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Good Morning. Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. so I would like to take the opportunity to wish all of you celebrating a very happy holiday! The 10-Point will return Friday. In today’s edition, global stocks steady, President Trump stands with Saudi Arabia, the season’s best tech gifts, and more.
Global stocks steadied some Wednesday, with Asian markets mixed and European markets up in midday trading. Futures pointed to higher openings for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials, a day after both indexes gave up about 2% to finish in the red for 2018. A selloff in shares of highflying tech companies spilled over, leaving investors with fresh concerns about the prospects for the nearly 10-year bull market in the U.S.
Market turbulence or no, the Fed is expected to go ahead with another quarter-point increase in its benchmark interest rate when it meets in December, though the pullback in stocks and bonds clouds its plans for next year.
While the U.S. economy is in excellent health by most measures, markets are showing typical precursors of a slowdown or recession. The question is whether they will overreact to the point that they endanger the expansion, the Journal’s Greg Ip writes.
From Greg Ip WSJ Chief Economics Commentator:
If we were headed into recession, we should see some sign in the economic data—but outside housing, we don’t. So markets are probably reflecting a pullback in risk appetites, not foreshadowing a slump. That said, the financial crisis a decade ago proved that at some point, financial turmoil by itself can cause a recession.
President Trump pledges to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia
Mr. Trump signaled that he plans to stand with Saudi Arabia after the Khashoggi killing. The WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains why it won’t be that simple. PHOTO: GETTY
In a White House statement, Mr. Trump suggested the U.S. couldn’t be sure that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and wouldn’t further punish the kingdom over it. But American lawmakers are calling for a response beyond the sanctions the administration imposed last week on 17 Saudi officials allegedly involved in the killing.
Amid a rough day in markets, oil prices extended declines after Mr. Trump’s remarks. Global benchmark Brent crude and U.S. standard West Texas Intermediate each slid more than 6%, the latter to a 13-month low. Both were higher Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia also faces an accusation that its security officers tortured women’s-rights activists as part of a widening campaign to quash criticism of the crown prince.
Carlos Ghosn’s empire moves to fill the void. While the auto executive remains detained in Japan for alleged financial misconduct, Nissan, where Mr. Ghosn serves as chairman, informed Renault, where he is both chairman and CEO, that it had evidence of potential wrongdoing at their Netherlands-based joint venture. By late Tuesday, Renault had named a deputy CEO and interim chairman to temporarily take over Mr. Ghosn’s responsibilities.
Mr. Ghosn can be held for an additional 10 days, a Japanese court said Wednesday, extending prosecutors’ opportunity to grill him chairman without a lawyer present.
Amazon gears up to challenge Apple in mobile payments. Looking to capture the U.S. market while competition remains minimal, the e-commerce giant is offering incentives such as lower payment-processing fees to entice brick-and-mortar stores—starting with gas stations, restaurants and other merchants that aren’t direct competitors—to accept its Amazon Pay digital wallet.
The estimated number of veterans who could access electronic health records through a potential partnership between Apple and the Department of Veterans Affairs
Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith apologizes. At a debate ahead of the Nov. 27 runoff election, in which she will face Democrat Mike Espy, the Republican said she meant “no ill will” by earlier remarks that evoked Mississippi’s history of lynchings. But she also accused her opponents of using her words as a “political weapon.” Hours before the debate, a 2014 photo of Mrs. Hyde-Smith wearing a Confederate soldier’s hat and holding a rifle surfaced in a Politico report. The photo, which she posted on Facebook, was taken during a visit to a museum honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The WSJ unveils its best tech gifts of 2018
ILLUSTRATION: HEATHER SEIDEL/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Members of an Army engineering brigade placing wire near the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this month. PHOTO: ERIC GAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Homeward Bound: Some of the U.S. troops ordered to the Mexican border could return to their home bases in coming days, but the mission is still set to last until Dec. 15 as authorized.
Health Savings: Drugstore owner Walgreens Boots Alliance and health insurer Humana are in early discussions to take equity stakes in each other.
Response Requested: President Trump’s lawyers say they have submitted answers to questions on “Russia-related topics” posed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Mr. Trump said he probably wouldn’t sit for an in-person interview.
Unfair Trade: With Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled to meet in less than two weeks, a report by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office says that China continues to illicitly obtain U.S. technology.
Softening Sentiment: November consumer-sentiment data, which analysts predict will be slightly down from October, is due this morning. On Tuesday a parade of retailers reported higher sales for the latest quarter, signaling healthy consumer spending, but investors were unimpressed.
Trending Stories at WSJ.com
PHOTO: NATHAN CONGLETON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Megyn Kelly is expected to leave NBC with over $30 million—the full value left on her three-year contract—more than a month after her show was canceled following “blackface” remarks. (Read)
The international police agency Interpol elected a South Korean police official as its president, rejecting a Russian general strongly opposed by Western politicians and rights groups. (Read)
A decade after the financial crisis, a rag-tag group of individual investors is buying left-for-dead mortgage loans and trying to tease value out of them. (Read)
Multimillionaires would get more flexibility to make tax-free gifts to their heirs under a Trump administration proposal released late Tuesday. (Read)
What Else We’re Reading
At J.C. Penney, almost everything is marked down, from apparel, jewelry and home goods to Christmas decor, bedding and appliances. But will it be enough? (Bloomberg)
Gunmen kidnapped an Italian volunteer along Kenya’s coast, along the way wounding five other people with indiscriminate shooting. (Associated Press)
Last spring President Trump told White House Counsel Donald McGahn that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey—only to be rebuffed by Mr. McGahn. (New York Times)
Dolce & Gabbana canceled a fashion show in Shanghai after an online uproar over what social media users called its “eating with chopsticks” advertising campaign. (Reuters)
Matt Homan from Indiana wrote: “My wife and I cut the cord about five years ago. There is nothing on cable TV that is not available on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu for a significantly cheaper monthly fee....The only downside is the lack of live sports, which has forced me to frequent my local watering hole much more often than I used to.”
Caroline Odom from Georgia weighed in: “As a college student who chose not to buy a TV for my dorm room, I don’t miss television at all. Although I sometimes wish I had access to cable news, I am able to stay just as informed through online outlets that force me to intentionally process the information as I read, often leading to greater understanding.”
Roger D. Parish from Florida said: “We live in a rural area where satellite television is our only real option....We are fortunate to have a fixed-wireless [internet service provider] in our area for what passes for broadband internet access. Our wireless ISP is too slow for streaming, so we will not be cutting the cord anytime soon.”
Question for Friday’s 10-Point: Going back to our story above, what are your thoughts on President Trump’s Saudi Arabia pledge? Email us your comments, which we may edit before publication, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and make sure to include your name and location.