By David Morgan, Moira Warburton and Makini Brice
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Outspoken conservative Jim Jordan will take a second shot at the top job in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday but also said the chamber should vote on another option to allow legislation to move forward if he falls short again.
Jordan said the House should hold a second vote to fill the vacant speaker’s chair on Wednesday, after he fell short of the needed 217 votes on Tuesday, when 20 fellow Republicans voted against him.
He also called for a vote on a scenario floated by Democrats and some Republicans that would give increased power to Representative Patrick McHenry, who has been temporarily filling the speaker’s chair for the 16 days the House has been without a leader.
That could allow Congress to respond to crises in the Middle East and Ukraine and fund the government past Nov. 17, when current funding is due to expire.
“We’ve got to decide today,” Jordan told reporters. “Both questions should be called. Let’s get an answer. We’ve been at this two weeks. The American people deserve to have their government functioning.”
One proposal submitted by Republican Representative Mike Kelly would name McHenry as speaker through Nov. 17 or until a permanent speaker is selected, which would remove uncertainty about his current ability to run the chamber. That temporary solution could also buy more time for Jordan to line up support for the job after that point.
Democrats, whose support would likely be crucial, have made clear they want Jordan out of the picture. “We want a bipartisan path forward. That does not involve Jim Jordan, who is a poster child for Republican extremism and a danger to our democracy,” House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said on Tuesday.
Republicans who control the chamber have been unable to unite behind a speaker candidate since a small faction of them ousted Kevin McCarthy on Oct. 3.
‘MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT’
Backers and critics alike predicted that opposition to Jordan could increase by five to 10 Republicans in Wednesday’s ballot.
“I think it gets more and more difficult for him every day,” said Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who opposes Jordan.
Two former Republican speakers, Newt Gingrich and John Boehner, have also advocated for empowering McHenry to lead the chamber temporarily.
Jordan, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, could be in trouble if more Republicans vote against him in a second ballot.
McCarthy sounded a note of optimism for Jordan hours before the second vote.
“If he can hold his votes and the number goes up, I think he can get there,” McCarthy told CNBC.
At least one Republican who voted against him on Tuesday, Representative Doug LaMalfa, said he would vote for Jordan on the second ballot.
New Republican alternatives aside from McHenry could also emerge if Jordan does not pick up support. Potential candidates include Representative Tom Emmer, currently the No. 3 House Republican.
Republicans control the House by a narrow 221-212 majority and can afford no more than four defections.
Democrats have signaled support for empowering McHenry and said they would not insist on sharing power.
Members of both parties have been discussing a possible agreement. But some Democrats privately said Republicans will have to publicly call for a bipartisan solution and they have yet to indicate a willingness to do so.
Unlike previous House leaders, who gained influence by raising money and building broad coalitions, Jordan has made his name as a vocal leader of the party’s hard right, tangling with Democrats and Republicans alike.
As a founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, the former wrestling coach helped drive Republican Boehner into retirement in 2015 and advocated for government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.
A congressional investigation found that Jordan was a “significant player” in Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, he has led investigations into Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration and is a driving force in an impeachment inquiry into Biden that Democrats say is baseless.
Several of his Republican opponents have senior positions on the House Appropriations Committee, including panel chair Kay Granger. Democrats pointed to that fact as a sign of Republican concern for the deep spending cuts that Jordan and other hardliners have advocated this year.
Jordan’s supporters say he would be an effective advocate for advancing conservative priorities in Washington, where Democrats control the White House and the Senate.
U.S. stocks soar after better than expected inflation stokes rate hopes
Investing.com — U.S. stocks surged on Tuesday after data showed that inflation cooled more than expected in October, offering support to the view that the Federal Reserve may be closing to ending its rate-hiking cycle.
By 10:55 ET (15:55 GMT), the was up 505 points or 1.5%, while the was up 2% and the was up 2.3%.
The main indices on Wall Street closed mixed on Monday in subdued trading at the start of a new week. The 30-stock Dow added 0.2%, while the benchmark S&P dipped by 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.2%.
U.S. CPI cools more than expected
These gains followed the release of data showing headline inflation in the U.S. slowed by more than expected in October, in a boost for Federal Reserve officials keen on corralling price pressures in the world’s largest economy.
The U.S. rose by 3.2% in October on an annualized basis, decelerating from a rate of 3.7% in September. It was the reading’s first decline in three months. Month-on-month, the measure came in flat, down from a gain of 0.4% in September.
Economists had forecast a 3.3% annual gain and a 0.1% gain from the prior month.
Fed Chair indicated last week that further interest rate hikes were still possible as the central bank attempts to bring inflation back down to its 2% target, but the market still widely expects the Fed to stand pat at the year’s last meeting as inflationary pressures show signs of cooling. This result has prompted investors to speculate that the Fed’s next move may be a cut next year.
Home Depot reports drop in 3Q sales
On the corporate side of the equation, big-box retailers are stepping up with earnings reports.
Home Depot (NYSE:) reported a smaller-than-anticipated 3.1% decline in third-quarter comparable sales as customers undertook more modest projects and home repairs. The retailer also indicated caution about the coming months, as it narrowed its full-year outlook, now expecting sales to fall by 3% to 4% from the prior year, compared with a previous expectation of a 2% to 5% decline. Shares rose 6.3%.
Target (NYSE:) follows with its earnings on Wednesday, while Walmart (NYSE:) and Macy’s (NYSE:) are scheduled to release their results on Thursday.
Electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc (NYSE:) reported disappointing earnings and said it would delay its quarterly regulatory filing. Shares were down 23%.
Oil helped by IEA lifting demand growth forecasts
Oil prices edged higher Tuesday after the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand growth forecasts for this year and next despite economic risks ahead.
The IEA, in its , lifted its 2023 growth forecast to 2.4 million barrels per day from 2.3 million, and 930,000 barrels per day from 880,000 in 2024.
The agency, however, was careful to point to an expected deceleration in economic growth in nearly all major economies next year, but said its expectations were underpinned by hopes of interest rate cuts and the recent fall in crude prices.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had also slightly raised its 2023 forecast for growth in global oil demand, in its , released on Monday.
(Peter Nurse and Oliver Gray contributed to this item.)
Lloyd’s of London SPAC venture scrapped due to volatile markets
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Lutine Bell during an event to mark accession of Britain’s King Charles at the Lloyd’s Building in the City of London, Britain, September 15, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Financials Acquisition Corp said on Monday it would enter liquidation as it scraps a planned merger with its newly formed insurance venture, citing “insufficient” cash commitments due to volatile capital markets.
The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) had unveiled plans to combine with London Innovation Underwriters (LIU) and raise additional funds to deploy in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
A shareholder meeting planned for Nov. 14 to approve the tie-up plans and seek up to 300 million pounds has been cancelled, the company said.
The SPAC has an end of year deadline to use funds raised for a takeover, and said it would not seek an extension.
“Consequently, the Company proposes to cease operations, other than for the purpose of returning funds to Shareholders and conducting an orderly winding up of the Company,” Financials Acquisition Corp said in a statement.
“In order to ensure due payment of creditors, the Company proposes to appoint a liquidator as soon as practicable to administer the winding up of operations, and expects to release a further announcement regarding this process in due course.”
LIU said despite interest from a wide range of investors, the level of demand was insufficient to reach the minimum cash threshold required.
LIU said it would consider exploring alternative options to pursue its strategy of accessing the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
The failed effort comes amid a dearth of new listings in London and concerns over its appeal as a capital markets hub, despite profits at Lloyds (LON:) of London which are booming thanks to rising prices for insuring commercial risks.
Following a frenzy of deals in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPACs have lost popularity as they struggleto find businesses to merge with. Others have seen lacklustre stock performance after acquiring a target.
Medical device stocks rise in relief after Wegovy heart benefits data
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 0.25 mg injection pen of Novo Nordisk’s weight-loss drug Wegovy is shown in this photo illustration in Oslo, Norway, September 1, 2023. REUTERS/Victoria Klesty/Illustration/File Photo
(Reuters) -Shares of U.S. medical device makers rose on Monday as a potential hit from the cardiac benefits of Novo Nordisk (NYSE:)’s weight-loss drug Wegovy was seen as more moderate for the battered sector than initially feared by investors.
To be sure, the full results presented on Saturday at a major medical meeting gave analysts even more confidence in the heart protective benefits of the hugely popular drug.
“We believe key findings could be seen as a marginal positive for some, but not all, verticals within MedTech, especially given currently depressed sentiment,” said Baird analyst Jeff Johnson.
The data, for instance, showed the reduction in risk of non-fatal stroke was not statistically significant over the length of the trial.
That lifted shares of Penumbra (NYSE:), which makes devices used in surgeries for stroke patients, 13% in morning trading.
Its shares have tumbled about 28% as of last close since Novo in August said Wegovy had also shown a clear cardiovascular benefit.
The $4.64 billion iShares US Medical Devices ETF rose 2.3% on Monday, eyeing its biggest one-day percentage gain since April. The ETF is down about 13% this year, through Friday’s close.
Shares of diabetes care device makers Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:), Dexcom (NASDAQ:), Insulet (NASDAQ:), Tandem and Medtronic (NYSE:) gained between 2% and 8%.
Monday’s moves are the latest sign that investors across industries are closely looking at developments with the popular new class of weight-loss and diabetes drugs called GLP-1s such as Wegovy and Eli Lilly (NYSE:)’s Mounjaro and Zepbound.
“The full detailed results … do not shift our outlook that MedTech device stocks appear broadly oversold,” said Leerink analyst Mike Kratky.
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