|Bid||96.68 x 800|
|Ask||0.00 x 800|
|Day's range||97.50 - 99.00|
|52-week range||65.64 - 101.14|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.04|
|PE ratio (TTM)||31.26|
|Earnings date||11 Feb 2020 - 17 Feb 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.60 (0.61%)|
|1y target est||101.96|
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump laid out the central pillar of his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday, telling the Economic Club of New York that his policies have generated a boom in growth and jobs.“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin,” Trump told guests at the New York Hilton.The president’s remarks were closely watched on Wall Street for any signals about the future of the U.S. economy, including prospects for a limited trade agreement with China or any indication he’s worried about a slowdown. Trump routinely touts his handling of the economy, which he says is enjoying its fifth year of uninterrupted expansion and near record-low unemployment thanks to his trade, tax and deregulation policies.Trump laced his speech with criticism of “far left” and “radical” Democrats, whose policies he said would bankrupt the nation and hurt the middle class. He criticized the opposition party’s proposals on energy and climate change.“You have no choice because the people we are running against are crazy,” Trump said.Trump said he reversed policies imposed by his predecessors that restrained the economy. He faulted regulations and trade deals advanced by other presidents and said the “political class sold out American workers.”The economy expanded at a 1.9% pace in the third quarter and unemployment is close to its lowest in a half-century, government data showed last week. While manufacturing has been hurt by the U.S.-China trade war, consumers continue to spend in a sign voters are still confident about the economy. A Bloomberg Economics model sees the chances of an election-year recession at just 26%.The president said China is “dying” to make a trade deal with the U.S. and the first step of a broader agreement is close to being completed. “We’re close -- a significant phase one deal could happen, could happen soon,” he said.Trump said he’s not popular in some countries because he’s a tough negotiator on trade.“Just realize what I’m trying to do for you,” he said. “It’s about time.”The president took credit for the 2017 GOP tax cuts that Democrats said benefited the wealthiest Americans. “At the heart of our economic revival is the biggest tax cut and reforms in American history,” Trump said.Trump reiterated his criticism of the Federal Reserve, which he has repeatedly blasted for not cutting interest rates sooner and more drastically.When Trump got only a smattering of applause after praising negative interest rates in other countries, the president said: “Thank you, thank you -- only the smart people are clapping.”Trump also said that India and China were taking advantage of the U.S. by being designated developing countries.“We’re a developing country, too,” Trump said.Trump has frequently pointed to indicators including unemployment and stock-market highs to argue that he should not be impeached. The House will begin public hearings Wednesday in its probe of Trump’s effort to force Ukraine’s government to investigate his political rivals.“How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country,” Trump tweeted on Sept. 28.Trump said his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement boosted the U.S. economy. He called the pact unfair to the U.S. “Trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction to our economy would have been done,” he said.U.S. presidents and policy makers are regular speakers at the Economic Club, which draws its membership from major corporations, banks and investment companies, academia and other prominent nonprofits.In a March 2008 speech to the group, President George W. Bush attempted to calm investors on the brink of the financial crisis by touting an emergency loan for Bear Stearns Cos. The investment bank ultimately collapsed and was sold to JP Morgan Chase & Co.Markets have recently see-sawed in response to mixed messages from Washington and Beijing over how much tariffs would be lowered as part of a so-called “phase one” trade deal between the countries.Trump said Saturday on Twitter that unspecified reports about the U.S.’s willingness to lift tariffs were “incorrect,” but added that talks with China are progressing “very nicely” and that leaders in Beijing want a deal “much more than I do.”(Updates with Trump comments on election in fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Katia Dmitrieva.To contact the reporter on this story: Jordan Fabian in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at email@example.com, Justin Blum, Joshua GalluFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have ravaged the region and are threatening the safety and livelihood of residents — and businesses.
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Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global is eyeing greater expansion into clinical operations with its latest acquisition of artificial intelligence platform Boundless Mind.
(Bloomberg) -- It was “Barbarians at the Gate,” Washington-style.As Republicans set out to overhaul the federal tax code in 2017, the private equity world leveraged its influence. The mission: protect the wildly lucrative tax break that’s helped mint more billionaires than almost any other industry.Read more: Everything Is Private Equity NowThe original Barbarian -- KKR & Co. -- had none other than a former head of the Republican National Committee rounding up lawmakers on Capitol Hill to fight for private equity’s cause.Quietly meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and top economic advisers was industry mogul Jonathan Gray, the No. 2 at Blackstone Group Inc. who’s famous for devising the $26 billion takeover of the Hilton hotel chain.As lobbyists worked toward a compromise that would keep the tax benefit alive, Blackstone co-founder Steve Schwarzman was enjoying direct access to President Donald Trump. Worth $16.1 billion, Schwarzman happens to be the president’s Palm Beach neighbor, a regular guest at his Mar-a-Lago resort and one of his most generous donors.And so went private equity’s latest feat in Washington: Despite dozens of attempts to close that crucial loophole -- a multibillion-dollar giveaway on so-called carried interest that Trump himself had pledged to junk -- the idea simply went away. Congress kept the existing system with a stipulation that money managers must hold their positions for three years. They usually do anyway.The day the Senate passed the law preserving the tax break, Schwarzman hosted a fundraiser at his Manhattan apartment for the president. Guests paid $100,000 a plate.An industry that’s reshaped the American economy now appears to be heading into an even bigger war to preserve the generous tax breaks and loose oversight that helped it amass more than $4 trillion in assets and launch a new Gilded Age. Senator Elizabeth Warren, climbing in polls as she seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, has laid out proposals that would dramatically rein in its profits if she’s elected next year.She and some of her fellow candidates are picking a fight with a group of Wall Street firms more powerful than ever. They’ve evolved from mere buyout funds that use debt to acquire companies like RJR Nabisco, featured in the 1990s book “Barbarians at the Gate,” into major players in real estate, credit and other businesses. They hold sway in virtually every corner of the economy, as well as with millions of employees who will vote in 2020.Major DonorsOver the past decade, private equity and investment firms -- not including hedge funds -- have dropped $400 million into federal campaign coffers, according the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s more than commercial banks or the insurance industry.Leading private equity’s charge in Washington is the prosaically named American Investment Council. Headquartered about 2 miles from the Capitol, it’s backed by outfits such as Carlyle Group LP, Apollo Global Management Inc. and Blackstone, giving it the resources to cast a message nationally. The AIC regularly places opinion pieces in local newspapers to burnish the industry’s reputation, often noting that the firms control companies employing thousands of area residents.“Businesses backed by private equity employ over 11,800 workers in the Hawkeye state,” AIC president Drew Maloney, who served as a liaison between the Treasury Department and Congress earlier in the Trump administration, wrote in Iowa’s Des Moines Register in July. “Real jobs. Real lives.”The industry has shown a knack for hiring Beltway insiders who can navigate both Republican and Democratic circles. This month, the AIC plans to bring CEOs of private-equity-owned companies to Washington to chat with lawmakers across the spectrum. “They have managed to have influence with both parties,” said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University.Republican SupportTake Ken Mehlman, KKR’s political whiz who held various positions in the George W. Bush administration, managing his 2004 re-election campaign and then chairing the RNC.In mid-2017, as Republicans were racing to come up with a tax overhaul for Trump, Mehlman helped persuade House Republicans to protect the carried interest loophole that makes it possible for wealthy executives to pay lower tax rates than their secretaries.The money managers get paid in two ways: an annual management fee and a share of investment profits. While the fee is taxed as ordinary income, the profit share is treated like a capital gain and taxed less. Critics say this doesn’t make sense because the profit share is essentially just another fee paid by clients.After an effort spearheaded by Mehlman, 22 Republican congressmen signed a letter to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee arguing the break is good for the country. “Now, more than ever, we need a tax reform package that bolsters long-term investment in American companies,” they wrote. “Carried interest does exactly that.”‘Almost No’ RegulationTop private equity firms now wield assets that dwarf those of regional banks such as Fifth Third Bancorp and Citizens Financial Group Inc. But unlike banks, they mostly fall through the regulatory cracks.Congress tried to tighten one of the industry’s favorite loopholes after the 2008 financial crisis. The aim was to force private equity firms to abide by many of the routine requirements -- compliance programs, inspections, disclosures on assets -- that other investment companies have faced since the 1940s.By 2014, officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission had taken up the cause, talking about the need for more transparency, or as they called it, “spreading sunshine.” Yet behind the scenes, congressional staffers close to the industry were encouraging the SEC to focus elsewhere.“Private equity is subject to almost no direct regulation beyond some very basic transparency,” said Jonah Crane, a senior official at Treasury Department official during the Obama administration.Easing RulesRecently, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, who was picked for the job by Trump, has considered developing an inexpensive way for everyday investors to participate in private equity. They’ve long been barred on the grounds they aren’t sophisticated enough to take such risks.In an April interview on Bloomberg TV’s “The David Rubenstein Show,” the SEC chairman said many people might benefit from having a slice of their retirement money in private equity. The host, a co-founder of Carlyle, agreed. “Probably wouldn’t be that damaging if 5% of it was lost or didn’t do as well,” Rubenstein said, speaking of retiree nest eggs. “So some percentage maybe should be allowed.”The SEC has since solicited public comments on whether it should ease the rules. The aim is to “reduce cost and complexity, and increase opportunities” while enhancing protections, said Natalie Strom, a spokeswoman for Clayton.Representatives for KKR, Blackstone and Carlyle declined to comment.Limiting DisclosuresSensing an opening, private equity is pushing back on other requirements, too.Among the few windows the government has into private equity and the risks that firms take is a form filed with the SEC known as PF. Its Section 4 can reveal the amount of debt piled onto the companies in buyouts, as well as where firms are investing. Years ago, private equity firms successfully lobbied to limit access to the information, saying it’s proprietary. Only about a dozen of the SEC’s 4,400 employees can easily see it.Now, the industry is criticizing the disclosures, calling them a security risk. It argues so few people have access to the data that it can’t be of much use, anyway.The SEC takes “data protection very seriously,” Clayton’s spokeswoman said. His office said in a statement that officials met with industry and investor groups about Form PF and that there’s no plan to cut out sections of the document.Warren’s ProposalsSenator Warren, for one, is outraged about the industry’s clout. Her plan is called the “Stop Wall Street Looting Act.” Unveiled in July, her measures would close the carried interest loophole, put firms on the hook for the debts of companies they buy and eliminate certain fees.Then this week she and other progressive Democrats sent letters to private equity firms invested in prison services, demanding information about stakes, revenue and whether facilities have been investigated for violating laws.“For far too long, the private equity industry -- with its armies of lobbyists and lawyers -- has rigged the rules in Washington, allowing private investment firms to line their pockets by sucking the value out of American businesses and leaving employees, pensioners, and communities behind,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “This legalized looting is costing our economy, and it’s time we put an end to it.”\--With assistance from Robert Schmidt and Austin Weinstein.To contact the reporters on this story: Heather Perlberg in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ben Bain in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Gillen at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Alan Mirabella at email@example.com, ;Jesse Westbrook at firstname.lastname@example.org, David Scheer, Josh FriedmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
You can receive the average market return by buying a low-cost index fund. But you can make superior returns by...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Listen to me. Listen. Listen to me. Listen to me. Listen to me. I assume many people are on the line. I know that before I make the call. And you have intelligence agencies, everybody listening. That call was a great call. It was a perfect call. A perfect call.” - President Donald Trump, telling reporters Sunday about a phone call in which he encouraged Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.When Donald Trump moved into the Atlantic City gambling market in 1981, he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation seeking guidance. He wanted to know how best to keep organized crime out of his operation. Fair enough, but for the inconvenient fact that Trump’s first two business partners there were, as he already knew, mobbed up.Two months later, Trump met again with the FBI and said he welcomed undercover operatives in his casino “to show that he was willing to fully cooperate,” according to an FBI memo from the time. He asked for advice about staying the course in Atlantic City, and called on the agents yet again a few months later. At some point during those chats, the FBI agents discouraged him from visiting a fourth time, and gambling regulators eventually forced Trump to buy out his early, tainted partners.Law enforcement and regulators in Atlantic City never prosecuted or penalized Trump for any of this; other operators (Hugh Hefner, Barron Hilton) lost their licenses for similar problems, but not Trump. Trump wore his transgressions on his sleeve — and he skated.In 2005, while Trump was showing me the grounds of his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, he told me that one of the biggest mistakes he ever made was personally guaranteeing about $900 million of some $3.2 billion in loans he couldn’t pay back in the early 1990s — recklessness that brought him to the brink of personal bankruptcy.“My father was a pro, my father knew, like I knew, you don’t personally guarantee. So I wrote a book called ‘The Art of the Deal,’ which as you know is the biggest of all time,” Trump told me. “In the book, I say, ‘Never personally guarantee.’ … And I’ve told people I didn’t follow my own advice.”The Trump talking to me in 2005 presented himself as a financially chastened guy who wouldn’t overreach and imperil himself, his family and his business ever again. Personal guarantees were like time bombs, he assured me. He had learned his lesson.But he hadn’t.A month before telling me all of this, Trump had already personally guaranteed $40 million of a $640 million Deutsche Bank loan he was using to build a new hotel and residential building in Chicago. That one was a time bomb too, and it exploded in 2008 when the global financial crisis threatened to topple the project. Messy litigation ensued, yet Deutsche Bank wound up deciding to spare Trump and continued doing business with him.Openly flaunting lawlessness — and sometimes convincing authorities that nothing was amiss because otherwise why would he have been talking about it so candidly? — is vintage Trump. Taking potentially self-destructive risks because he’s undisciplined, irrational and narcissistic — while pretending to be otherwise — is also vintage Trump.Here we are in 2019 and Trump is president. And the Trump of today strong-armed Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, reportedly asking him eight times — eight times — during a July 25 phone call to pair up with his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to try to uncover improper dealings in the country by a political opponent, Joe Biden.Just the day before, on July 24, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller had testified for several hours before Congress, a day that essentially marked the end of Mueller’s probe into whether Trump and his team had been part of a criminal conspiracy with Russia to tilt the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton. Mueller said there had been ample collusion between the Trump camp and Russia, but not enough evidence existed to prove a conspiracy. He presented evidence that Trump had obstructed justice but left that to Congress to adjudicate.The end of the Mueller probe, an investigation that came close to ensnaring Trump, should have chastened him and left him acutely aware that seeking political backing from a foreign government can carry criminal charges. But that presumes the president is a rational actor. Instead he stuck to his time-worn pathologies (lawlessness, existential risk-taking) by hopping on the phone with Zelensky the very next day — and proceeded to run, broadly speaking, the same play Mueller had examined: inviting a foreign power to interfere in a U.S. election.Ukraine had a $250 million aid package from the U.S. in motion at the time of the call, and in late August the White House put it under review before finally releasing the package almost two weeks ago.According to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the July 25 call with Zelensky said that Trump didn’t mention the aid during the conversation or any other “quid pro quo for his cooperation on any investigation.” It’s unlikely that Zelensky wasn’t aware that the aid package might be imperiled if he didn’t go along. But did Trump need to specifically mention quid pro quos for this episode to be problematic? Legally, yes, of course — an explicit quid pro quo is exactly what you need if you’re going to tee up bribery and extortion charges in a courtroom.From a pure abuse-of-power standpoint — the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that lead to impeachment — it’s not clear that a quid pro quo is essential. Trump muscled the leader of a foreign power to interfere in U.S. affairs so he could get something for himself: a second term as president. As George T. Conway III and Neal Katyal wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post on Friday night, the framers of the Constitution “believed that a president would break his oath if he engaged in self-dealing — if he used his powers to put his own interests above the nation’s.”Giuliani and Trump have tried to paint their tag-teaming in Ukraine as an effort to establish that Biden, somehow, some way, was the one mucking with national security by trying to get his son out of harm’s way there years ago when a corruption probe was launched. As my Bloomberg News colleagues Stephanie Baker and Daryna Krasnolutska reported in May, a Ukrainian official familiar with the corruption push said that no U.S. officials pressured anyone to close cases that might have involved Biden’s son. And Biden’s own focus on corruption in Ukraine came one to two years after Ukraine prosecutors had already dropped the case Trump and Giuliani are so interested in. Adam Entous, a New Yorker reporter, drew the same conclusion, noting that “there is no credible evidence that Biden” did anything untoward. Politifact conducted a thorough fact-check of its own and concluded there was “no evidence to support the idea that Joe Biden advocated with his son's interests in mind” in Ukraine.The Biden stuff is a non-starter and the focus should stay on the president himself. Trump could clear this up by releasing the transcript of his call with Zelensky, something he said he would consider when he met with reporters at the White House on Sunday and acknowledged that he had discussed a corruption probe of Biden with the Ukraine leader. His candor should be tested, because, just like decades ago in Atlantic City, Trump being candid doesn’t mean he’s being truthful.The State Department coordinated Giuliani’s trips to Ukraine, so it probably has helpful records related to those events. Giuliani is ripe for an interview as well, possibly with federal law enforcement officials, though I don’t imagine Attorney General William Barr is looking at all of this with “rule of law” on his mind.The man in the Oval Office is the same person who hurtled into the gambling business in Atlantic City decades ago and couldn’t stop playing chicken with his own well-being for years after. And Trump’s above-the-law presidency, riddled from the beginning with financial conflicts of interest and animated by an executive branch charting a course outside congressional scrutiny, is going to stay on the same path unless American institutions assert themselves.To contact the author of this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.