The European Central Bank is concerned a trade war could make the economic outlook uncertain and create obstacles to stimulus withdrawal. A trade war could undercut economic growth and "conspire to reduce our confidence in the inflation path", President Mario Draghi says.
The ChiNext index of Chinese startups has gained 6.4% this year, after declining 11% last year. A shift in investor appetite is cited for the turnaround, and fund managers predict sustainable growth.
The US government moved closer to a partial shutdown when House Republican leaders could not come up with votes to pass a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. Action on the measure was held up by partisan differences on several issues, including the border wall President Donald Trump favors.
The White House is close to imposing restrictions on Chinese trade with the US and investment in US companies, two administration officials said. President Donald Trump is expected to present the results Thursday of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's investigation into claims that China coerces US companies into transferring intellectual property.
Most Asian-Pacific stock markets gained Wednesday as investors waited to see whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was off 0.4%; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2%; China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.3%; South Korea's Kospi was flat; India's Sensex was up 0.4%; and Japan's markets were closed for a holiday.
Chinese companies account for 69% of the world's corporate debt with embedded put options, which allow holders to demand repayment immediately, according to Bloomberg data. Rating agencies expect the default rate for the $668 billion worth of debt to increase this year.
Talks between a special committee that advises Nordstrom's board and a group of Nordstrom family members about taking the retailer private have ended. The two sides couldn't agree on the company's value.
TPG Pace Energy Holdings, a special-purpose-acquisition company, has agreed to acquire roughly 360,000 acres of shale assets from EnerVest for $2.66 billion. TPG Pace will be named Magnolia Oil & Gas after the deal closes.
Blackstone and Thomson Reuters are considering selling their Tradeweb Markets stake or taking the bond-trading platform public this year, sources say. No deal is expected until Blackstone completes a 55% acquisition of Thomson Reuters' financial and risk unit, a transaction that is expected to close in the second half of 2018.
The US Supreme Court said shareholders can pursue claims regarding initial public offerings in state courts. Justice Elena Kagan wrote that a 1998 law limiting claim decisions to federal courts "says nothing, and so does nothing, to deprive state courts of jurisdiction over class actions based on federal law."