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What's News: China Fears Loom Over Stocks; Virginia Governor Risks Undermining Democrats; ‘Game of Thrones’ Hijacks Bud Light
Here’s what we’re watching as the U.S. business day gets under way:
Small businesses wave the caution flag. After a banner year, economic confidence among smaller companies is at its lowest level since President Trump’s election. Small businesses fear tariffs, slowing sales and other headwinds and are growing more cautious about their investment and hiring plans.
China fears loom over stocks. Investors view the world’s second-largest economy as a key threat to the rebound in U.S. stocks, a month after warnings of a slowdown in China rattled markets across the globe.
Bond rally suggests stock rebound could reverse. Bonds are rallying alongside stocks, an atypical pattern that some investors worry could mean a reversal for equities in the future.
Fight with Virginia governor could hurt Democrats in 2020. Gov. Ralph Northam met with top aides Sunday night over mounting calls to resign over a racist photograph. The episode puts pressure on the Democrats who have been trying to draw a line between their party and President Trump on issues of racial injustice and sexual discrimination ahead of the the 2020 presidential election.
Venezuela sanctions put pressure on U.S. refiners. The deepening turmoil in Venezuela is exacerbating a shortfall of dense crude oil, leaving fuel makers in the lurch and underscoring the limitations of U.S. shale. Meanwhile, this morning, a raft of European nations recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president, as they push for fresh presidential elections to end the political crisis.
Google parent Alphabet's investors look for new spark. As Alphabet prepares to report fourth-quarter earnings today, investors are looking for signs of life in areas like cloud computing.
New England Patriots win Super Bowl LIII. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick won their sixth Lombardi Trophy, beating the L.A. Rams 13-3, in the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history.
Ads play up entertainment. Super Bowl advertisers kept things light, focusing on entertainment and empowerment to maximize their costly commercial buys. But a few delivered sobering pitches and even a little fear.
“Game of Thrones” hijacks Bud Light's ad. The brewer allowed a 60-second Bud Light spot to double as a promo for the HBO show and consented to sacrifice the Bud Knight, one of its most visible fictional pitchmen, who died violently in the ad.
ALISON YIN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Facebook's timeline, 15 years in. Facebook was created in a Harvard dorm room in February 2004 as a way for Ivy League buddies to socialize. Fifteen years later, it has 2.32 billion customers who use it at least once a month. The social network is now facing questions about its role in shaping public opinion and its handling of private data.
The Islamic State makes inroads in West Africa. In Nigeria, an Islamic-State affiliate has seized hundreds of square miles of territory, overrun military bases and could disrupt a presidential election this month. Beaten back in Syria, the militant group is now instead carving fundamentalist enclaves in Afghanistan, Mali, the Philippines and Somalia.
One school district's security upgrade. School districts across the U.S. have increased security measures as mass shootings have become more frequent. One city in Texas has a $6.3 million plan designed by a former Secret Service agent that includes facial recognition software, tracking IDs and 22 AR-15 rifles.
Are greasy snacks smearing your phone? Japan has a solution. Snack makers in Japan have developed treats that fussy snackers can eat with one hand while using their smartphones with the other; chop sticks and snack tongs provide more old-school remedies.
Women claim new turf on Wall Street. Women are managing billions and beating male competitors in the booming collateralized loan obligations market, where there’s more diversity than other corners of Wall Street. Female executives head 13 of the world’s 50 largest CLO teams by assets under management.
How to stream great TV and movies without spending a dime. In a world where Netflix, Hulu and HBO subscriptions start to add up, ad-supported streaming TV and movie services don’t cost anything, writes David Pierce.