Trade: More time for a China deal
President Trump said he will delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese imports to give negotiators more time to reach a comprehensive deal, said David Lynch in The Washington Post. The news, delivered on Twitter on Sunday, is “the most significant sign yet that Trump is eager to resolve a trade spat with China.” He announced plans to host Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, if the talks continue later in March. He’d originally planned to raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports on March 1 if no deal was reached.
Mergers: Court clears way for AT&T–Time Warner
A federal appeals judge upheld AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner for $85.4 billion, said Edmund Lee and Cecilia Kang in The New York Times. The ruling finally greenlights a deal hatched in 2016 combining “one of the nation’s largest wireless providers with a vast media business” that includes CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros. The Justice Department had argued that a lower court ruling in June “applied antitrust laws incorrectly in allowing the merger to proceed.” The merger attracted significant interest from President Trump, who is a frequent critic of CNN and vowed to block the deal.
Fed: Powell prepares for slower growth
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said “dangers are brewing” for the U.S. economy, said Jeff Cox in CNBC.com. Speaking to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs this week, Powell described the economic outlook as “generally favorable” but warned it faces challenges from abroad, most notably China and Brexit. He suggested that the Fed is “prepared to adjust” its balance sheet to stimulate growth in the event of a slowdown. Among positive developments, “he cited stronger wage growth, especially among lower earners, as well as increased labor force participation.”
GE: Raising money to right the ship
General Electric sold its life sciences business for $21 billion this week in one of the biggest deals in the company’s history, said Jon Chesto in The Boston Globe. The buyer, Danaher Corp.—GE CEO Larry Culp’s old company—paid the equivalent of seven times BioPharma’s annual revenue, a “welcome chunk of cash for an industrial conglomerate that’s struggling with a mountain of debt.” Culp is following his predecessor’s plan of shrinking the sprawling GE, showing the “decisiveness that Wall Street needs to believe” in a GE turnaround story.