Federal Reserve: Trump tries to tone down tension
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell met face-to-face with his biggest tormenter: President Trump, said Jeanna Smialek in The New York Times. The White House summit “was the first between Powell and the president since February.” In the interval, Trump had “labeled the central bank chief and his colleagues ‘boneheads’ and questioned whether Powell or President Xi Jinping of China was a bigger ‘enemy’ of America.” Notwithstanding all that, Trump called this week’s meeting “good & cordial.” The Fed said Powell also “reiterated the central bank’s independence from the political process.”
Health care: A plan to make hospitals publish prices
The Trump administration released a plan last week to force hospitals and insurers to get more transparent about pricing, said Berkeley Lovelace Jr. in CNBC.com. The new rule would require hospitals to “post their standard charges for services, including the negotiated rates with insurers and the discounted price a hospital is willing to accept directly from a patient if paid in cash.” The administration already required a published list of “sticker” prices, but hospitals and insurers often kept their negotiated rates secret.
Retail: Walmart and Target show consumer strength
Walmart marked a five-year streak of quarterly sales gains last week, reporting a 3.2 percent increase in U.S. sales in the third quarter, said Sarah Nassauer in The Wall Street Journal. E-commerce sales at the retail giant rose 41 percent from a year earlier. The results suggest there are “no signs of belt-tightening” from American consumers as Black Friday and the holiday shopping season approach. Target also trounced analysts’ estimates and raised its profit outlook for the full year. However, the quarterly performance from Home Depot, J.C. Penney, and Kohl’s was disappointing, as more “spending moves online.”
Cosmetics: Kylie Jenner turns fame into fortune
The world’s youngest “self-made” billionaire is cashing in, said Madeline Berg in Forbes.com. Kylie Jenner, at 22 also the youngest of the Kardashian sisters, sold 51 percent of her cosmetics empire, Kylie Cosmetics, to Coty for $600 million last week. The deal values the brand at $1.2 billion, confirming Forbes’ March estimates of Jenner’s wealth—and the extraordinary power of her celebrity. She has 270 million followers across platforms, and “her line of $29 ‘lip kits’ quickly took off” despite “minuscule overhead”—seven full-time employees—and nearly all of the marketing done on Instagram.