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The demise of the GOP’s healthcare reform plan captured investor attention in recent days, but next week the focus shifts to proposals that are due for president Donald Trump’s border wall.
Mr Trump on Friday suffered a bruising blow as opposition from within the Republican party saw a vote on healthcare reform scuppered and sparked concerns about the White House’s ability to deliver on other priorities. And while Mr Trump is now shifting his focus to tax reforms, investors await updates on another issue he campaigned heavily on: a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Proposals are due on Wednesday, roughly two weeks after the US Customs and Border Protection service released its request for proposals, or RFPs. About 700 companies have registered interest for tenders for the two-phase competition to build a 30-foot high structure that is expected to cover the 3,200km border between the US and Mexico.
The requests call for a design that “satisfies the mission” and required “wall fittings and fixtures . . . secured on the north side of the wall to shield from external attack”.
It also calls for the wall to be aesthetically pleasing on the US side. Mexico has urged its national companies to refuse to tender bids.
Britain’s prime minister Theresa May is expected to formally trigger article 50 and commence two-years of negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU. “We don’t expect much headway to be made in the near-term — the EU27 won’t even meet to discuss their negotiating strategy until the end of April,” strategists at TD Securities, said. “But there will be an initial response from the European Commission during the week.”
That also comes a day after the Scottish Parliament picks up a debate on whether to hold a second referendum on its independence. The debate was suspended this week following the terror attack at Westminster.
South Korean technology group Samsung introduces its Galaxy S8 smartphone on Wednesday, with its own voice-controlled intelligence, named Bixby. The assistant will help direct instructions on “a subset of preinstalled applications” on the phone, such as making a phone call, which is narrower than rivals like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana, that seek to respond to search queries and perform a range of tasks.
Investors will be watching this closely following the recall of its troubled Galaxy Note 7 handsets. The company blamed design and manufacturing defects on the device’s batteries for some handsets catching fire.
Next week brings a fresh onslaught of updates from members of the monetary policy setting Federal Open Market Committee, including Chicago Fed president Charles Evans, New York Fed president Bill Dudley and Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari. A handful of non-voting members are also slated to deliver remarks.
On the data front, the third revision of fourth quarter GDP is expected to showed that growth edge up to 2 per cent, from a previous estimate of 1.9 per cent. However, that is still sharply slower than the 3.5 per cent growth registered in the the third quarter.
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