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Jun 30, 2020

News | Business | Investment | Stocks: J.P. Morgan is betting these stocks will dominate as an uncertain second-half of the year looms

Barbara Kollmeyer



Need to Know

Critical information for the U.S. trading day

Here comes the second half.

Getty Images
Stocks are wobbling on the last trading day of the quarter, as the World Health Organization warns “the worst has yet to come” with COVID-19.
But up around 16% and 18% respectively, the Dow DJIA, +2.32% and S&P 500 SPX, +1.46% are poised for the best three-month stretch since end-1998, though that doesn’t quite make up for ugly first-quarter losses. Beating all comers is the Nasdaq Composite, up 28% as technology stocks have largely emerged in decent shape from a tough six months.
Our call of the day advises sticking with the winners for the rest of the year. “We believe that the U.S will remain the relative regional outperformer and that the style leadership will firmly return to tech and defensives, post the tactical value rally seen in [second half] of May and [first half] of June,” says Mislav Matejka and a team of strategists at JPMorgan Casenove.
Value stocks, often in cyclical industries that perform better as economies recover, have been bouncing back in recent weeks. Laggards in the post-financial crisis rally, they have lured in investors looking for bargains and feeling hopeful about a ‘V-shaped’ recovery.
But Matejka says whatever rotation we’ve seen out of defensive and techs into cyclicals is over. To keep outperforming, value stocks need purchasing managers indexes to show signs of economies expanding. Continued high jobless levels in the second half and fears of a virus resurgence will stop that in its tracks, he adds.
“Our economists forecast that the worst of the labor market weakness is likely behind us; however, the projected path is far from a V-shaped recovery,” and that will make it tough on the consumer, say the strategists.
And defensive and tech stocks are still attractively priced, says Matejka.

His forecast isn’t far off from an investor survey conducted by DataTrek Research, which found 52% of respondents expect technology stocks to beat all other sectors by miles for the rest of 2020.
But Nicholas Colas, DataTrek’s co-founder, says the survey also finds we are headed into a “convictionless market.” A fifth of respondents say they expect the S&P 500 will finish the year 10% higher.
“Every option from ‘really bad’ (down +10% from here) to ‘really good’ (+10%) got basically the same number of votes,” he says. “And we’re only talking about the next six months.”

The market
Dow YM00, -0.14%, S&P ES00, -0.10% and Nasdaq NQ00, -0.06% futures are softer, with European stocks SXXP, +0.02% mixed, but headed for the best quarter since 2015. Asian stocks finished in the green, with China’s CSI 300 000300, +1.32% up 1.3%, and maybe getting a little help from data showing factory and business activity at three-month and seven-month highs respectively.
The buzz
At noon, lawmakers will grill Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the effectiveness of the trillions of dollars in emergency aid doled out since the pandemic began. Case-Shiller home prices and consumer confidence data are also ahead.
Uber UBER, +0.06% is reportedly in talks to buy rival San Francisco food delivery group Postmates, in what could be a $2.6 billion deal. Lululemon stock LULU, +1.66% is up after the sports retailer said it will buy in-home fitness company Mirror, for $500 million.
More reopening pauses — indoor dining in New Jersey and maybe New York, and the U.K.’s Leicester. China researchers have identified a new swine flu with pandemic potential.
The EU will on Tuesday lay out rules on who can travel into the 14-country bloc. The U.S, Russia, Brazil and India likely won’t make the cut.
Packaged food group Conagra CAG, +3.24% will report earnings, with results from global shipper FedEx FDX, +3.43% due after the close.
Random reads
California’s Golden State Killer admitted to 13 murders.
Iran has sentenced a journalist to death over 2017 protests.
“Buy Apple” started trending after this thread:
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the year.

Analysis | The Cybersecurity 202: Commission's plan to avert devastating cyberattack faces uphill battle, 9/11-era officials say

By Joseph Marks


with Tonya Riley

A bipartisan commission that unveiled its plan to reduce the risk of a devastating cyberattack on the scale of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks should be worried about another threat: Washington.
Those who worked on the government response to 9/11 predict that today's policymakers aren't ready to take on ambitious changes – and there's no sense of urgency with the public fixated on other crises, from the coronavirus pandemic to the economy.
This could be a huge challenge for the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which seeks to shore up potential government and intelligence blind spots to avert a mass casualty attack before it happens.
“I don’t want to say they can’t get the job done, but we had things going for us that they don’t that made our job much easier,” former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission, told me. “The whole country’s attention was turned to the events of 9/11 and the response to it…Cybersecurity is a very important issue, but they won’t have that public focus.”
Michael Chertoff, the second director of the Department of Homeland Security, which was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, warned that “there’s always more impetus when you’ve experienced a disastrous event.”
The comments reflect a struggle that has dogged cybersecurity advocates for years. A major cyberattack targeting parts of the electrical grid or transportation systems could be devastating for the nation but it’s tough to focus money and energy on a threat that hasn’t happened yet.
Major digital attacks that have occurred, meanwhile, such as Russian efforts to upend the 2016 election and Chinese-linked theft of U.S. security clearance information have prompted limited changes that don’t address the full scope of the dangers.
“After 9/11 we learned a lot about warning signals that weren’t spotted," Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Solarium Commission along with Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), told me. “In this case, the signals are gigantic neon signs. This is the longest windup for a punch in the history of the world. We know it’s coming but we just don’t know how or when.”

9/11 Commission Co-Chairmen, former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, left, and former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, testify on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Solarium commissioners have struggled to implement the boldest changes among their dozens of recommendations. 
The most prominent of those is creating a new White House czar to oversee cybersecurity policy across the government. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), a Solarium Commission member, introduced a bipartisan House bill that would create the position. But a Senate version is stalled, largely because of White House opposition.
Another top recommendation would streamline the dozens of congressional committees and subcommittees that deal with cybersecurity to just one committee each in the House and Senate. That could be nearly impossible to implement because of congressional turf battles, officials who worked on the 9/11 response predicted.
Indeed, despite years of efforts, DHS's anti-terrorism work is similarly overseen by numerous congressional panels.
“At DHS we continually begged Congress to reduce the number of committees that had jurisdiction over the department, and that [begging] continues to happen and it continues to not be successful,” the first DHS secretary and former Republican governor Tom Ridge told me.
Commissioners have had better success with smaller recommendations. 
Several of those may be included in a major defense policy bill that is working its way through Congress.
They include beefing up the role of the Department of Homeland Security’s top cybersecurity official and requiring cybersecurity risk assessments from publicly traded companies.
The Solarium Commission was based on an Eisenhower-era commission focused on how best to counter the Soviet Union. In addition to lawmakers, its members include top industry executives and former government officials who’ve been stumping for the report’s recommendations since its March release.

Michael Chertoff, the former U.S. secretary of Homeland Security. (Richard Drew/AP)
The commission's efforts are also challenged because cybersecurity is, in many ways, a far more complex problem than terrorism. 
Within government, cybersecurity responsibilities are spread across dozens of agencies, including the defense, homeland security, commerce and state departments. And any one of dozens of U.S. industries could be the target for a devastating cyberattack, including finance, energy, telecommunications and health care.
There’s some analogy to 9/11 but the scope of what you’re dealing with with cyberthreats is much more comprehensive,” Chertoff said. “There are many more kinds of harm that can occur in cyberspace and it requires a much more integrated approach.”
Commissioners may be helped, though, by the sense of urgency created by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic began upending American life and prompting quarantine orders just weeks after the Solarium report came out. But as government and the public struggle to manage the virus it may drive home the importance of tackling big challenges before it’s too late.
Commissioners also released an additional set of recommendations last month focused on new digital vulnerabilities created by the pandemic, including a large share of the nation working from home.
“One serious lesson out of the pandemic is the importance of having a plan in advance,” Chertoff said.

Former DHS secretary and Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Hacking has also become so pervasive that it could prompt government to take the issue more seriously. 
“All the actions I’ve taken over the years have been to prevent a cyber 9/11 from happening,” Langevin, a co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, told me. “I felt like a lone voice in the wilderness initially, but people’s awareness has been raised. Ask anyone who’s had their credit card numbers or medical records stolen, and they understand this is an issue.”
The pervasiveness of cybersecurity also separates it from the pre-9/11 era when terrorism wasn't top of mind for most Americans.
“One observation from the 9/11 Commission that’s embedded in my head is when they talked about a failure of imagination,” Ridge said. “This [Solarium Commission] report is saying that based on everything we know we can’t plead surprise anymore. And before we have a cataclysmic cyber event we’d better get our act together.”

The keys
A California university working on a coronavirus cure paid more than $1 million in ransom to hackers. 

An employee uses a pipette. (SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg News)

University of California at San Francisco officials don't believe any patient medical records or coronavirus research were exposed to hackers, but paid out the $1.14 million ransom because hackers encrypted some files that were important to academic work, the university said in a statement
This is the third attack on a university tied to a ransomware gang called Netwalker since the coronavirus pandemic began, Joe Tidy at BBC News reports.  
The FBI and international agencies have discouraged ransomware victims from paying hackers.
India's government banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps for allegedly stealing user data.

The icon for TikTok. (AP)

India's tech minister said the 59 banned apps were using the data to undermine India's national security, Rajesh Roy and Shan Li at the Wall Street Journal report. The ban comes amid rising military tensions between the two countries over a disputed border.
Chinese companies dominate India’s growing app market and the bans could cost TikTok and other companies millions of users. 
India's actions could also bolster U.S. criticism of TikTok. U.S. officials have accused the app of stealing users’ data and transmitting it in an unauthorized manner. Members of Congress have called for investigations into the app and many military branches have banned it.
India’s ban also included the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat.
Wisconsin Republicans voted by mail even as they try to restrict the practice. 

Voters observe social distancing guidelines as they wait in line to cast ballots in the presidential primary election in Milwaukee. (Morry Gash/AP)

More than 80 percent of Republican members of the state legislature voted by mail during the state’s April primary, which was held amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reports. That’s up from less than 35 percent in previous elections.
Republican lawmakers blocked efforts by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to delay that primary resulting in thousands of requested absentee ballots not arriving on time and hours long lines in Milwaukee and Green Bay.
“If absentee ballots are good enough for Republican legislators, they should be accessible to all Wisconsin voters,” Nicole Safar, executive director of A Better Wisconsin Together, a liberal advocacy group that compiled the voting records, told the AP's Scott Bauer. “They risked people’s lives in the April 2020 election and they’re at [it] again. 
Many high-profile Republicans pushing against voting by mail in Washington also voted that way themselves, including President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, lawmakers voted down a bill that would have barred election officials from mailing voters absentee ballot applications, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports

Securing the ballot

Democrats say Facebook's guards against election disinformation don't go far enough to protect voting by mail.

Stacey Abrams. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

The social media platform's recent announcement that it will increase resources to remove false claims about polling conditions in the 72 hours leading up to Election Day, for example, does not do enough to protect mail voting that can happen weeks earlier, former Georgia politician Stacey Abrams said.
In the era of covid-19 voting starts almost 40 to 60 days ahead of Election Day. Seventy-two hours cannot solve the problem when you have vote by mail sweeping the country," said Abrams, who founded the voting rights group Fair Fight and is being discussed as a potential Democratic vice presidential candidate. Abrams was speaking at an event on disinformation hosted by George Washington University.
Abrams also criticized Facebook for allowing President Trump to post false and misleading information about voting by mail. Twitter, by contrast, has added fact checks to some of the president's dubious claims.

Chat room

One of Trump's recent misstatements drew a phony distinction between absentee voting and voting by mail. They're actually the same thing, as several people pointed out. Edward Perez, global director of technology development at the OSET Institute:
Cars are fine. A person has to go through a process to get and use a driver’s license. Automobiles, on the other hand, will lead to the most dangerous highways in US history! pic.twitter.com/mirFz0Vn3X
— Eddie Perez (@eddieperezTX) June 29, 2020
CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter:
Absentee ballots and mail-in ballots are the same thing, but it won't surprise you to learn that Paterson, NJ was invoked on Fox News Sunday afternoon... https://t.co/dCpui3rBpR
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 29, 2020

Hill happenings

Major universities and tech companies are backing legislation that would establish a national artificial intelligence research task force.

A man wearing a protective mask walks past an office building with the IBM logo in Sydney. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)
The National AI Research Resource Task Force Act aims to spur artificial intelligence research in the United States and to make it easier for smaller companies and research institutions to take part in it. University supporters of the measure include Stanford, Princeton and John Hopkins. Companies include Google, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon. The bill is spearheaded by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
More news from the Hill:

National security watch

The United States will ban high-tech defense exports to Hong Kong.

The flags of China, left, and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) are flown in Hong Kong. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg News)
The move comes in response to China's new national security law that gives Chinese communist leadership a tighter grip over the semi-autonomous province, Matthew Lee at the Associated Press reports.
The move comes as U.S. officials are struggling to limit China's access to U.S. technology over national security fears.
“The United States is forced to take this action to protect U.S. national security,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China.”
More national security news:

Amid a global anti-Huawei effort that has seen mixed results, the U.S. sets another Chinese tech company in its crosshairs: Nuctech, a state-controlled firm that is quietly dominating Europe’s cargo and airport screening market.
The Wall Street Journal
Cybersecurity news from abroad:

Officials promised to recruit at least 500 cyberspies and build on the country’s offensive capabilities to take the online battle overseas.
New York Times

Russia’s surrender to Telegram’s Pavel Durov shows the increasing challenges for states seeking to control social media.
Isabelle Khurshudyan

Daybook

  • The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on U.S.-China relations and its impact on national security and intelligence in a post-coronavirus world on Wednesday at 12 p.m.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the EARN IT Act, which critics say could undermine encryption, on Thursday at 10 a.m. 

Secure log off

Oregon's secretary of state talks about voting by mail on 60 Minutes. The state is one of five that votes almost entirely by mail.
“Try it, you might like it.”
Oregon’s Republican Secretary of State, Beverly Clarno, responds to President Trump’s claim that vote by mail is dangerous and subject to fraud. Oregon pioneered the practice in 1998. https://t.co/jZuELMAKYJ pic.twitter.com/Y8TjsKyiGK
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) June 28, 2020

Market Insider | Biggest Moves Premarket: Stocks making the biggest moves in the premarket: Micron, Conagra Brands, Apple, Xilinx & more

Peter Schacknow



Take a look at some of the biggest movers in the premarket:

Conagra Brands (CAG) – The food producer reported quarterly profit of 75 cents per share, 9 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also exceeded consensus and Conagra gave a current-quarter earnings forecast range that largely exceeds estimates as the pandemic helps spur a surge in demand.
Micron Technology (MU) – Micron beat estimates by 5 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of 82 cents per share. The chip maker’s revenue also beat forecasts and Micron gave upbeat revenue guidance as stay-at-home workers and students boosted demand for its computer and data center chips.
Simon Property Group (SPG) – Simon said it would reopen its five remaining closed retail properties within the next week. The mall operator also said many of its tenants have reported higher than expected sales since reopening their doors.
Apple (AAPL) – 5G iPhone shipments in 2020 may be much weaker than expected, according to sources who spoke to DigiTimes. Those sources put current estimates at 15 million to 20 million units this year compared to a prior forecast of 30 million to 40 million.
Xilinx (XLNX) – Xilinx raised its fiscal first-quarter revenue guidance, with the specialty chipmaker saying its business had been helped by the loosening of restrictions on sales to Chinese companies.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) – Royal Dutch Shell will take a $22 billion writedown on the value of its assets after the energy producer slashed its oil and gas price outlook.
Wells Fargo (WFC) – Wells Fargo said it would cut its dividend to preserve capital, with the size of the cut set to be announced along with its second-quarter earnings report on July 14. The Federal Reserve had asked banks not to increase dividends amid uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, following bank stress tests. JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Morgan Stanley (MS) plan to hold their dividends steady.
Boeing (BA) – Norwegian Air canceled orders for 97 Boeing 737 Max and 787 jets, and plans to seek compensation for the grounding of the 737 and engine troubles related to the 787.
Lululemon (LULU) – Lululemon is buying home fitness company mirror for $500 million, in a move designed to allow the athletic apparel maker to take advantage of a pandemic-related surge in-home fitness activities.
Uber Technologies (UBER) – Uber is in discussions to buy food delivery service Postmates for $2.6 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Uber had engaged in ultimately unsuccessful talks last month to buy Grubhub (GRUB) and combine it with its Uber Eats food delivery unit.
Herman Miller (MLHR) – The office furniture maker reported a quarterly profit of 11 cents per share, compared to consensus forecasts of a loss of 10 cents per share. Revenue was short of Wall Street forecasts, however, as sales fell 29% from a year earlier amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Crocs (CROX) – The casual shoemaker was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Loop Capital Markets, which cites brand momentum. Loop also increased its price target on the stock to $40 from its prior $22.

News | US Politics: Republicans once again face questions about why Trump isn’t tougher on Russia

By Seung Min Kim closeSeung Min KimWhite House reporter.



Trump and the White House repeatedly denied Monday that the president had been briefed on the efforts against coalition forces in Afghanistan, which are believed to have led to the deaths of several U.S. service members. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump had not been told of the intelligence because it had not been verified and declined to say if the president had been briefed since news of the bounties became public.
But on Capitol Hill, Republican senators demanded more information from the administration and called for Russia to be punished if reports from the New York Times, The Washington Post and other media outlets were deemed accurate. The Republicans took a notably tougher public tone than Trump did, although they mostly avoided the question of whether the president should have been aware of the intelligence.
While the Trump administration has taken some aggressive measures against Russia, the president’s conciliatory tone toward Russian President Vladmir Putin continues to be a thorny political problem for Republicans who have advocated a more hawkish approach toward the authoritarian leader.
The latest reports that the Russian bounties may have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members only increase the potential problems for Republicans looking to take a tougher stance toward Moscow without appearing to be at odds with a president who has considerable sway with the party’s voters.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) called the reports “deeply troubling” and said he wanted the Senate to pass his legislation that would require the State Department to consider naming Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who like Gardner is in a tough reelection race this fall, similarly called for the U.S. government to treat Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“From propping up the murderous Assad regime (in Syria) and our enemies in Afghanistan, Putin’s Russia has made clear they are no friend to the United States,” Gardner wrote Monday on Twitter. “They’ve targeted our institutions and our troops — the US must respond.”
Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), a former intelligence officer in the Marines, said the Russia-financed bounty effort, if confirmed, “deserves a strong and immediate response from our government.”
Young, who also heads the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, called for hearings and for Trump to rescind any invitation for Russia to rejoin the Group of Seven, which is composed of the world’s major industrialized nations, as well as direct sanctions on Putin.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also called for an aggressive response if the information from U.S. intelligence agencies holds up.
“If true, what we’re talking about here is putting the target crosshairs on the backs of American servicemen and women in uniform, and I have heard from a lot of Nebraskan military families this weekend, and they’re livid. They have a right to be livid,” he said.
He said Congress needs to find out what Trump was or was not told.
“Who knew what, when, and did the commander in chief know? And if not, how the hell not? What is going on in that process?” he asked, adding: “What are we going to do to impose proportional cost in response? In a situation like this, that would mean Taliban and GRU body bags.” GRU is the abbreviation for the Russian military spy unit.
The reaction from congressional Republicans on Monday was markedly different than the comments from Trump, who dismissed the reports as “possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax” — his reference to the probe earlier in his presidency led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that examined potential collusion between Trump associates and Russia. The president has continued to dismiss the conclusion of U.S. intelligence officials that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election in his favor.
Left largely unaddressed in many GOP senators’ public comments, however, was Trump’s role in the matter and what he should do now, with few questions from Senate Republicans on Monday about the White House’s contention that the president was left in the dark about an intelligence issue that had prompted a restricted high-level White House meeting in late March. Russia and the Taliban have denied the existence of the program.
“Well, I think the president can’t single-handedly remember everything, I’m sure, that he’s briefed on, but the intelligence officials are familiar with it and briefed him,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). “But again somebody’s leaking classified information and then trying to further a narrative that isn’t necessarily supported by the facts.”
McEnany repeatedly said at a White House briefing Monday that there was not a consensus among intelligence officials about the accuracy of the information on the bounties.
 “When our adversaries have directly targeted U.S. or coalition partners, the president has not hesitated to act,” McEnany said. “But this was not briefed up to the president because it was not, in fact, verified.”
Congressional Democrats raised alarm about the reports, published over the weekend, and both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for briefings of their full chambers by intelligence officials.
A group of House Democrats, led by Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, will be briefed on the issue at the White House at 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to an aide to the Maryland Democrat. Hoyer has asked that the following Democrats be included: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (N.Y.), Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (Wash.), Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), Gregory W. Meeks (N.Y.), Brad Sherman (Calif.), William R. Keating (Mass.), Ruben Gallego (Ariz.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.) and Elissa Slotkin (Mich.).
But the briefing will not be an adequate substitute for an all-member briefing, said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a national security matter.
Schumer suggested that lawmakers should use the national defense authorization bill, the annual legislation detailing policy priorities for the Pentagon that senators are working on this week, to punish the Russian government.
“President Trump, you lose either way,” Schumer said Monday during a speech on the Senate floor. “If you weren’t briefed on this important report, how can you run an administration where something this important is not brought to your level?
“If you were told about the report and did nothing, that’s even worse.”
Some of the president’s closest allies in the House GOP ranks took a different stance after a briefing at the White House, with at least one emerging from the closed-door session and accusing journalists of damaging an ongoing intelligence investigation.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) lashed out at the New York Times, which first published the report, by accusing the newspaper of compromising a national security probe.
“The blood is on their hands,” Banks tweeted. “Having served in Afghanistan during the time the alleged bounties were placed, no one is angrier about this than me. Now it’s impossible to finish the investigation.”
But two Republicans who received the briefing — Reps. Michael McCaul (Tex.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — called for the administration to take “swift and serious action” against Putin should the intelligence bear out to be true.
Senior Senate Republican leaders and heads of key committees did not disclose how much, if at all, they were aware of the intelligence.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to respond when asked whether he had been briefed on the matter. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declined to comment on specifics but said that the “targeting of our troops by foreign adversaries via proxies is a well-established threat.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) signaled that he was unaware of the intelligence, saying Monday that he had “asked the administration to share what it knows” and that he expected to have more information in the coming days.
“We’ve known for a long time that Putin is a thug and a murderer, and if the allegations reported in the New York Times are true, I will work with President Trump on a strong response,” Inhofe said. “My number one priority is the safety of our troops.”

US Market | Futures Indicator: Stock futures are little changed after a strong Monday surge, Powell testimony ahead

Fred Imbert, Maggie Fitzgerald




U.S. stock futures were mostly flat early Tuesday ahead of the final trading day of a volatile month for markets.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 68 points lower, or 0.3% and implied a loss of 34 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures traded just below the flatline.
Shares of Wells Fargo ticked 1.2% lower in the premarket after the bank said Monday it would likely slash its dividend in the third quarter to comply with the Federal Reserve stress test. Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs said their dividends would stay the same.
Shares of chip stock Micron jumped 5.3% following the company’s better-than-expected earnings report. Micron gave strong forward revenue guidance. Shares of Lululemon gained 4% on news it will acquire at-home fitness company Mirror for $500 million. 
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will testify before the House Financial Services Committee at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The joint hearing will address the Fed and Treasury’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In remarks he will deliver Tuesday, Powell said uncertainty reigns over the outlook for the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels. The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” Powell said. “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities. “The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed,” Powell added.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index will be released at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting a read of 91 in June, up from May’s reading of 86.6.
On Monday, the Dow climbed 580 points, helped by a 14.4% gain in Boeing’s stock, as certification flights for the Boeing 737 Max began Monday. The S&P 500 also registered a gain, climbing 1.5%. Monday’s gains brought the 500-stock index into positive territory for the volatile month of June.
The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.2%, helped by gains in Netflix, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple.
“It wasn’t a day where the sole driving force was simply rising expectations of continued economic improvement because the best five sector performances [Monday] comprised two cyclical sectors — industrials and materials— a growth sector— communication services —  and two defensive sectors — utilities and staples,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, told CNBC. Monday “was characterized by broad participation in a strong rally.”
Monday’s sharp gains came amid a backdrop of increasing coronavirus cases in the U.S. and states attempt to reopen from the shutdown. U.S. governors are walking back or delaying reopening plans as Covid-19 cases climb around the country. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state will delay a resumption of indoor dining that was planned for Thursday.

Despite the recent uptick in cases, stocks are headed for a month of gains in June. The Dow is up 0.8% and the S&P 500 is up 0.3% in June. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite has returned more than 4% this month.

News | Business | Oil & Gas: Oil major Shell to write down up to $22 billion of assets in second quarter

Sam Meredith




A detailed view of a Shell gas station sign showing the low price of $1.69 per gallon, the result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 31, 2020 in Jacksonville, Fl.
A detailed view of a Shell gas station sign showing the low price of $1.69 per gallon, the result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 31, 2020 in Jacksonville, Fl.
David Rosenblum | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday it will write down the value of its assets by up to $22 billion in the second quarter, after revising down its long-term outlook for oil and gas prices.
It comes after the energy company announced in mid-April an ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Shell said in a statement to investors that it had reviewed a significant portion of its business given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the “ongoing challenging commodity price environment.”
It said it would take aggregate post-tax impairment charges in the range of $15 billion to $22 billion in the second quarter.
This included a write-down of between $8 billion-$9 billion in its integrated gas unit, a $4 billion-$6 billion write-down in upstream assets, and a $3 billion-$7 billion write-down in oil products across its refining portfolio.
Shares of the Anglo-Dutch company were over 2.4% lower during early morning deals.
Earlier this month, U.K.-based energy giant BP also said it would incur non-cash impairment charges and write-offs in the second quarter, estimated to be in an aggregate range of $13 billion to $17.5 billion after tax.

Oil and gas price forecasts

Shell said it expected international benchmark Brent crude prices to average $35 a barrel in 2020, down from a previous forecast of $60.
The firm also lowered its Brent price forecast to $40 in 2021 and $50 in 2022, having previously said it expected prices to average $60 for each respective year.
Brent crude futures traded at $41.39 on Tuesday morning, down around 0.7%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $39.35, more than 0.8% lower.
The energy giant also said it believes Henry Hub gas prices will average $1.75 per million British thermal units in 2020, before rising to $2.5 over 2021 and 2022, and $2.75 in 2023.
Henry Hub is a natural gas pipeline located in Louisiana and serves as the official delivery location for futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

News | Business | Business: YouTube bans prominent white supremacist channels

3-4 minutos - Source: BBC



YouTube has banned several prominent white supremacist channels. Image copyright Getty Images
YouTube has banned some prominent white supremacist channels as internet companies face a backlash over racist content.
The Google-owned video platform said the channels had violated its policies that prohibit hate speech.
In recent days social media companies have been been boycotted by a number of major advertisers.
On Monday Ford joined a growing list of global brands that are pausing social media advertising during July.
In a statement YouTube said: “We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies.”
"After updating our guidelines to better address supremacist content, we saw a 5x spike in video removals and have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies,” it added.
The channels that have been banned include some of the internet's most high-profile far-right commentators:
  • Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian white nationalist activist known for his promotion of conspiracy theories.
  • Richard Spencer is US white supremacist credited with coining the term "alt-right".
  • David Duke is the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
On Twitter Mr Molyneux described his channel's suspension as an "egregious error".
Also on Twitter, Mr Spencer said that he would appeal the decision and called the suspension a "systemic coordinated effort."
Separately, Amazon's live video streaming site, Twitch has temporarily banned US President Donald Trump, citing “hateful conduct” in his posts.
The company pointed to comments made at two rallies for the suspension.
At a 2016 campaign rally, which was recently rebroadcast on Twitch, Mr Trump said that Mexico was sending over its bad actors, such as rapists or drug dealers.
It also highlighted the president's rally in Tulsa earlier this month, at which he told a fictional story about a home invasion by a "tough hombre".

Momentum growing

Meanwhile, social media site Reddit has shut down r/The_Donald, a forum which has long been a popular online home for Donald Trump supporters, saying that it violated the platform's hate speech rules.
Also on Monday, carmaker Ford became one of the latest global brands to announce that it would halt social media advertising spending for the month of July.
It joins other household names, including Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Diageo and Unilever, that have said that they will suspend advertising from some social media platforms in response to hate speech.
The announcements follow the launch earlier this month of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, which described itself as a "response to Facebook's long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform".
Responding to the campaign Facebook said: "We're taking steps to review our policies, ensure diversity and transparency when making decisions on how we apply our policies, and advance racial justice and voter engagement on our platform."

News | Coronavirus | US Economic Impact: ‘Trump political base hit hardest by coronavirus'

9-11 minutos - Source: BBC



President Trump and Thomas J Philipson, chair of White House council of economic advisers (top right) with (bottom right) Vice-President Mike Pence and economic advisor Kevin Hassett, White House Rose Garden, 5 June 2020 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tomas Philipson (top right) says low-wage earners have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic
The economic impact of the coronavirus has taken a heavier toll on low-wage earners according to Tomas J Philipson, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC before his reported departure, he said: "There's a sort of unique impact of this shock in that its very regressive, hitting the low wage part of the economy. Low-wage workers take a bigger hit than higher wage".
The virus has derailed any progress the US was making in raising the living standards of those on low pay, Prof Philipson said in an interview for Coronavirus: The Economic Shock, in which some of the world's leading economists and business leaders look at how the gravest economic downturn in nearly a hundred years may change the way we live and work.
"We had enormous success in growing lower wages before the pandemic struck, so this has taken a very regressive toll on the economy," he argues.
This has political implications for the upcoming November election as President Trump enjoys far higher support among non-college educated voters - often used as a proxy for low vs high wage earners - than among those who have college degrees.
Prof Philipson also plays down the chances of a rapid economic recovery. "I'm not saying we are going to have a v-shaped recovery, in fact the data shows a sort of gradual response."
However, he also defends the United States' response to the pandemic and places some of the responsibility Covid-19 in the US at the doors of state governors.
"We were the first country to introduce travel bans from China and were criticised for that. Many state governments run by Democratic governors did not act before the federal government, even though they were free to do so."
He disagrees that a rise in US economic nationalism has been harmful to the world economy. "I think China was justifiably demonised in the sense that we treated them a lot better selling stuff here than they treated us selling stuff there. I think the president has done a lot to balance that".
Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Stanford University says the virus has seen economic tensions between the world's two biggest economies become more than a trade dispute. "It seems to me pretty clear that we're now in 'Cold War Two'.
"It's going to be different from 'Cold War One', not least because the US and the Soviet Union were never as economically interdependent as the US and China have become over the last 20 years.
"It's hard to think of a better illustration of the downsides of globalisation than the extreme vulnerability it exposed to a virus that originated in in China."This has, he believes, huge economic implications for the entire interconnectedness of the world economy and therefore the size and the health of the global economy.
Globalisation has been credited with lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty but has also been blamed for deepening inequality within countries. The virus has operated like an X-ray on the global economic body and its revealed weaknesses and imbalances along economic, gender and ethnic fault lines.
Ursula Burns was the first African American woman to sit on the board of a Fortune 500 company and she now sits on the boards of Nestle, Uber and ExxonMobil. She says business is emerging as an unlikely and welcome ally in the fight against inequality that she says the pandemic has laid bare.
"Amazingly enough, business is starting to be at the centre of that conversation. At the centre because governments around the world are not articulate enough or sensitive enough or informed enough to contribute positively to this conversation. So out of nowhere, businesses start to change the discourse in the world."
Will business step up? Or will the fight for survival mean savage cost-cutting and mass redundancies compounding the problems of inequality?
The International Labour Organization estimates that the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs could be lost worldwide in the second three months of this year. The ILO says 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy -nearly half of the global workforce - are in immediate danger of losing their livelihoods.
In developing countries, where government safety nets are weak and where economies are particularly vulnerable, things may be particularly tough.
It is a point made by Tony Elumelu, who is one of Africa's most influential businessmen. He is a billionaire banker and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which invests in start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) across the continent.
"We have endemic poverty in Africa. Over 80% of our population live from hand to mouth. They go out, they die of Covid. They sit at home, they die of hunger. Then what is better for them to do? It is a bad situation but it gives us all the opportunity to re-set."
Big business - global corporations - seem ready to reset too. The chairman of Tata Group, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, and Nissan's chief operating officer, Ashwani Gupta, both believe global business is in the midst of a long-term rethink on how employers organise their workforce and how supply chains and resources will operate. They suggest sustainability may become more of a focus.
In a remarkable broadcasting moment, Mr Chandrasekaran - a titan of global business - looked out across Mumbai and reflected on the change. "You can hear the birds. We can breathe fresh air… on a clear day we can see the stars."
So will the world grasp this opportunity to change how the world economy works and address pressing challenges that include global inequality and climate change?
Or when the health crises passes will things return to way they were? Will we miss an opportunity to change how the global economy functions for the welfare of us all?
Coronavirus: the Economic Shock is presented by Simon Jack and produced by Kirsty MacKenzie. It includes the thoughts of Nissan's COO Ashwani Gupta, Nobel prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Tata's chairman Tata Natarajan Chandrasekaran; former UK prime minister Tony Blair, and Krishnamurthy Subramanian, the chief economic advisor to Indian PM Narendra Modi. It is broadcast on BBC Sounds and BBC World Service.

News | Business | UK Economy: UK economy hit worse than first thought

3-4 minutes - Source: BBC



A street crowd in Edinburgh Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There was a sharp fall in consumer spending at the end of March, the ONS said
The UK economy shrank more than first thought between January and March, contracting 2.2% in the joint largest fall since 1979, official figures show.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised down its previous estimate of a 2% contraction, with all the main economic sectors dropping.
There was a significant economic impact in March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to have an effect.
The data comes as the prime minister is set for a major speech on the economy.
Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: "Our more detailed picture of the economy in the first quarter showed GDP shrank a little more than first estimated.
"Information from government showed health activities declined more than we previously showed.
"All main sectors of the economy shrank significantly in March as the effects of the pandemic hit."
The first-quarter contraction is now the joint biggest drop since the July-to-September period in 1979.
Mr Athow said: "The sharp fall in consumer spending at the end of March led to a notable increase in households' savings."
When compared with the same three-month period a year ago, the economy shrank by 1.7%, worse than the previous estimate of a 1.6% contraction.
But with the coronavirus lockdown only coming into force on 23 March, the second quarter will show the full hit on the economy.
Recent ONS monthly figures showed the economy plummeted by 20.4% in April - the largest drop in a single month since records began.
That contraction was three times greater than the decline seen during the whole of the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn.
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the latest figures could be summed up in one line: "The biggest contraction for 40 years, even though Q1 contained just nine lockdown days."
The data "was just the prelude" to the worse to come, he added.
Later on Tuesday, Boris Johnson is set to make a keynote speech on the economy with a promise to "build back better".
Speaking in the West Midlands, the prime minister will say he wants to use the coronavirus crisis "to tackle this country's great unresolved challenges".
As part of what he is expected to call a "new deal", Mr Johnson will set out plans to accelerate £5bn of spending on infrastructure projects. 

News | China | Hong Kong Security Law: China passes controversial Hong Kong security law

7-9 minutes - Source: BBC



Protester throwing a tear-gas canister back at the police Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protests rocked Hong Kong last year, sparked by a bill intended to enable extraditions to the mainland
China has passed a controversial security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong, deepening fears for the city's freedoms, the BBC has learned.
It is set to criminalise secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces, but will also effectively curtail protests and freedom of speech.
The move follows increasing unrest and a widening pro-democracy movement.
Veteran activists have already said they will march on Wednesday, despite the risk of arrest under the new law.
But the Demosisto pro-democracy organisation, spearheaded by one of Hong Kong's most prominent activists, Joshua Wong, announced on Facebook on Tuesday it was ceasing all operations. Mr Wong had earlier said he was leaving the group.
China has not yet officially confirmed the law has been passed and no draft was made public beforehand, meaning residents are still unclear of the measures they will have to abide by. The law could be implemented as early as Wednesday.
Hong Kong was handed back to China from British control in 1997, but under a special agreement that guaranteed certain rights for 50 years.
So the law has drawn harsh international condemnation and also sparked demonstrations in Hong Kong since it was announced by Beijing in May.
China says the law is needed to tackle unrest and instability and rejects criticism as interference in its affairs.

What does the new law do?

The BBC has been told that the law went through unanimously in a session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing.
It is expected to be added to Hong Kong statute books later in the day and comes a day before the 23rd anniversary of the handover from Britain to China - a date usually marked by pro-democracy protests.
It would make criminal any act of secession, subversion of the central government, terrorism and collusion with foreign or external forces.
A new office in Hong Kong would deal with national security cases, but would also have other powers such as overseeing education about national security in Hong Kong schools.
In addition, the city will have to establish its own national security commission to enforce the laws, with a Beijing-appointed adviser.
Hong Kong's chief executive will have the power to appoint judges to hear national security cases, a move which has raised fears about judicial independence.
Importantly, Beijing will have power over how the law should be interpreted. If the law conflicts with any Hong Kong law, the Beijing law takes priority.

How will it change Hong Kong?

For many, the law undermines the freedoms that set Hong Kong apart from the rest of China and helped define its character.
People in Hong Kong prize civil liberties such as free speech, the right to protest and an entirely independent and robust judiciary, as permitted in its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, agreed when the territory's sovereignty was returned to China in 1997.
In recent years, Hong Kong has seen waves of protests demanding more rights. Last year, rallies over a now-scrapped law permitting extraditions to the mainland turned violent and fuelled a broad pro-democracy movement.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam says the new law is a "responsible" move to protect the law-abiding majority.
She has said that Hong Kong's freedoms, vibrancy and core values will be preserved.

'A tool to suppress political agitation'

Analysis by Stephen McDonell, BBC China correspondent
Hong Kong's sweeping new security law is a frighteningly open-ended tool to suppress political agitation.
Like similar laws on the Chinese mainland it appears that it can be manipulated to meet the needs of the Communist Party as required to crush almost any action deemed threatening.
Unlike elsewhere in China, Hong Kong has an independent judiciary. For this reason, the Party's leadership was not going to leave interpretation of this law in the hands of just any old judges.
No. Those who'll be allowed to preside in these matters will be hand-picked by Carrie Lam, the city's leader who was effectively installed by Beijing.
So, prior to the new security bill, which actions by activists - no matter how subversive - could not be dealt with under existing laws? What were "extremists" getting away with to warrant this new legislation?
Bomb making? No. Smashing up buildings? No. Meeting with international NGOs to talk about the city's deteriorating freedoms? Ahhhh. Perhaps. Publicly advocating Hong Kong independence? Almost certainly.
The more that Beijing, under Xi Jinping's leadership, has sought to control Hong Kong, the more it has driven residents into the pro-democracy camp.
But he is playing a long game. Sure, handover promises to the UK were made but he was not going to let some Western attachment to liberty trump loyalty to the motherland. Not on his watch. Enter the security law.

What has the reaction been?

Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai said he would defy a police ban on Wednesday's "handover day" march.
He will be joined by Figo Chan, of the Civil Human Rights Front, who urged people to take to the streets, saying: "We are aware of the risks of being prosecuted. But we insist on taking the lead, as we want to tell Hongkongers not to fear."
Police plan to have 4,000 riot officers on standby, the South China Morning Post reports.
Rights group Amnesty International has described the law as "the greatest threat to human rights in the city's recent history".
Taiwan on Tuesday even warned its citizens of risks in visiting Hong Kong.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe identity crisis behind Hong Kong's protests
But there was widespread international criticism even before the law was passed.
The European Parliament voted to take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague should the law be imposed.
The UK said it would change its immigration rules and offer millions of people in Hong Kong "a route to citizenship" if China went ahead with the legislation.
Washington on Monday began moves to end Hong Kong's special status trade relationship with the US.
On Tuesday, China said it would respond to the removal with unspecified "countermeasures".

Jun 29, 2020

DealBook: All the Companies Quitting Facebook

19-23 minutes - Source: NYT



Credit...Drew Angerer/Getty Images
This is getting serious
A boycott of advertisers on social media is gaining momentum, and Facebook is the primary target. Marketers are expressing unease with how it handles misinformation and hate speech, including its permissive approach to problematic posts by President Trump.
Who’s doing what. The boycotts have followed a call by the advocacy group Stop Hate for Profit, which is keeping a running list of participating companies. Over the weekend, Starbucks and Diageo said they would pause advertising on all social media platforms. They’re among the biggest spenders on Facebook ads: Starbucks spent $95 million and Diageo $23 spent million on the platform last year. Other companies have boycotted Facebook specifically, including Honda America, Levi Strauss and Patagonia.
Who’s next? Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser, said it wouldn’t rule out a pause on Facebook ads. (Its big rival, Unilever, is stopping ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter through the end of the year.) Big ad agencies generally take their orders from clients, but they also have leeway to steer spending to certain platforms over others.
• Claiming censorship by major social media platforms, many right-leaning pundits, lawmakers and others have decamped to the upstart network Parler. That may cost Facebook some high-profile users — and an outsized source of engagement on its platform.
Can Facebook turn it around? Its stock price tumbled last week, as ever-bigger advertisers joined the boycott. (It’s poised to fall at the open today.) On Friday, it rolled out new measures to flag problematic political posts and expand its policies around hate speech.
• It’s worth remembering that Facebook collected more than $17 billion in advertising revenue in the first quarter alone: Losing big brand ads is painful, but the bulk of the company’s sales come from millions of smaller businesses that rely heavily on the platform.
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The spotlight is now on Mark Zuckerberg, who holds all the power at Facebook. His complicated relationship with Mr. Trump is at the center of the controversy, and how it plays out will determine how damaging the boycott will be for his company. Here’s what Andrew has to say about how it could play out:
Mr. Zuckerberg is often criticized for policies that are viewed by his detractors as unprincipled and craven, driven by business interests more than any moral code. But the truth, based on my years of reporting on him, is that his policies have always been driven less by profits and more by an overarching view of what he thinks is right. (Even when he is arguably wrong).
If he were always trying to placate advertisers, the boycott wouldn’t have happened. Of course, you could argue that his recent reversal on misinformation is proof of malleable principles. (By extension, his prior permissiveness could be seen as placating the Trump administration in hopes of keeping regulators at bay.) But I think it is fair to say that anyone who knows Mr. Zuckerberg knows that he believes in his positions — until he is forced to abandon them.

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Credit...Lindsey Wasson/Reuters
Coronavirus cases surpassed 10 million worldwide. Global deaths from Covid-19 have hit 500,000, doubling in less than two months. If that isn’t grim enough, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned that “the window is closing” to suppress a flare-up in cases in the South and West.
Chesapeake Energy filed for bankruptcy protection. The fracking pioneer helped pave the way for the U.S. energy boom, but a coronavirus-induced drop in oil demand and a huge debt load forced its hand.
Boeing can start test flights for the 737 Max. The F.A.A. gave the company permission to begin flights to demonstrate that the troubled jet is safe. It was grounded in March last year in the wake of two crashes that killed 346 people.
The E.U. is preparing to bar most Americans from entry when it reopens for travel on Wednesday. The U.S. has been lumped together with Russia and dozens of other countries that have been unable to contain their coronavirus infection rates.
We know who’s using the Fed’s corporate bond-buying program. The central bank named 794 companies whose investment-grade bonds it will buy to support debt markets.
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Credit...Mark Lennihan/Associated Press
The private equity industry is flush with cash, even after investing $700 billion last year. A new report on that spending by its main lobbying group in Washington, the American Investment Council, shows how it’s trying to distribute those funds in politically advantageous ways.
Three-quarters of investments last year were spread across 20 states, according to the council, including California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. Compare that with venture capital, where 80 percent of dollars were invested in three states: California, New York and Massachusetts, according to PwC and CB Insights.
It’s a reflection of the power of the industry, which has plenty of money to spend and companies willing to sell themselves to escape the glare of public markets.
It’s also a sign of the industry’s efforts to win political support, as it faces opposition from progressive lawmakers who want to impose higher taxes and criticize its reputation for burdening companies with debt and cutting jobs.
• The trade group noted which lawmakers’ districts benefited the most from private equity dollars. Topping the list were those of Representatives Carolyn Maloney of New York, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, all Democrats.
• Marriott warned in its first-quarter earnings report that it had $17.4 billion of goodwill and other intangible assets on its balance sheet — largely tied to its 2016 acquisition of Starwood for $13 billion — and that “any future impairment of these assets” could be “material.”
Of course, it doesn’t always take a pandemic for companies to write off goodwill from an earlier merger. In late 2018, Verizon wrote off $4.6 billion related to its purchase of Yahoo in 2016, essentially saying that the premium it paid for the business was worthless.
But the number of deals struck in recent years, combined with the uncertainty tied to the coronavirus, makes it highly likely that Covid-19 will become a common excuse for companies to revisit overly optimistic merger math.
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A new video by The Times’s Opinion team examines how the N.B.A.’s rules on revenue sharing, salary caps and the draft have made the basketball league more equal. It’s fun, informative and only five minutes long. Check it out here.
The league knows how important it is to make sure everyone gets a fair chance. The lengths it goes to address inequality and promote competition are noteworthy in a country skeptical of socialism, says Binyamin Appelbaum, who reported the story for the “America We Need” series:
They haven’t abolished winners and losers. They haven’t abolished capitalism or wealth or profit. They just keep teams from using those profits to rig the system and spoil the game for everyone. That’s not socialism. It’s just fair play.
💸 The biggest U.S. banks publish their capital plans after the market closes today, responding to last week’s stress tests by the Fed. Regulators forced banks to forgo share buybacks in the third quarter, and put a limit on dividends that analysts think will be toughest on Wells Fargo.
🗣 The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing tomorrow to review the government’s coronavirus response programs, featuring testimony from the Fed chairman, Jay Powell, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. It is also the last day to apply for loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, the $660 billion program aimed at small businesses that has been revised several times, and still has well over $100 billion left to lend.
🇺🇸🇲🇽🇨🇦 The “new NAFTA” — formally known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or U.S.M.C.A. — comes into force on Wednesday. The trade agreement hasn’t exactly spurred greater continental camaraderie: the U.S. recently threatened to reimpose tariffs on Canadian aluminum.
📈 Thursday is a big day for economic data, with monthly payrolls and weekly unemployment claims coming out. Economists expect that the U.S. economy added a net 3 million jobs in June, following the unexpectedly strong 2.5 million gain in May. At the same time, the latest week’s unemployment claims are forecast to come in at 1.3 million, the 15th week in a row above one million.
🗓 Noteworthy corporate earnings include the chip maker Micron Technology and the high-end office furniture seller Herman Miller today; Mrs. Butterworth’s parent, Conagra, and the package deliverer FedEx tomorrow; and the Corona brewer Constellation Brands, the cereal giant General Mills and the troubled department store chain Macy’s on Wednesday.
Deals
• PG&E raised $5.5 billion by selling equity as it prepares to exit from bankruptcy protection. (Reuters)
• Investors sued the mattress seller Casper over its disappointing I.P.O. (Bloomberg)
Politics and policy
• How Obamacare is facing its biggest test for survival amid a recession and a pandemic. (NYT)
Tech
• The harassment of a blogger by former eBay employees, as detailed in an indictment, reflects an extreme version of Silicon Valley’s penchant for no-holds-barred reputation management. (NYT)
Best of the rest
• How fast-casual chains like Applebee’s are trying to coax diners to return — by pitching safety, not breadsticks. (NYT)
• Bill Gates’s eldest daughter, Jennifer, opens up on being “born into a huge situation of privilege.” (Business Insider)
We’d love your feedback. Please email thoughts and suggestions to dealbook@nytimes.com.

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