Good Wednesday. The briefing will be taking a break on Thursday and Friday, but look out for a special China-focused edition on Sunday. (Want this by email? Sign up here.)
The stock market rout has gone beyond tech
Monday’s slide in tech stocks turned into a global market retreat yesterday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.7 percent, while the broader S&P 500 slid 1.8 percent, turning negative for the year.
Shares in the big five tech companies — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet (Google’s parent) — have now lost more than $1 trillion in value. Other markets are struggling, including those for oil and cryptocurrencies.
Matt Phillips of the NYT writes that, while the market falls don’t mean the U.S. is headed into recession, they could portend problems:
In 2018, a hefty dose of fiscal stimulus, in the form of tax cuts, allowed the United States to shake off the growth worries in China, Europe and the rest of the world. It won’t have the same potency next year, leaving the American economy and stocks more vulnerable to a range of risks, including a slowing global economy and continued rate increases by the Federal Reserve.
Neil Irwin of the Upshot reckons a slowdown in U.S. growth is now “more likely than not.”
It may not be time to panic yet, though. John Authers of Bloomberg Opinion detects “very worrying signs that this market has hit its top,” but adds that it “doesn’t necessarily mean we’re in for a historically terrible crash.” Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, sees no signs of a recession. And the Fed still plans to keep raising rates.
Asian markets are down overnight. But U.S. stock futures suggest it may be a better day for the markets today.
Carlos Ghosn reportedly wanted to merge Nissan and Renault
Before he was arrested this week over financial misconduct accusations, Mr. Ghosn, who was chairman of both carmakers, planned to push for a full merger of Nissan and Renault, according to unnamed sources in the FT.
The FT reports that Nissan’s board was actively opposed, which had soured relations between Mr. Ghosn and his successor as C.E.O. there, Hiroto Saikawa.
Meanwhile, Nissan and Renault spent yesterday trying to contain the fallout from the scandal. Renault’s board appointed its C.O.O., Thierry Bolloré, to fill in for Mr. Ghosn — perhaps to protect its power in the Renault-Nissan alliance, the WSJ suggests. Nissan was left to deal with credit ratings agencies’ warnings that they may downgrade the company’s debt.
More on Mr. Ghosn and France: His saga raises questions about President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business policies.
Amazon wants in on sports TV
The company is said to have bid for the 22 regional sports networks that 21st Century Fox is offloading as part of its sale to Walt Disney, CNBC reports, citing unnamed sources. That would show how determined Amazon is to dominate online streaming.
Together, the networks air the games of 44 teams in the N.B.A., Major League Baseball and the N.H.L. They could significantly boost Amazon Prime’s sports offerings, which already include 11 Thursday-night N.F.L. games and, starting next year, 20 English Premier League soccer matches.
Amazon looks to have competition for these networks, though. CNBC reports that it’s up against Blackstone, Apollo Global Management and the Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Rupert Murdoch’s new Fox company may also join the fray. Expect a deal battle.
More Amazon news: Several employees bought apartments in Long Island City before it was officially named as one of the company’s new hubs. And Somali Amazon workers in Minnesota banded together to negotiate improved working conditions.
A huge weekend for e-commerce. Analysts predict that online holiday sales could exceed $100 billion this year. Cyber Monday sales could increase by as much as 17 percent compared to last year, reaching $7.7 billion.
Punishment nears for Italy. The E.U. is expected to publish a report today describing the country’s debt levels, which it could use to calculate fines on the grounds of overspending.
Trump affirmed his Saudi alliance despite the Khashoggi killing
President Trump pledged support for Saudi Arabia yesterday. He made it clear that he puts American economic interests ahead of suspicions that the country’s de facto ruler ordered the killing of a U.S. resident, the dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
In a statement of 633 words and eight exclamation marks, Mr. Trump said that it “may never” be known what role Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi heir apparent, played in the dissident’s death, though the C.I.A. has found that Prince Mohammed almost certainly authorized it.
Mr. Trump said his decision protected over $110 billion in agreed arms sales to Saudi Arabia and $340 billion in other promised investments. (Experts have repeatedly cast doubt on the Saudis actually spending anywhere near those amounts.)
The statement drew outrage from across the political spectrum. The NYT and the WSJ editorial boards both criticized it. And the Republican chairman and the Democratic ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee demanded that the Trump administration officially determine whether Prince Mohammed was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death.
The U.S. says China is still stealing intellectual property
China is still using cyber attacks, espionage and government pressure to obtain U.S. technology secrets, according to the Trump administration.
A report from the office of the U.S. trade representative says that “China fundamentally has not altered its acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, and indeed appears to have taken further unreasonable actions in recent months.”
It says Chinese direct investment in the U.S. has fallen in 2018, but is focused on technologies the U.S. wants to protect.
President Trump has used fears of intellectual property theft to justify his tariffs on Chinese goods. The report is likely to add to tensions ahead of his meeting with President Xi Jinping of China at the Group of 20 meeting this month.
Theresa May heads to Brussels as her Brexit deal struggles
The British prime minister will meet with European officials today to finalize a proposal for Britain’s leaving the E.U. But the plan is under fire at home and abroad, ahead of a crucial Sunday meeting of European leaders.
At home: Mrs. May’s proposal won the backing of Mark Carney, the head of the Bank of England. But rebels within her Conservative Party remain opposed to the plan, even as they struggle to oust her as prime minister. That has prompted Mrs. May to revive a discarded proposal on customs arrangements.
Abroad: The E.U.’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, supports Mrs. May’s plan, but some European countries have concerns. Spain threatened to veto the proposal over control of the Gibraltar peninsula.
More Brexit news: Germany is reportedly relaxing labor laws to attract banking jobs from London.
Megyn Kelly is reportedly close to receiving the full value of her $69 million contract from NBC as she departs the network.
Nielsen Holdings hired David Kenny from IBM as its C.E.O.
Facebook hired Kate Patchen, the Justice Department’s former head of antitrust enforcement in San Francisco, as an associate general counsel.
Scott Stanford reportedly plans to restart the venture capital firm Sherpa Capital after his co-founder, Shervin Pishevar, left amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gap may close hundreds of underperforming stores.
The speed read
• Bain Capital and KKR created a $20 million fund to help workers laid off when Toys “R” Us shuttered earlier this year. (Axios)
• Boston Scientific agreed to buy BTG, a British life sciences company, for about $4.2 billion. (FT)
• The fight between Campbell Soup and Third Point may rest on two board nominees. (CNBC)
• Coupang, a South Korean e-commerce start-up, raised $2 billion from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. (DealBook)
Politics and policy
• President Trump wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey. (NYT)
• House Democrats plan to investigate Ivanka Trump’s use of private email for White House business. (WSJ)
• The Trump administration proposed loosening tax rules on gifts to heirs. (WSJ)
• States plan to shore up their budgets with e-commerce taxes. It might not work. (Reuters)
• The case against Democrats nominating a white male businessman as their 2020 presidential candidate. (WaPo)
• China is clamping down on overseas personal shoppers. (FT)
• A bribery scandal has sunk $10 billion worth of Chinese deals across Central and Eastern Europe. (Bloomberg)
• The U.S. trade fight with China is leaving stockpiles of American crops to rot. (Reuters)
• The E.U. plans to tighten its screening of foreign investments. (WSJ)
• Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that he has no plans to stand down as chairman of Facebook and hopes to continue working with Sheryl Sandberg for “decades.” (CNN)
• Apple is reportedly planning to help military veterans access their electronic health records. (WSJ)
• The F.C.C. is considering doubling the minimum speed requirement for rural broadband. (Verge)
• Online censorship is said to have skyrocketed in Saudi Arabia in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. (MIT Technology Review)
• A blend of algorithmic and human investing is becoming a popular option for asset managers. (FT)
• Alphabet’s chairman isn’t convinced by Google’s plans for working in China. (Bloomberg)
Best of the rest
• Wildfires have made some California homes uninsurable. (NYT)
• Danske Bank will reportedly face a big money-laundering lawsuit. (FT)
• Steve Bannon is working on a $100 million effort to investigate what he sees as abuses of power by President Xi Jinping of China. (WSJ)
• High fees and low interest rates at regular banks are helping finance start-ups gain traction. (NYT)
Bonus: Thanksgiving news
• Citigroup has a list of things to be thankful for during the market rout. (Bloomberg)
• Europe isn’t thanking the U.S. for exporting Black Friday. (Bloomberg Opinion)
• A food warning: Romaine lettuce is at the center of another E. coli outbreak. (NYT)
• We hope this won’t be necessary, but: If you need faster airline customer service, tweet first. (NYT)
Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll see you on Sunday.
We’d love your feedback. Please email thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.