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Here’s What You Missed (3/7/19)

Daniel Chase

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We’ve become so engrossed in ourselves, and in the portrayal of our lives on social media, that we’ve completely lost touch with reality. I’ve had friends tell me, in private, that they’re feeling pretty terrible, or going through something difficult, and moments later, I see them post a photo with a caption like “never been happier.”

We are so afraid that the real world will catch on to the fact that maybe we’re not okay, and rather than face these insecurities head on, we hide behind photos and stories. I wonder what the world would look like without social media, if people would start being honest with each other. I think would be an incredible social experiment to see this play out, if not for the fact that several people would lose their minds. It’s just something to be aware of, nothing to worry about. 

Everything will be fine, and in the meantime, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Facebook Is Going Ghost 

In the case of apps like Instagram, when someone posts to their “story,” these media bites last twenty-four hours before disappearing into the ether of the cosmos. In a recent blogpost, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook, which also owns Instagram, spoke about how, for years now, Facebook and Instagram have existed as a digital equivalent to that of a “town square.” He continued to explain that “people increasingly want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room,” referring to the notion that some people choose to message friends privately, as opposed to in a Facebook group or on somewhere more public. Zuckerberg goes on to share that predicts privacy-based communications platforms will soon become all the more important, which is interesting given Facebook’s track record with data privacy-related issues. 

“I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protection services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing…but I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services..and we plan to build this the way we’ve developed WhatsApp and Facebook, including in private messages and stories..”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder, Facebook 

It’s a bold strategy for Zuckerberg to suggest that Facebook take the steps necessary to make its platforms more secure, and ephemeral, especially at a time where data transparency is a primary concern for users across all social platforms. 

This Is Why Men Shouldn’t Be In Office 

It amazes me that, despite headlines popping up everyday about how men holding governmental positions, exercise their power to sexually abuse or assault women, and think there’s nothing wrong with doing so. Let me rephrase that, it’s absolutely disgusting that this is taking place. On Wednesday, during a congressional hearing on military sexual assault, Sen. Martha McSally informed the press that, when she served in the Air Force, one of her commanding officers raped her. 

“I also am a military sexual assault survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted. Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. I thought I was strong but felt powerless…”

Sen. Martha McSally

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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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