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Here’s What You Missed (3/14/19)

Daniel Chase

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When was the last time that you paid a visit to a public library? I ask this because I believe that a significant percentage of Americans have either never been to a library, or make it a point to avoid these places like the plague. Well, if you fall into either of those categories, you are truly missing out on an incredible place. First of all, some libraries have cafes which serve coffee and treats, and you can snack on a muffin or slice of lemon loaf while reading Vonnegut. Next, almost every library has free wi-fi, and their own computer lab if you cannot afford a laptop or if you simply forgot to bring yours that day. Lastly, and this the most incredible part; libraries have books, CDs, movies, and every type of media you could imagine, all for free. Why wouldn’t you spend every waking moment in one of these lovely places? 

Check out a library and maybe a book, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

The Scandal Continues 

Earlier this week, it was discovered that over fifty people were involved in one of the largest-scale college admissions scandals in the history of the United States. These people, all of which were parents of college-hopefuls, worked with TV producer Rick Singer to collectively pay over $25 million for Singer’s “company” to falsify student test scores and athletic performance records to help students get into universities they otherwise wouldn’t have a chance at getting into. While this scandal is exciting and upsetting for the students who probably had only good intentions, at the core of the story lies a dangerous systemic issue relating to affluent individuals believing they can simply spend to fix their problems. 

According to the official court filing, Rick Singer, and others known and unwon to the Grand Jury:

“…carried out the racketeering conspiracy which included facilitating cheating on the ACT and SAT exams in exchange for bribes by arranging for or allowing a third party —  to secretly take the exams in place of the actual students, or to replace the students’ exam responses…designing applicants as purported recruits for competitive college athletic teams, without regard for the applicants’ athletic abilities…”

United States District Court of Massachusetts 

In addition to faking standardized test scores and athletic statistics, the scandal also included bribing athletic coaches at elite colleges including Yale and USC, who would subsequently vouch on behalf of these students to the respective school’s admissions departments. Coaches would advocate for students who, in some cases, didn’t even play sports. 

Boeing, You’re Grounded!

Following the tragic crash of a Boeing 737 Max plane which killed 157 people on Sunday, and 189 people back in October, President Donald Trump proclaimed that the Federal Aviation Administration ground all Boeing 737 Max aircrafts until further notice. 

“We’re goin to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 Max 8 and the 737 Max 9 and planes associated with that line. Any plane  currently in the air will go to its destination and thereafter be grounded until further notice. So planes that are in the air will be grounded, if they’re the 737 Max, will be grounded upon landing at the destination.”

President Donald Trump

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

Jon Phillip

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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

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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

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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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