DealBook Briefing: Tech and Trade Woes Keep Dragging on the Markets

DealBook Briefing: Tech and Trade Woes Keep Dragging on the Markets

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Additional tariffs on Chinese goods could hurt U.S. shoppers

The Trump administration may impose tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports, according to Bloomberg, citing unidentified sources.

Bloomberg reports that the administration could announce the levies by early December, to take effect by early February. (The plan is said to be a backup, in case a meeting next month between President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China doesn’t yield results.) The tariffs could cover about $257 billion worth of goods — including popular items like iPhones and Nike sneakers.

That means American shoppers could feel the full brunt of the trade fight. Citigroup analysts wrote in a research note yesterday: “Amid tight labor markets and higher input costs, we think there is a risk that firms decide to pass through some of the costs to consumers.”

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Micron had accused Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit of stealing intellectual property.CreditKai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

U.S. blocks a Chinese tech company from buying American parts

The Trump administration made another move to check Beijing’s tech ambitions: It blocked Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, a semiconductor maker, from buying U.S. parts, citing national security concerns.

The decision, which came after the American chip maker Micron accused Jinhua of intellectual property theft, could be a crippling blow to the Chinese company. (And it drew comparisons to the Trump administration’s harsh actions against ZTE earlier this year.) The penalties will delay China’s effort to establish a homegrown chip industry that doesn’t rely on American parts.

Experts said that the move sets an aggressive new precedent over how America responds to alleged I.P. theft. What’s unclear is whether it will spur Washington and Beijing to use national security concerns more frequently as weapons in their trade fight.

More: American tech companies outspend their Chinese rivals on R.&D. five-to-one.

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CreditBrendan McDermid/Reuters

The markets whipsawed again over tech and trade

The S.&P. 500 swung wildly yesterday, moving as much as 4 percent from high to low before ending the day down 0.7 percent. (It’s now just shy of correction territory.) The Dow and Nasdaq fared similarly.

Behind that volatility were continuing investor concerns that tech stocks are overvalued. Amazon, for instance, fell 6.3 percent yesterday, while Netflix dropped 5 percent, and shares in both are down over 20 percent this month. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 1.6 percent on Monday, and is off 13 percent from its August high.

Trade fears also weighed on stocks, after a report that President Trump may impose tariffs on all remaining imports from China, raising fears about increasing costs for American businesses and consumers.

U.S. markets are looking stronger this morning, however, with futures for major indexes up.

A positive take: Stocks haven’t looked this cheap since 2016.

Coming up

Apple announces new products. The iPhone maker is expected to unveil new iPads, laptops and perhaps a desktop computer today.

Wall Street will watch Facebook’s third-quarter financials. Investors will be looking for declines in user numbers and ad sales after a series of scandals affected the social network.

The E.U. reports on economic growth. Official figures are expected to show slower growth in the eurozone. But Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said last week that while the region’s economy is growing more slowly, it is not sinking into recession.

Uber fights to keep drivers as contractors in Britain. The ride-hailing company heads to the Court of Appeal over a case on worker rights. Uber drivers are fighting to be recognized as workers, so that they can qualify for minimum wage and vacation pay.

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A memorial at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.CreditJared Wickerham/EPA-EFE/Rex

Hate still flourishes on social media

In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, social media is coming under close scrutiny. So far, its progress is found wanting.

Robert Bowers, the suspect in the Pittsburgh rampage, posted reams of hateful messages online. But an investigation by the NYT found a torrent of anti-Semitic content that had been uploaded to Instagram since Saturday’s shooting — 11,696 posts with the hashtag “#jewsdid911,” claiming that Jews had orchestrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

More from Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger:

Over the last 10 years, Silicon Valley’s social media companies have expanded their reach and influence to the furthest corners of the world. But it has become glaringly apparent that the companies never quite understood the negative consequences of that influence nor what to do about it — and that they cannot put the genie back in the bottle.

The biggest platforms, like Facebook, Google and Twitter, say that they are working to unearth hateful content, using human moderators and software. (Some employees worry that’s still not enough.) But Gab, an extremist-friendly messaging service Mr. Bowers used, is spreading a different message: “We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed start-up in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley oligarchy.”

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Philip Hammond, Britain’s chancellor of the ExchequerCreditDaniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Britain will impose a new tax on Big Tech

The British government announced plans yesterday to introduce a tax on the locally generated revenue of large technology companies, turning up the heat on Silicon Valley.

The chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced the initiative as part of the nation’s annual budget. The new charge, scheduled to go into effect in 2020, would apply only to organizations with global revenue of at least 500 million pounds, or about $640 million. The government will ask for 2 percent of revenue the companies generate in Britain. Mr. Hammond said the plan could eventually raise as much as £400 million annually.

But the tech industry is unimpressed. The Information Technology Industry Council, which represents the likes of Google and Facebook, said that “imposing a digital tax could create a chilling effect on investment in the U.K. and hinder businesses of all sizes from creating jobs.”

More British budget news: Here’s a roundup of the country’s other plans.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel of GermanyCreditHayoung Jeon/EPA-EFE/Rex

Merkel’s departure leaves Europe’s future cloudier

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said yesterday that she would step down as her party’s leader and would not seek another term. But Ms. Merkel’s successor will face significant challenges, as Katrin Bennhold and Melissa Eddy of the NYT point out:

Ms. Merkel’s retreat, analysts say, could mark the beginning of a new era not just for Europe’s biggest country but for the Continent itself.

It could leave Germany more unstable and less able to take the lead in Europe at a time when leadership is badly needed on an array of topics — from Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union to Italy’s controversial budget plans.

Stefan Koopman, an economist at Rabobank, offered a bleak assessment to the NYT: “There couldn’t be a worse time for Germany’s steady ship to hit choppy waters.”

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Elon Musk tests the S.E.C. on Twitter, again

The Tesla chief’s settlement over charges of securities fraud included an S.E.C. requirement that the company review his public communications about the carmaker. But Mr. Musk proved yesterday that reining him in on social media would be a challenge: He tweeted that after deleting his titles, he’s now the “Nothing of Tesla.”

Then he added:

Legally required officers of a corporation are president, treasurer & secretary. Guess I have to keep 1st one or it will confuse the authorities.

It’s only his latest effort to tweak the S.E.C. this month, after having appeared to refer to the regulator as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” and saying that his now-infamous tweet about taking Tesla private was “worth it.”

Revolving door

Campbell Soup decided to “accelerate” the retirement of Kelly Johnston, an executive who tweeted about a conspiracy theory involving George Soros.

The scooter company Lime hired David Richter, Uber’s former business chief, to oversee M.&A. and sales strategy.

Kristen O’Hara was named Snap’s chief business officer — only for the company’s C.E.O., Evan Spiegel, to change his mind two days later. She has now left the company.

J.C. Penney hired Michael Fung as interim C.F.O.

The hedge fund Frontlight Capital is shutting down after less than three years.

The speed read

Deals

• Ginni Rometty has bet her legacy as IBM’s chief on the company’s biggest-ever takeover, the $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat. Analysts think Workday and Okta could be the next cloud software companies to be bought.

• Berkshire Hathaway invested $600 million in the fintech companies Paytm and StoneCo. (WSJ)

• The German media company ProSiebenSat.1 agreed to buy the dating site eHarmony. (Reuters)

• Third Point reportedly wants Campbell Soup to explore breaking itself up. (WSJ)

• The head of Deutsche Bank’s securities division insists the firm’s investment bank is doing fine, despite its parent’s troubles. (Bloomberg)

Politics and policy

• President Trump’s job approval rating fell last week after the pipe-bomb mailings and the Pittsburgh attack. Aides conceded that he is having a hard time balancing midterm campaigning with public empathy.

• Mr. Trump will push to end automatic citizenship for noncitizens’ babies born on U.S. soil. (Axios)

• The Treasury Department expects to issue over $1 trillion in new debt this year, the most since 2010. (WSJ)

• Last year’s tax overhaul hasn’t spurred an investment boom from U.S. companies, according to a new survey. (Business Insider)

• The Supreme Court may rule that workers can’t pursue class-action status in arbitration proceedings. (NYT)

Trade

• The E.U. says it will allow its banks to continue using British clearing houses to process derivatives trades even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. (FT)

• Tourists could be the next weapon in the U.S.-China trade war. (WaPo)

Tech

• Most apps that your kids use are full of ads. (NYT)

• Why Americans aren’t upgrading their phones: pricier handsets and onerous contracts. (WSJ)

• Intel says that its work force now reflects the available talent pool — about 27 percent female, 9.2 percent Hispanic and just under 5 percent African-American. (WSJ)

• Google employees are reportedly planning a walkout on Thursday to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct cases. (BuzzFeed)

• Apple is investigating claims about illegal student labor on its Apple Watch production lines. (Verge)

• How Wisconsin’s deal to have Foxconn build a factory there went south. (Verge)

• The Chinese company Bytedance gained a $75 billion valuation by filling the internet with fluff. (NYT)

Best of the rest

• China’s new billionaires are young, fast and like risk. (Breakingviews)

• The renminbi hit a decade low, but the Chinese central bank might not be doing the right things to save the currency.

• Since 2010, nearly 90 rural hospitals in the U.S. have shut their doors. (Upshot)

• “How to Debate Finance Without Being a Jerk.” (Bloomberg Opinion)

• The best way to fight climate change might be an honest price on carbon. (NYT Op-Ed)

• Can bourbon age as well as Scotch? We’re about to find out. (NYT)

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.

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