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The world’s largest retailer’s third quarter results on Thursday showed that yet again, CEO Doug McMillon continues to pull almost all the right strings operationally.
(Bloomberg) -- Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will spend $100 million from his personal fortune for a digital advertising campaign against President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 election, according to the New York Times.The ads will seek to attack and define Trump in battleground states likely to decide the presidential contest, beginning Friday in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the newspaper reported.Bloomberg has not yet announced whether he will run for president but has taken steps to appear on the Democratic primary ballots in states with early filing deadlines, including Alabama and Arkansas.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.COMING UPThe major Democratic candidates -- including Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg -- are scheduled to appear Sunday at the Nevada Democratic Party’s First in the West dinner, a major event that previously has drawn thousands to hear from presidential hopefuls.Ten candidates have qualified for the fifth Democratic debate, on Nov. 20 in Atlanta: Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker and Tom Steyer.To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Wasserman in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Executives at Cadre eagerly watched SoftBank’s Vision Fund dole out billions of dollars to companies like Uber, WeWork and Slack Technologies. Then they got their chance.After presenting Cadre’s real estate platform and its budding technology to the fund’s representatives in New York, CEO Ryan Williams flew to Tokyo in early 2018 at the invitation of Masayoshi Son, who oversees the $100 billion fund. The talks were promising.But there was a hitch: Cadre co-founder Jared Kushner.SoftBank wanted him to divest his ownership stake in the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. The request, not previously reported, was meant to head off any possible conflicts of interest or any suggestions that people doing business with Cadre were trying to curry political favor. That’s because Kushner has become a top adviser to his father in law, President Donald Trump, overseeing a broad foreign policy portfolio.The SoftBank talks fizzled. Like Trump, Kushner declined to shed all of his business interests upon joining the White House. Asked about his Cadre holdings and possible conflicts, a spokesman for Kushner said he “took himself out of all decisions and operations and became only a passive shareholder in Cadre” when he moved to Washington.Cadre and SoftBank declined to comment about the matter or whether Kushner ever entertained selling his stake.SoftBank’s decision to take a pass was a missed opportunity for Cadre that frustrated some top executives. Founded five years ago by Williams with a Harvard classmate, Josh Kushner, and his brother Jared, the company has grown into a midsize real estate manager with more than $800 million invested through its web marketplace.Despite that growth, its biggest ambition hasn’t been realized. Williams’ vision was to make real estate investments easy for the masses, sort of an Amazon for the real-estate obsessed who want to buy and sell shares of commercial properties. Only accredited, high net worth individuals can participate under current regulations, however. Similarly, Cadre’s plans to use artificial intelligence to uncover hidden investment opportunities have run up against the limits of property data, which is scattered and disorganized.Along with those obstacles, Cadre has had to weave a path around the Kushners' rising political profile, executive departures and some inflated business claims, according to company documents reviewed by Bloomberg News and interviews with more than a dozen investors, current and former employees, and others with knowledge of its inner workings. Forceful PitchCadre's engagement with SoftBank exemplified those problems. When Vision Fund representatives traveled to Cadre’s offices in the Kushners’ historic Puck Building in downtown New York early last year, Williams’ executives made a forceful pitch.The Cadre executives said they were already making “data-enhanced” decisions. In a demo, executives typed in a street address to get all sorts of data that might interest an investor: net operating income, occupancy rate, lease terms. But Cadre hadn’t been using the tool; instead, Cadre had built it in the weeks ahead of the presentation, expressly to impress SoftBank, two people familiar with the matter said.After this article was published, a person close to Cadre disputed that account. “The only software Cadre showed during the SoftBank meeting was the standard platform demo that includes Cadre's primary marketplace and investing experience that thousands of customers have used. Anyone who suggests otherwise is completely misinformed or not telling the truth," the person said.There’s no indication that SoftBank questioned the viability of the software. Start-up companies seeking financing often present an aspirational version of their product, even if it’s not yet ready for commercial use. Vision Fund executives were impressed enough by the meeting to push Cadre up the chain to SoftBank’s Son, several people familiar with the matter said.Tech ProgressCadre declined to comment on the contents of its SoftBank pitch. The company has made progress with its technology, Williams told Bloomberg News in a September interview at the company’s offices. For example, he said, Cadre has enhanced its marketplace to allow investors to trade property stakes. In theory, if that secondary sales platform grew large enough to meet regulatory requirements for a liquid market, ordinary investors might be allowed to trade on the Cadre platform.The company has also started a project called Keystone to organize data in the way the company pitched to SoftBank. Williams said he believes Cadre will eventually be able to expand into other alternative asset classes, including infrastructure and energy.“You learn, you pivot, you make quick decisions about what’s working and what’s not working,” Williams said. “We’re not here promising we’re building crazy machine-learning models or predictive analytics that are going to replace the need for humans.”Cadre has good reason to position itself as a cutting-edge technology provider rather than a more pedestrian buyer of real estate. Investors eager to bet on a disruptive force have valued property technology firms like Cadre and the brokerage Compass at multiples of their revenue. Cadre’s last funding round, in 2017, valued it at $800 million, even though it had bought stakes in only a handful of properties worth far less. Traditional real estate firms are generally valued at a small fraction of the assets they oversee. Newfangled real estate firms have lost some of their shine lately. WeWork’s valuation has collapsed to about $8 billion, down from $47 billion just months ago, after a canceled initial public offering and a $9.5 billion rescue package from SoftBank. Compass, another firm backed by SoftBank that promises to pair technology with residential real estate brokers, has faced questions about whether its technology is game-changing.From Cadre, SoftBank wanted a significant stake that would have doubled the company’s valuation to $2 billion or more, according to people familiar with the matter.Small InvestorsWilliams says the idea for Cadre came after he realized that small investors had limited options for buying real estate: They could either plow money into their own residence or buy shares in broad-based real estate investment trusts. Why couldn’t investors instead buy slivers of several properties the way they could buy shares in companies? He wanted to “democratize” access to the asset class.Since then, Cadre has teamed up with developers and landlords to buy stakes in properties across the U.S. — more than two dozen multifamily, hotel and office properties from Maryland to Texas to California. The aim is to be highly selective about deals, using metrics including rent growth and rent affordability, to generate outsize returns for clients.In September, Cadre said it sold stakes in suburban apartment complexes outside Chicago and Atlanta for an internalized rate of return exceeding 20 percent. “It has been exciting to see the concept we envisioned proved out,” Williams said, “and to show our investors that we honor the trust they are placing in us.'”Cadre’s aspiration to offer sophisticated real estate investments to the masses is limited, for now, by regulations concerning investments sold privately. As a result, Cadre’s customer base is made up of institutions and high-net-worth individuals. Many of those wealthy clients are overseas.About 20 percent of Cadre’s funds come from outside the U.S., the company says. The company’s international clientele is mostly wealthy individuals and family offices, as opposed to institutions, according to Williams.“We haven’t done a ton of international marketing,” he said. “It’s a testament to the brand awareness.”Foreign-Policy RoleAs the SoftBank courtship made clear, Cadre’s interactions with foreign investors could make for particularly messy optics because of Jared Kushner’s hefty foreign-policy portfolio in the White House.Almost half of the Vision Fund’s money comes from the government of Saudi Arabia, where Kushner has developed deep diplomatic ties. Kushner’s Saudi forays included an all-night desert meeting in October 2017 with the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, about a year before the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.Critics saw any SoftBank infusion in Cadre as a possible way for Saudi Arabia to curry favor with the Trump administration by enriching Kushner.Kushner’s lawyers have long said he follows all ethics rules.As he joined the White House, Kushner transferred stakes in dozens of other assets to close family. Cadre was an exception, two friends explained, because Kushner sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with great potential for gains. Kushner’s stake was recently valued at as much as $50 million, according to a federal financial disclosure.Cadre executives including Mike Fascitelli, the former CEO of Vornado Real Estate who oversees Cadre’s investment committee, were disappointed that Kushner’s involvement in the company had caused the missed opportunity, according to a person familiar with the deal talks.Williams’ exasperation over the Kushner scrutiny bubbled over in a February cover story in Forbes magazine. “Jared is a passive investor who has no operational control,” he told the magazine, adding that “I can’t force anybody, really, to sell their equity.”Kushner Cos.Without the Kushners, there would be no Cadre. The young firm tapped capital from the Kushner family and executives of Kushner Cos. (The overall size of those investments hasn’t been disclosed.)Cadre is housed in the 19th-century Puck Building, among the Kushners’ prized assets. Two floors up are the offices of Thrive Capital, the venture capital firm of Josh Kushner, who continues to advise Cadre. Cadre’s first two investments came as part of Kushner Cos. deals for apartments in Queens and suburban New Jersey, giving the start-up early viability.Now, Williams is trying to create distance between Cadre and Kushner Cos., people familiar with the matter say. Earlier this year, the Kushners bought a $1 billion portfolio of apartments in Maryland and Virginia, their biggest purchase in a decade. As with most of their acquisitions, they needed outside investors to complete the deal.Executives from Kushner Cos. approached Cadre about the prospect, putting Williams and other executives in the awkward position of having to decline, according to a person familiar with the talks. The size of the deal and the Kushner connection were both factors, the person said.The person close to Cadre said it was never approached with those investments.Kushner Cos. didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Williams declined to comment on the Kushner Cos. decision.Although SoftBank took a pass, several name-brand investors have shown confidence in Cadre. George Soros and Andrew Farkas have backed the firm, along with major Silicon Valley firms including Khosla Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has invested its clients' money using the Cadre platform.Blackstone HistoryWilliams, a 31-year-old fitness devotee, had a short resume with similar blue-chip names when he began the company. After a stint at Goldman Sachs, he moved to the Blackstone Group as an analyst in its real estate division.There’s been some friction between Williams and Blackstone since his departure in 2014. Several of his former colleagues say he has at times overstated his role and accomplishments at the firm.Williams has said, for example, that he played a central role in the launch of a single-family home-rental business at Blackstone. A Cadre press statement also credited him with acquiring a $550 million hotel while at Blackstone, despite his relatively junior role.After he poached about a half dozen Blackstone employees to join him at Cadre, Williams was summoned to a meeting at Blackstone’s Park Avenue offices with Jon Gray, the billionaire heir apparent to the Blackstone CEO job who was then leading its real estate arm.When asked about the April 2016 meeting, a Blackstone spokesman, Matthew Anderson, said that the firm wouldn’t discuss private talks but that it “was an entirely cordial and pleasant conversation.”A video from a Google conference last year in which Williams talked about his decision to start Cadre caught the attention of a Blackstone-aligned person.“When I told Blackstone what I was doing,” Williams says in the video, “I’d just been promoted, they gave me this quick, accelerated path to partner and told me they’d let me go to Europe and help with the debt business out there.”Two people familiar with his role said Williams hadn’t been told he'd be promoted to partner. Through a spokesman, Williams declined to comment on those assertions.More: Kushners’ Blackstone Connection Put on Display in Saudi Arabia Team ‘Tagma’Cadre has also been hobbled by departures from its senior executive ranks. The team, known internally as “Tagma,” a Greek term used to describe an infantry battalion, recently lost several top staff including investment leaders and the head of human resources. The company has been searching for a chief investment officer for over a year.Just before the Tagma team pitched the Vision Fund, its chief technology officer, Jean Sini, left the company. Several people said Cadre’s lack of technology progress frustrated Sini, an alumnus of Intuit Inc. and Oracle Corp. Sini declined to comment.Got a tip?Click for a secure and anonymous link to Bloomberg reporters.The company’s technology efforts are now focused on automation and analysis of data about its own properties, with the hope that this could yield investing insights in the future.The big question for investors and potential partners is whether Cadre is merely a tech-enabled real estate company or a game-changer.“You can hire as many developers as you want,” said David Friedman, CEO of a property tech start-up known as Knox Financial that doesn’t compete directly with Cadre. He declined to speak specifically about Cadre. “But if your tech doesn’t deliver a new way of doing business that’s measurably more profitable, then you’re not a tech company.”Cadre's website alternates between describing what it can do now and where it hopes to go. “We acquire and aggregate data, create algorithms that use machine learning and statistics to derive insights, and visualize findings,” one page reads.It has also posted jobs for engineers who can help the company crunch data the way it wants. The ideal candidate? Someone who’s “driven to solve hard problems in novel, elegant ways.” (Updates to reflect post-publication comments from a person close to Cadre.)\--With assistance from Stephanie Baker and David Ingold.To contact the authors of this story: Caleb Melby in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgGillian Tan in New York at email@example.comDavid Kocieniewski in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Winnie O'Kelley at email@example.com, David S JoachimFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The economic calendar shifts focus to the U.S Dollar. Following Powell’s positive outlook on the economy, retail sales will need to impress…
(Bloomberg) -- Almost 13.8 million TV viewers watched the first day of public testimony in the House impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, falling short of the mammoth audience that tuned in to see James Comey’s congressional testimony in 2017.Fox Corp.’s Fox News, whose prime-time shows often champion the president, drew the biggest audience, with 2.9 million viewers. It was followed closely by Comcast Corp.’s MSNBC, with 2.7 million, based on Nielsen ratings.The total viewership figure roughly compares with the 19.5 million viewers who watched Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, more than two years ago.It’s harder to say how the audiences compare with earlier high-profile hearings, since the TV landscape has changed so much over the years. Today, many people watch clips of events on social media or they stream them online. In contrast, 71% of Americans said they saw the Watergate hearings live on TV, according to Gallup.On a Saturday in 1998, CNN’s audience for a House of Representatives vote on the Clinton impeachment averaged 1.8 million homes, according to the New York Times. When CBS switched from the impeachment hearing that year to an NFL game, its viewership quadrupled.Wednesday’s hearing featured two experienced diplomats detailing their concerns that the president tried to leverage his office for personal political gain, including a new account of Trump stressing his desire for Ukraine to investigate a rival.While Democrats had released transcripts of their previous testimony as part of their impeachment inquiry, the lawmakers had hoped that having the witnesses speak in front of a large televised audience would help build more public support for their case.(Updates with final Nielsen numbers starting in first paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Gerry Smith in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at email@example.com, Kara WetzelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Texas Instruments Incorporated (NASDAQ:TXN) saw significant share price movement during recent months on the NASDAQGS...
The Australian dollar got absolutely hammered during the trading session on Thursday as employment figures in Australia missed horribly. In fact, while initially expected to be a reading of 16,000 jobs added, the figure actually came in at -19,000.
Zacks Earnings Trends Highlights: Fastenal, United Rentals, Caterpillar, Texas Instruments and Hasbro
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In January 2010, with the Great Recession technically over but employers not yet adding jobs, a breakthrough in American labor markets and gender relations transpired. That month, a higher percentage of women aged 20 through 24 were employed than men in that age range. This was, as best I can tell, the first time women in any of the age brackets tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics had ever outdone their male peers in employment-population ratio, or Epop.It was also the last. As soon as hiring started again, young men returned to the workforce more rapidly than young women, and young men’s Epop went back to being several percentage points higher than young women’s.Lately, though, the lines tracking this labor market statistic have been converging again.It’s not as if young women are breaking new employment records: their Epop is still one-and-a-half percentage points below its 2001 peak. Young men’s Epop, meanwhile, is more than nine percentage points below its 2000 peak, and five percentage points below the high it reached during the last expansion, in 2006. This is happening even as prime-age (25-54) men have been returning to the workforce after some tough times, as I wrote last week. And while a large share of people in their early 20s are still in school, young women are more likely to be enrolled in college than young men are, so that can’t be what’s causing the convergence.(3) Something strange is going on with young men and the labor market.Last year Jeanna Smialek (then at Bloomberg, now at the New York Times) made a similar observation based on employment data for men and women in the 25-34 age range. There the Epop lines are nowhere near converging — mainly because the women are much more likely to be at home taking care of kids, with a Pew Research Center analysis of Census data finding that in 2016 about 30% of mothers aged 20 to 35 were stay-at-home parents, compared with 6% of fathers — but women similarly gained a lot of ground during the recession and, after losing some of it through about mid-2015, have been gaining again since. This chart that I’ve updated from Smialek’s article also shows that while 25-to-34-year-old women are now just as likely to be employed as those in the 35-44 age cohort, 25-to-34-year-old men are now markedly less likely to be employed than those slightly older.Finally, here’s an international comparison. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of the world’s affluent democracies, publishes annual estimates of the share of young people who are not in employment, education or training, or Neet. The 14% U.S. Neet share for men aged 20-24 was just slightly higher than the OECD average of 13.4% in 2018, but that average was driven up by a few large economies with major Neet problems, namely France (21%), Spain (23.3%), Italy (27.5%). Here are four countries that had higher young men’s Neet shares than the U.S. in the late 1990s and are all lower or about even with it now.What’s keeping young American men out of the workforce? Well, that’s the big question. In a 2016 commencement speech at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago that has since become the target of some mockery in online economics circles, economics professor Erik Hurst proposed that improvements in video games and other electronic amusements might be luring young men to stay home and play rather than look for work. Young men without jobs are certainly spending a lot of time amusing themselves with video game consoles and computers: an average of 12 hours a week among those ages 21 through 30, up from 5.4 hours in the mid-2000s, Hurst and three other economists reported in a subsequent working paper based on data from the American Time Use Survey.But Gray Kimbrough, a government economist and American University adjunct professor, has found in his own analyses of ATUS data that the rise in time that non-working young men devote to video games has been accompanied by a similar decline in time spent watching television, which suggests that video games are displacing other amusements rather than work. And even Hurst and his co-authors conclude that declining labor demand has played a bigger role than video games in reducing young men’s employment.Still, there does seem to be a mix of economic and social factors at work here. There are recent economics papers, for example, arguing that less-educated young men’s chances of getting married have declined because it’s harder for them to get good jobs and, conversely, that less-educated young men have become less interested in getting jobs because their chances of marriage have declined. The growing number of young men who live with mom and dad is surely the result of forces beyond just a tough labor market. High real estate prices in some parts of the country and big student debt burdens for some young people have made it harder to strike out on one’s own, while larger houses, smaller families and (perhaps) more indulgent parents have made it easier to stay home. Immigrant families have also brought a taste for multigenerational living that had died out among native-born Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. About 37% of 25-year-old men in the U.S. lived with their parents in 2017, according to Kimbrough’s analysis of Census Bureau data, compared with 31% of 25-year-old women — and just 16% of 25-year-old men in 1970.This living-with-the-parents phenomenon may in turn be partly responsible for what one regular survey indicates is a sharp rise since 2008 in the percentage of men ages 18 to 29 who have never had sex, although evidence on that from other data sources is mixed. It may also ease the pressure on young men to find work. Whatever the reasons, there is now a small but larger-than-it-used-to-be minority of American men in their 20s who seem to be making no progress in achieving the markers of adulthood: get a job, move out of the house, get married, have kids. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Noah Smith this week offered a compelling set of reasons for why it takes longer to get established in careers than it used to, which is delaying things like marriage and homeownership. But what I’m describing seems like a distinct and gender-specific phenomenon, if not a totally unrelated one.Meanwhile, young women’s labor market gains relative to young men haven’t exactly translated into labor market equality. Women aged 20 through 24 may now be as likely to have jobs as men their age, but they’re less likely to have full-time jobs — partly because more of them are in college, admittedly — and even those who do work full-time are paid less than men. The gender pay gap is smaller for the 20-24 age group than for any other, with full-time female workers earning 90.3% as much per week as their male peers in the third quarter of this year, but it hasn’t narrowed over the past couple of decades.(2)Young men with jobs are doing OK. It’s the ones who’ve never had one who might be a problem.(1) College enrollment rates have also fallen recently, and have fallen more among men than among women.(2) This percentage can jump around a lot from quarter to quarter, and has gone as high as 99% (in the fourth quarter of 2002), but the average since 2000 is 92.4%, and the average for the past five years is 91.7%. Female part-time workers, for whatever it's worth, made slightly more than male part-timers in the third quarter.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The AUD/USD is breaking the support trend lines (dotted blue), which could indicate the completion of the wave 4 (purple) and the start of a downtrend.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What did the president quid and when did he quo it? That’s the question being earnestly debated at the impeachment hearings centering on Donald Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Congressional Democrats insist that Trump made military aid contingent on an investigation of a political rival. One news story after another has referred to the alleged arrangement as a quid pro quo.But is quid pro quo the right term? Some experts think not. The other day, the New York Times published a letter from 33 writers asking journalists to stop using the phrase in accounts of the Ukraine controversy because “most people don’t understand what it means, and in any case it doesn’t refer only to a crime.” In referring to the question of whether Trump pressured Zelenskiy, they write, it’s more accurate to say “extortion” or “bribery” — because “words make a difference.” The letter concludes: “Please use precise and forceful language that reveals the struggle in which we now find ourselves. It’s a matter of survival.”Although the card-carrying Grammar Curmudgeon in me suspects that the late William Safire would have a word or two to say about this use of the verb “reveal,” I agree on the importance of “precise and forceful language.” And in describing what Trump is alleged to have demanded from Zelenskiy, no form of words is more precise and forceful than “quid pro quo.”The phrase has been adopted into English unchanged from its Latin roots. It means, literally, “something for something.” (Quo is simply the ablative singular form of quid.) According to the Oxford English Dictionary, when quid pro quo is used nowadays as a noun, its meaning is exactly what we tend to think: “The action or principle of giving one thing in return or exchange for another” especially “as part of a bargain.”In 1871, a Chicago magazine published a nonsense verse, playing on the words: “If Quid is Quo And Quo is Quid,/ You nothing owe Old Quo, old Quid!” Except the verse isn’t really nonsense. In contract law, the phrase has long carried this meaning of mutual exchange, the giving of something in order to receive something. So studiously have judges tried to ensure that both parties benefit from a contract that a Kentucky court two centuries ago proclaimed that “The ‘quid pro quo’ is the delight of the law.” Certainly the phrase constitutes a delight of the language, a simple yet mellifluous way to describe the exchange relationship, and equally suited to bargains formal or informal, fair of unfair, legal or illegal.Most people instinctively understand quid pro quo in this sense, as a deal, an exchange of this-for-that. Just last month, ESPN described the implicit deal between the notoriously cheap Tampa Bay Rays baseball team and their players as “the quid pro quo of being a Ray: We’ll help you get better, we’ll support you for you, but trust us when we ask you to do something, because we’re good at this.” In the fall of 2018, Senator Susan Collins of Maine used the term “classic quid pro quo” to refer to threats by activists to give money to her opponent unless she voted against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.The phrase is commonly used by journalists even when questions of criminal behavior arise. The FBI, reported the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, “is investigating how Puerto Rico awarded some public contracts and whether various companies engaged in quid pro quo arrangements to win government business.” I don’t imagine that readers mistook this language to refer to legitimate deals.Perhaps the best-known example from popular culture occurs in the 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs,” when the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter promises to help FBI trainee Clarice Starling catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. In return for his help, however, she must answer Lecter’s questions about her own life. “Quid pro quo,” he explains. “I tell you things, you tell me things.” A moment later, when it is Lecter’s turn to provide information, Clarice says “Quid pro quo, doctor.” No one misses the point: She is reminding him of — what else? — their bargain.(1)Contrary to the implication in the letter to the Times, few people are confused by the phrase. The meaning of the July 25 conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy may be contested, but the charge is essentially that Trump was proposing an exchange. It’s hard to imagine anything quid-pro-quoier.That’s why, as Steven Pinker nicely puts it, “The lack of a quo for the quid has become a talking point among his defenders.” Pinker is skeptical that this claim passes the giggle test — but it’s important to note what the claim is. A quid pro quo, Trump’s defenders say, requires an explicit offer of a deal. They deny that any deal was on the table. Those who are calling for impeachment are with Pinker.Whichever side you find yourself on, this is the right debate to have. To dispense with “quid pro quo” and substitute “bribery” or “extortion” would only sow confusion. Bribery and extortion are crimes, but they have precise and subtle definitions that may not be well understood by non-lawyers. So let’s keep things simple. Let’s first determine whether the president really proposed a bargain. Only if the answer is yes do we have to decide whether the quid he demanded for his quo broke the law.(1) If you happen to like your incidences a bit co-, you might want to follow me down one last rabbit hole.I mentioned above that the serial killer chased by Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs” is called Buffalo Bill.The Oxford English Dictionary, as one of its examples of traditional usage of “quid pro quo,” provides a play on words from “Sunny South,” an 1860 pro-Southern tract by one J. H. Ingraham:“All things being equal—that is, the quid being equal to the quo as my brother used to say.”J. H. Ingraham was the father of Prentiss Ingraham, the Confederate officer who after the Civil War garnered fame as the author of a series of still-popular books about ... Buffalo Bill.To contact the author of this story: Stephen L. Carter at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. His novels include “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” and his latest nonfiction book is “Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is considering bundling its paid internet services, including News+, Apple TV+ and Apple Music, as soon as 2020, in a bid to gain more subscribers, according to people familiar with the matter.The latest sign of this strategy is a provision that Apple included in deals with publishers that lets the iPhone maker bundle the News+ subscription service with other paid digital offerings, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private deals.Apple News+, which debuted in March, sells access to dozens of publications for $10 a month. It’s often called the “Netflix of News.” Apple keeps about half of the monthly subscription price, while magazines and newspapers pocket the other half.If Apple sold Apple News+ as part of a bundle with Apple TV+ and Apple Music, publishers would get less money because the cost of the news service would likely be reduced, the people said.As the smartphone market stagnates, Apple is seeking growth by selling online subscriptions to news, music, video and other content. This month, it launched Apple TV+ for $4.99 a month with shows from stars including Jennifer Aniston and Jason Momoa.Bundling these offerings could attract more subscribers, as Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime service has done. Apple is already experimenting with this kind of approach. It recently began offering a free Apple TV+ subscription to students who are Apple Music subscribers. Still, the company’s plans may change, given how complex deals like these can be.Some media executives say the amount they’ve received from Apple News+ so far has been less than expected. One publisher typically gets under $20,000 a month, less revenue than it saw from Texture, a previous iteration of the service that Apple acquired last year, one person said.Apple News+ offers dozens of magazines, like the New Yorker, GQ and People, as well as major newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Bloomberg Businessweek, owned by Bloomberg LP, also participates.It remains unclear whether publishers are seeing less revenue than they expected because Apple News+ has few subscribers, or because their content isn’t being widely read. Publishers share the remaining 50% of the revenue based on how much time Apple News+ subscribers spend reading their articles. Apple has not revealed subscriber numbers for Apple News+. The company recently expanded the service to Australia and the U.K.Advertisers have been less interested in Apple News+ because Apple’s restrictive data policy makes it difficult for marketers to target specific readers, one of the people said. Some publishers also would like Apple to share data about subscribers, like email addresses, which they could use to sell other offerings.As part of the contracts, media companies have the right to pull their magazines or newspapers from Apple News+ after a year if they’re unhappy with the service, one person said.The media industry was initially wary of Apple News+ before it launched, fearing their readers might cancel existing subscriptions and get their articles at a cheaper price from Apple. For that reason, some did not make all their articles or magazines available. Others, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, didn’t sign up.Still, some news executives are pleased with how Apple News+ has gone so far.“The financial results to date are consistent with our expectations,” Norm Pearlstine, the executive editor of the Los Angeles Times, said in a statement. “We are optimistic that they will continue to grow in the months and years ahead.”To contact the reporters on this story: Gerry Smith in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Investing.com - The U.S. dollar was unmoved on Thursday as the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose to an unexpected five-month high and there were no new comments on monetary policy from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
The Australian dollar has lost ground after disappointing employment numbers. The New Zealand dollar and Chinese yuan are showing limited movement.
Based on the early price action and the current price at .6795, the direction of the AUD/USD the rest of the session on Thursday will be determined by trader reaction to the main 50% level at .6800.
The selling pressure on the Aussie and Kiwi is likely to continue on Thursday unless there is a positive development over the trade deal. Even if that is the case, the move is likely to be fueled by short-covering rather than new buying.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When Igor Kolomoisky says Ukraine should turn away from the West and back toward Russia, the world should listen, even if the Ukrainian billionaire doesn’t call the shots in Kyiv to the extent that many believe he does. Despite the seemingly irreparable damage Russia caused to its relationship with Ukraine by annexing its territory and sustaining a separatist war in its eastern regions, it’s conceivable that Ukraine eventually could return to its old strategy of having Russia and the West compete for its affections.Kolomoisky, whose TV channel ran Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s comedy shows before the actor and producer became Ukraine’s president this year, gave a scandalous interview to the New York Times. He said that since the West is in no hurry to accept Ukraine as a member of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Ukraine should make peace with Russia and take Russian money instead of International Monetary Fund loans. As things stand, he said, the U.S. is just using Ukraine to wage “war against Russia to the last Ukrainian.” But Russia is “stronger anyway” and it’s time to mend fences.Kolomoisky was one of the engineers of Ukraine’s decisive break with Russia in 2014. He funded the volunteer battalions that fought off the early onslaught of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, helping to contain the spread of secession before the long-underfunded regular army was strong enough to be of any use. In the process, he lost his financial business in Russia and gained the Dnipropetrovsk regional governorship in Ukraine, which former President Petro Poroshenko soon took away, seeking to dismantle what he saw as Kolomoisky’s personal army. So what the oligarch is saying now could be seen as a turnabout, except Kolomoisky doesn’t think in such terms: Whatever he says or does, he’s looking out for his business interests first.Today, these interests consist in getting compensation for the 2016 nationalization of Privatbank, Ukraine’s biggest lender, which he co-owned and which the Poroshenko government accused him of plundering. Kolomoisky is tied up in complex litigation with now-state-owned Privatbank. He and his partner have just been forced to pay 10 million pounds ($12.8 million) to cover Ukraine’s legal expenses in a London court. The billionaire is widely suspected of trying to exploit his longstanding relationship with Zelenskiy to end the conflict in his favor. The president so far has managed to remain above the fray, but he hasn’t heeded calls from U.S., European and International Monetary Fund officials to distance himself clearly from Kolomoisky. The oligarch has few friends in Washington or the European capitals, and he used the interview to make an implicit threat: If Western officials continue fighting him and supporting the Privatbank nationalization, he’ll turn Zelenskiy sharply toward Russia. Whether he can do that is a different matter.Zelenskiy was elected on the promise of restoring peace to eastern Ukraine, and he’s taken some steps toward that goal by exchanging prisoners with Russia and accepting a key Russian demand concerning the sequence of events that should lead to the return of separatist territories to Ukrainian control. But even that progress ran into the resistance of Ukrainian intellectuals who see it as capitulation — and of the very volunteers Kolomoisky once funded. These combat veterans, armed with weapons they’d brought back from the war, inserted themselves in areas where Ukraine and the separatists had agreed to pull back their troops as a prelude to “Normandy format” peace talks mediated by France and Germany. Zelenskiy was forced to travel to the area and attempt to persuade them to leave.Now, the pullback appears to be complete, the area is being cleared of mines and there are no obstacles to the talks. But Zelenskiy is aware by now that compromises with Russia are fraught with the danger of a revolt at home, possibly even an armed one. If he did what Kolomoisky says, Kyiv and much of central and western Ukraine almost certainly would rise against him. That’s not a reasonable price to pay for Kolomoisky’s early support, and today, the billionaire has no obvious leverage on the president.Voice, a liberal opposition party, recently proposed that Ukraine exit the 2015 Minsk agreements, which serve as the framework for the current peace process, and put off ending the conflict in the east and concentrate on domestic issues until better times. Zelenskiy is probably tempted to try a version of this plan, only without formally exiting the Minsk agreements, which likely would anger Ukraine’s European allies. Zelenskiy has his hands full with an ambitious reform agenda. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian parliament, in which his party has a majority, took the first step toward allowing a market in land, something all of Ukraine’s previous governments failed to do.Yet Kolomoisky's provocative statements shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.Zelenskiy, indeed, isn’t getting much Western support today, apart from technical and military assistance programs that are, let’s face it, useful but not vitally important. The IMF is withholding its more significant support, in part because it fears Zelenskiy might not try hard enough to recoup Privatbank losses from Kolomoisky. French President Emmanuel Macron lately has been talking about a rapprochement with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and neither France nor Germany can be expected actively to side with Ukraine in the peace talks because both are eager to be rid of the problem. In the U.S., ongoing Ukrainegate and impeachment proceedings have, in effect, made Ukraine the actual country both toxic and irrelevant.Kolomoisky’s point is that, five years after breaking with Russia, Ukraine isn’t a priority project for the West — but it’s still a priority for Putin. Zelenskiy can’t afford, and doesn’t want, to hand his country to the Russian president. But he can quietly open it to more Russian trade and investment, and he can gradually return to the both-sides-against-the-middle policy all Ukrainians leaders except Poroshenko tried to pursue after Ukraine became independent. In a way, that’s also the game Alexander Lukashenko, the president of neighboring Belarus, tries to play, turning to the West every time he has a disagreement with Putin and to Putin when he senses he can get something out of him.This cynical policy is a long way from the “civilizational choice” Ukrainian politicians claimed to have made under Poroshenko. But Western politicians must realize it’s a natural fall back for Ukrainians when they feel spurned. If Zelenskiy does start flirting with Putin, it won’t necessarily be because of Kolomoisky’s evil influence. A Western failure to embrace his reformist zeal and support his attempts to get more favorable peace terms with Russia could be the real reason.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Particularly weak economic data weighed on the risk appetite early on, with a busy day of stats likely to test the markets further in the day.
Investing.com - The U.S. dollar inched up on Thursday in Asia following prepared remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Australian dollar dropped after the release of weak employment reports.
(Bloomberg) -- Oil advanced for the first time in three days after a report that OPEC sees a potential reduction in supply from outside of the group.Futures rose as much as 1.3% in New York Wednesday after the American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. stockpiles fell 541,000 barrels last week, according to people familiar. Apart from a “sharp” cut in projected output from non-member countries next year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries also sees a possible “upswing” in the forecast for demand growth, according to Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo. The comments underscore a more upbeat outlook for the oil market into the new year.When the OPEC news hit the market, prices “started to rally from the red to the green,” said Bob Yawger, future divisions director for Mizuho Securities in New York. “Until this turnaround, things were getting ugly.”While crude prices have picked up over the past month, they’re still down about 14% from the peak reached in April as the prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute saps an already-fragile global economy and crimps fuel demand. OPEC, which cut production this year to prop up the market, has signaled it’s unlikely to take stronger action to prevent a renewed glut in 2020.Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the current stance of monetary policy is likely to be sufficient provided the economy stays on track, but warned that “noteworthy risks” remain to record U.S. expansion.“The market is digesting chairman Powell’s speech,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York. “This is a bit of positive pull up from Powell. It’s the fact that the Fed is going to be on hold because the economic outlook is looking brighter and is a key aspect to the energy market these days because of the focus on the demand.”West Texas Intermediate for December delivery traded at $57.45 at 4:37 p.m. after rising 32 cents to settle at $57.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Brent for January rose 31 cents to close at $62.37 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange, and traded at a $5.17 premium to WTI for the same month.Read: Global Oil Demand to Hit a Plateau Around 2030, IEA PredictsThe industry-funded API also reported that stockpiles in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell 1.18 million barrels while gasoline and distillate inventories gained by a combined 3.15 million barrels. The Cushing fall would be first decline in over five weeks, if U.S. Energy Information Administration data confirms it.Meanwhile, in the U.S., crude stockpiles probably rose by 1.5 million barrels last week, according to the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.“Thursday is going to be the next big test here,” Yawger said in anticipation of the EIA report. “Whichever number is bigger will be the way most likely that the market will trade to.”To contact the reporter on this story: Jacquelyn Melinek in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at firstname.lastname@example.org, Christine BuurmaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Takeaway.com NV Chief Executive Officer Jitse Groen said it doesn’t make sense to overpay in its bid to gain control of U.K. rival Just Eat Plc.“I don’t want to be the idiot that runs into a ratio that doesn’t make any sense,” Groen said Wednesday at the sidelines of the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Barcelona.Takeaway is currently battling Prosus NV, which officially filed its hostile offer for Just Eat on Monday. Just Eat investors have complained about both the 710 pence-per-share cash offer from Prosus and Takeaway’s all-stock offer, currently valued at about 626 pence. Neither company has indicated that they’d raise the bid.“We will be disciplined in our approach as in all M&A situations,” a spokesman for Takeaway said in an email. “For obvious regulatory reasons, we cannot speculate about the terms of the offer.”Takeaway published a presentation on Wednesday expanding on the rationale behind its bid, adding that it expects to launch its Scoober courier service to the U.K, which is projected to incur costs in the tens of millions of euros per year.Takeaway also pointed out that it expects to cut costs by consolidating Just Eat’s five IT platforms, starting in Continental Europe.Just Eat and Takeaway have a lot of overlap in their shareholder base and so the Takeaway offer is getting a lot of investor support, Groen said.Aberdeen Standard Investments, which holds about 5% of Just Eat, said that Prosus needs to increase its offer by 20%. The investor also wanted Takeaway to increase its bid. Eminence Capital, which holds about 4%, in September said Takeaway’s bid undervalued Just Eat and that it planned to vote against that deal.“The Takeaway.com materials published today continue to underestimate the level of investment required in a sector that is changing rapidly,” Prosus said in a statement Wednesday.(Updates with comment from Takeaway in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in Barcelona at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Australian dollar has initially tried to rally during the trading session on Wednesday, but rolled over significantly, reaching towards the 0.68 level. Beyond that, there is also a major technical indicator right there.