DealBook Briefing: How the Trump-Kim Summit Could Reshape the Economy
Singapore summit extra: Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim dined on Korean stuffed cucumber, beef short rib confit, Yangzhou fried rice and Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York, and Michael J. de la Merced and Jamie Condliffe in London.
A root of rising home prices: Trump’s lumber tariffs
As the Trump administration clashes with Canada over trade, Peter Eavis took a look at tariffs on Canadian lumber and how they affect American consumers. What he found: Canadian lumber producers are doing well, American counterparts haven’t stepped up production, and U.S. home builders are being squeezed.
More from Peter’s report:
“We’ve had conversations with the White House, Secretary Ross directly and the U.S. trade representative,” said Jerry Howard, chief executive of the National Association of Home Builders. “We are trying to sound the alarm here.”
Elsewhere in trade: Forget the usual ways of tracking trade deficits. Deutsche Bank economists have a new measure, and it shows a $1.4 billion U.S. trade “surplus.” (Bloomberg)
Goldman teams up with Paul Tudor Jones to track feel-good companies
The billionaire investor built an entire foundation around the idea of measuring corporate America on more than profits, before the concept became fashionable. But now he’s turned it into a financial product — an exchange-traded fund made of a selection of Russell 1000 companies, based on his metrics — with the help of the Wall Street bank.
More from Andrew’s latest column:
Only 6 percent of the calculation of the index relates to how well a company provides investor return. Whether the formula is a winning one for investors is a bit of an open question. The fund would have outperformed the Russell 1000 by 3.47 percent over the past two years. That’s the good news. The bad news is there is no way to test the formula any further back, and each year, the index changes based on shifts in the polling.
The political flyaround
• Despite their senior White House roles, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner profited enormously from their private investments last year. (NYT)
• Senate leaders voted to add amendments to the annual military spending bill that are meant to restore penalties on the Chinese telecom company ZTE. (Politico)
• British lawmakers are “very seriously” examining the businessman Arron Banks’s Russian connections, over fears that his Brexit funding undermined democracy during the 2016 referendum. (Guardian)
The inside view on Martin Sorrell’s downfall
In a lengthy investigation, the FT found that Mr. Sorrell had become vulnerable because of a combination of resentment over his spending habits and big pay packages, and concern that he wasn’t getting the advertising company WPP to respond quickly enough to a slowdown in digital campaigns.
Allegations of a visit to a brothel may have been the final straw. More from Madison Marriage and Matthew Garrahan:
Interviews with a range of WPP employees, past and present, have now allowed a picture of events to emerge, which centres on an alleged visit to a Mayfair brothel one year ago — said to have been witnessed by two employees, one of whom later reported it to the company. This alleged incident raised questions about the possible use of company funds and appeared to fit a pattern where personal and company expenses were hard to separate.
Meanwhile, management could face blowback from investors at WPP’s annual meeting tomorrow. Mark Kleinman of Sky News reported that a preliminary tally of shareholder votes shows anger over pay practices.
The deals flyaround
• Stryker is said to have made a takeover offer to a rival medical device maker, Boston Scientific. A deal could be worth more than $50 billion. (WSJ)
• USG, the construction materials company, finally agreed to sell itself to Knauf of Germany for $7 billion. (Bloomberg)
• Lola, a start-up that makes organic tampons and other feminine products, has raised $24 million to branch out into other products. The company told Michael it hoped to offer a suite of women’s products, as Harry’s does for men. (Lola)
Facebook’s written answers to Congress: an awful lot of very little
When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress in April, he failed to answer a lot of questions. Instead, he promised to get back to lawmakers. Now his company’s responses have been made public — but if you were expecting in-depth details in the 454 pages of answers, you’re out of luck.
More from Sheera Frenkel of the NYT:
Much of the information that Facebook included was not new and the social network sidestepped providing detailed answers. In dozens of responses about how Facebook operates and how it deals with its online content, the company referred members of Congress back to its terms of service and community standards. In 224 instances, Facebook simply asked lawmakers to look back at previously answered questions.
More in Facebook news: Lawmakers are scrutinizing the company in the wake of reports about it sharing data with device makers. The company still can’t find evidence of Russian meddling in the Brexit vote. And is the company’s big problem a lack of innovation?
The tech flyaround
• A brief history of Foxconn’s troubling work conditions. (NYT)
• Investments in the gene-editing technology Crispr are a big risk. (Bloomberg)
• The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Russians over involvement with cyberattacks. (Reuters)
The Fed has a big call to make. A misstep could be crippling.
America’s central bank is expected to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate to somewhere between 1.75 percent and 2 percent tomorrow. But it faces a tricky balancing act, and the wrong choice could lead to a recession.
More from Nick Timiraos of the WSJ:
Could a tighter labor market bring in people not already in the job market and raise workforce participation rates? If that happens, the economy will be in a position to draw on those unused resources and keep growing without overheating. That would allow the Fed to raise rates more slowly than it otherwise would. If there aren’t people outside of the labor market ready to enter, the Fed could raise rates more aggressively. Higher inflation requires tighter credit to keep price pressures in check.
Elsewhere in rates: How e-commerce could be to blame for low inflation — but could also help fix it.
• Bozoma Saint John, Uber’s chief brand officer, has left to become chief marketing officer at Endeavor, the holding company for the WME talent agency. (Recode)
• Lazard has hired Mark Sooby and Harris Ghozali from Deutsche Bank, as managing directors focusing on oil and gas investment banking. (Lazard)
The speed read
• A Mexican judge has issued an arrest warrant for JPMorgan Chase’s top banker in the country over allegations of fraud. (FT)
• Justify, only the 13th Triple Crown winner in history, has broken records for breeding rights, fetching $75 million. (ESPN)
• Can Silicon Valley make bank accounts cool again? (Bloomberg)
• Why bringing back supersonic jetliners might be a bad idea. (NYT)
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News credit : Nytimes