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The 10-Point: My Guide to the Day's Top News

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
The Trump Turn
President Trump’s growing engagement with former corporate executives in his White House—and business leaders outside of it—helped shape this week’s reversals on several positions that defined his campaign. We report that unlike in the early weeks of his presidency, when his senior staff consisted of a close-knit group of former campaign aides, Mr. Trump has sided recently with a wing of his administration that espouses economic and foreign policies much more in line with the Washington establishment’s traditional view. We look at several of Mr. Trump’s shifts, from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to NATO. We also report that the U.S. military dropped one of the largest nonnuclear bombs it has ever used in combat Thursday on an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan. A U.S. plane dropped the nearly 22,000-pound Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb—nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” or MOAB—just a few days after an American Special Forces soldier was killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan offensive.

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Don’t Bank on It
Some of the nation’s largest banks warned Thursday that the benefits investors anticipated from rising interest rates and the election of Mr. Trump aren’t manifesting as quickly as many had hoped. J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup posted sharp increases in first-quarter profit, fueled by a continued rebound in their Wall Street trading businesses. But the results, along with those from Wells Fargo, highlighted that the rising interest rates, more robust loan demand and pro-growth policies that many bank investors were betting on after Mr. Trump’s election had so far failed to yield breakout gains. Bank executives told investors on a series of conference calls that they were sanguine that U.S. policy makers’ goals of loosening financial regulations and cutting tax rates would eventually help boost growth.
China’s Gamble
Beijing’s crusade to prop up the yuan threatens to shortchange safeguarding economic growth. When Chinese President Xi Jinping gathered with his economic mandarins in December for their annual strategy meeting, he made clear one policy objective in particular: Keep the yuan stable. What followed has been the marked acceleration of a shift in priorities at the People’s Bank of China toward preventing the currency from cratering above all else. On Thursday the PBOC, China’s central bank, guided the yuan to its biggest one-day gain against the dollar in nearly three months. But China’s currency-first policy is risky because the country now faces what economists call the “trilemma,” the theory that a country can’t at once have a controlled exchange rate, free capital flow and an independent monetary policy.
Patience Doesn’t Pay
When the high-end real-estate market soared in 2014 and 2015, many ultraluxury sellers listed their homes for top-end prices, only to find their properties still sitting when the market slowed last year. In response, many sellers cut their prices to more realistic numbers, aiming for a quick deal. Not the holdouts. These are the sellers willing to spend months, if not years, waiting to sign a contract. Some own multiple homes; others have done the math and concluded it is financially and personally beneficial to wait (and wait) to strike a deal. The more expensive the home, the more likely it is to sit on the market. We take a look at why real-estate agents warn that holding out is usually a bad idea.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Built to Destroy
That Was Painless
At 21,600 pounds, the “mother of all bombs” is the U.S. military’s second-largest nonnuclear bomb. We explain how the GBU-43 got its nickname.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

Trump Shifts Back to Health Care

In Rush for New Agents, Border Patrol Weighs Changing Polygraph Program
WORLD

Airstrike by U.S.-Led Coalition Mistakenly Kills 18 Allies in Syria

U.S. Braces for Next Provocation From North Korea
BUSINESS

Doctor Dragged From United Airlines Flight Prepares Lawsuit

Mark Bittman Adds Activist Investor to Resume in Whole Foods Campaign
MARKETS

Looming Threat of U.S. Government Shutdown Drives Options Bets

The Coming Profit Squeeze
NUMBER OF THE DAY
$19.8 billion
The value of bids in the U.S. government’s wireless airwaves auction. T-Mobile was the biggest spender at $8 billion, followed by Dish at $6.2 billion and Comcast, which spent $1.7 billion.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
It’s about the protection of the weakest in our society.
Jochen Homann, president of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, on issuing an order to parents to find and destroy “My Friend Cayla” dolls, which have been deemed illegal eavesdropping devices.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what are your thoughts on Mr. Trump’s recent policy reversals? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Margaret Rawson
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on indexes beating stock pickers over 15 years, Aaron Meek of Oklahoma said: “It has become a settled fact that indexes on average beat active investors. The topics that beg discussion in light of that fact are ethical compensation models for financial advisers and whether and at what level of saturation index funds could have harmful effects on corporate governance and stock pricing.” Michael Friend of Georgia shared: “Given my history of picking a winning stock (poor would be a generous assessment), I have finally wised up and now prefer to invest almost exclusively in index funds.” And Bob Jones of New Jersey weighed in: “When index funds beat most active managers, it’s a sign that market prices are efficient estimates of value. Paradoxically, this means that active managers as a whole are doing a great job of price discovery. And when markets are efficient, small investors can buy index funds and beat most of the pros. Who said markets are stacked against the little guy? In this sense, active managers provide a critical social function—that is, they earn their fees—by making markets efficient and fair for all of us.”

This daily briefing is named "The 10-Point" after the nickname conferred by the editors of The Wall Street Journal on the lead column of the legendary "What's News" digest of top stories. Technically, "10-point" referred to the size of the typeface. The type is smaller now but the name lives on.

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