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Jul 27, 2018

DealBook Briefing: This Trade Truce Feels Familiar I Business I DealBook I NYT

nytimes.com

DealBook Briefing: This Trade Truce Feels Familiar



President Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission.CreditJoshua Roberts/Reuters
Good Friday morning. We’re looking out for the second-quarter G.D.P. figure today, which is expected at 8.30 a.m. (Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.)

Europe worries about trusting Trump

Business leaders are cautiously optimistic that President Trump’s agreement with Jean-Claude Juncker is a return to cooperation between Europe and the U.S.
But Europeans worry that Mr. Trump may pivot back to hostility. Here, for instance, is Maria Demertzis, the deputy director of Bruegel, an economic research institute in Brussels:
You can’t really depend on Trump. His understanding of global trade is bilateral balance, which is as good as arbitrary, given global supply chains. And it depends on what side of the bed he wakes up on tomorrow.
The president, for his part, has moved on to herald more good news to come: the prospect of growth above 4 percent, maybe even 5 percent, at least for a quarter. (The official release will appear here.)
More on trade: President Trump visited a revived steel mill in the Midwest yesterday, but the triumph was muddied by the woes of soybean farmers. Can Europe really buy more U.S. natural gas? What the president gets wrong about trade deficits. And how Mr. Juncker argued against tariffs: “I can be stupid, as well.”
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Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Stephen Grocer in New York, and Amie Tsang and Prashant S. Rao in London.
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Should investors have expected a Facebook fall?

Stocks in the company fell 19 percent — among the largest one-day destruction of market values that any company has ever suffered.
But it shouldn’t have been the most surprising, says Peter Eavis, noting that Facebook does not break out how much of its advertising revenue comes from each of its products:
This prevents outsiders from assessing whether the main Facebook website is becoming stale in its most lucrative markets, the United States and Europe. Investors often view a lack of transparency as a reason to be cautious about a company. With Facebook, they did not.
Elsewhere in Facebook news: It bought Redkix, an email start-up that might help it compete with Slack.
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CreditBenjamin Quinton for The New York Times

Maybe President Trump has a point on Google

In fact, it’s hard to find any antitrust expert who has endorsed the logic or outcome of the European Commission’s $5.1 billion push against the bundling of apps and services with the Android operating system, says our columnist James B. Stewart:
The commission’s stated mission is to protect European consumers by assuring them the benefits of competition. But the commission does not seem to have considered the possibility that Google’s search engine and browser have achieved such high market share because consumers prefer them, or that consumers might also like having the apps already installed on their phones.
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CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

New York’s City Council moves to rein in ride-hailing

New York could soon be the first major American city to limit its number of ride-hailing vehicles.
Under a measure that could go to a vote as soon as Aug. 8, the city would stop licensing new for-hire vehicles — except wheelchair-accessible ones — while the council took a year to study the industry. It might also set minimum hourly pay for app-based drivers.
Uber, which argues that the cap would hurt riders poorly served by yellow taxis and public transport, has already released an ad against the proposal.
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Gao Feng of the Chinese Commerce Ministry.CreditAndy Wong/Associated Press

Qualcomm and NXP: Now for the blame game

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said Qualcomm had failed to properly address its feedback on the proposed deal for NXP, and said it would continue to look at it (except that it’s now dead).
But Richard Clemmer, chief executive of NXP, said the Chinese authorities had given no explanation for withholding approval, and called what happened to his deal a worrying sign for other cross-border transactions.
More on cross-border deals: Germany banned the Chinese purchase of a machine tool company on security grounds. And the Aditya Birla Group, an Indian industrial conglomerate, wants to buy Aleris, an Ohio aluminum maker that had a Chinese deal blocked by the U.S.

Saudi Arabia’s fund-raising Plan B

The Saudi Aramco public offering appears to be well and truly stalled. But Riyadh wants to raise money to fund a refashioning of its economy. So what’s a kingdom to do? Force Aramco to raise tens of billions of dollars in debt, the WSJ says:
The transaction would supply the Public Investment Fund with much-needed cash, an unusual funding strategy that highlights Saudi Arabia’s tight financial position. Even though oil prices recently have risen, the government is running a budget deficit this year after announcing the biggest fiscal stimulus package in the country’s history.
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Cameron and Tyler WinklevossCreditAngela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

S.E.C. rejects Winklevoss E.T.F. plans again

The price of Bitcoin has dipped again after the S.E.C. denied an exchange’s request to list a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund run by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Its reasons might not encourage cryptocurrency enthusiasts, CNBC reports:
Among other arguments, the agency said in a release Thursday that it did not support the Winklevoss’s argument that Bitcoin markets, including the Gemini Exchange, are “uniquely resistant to manipulation.” It also highlighted issues of fraud and investor protection.
Still, there are four similar requests still pending.

Revolving door

British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed William Vereker, a former UBS banker, as a “business envoy.” (FT)

The speed read

Deals
• Hillhouse Capital Group is reportedly in talks to buy Yum China, the country’s biggest fast-food operator. (Information)
• A fight at ThyssenKrupp has drawn in not just activist investors, but the Catholic Church. (Bloomberg)
• Wells Fargo is exploring a sale of its Eastdil Secured real-estate division. (WSJ)
• Japan’s SoftBank and the Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek are plowing money into a Chinese WeWork subsidiary, quintupling its valuation to $5 billion. (FT)
• BP has agreed to buy BHP’s U.S. shale assets for $10.5 billion. (FT)
Politics and policy
• Ken Kurson, a friend of Jared Kushner’s and a past adviser to President Trump, won’t join the National Endowment for the Humanities after harassment allegations. (NYT)
• Robert Mueller is examining presidential tweets in a possible obstruction case. (NYT)
• The Justice Department is reportedly investigating whether TV station owners colluded to inflate local advertising prices. (WSJ)
Tech
• Amazon exceeded expectations for its second-quarter results, but the trillion-dollar mark will have to wait. (NYT)
• Amazon facial recognition technology, as used by some police forces, incorrectly matched lawmakers with mug shots. (NYT)
• Microsoft employees presented their C.E.O., Satya Nadella, with a 300,000-signature petition against working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (NYT)
• A look at the technology behind the hyperloop. (Megyn Kelly Today)
Best of the rest
• Clashes in the boardroom at Univision are aggravating problems at the Spanish-language broadcaster. (WSJ)
• The late Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne was seriously ill for more than a year before his death this week, but the company said it had not known. (WSJ)
• UBS plans to review how it handles harassment cases, after a trainee in London is said to have accused a more senior employee of rape, according to people with knowledge of the situation. (Bloomberg)
You can find live updates throughout the day at nytimes.com/dealbook.
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