn’t have problems with getting around in Madrid, and Real players who speak English could easily help him.

“Kane can stay in London because he is happy with his family. But if he moved to Real Madrid, surely he wouldn’t have problems adapting.”

“Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and other players speak English and can help him. Madrid is also a beautiful city,” he concluded.

Eriksson insists Rooney deserves more praise

The former England manager believes the Everton striker did not receive the respect he should have.

Wayne Rooney deserved to be loved by the English crowd just like Francesco Totti was in Italy, insists Sven-Göran Eriksson.

The former Manchester United striker retired from the national squad in August after scoring 53 goals in 119 caps for England. Yet, he was widely criticized for his performances despite his great record for the Three Lions throughout his 上海夜网career.

Eriksson, who was in the managerial position of England from 2001 to 2006, thinks that Rooney deserved more from the fans, comparing the Englishman to Italy legend Totti.Rooney’s soon to be new club Derby in drink driving shame George Patchias – Wayne Rooney’s soon to be new club Derby County, has been shamed by a double player drink driving incident.Reports surface ate Tuesday night of…

“The treatment of Wayne Rooney told me something about the way England fans view the national team,” the Swede wrote in the Daily Mail.

“He’s the record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England: you can’t argue with that.

“If Rooney had been Italian, he would have been loved like Francesco Totti was at Roma. You don’t criticise Totti in Italy. There might have been reasons to, sometimes, but you don’t touch him.

“It isn’t like that with Wayne and England but I can tell you that he had to be dragged away from training because he loved to play and practice so much.”

Mati\u0107 expecting United to challenge for two big trophies

The Serbian is hoping his team will be a contender both for the Premier League and the Champions League.

Nemanja Matić has high hopes for the Red Devils this season. The £40 million summer signing is eyeing on the possibility of challenging for multiple titles following a magnificent start in the Premier League.

Manchester United have had more than a perfect start with 9 points in 3 games, 10 goals scored and 0 goals conceded.

Matić also admits that the Champions League group of United is ‘favourable’ and does not see a reason why the Red Devils would not be able to compete on multiple fronts.

“Winning the Premier League title will be a tough task not just for us but for everyone because there are five or six realistic contenders.” the 29-year-old said as quoted by Goal.Report: Mourinho rejects several offers amid Real Madrid talk Andrew Smyth – Jose Mourinho has reportedly turned down several job offers in Europe as he eyes up a potential shock return to Real Madrid.

”But we all know that Manchester United are expected to win every game. As far as the Champions League is concerned, we’ve had a favourable draw and we are hopeful of still being in the competition in the latter stages.

”The 2-1 UEFA Supercup def上海夜生活论坛eat against Champions League holders Real Madrid was a good test of our credentials to slug it out with Europe’s best.

“We were outplayed but that was a one-off while the Champions League is a competition where you face different rivals in every round.”

If Manchester United can keep the form they have shown so far throughout the whole season then Matić and his team-mates are up for a wonderful season in the 2017-18 campaign.

Griezmann linked with Barcelona

Latest rumours suggest that the Catalans will try to lure the Frenchman, following failed attempts to sign Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann is Barcelona’s latest target as they seek to find a replacement for Neymar, who will seemingly join Paris Saint-Germain. However, Juanfran claims that the 26-yaer-old is happy in Madrid an上海夜生活论坛d has no reason to leave.

The France international recently extended his contract at Los Colchoneros, which will keep him at Atletico Madrid until 2022.

After his side came victorious against Napoli, with Torres and Vietto scoring for the the La Liga club, Juanfran told AS.

“We are open to the market. It is getting a little crazy and any operation can affect you,Paiva says Felix would have done better at City or Barca George Patchias – Joao Felix would have become a better player at Manchester City or Barcelona according to former coach Renato Paiva.Renato Paiva was the prodigious Portuguese…

“Griezmann is happy at the Atleti and we want to give everything for the Atleti.”

Upon reaching the final, Juanfran stated:

“It’s a sign of identity, the coach [Diego Simeone] has instilled it. We always want to win, give our best and the fans will be proud of us because we want to win,” he added.

“Now we play the final of the Audi Cup, which is what we wanted.”

Raiola: Ibrahimovic is fine, he\u2019s received so many offers, from the US and beyond

The agent suggested the Swede wants to make a return to Serie A but has other offers as wellWritten by – Nikolay Nikolov, June 19, 2017.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent Mino Raiola says the striker would have already been back at AC Milan if Adriano Galliani was still on the board, but the player has many other offers to consider.

Ibrahimovic is a free agent after Manchester United released him, following his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury suffered at the end of last season.

Although the 35-year-old will be out of the pitch for few months, he has already been strongly linked with a move to the US and Italy.

“Ibra is fine, he’s received so many offers, from the US and beyond,” Raiola told Gazzetta Dello Sport.Kane: Spurs out of excuses after shock Carabao Cup exit Andrew Smyth – Harry Kane concedes that Tottenham only have themselves to blame following a shock Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Colchester United.

“He’s certainly not going to Napoli. Milan haven’t asked me about him. With Galliani, he’d already been there,” he added.

Raiola mentioned the situation around Ibrahimovic while talking about the rising dispute between his client Gianluigi Donnarumma and AC Milan, as the 18-year-old goalkeeper told the club he will not renew his上海夜网 contract.

Raiola also mentioned another one of his clients – Blaise Matuidi. According to the experienced agent, Paris Saint-Germain’s star has been on the radar of some big clubs.

“Clubs have asked me about Matuidi, like Inter and Juventus. We’ll see,” he said.

“The Bianconeri pulled out a year ago due to political reasons. Maybe this time,” he added.

Manchester United close to a deal for Nemanja Matic

According to ESPN sources the Chelsea midfielder could sign before the end of this weekWritten by – Nikolay Nikolov, June 26, 2017.

Manchester United are closing in on a deal for Nemanja Matic from Chelsea according to ESPN sources. Moreover, it is reported that the midfielder could sign by the end of the week.

After Tottenham showed no intention of selling Eric Dier, Matic has become Mourinho’s top target in his attempt to find a new defensive midfielder.

Another factor influencing the deal is that Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco is very close to a move to Chelsea and if the deal goes through he will most probably be the preferred choice when it comes to the holding midfielder role.Kane: Spurs out of excuses after shock Carabao Cup exit Andrew Smyth – Harry Kane concedes that Tottenham only have themselves to blame following a shock Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Colchester United.

United will have to pay around £40m for the 28-year-old Serbian, who scored 1 goal and provided 7 assists in 30 Premier League games last season, as his side became Champions.

Since the end of last season, Manchester United have added only上海夜生活网 1 player to their squad, with Sweden defender Victor Lindelof coming from Benfica earlier this month.

Mourinho will be looking to sign Matic before the United States tour starting on 9th of July.

Other targets that are being followed by United are Alvaro Morata and Ivan Perisic. However, both of the deals are still in initial talks phase.

Verratti plans to hold talks with PSG over his future

The Italian playmaker is wanted by a number of top clubs in Europe and his agent plans on discussing his future with the Parisian club.Written by Cosmin Mihalescu. May 2, 2017.

Donato di Campli, Verratti’s agent has urged the need of talks with Paris Saint-Germain over the future of th上海夜生活网e club and his client.

Having seen their chances to win Ligue 1 diminishing on the weekend and after yet another disappointing Champions League campaign, the French club now stand to lose one of their best players also.Inter Milan V Lazio: Players to Watch Taimoor Khan – Inter Milan are set to host Lazio at the San Siro on Thursday and the game is definitely going to be an exciting affair…

Although acknowledging that he would need to time his meeting with the club perfectly, considering their current situation, di Campli said that a discussion is inevitable: “I don’t feel like saying anything. A lot of wrong things have been said. I want to keep things calm as PSG aren’t in the happiest of moments. We’ll ask for a meeting with the club to discuss Marco’s future. The club have said that Marco won’t leave so we have to respect the will of the club. But we will make a point of the situation after the Coupe de France final.”

Verratti himself has also claimed that their objectives for the season have not been met, although he considers that the team is growing every year: “If Paris are not champions, we will not have achieved what we had in mind at the start of the season. But I think PSG are always a team that grows, I feel better after this season”, he said.

House Speaker Pelosi urges Trump family ‘intervention’ with U.S. president

WASHINGTON ( ) – House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she wished President Donald Trump’s family or staff would conduct an “intervention” with him for the good of the United States after he threw what she called a temper tantrum at a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders a day earlier.

Trump fired back, questioning Pelosi’s mental state by saying she has “lost it” while calling himself an “extremely stable genius.”

As the acrid fight intensified between the Republican president and the Democrats who control the House amid talk of impeaching Trump, work on a two-year federal budget deal has ground to a near standstill as the task of basic governing in Washington has become increasingly complicated.

Trump, who is seeking re-election in 2020, and Democratic leaders for a second straight day lobbed accusations and insults at each other after the collapse of an infrastructure deal that could have pumped $2 trillion into the U.S. economy, if lawmakers and the president had found a way to pay for it.

“Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family, or his administration, or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi told reporters.

An “intervention” often refers to relatives, friends or co-workers confronting an individual struggling with a intractable problem in the hope of improving that person’s behavior.

Trump took aim at Pelosi.

“I tell you what, I’ve been watching her and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She’s not the same person. She’s lost it,” Trump said during remarks about an aid package for farmers hit by the U.S. trade war with China.

Pelosi also accused Trump of obstruction of justice, which she said could be an impeachable offense.

“The White House is just crying out for impeachment,” Pelosi said, but added that “the House Democratic caucus is not on a path to impeachment. And that’s where he wants us to be.”

Trump is stonewalling multiple congressional inquiries into him, his policies, family and business holdings, while Pelosi has worked hard to tamp down demands among some Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings. Some Democrats fear that launching the impeachment process in Congress established in the U.S. Constitution to remove a president from office could backfire and benefit Trump politically.

BUDGET TALKS

On Tuesday, the four top Democratic and Republican congressional leaders reported progress toward a deal with the administration on setting federal spending levels for the next two years and raising the U.S. Treasury Department’s borrowing limit.

Without such a deal, the federal government faces the prospect of another round of shutdowns later this year and a potentially devastating U.S. credit default. Since Tuesday, lawmakers and aides have gone silent on the outlook for more talks.

Asked on Thursday if a deal on the budget or on the U.S. debt would get done, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens.”

Eventually, the main players will almost certainly have to re-engage. Failing to do so would disrupt the government and hurt the economy. Even so, questions lingered about whether the mercurial Trump would support any deal negotiators might craft.

In a hopeful sign, House and Senate negotiators reached a deal on a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill that has Trump’s support, senators said on Thursday.

Policy chaos swept Washington on Wednesday when Trump walked out of a White House meeting with Democrats, saying he could not work with them on an infrastructure bill as long as lawmakers are investigating him. Pelosi had earlier accused him of engaging in a “cover up” over investigations of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections and other matters.

Trump responded on Thursday with a tweet that said, “The Democrats have become known as THE DO NOTHING PARTY.”

Congressional leaders last December negotiated an agreement on federal spending that they had been assured Trump would support, only to have him back out上海夜生活网 at the last minute, triggering a prolonged, partial shutdown of the U.S. government.

There also is little evidence that lawmakers and the administration will unify to address the issue of immigration along the southern border with Mexico. Also in doubt is whether Congress this year will approve a U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement negotiated by Trump’s administration.

Pelosi wrote on Twitter, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”

Higher medical costs take shine off Cigna second-quarter profit beat

( ) – Health insurer Cigna Corp (CI.N) raised its 2019 profit forecast on Thursday, helped by last year’s acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, but medical costs in the second quarter were higher than expected and its shares fell slightly.

As health insurers face regulatory uncertainty amid political efforts to lower U.S. healthcare costs ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Cigna is hoping the $52 billion acquisition will help rein in its own costs.

In the quarter, however, Cigna’s medical care ratio – the percentage of premiums paid out for medical services – was 81.6%, above the 80.2% estimated analysts, according to Refinitiv data.

The company did report higher-than-expected earnings.

Bernstein analyst Lance Wilkes said that was mostly due to the pharmacy benefits business, while investors were likely focusing on the insurance side. “The higher valuation health insurance unit has some questions from medical costs and membership growth rate,” Wilkes said.

Medical costs have been an issue for the sector, with rivals like Centene Corp (CNC.N) and Anthem Inc (ANTM.N) also missing 上海夜生活网expectations.

Cigna Chief Executive David Cordani said in an interview that the company’s costs are growing within expectations, and that several factors influenced the ratio.

He cited lowered premium rates in its individual insurance business, the suspension of an industry-wide insurance fee and higher costs from Express Scripts drug plans.

“Costs relative to any industry measure are extremely positive,” Cordani said.

As the 2020 presidential campaign heats up among potential Democratic challengers to U.S. President Donald Trump, proposals by some candidates for Medicare-For-All programs that would eliminate private insurance has cast a pall of uncertainty over the sector.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley and Democrat Ron Wyden are also pushing legislation that aims to cut $100 billion in costs to government healthcare programs.

Cordani said Cigna is engaged in Washington policy discussions and that it backs aspects of that bill, such as preventing patients from receiving surprising medical bills.

Cigna earned $4.19 per share excluding items for the quarter, beating Wall Street estimates of $3.74, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Cigna now expects 2019 adjusted income of $16.60 to $16.90 per share, up from its prior view of $16.25 to $16.65.

Adjusted revenue from the health services unit, which now includes Express Scripts pharmacy benefits, rose to $23.54 billion from $1.11 billion last year.

However, Cigna said earnings were lower than comparable results from Express Scripts’ second quarter in 2018.

Cigna shares were down 0.3% at $169.40.