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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018.

Seth Wenig | AP

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018.

“The question is whether all of this has already been baked in,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “If the market can look past this, it will suggest that much of this has been baked in.”

The announcements from Macy’s and American Airlines came as the earnings season for calendar fourth-quarter 2018 is set to ramp up. J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, BlackRock and Morgan Stanley are among the companies set to report next week.

Fourth-quarter earnings are expected to have risen nearly 15 percent on a year-over-year basis, but growth is expected to be much lower moving forward. According to Thomson Reuters, first-quarter earnings are forecast to rise by 3.9 percent.

“Earnings growth has taken a downturn, but it still remains positive,” said Paul Springmeyer, head of investment at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. “While the pace of earnings growth is slowing, it is not going negative at this juncture.”

Wall Street weighed the possibility of a prolonged U.S. federal government shutdown. Earlier on Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted he would skip the annual World Economic Forum in Davos due to the shutdown.

“It’s just a reminder of how utterly dysfunctional the federal government is,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies. “It just means it put potential progress on trade negotiations on the shelf, and the market didn’t like that.”

Delegations from Washington and Beijing ended three days of trade negotiations in China on Wednesday. China’s commerce ministry said Thursday the negotiations were extensive and had helped set up a foundation for further talks. This week’s face-to-face meetings were the first to take place since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce last month.

If both sides are unable to secure a comprehensive trade agreement by March 2, Trump has said he plans to raise tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.



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David Attenborough says Earth’s ‘Garden of Eden’ age is no more

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David Attenborough attends the opening ceremony of the COP 24 United Nations climate change conference on December 03, 2018 in Katowice, Poland.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images

David Attenborough attends the opening ceremony of the COP 24 United Nations climate change conference on December 03, 2018 in Katowice, Poland.

The naturalist and TV presenter David Attenborough warned that human activity has forced the Earth into a “new geological age.”

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday, Attenborough said that he was born during the Holocene, a 12,000-year era of climatic stability that had allowed civilization to flourish. But, he continued, that long period of history had ended during his lifetime.

“The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age: the Anthropocene, the age of humans,” he declared.

A survey conducted before the annual economic forum concluded that environmental disruption is now the biggest danger to the global economy.

The U.K.’s Prince William arrived at the WEF event on Tuesday to discuss environmental issues with Attenborough.

Taking questions from the royal, the 92-year-old continued his theme, stating that the human race was “so numerous, so powerful, so all-pervasive,” before adding “the mechanisms that we have for destruction are so wholesale and so frightening.”

In October 2018, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) claimed in a report that between 1970 and 2014, 60 percent of all animals with a backbone — fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals — were wiped out by human activity.

Picking up on that theme, Attenborough said when his career started the notion that human beings would, or could, exterminate a whole species seemed like an exceptional event.

Attenborough added that world leaders had failed to act on threats to the environment because so many people now lived in towns and the connection between the natural world and the urban world was being lost.

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Tech firms should partner with banks

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MasterCard’s Cairns alluded to the payment card firm’s support for Apple’s payments platform Apple Pay as an example of a financial services firm joining forces with a tech giant.

“People use (Apple Pay) to go through the London Underground every day and just tap your phone and then it creates a virtuous circle where people are buying coffee and the whole world starts to move contactless,” she told CNBC.

“Everyone’s trying to provide fantastic user experiences by joining up and partnering and really sharing each other’s technology to create the best-end result,” she added. “And actually it’s about creating something that’s seamless and easy that people can trust.”

A host of new banking challengers that operate with just a mobile app and a payment card have gained momentum in Europe and Latin America. In Europe, the likes of Revolut, N26 and Monzo have snapped up millions of customers, while Brazil’s Nubank has 5 million credit card customers using its platform.

Trust is something that banks often say gives them an advantage over their fintech competitors. According to many financial giants, consumers are more likely to turn to a bank with more than a century of history behind it than a younger tech player.

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‘It’s going to cost lives’

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Former Secretary of State John Kerry launched a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump’s policies on Tuesday, saying his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement will “cost lives.”

“People will die because of the president’s decision,” Kerry said at a CNBC-sponsored panel called “The Future of Our Oceans.”

Trump confirmed in June 2017 that the United States was withdrawing from the landmark Paris climate agreement. The White House contended that the country had already reduced its carbon dioxide emissions and did not need the Paris accord to cut them even more.

Trump said the Paris agreement would cost the United States 2.7 million jobs by 2025 and shave trillions from the U.S. economy. He also noted what he called the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

Trump’s comments that America was seemingly at a disadvantage because of the pact riled Kerry the most during the interview by CNBC’s Tania Bryer at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“I’m disappointed when the president of the United States lies, and that was a lie,” Kerry said. However he later said that he wasn’t calling Trump himself a liar when pressed, and added that the president was not solely responsible for the global indifference toward climate change.

“So when the president said it put a burden on us, no. We are assuming a de minimis level of what we ought to be doing. And the burden that is being put on the people of the world, as well as the United States is the burden of ignorance to science which is turning away from something as reasonable as what we did in Paris,” said Kerry, the unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential candidate who became the top U.S. diplomat during President Barack Obama’s second term.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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