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Here’s What You Missed (12/5/18)

Daniel Chase




I’ve recently found that people toss around the term ‘anxiety’ like a football on Thanksgiving day, but what does it really mean to be clinically anxious. Well, for some it manifests itself right before sitting down to take an exam, while others may feel jittery and unnerved before driving a car. What I find interesting is how quick we are tell people that we have anxiety before we’ve even taken a visit to a primary care physician. For individuals who’ve received a proper diagnosis for anxiety, when they have an ‘attack,’ many have described themselves as feeling like they’ve lost complete control of their life and the world is collapsing in front of them. Terrifying, I know. I wholly support every person’s right to affordable access to mental health care, but in the interim, be wary of the terms you use to describe your feelings without knowing whether it holds true for you. 

Having said all of that, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Note To Self (Driving Car)

Remember how terrifying it was to find out that Skynet, the overseeing tech company in the Terminator movies, unleashed its autonomous robots on civilians, causing widespread panic and murderous rampages spread across a very successful film series? Well, forget all that dark and twisted foreshadowing of our future and listen to this! Google’s (GOOGL) self-driving subsidiary, Waymo, just released their first commercial autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service in Arizona, called Waymo One. 

Similarly to Uber or Lyft, Waymo One users will use a smartphone app to indicate their location and call a car over, but this time, there won’t be a driver in the front seat to offer you gum or a phone charger. 

“Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully with the comfort and convenience of our riders in mind.”

John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo

Once In A Fortnite

Anyone with a pulse and a basic connection to the internet has heard of the globally popular game, Fortnite. If you haven’t played the game, perhaps you’ve seen the countless videos shared on the internet of the many ‘emote’ dances you can command your avatar to perform while playing the game. Well, it is this very aspect of the game that has gotten Fortnite creator Epic Games in a heap of legal trouble. 

Hip-hop artist 2 Milly filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, claiming that the game developer stole his “Milly Rock” dance move by adding it as an ‘emote’ for Fortnite players. 

“This isn’t the first time that Epic Games has brazenly misappropriated the likeness of African-American talent. Our client Lenwood ‘Skip’ Hamilton is pursuing claims against Epic for use of his likeness in the popular ‘Cole Train’ character in ‘Gears of War’ video game franchise. Epic cannot be allowed to minute to take what does not belong to it.” 

Legal counsel for 2 Milly

Burger King-Troll

Burger King is at it again with the competitions and the tricks, and what not. According to a recent report from CNN, if you’re within 600-feet from a McDonald’s, you can unlock a deal for a penny Whopper from the Burger King app. This promotional move serves as both a great incentive for people to download the fast-food joint’s new smartphone app as well as a decent prank pulled on one of its biggest rivals. 

Some people have reported having issued with the promotion:

“Sometimes someone has a poor connection, or maybe one specific restaurant out of 14,000 may not have been geolocated properly or somebody tried to redeem the coupon during breakfast.”

Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King 

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Trade Talks Fail, What’s Next For The Market?

Jon Phillip



trump tariff china

The trade war between the United States and China has probably been the biggest economic and diplomatic development since the turn of the year. Although the world’s two biggest economies were locked in talks for months over a new trade deal, it all unraveled quickly.

This happened when US President Donald Trump stated that the Chinese went back on their word. He then imposed tariff hikes on Chinese goods last Friday. The tariffs were raised to an astonishing 25% on goods worth $200 billion. Although Trump might believe this might bully the Chinese into submission, many experts believe that might not be the case.

Difficulty in Completing Deal

The President had imposed these tariff hikes right before the Chinese delegation was supposed to show up at Washington. This was for which many had believed was going to be the last round of talks. However, experts now feel that the escalation of tensions between the two countries following the latest developments will make it difficult to reach a deal that could be considered a win for the US. As soon as the tariffs kicked in, Beijing announced that it was looking at countermeasures as well. However, there were no specifics on the nature of these measures.

Last year, the two nations had been embroiled in a damaging retaliatory tariff war and it could lead to a protracted trade war, if the Chinese decided to resort of the same tactics. The Chinese delegation is going to be in Washington this week to engage in another round of talks but it is believed that a binding trade deal is unlikely to be signed.

Is A Trump Win Likely?

One of the biggest reasons why the deal might not be signed anytime soon is perhaps the fact that the US President needs to be able to claim it as a win for himself. The President has staked his personal weight behind a favorable deal for the US. But with every passing day, it is looking increasingly unlikely that it is going to happen.

If that is to happen, then China’s entire way of doing business will need to change. This is starting at intellectual property theft and expands to technology transfers by force from US companies. If those things are not part of the deal, then it would not be the sort of deal that can be claimed as a win for the US. It doesn’t help that today, China came in with its own tariffs. China will raise tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, the Chinese Finance Ministry said Monday.

And in true Trump fashion, the U.S. may not be done retaliating. The U.S. President has threatened to put 25% tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods that remain untaxed. The president has signaled he is content leaving the duties in place, arguing they will damage China more than the U.S. What are your thoughts?

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Can 102 Words Really Impact Stock Prices?

Joe Samuel



trump tweet

In short, the answer is yes.  We’ve witnessed, first hand, this week how just a few words can drastically impact the stock market.  If you’re just tuning in, at the beginning of the first full week of May, U.S. President Donald Trump Tweeted out a 102-word post that ended up triggering a sell-off costing the global markets around $1.36 TRILLION…with a “T”!

The “Trump Tweet” expressed that he would once again increase tariffs on Chinese goods by the end of this week. What followed has been a shock to the global markets with futures pointing at dramatic declines every day this week.  Though some say that the decline are all but a speed bump, it still hasn’t helped the fact that this drop is one of the worst seen all year. People like Kerry Craig of JPMorgan Asset Management think that a trade deal can still be reached.  The expectations, however, have been readjusted to reflect a more long-term time horizon.

Eyes Turn Toward The Second Half Of The Week

Other analysts like Oanda Asia Pacific’s Jeffrey Halley feel that investors are prudently “lightening their loads.” Halley said, “My feeling is that investors are lightening their portfolios as a precaution.”

All eyes are on the second half of this week.  As we reported on May 7th, Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator will be heading to the US to talk trade this week.  

“Liu will be in the U.S. from May 9-10. The invite comes from both the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.” Regardless of what “will happen,” what has happened thus far has been an emotionally charged & very fragile global market. As this story develops we will continue to follow with more updates.

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Chinese Negotiators To Visit US As Tariffs Trigger More Concerns

Jon Phillip



trump like a boss china

Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator will be heading to the US to talk trade this week.  The two countries have been at odds for months now with China trying to leverage the current US tariff situation. Of course, the US has not helped things either by continuing to increase tariffs on Chinese goods. 

Liu will be in the U.S. from May 9-10. The invite comes from both the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The markets took a hit on Monday after U.S. President Trump explained that he was not pleased with the speed of discussions and that he planned to raise tariffs by the end of the week.  Chinese authorities initially considered delaying talks in light of this.

What’s Next For China & The U.S.?

Both Mnuchin and Lighthizer were concerned after it was evident that talks weren’t making progress.  This was during a visit to Beijing just last week. Over the weekend, China sent a new draft of an agreement that outlined a pullback on certain language on several issues.  These issues had “the potential to change the deal very dramatically,” according to Mnuchin.

According to reports from the Global Times newspaper, China was prepared for other outcomes to the deal with the U.S. This also included a temporary breakdown. Furthermore, China had also planned to continue talks even if the U.S. decided to raise tariffs. Of course, time will tell but now we must see how the markets will react to these new developments coming from China.

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