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Here’s What You Missed 2/8/19

Daniel Chase

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There’s never a good time to admit to yourself that you have a snacking problem. Maybe you’re like me and goldfish crackers are your guilty pleasure, or perhaps you’re more of a popcorn fan. To be fair, it’s not so much about the type of snack that gets us in that sort of mood we’re all too familiar with, its more so when we overindulge on these delicacies.

Come to think of it, there’s never been a restaurant catered solely feeding snack connoisseurs what they so desperately crave on a daily basis. What if we could somehow create a dining experience that would encapsulate everything we love about snacking, fit into a three-course meal, or something resembling a meal.

While this may not be the best idea, I know at least three to five people who would enjoy eating at a snack-only restaurant. 

Well, all this writing has made me hungry, so here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Amazon Claps Back

In the early 90s, after Woody Allen divorced separated from his then-wife, actress Mia Farrow, he began an intimate relationship with his ex-wife’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. At the time of their budding relationship, Allen was 57, and Soon-Yi had just turned 24.

Those some would argue that their relationship was inappropriate, it wasn’t until later that year when Allen would be accused of sexually assaulting his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. The reason I bring this up is because Woody Allen today filed a $68 million lawsuit against with the Southern District of New York against Amazon (AMZN) who has halted a four-picture deal with Allen amidst recirculation of his sexual assault allegations. 

“Amazon has tried to excuse its action by referencing a 25-year-old, baseless allegation against Mr. Allen, but that allegation was already well know to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen…and, in any event it does not provide a basis for Amazon to terminate the contract. There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege its promises.”

-Language from lawsuit filed by Woody Allen against Amazon 

At a time where the “Me Too” movement has given voices to individuals who only now have felt truly comfortable to share stories of sexual assault, harassment, and rape, Allen’s lawsuit represents another actor trying to live his life in denial of the fact that he committed intolerable acts earlier in his life. We cannot escape our faults if we try to bury them without consequence, and Amazon’s (AMZN) placing of Allen’s new films on the back burner is proof enough of this fact. 

Never A Dull Moment 

Surprising no one, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has continued without end, and many believe the end is nowhere in sight. In recent news, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker informed the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that he will not appear before the panel at the end of this week unless Chairman Jerry Nadler drops his subpoena threat, according to Politico. 

“Based upon today’s action, it is apparent that the Committee’s true intention is not to discuss the great work of the Department of Justice, but to create a public spectacle. Political theater is not the purpose of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case.”

-Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker


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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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