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Aug 3, 2018

8 Bargain Stocks With Big Upside Potential Investopedia Market

8 Bargain Stocks With Big Upside Potential

Mark Kolakowski

Investors looking for undervalued stocks in an expensive market should consider equities that are likely to be lifted by big themes that include a growing U.S. economy, expanding U.S. consumer spending, and the increasing use of Big Data, according to Sarat Sehti and Ned Dewees, managing partners of Douglas C. Lane & Associates, as reported by Barron's. Their top picks include these 7: Illumina Inc. (ILMN), XPO Logistics Inc. (XPO), Facebook Inc. (FB), Oracle Corp. (ORCL), First Republic Bank (FRC), Maxar Technologies Ltd. (MAXR) and Harris Corp. (HRS). An 8th pick, as discussed with Barron's, is IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC), the parent company of Investopedia.
Company What It Does
Illumina Gene-sequencing tools and systems
XPO Logistics Shipping and supply chain solutions
Facebook Social media
Oracle Data management and cloud services
First Republic Private banking, business banking, wealth management
Maxar Earth imagery, mapping, data and analytics
Harris Defense electronics and communications
IAC Digital publishing and services

Track Record and Strategy

Douglas C. Lane manages $5.4 billion, and its equity composite has delivered an average annual return of 10.2% since inception in 1995, versus 9.3% for the S&P 500 Index (SPX), per Barron's, which adds that co-managers Sehti and Dewees look for long-term themes and have a "go-anywhere, concentrated portfolio."
While they seek out bargain stocks, their approach is different from that of many value investors. As Sehti told Barron's: "our tendency is to look for stocks that are out of favor, but that doesn’t hold us back from buying growth stocks as well. We may think a stock is undervalued based on its core intrinsic value or its growth rate, even a high growth rate. Stocks don't have to have a specific metric for us to buy them."
Dewees adds, "we're patient investors." Three stocks to which they gave particular attention in their discussion with Barron's were Illumina, Harris and Maxar.

Illumina Inc.

Biotech firm Illumina is their largest holding. As an example of the eclectic approach to value investing in the Douglas C. Lane portfolio, Dewees notes that Illumina has grown from a mid cap to a large cap stock since they bought it, and it now trades at a hefty valuation multiple of 60 times projected 2018 earnings. However, the company is growing fast, with second quarter revenues up by 25% and adjusted profit up by 74% from year-ago figures, both handily beating analysts' estimates, per Investor's Business Daily.

Harris Corp.

Dewees and Sehti call Howard Lance, who ran defense electronics company Harris from 2003 to 2011, "very experienced and capable," and note that he "did a great job" there. Now Lance is CEO of Maxar, and he is a big part of their enthusiasm for that company.
Harris reported strong results for its third quarter of fiscal 2018, per their earnings call slide deck, as presented by Seeking Alpha. Revenue grew in all three of its major segments, with orders up 27% and backlog up 22% year-over-year. Expanding profit margins and strong free cash flow allowed for a $115 million return of capital to shareholders, through a combination of dividends and share repurchases.
Harris is expected to be a "one-stop shop" for the $20 billion Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) project to modernize the U.S. air traffic control (ATC) system, per AviationWeek. Additionally, a strong outlook for U.S. defense spending in 2019 has propelled the stock recently, according to another AviationWeek report.

Maxar Technologies

Dewees and Sehti had invested in DigitalGlobe, a company that is, per its website, "the world's leading provider of high-resolution Earth imagery, data and analysis." In 2017, it was acquired by Canadian satellite company MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates, whose CEO was Howard Lance, formerly of Harris Corp. The combined company was renamed Maxar Technologies.
Expecting Lance "to accomplish a lot more," Dewees notes that Maxar sports an attractive valuation of only 11 times projected 2018 earnings, while offering a dividend yield of 2%. A big U.S. government contract with the old DigitalGlobe, which represents 15% of Maxar's revenues, is up for renewal in 2020, and he is confident that the business will be retained by Maxar.
A particularly valuable business owned by Maxar, per Dewees, is a library of satellite images that is useful in a host of analytics. Maxar offers additional value by hosting this library on a cloud-based, open-source platform that facilitates the development of apps and algorithms by users. While small right now, he likes the fact that this business is "asset-light" and "growing fast." Sehti and Dewees value Maxar at $100 per share, more than double its closing price of $45.77 on August 2.

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Research Scientist Charged with Insider Trading I Litigation Release

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Research Scientist Charged with Insider Trading

Litigation Release No. 24225 / August 3, 2018

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Fei Yan, et al., No. 17-cv-5257 (S.D.N.Y. filed July 12, 2017)

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a final judgment against the research scientist who, according to the SEC, searched the internet for tips on avoiding the SEC's detection before placing one of his illegal trades and made approximately $120,000 through insider trading.
In its complaint, filed on July 12, 2017, the SEC alleged that Fei Yan purchased stocks and options in advance of two corporate acquisitions based on confidential information obtained from his wife, an associate at a law firm that worked on the deals. According to the SEC's complaint, Yan then sold his holdings following public announcements that the issuers would be acquired by other companies. Yan then allegedly attempted to conceal his illegal activity by placing the illicit trades in a brokerage account bearing the name of his mother, who lives in China.
Yan agreed to settle with the SEC and consented to the entry of a judgment permanently enjoining him from violating Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder, and ordering him liable for disgorgement of $119,429, the payment of which is deemed satisfied by the forfeiture ordered in a parallel criminal case. Yan, who pled guilty in that case, is serving a 15-month sentence of imprisonment. The final judgment was entered on July 12, 2018 by the Honorable Paul G. Gardephe of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Joshua R. Geller, John Rymas, and Simona Suh of the SEC's Market Abuse Unit and by Jacqueline A. Fine of the New York Regional Office. The case was supervised by Joseph G. Sansone, Chief of the Market Abuse Unit. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York Field Office, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

News Viewer I MarketWatch

News Viewer - MarketWatch

By Sue Chang Aug. 3, 2018, 4:40 p.m. EST
U.S. stocks closed higher Friday as July jobs data, although below expectations, still supported the belief that the economy is in an expansionary mode. The U.S. added 157,000 new jobs last month, below the 195,000 in MarketWatch's survey, amid widespread complaints about... Full Story
DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  1. 4:40p
    By Sue Chang Aug. 3, 2018, 4:40 p.m. EST
    U.S. stocks closed higher Friday as July jobs data, although below expectations, still supported the belief that the economy is in an expansionary mode. The U.S. added 157,000 new jobs last month, below the 195,000 in MarketWatch's survey, amid widespread complaints about... Full Story
    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  2. 4:38p
    By Anora M. Gaudiano Market Snapshot Aug. 3, 2018, 4:39 p.m. EST
    U.S. stocks on Friday end the week on a high note and the S&P 500 and Dow record a fifth weekly gain in a row, largely underpinned by solid earnings reports throughout the week, shaking off some weakness in July employment and trade-war anxieties. Full Story
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
    COMP 7,812.01 +9.33 +0.12%
  3. 4:29p
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    Cybersecurity stocks fall for a second week in a row as earnings beats and raised outlooks did little to boost prices in a competitive sector that some believe is overpriced. Full Story
    CHKP 113.12 +0.01 +0.0088%
  4. 4:22p
    By Jeffry Bartash Economic Report Aug. 3, 2018, 4:23 p.m. EST
    The U.S. posted another solid spurt in hiring in July, showing that companies are still able to find enough workers to meet the growing needs of a rapidly expanding U.S. economy. Some 157,000 new jobs were created last month and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%. Full Story
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    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
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    Analysts said Friday’s jobs report showed that the employment trend remains robust even as hiring fell behind expectations in July. Full Story
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    The yield on the two-year Treasury note sees biggest weekly decline in 10 weeks. Full Story
  8. 4:08p
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    China’s decision Friday to retaliate against the Trump administration’s planned 25% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports goods instead of waiting for a World Trade Organization ruling shows China “can’t long endure a trade war” because its economy is so dependent on... Full Story
    CNYUSD 0.1463 +0.0002 +0.1229%
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    Some 30 million taxpayers may not have had enough money taken out of their paychecks, a new government report found. Full Story
  10. 4:06p

    S&P 500, Dow book longest weekly win streak since period ended Nov. 3, 2017

    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
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  13. 4:04p

    Dow, S&P 500 log 5th straight weekly gain

    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  14. 4:04p

    S&P 500 notches 0.8% weekly advance

    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  15. 4:04p

    Nasdaq books 1% weekly rise

    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  16. 4:01p

    Dow, S&P 500 end session with 0.5% gain; Nasdaq logs 0.1% rise

    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  17. 4:00p

    Stocks end day, week on a high note as Wall Street shakes off trade jitters

    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  18. 4:00p

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    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
  19. 4:00p

    Stocks end day, week on a high note as Wall Street shakes off trade jitters

    DJIA 25,462.58 +136.42 +0.54%
    SPX 2,840.35 +13.13 +0.46%
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  25. 3:35p
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  32. 2:40p

    WTI oil futures post a fall of roughly 0.3% for the week

  33. 2:40p

    Sept. WTI oil down 47 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $68.49/bbl

  34. 2:40p
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Federal Reserve Board Press Release: Federal Reserve Board announces approval of application by Nordea Bank Abp.

August 03, 2018

Federal Reserve Board announces approval of application by Nordea Bank Abp

For release at 4:30 p.m. EDT 
The Federal Reserve Board on Friday announced its approval of the application by Nordea Bank Abp, Helsinki, Finland, to establish a branch in New York, New York.
Attached is the Board's order relating to this action.
For media inquiries, call 202-452-2955.

Last Update: August 03, 2018                                        

Dollar dips vs yuan on Chinese central bank move; jobs data weighs. EU FX I CNBC

Dollar dips vs yuan on Chinese central bank move; jobs data weighs


100 dollar bills Getty Images
The U.S. dollar came under some pressure after data showed U.S. job growth slowed in July on Friday, while slipping against the yuan after the Chinese central bank acted to stabilize the currency by stemming speculation against it.
The dollar eased against a basket of currencies after the U.S. government reported a braking of domestic job growth, as employment in the transportation and utilities sectors fell.
Data, however, also showed a drop in the unemployment rate suggesting that the labor market was tightening.
The Chinese currency rebounded from a 15-month low hit earlier in the session, after China's central bank said it would set a forward reserve requirement ratio of 20 percent - up from an earlier zero - from Monday for financial institutions settling foreign exchange forward yuan positions.
The action will make shorting the yuan more expensive.
China's offshore yuan has weakened in recent months, as investors sold the currency and rushed into dollars on worries that a trade conflict between Washington and Beijing would damage the Chinese economy.
"Traders playing chicken against the Peoples Bank of China got hit by a truck this morning," said Karl Schamotta, a strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto.
The Chinese currency has tumbled about 10 percent since early April in offshore markets as investors speculated that its weakness would be encouraged by the People's Bank of China to counter the impact of U.S. tariffs on its exports.
China on Friday announced retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, and warned of further measures, signaling that it will not back down in a protracted trade war with Washington.
The dollar was 0.1 percent lower against the offshore yuan .
"The fact that China is stepping in to stabilize currency markets right now is suggestive of a bit of a rebound in global risk assets, emerging market currencies in particular," said Schamotta.
He said of the U.S. employment numbers, "It's a fairly strong report on balance. I don't think it is going to adjust the Federal Reserve's policy path in any material fashion."
The Fed is currently expected to raise rates two more time this year.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was down 0.05 percent at 95.11. The index is up about 3 percent the year. Against the yen, the dollar was 0.4 percent lower.
Meanwhile, sterling was shaky after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said there was an "uncomfortably high" risk of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.

Oil Prices at Close Report: Oil prices pull back as trade tensions weigh on market I CNBC.

Oil prices pull back as trade tensions weigh on market


Getty Images
Crude futures pulled back on Friday, giving up gains from the previous session as trade concerns weighed on the market and fueled concerns about demand.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures finished Friday's session down 47 cents at $68.49 per barrel. Brent crude futures fell 31 cents to $73.14 per barrel at 2:25 p.m. ET.
WTI also posted its fifth straight weekly loss. Brent is on track for its fourth week of declines in five, set for a drop of more than 1 percent.
"It's a jittery feel here, as long as we have Iranian sanctions uncertainty and tariff uncertainty, and it doesn't take much to spark a significant swing one way or the other," said Jim Ritterbusch, an analyst in Galena, Illinois.
Fears that Chinese demand could taper fueled the pullback on Friday after state oil major Sinopec cut its purchases of U.S. crude. China's Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec, has suspended crude oil imports from the United States due to the growing trade spat between Washington and Beijing, three sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.
"Chinese demand from the independent refiners is also lower while the escalating trade war also doesn't help sentiment," said Warren Patterson, commodities strategist at ING.
China announced it would impose tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, the latest development in an escalating trade dispute that has raised concerns about a slowdown in economic growth that could ding demand for crude.
Those plans to include tariffs on liquefied natural gas, raising concerns that it could also impose tariffs on oil, f, partner at Again Capital Management in New York.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose in July but the U.S. trade deficit recorded its biggest increase in more than 1-1/2 years in June as the boost to exports from soybean shipments faded and higher oil prices lifted the import bill.
The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap surged 7.3 percent to $46.3 billion.
Elsewhere, Russian oil output rose by 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July from a month earlier, to 11.21 million bpd, energy ministry data showed on Thursday.
Output by top exporter Saudi Arabia has also risen recently, to around 11 million bpd, and U.S. production is around that level as well.
Russia and OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have increased production to help to compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies once planned U.S. sanctions take effect later this year.
"The sentiment is bearish with OPEC numbers. The spread structure is back in contango, which suggests the market is well supplied so there's a mismatch in timing with OPEC now raising output," Patterson said.
But a complete halt to Iranian supplies looks unlikely with Bloomberg reporting on Friday that China, Iran's biggest customer, has rejected a U.S. request to cut imports from the OPEC member.
Low U.S. stockpiles were still providing a floor for prices, with overall U.S. crude inventories below the 5-year average of around 420 million barrels. But there were concerns about potential stockpile builds as supply returns from a Canadian production facility that has been shuttered.
U.S. drillers cut rigs for the second week in three, reducing the number of oil rigs by 2 to 859. The rig count can be a forward-looking indicator of production.
— CNBC's Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.

Gold & Metals Prices at Close Report: Gold rebounds from 1-year low onsluggish US payroll growth I CNBC

Gold rebounds from 1-year low onsluggish US payroll growth


Gold Getty Images
Gold bounced on Friday from the lowest in nearly 17 months after weak U.S. jobs data pushed the dollar lower and a Chinese central bank move lifted its currency.
Spot gold was up 0.69 percent at $1,215.91 an ounce, erasing losses after earlier dropping to its lowest since March 15 last year at $1,204. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $3.10 to $1,223.20.
The dollar index slipped into negative territory after data showed U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in July, likely due to companies' struggles to find qualified workers. Earlier, the dollar had climbed to a two-week high against a basket of major currencies and scaled a 14-month peak versus the Chinese yuan.
China's offshore yuan also reversed, rising sharply after the forward foreign exchange risk reserve requirement ratio was hiked to 20 percent from zero.
"I think gold is close to bottoming out. Whether its $1,200, $1,210 or $1,190, it's impossible to tell," said Georgette Boele, commodity strategist at ABN AMRO in Amsterdam, adding that speculators will probably want to test the $1,200 level. "Gold is getting cheap and positioning wise, that should be a reason for bottoming out. The shorts are relatively big."
Spot gold may fall towards the next support at $1,194, as it has resumed its downtrend from $1,309.30, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Weighing on the market was a report by the World Gold Council showing that global demand fell 6 percent in the first half of the year to the lowest level for the period since 2009.
"As long as the dollar remains strong we believe another couple of months demand should stay soft and prices should trade rather range-bound," Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said in a note.
Among other precious metals, silver rose 1.08 percent to $15.47, platinum climbed 1.47 percent to $834.10 while palladium gained 0.24 percent to $913.70.

Wall Street at Close Report: Dow rises more than 100 points as Apple adds to its $1 trillion market cap I CNBC

Dow rises more than 100 points as Apple adds to its $1 trillion market cap

Fred Imbert, Sam Meredith

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Friday, led by gains in Apple and IBM, as investors pored through newly proposed tariffs on U.S. goods by China and fresh jobs data.
The 30-stock index gained 136.42 points to close at 25,462.58 as Apple rose 0.3 percent, adding to its market cap of more than $1 trillion. The tech giant reached the milestone for the first time on Thursday as investors cheered strong quarterly results released earlier this week. IBM also contributed to The Dow's gains, rising more than 3 percent.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent to 2,840.35 as consumer staples outperformed. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.1 percent to 7,812.01.
The three major indexes closed higher for the week, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rising 0.8 percent and 1 percent, respectively. The Dow rose just 0.04 percent this week. The S&P 500 and Dow also posted their fifth straight weekly gain.
China said Friday it will slap tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, with charges ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent. Many of the goods are agricultural-related, with others on various metals and chemicals.
The action would be in response to increasingly protectionist policies taken by the U.S. on trade. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider raising proposed tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent.
Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, said he is not too worried about these tariffs yet. "Even if you take the proposed tariffs into account, the impact would be rather limited," he said. "from a macroeconomic standpoint, it's still pretty small."
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Clemons said that if the tariffs have a material impact on the consumer, it "would be a risk," but notes that is not yet the case. Corporate earnings and the U.S. economy, especially the labor market, are still strong, he said.
Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic advisor, told reporters at the White House on Friday that there has been some communication "at the highest level" on trade between the United States and China in recent days.
"Small caps are going down and large caps are rising. I think that's because people are feeling better about the trade situation," said Dave Lutz, head of ETF trading at JonesTrading.
The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 190,000.
The headline jobs growth number for July missed expectations, but past months' figures were revised substantially higher. Plus, wage growth met expectations. Jobs growth for June was revised up to 248,000 from 213,000, while wages grew by 2.7 percent in July on a year-over-year basis.
Investors take a close look at the jobs report every month as they look for clues regarding the pace of the Federal Reserve's future interest rate hikes. The Fed kept interest rates unchanged after a meeting this week, but market expectations for a rate hike in September are at 93.6 percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.
"The financial conditions are so far away from where the Fed wants them to be that I think two more rate hikes [this year] are almost a certainty," said Jason Thomas, chief economist at AssetMark.

At President Trump’s hotel in New York, revenue went up this spring — thanks to a visit from big-spending Saudis The Washington Post I News Alert

At President Trump’s hotel in New York, revenue went up this spring — thanks to a visit from big-spending Saudis

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The general manager of the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan had a rare bit of good news to report to investors this spring: After two years of decline, revenue from room rentals went up 13 percent in the first three months of 2018.
What caused the uptick at President Trump’s flagship hotel in New York? One major factor: “a last-minute visit to New York by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” wrote general manager Prince A. Sanders in a May 15 letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post.
Neither Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman nor members of the royal family stayed at Trump’s hotel, Sanders said: He said the Trump hotel didn’t have suites big enough to accommodate them. But “due to our close industry relationships,” he wrote, “we were able to accommodate many of the accompanying travelers.”
The previously unreported letter — describing a five-day stay in March that was enough to boost the hotel’s revenue for the entire quarter — shows how little is known about the business that the president’s company does with foreign officials.
Such transactions have fueled criticism that Trump is reaping revenue from foreign governments, even as he controls U.S. foreign policy toward those countries. Trump’s company has disclosed few details about the business it does with foreign customers, saying it already reveals more than is required.
Neither Trump Organization and the Saudi Embassy answered questions about whether the Saudi government paid for anyone’s stay at the hotel. Sanders did not respond to requests for comment.
For now, just a handful of foreign government clients at Trump properties have been publicly identified through media reports and statements from foreign officials.
But a broader list could eventually come out.
Last week, a federal judge in Maryland gave the go-ahead to a lawsuit alleging that by accepting government business at his properties, Trump is violating the Constitution’s “emoluments clauses” — dusty 18th-century measures meant to prevent presidents from putting their private bank accounts ahead of the public interest.
If it stands, the ruling could force the company to provide new details about its relationships with foreign governments, states and even federal agencies.
“This was how the Framers protected against corruption,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D), who filed the landmark suit along with D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D), saying they intended for these answers to be public. “They wanted to make sure the president would put the country above himself.”
The Justice Department, which is representing Trump in his official capacity, has argued that the Founding Fathers only meant to stop presidents from accepting gifts from foreign governments — not to stop presidents from conducting private business.
Frosh has said he believes the case could end up eventually before the Supreme Court. So far, neither the Justice Department nor Trump’s private attorney has said if they will appeal the decision.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump said he has given up day-to-day control over his businesses. But he still owns them and can withdraw money from them.
From the start of Trump’s administration, his company has said it sees nothing wrong with continuing to do business with foreign states.
“The renting of a hotel room from one of the Trump businesses is not correlated to President Trump’s performance of the duties of the Office of President,” Bobby R. Burchfield, a Republican attorney that the Trump Organization hired as an outside ethics adviser, wrote in a recent article in the Texas Review of Law & Politics.
Under pressure, the Trump Organization agreed last year to donate profits from foreign government clients to the U.S. Treasury. This year, it announced the amount of the donation for 2017: $151,470.
But it declined to say which foreign governments those profits had come from, or how much they had spent in total.
Officials with Trump’s D.C. hotel — the property that is the subject of the emoluments suit — have told The Post that they aren’t actively courting foreign business, but acknowledged they also are not turning it away.
The Embassy of Kuwait, for instance, has held its national day celebration twice at Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington.
This year, the Embassy of the Philippines also became a Trump customer, holding its Philippine independence day party in the Trump hotel’s ballroom. Trump has had warm relations with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, even as human-rights groups have condemned Duterte for a crackdown on drug users that has left thousands dead.
“Having it at a hotel that happens to have [Trump’s] name . . . it’s a statement,” Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to the United States, told Philippine TV station ABS-CBN during the event. “It’s a statement that we have a good relationship with this president.” He said the embassy chose Trump’s hotel as a venue, but private donors actually paid.
Also, last year Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was spotted at Trump’s D.C. hotel, along with a sizable entourage, during an official trip to Washington. (Najib was later ousted in an election.)
And the Saudi government spent $270,000 at Trump’s D.C. hotel last year, according to filings by a lobbying firm acting on the Saudis’ behalf. Press reports indicated that the money paid for hotel rooms, food and parking for U.S. veterans groups brought to the District to lobby against a bill the Saudi government opposed.
Beyond that list, there have been other events at Trump properties that had some connection to foreign governments — but the source of payment is unclear.
Earlier this year, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida hosted part of a “Polish American Leadership Summit,” which was organized in part by Polish government ministries, according to the summit’s website. When The Post inquired about whether the Polish government had paid to rent the room, an embassy spokeswoman referred questions to the organizers of the event, who declined to comment.
In the case of the Saudi visit to New York earlier this year, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy said that none of Mohammed’s official traveling delegation stayed at the Trump International Hotel in New York. But she said the Saudi Embassy did not know if the Saudi government had paid for anyone else’s stay at the hotel during the crown prince’s visit.
The crown prince visited New York from March 26 to 30, as part of a longer, multicity American tour.
Although Trump’s hotel in Washington has prospered during his presidency, some other properties — further from the seat of power — have struggled. In New York, for instance, Trump’s hotel in SoHo lost business, and last year its owners cut ties with the Trump Organization.
Trump International Hotel in Manhattan — the one remaining Trump-branded hotel in New York — saw room revenue drop from 2015 to 2017, according to figures obtained by The Post. So the Saudi visit was a welcome boost.
The D.C. and Maryland attorneys general hope to use their emoluments lawsuit as a kind of legal pry bar, cracking open the Trump Organization’s secrecy about its customers.
In last week’s ruling, federal Judge Peter J. Messitte sided with them in a long-running debate about what the Founding Fathers really meant when they banned presidents from taking “emoluments” from foreign states.
Messitte agreed that, in the modern context, this covered not just outright gifts from foreign states, but also regular business transactions — “even those involving services given at fair market value.”
Now — unless the ruling is overturned on appeal — that could allow the plaintiffs to ask the Trump Organization for a list of those transactions. Their search would be limited to the Trump hotel in Washington, but the plaintiffs are clearly hoping that their victory will inspire other suits aimed at Trump’s properties in places like New York.
The case may also bring new scrutiny on the Trump Organization’s business relationship with the U.S. government, which owns the building that houses Trump’s D.C. hotel. Before he became president, Trump won a long-term lease to operate a hotel there.
Democrats in Congress say this relationship is now a separate kind of prohibited emolument — an unfair benefit given to Trump by his own government.
A clause in the lease says that “No . . . elected official of the Government of the United States . . . shall be admitted to any share or part” of the hotel’s ownership.
But, after Trump was in office, the General Services Administration ruled that he could still keep the lease.
That decision is now being probed by two independent inquiries, from the Government Accountability Office and the GSA’s inspector general. Messitte could allow the plaintiffs to seek information about the lease.
Georgetown University law professor John Mikhail, who has been studying the emoluments clauses, said these inquiries together could shatter the veil of privacy that Trump’s company has maintained — even while its owner is in the White House.
“He has very constantly refused to conform to well-established norms about conflict of interest and corruption and the appearance of corruption,” Mikhail said. “At some point in time he may be told by a court — you lose. You have to comply.”

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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: China playing with fire in battle with Trump I GATA I THE GATA DISPATCH

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: China playing with fire in battle with Trump

Submitted by cpowell on 03:27PM ET Friday, August 3, 2018. Section: Daily Dispatches 'We're at Economic War': China Is Playing with Fire in Battle with Trump
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Telegraph, London
via the Sydney Morning Herald
Friday, August 3, 2018
China's currency slide is moving from benign neglect to something more deliberate. Whether or not you deem it currency warfare, it is playing with political and financial fire.
The yuan has weakened by 9 per cent against the US dollar since mid-April. This is the steepest fall for the micro-managed exchange rate for a quarter century.

This week's blowoff to Y6.84 has been a move too far for Washington. The retort is a cannon shot across the bows. The Trump administration is now threatening to more than double punitive tariffs on a further $US200 billion ($270 billion) of Chinese goods, lifting the rate from 10 percent to 25 percent. It smacks of an embargo.

The weak yuan is no longer just a strong US dollar story. The currency has been tumbling against the other big world currencies, the euro and the yen.
China's leaders have breached their pledge to hold the country's currency basket "generally stable". The People's Bank (PBOC) commands $US3.1 trillion of foreign exchange reserves. And it has chosen not to use this firepower to stabilise the yuan.
What we do not yet know is why Beijing has taken this fateful step. Is it in order to undercut Donald Trump's earlier round of trade tariffs, triggered in early July on the first $US34 billion of Chinese goods? Or because the authorities are losing control, caught between a rock and a hard place as defaults rise and the economy flirts with a hard landing?
Perhaps it is both. Either spells trouble.
"It is a strange mix of a trade war and currency war, and is on the verge of becoming a very unstable situation. It is the biggest topic for global markets right now," said Jens Nordvig, from Exante, in New York. ...
China is in a bind. Its 35-year phase of catch-up growth is exhausted. It is no longer a particularly dynamic economy. The "middle income trap" looms and it is grappling with a post-bubble hangover. Now it faces Trump.
Du Wanhua, a grand justice at the People's Supreme Court, wrote an extraordinary piece for China's judicial newspaper last week saying the country must prepare for mass insolvency.
"It's hard to predict how this trade war will develop and to what extent. But one thing is sure: if the US imposes tariffs on Chinese imports following an order of $US60 billion, $US200 billion, or even $US500 billion, many Chinese companies will go bankrupt," he said.
... For the remainder of the commentary:

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