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General Electric's (GE) fourth-quarter results are likely to reflect gains from lower debts, restructuring actions and growth in Aviation. Issues in Power and margin problems of Renewable Energy might have ailed.
Strengthening Prime-enabled services and expanding AWS services portfolio are likely to reflect on Amazon's (AMZN) fourth-quarter results.
(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.His has been perhaps the most sought-after testimony of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. And now John Bolton has delivered a bombshell without even making a visit to Capitol Hill.The former national security advisor’s as-yet-unpublished book makes the explosive claim that Trump indeed wanted to freeze aid to Ukraine until its government investigated his political rival Joe Biden.Bolton’s account in the draft of his book, as described by the New York Times, puts new pressure on Republicans to call witnesses to testify in the Senate, Billy House, Steven T. Dennis and Laura Litvan report.The disclosure comes as the president’s lawyers are preparing to deliver the meat of Trump’s defense when the trial reconvenes today. Trump denied the allegations in a tweet early today, saying he released aid to Ukraine without any conditions.It wasn’t immediately clear how much the revelations could impact the debate on calling trial witnesses (it’s almost certain not to shift the expectation that Trump won't be convicted). Four Republicans would have to join with all Democrats to make that happen.The more important audience for Bolton’s claims will be voters who will decide in November whether Trump should be re-elected. Keep an eye on forthcoming polling to see if they’re swayed by this latest turn of events.Global HeadlinesOrganizing strategy | Reaching out to colleagues, fellow parents and ex-husbands. Those are some of the strategies that Pete Buttigieg’s female volunteers are using in Iowa in a campaign tactic the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is relying on to an extent not seen before, Tyler Pager reports.New polls underscore the unsettled state of the Democratic primary days before the first voters weigh in at the Iowa caucuses.Not so fast | Italian populist firebrand Matteo Salvini’s hopes that victory in a key regional vote would propel him toward power were dashed yesterday when his anti-migrant League suffered a stinging loss. A win by the center-left bloc led by the Democratic Party breathed new life into Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s fragile government.Virus watch | China’s death toll from the coronavirus hit at least 80 as the country extends the Lunar New Year holiday to try and contain an infection now spreading around the globe. Premier Li Keqiang visited Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the disease, as the government faces pressure to combat the outbreak.China has canceled exams needed for entrance to schools and universities abroad. Click here for a look at the origins of the virus and its ongoing challenges. We have a map that shows the latest on the outbreak’s spread.Trudeau’s challenge | Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returns to a fragmented parliament today facing sharp domestic divisions. As Stephen Wicary reports, his looming decisions on whether to ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks, as well as whether to proceed with a massive oil-sands mine, will make ratifying a new trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico look easy by comparison.Desperate times | Sanctioned by the West and spurned by China, Zimbabwe has turned to the United Arab Emirates in its latest bid to find a savior that can arrest the collapse of its economy. With half the population in need of food aid and inflation running at 500%, the government hopes to sell a stake in the national oil company and wants U.A.E. firms to buy more of its gold. But it’s not clear the Gulf state is ready to bail out Harare just yet.What to Watch This WeekAs the U.K. prepares to exit from the European Union on Friday, its officials shouldn't harbor any hopes of reaching a new trade deal with the EU quickly or easily. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will “make history” when he meets Trump tomorrow in Washington, where the U.S. leader is expected to present his long-awaited Middle East peace plan. Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec unexpectedly stepped down, sinking his minority government after months of bickering over budget policy. Talks for a new coalition will start but early elections are the best option, he said. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will put his friendship with Trump to the test this week as he is poised to allow Huawei Technologies a role in the country’s fifth-generation wireless broadband networks. Libya’s internationally recognized government says repeated attacks by rival commander Khalifa Haftar have rendered a fragile truce all but meaningless. Peruvians voted for a new Congress yesterday, with early indications that it will be divided between as many as 10 parties, with none having enough power to effectively confront President Martin Vizcarra.Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congratulations to reader Ian Macauley, who was the first to correctly answer that China halted virtually all imports of plastic waste, triggering far-reaching effects around the globe. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at firstname.lastname@example.org.And finally ... An aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared in state media over the weekend, the first time she’s been seen in public since her husband was executed in 2013. Kim Kyong Hui, 73, sat two seats away from her nephew during an orchestra performance in Pyongyang celebrating the Lunar New Year, according to a photo carried by state media. \--With assistance from Stephen Wicary and Ruth Pollard.To contact the author of this story: Kathleen Hunter in London at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at firstname.lastname@example.org, Rosalind MathiesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
We have highlighted four red-hot tech stocks positioned to surpass earnings expectations as they gear up to announce their last round of financial results for calendar year 2019.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When the world’s competition police reflect on big tech’s dealmaking over the past 15 years, you could forgive them for wondering what might have been. If Facebook Inc. hadn’t acquired WhatsApp or Instagram, or if Google hadn’t bought YouTube or DoubleClick, would there be stronger competition for the two Silicon Valley firms?It certainly seems that regulators, particularly in the U.K., are eager to avoid repeat scenarios where companies grab outsize control of an emerging market before it’s clear exactly how important or big that market may be. That’s why a 6.1 billion-pound ($8 billion) food delivery takeover may have broader implications for tech giants’ dealmaking-to-come.Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority is reviewing the Dutch firm Takeaway.com NV’s planned acquisition of Just Eat Plc, the U.K.’s online marketplace for restaurant delivery. It’s a remarkable step, given that Takeaway.com no longer has a British business, and so the two firms don’t currently compete, at least not in the U.K. The regulator, the CMA, is instead pondering hypotheticals. It’s deliberating whether, without a deal, Takeaway.com might still otherwise enter the market and add a healthy dose of competition.The move underscores a recent approach that could make it more difficult for tech giants to make acquisitions, even small ones. (Together, they’ve bought more than 250 companies in the last six years.) Companies might not obviously compete with the firm acquiring them, but the U.K. watchdog is increasingly taking into account the possibility they could become a competitor at some later stage. It seems to have listened to the findings of the government-commissioned review into digital competition last year by Jason Furman, previously economic adviser to former U.S. President Barack Obama, which recommended that the CMA should take “more frequent and firmer action to challenge mergers that could be detrimental to consumer welfare through reducing future levels of innovation and competition.”Across the Atlantic, DNA-sequencing firm Illumina Inc.’s scuppered $1.2 billion acquisition of smaller peer Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. also illustrates the challenge. Both firms are active in slightly different parts of the market, so do not directly compete: Illumina currently focuses on so-called short-read sequencing platforms, while PacBio’s expertise is in long-reads. Yet antitrust authorities in both the U.K. and U.S. pushed back against the deal because of concerns that Illumina would decide against developing its own long-read offering further down the line, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Aitor Ortiz. The firms called the deal off earlier this month.It’s healthy that technology deals are likely to attract more scrutiny. Acquisitions sometimes look like a catch-and-kill strategy: buying a startup that could become a rival before it's able to do so without necessarily using it to augment the business directly. For example, back in 2017, Facebook bought the fast-growing teen app tbh, before shutting it down just eight months later, citing low usage.But doing so presents a potential challenge for the CMA: ensuring that the U.K. remains an attractive place to found technology firms. Venture capitalists and big companies themselves often argue that a lot of startups are founded with the intention of ultimately selling themselves to a larger rival. If that exit strategy disappears, runs the argument, then they might decide to set up shop elsewhere.So far, it’s too early to determine whether that argument has any merit. And analysts still expect the Takeaway.com-Just Eat deal to complete, albeit with a slight delay. But because the CMA has the authority to impose remedies without a court case, unlike the U.S.’s Federal Trade Commission, technology firms have good reason to be wary.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Trees are an important tool to counter climate change: They capture carbon dioxide, improve biodiversity and increase groundwater. Adding a trillion trees could scrub out two-thirds of all emissions, according to scientists, and that’s why everyone from the World Economic Forum to YouTube influencers have launched large planting programs. There’s just one problem: The success rate of typical programs is often dismal. Many end up with no trees surviving to maturity.After years of experiments, John Leary believes he has found the magic ingredient to boost results: local people.Leary is the executive director of Trees for the Future (TFF), a nonprofit group founded in 1989 and based in Silver Springs, Maryland. The first few million trees Leary and his team planted were aimed at reforestation, providing carbon offsets or wildlife conservation zones. But less than 5% of the trees survived without local supervision.That led them to the Forest Garden Approach, which trains farmers to use trees as a means of improving the productivity of degraded lands. Now TFF can plant each tree for as little as 10 cents while quadrupling the earnings of locals and boosting tree survival rates. Instead of releasing carbon through using techniques like slash and burn, the farmers growing the forest gardens are capturing more than 230 tons of carbon dioxide per acre over a 20-year period.The Forest Garden Approach looks to first make poor farmers richer, rather than focusing on the number of trees planted. It’s a lesson Leary took from his previous role as a volunteer for the Peace Corps, a U.S. program aimed at promoting economic and social development abroad. “You need to get local people involved and design any project such that it also benefits the local community,” he said.So far, Leary and his team have worked with farmers to build 10,000 forest gardens, which is estimated to sequester 2.4 million tons of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period—that’s like taking 25,000 cars off U.S. roads. Projects so far have focused almost exclusively in Africa, with major projects in Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania. TFF typically targets a distressed region in a poor country. Leary’s team recruits 100 or more farmers interested in improving their farms and then provides training.In the four-year program, TFF provides educational resources tailored to their local needs and ongoing support, along with seeds and saplings. Farmers are taught how to build a “living fence”—that is, planting trees all along the edges of the farmland. The green wall keeps grazing animals (and neighbors) from plundering the farm. The trees also help retain more water in the soil.By the end of the program, each acre of farmland can boast of as many as 1,500 trees, with many bearing produce that can be eaten or sold.One of the most common reasons lands degrade is because farmers grow the wrong kind of crop, and so Leary helps them recognize what will flourish. “In most countries, there tends to be one major cash crop that has destroyed the countryside,” Leary said. “It's peanuts in Senegal and maize in Kenya and Tanzania.”He teaches farmers to move away from monoculture. They also become adept at making their own fertilizers. The upshot is that the farmers have something to sell every month of the year. That results in an increase of income and consumption of more nutritious food in their diets.“It’s clear that the major solution to climate change has to be reduction in fossil-fuel emissions,” said Dominick Spracklen, professor of biosphere-atmosphere interactions at England’s University of Leeds, who hasn’t worked with TFF. “But we will also need negative emissions, and tree planting is the main way we can get there… it’s really important that local people are involved in any tree-planting program.”In the 12 months to July 2019, Leary’s group built nearly 6,000 forest gardens containing 11 million trees. The nonprofit’s budget has grown, too. Annual contributions to TFF have doubled to $5 million last year from $2.5 million in 2017, and Leary expects to raise as much as $8 million in 2020.While Leary’s attention will continue to be on African countries, TFF has built an app that any farmer in the world (who can read English and French) can use to learn the steps needed to build a forest garden. Leary has seen a large number of downloads in India, Australia and Zambia. “Anyone with a little bit of experience in gardening or forestry can pick up what we do pretty easily,” Leary said.QuicktakeWhy deforestation mattersTo contact the columnist of this story: Akshat Rathi in London at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Aaron Rutkoff at firstname.lastname@example.org, Emily BiusoMichael TigheFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The Koch political network is advising tech companies that have come under fire in Washington that they should act as good stewards of data but resist pressure to police political ads or give the government access to encrypted devices.After the group spent years defending business and telling the government to stand back, it released principles on Monday that press companies to change their behavior. They call on firms to be “responsible stewards of the data they collect, use, store, and share,” post clear data-use policies, and be transparent about problems.“At a time when the tech industry is under increasing scrutiny from D.C., we think it’s critical that companies remain committed to a principled approach,” said Jesse Blumenthal, vice president of technology and innovation at Stand Together.The manifesto is a further sign that the network of political groups and non-profits founded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his late brother, David Koch, is shifting its focus away from the Tea Party-style politics it helped create a decade ago, which experts say gave rise to a more nationalist, populist Republican Party -- and President Donald Trump.Now, the Koch-affiliated groups are increasingly emphasizing tech policy. Charles Koch, 84, is courting the mostly liberal denizens of Silicon Valley. His son, Chase, 42, is pouring money into tech startups as part of an initiative to diversify the family business, many of whose products are derived from fossil fuels. The younger Koch is “interested in helping to shape our vision across issue areas, including tech,” said Jim Fellinger, spokesman for Stand Together, the umbrella name for the Koch network.Blumenthal praised Facebook Inc. for its controversial decision to leave its political-ads policy intact and not fact-check the ads in the name of free speech. He also said Apple Inc. was right to oppose the U.S.’s renewed push for so-called back doors into encrypted iPhones.Bipartisan ApproachThe Koch organizations have broken from Trump over several high-profile issues, including trade and immigration. They have backed away from supporting some Republicans and focused on issues, such as criminal-justice reform, with more bipartisan appeal. The splits have diminished the network’s clout in conservative circles.The group said it will promote its principles in Washington through Facebook and Twitter ads. Blumenthal said it will also refer to them in future statements, conversations with lawmakers and interactions with the companies themselves.Aside from data stewardship, free speech and surveillance, the Koch document also wants corporations to push back on government regulation and embrace emerging technologies.Companies should also stop seeking special deals from government, Blumenthal said, adding that the U.S. risks losing its global leadership to countries like Russia and China if the tech sector backs away from free-market ideals.The principles come as many lawmakers, regulators and consumer groups have expressed frustration with internet companies’ privacy lapses, alleged anti-competitive practices and controversial content that users post or advertise.Encryption FightSome companies and trade groups argue that the industry should accept light regulation on privacy and artificial intelligence as a way to fend off more onerous rules. In a sign that the Kochs remain true to their libertarian roots, Blumenthal said that such proposals concede too much on important issues.The group’s document urges companies to defend free speech in particular. Last year, Twitter announced it was ending political ads, and Google’s YouTube has moved to limit political ad targeting, both in response to concerns about election misinformation.Lawmakers and civil rights groups have argued that the platforms have allowed politicians and foreign actors to spread misinformation -- a concern Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey acknowledged in his company’s announcement.The tech sector should also hold the line against warrantless government surveillance and access to encrypted data, the principles say. The Trump administration’s recent push on the issue has focused on an iPhone used by the gunman in a December terrorist attack. Blumenthal praised the Cupertino, California-based phone maker for being among “businesses standing up to government and productively saying no.”Stand Together also pressed companies to avoid using regulation or antitrust enforcement to hinder competitors. Blumenthal pointed to Yelp Inc.’s longtime allegations of anticompetitive behavior against Google as well as Google’s own role in pushing 2015 net neutrality rules, since repealed, that regulated broadband providers.“That’s just corporate welfare,” Blumenthal said.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paula DwyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors continue to pour funds into passive investment products that aim to replicate the performance of benchmark indexes. They’re also increasingly keen that their money gets used to influence corporations to stop damaging the planet and improve social inclusiveness. Unfortunately, many of the products designed to achieve both objectives currently fall short on the goal of responsible investing.The shift in emphasizing environmental, social and governance issues puts pressure on the index providers to come up with benchmarks that more accurately reflect the concerns investors are attempting to express by allocating capital to ESG investment products. Currently, though, even dedicated ESG indexes have shortcomings that many investors are probably unaware of.The U.S. Vegan Climate exchange-traded fund, for example, tracks a $124 billion index created by Beyond Investing that excludes companies engaged in a laundry list of potentially harmful activities, including animal exploitation, human rights abuses and fossil fuels extraction. While the $14 million ETF’s top five holdings — Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc., Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. — may all meet those criteria, they’re hardly the first names that spring to mind when thinking about the words vegan or climate. And there are many other examples.BlackRock Inc.’s announcement this month that it plans to prioritize sustainability in its investment decisions highlights the issue confronting index trackers. With two-thirds of its $7.4 trillion of assets managed passively, the world’s biggest asset manager acknowledged that the bulk of its cash isn’t available to pursue those goals. Harnessing that firepower will become increasingly important if the passive industry is to meet the ESG aspirations of its growing customer base.It’s even likely to radically change the industry, and sooner than people realize. To that point, Hiro Mizuno, the chief investment officer of Japan’s $1.6 trillion Global Pension Investment Fund, says the days are over when it’s enough for passive fund managers to compete simply on providing the lowest tracking errors at the lowest cost. Now they have to add value too. “The main battlefield among our passive managers is going to be in the stewardship area.” he told the Financial Times last month. BlackRock is far from alone in shifting to a more moral investing stance. A survey of 300 institutional investors, financial advisers and fund managers that use ETFs published on Monday by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. showed that almost three-quarters of respondents expect to increase the amount allocated to ESG investments in the coming year.European participants in the BBH survey ranked ESG-themed products as the ETF category they would most like to see more supply of, while Chinese investors ranked the sector as their second most desired area of expansion, along with more funds designed to track core indexes.Money is flooding into the sector. ESG-designated assets were the fastest-growing category of ETFs listed on Deutsche Boerse AG’s Xetra market last year, with investments more than tripling to more than 23 billion euros ($25 billion). Globally, ESG ETFs have enjoyed net inflows for 52 consecutive weeks, taking in $30 billion in the past year and garnering almost $3.4 billion in the week ended Jan. 20, according to data compiled by Bloomberg LP, which competes in selling index data to investors.There are two main routes whereby ETF providers can meet the implicit demands of clients allocating money to passively managed ESG products. The first is to use their collective muscle to prompt index providers to increase the granularity of the benchmarks used to shape asset allocations. Improving the discrimination of ESG indexes would go a long way to ensuring investors aren’t being hoodwinked into products that aren’t as green or socially savvy as they first appear.The second is trickier. Excluding companies deemed to be damaging the environment or being socially irresponsibly isn’t enough to move the needle. Engaging with the boards of those firms and using the clout of a shareholding to force them to change their ways is much more effective.But that costs money, and the success of the ETF model has been founded in large part on its ability to charge ultra-low fees. If BlackRock and its peers are serious about taking their social responsibilities more seriously, investors will have to pay for the privilege — and the sellers of index trackers will need to be honest about the increased cost of that kind of activism. Let’s hope the buyers of the products decide it’s a price worth paying to do good.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s Matteo Salvini suffered a stinging loss in a key regional vote, providing a much-needed boost to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s fragile government and making a snap general election less likely.Interior Ministry figures showed a center-left bloc led by the Democratic Party, or PD -- a partner in Conte’s ruling coalition -- at 51.3% in Emilia-Romagna, a long-time leftist stronghold. A center-right group headed by Salvini’s anti-migrant League trailed at 43.8%.Salvini had hoped that taking Emilia-Romagna would deal a death blow to Conte’s government and force an early national election that he would likely win. Instead, Sunday’s defeat for the populist firebrand, after a failed power grab last year, settled nerves in the market and yields on Italian 10-year government fell the most since August 27.Investors have been closely watching the vote, spooked by the possibility that a Salvini government would clash with the European Union and give a prominent role to euroskeptic lawmakers within the ranks of his League party.Turnout at almost 70% appeared to favor the center-left. The anti-Salvini grassroots movement known as “the Sardines” had filled city squares in recent months and mobilized young voters.With their mission accomplished, the Sardines leaders said in a Facebook post that they plan to return to their normal lives and won’t be speaking to the media about the election.Meanwhile, support for the Five Star Movement, Conte’s main coalition partner which won more than a third of the votes in national elections in 2018, collapsed to about 5%, according to projections.The dismal result could shift the balance of power within the government, with Five Star possibly toning down its populist demands on issues from toll-road licenses to judicial reform. Five Star Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio quit as party leader on the eve of the vote and the movement’s implosion seems set to accelerate.Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti claimed victory in the early hours of Monday, saying that thwarting Salvini will give fresh impetus to Conte’s government, while warning that the balance of power could be changing in the coalition.“A bipolar system is coming back into play, with two main forces fighting over leadership,” the PD leader said, in comments cited by Ansa news agency. “The Movement finds itself faced with this dilemma, though I say this as an ally, not an adversary.”Conte plans to set out a detailed plan for his cabinet’s priorities in coming weeks, including tax cuts, boosting private and state investment and speeding up the sclerotic justice system.Salvini said he was proud that the election was close despite Emilia-Romagna being a traditional stronghold of the center-left. He could take comfort in the result in a separate, less significant vote in Calabria, where a rightist coalition led by the League comfortably defeated the incumbent Democrats. Polls had shown Salvini’s forces comfortably ahead in the southern region.Salvini, 46, campaigned tirelessly across prosperous Emilia-Romagna, with up to a dozen campaign stops a day. He even pledged to head straight for Conte’s official residence in Rome and serve him an eviction notice if his group won Sunday’s ballot.Salvini has been trying to cash in on the lead he’s held in national opinion polls since last summer, when he abandoned Conte’s first coalition. That ploy backfired when Conte managed to cobble together a new alliance without the League.Nationally, surveys show support for the League at about 31%, and for the three-way center-right bloc at 48%. The Democrats are at 19% while Five Star has 16%, half the score it achieved when it won the 2018 general election.(Updates with official figures in second paragraph “Sardines” in sixth, PD leader in ninth)\--With assistance from Caroline Alexander, Alberto Brambilla, Flavia Rotondi, Iain Rogers and Tommaso Ebhardt.To contact the reporters on this story: John Follain in Rome at email@example.com;Alessandro Speciale in Rome at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at email@example.com, Jerrold Colten, Dan LiefgreenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Google’s weekly all-hands meeting, dubbed TGIF (“Thank God it’s Friday”), is emblematic of Silicon Valley’s culture of open internal communications and employee empowerment. The famous corporate perks, such as free launderettes and food, may have grabbed the most attention, but the real workplace innovation was in how Google made its workers feel like their views mattered and that they were central to achieving the company’s ambitious goals. Many employers had long paid lip service to the idea that their workers were their most important asset.
(Bloomberg) -- Byte, a new video-sharing app released Friday to compete with ByteDance Inc.’s TikTok, has rocketed to the top of Apple Inc.’s U.S. App Store.Created by Dom Hofmann, Byte reboots the deprecated Vine video-sharing service, which he co-founded in the summer of 2012 and sold to Twitter Inc. later that year. The parent company failed to find a way to make the service profitable and eventually discontinued it in 2016. Despite its brief existence, Vine became a cultural touchpoint in the U.S., with many users embracing its six-second time limit as a creative challenge. It was where controversial YouTube star Logan Paul, whose channel now has more than 20 million subscribers, got his start.Byte “ended Friday as the No. 1 free iPhone app on the U.S. App Store and is still in the top spot,” said Randy Nelson of research firm Sensor Tower. Beside the U.S., Byte is also the top free iOS app in Canada and ranks in the top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the U.K. On Android’s Play Store, Byte is sixth among free apps in the U.S.The timing of Byte’s release coincides with a moment of reckoning for TikTok and its Beijing-based parent company. ByteDance is looking to hire a chief executive officer for TikTok, which is under increasing scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers wary about the influence of Chinese companies on American consumers. TikTok’s runaway popularity has been deemed to create “national security risks,” according to a letter by Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton in the fall.Unlike ByteDance, which is the world’s highest-valued startup, and most other social media contenders, Byte is starting off small and its community guidelines make several references to the company’s modest budget. Still, the strong early response to Byte’s arrival -- coming with little to no advance fanfare -- suggests the community that Vine built up remains loyal to the particular six-second format. Some of the early popular videos on the platform are humorous proclamations of “Don’t post TikToks here.”To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s internationally recognized government said Sunday that repeated attacks by rival commander Khalifa Haftar have rendered a fragile truce all but meaningless, as the United Nations warned that foreign powers were setting the stage for even more fighting in the OPEC nation.The Tripoli government said that its forces had repelled an attack by Haftar’s Libyan National Army around 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the city of Misrata. “We affirm, once again, that we did not start this war, but it is us who will determine its duration and where it ends,” the government said on its official Volcano of Anger Facebook page.Repeated violations of the truce mean the cease-fire is now no better than the lack of one, it said.Ahmed Mismari, a spokesman for Haftar, said in a press conference, “Our operations are preemptive and a message to the militias. It’s not a violation to the cease-fire agreement.”Dueling AccusationsBoth sides have repeatedly accused the other of breaching the cease-fire, which they agreed to earlier this month. A conference in Berlin, convened by Germany’s chancellor, had sought to cement the deal and pave the way for an end to what has become a proxy war of regional powers in the North African nation. However, the United Nations on Saturday said none of the parties involved in the Berlin conference --- which also grouped Turkey, Russia and Egypt -- was honoring terms of the deal.Frailty of Libya Accord on Display In Merkel-Erdogan SquabbleThe conflict has battered Libya’s crucial oil output, dragging it down to 284,000 barrels a day as a result of “illegal blockades,” the state-run National Oil Corp. said on Twitter. The country holds Africa’s largest crude reserves, and NOC said it was pumping 1.22 million barrels a day until it declared force majeure on Jan. 18.“This fragile truce is now threatened by the ongoing transfer of foreign fighters, weapons, ammunition and advanced systems to the parties by member states, including several who participated in the Berlin Conference,” the UN mission said in a statement. “The mission condemns these ongoing violations, which risk plunging the country into a renewed and intensified round of fighting.”An attempt to bring the Libyan rivals to the table failed in Moscow earlier this month when Haftar left Russia without signing a permanent cease-fire. That refusal was backed by the U.A.E. and Egypt, which oppose Turkish gains in Libya, including a maritime agreement supporting Turkey’s claims to gas-rich Mediterranean waters.Turkey’s DoubtsPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has dispatched military advisers, armed drones and Syrian militiamen, has cast doubt on Haftar’s commitment to peace -- claims which have been dismissed as self-serving by Egypt and other Arab states.In his latest rebuke, Erdogan said Sunday that he didn’t expect Haftar to respect the truce. “Haftar fled Moscow and hid in a hotel in Berlin,” he said. “It’s not possible to expect mercy about a truce from such a person.”Mismari, the Haftar spokesman, called Erdogan’s comments provocative and possibly aimed at breaking the cease-fire.Turkey’s deployment sought to bolster the Tripoli-based government against Haftar, whose push on Tripoli has increasingly been spearheaded by Russian mercenaries.(Adds Haftar spokesman in paragraphs 4 and 11.)\--With assistance from Samer Khalil Al-Atrush.To contact the reporters on this story: Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mohammed Abdusamee in Tripoli at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at firstname.lastname@example.org, Bruce Stanley, Tarek El-TablawyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is...
Content moderators working at a European facility for Facebook have been required to sign a form explicitly acknowledging that their job could cause post-traumatic stress disorder, according to documentation and employee confirmation obtained by the Financial Times. The facility, which is operated by global professional services company Accenture, hosts roughly 400 content moderators who trawl through hundreds of disturbing images and videos — ranging from bestiality and child abuse to hate speech, self-harm and terrorism — across Facebook and Instagram every day. The moderators’ jobs entail making granular decisions about why each image or video is objectionable.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Encouraging trends in emerging markets belie their volatility since the taper tantrum of 2013, when the Federal Reserve signaled it was pulling back on quantitative easing. Further turbulence is likely, despite the improving outlook for advanced economies, easing trade tensions and accommodative monetary policy.The International Monetary Fund estimates that growth in developing countries fell to 3.7% last year, the slowest pace since 2009 and well below the IMF’s July 2019 forecast of 4.1%. An expected rebound to 4.4% this year assumes highly uncertain recoveries in stressed economies such as Argentina, Iran and Turkey, as well as in countries where growth has slowed significantly — China, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa among them.Rising friction in the Middle East, if sustained, could result in higher energy prices and supply disruptions for developing countries. India, which recently downgraded growth for the 2020-21 fiscal year to 5%, the slowest pace in a decade, imports more than 70% of its oil needs. A price rise of $10 per barrel widens the current account deficit by 0.4 % of gross domestic product. Every increase of 10% adds 0.2% to the rate of inflation, which is already above the Reserve Bank of India’s 4% target.Higher borrowing costs and a stronger U.S. currency due to haven demand would hurt developing countries. Between 2010 and 2018, low exchange-rate volatility and high interest-rate differentials caused non-bank financial institutions in emerging markets to double their U.S. dollar-denominated debt to $3.7 trillion. Much of this is unhedged.Further geopolitical risks include North Korea’s missile-rattling, challenges in Hong Kong and Taiwan to Beijing’s assertions of authority, and China’s territorial maritime disputes with its neighbors. Japan and South Korea are contesting matters arising from World War II. India’s proposed changes to citizenship laws and the status of Kashmir is fomenting domestic unrest and tensions with predominantly Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh.Meanwhile, the spread of a new virus that originated in China threatens to depress retail sales and tourism in Asia, helping to bring a global stock rally to a halt last week.These stresses exacerbate long-term structural problems. The early 2000s and the period immediately following the global financial crisis saw a synchronized acceleration of growth across the world. But advanced economies have slowed and their long-term potential rate of expansion has fallen.The latest IMF estimates released last week have growth in advanced economies stabilizing at 1.6% in 2020-21, compared with 2.3% in 2018 and 0.1 percentage point lower than in its October forecast. Underlying this stagnation is the flagging potency of debt-fueled growth, flat productivity, limited policy options, and unfavorable demographics. Emerging economies cannot rely on historic demand for exports to drive future expansion.Despite the U.S.-China phase one trade agreement, conflicts won’t abate. Sino-American trade tensions alone will cumulatively reduce the level of global GDP by 0.8% by 2020. The Trump administration also has trade disputes with the European Union, Australia, India and Vietnam, among others. France and the U.S. are trying to de-escalate threatened tariffs on champagne and cheese in retaliation for a digital tax affecting Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc.Trade volume growth fell to about 1% in 2019, the weakest level since 2012. The retreat from a rules-based trade system and the weaponizing of trade interdependence will damage everyone.In the past 20 years, China, a crucial driver of emerging markets, went from a 10th to two-thirds the size of the U.S. economy, assisted by trade within the WTO framework. Today, China’s blacklisted Huawei Technologies Co. relies on chips designed in America while advanced economies benefit from its cheaper and often cutting-edge 5G technology. Three-quarters of the world’s smartphones, mostly made in emerging markets, use Google’s Android mobile operating system. American restrictions hurt developing nations as well as consumers in advanced economies.In a world of limited demand, irrespective of leadership or ideology, governments everywhere face a mounting anti-globalization backlash. Nationalist agendas and a shift to autarky – closed economies – will persist. A return to strong growth in trade and cross-border capital flows seems unlikely.This affects developing-world economic models. Lower-income nations focused on export-oriented industries, such as textiles and manufacturing, exploiting cheap costs. Now, weak demand and trade disputes limit this option. Higher-income developing countries face technology transfer restrictions that affect improvements in productivity. Meanwhile, automation decreases the advantages of low-skilled, cheap labor and offshoring. Bringing manufacturing home to advanced economies decreases companies’ exposure to disruption, currency fluctuation and political interference. The failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” strategy reflects these shifts. India has failed to produce the 1 million new jobs per month needed to absorb new entrants into the workforce. Indian Railways recently received 23 million applications for 90,000 vacancies.Slower growth creates a dangerous feedback loop. Dissatisfaction with improving ordinary lives can prompt civil unrest. Countries rich in scarce resources, or having large internal markets such as China, India, and Indonesia, may muddle through.Others will struggle. Rising nationalism and protectionism are likely outcomes, and will only deepen the wedge between advanced and emerging economies. It will make an interesting if rough ride ahead for investors. To contact the author of this story: Satyajit Das at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Satyajit Das is a former banker and the author, most recently, of "A Banquet of Consequences."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Democrats concluded their arguments in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, with Republicans shutting down their efforts to introduce new evidence in votes split sharply along party lines.In China, a deadly virus killed dozens of people, spread to other countries, prompted the government to lock down major population centers and triggered protests that the authorities’ reaction to the outbreak was too slow.The world’s economic and political elite finally put climate change at the top of the agenda at their annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. And in France, President Emmanuel Macron pushed on with a pension reform despite death threats from unions who oppose it.We hope you enjoy these and other stories, and click here for Bloomberg’s most compelling political images from the past week.Giuliani’s Sidekick Parnas Traces Part of Money Trail to UkraineThe expenses racked up Rudy Giuliani’s advance man to Ukraine, Lev Parnas, were so high that some of his Republican donors complained. Read about the new details provided by Parnas about the money web that helped support Giuliani’s work in Ukraine for Trump.Sanders Rise Means More Talk About Electability Than RevolutionBernie Sanders, who has campaigned for “radical change” leading to a revolution, is now talking more about how he can beat Trump and has something to offer every voter. Emma Kinery describes the rise in polling and fund-raising for Sanders as he refocuses on electability. It Took 50 Years for Climate Change to Top the Davos AgendaIt took five decades for climate change to dominate the annual meeting of business titans, global leaders and top thinkers in Davos. This year, though, it seemed as if no one there could stop talking about it, Laura Millan Lombrana and Aaron Rutkoff report.Inside China’s Virus Zone, Unease Grips a City in LockdownIn Wuhan, the central Chinese city that’s ground zero of the deadly new virus, a sense of fear is taking hold. The city’s 11 million residents woke to learn they were in lockdown on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday that unites families for days of feasting.Putin Has a Plan to Keep Running Russia Without Being President Vladimir Putin became Russia’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin by jumping between the presidency and prime ministership in his two decades in power. As Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov report, he’s now got a plan that might keep him in power for life.Italy’s Chief Disrupter Is Masterminding His ComebackA college dropout who cracks crude jokes, Matteo Salvini is making a political comeback in Italy. The latest target of the right-wing League party leader is a center-left stronghold he plans to flip in a local election tomorrow, John Follain reports.Tech Giants’ Lobby Spending Shows Washington’s Growing HostilityThree of the biggest U.S. technology giants boosted lobbying spending last year. Eric Newcomer and Ben Brody give details on their fight against charges of unfair competition, efforts to shape privacy laws and pursuit of public contracts in a hostile Washington.Rio’s Dirty, Foul-Smelling Water Renews Privatization PushCloudy, foul-smelling water running from the taps in Rio de Janeiro is the latest crisis to rock the Brazilian city. As Simone Iglesias and Sabrina Valle report, the strain on resources for 9 million people is about to get worse as the city prepares for Carnival next month.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at email@example.com.And finally … In 2018, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, met with Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos in an encounter likely weighted with tension. Read this account from David Wainer and Alyza Sebenius about the small dinner in Los Angeles that apparently went well enough that they exchanged phone numbers, a move UN experts said led to a spying attack on Bezos’s phone. To contact the author of this story: Michael Winfrey in Prague at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
It looks like Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LW) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Investors can...
(Bloomberg) -- Companies in the Nasdaq 100 are headed into earnings season with momentum that approaches the unprecedented, their value up by more than $1 trillion since October.Now the world finds out if the rally made any sense.Twenty-six constituents are due to report quarterly results next week, including three of the four biggest U.S. companies, over one blistering 48-hour stretch starting Tuesday. With trillion-dollar-plus market capitalizations and a doubling in Apple Inc. since 2018 to account for, it’s possible investors will be in a less-forgiving mood than usual.As things stand now, Nasdaq stocks are perched at the highest forward valuation since 2007 and investors are getting progressively less patient with failure. Already this reporting season, companies in the broader market whose sales and earnings trailed analyst estimates have seen their shares pummeled the next day by the most in five quarters.“The market isn’t going parabolic, but some of these tech stocks really have,” said Randy Frederick, a vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. “If you miss the bar, you’re going to get punished, no question about that.”A four-day week before the landing of big tech earnings saw the Nasdaq 100 slip 0.4% as stocks wavered amid concern over the spread of a virus that started in China. Seven straight weeks of gains have pushed the index to 23 times its forecast earnings, about 30% higher than its 10-year average. That valuations are stretched doesn’t mean stocks can’t rally further. It does raise the drama headed into earnings season.The latest leg of the bull market has come at a time when overall earnings have stopped rising for most industries -- the reason valuations have swelled so much. While the index rose every quarter of 2019 in terms of price, profits fell in two and are now forecast to contract in a third. Given the Nasdaq surged 38%, investors have obviously been OK looking past those numbers. But any indication that 2020’s expectations are optimistic may be taken poorly by stock bulls.That dynamic is writ large in the tech industry, where earnings have dropped 3% or more in each of the past three quarters. Computer and software makers are expected to post a 0.8% profit contraction in the three months through December. Early returns have been encouraging. Texas Instruments, a bellwether for chip stocks, posted results that topped estimates. Intel Corp. reported sales guidance that came in above industry trends.Despite the recent quarterly hiccups, combined net income of five largest tech companies -- Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook -- totaled $40 billion in the third quarter, 38% above the same period two years ago.“Multiples have expanded, but quarter-over-quarter these companies continue to grow earnings and that’s the whole key,” said Gary Bradshaw, a Texas-based portfolio manager at Hodges Capital Management, who owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. “It’s one of the areas in the marketplace where you’re seeing good growth. This isn’t 1999 or 2000 when you were valuating those tech stocks on eyeballs.”The cost of falling short has risen as well. A broader gauge of tech, online retail and Internet services stocks dropped 0.9% the day after reporting a miss on second-quarter sales and earnings per share, data compiled by Credit Suisse show. In the third quarter, the average slump was 6.8%.Apple will release quarterly figures on Tuesday, and analysts are focused on how the firm fared during the holiday season and dealt with uncertainty around tariffs. Microsoft, up 62% since the start of 2019, reports Wednesday. Investors will see whether the demand for its cloud-computing programs remains strong. Facebook, which has rallied 66% over that stretch, reports the same day.“I’d expect a little more leadership out of value-oriented sectors, more economically sensitive parts of the market,” Jeff Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Schwab Center for Financial Research, said by phone. “I think investors seem to be comfortable with sticking with the leaders that got them here, at least for the time being,”\--With assistance from Wendy Soong.To contact the reporters on this story: Elena Popina in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org;Sarah Ponczek in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brad Olesen at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Nagi, Richard RichtmyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Earlier today, Google announced that it would be redesigning the redesign of its search results as a response to withering criticism from politicians, consumers and the press over the way in which search results displays were made to look like ads. Google makes money when users of its search service click on ads. It doesn't make money when people click on an unpaid search result.