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

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
The Sunny President
President Trump’s first State of the Union address had an uncharacteristically upbeat and hopeful tone as he promoted economic gains and offered a plan for immigration reform. His main theme was a pitch for American unity and prosperity, punctuated by the proclamation that “the state of our union is strong because our people are strong.” The president stuck with a notably scripted tone for most of the evening, emphasizing notes of unity in an era he dubbed “our new American moment” for rebuilding the country culturally and economically. There was none of the familiar Twitter bile about the press, the “deep state” forces arrayed against him or certain categories of foreigners. He avoided direct provocations toward his political foes, instead opting for openings of bipartisan cooperation on infrastructure and immigration. But the path of bipartisanship may be complicated by the president’s framing of the immigration debate, which largely focused on protecting victims of crimes committed by people living in the country illegally. Little movement has been made with a deal on immigration since a brief shutdown earlier this month as a potential new shutdown looms large ahead of a Feb. 8 deadline. After an opening tribute to first responders on the frontlines of natural disasters and man-made tragedies over the course of the year, Mr. Trump shifted gears to a more upbeat topic: the economy. He cited many economic superlatives, from 2.4 million new jobs to unemployment claims at a 45-year low to $8 trillion in value created in the stock market, making the case for a strong U.S. economy with a capacity to continue into the new year. Optimism was a constant of the evening and part of a different Trump that the president wanted voters to see, writes the Journal’s Gerald F. Seib. His speech differed starkly from his darker tone taken in his inaugural address last January, Mr. Seib notes, which referred to “American carnage” and “rusted-out factories.” Taken as a whole, the speech may represent an attempt by the president to change the capital’s tone, even if critics note that steps in that direction have been upended in short order by tweets and off-the-cuff remarks. A negative tone was instead struck by the official Democratic response to the president’s address, with Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D., Mass.) describing Mr. Trump’s initial year in office as one defined by anxiety and fear, with the White House pitting Americans against each other and encouraging the nation’s darkest impulses.

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Curtain Call
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will lead her final policy meeting later today after a 14-year tenure at the central bank, leaving her successor the challenge of deciding whether to pick up the pace of rate increases to prevent the economy from overheating. Fed governor Jerome Powell—who will likely be sworn in as chairman on Monday—will have to weigh how closely to stick with Ms. Yellen’s approach of very gradually raising interest rates from still-low levels. His choices could shape how history remembers Ms. Yellen’s four-year term as chief. If he moves too slowly, low borrowing costs risk fueling an asset bubble like those that triggered recessions in 2001 or 2007. Alternatively, her record could be tarnished if inflation continues to limp below the central bank’s 2% target, confounding the Fed’s forecasts and damaging officials’ credibility. Ms. Yellen has guided the U.S. economy to its tightest labor market in nearly two decades by resisting calls to raise interest rates more rapidly. The patient path she charted allowed the Fed to start reversing, without major turmoil, the aggressive stimulus measures she forcefully advocated during and after the 2008 financial crisis. At its meeting later today, the Fed is likely to leave its benchmark short-term rate unchanged in a range between 1.25% and 1.5%. Officials will most likely discuss how much recent tax cuts can spur economic growth and inflation, given that unemployment is at a 17-year low. They also will consider the economic boost likely to come from the recent decline in the U.S. dollar, rise in stock prices and solid global growth. U.S. stocks dropped sharply Tuesday, however, hit by worries over rising bond yields, new competition in the health-care sector and rising oil production. The declines mark the first time this year that the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have fallen for two consecutive days.
Master of None
Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire behind his country’s leading wireless provider América Móvil, spent decades building up the telecommunications empire that has helped make him one of the richest people in the world. But Mr. Slim appears to find himself in a rut: the value of his controlling stake in América Móvil has fallen by more than $8 billion, or 20%, and his wealth has declined by about $10 billion, knocking him out of the top echelon of the world’s richest people. Those hits can be traced to an unlikely source: his former pupil and old friend Randall Stephenson, the chairman and chief executive of AT&T. Mr. Stephenson’s company has won 5.7 million new Mexican customers since entering the wireless market in late 2014, and even though AT&T has just an 11% market share in Mexico, their battle has fueled a bitter price war—an upheaval in the once staid Mexican cellular market and an uncomfortable reckoning for the two men. The feud between the two has caused considerable strain—they haven’t seen each other in nearly a decade. One analyst following both firms puts it bluntly: “The tablecloth between them has been cut.”
Milliseconds Matter
A growing body of research shows that snap judgments we make about others’ trustworthiness—and, conversely, that people make about us—are wrong more often than most people think. Our columnist Sue Shellenbarger writes about those first impressions that are formed in milliseconds, based on instinctive responses in the brain’s emotion-processing center, the amygdala. One leading researcher on the topic of first impressions says that some people conclude a stranger is reliable because he or she looks like someone trustworthy the person already knows. Others make judgments based on stereotypes, such as an unconscious belief that older or more feminine-looking people are more trustworthy. This poses a challenge to anyone who must gain others’ trust to perform well in meetings, interviews or other gatherings. So how does one head off shaky snap judgments? Some visual cues are beyond a person’s control, but people who use and teach these skills agree that a happy expression is likely to inspire trust, while a habitual grumpy or angry expression is likely to undermine it. Stance and posture are also important—leaning or turning toward the other person shows you’re focused intently on what he or she is thinking and feeling.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Is the European Union Economic Recovery Here to Stay?
That Was Painless
Global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, were upbeat about the European Union’s economic growth prospects. Most agreed the region offers attractive investment opportunities despite doubts over the impact of Brexit.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

California Senate Passes Tax Workaround Bill

Federal Judge in Brooklyn Criticizes Trump and Sessions in DACA Hearing
WORLD

U.S. Plans New Russia Sanctions Based on List of Elites

Europe’s Economic Growth, Aided by France, Outpaces U.S.
BUSINESS

Japan’s Fujifilm to Take Majority Control of Xerox

Apple Faces Two Federal Probes Over iPhone Battery Issue
MARKETS

Decade of Easy Cash Turns Bond Market Upside Down

MetLife Shares Tumble on Pension Shortfall News
NUMBER OF THE DAY
$600 million
The amount Dallas-based AriseBank allegedly raised in an initial coin offering before federal regulators moved to halt it, in one of the biggest U.S. interventions yet into the world of raising money by issuing digital tokens.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
This is back to basics.
Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, on the U.S. homeownership rate rising for the first time in 13 years.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what did you make of President Trump’s State of the Union address? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Phil Nobile
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on expectations of President Trump’s State of the Union address, Mary Ann Mikulski of New York wrote: “I expect Mr. Trump to follow the script written for him until he gets bored, then to veer off into his usual manic claims of superiority and huge success—even if they are all wrong.” Grant Johnson of Connecticut replied: “My bet is that it will be quite similar to his blunt and unapologetic inauguration speech, but with actual substance behind it from just one year in office: stock-market performance, less regulations, even lower unemployment, and rising wages. Mr. Trump will remind everyone in the chamber that they are all employed by the taxpayers, and not the other way around. Hopefully he will also take a direct swipe at Mrs. Pelosi and point out that to the average American, a $1,000 bonus is not ‘crumbs’ to them and their family.” And Samuel Huber of New Jersey said: “I predict scant use of ‘we’ in claims to the previous year’s ‘accomplishments,’ a heavy preference for ‘I’ instead, in keeping with Mr. Trump’s narcissistic sense of his own importance.”

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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