Jack Ma’s big broken jobs promiseIn January 2017, the Alibaba co-founder stood beside Donald Trump, then the president-elect, and pledged to help create one million U.S. jobs. Mr. Ma now says that’s impossible.
Speaking to Xinhua, China’s state news agency, Mr. Ma said that his promise “was made on the premise of friendly U.S.-China partnership and rational trade relations.” With Washington and Beijing firmly locked in a trade dispute, those conditions don’t exist.
Mr. Ma isn’t alone in making a U-turn over the trade fight. The Chinese consumer goods company Haier suspended plans to sell G.E.-branded appliances in China. Zhang Ruimin, Haier’s C.E.O., told the FT: “I think Chinese consumers are most interested in [G.E.] kitchen products. But the U.S. government thought differently.”
Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Stephen Grocer in New York, and Michael J. de la Merced and Jamie Condliffe in London.
Europe will investigate Amazon’s dual roleThe e-commerce giant sells products, and hosts third-party merchants on its platform. But the E.U.’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, unveiled a new investigation into whether Amazon unfairly uses data collected from third-party sellers to make product decisions. Ms. Vestager said that “the question here is about the data.”
James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who now advises third-party sellers, tells Axios that the question is about what data is and isn’t shared with merchants. He says that Amazon shares sales data with third-party sellers, but does not give them behavioral data — about, say, who has searched for a product but not yet bought it. “They basically get to boil the ocean for their whole catalog and figure out exactly where the opportunities are,” he said.
A pot company is now as big as CBSTilray, a Canadian maker of cannabis products, surged as much as 94 percent Wednesday, gave it all back and rallied again in the final 18 minutes to close up nearly 40 percent. Trading in the stock was halted four times. The company went public in July at $17 a share and closed Wednesday at $214.06.
Tilray now has a market value of $20 billion, roughly the same as American Airlines, CBS or Hershey. But Robert Burgess of Bloomberg Opinion worries that the cannabis industry is becoming a bubble. He points out that publicly traded cannabis companies now have a total market value of $35 billion, but legal cannabis spending is expected to hit $32 billion — by 2022.
The day aheadThe National Association of Realtors will report existing home sales in August. That figure has fallen for four consecutive months. With limited supply and interest rates inching up, a large rebound appears unlikely.
Eventbrite will begin trading today. The online ticketing company priced its I.P.O. at $23 a share, the top of its increased price range. It should draw strong interest from investors.
The Department of Labor will publish the number of continuing jobless claims. The figure, a gauge of national unemployment, fell to 1.7 million in the week ending Sept. 1, its lowest level in a half-century.
Inside Facebook’s election ‘War Room’With the midterms approaching, Facebook has stepped up efforts to root out disinformation and rogue accounts. Samidh Chakrabarti, who leads Facebook’s elections and civic engagement team, says that safeguarding elections from interference is “probably the biggest companywide reorientation since our shift from desktops to mobile phones.”
More from Sheera Frenkel and Mike Isaac of the NYT, who were invited into their so-called War Room, on the plan of action:
Once a problem reaches the War Room, the dashboards will be set to spot and track unusual activity, while data scientists and security experts take a closer look. Mr. Chakrabarti said the team was particularly on guard for posts that manifested “real-world harm,” and planned to remove posts that tried to disenfranchise voters by giving incorrect polling data or spreading hoaxes like encouraging people to vote by text message. “The best outcome for us is that nothing happens in the War Room,” he said. “Everything else we are doing is defenses we are putting down to stop this in the first place.”More Facebook news: It may face sanctions from the E.U. for not complying with consumer rules.
Jerome Powell turns on the charm to defend the FedThe Federal Reserve is slowly raising interest rates to prevent the U.S. economy from overheating — a plan President Trump has publicly criticized. The danger of such interference is clear, but Jerome Powell, the Fed chairman, has a plan.
Though not a trained economist, Mr. Powell is a veteran Washington operator who appears to be making allies to keep the Fed independent. Here’s more from Bloomberg Businessweek:
He grew up and earned his law degree there and made a fortune while working at D.C.-based private equity powerhouse Carlyle Group. He has deep connections to Washington’s Republican establishment. He served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury under President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s and is a member of the city’s elite Metropolitan Club, located just blocks from the White House.
He also has one trait that may serve him best of all: an ability to explain difficult concepts in a way that people who aren’t pointy-headed economists (i.e., members of Congress) can understand.
For the cause of the next recession, think smallerThere are plenty of financial issues to worry about — private equity debt, emerging market struggles, stocks that seem to ignore trade threats and more. But none appears able to drag down the economy to its knees by itself. Which is why Paul Krugman of the NYT thinks the next slump will involve a mix of things:
The next slump won’t be a big bang like 2008, it will be a smorgasbord recession like 1990-1, the cumulation of a bunch of medium-sized issues. You might ask why multiple issues should strike at the same time. The answer, in two words, is Hyman Minsky: after a long period of stable growth, lenders and investors get complacent, and the private sector overreaches. If that is what happens, we should expect another sluggish, jobless recovery like that after the 1990-1 and 2001 recessions, except probably worse.
Revolving doorDealBook exclusive: The investment bank Foros hired Roberto Mendoza, a senior managing director at Atlas Advisors and a former banker at J.P. Morgan, as a managing director.
Gary Cohn denied that he remained in talks to become the next Wells Fargo C.E.O.
Goldman Sachs promoted Dan Dees, a co-head of its tech investment banking team, to co-head of investment banking.
British American Tobacco said it had found a successor to Nicandro Durante as C.E.O.
The speed readDeals
• Aston Martin hopes to be valued at $6.7 billion in its I.P.O. next month. (Reuters)
• Nestlé may sell its skin-health care unit as it refocuses on food and beverages. (WSJ)
• A group led by Ian Osborne, a British investor, is reportedly among those trying to buy Fortune magazine. (Recode)
• Investors in scooter start-ups say the companies’ billion-dollar valuations are reasonable. (Axios)
Politics and policy
• Representative Kevin Brady, the Republicans’ point man on tax legislation, doubts that a new tax cut can be passed before the midterms. (CNBC)
• President Trump nominated Representative Darrell Issa to lead the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. (Politico)
• Americans believe more women should be elected to office, but don’t think they will be. (Upshot)
• A dispute over the post-Brexit border between Ireland and Northern Ireland remains a big wedge between Britain and the E.U. (FT)
• A “virtual” border wall built using driverless car technology could anger Silicon Valley workers. (NYT)
• Hackers stole $60 million from a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange. Others are illicitly mining digital tokens using software taken from the N.S.A.
• Apple’s iPhone release schedule isn’t about production cycles. It’s a play to make money. (WSJ)
• Spotify is being sued over gender discrimination. (Verge)
• David Chaum, a digital currency pioneer, says he has built a better Bitcoin. (WSJ)
Best of the rest
• The Netherlands is trying to shrug off its reputation as a haven for tax avoidance. (NYT)
• American companies repatriated $169.5 billion in foreign profits in the second quarter, far less than in the first. (WSJ)
• Danske Bank says that it failed for years to prevent suspected money laundering. Shareholders may insist on their own inquiry.
• A three-year tax investigation by the E.U. left McDonald’s unscathed. (NYT)
• “Made in Italy” is built on a shadow economy of unregulated — and poorly paid — workers. (NYT)