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Here’s What You Missed 3/8/19

Daniel Chase

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If the customer is truly always right, then it would serve a company or organization well to assure that customers feel taken care of. I recently visited a restaurant, which will remain nameless for the sake of anonymity, and, after eating lunch, I left feeling very dissatisfied with my experience. Not only was my food cold, but the portion was embarrassingly small. I just feel like businesses have stopped trying to please their customers like they used to. There was a time when customer satisfaction was a key priority, but that has since been cleared away in place of saving time and cutting costs. Though I do not own a business, should I ever venture to do so, customer service will be a key tenet of my operations as a business owner. 

Consider how you’re treated the next time you spend your time somewhere, and here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Airbnb + HotelsTonight 

In an attempt to bolster its portfolio following a $31 billion valuation, Airbnb will acquire HotelTonight ahead of its initial public offering. Assuming the deal goes through, this will satisfy Airbnb’s desire to become the authoritative travel platform with home sharing, hotel booking, experiences and more. Per the details of the agreement, the HotelTonight platform will continue to operate independently from Airbnb, but HotelTonight’s CEO Sam Shank will report to Greg Geeley, Airbnb’s president of homes, according to TechCrunch. 

“We started HotelTonight because we knew people wanted a better way to book  an amazing hotel room on-demand, and we are excited to join forces with Airbnb to bring this service to guests around the world. Together, HotelTonight and Airbnb can give guests more choices and the world’s best boutique and independent hotels a genuine partner to connect them with those guests…”

Sam Shank, co-Founder and CEO, HotelTonight

Airbnb is slowly but surely redefining what it means to travel. Whereas travel logistics have historically been challenging and often frustrating, Airbnb has made key investments in companies to alleviate these stressors and build a better platform. 

Well, That Escalated Quickly

If you’ve managed to tune in, here and there, to the court proceedings regarding Michael D. Cohen, former personal lawyer and alleged fixer for President Donald Trump, then you know that things have been going less than smoothly as of recent. Cohen was sentenced to prison, disbarred from being a lawyer in the State of New York, and has had a rough time since his breakup with the President. 

In an attempt to secure reparations for his trouble, Cohen filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing the Trump organization of breaching a contract and “refusing to pay $1.9 million in legal fees once Cohen cooperated with federal prosecutors, according to the New York Times.

In addition to recovering his legal fees, Cohen is reportedly asking for an additional $1.9 million that he was forced to pay in fines, forfeitures, and other reasons after pleading guilty to his myriad of offenses. We shall see how this plays out in the next few days, please standby. 

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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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