Levi Strauss looking to trouser up to $587m in New York IPO

Step aside, yoga pants: Levi Strauss’ IPO plan shows jeans are back in the game.

The iconic American apparel company, which patented the first pair of blue jeans in 1873, filed a plan for an initial public offering Monday that would raise as much as $587.2m (€522.8m).

The company would sell 36.7 million shares, priced at $14 to $16 apiece, according to the regulatory document.

Denim has been fighting for its share of the casual clothing market with leggings and “athleisure”.

It’s been tough, with imports of elastic knit pants surpassing those of denim for the first time in 2017.

But the one-time staple of American closets has recently staged the beginning of a comeback: The jeans category in the US grew 2.2pc to $16.7bn in 2018 after four straight years of declines, according to data.

US-China closing in on deal that may end most US tariffs

The US and China are close to a trade deal that could lift most or all US tariffs as long as Beijing follows through on pledges ranging from better protecting intellectual-property rights to buying a significant amount of American products, two people familiar with the discussions have said.

Chinese officials made clear in a series of negotiations with the US in recent weeks that removing levies on $200bn (€176bn) of goods quickly was necessary to finalise any deal, said the people, who weren’t authorised to talk publicly about the deliberations.

That’s the amount the Trump administration imposed after China retaliated against the US’s first salvo of $50bn in tariffs, which kicked off the eight- month trade war.

One of the remaining sticking points is whether the tariffs would be lifted immediately or over a period of time to allow the US to monitor whether China is meeting its obligations, the people said.

The US wants to continue to wield the threat of tariffs as leverage to ensure China won’t renege on the deal, and only lift the duties fully when Beijing implemented all parts of the agreement.

As part of the ongoing talks, the US asked the Chinese not to retaliate or bring WTO cases in response to US tariffs that could be imposed to enforce the deal, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Stocks in Europe and Asia advanced on optimism about a deal, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rising 0.4pc. The offshore yuan gained 0.2pc.

Dates for a summit between President Donald Trump and counterpart Xi Jinping have yet to be agreed, according to officials from both countries who declined to be named.

The ‘Wall Street Journal’, which reported earlier that the US and China were close to finalising a trade pact, reported the summit could happen around March 27.

Plans for a signing ceremony have been complicated by Xi’s need to lead China’s annual National People’s Congress and to make other foreign trips.

US and Chinese officials “have conducted fruitful and intensive consultations and made important progress on many issues of common concern,” Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress said in Beijing. “We hope that the two sides will continue to hold consultations and reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement,” he added.

Geopolitical risks put a damper on global shares as US dollar gains

US stocks declined for a third day as lingering concerns over trade and geopolitical risks offset a report showing the economy cooled by less than expected last quarter. The dollar climbed and Treasury yields increased.

   Equities received brief bumps higher after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave optimistic outlooks on the status of trade negotiations with China. Stocks dropped earlier in Europe and Asia as disappointing manufacturing data out of China and an abrupt end to the US-North Korea summit added to a litany of concerns facing investors.

“This report would have given a bigger boost to equities and other risk assets if not for the negative news coming out of Vietnam,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank in St. Louis.

“This, along with the re-emergence of hostilities between India and Pakistan, has increased the geopolitical risks.”

The 2.6pc annualised rate of gains in gross domestic product from October to December compared with the 2.2pc median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

It followed a 3.4pc advance in the prior three months, according to a US Commerce Department report that was delayed a month by the government shutdown.

“This really helps at least reduce imminent recession fears and is just another indicator that the economy certainly slowed down but it looks less recessionary than just a mid-cycle slowdown at this point,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Weeden Capital Management in Minneapolis.

“And certainly the bond market’s initial reaction seems to be that way, with it lifting yields for example.”