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The daily business briefing: April 30, 2019

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Harold Maass
Google ad growth stalls
Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images
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1.

Alphabet shares sink after ad revenue growth slows

Alphabet shares fell by 7.5 percent in after-hours trading after Google's parent company reported quarterly earnings and revenue that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. Google's big competitors for ad sales, including Facebook, Snap, Amazon, and Twitter, all reported quarterly revenue that met or beat expectations. Alphabet, however, reported a quarterly revenue increase of 17 percent to $36.3 billion, falling short of an average estimate of $37.3 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. In the same quarter last year, Alphabet reported a 26 percent increase in revenue. The company's quarterly costs rose at nearly the same pace as revenue. [Reuters]

2.

Trump sues to block Deutsche Bank, Capital One from complying with subpoenas

President Trump's lawyers filed a lawsuit Monday against Deutsche Bank and Capital One seeking to block them from complying with congressional subpoenas for his financial records. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York, and also lists Trump's children and his businesses as plaintiffs. It asks the court to find the Democratic-controlled House's demand for Trump's records invalid. "The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump ... and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage," the lawsuit said. The chairs of the House committees that issued the subpoenas, Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), called the lawsuit "meritless" and "only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible." [USA Today]

3.

Boeing chief vows to be on board when 737 MAX jets return to the air

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Monday that he would be on one of the first 737 MAX flights once the jets return to the air after being grounded in the wake of two deadly crashes. "This is a really important part of showing our confidence in the product," Muilenburg said at a shareholders' meeting, "and I can tell you our Boeing employees are very supportive of doing that as well." He said he also would take part in two test flights on jets with updated versions of the flight control software suspected of contributing to the crashes of a Lion Air 737 MAX in October and an Ethiopian Airlines jet in March. A total of 346 people died in the crashes. [Business Insider]

4.

Facebook passes data to researchers studying social media's role in elections

Facebook is giving researchers access to "privacy-protected Facebook data" to aid in studies that will examine the role social media plays in elections. The company's research institute partners, Social Science One and the Social Science Research Council, picked a group of 60 researchers who will study the effects of social media on democracies and free elections. Facebook has been criticized for its handling of the platform ahead of elections and in the face of major misinformation campaigns. The researchers will be allowed to look through databases of political ads that have appeared on Facebook, URLs that were shared ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, and trend data on content that was widely shared. The researchers won't be able to identify individual users. [The Hill, Facebook]

5.

U.S. stocks mixed ahead of more earnings, Fed meeting

U.S. stock index futures were mixed early Tuesday ahead of a fresh batch of corporate earnings, financial data, and the start of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 fluctuated between narrow losses and gains, and Nasdaq futures were down slightly. The S&P 500 reached the latest of several record closes after gaining 0.1 percent thanks to better-than-expected corporate earnings reports. Apple and Mondelez International release their reports after the bell on Tuesday. General Electric, one of several powerhouses to release earnings before the bell, reported better-than-expected results and its shares jumped by 7 percent in pre-market trading. [CNBC]