Financial Daily Dose 12.02.2019 | Top Story: US Restores Metal Tariffs on Argentina and Brazil


The White House will again slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Argentina and Brazil in an apparent reaction to “massive devaluation” of  currencies in both South American nations – WSJ and NYTimes and Bloomberg

Chinese tech giant, Huawei Technologies Co., can resume trading with some U.S. chip suppliers. Huawei, long seen as a security threat by the U.S. government, was blacklisted in May.  This caused Huawei to become less dependent on American made chips. In September of 2019, Huawei launched its latest smartphone without U.S. manufactured chips. Several U.S. chip makers have already warned of earnings hits because of the partial export ban – WSJ

With Baltimore as a case study, here’s a fascinating look at how Bezos & Co. rather quietly (at first, at least) insinuated itself into the fabric of the everyday lives of nearly all of us – NYTimes

And since it’s Amazon’s world that we’re all just living in, why not some Cyber Monday thoughts on the new normal for retailers, which saw a drop in foot traffic last Friday of some 6% while online sales once again increased their share of total holiday sales compared with previous years. This has caused large retailers to shift to online shopping. These retailers now use their stores to handle deliveries and/or pick-up orders. These changes are challenging top executives to develop new staffing systems to keep up with the changes in consumer behavior – WSJ  and Bloomberg

The United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement with Fiat Chrysler on a new labor contract that calls for each of Fiat Chrysler’s factory workers to get a $9,000 bonus if the deal is ratified. The four-year agreement calls for, among other things, Fiat Chrysler to invest $4.5 billion in U.S. plants. The union’s council will meet to approve the contract on December 4 before it is put to a ratification vote by the 47,000 union members. The terms would create or preserve 7,900 jobs – WSJ and NYTimes

General Electric Co. will pitch GE Healthcare to investors today in an effort to spark interest in the division. The meeting will discuss GE Healthcare’s industrial side, which makes magnetic-resonance imaging machines and has $15 billion in annual revenue. GE Healthcare is scheduled to sell the life-sciences arm of the division, which is why the details of this meeting are important as they will inform investors on the division’s future profitability – WSJ

Private equity firms remain patient as potential takeover targets become more expensive. Buyout deals totaled $155.2 billion year to date through October—the lowest since 2014. The current discipline exercised by buyout firms contrasts with market behavior during “the last market peak in 2007, when [buyout firms] struck $365.9 billion worth of deals.” The high-price of potential targets, the looming presidential election, and the tightening of the financing market suggest that U.S. buyout volume may not bounce back until 2021 – WSJ

New York City will soon have an algorithms management and policy officer that will set guidelines and standards to, among other things, build automated systems, evaluate potential bias, and review information from agencies about automated systems. Given the increasing use of algorithms in government-decision making, it will be interesting to see if other cities create similar positions – WSJ

National Grid PLC has begun installing an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed by Urbint to cut down on costs. The natural-gas and electricity-distribution company will begin using Urbint’s Lens system to help lower the amount of damage to pipelines caused by third-party excavation. The technology analyzes numerous data points, such as the type of work being done, the contractor’s history, the elevation, risk of landslide, etc., against the causes of previous accidents and predicts a level of risk for hitting a pipeline. At least one other gas company has installed such technology and seen improvement in its business operations – WSJ

Saudi Arabia will push this week for an extension of OPEC’s oil-production cuts through at least the middle of next year in an apparent effort to “prop up” Aramco’s IPO share price, a move that will likely face resistance thanks to “growing unrest in the Middle East”  – WSJ and Bloomberg

EU regulators have opened a new front in their antitrust investigation of Google, with the latest probe reportedly focusing on “local search services, online ads and ad targeting, login services, web browsers and more” – MarketWatch

Tech Data Corp. agreed to be acquired by Apollo Global Management for slightly more than $5 billion, foiling Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s bid for the company. Tech Data, a wholesale distributor of hardware and software products, saw its shares jump 12% Friday to $144.89 after Apollo outbid Berkshire by raising its initial offer. Even though Berkshire is out, other bidders still have the opportunity to outbid Apollo –  WSJ

Bloomberg warns that financial warning signs are “flashing almost everywhere” in China, where a combination of “rural bank runs to consumer indebtedness and an unprecedented bond restructuring” are forcing economic policy makers to avoid major intervention while keeping one of the world’s biggest economies “on the rails” – Bloomberg

Aircraft-component maker Moog Inc. has married blockchain and 3-D printing to improve the replacement of faulty aircraft parts. The new system takes a matter of hours and decreases market inefficiencies. The airline-parts market is highly regulated and requires significant amounts of paperwork be completed before a replacement can be fitted. Blockchain’s online ledger helps simplify the process by reducing the paper trail and ensuring the replacement parts meet the required standards – WSJ

TikTok, a video-based application, unbanned a New Jersey  teen from her account stating that the ban was a mistake. The teen was locked out of her account after she posted content discussing the mass internment of minority Muslims in China. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, stated that the censorship had nothing to do with that particular post, but many don’t believe the company. TikTok has become the newest social-media addiction for teenagers and young adults, but the video-focused application poses unique censorship and data-security issues given its Chinese ownership – NYTimes


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