Business

Dow jumps over 400 points on US-China trade progress

U.S. stocks kicked off the final day of the week on a high note as the U.S. and China begin day two of trade talks. This after President Trump signaled that thus far the talks are going well. He tweeted as much on Friday after the opening bell. Trump is set to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House later today. The Dow rose by more than 400 points in early trading. Also providing a boost was a rebound in consumer sentiment, which in October climbed to a three-month high of 96, up from 93.2 the prior month, according to preliminary data released by the University of Michigan. In stock news, General Motors shares were higher after the automaker provided fresh details on negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. GM, in a letter, outlined some revised points on its offer to the union. Investors are also eyeing Apple which hit an all-time high after a Wall Street analyst raised his price target. Wendy’s also saw a nice pop after disclosing that sales in the third-quarter were stronger than expected. In commodities, oil prices spiked around 1 percent after a rocket attack on an Iranian tanker. Global investors are also expecting to hear from Saudi oil giant Aramco as it prepares for its initial public offering. Early reports indicate the company’s valuation may around $1.5 trillion, slightly below the $2 trillion Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was aiming for. In Europe, London’s FTSE gained 0.3 percent, Germany’s DAX added 1.9 percent and France CAC was higher by 1.2 percent. In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite finished higher by 0.9 percent on Friday and 2.4 percent for the week. Tokyo’s Nikkei closed up 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent for the week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended the session higher 2.3 percent and 1.9 percent for the week.

Japan and U.S. Sign Trade Agreement

The U.S. on Monday signed two trade deals with Japan that are intended to alleviate the hardships American farmers have encountered since President Trump imposed tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports to certain countries. The first and third largest economies in the world signed the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement and U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement, just days before U.S. trade negotiators are set to meet with senior officials from the globe’s second largest economy, China, in Washington on Thursday. The two somewhat restrained trade deals cut $7.2 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Shinsuke J. Sugiyama signed the agreements at a ceremony at the White House. “This is a huge victory for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. And that’s very important to me,” Trump said in remarks at the signing ceremony. “From day one my administration has worked tirelessly to achieve a level playing field for the American worker.” American farmers bore the brunt of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in 2017. One of the new deals does away with $4.3 billion in tariffs on American food products including wine, cheese, nuts, berries, and grains as well as $2.9 billion in tariffs on beef and pork products. The other agreement commits Japan and the U.S. to $40 billion worth of digital trade. Republican Senator from Iowa Chuck Grassley called the agreement great news for Iowa farmers and said the new deal “strengthens” the administration’s negotiating position with China, which has battled with the U.S. on trade since Trump took office. Nevertheless, the agreements keep U.S. tariffs on Japanese automobiles at 2.5 percent, in line with what Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Trump promised him, that tariffs on Japan-made cars would not be hiked up. The trade deficit between the U.S. and Japan was $58 billion last year, long a point of contention for Trump.

‘Death by a thousand cuts’: Government-mandated wage, benefits hurting small businesses

Business owners say the government-mandated minimum wage of $15 an hour is hurting New York City businesses, including popular eateries with years of history like Gabriela’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar. Gabriela’s, which opened 25 years ago according to The New York Post, invited customers to eat and drink for the restaurant’s final weekend before closing at the end of September. Owners Liz and Nat Milner told The New York Post that the minimum wage hike basically killed their business. They’re not the only ones making difficult decisions. The New York City Hospitality Alliance surveyed 324 full-service restaurants at the end of 2018 and found that 75% of respondents will cut hours for employees and 47% will cut jobs in 2019 because of the minimum wage hike that went into effect on Dec. 31, 2018. The wage hike affected employees at corporations like McDonald’s and small businesses alike. “It’s death by a thousand cuts,” the alliance’s executive director Andrew Rigie said. “The minimum wage increases put pressure on small businesses. They are well-intended but unsustainable. There’s only so many times you can increase the price of a burger and a bowl of pasta.” That’s what Gabriela’s experienced. The Milners said they had to lay off cleaners, middle managers, their general manager and extra servers. “I’m not against people making more money,” Nat Milner told The New York Post. “These people have worked for me for 20 years. But taxes, groceries, everything is going up and people have a little less money to spend on guacamole and tequila.” Other small business owners are feeling the pinch, too. Wage hikes have led to less hours and education seminars for Philippe Massoud’s staff at Lebanese restaurants Ilili and Ilili Box, the CEO and executive chef said. “I can’t even train or educate my staff the way I want to anymore,” Massoud told The New York Post. The Post editorial board cited the plight of Gabriela’s owners in an op-ed slamming the $15-an-hour minimum wage hike on Monday night. “Just as predicted, the $15 minimum wage is killing vulnerable city small businesses, with the low-margin restaurant industry one of the hardest-hit as it also faces a separate mandatory wage hike for tipped staffers,” the board wrote. “All this is fine with the union organizers behind the ‘fight for $15’ and the elimination of the tipped-wages system: They don’t care about any job, or any business, that doesn’t play ball with organized labor. Mom-and-pop shops can go to hell,” the board added. “Plainly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature, who are passing the laws the unions want, don’t care much, either.”

Trump cheers billions of dollars’ worth of US investments from major auto companies

President Trump on Monday touted a host of new investments in the U.S. worth billions of dollars. One of the investments is a $4 billion joint venture on behalf of Hyundai, Kia and Aptiv to develop autonomous driving technologies, which the president noted would bring a lot of “great jobs” back to America. The companies said last week that the driving platform would be available for robotaxi providers and automotive manufacturers in 2022. Additionally, Trump said Navistar, a leading manufacturer of trucks and buses, would be building a $250 million truck factory in San Antonio, Texas – bringing an additional 600 jobs. Navistar recently announced plans to invest $125 million in the Huntsville, Alabama, engine plant. Trump also mentioned – as previously reported by FOX Business – that tech giant Apple will build its new Mac Pro in Austin, Texas, after it was granted exemptions from tariffs to import parts from China. “The Mac Pro is Apple’s most powerful computer ever and we’re proud to be building it in Austin,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement last week. “We thank the administration for their support enabling this opportunity.”

More great news in this Trump economy!!    🙂

Apple will build new Mac Pros in Texas amid tariffs

Apple’s insanely expensive new desktop computer will be made in the United States — not China, the company announced Monday. The $6,000 Mac Pro will be built at Apple’s Austin, Texas, plant following US trade regulators approving 10 requests for tariff exemptions filed by Apple for computer parts. “The new Mac Pro will include components designed, developed and manufactured by more than a dozen American companies for distribution to US customers,” Apple said in a statement. The Mac Pro had been assembled at the Austin plant since 2013, but Apple announced earlier this year that its new computer would be made in China — prompting furor from President Trump, who has been critical of the company’s reliance on Chinese factories. “Apple will not be given Tariff wavers (sic), or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China,” Trump tweeted. “Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!” Apple at that time said “like all of our products, the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in California and includes components from several countries including the United States.” The new Mac Pro is slated for release this fall with an entry-level price of $5,999. It’s designed to be paired with Apple’s new $4,999 Pro Display XDR monitor, which in turn is mounted on a $999 Pro Stand. That means Apple’s new supercomputer will cost at least $12,000 before boosting any of its specs. Apple shares were up 0.6 percent Monday morning, at $219.10.

Google’s decision to work with China, not US, ‘unprecedented’: Peter Thiel

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel Opens a New Window. said on Sunday that his calls for the U.S. government Opens a New Window. to investigate Google Opens a New Window. are in an effort to see if there is any “foreign infiltration” at the tech Opens a New Window. giant. Thiel, a conservative who is an outlier among his peers in Silicon Valley, originally called for the federal investigation in mid-July at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, D.C., accusing Google of working with China Opens a New Window. but not the U.S. government. The billionaire, who also sits on the board at Facebook, said Sunday that regardless of whether an American firm works with a civilian company in China, all technology is passed along to the communist nation’s military. “It’s not like the U.S., where you have different companies and different people and you have a government sector and a private sector and these things don’t always coordinate or work together,” Thiel told “Sunday Morning Futures.” “In China, these things are still tightly coordinated across the board.” In particular, Thiel said he is most concerned about Google’s sharing of its artificial intelligence called “DeepMind,” what he deems the tech firm’s “crown jewel.” DeepMind was founded in 2010 and purchased by Google four years later. The search giant opened its AI research lab in China, the same year that the nation amended its constitution to include a mandate that requires all research done inside the country to be shared with its armed forces (the People’s Liberation Army). “I think it is unprecedented in the last 100 years, or ever, that a major U.S. company refused to work with U.S. military and has worked with our geopolitical rival,” he said. “So this is not a liberal-conservative thing … this is absolutely unprecedented.” While Thiel stopped short of calling the company’s alleged links to China treasonous (though he has previously used the term regarding the same matter), he described the company’s self-image as “globalist,” “post-national” and “cosmopolitan,” adding that he believes “more that it’s incredibly insular.” The billionaire noted the first step toward making change is to talk about the issue. “This is an open secret in Silicon Valley,” Thiel said. “A lot of people think this is like kind of crazy what Google’s doing … And I sort of feel like I’m the little kid saying ‘the emperor has no clothes.’ It’s the secret hidden in plain sight.” A Google spokesperson called Thiel’s allegations “baseless” and said the company does not work with the Chinese military. “Our AI work in China is limited, with a small number of people working on global open source and education-related activities,” the spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “We are proud to continue our long history of work with the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, in many areas including cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare.” Thiel’s original comments also gained the attention of President Trump (whom Thiel supports), who said he will recommend various federal agencies, and possibly the Department of Justice, “take a look” into Google. “It’s a big statement when you say that Google is involved with China in not a very positive way for our country,” Trump, who referred to Thiel as a friend, told reporters at the White House. “So I think we’ll all look at that. I know that our other agencies will be looking at it and we’ll see if there’s any truth to it.”

And, we of course will keep on this developing story.  If Peter’s accusations are correct, then shame on Google.   That indeed would be treasonous.  We urge the Trump Administration to take a serious look into this, and then report back to we-the-people.  We need to know if Google is selling us out to the communist Chinese government and its military.

S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record highs as Google, McDonald’s, 2Q GDP lift stocks

Stocks Opens a New Window. soared Friday, with the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite notching record highs, as an important economic growth report Opens a New Window. came in better than expected while McDonald’s and Google turned in robust quarterly reports. The U.S. economy grew at a 2.1 percent pace, faster than Wall Street Opens a New Window. expected during the second quarter, driven by consumer spending. That topped the estimate for 1.8 percent growth, but slowed compared to first-quarter growth of 3.1 percent. The Department of Justice Opens a New Window. on Friday approved the long-awaited $26 billion merger of T-Mobile US Inc. Opens a New Window. and Sprint Corp., cutting a deal with a number of state attorneys general who had sued to block the deal and setting the stage for faster implementation of 5G service. Under terms of the department’s approval, T-Mobile and Sprint must divest Sprint’s prepaid business, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid, to Dish Network Corp., a Colorado-based satellite television provider. Markets are also being helped by earnings from several companies, overcoming the disappointment of the European Central Bank’s hinting at future interest rate cuts, but not acting immediately. McDonald’s topped quarterly sales expectations helped by the 2 for $5 Mix and Match offer, sending shares higher. Amazon shares fell after the company reported its first profit miss in two years. The company also forecast lower income in the current quarter due to costs associated with one-day delivery. Shares of Google’s parent Alphabet’s shot higher after quarterly revenue and earnings came in far stronger than expected, easing growth concerns. Revenue rose 19 percent to $38.94 billion. Twitter shares jumped on better-than-expected second-quarter revenue, plus more users saw ads on the site. Almost 40 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings and so far the results are better than expected, with three-quarters beating profit forecasts and nearly two-thirds topping revenue estimates. A deal that had been talked about this week was finally made official as Apple purchased the majority of Intel Corp.’s modem business in a deal valued at $1 billion. Oil prices rose on Friday and were on track for a weekly increase. U.S. crude is heading toward a weekly gain of 1.1 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 2.07 percent, and the price of crude oil rose 0.36 percent to $56.22 per barrel.

Great news in this Trump economy going into the weekend!!     🙂