Negotiations with Congress are a waste of time if Democrats won’t discuss border-wall funding, President Donald Trump said Thursday, vowing to build a wall with or without congressional approval.

In a wide-ranging Oval Office interview published Thursday night by the New York Times, Trump also said he’s done playing nice with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, expressed optimism over reaching a trade deal with China and issued numerous denials related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“If she doesn’t approve the wall, the rest of it’s just a waste of money and time and energy.”


President Donald Trump

Pelosi has adamantly opposed any funding to build a wall along America’s southern border, and the specter of another government shutdown looms in two weeks, when a temporary funding deal expires. A 17-member panel of lawmakers has been tasked with reaching a border-funding compromise.

Trump suggested in the interview that an emergency order could be issued if Congress won’t allocate the $5.7 billion that he’s demanded for the wall. “I’ll continue to build the wall, and we’ll get the wall finished,” he told the Times. “Now whether or not I declare a national emergency — that you’ll see.”

About Pelosi, Trump said: “I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more. . . . I think she’s doing a tremendous disservice to the country.”

When asked about a number of other subjects, Trump said he ”never did” speak to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks during his campaign; denied he was tampering with witnesses through his tweets; and said testimony by his intelligence chiefs earlier this week was mischaracterized by the media, despite the fact that video of the hearing was shown, along with a 42-page written transcript.

He also called being president a “loser” job, financially. “I lost massive amounts of money doing this job,” he said. “This is not the money. This one of the great losers of all time. You know, fortunately, I don’t need money.”

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Asian markets were mixed on Friday as trade talks ended in Washington with no deal but the promise of a second meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Gains were limited by a private survey showing that Chinese manufacturing slowed to the lowest level in almost three years.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index

HSI, -0.04%

  lost 0.3% while the Shanghai Composite index

SHCOMP, +1.30%

  jumped 0.8%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index

NIK, +0.07%

  rose 0.1%after the country’s unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 2.4% in December, from 2.5% the month before. South Korea’s Kospi

SEU, -0.06%

  edged 0.1% higher while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 c

XJO, -0.03%

  was flat. Shares were higher in Singapore

STI, -0.05%

  and

JAKIDX, +1.06%

 . Markets in Taiwan were closed.

Among individual stocks, Fast Retailing

9983, +1.97%

  rose in Tokyo trading while Nintento

7974, -9.19%

 tumbled after cutting its sales forecast for Switch game consoles. A report Thursday said the videogame company may introduce a smaller, cheaper version of the Switch later this year. Insurance company AIA Group

1299, -0.85%

  fell in Hong Kong, as did AAC

2018, -1.55%

  and Sunny Optical

2382, -0.13%

 . SK Hynix

000660, +2.71%

  jumped in South Korea while financial stocks fell in Australia.

Corporate earnings helped U.S. indexes seal a strong performance in January. Facebook

FB, +10.82%

  reported that it earned $6.9 billion in the fourth quarter, 61% higher than a year earlier. After the close of regular trading, Amazon

AMZN, +2.89%

  said its quarterly profits topped $3 billion for the first time, though its forecast for the current quarter was tepid. The S&P 500 index

SPX, +0.86%

 added 0.9% to 2,704.10. It rose 7.9% in January, its best monthly gain since October 2015. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.06%

  eased 0.1% to 24,999.67 while the Nasdaq composite

COMP, +1.37%

  jumped 1.4% to 7,281.74.

American and Chinese negotiators wrapped up two days of talks Thursday without a deal but with an upbeat outlook. President Donald Trump said China has agreed to buy more American soybeans, but he expects to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to seek agreement on other contentious issues. “There are some points we don’t agree to, but we will agree,” Trump said. “I think when Xi and I meet, every point will be agreed to.” A tariffs cease-fire between the U.S. and China is set to be lifted on March 2, and the U.S. is expected to raise import taxes from 10% to 25% for $200 billion in Chinese goods.

A private survey released on Friday suggested that manufacturing in China slowed in January. China’s Caixin Manufacturing PMI was 48.3 in January, down from 49.7 in December. This was its lowest reading since February 2016. Readings below 50 indicate contraction on the index’s 100-point scale. The survey said that Chinese production and new orders slipped further in January while export orders climbed, fueling fears that the world’s second largest economy was experiencing a slowdown.

“The high-level China-U.S. trade talks did not result in any negative headlines. Expectations for a sweeping deal were low to begin with and the market is probably relieved that trade tensions are no longer escalating,” DBS Group Research strategists Neel Gopalakrishnan and Eugene Leow said in a commentary.

Benchmark U.S. crude

CLH9, -0.65%

  gave up 8 cents to $53.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 44 cents to settle at $53.79 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude

LCOH9, +0.41%

 , used to price international oils, added 3 cents to $60.87 per barrel. The contract dropped 70 cents to $60.84 per barrel in London.

The dollar

USDJPY, +0.02%

  was trading at 108.85 yen, down from 108.89 yen late Thursday.

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Forget FANG — so far in 2019, the cloud kings are the technology sector’s real winners, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday after a strong, growth-filled earnings report from enterprise-facing cloud company ServiceNow.

“These days, if you want performance, the cloud kings and their smaller heirs apparent, the cloud princes, are where it’s at,” Cramer said on “Mad Money.”

ServiceNow, for one, delivered more than 30 percent year-over-year growth across the board. The stock has now surged some 52 percent from its late-2018 lows. And while it’s “the best of the bunch” so far, it’s not the only cloud stock doing well in this “choppy environment,” Cramer said.

Since the late-2018 lows, VMware has gained over 37 percent, Salesforce.com has climbed nearly 34 percent, Workday is up 54 percent, Splunk has tacked on 49 percent and even Adobe, the weakest of the group, has rallied 21 percent, he noted, adding that Adobe being up only about 9 percent for may be a buying opportunity.

And don’t forget the cloud princes: Coupa Software, Okta, HubSpot, New Relic and Atlassian are all beating the S&P 500 so far this year.

“These are classic worldwide secular growth stories that don’t need a strong economy because they help other businesses trim the fat and increase their margins, and businesses always want to cut costs,” Cramer said. “So when someone says the king is dead, you just come back and say long live the king.”

Facebook, General Electric and Apple have all proved how powerful low expectations can be, Cramer said Thursday after Facebook and GE surprised Wall Street with their quarterly earnings reports.

Despite Facebook’s numerous privacy scandals, the social media giant’s fourth-quarter results handily beat analyst estimates, sending the stock 10.82 percent higher in Thursday’s session. The beleaguered GE saw a similar reaction: shares of the industrial gained the most in 9 years Thursday after a much better-than-anticipated fourth quarter.

Those two stocks helped the broader market along, with the S&P 500 capping off its best January since 1987.

“You know what most of the stocks that have exploded higher this earnings season have in common? They had already gone down hard going into the quarter,” Cramer said after markets closed. “We have seen this over and over and over again, including [in] today’s session. […] These stocks are all acting like coiled springs.”

Click here to read more.

Wall Street’s relative disappointment with PayPal’s fourth-quarter earnings report — with the exception of the almost-profitable Venmo — may have stemmed from the company’s forward guidance, CFO John Rainey told CNBC on Thursday.

In an exclusive “Mad Money” interview after PayPal’s report, Rainey emphasized that management was “really pleased” with the fourth-quarter results, highlighting the company’s 26-percent earnings per share growth and its record-breaking net new customer additions.

But there were three potential pain points in PayPal’s first-quarter guidance that were worth addressing, Rainey told Cramer after the financial technology company’s shares dropped 3.96 percent.

Click here to watch and read more about Rainey’s interview.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants billionaires like Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg to subscribe to the United States’ “social contract” and pay “their fair share” in taxes, she told CNBC on Thursday in an interview with Cramer.

“I want these billionaires to stop being freeloaders,” the Democratic senator said on “Mad Money.” “I want them to pick up their fair share. That’s how we make a system that works not just for the rich and the powerful, but works for all of us.”

Warren, who is considering a 2020 run for president, proposed a “wealth tax” on Americans with over $50 million in assets earlier this month. She has also criticized former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz — who is also weighing a 2020 presidential bid — for thinking he can “buy the presidency.”

On Thursday, the Massachusetts senator broke down her problem with billionaires, even those who contribute to charities and do good social works.

Click here to watch and read more about Warren’s full interview.

Auto parts maker Meritor isn’t as antiquated as its 110-year history might suggest, President and CEO Jay Craig told Cramer on Thursday in an exclusive interview.

In fact, the company believes it’s “become one of the leaders” in the electric vehicle component space, an industry expected to grow dramatically in the next five years, the CEO said.

“We believe we’ve become one of the leaders in that space so far,” he told Cramer. “We have a number of programs throughout the globe with every major … original equipment manufacturer [on] the globe to help them electrify their commercial vehicles.”

And electric vehicle adoption could happen more quickly in some areas than in others, said Craig, whose company specializes in making drivetrain, braking and suspension systems for commercial buyers.

“I think it’s going to happen in certain narrow niches” like refuse vehicles and transit buses, he said, adding that he expects transit buses in particular to “move pretty quickly” to becoming fully electric.

Click here to watch Craig’s full interview.

In Cramer’s lightning round, he flew through his responses to callers’ stock questions:

Citigroup Inc.: “We only care where something’s going, not where it’s come from, and I’ve got to tell you, I think Citi is the cheapest of the bank stocks. It sells way through its tangible book [value]. They are going to continue to buy back stock. It has been disappointing, but it is inexpensive.”

Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: “I’m not recommending any automakers. Life’s too short. It’s just too hard. I’ve actually been saying a lot of positive things about Tesla. I hate it when the CFO quits, let alone quits a second time, but I’ve got to tell you, I thought that they actually had a decent quarter. But it’s a balance sheet issue and I don’t have the faith.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Salesforce.com, Facebook, Apple, PayPal and Citigroup.

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Investors will be paying close attention to India’s budget.

So will voters.

As India unveils its interim budget on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party will likely dole out handouts to attract voters ahead of the general election that’s due to be called by May. The main planks of India’s budget will likely include: A farm sector relief package to attract the crucial farmers’ vote, tax cuts and support for badly hit small and medium businesses.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) suffered a stinging election defeat in December, losing three key states to the opposition party. The budget is all the more crucial now as it marks the last major chance for the BJP to consolidate support from its voter base, pointed out Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit.

The government’s new budget will likely introduce measures to boost support for rural voters, as well as to small and medium businesses, that were badly affected by the unpopular demonetization program and implementation of the new Goods and Services Tax in the last few years.

The need to maintain fiscal prudence, however, will keep the government’s budget in check, preventing them from giving out too many sweeteners, analysts said.

A relief package for farmers will be a key focus in the budget as they make up a large proportion of the Indian electorate and many of them struggle with high debt and crop failures, analysts said.

“A farm sector package will be a centerpiece of the upcoming Budget, due to the crucial importance of the farmers’ vote, with 69 percent of India’s population still living in rural areas,” said Biswas.

“Key measures that could be included in the BJP’s farm package include income support measures and interest relief for crop loans for small farmers to help mitigate the impact of rural debt distress in many states,” Biswas added.

But the devil is in the details, as debate is ongoing as to what form that relief could take.

Rhetoric has been split on whether the package would include a cash transfer scheme for smaller farmers, loan waivers, or a broader universal income scheme, according to Radhika Rao, an economist at Singapore bank DBS.

Other measures may include personal income tax relief for low income households, and measures to reduce tax and regulatory burden on small and medium-sized businesses, according to Biswas and some other analysts.

Such measures will set the stage for a budget that would be “‘popular’, yet not profligate,” said Vishnu Varathan, Mizuho Bank’s head of economics and strategy.

However, he added: “The need for fiscal discipline means that the BJP cannot be unbridled on using the Budget to dish out ‘goodies’. So a very mild positive effect may be the outcome.”

The farmers relief package is thus both “a political hot potato” as well as “an onerous fiscal burden,” said Varathan.

The finance ministry had cut spending amounting to 750.8 billion rupees ($10.55 billion) in the last financial year ending in March 2018.

But in its desperation to find ways to pay for pre-election spending, the government has also pressed the central bank to part with more of its reserves, causing a rift that culminated in the resignation of its governor in December.

According to a Reuters report citing two government sources, the farm relief package alone could run up to at least one trillion rupees ($14 billion) — that’s if the government is to have a meaningful impact on which way voters lean in rural areas, home to two-thirds of Indians.

A Morgan Stanley report in January estimated that the farmers package could cost 0.7 percent of India’s GDP if it was to focus on small and marginal farmers, or an annual 0.2 percent of GDP or 440 billion rupees.

Regardless, the pressure is on the BJP to address the ongoing farmers’ distress, said Rao, as the opposition Indian National Congress has pledged a “minimum income guarantee” to the poor, if voted to power.

Experts say the likely optimal option could be a cash transfer to farmers instead of full loan waivers, but that might be somewhat of a disappointment to farmers, said Varathan.

However, “the overall political calculus will still shift against him (Modi) should he try to be far more generous than the Budget allows,” Varathan said.

Given that financial constraint, any election sweeteners in the budget is likely to be long-term in nature, said Capital Economics Senior India Economist Shilan Shah.

“They could include pledges to boost spending in rural areas or exempt more SMEs from the GST. This type of announcement would give the government wriggle room to adjust course if needed at a less politically-sensitive time,” he said.

— Reuters contributed reporting to this story.

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European stocks were slightly higher Friday morning, as market participants monitored a flurry of corporate results and key economic reports.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.2 percent shortly after the opening bell, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Europe’s media stocks led the gains during early morning deals, up almost 0.7 percent amid earnings news. France’s JCDecaux was the top sectoral performer, after the outdoor advertising company reported adjusted organic revenue jumped 5.4 percent in the final three months of 2018. The Paris-listed stock rose more than 8 percent on the news.

Looking at individual stocks, Sweden’s Electrolux surged to the top of the European benchmark Friday morning. It comes after the home appliances maker posted stronger-than-anticipated quarterly results and forecast easing cost headwinds over the coming months. Shares of the company were over 9 percent higher during morning deals.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank was trading lower. Germany’s flagship lender reported its first full-year net profit in four years on Friday. However, shares dipped more than 2.5 percent as the bank continues to face growing merger speculation and a series of uphill struggles.

Spain’s Caixabank was also trading in negative territory. The country’s third-largest lender tumbled to the bottom of the European index after reporting its latest quarterly figures. Shares of the group were down 6 percent after Jefferies reportedly described the results as “messy numbers.”

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, after a survey on Chinese factory activity fell to its lowest level since February 2016.

The downbeat data exacerbated fears of an economic slowdown and dented optimism over a possible U.S.-China trade deal.

China’s trade delegation reportedly said Washington and Beijing had made “important progress” after two days of trade negotiations.

President Donald Trump also said he would soon meet with Chinese premier Xi Jinping to try to reach a comprehensive trade deal. Stocks had taken heart from the possibility of top-level trade talks over the coming weeks, but the upbeat mood soon cooled when the White House insisted it sees March 1 as a hard deadline for a deal.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, edged 0.2 percent lower on Friday.

Back in Europe, investors are likely to closely monitor a fresh batch of economic data. Italy, France, Germany and the U.K. are all expected to publish a final reading of manufacturing PMI data for January during morning deals. The euro area is set to release a flash reading of annualized inflation rate data for January at 10:00 a.m. London time.

Later in the session, market participants will pay special attention to U.S. jobs data. Analysts are unsure what to expect, in the wake of the recent government shutdown.

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