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Here’s What You Missed 2/7/19

Daniel Chase

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In a world where drivers act completely normally, one person decided to pull his car in front of mine and try to start a physical altercation with me. It was completely unwarranted and incredibly terrifying, but also weirdly exciting. After coming down from my adrenaline boost, I realized that this was not an isolated incident.

Road rage is very a real thing, but after I realized I was safe, the first thought that popped into my head was what had caused this man to be so angry that he would choose to threaten me physically?

To be fair, he claimed that I cut him off, but I was making a three-point-turn and he was coming at me at approximately 88.8 mph. You know what? Maybe he was trying time travel, but he wasn’t in a DeLorean so I think he was just an aggressive character. 

I’m feeling quite well, and here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Mower, I Barely Know..

The ingenious minds responsible for some of the world’s most innovative tech companies have informed us, over the past few years, of their foray into projects related to self-driving vehicles, drone parcel delivery services, and, as it relates to today’s lesson, robotic lawnmowers. Back in 2016, Robin Autopilot was founded to take the pain out of maintaining a well-kept lawn, an issue that we can all get behind, right? 

“We were trying to find lawn care companies that were reliable , having to pay with cash or checks under doormats. I mean, we’re all tech guys from the 21st century, and it was hard to believe that there’s this $70 billion business that still operates the same way it did 30 years ago…”

Justin Crandall, co-Founder, Robin 

Robin’s automated mowing bots use a magnetometer rather than wireless or IR sensors, and cost roughly $100 – $150, but if that seems expensive, the Company claims that their electric-powered little fellows are eons away from traditional mowers, in terms of sustainability.

According to their website, one hour of mowing with a regular lawnmower emits “as much pollution as eleven hours in your car, and the mower spews 87 lbs. of greenhouse gases into the air each year.” Given that air pollution is one of the world’s most significant environmental health risks, Robin’s catering to consumers interested in living past their forties may serve them well as the Company continues to releases mowers. 

Man, Those Were The Days 

Days after Virginia’s governor was found to have proudly worn Ku Klux Klan attire, the state’s Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to the news media that he wore blackface during a college party in the late 1980s. I mean, to be fair, everything was weird in the 80s, so he’ll get off easily right? 

Trying to remedy the situation, Attorney General Herring issued a statement which said:

“…In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song, It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes — and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others — we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup…”

-Attorney General Mark Herring (VA)


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Fed Announces No Rate Cuts, But Sees A Cut In The Future

Joe Samuel

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For the past couple of years, the United States Federal Reserve has been in the middle of a lot of speculation. The trade war between the United States and China has created a clamor for cuts in interest rates.

But on Wednesday, the Fed held the interest rates as they were. Furthermore, the Fed officially announced that no cuts in interest rates were forthcoming in 2019. It’s interesting to note that the markets are betting heavily on a forthcoming rate cut from the Fed. Some even expect the cuts to be formalized in July.

Rate Cut Ahead?

The Fed has ruled out the possibility of any cuts this year (allegedly). But many market watchers believe that a lot depends on how the market conditions evolve over the coming months. The uncertainty regarding the trade war with China is a major problem.

Yet experts believe that if it turns into a prolonged skirmish, then the Fed might reconsider its position. The United States President Donald Trump has led been campaigning for lower rates from the Fed for some time.

After having delivered his statement on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell seemed to imply that rate cuts could not be completely out of the question in 2019.

“Many participants now see the case for a somewhat more accommodative policy has strengthened.”

The decision by the Fed was possibly one of the most-watched events in recent times. Long-term ramifications are the main concern.

Market participants had been calling for multiple cuts. But the Fed voted to keep benchmark rates within the 2.25% and 2.5% range. It was the range that had been back in December when the Fed had controversially raised the interest rates. The voted had been passed 9-1 in favor of holding the rate.

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

Jon Phillip

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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

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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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