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France’s conservative leader calls for pact with far right



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The leader of France’s centre-right party has called for an electoral alliance with the far-right Rassemblement National ahead of snap legislative elections on June 30 that have rattled financial markets.

A pact would boost the chances of RN securing an absolute majority in the election called by President Emmanuel Macron in a shock move on Sunday.

Éric Ciotti, leader of the centre-right Les Républicains (LR), said his party needed to strike “an alliance with the RN, its candidates, with all those who identify with ideas of the right, with the values of the right”.

“I want my political family to move in this direction,” Ciotti added, calling for a force to oppose the “impotence of Macronism” and the threat from the far left.

Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, said Ciotti had made a “courageous choice” and hailed his “sense of responsibility”.

The move is a blow to Macron’s hopes of forming a united front with the forces of the centre-left and centre-right to take on RN.

Leftwing parties have already thrashed out a preliminary pact to run a single list of candidates — including the Socialists, the Communists, the Greens and the far-left France Unbowed party, but not the president’s centrist alliance.

Investors sold French stocks for a second consecutive day on Tuesday, as markets digested the possibility that RN, which advocates tens of billions of euros of extra public spending, could take or share power following the elections.

French stocks in the Cac 40 have fallen 2.7 per cent this week, their biggest two-day decline since July 2023.

Other senior members of LR immediately rejected Ciotti’s call, suggesting the party, which has been divided on how closely to co-operate with the far right, could disintegrate in the run-up to the election.

“Following Éric Ciotti’s comments, I believe he can no longer lead our movement and must resign as chair of the party,” said Gérard Larcher, president of the Senate and a senior LR figure.

Michel Barnier, another senior figure within the Républicains and the EU’s former Brexit negotiator, also called on his party to refuse a far-right alliance. “Never, never can an alliance or pact with a populist and anti-European party be the solution,” Barnier said on X.

Macron’s allies also attacked the conservative leader’s move.

“Éric Ciotti is signing a Munich agreement and is plunging the Gaullist family in dishonour,” Gérald Darmanin, interior minister, said on X in reference to the 1938 accords France and Britain struck with Nazi Germany.

“The shame of it. People of France, wake up!”

Macron’s unexpected decision to call a snap election, to be held in two rounds on June 30 and July 7, followed his party’s drubbing in European elections on Sunday by RN, which echoed success for the far right elsewhere in Europe.

The RN’s leader and Le Pen protégé, 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, has since been wooing figures on the right. “I’ve had a number of discussions with people who are not from my political family,” Bardella told RTL radio on Tuesday, adding that these included senior Républicains figures who were keen to join him.

Initial talks to annex another far-right group, the anti-immigration Reconquête party spearheaded by one-time presidential candidate Éric Zemmour, have fallen apart for now, however.

Lawmaker Marion Maréchal — Le Pen’s niece, who left her aunt’s party in 2017 and who led talks with Bardella to bring Reconquête on board — said on Tuesday the RN leader had refused in the end to forge a pact because they had not wanted any association with Zemmour himself.

If just half of LR’s 57 MPs allied with RN, the far right could be on the cusp of an absolute majority, which requires 289 seats. A Toluna Harris Interactive poll forecast the RN could win between 235 and 265 seats.

Tuesday’s market moves came after the Europe 1 radio station reported that Macron had discussed resigning if he suffered another heavy defeat in the two-round election to parliament.

A person close to the president said the rumours were unfounded.

Macron has pushed back a press conference planned for Tuesday until Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Harriet Clarfelt in New York and Leila Abboud in Paris

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Explainer-What are the Fed’s bank ‘stress tests’ and what’s new this year? By Reuters




By Pete Schroeder and Michelle Price

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve is due to release the results of its annual bank health checks on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET (2030 GMT). Under the “stress test” exercise, the Fed tests big banks’ balance sheets against a hypothetical scenario of a severe economic downturn, the elements of which change annually.

The results dictate how much capital those banks need to be deemed healthy and how much they can return to shareholders via share buybacks and dividends. This year, big U.S. lenders are once again expected to show they have ample capital to weather any fresh turmoil in the banking sector.


The Fed established the tests following the 2007-2009 financial crisis as a tool to ensure banks could withstand a similar shock in future. The tests formally began in 2011, and large lenders initially struggled to earn passing grades.

Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:), for example, had to adjust their capital plans to address the Fed’s concerns. Deutsche Bank’s U.S. subsidiary failed in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

However, years of practice have made banks more adept at the tests and the Fed also has made the tests more transparent. It ended much of the drama of the tests by scrapping the “pass-fail” model in 2020 and introducing a more nuanced, bank-specific capital regime.


The test assesses whether banks would stay above the required 4.5% minimum capital ratio – which represents the percentage of its capital relative to assets – during the hypothetical downturn. Banks that perform strongly typically stay well above that. The nation’s largest global banks also must hold an additional “G-SIB surcharge” of at least 1%.

How well a bank performs on the test also dictates the size of its “stress capital buffer,” an additional layer of capital introduced in 2020 which sits on top of the 4.5% minimum.

That extra cushion is determined by each bank’s hypothetical losses. The larger the losses, the larger the buffer.


The Fed will release the results after markets close. It typically publishes aggregate industry losses, and individual bank losses including details on how specific portfolios – like credit cards or mortgages – fared.

The central bank typically does not allow banks to announce their plans for dividends and buybacks until a few days after the results. It announces the size of each bank’s stress capital buffer in the subsequent months.

The performance of the country’s largest lenders, particularly JPMorgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, are closely watched by the markets.


The Fed changes the scenarios each year. They take months to devise and test a snapshot of banks’ balance sheets at the end of the previous year. That means they risk becoming outdated.

In 2020, for example, the real economic crash caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was by many measures more severe than the Fed’s scenario that year.

After the failures of mid-size lenders Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank (OTC:) and First Republic last year, the Fed was criticized for not having tested bank balance sheets against a rising interest rate environment, and instead assuming rates would fall amid a severe recession.

This year’s test is broadly in line with the 2023 test, with the hypothetical unemployment rate under a “severely adverse” scenario rising 6.3 percentage points compared with 6.4 last year.


The exam also envisages a 40% slump in the prices of commercial real estate, an area of concern over the past two years as lingering pandemic-era office vacancies and higher for longer interest rates stress borrowers.

In addition, banks with large trading operations will be tested against a “global market shock,” and some will also be tested against the failure of their largest counterparty.

For the second time, the Fed is also conducting “exploratory” shocks to banks. This year’s test also includes additional exploratory economic and market shocks which won’t help set capital requirements, but will help the Fed gauge whether it should broaden the test in the future. The market shocks will apply to the largest banks, while all 32 will be tested on the economic shocks.

Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr has said multiple scenarios could make the tests better at detecting banks’ weaknesses.


In 2024, 32 banks will be tested. That’s up from 23 last year, as the Fed decided in 2019 to allow banks with between $100 billion and $250 billion in assets to be tested every other year.

These are the banks being tested in 2024:

Ally Financial (NYSE:)

American Express (NYSE:)

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:)

The Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:) Corporation

Barclays US LLC

BMO Financial Corp.

Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:)

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:)


Citizens Financial (NYSE:) Group, Inc.

Credit Suisse Holdings (USA)

DB USA Corporation

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:)

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:)

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

HSBC North America Holdings

Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:)


M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:)

Morgan Stanley

Northern Trust Corporation (NASDAQ:)

The PNC Financial (NYSE:) Services

RBC US Group Holdings LLC

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:)

Santander (BME:) Holdings USA

State Street Corporation (NYSE:)

TD Group US Holdings LLC

Truist Financial (NYSE:) Corporation

UBS Americas Holding LLC

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An eagle tops the U.S. Federal Reserve building's facade in Washington, July 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

U.S. Bancorp

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:)

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Shadow health secretary ‘disgusted’ by treatment of junior doctors



Changing the NHS’s funding model and introducing an insurance system for dentistry in the UK would be a “dangerous slippery slope”, Labour has said.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said the issues facing the NHS were not down to the funding model, but were due to “where the money goes.”

Labour has promised to create 700,000 extra dental appointments per year if elected, to manage the backlog of patients requiring treatment. 

Streeting said if Labour were to win the election, he would “get the British Dental Association in” to start the process of reforming NHS dentistry. 

“We’ve got to deal with the crisis that is staring us in the face.”

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The best time of day to exercise, according to science



Claire Zulkey, a 44-year-old Chicago-area freelance writer, has a well-established morning routine: She gets her kids off to school, turns the television to a favorite show, and gets moving with a full-body workout. Once completed, Zulkey showers and settles in to work.

Meghan Cully, in contrast, puts in a full day’s work before hitting the gym on her way home. The 32-year-old graphic designer from Maryland is a self-described “slow starter” in the mornings and finds it difficult to get moving early in the day.

Each gets their workout, but is one time of day better than the other? 

Consider your fitness goals 

A small study out of Skidmore College examined the benefits of morning versus evening exercise for both women and men. Paul J. Arciero, Ph.D., professor for health and human physiological sciences department at Skidmore, was the lead investigator. 

“We had the groups follow the same multi-modal routine, randomly dividing them into evening and morning groups,” he says. “We found women and men respond differently to different types of exercise depending on the time of day, which surprised us.”

The study revealed that for women who want to lower blood pressure or reduce belly fat, morning exercise works best. Those women striving for upper body muscle gains, endurance, or overall mood improvement should consider evening workouts.

For the male participants, the findings were somewhat flipped: Evening exercise lowers blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and feelings of fatigue, while similar to women, they burn more fat with morning exercise. To understand the reasons behind the results, additional research is required.

What might be most ideal, then, says Arciero, is adjusting your workouts to the time of day when you can get the most bang for your buck. “If you’re a female, then, you might want to perform your cardio workouts in the morning, and your strength training in the evening,” he says.

Early birds versus night owls

“For many people, [the best time to exercise] will depend on their chronotype,” says Jennifer J. Heisz, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and author of Move the Body, Heal the Mind.

Chronotype is your body’s natural inclination to sleep at a certain time—it’s what determines whether you’re a night owl or an early bird. For the 25% of the population that considers themselves a night owl, getting both enough sleep and enough exercise can be difficult, says Heisz. 

“Exercising at night can sometimes be challenging with societal norms,” she explains. “You might naturally stay up until midnight and exercise late at night, but if you have to be out the door the next morning at 7, you’re not getting enough sleep.”

Sleep–which provides your body the necessary time to recover and make gains from exercise–should always be a priority when it comes to exercise. Regardless of research on the benefits of certain exercises at particular times of the day, your results will be diminished if it doesn’t allow enough time for sleep.

How to shift your workout time

If your goal is to change up your routine to adhere to Arciero’s findings related to exercise time of day, or simply to make exercise more convenient even if it runs against your chronotype, Heisz says it’s possible. 

“If you’d like to shift to a morning routine, for instance, the good news is that both the sun and exercise can reset your biological cues,” she says. “Put them together by exercising outside in the sunshine, and it’s a powerful effect.”

For older adults, whose tendency is to sometimes awaken too early and not fall back to sleep, the desired shift might be to evening exercise. “This might help with falling asleep later and staying asleep longer,” says Heisz.

If you’re worried that evening workouts will impact your ability to fall asleep, shift your workouts to gentler forms of exercise, like yoga. Avoid vigorous exercise like running, which might elevate your heart rate and make it tougher to wind down. 

For evening exerciser Cully, the trick is working out on the way home from work, which is spaced far enough from bedtime not to impact her sleep. “If I went home first, I probably wouldn’t exercise,” she admits. “But then I have my whole evening to wind down.”

No matter when you prefer to exercise, what’s most important, according to Arciero, is including a multi-modal approach. For his study, Arciero developed a program that does just that, called RISE—resistance training, sprint interval training, stretching, and endurance. “We found that when doing each type of exercise once a week, compliance was higher and so was the benefit,” he explains. 

More on workouts and exercise:

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