The daily business briefing: July 13, 2018

Harold Maass
The Time Warner Center in NYC
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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Trump slams Theresa May over Brexit after lavish U.K. welcome

President Trump received a lavish welcome at a Blenheim Palace gala hosted by British Prime Minister Theresa May, but the reception was overshadowed on Friday by an interview in which Trump slammed May's Brexit plan. Trump said May's planned "soft" exit from the European Union could "kill" Britain's trade deal with the U.S. In the interview with The Sun newspaper, Trump also blamed London's mayor for terrorist attacks on the city, and said Europe is "losing its culture" due to immigration. Trump also said he felt unwelcome in London due to protests. The U.K. visit marked the second leg of a week-long trip to Europe that started with a NATO summit where Trump used threats to get allies to commit to spending more on defense. [The Associated Press, MarketWatch]


DOJ to appeal Time Warner-AT&T merger

The Department of Justice said in a court document filed Thursday that it would appeal the antitrust approval of a massive merger between Time Warner and AT&T. The $85.4 billion deal was approved by a federal judge in June, despite the DOJ's protest at the time that the merger would make the TV industry "less competitive and less innovative." In approving the deal last month, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon determined that the government had failed to show that the merger would reduce competition in the TV market. The judge said that an appeal would be "fair game." AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said the appeal was surprising. "The Court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned," he said. [CNBC]


U.S. stocks rebound as focus turns to bank earnings

U.S. stocks on Thursday bounced back from Wednesday's losses with tech powerhouses Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon leading the way with all-time highs. CA Technologies posted the biggest gains in the S&P 500, jumping 18.7 percent after chipmaker Broadcom announced an $18.9 billion deal to buy the business software company. Broadcom dropped by 13.7 percent. Analysts said investors had shaken off fears of an intensifying trade war between the U.S. and China sparked by a Trump administration threat of tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. "The consensus is that negotiations will resume and there will be some sort of agreement between the U.S. and China," said Quincy Krosby, a chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. U.S. stock futures mostly gained early Friday as attention shifted to incoming earnings reports by major banks. [Reuters, MarketWatch]


Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says economy in 'good place'

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that the economy is in "a really good place," with low employment and inflation near the Fed's 2 percent target. "This strengthening, tightening labor market that you know we've been supporting with low interest rates has really been working for American workers and families," Powell said in an interview for American Public Media's Marketplace radio program. Powell said that Fed officials are hearing a "rising level of concern" from business leaders about trade tensions. He said President Trump's tariffs are intended to force countries to reduce barriers to U.S. goods, which would help U.S. companies, but that if they result in a trade war with higher tariffs "that could be a negative for our economy." [The Associated Press]


Commerce Secretary Ross to sell stocks after ethics warning

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that he would sell of his remaining equity holdings after the Office of Government Ethics said his failure to do so "created the potential for a serious criminal violation." Ross had pledged in his ethics agreement to divest many holdings within 90 days of his confirmation, and more complex ones within 180 days. The ethics watchdog said in reports last month that he hadn't sold $20 million worth of Invesco shares and other assets on time. The ethics office's acting director, David Apol, told Ross in a letter Thursday that his failure created a possible appearance of conflict of interest and "undermined public confidence." Ross defended himself by saying his "investments were complex" and that he had "self-reported" errors. [Bloomberg]