2020年1月6日 星期一

DealBook: Why the Markets Are Still Worried About Iran

Oil prices climbed again, while stock markets slipped, as the fallout from the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general continues.
January 6, 2020
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Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center.  Via Reuters
Iran continues to worry investors
U.S. markets are poised to drop again today amid further fallout from President Trump’s order to kill a top Iranian general last week. Expect more turmoil.
Iran said yesterday that it was all but abandoning the 2015 deal to keep limits on its nuclear production, the biggest response yet to the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the elite Quds force. Iraqi lawmakers also voted to oust the U.S. military from their country. Mr. Trump kept up his tough talk against Tehran and threatened sanctions against Baghdad.
How the markets are reacting:
• Brent crude oil jumped above $70 a barrel this morning, while gold hit its highest price since April 2013.
• Futures for the S&P 500, the Dow and the Nasdaq were down sharply, after the indexes fell on Friday.
• Stock markets across Asia and Europe were down as well.
• And shares in Saudi Aramco, the Saudi oil giant considered vulnerable to potential Iranian attacks after a drone strike last year, fell again today.
Experts say it’s hard to predict what will come next:
• “There’s a whole universe of possibilities now,” including Iranian retaliation against U.S. forces and kidnapping of Americans, the retired U.S. general David Petraeus told The New Yorker.
• Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, writes in an NYT Opinion piece, “The Trump administration will have to understand the full complexity of the conflict it just escalated” and work with allies to see through to “an end of what already has been a very long war.”
Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York and Michael J. de la Merced in London.
Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein  Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Harvey Weinstein’s trial starts today
The Hollywood producer’s criminal trial for sexual assault begins this morning in Manhattan. It’s certain to become one of the year’s most-watched legal proceedings, Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor and Jan Ransom of the NYT write.
Supporters of #MeToo want to see if the legal system can deliver justice for victims. Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers are arguing that the movement has gone too far.
The case will center on allegations that Mr. Weinstein forced a film production assistant to have oral sex and raped another woman. Other accusations were too old to be prosecuted, not within New York’s jurisdiction or involved behavior that was not criminal.
Prosecutors have struggled. They had to drop one accuser, and the lead detective was ousted over allegations of police misconduct.
But Mr. Weinstein has a big liability: himself. “Right or wrong, fairly or unfairly — who is more despised than Harvey Weinstein?” Mark Bederow, a criminal defense lawyer, told the NYT.
Grounded 737 Max planes in Renton, Wash.
Grounded 737 Max planes in Renton, Wash.  Lindsey Wasson/Reuters
Boeing may have yet another headache
The company’s 737 Max jetliner remains grounded because of software problems that led to two fatal crashes. Now, an internal audit by Boeing at the behest of the Federal Aviation Administration has revealed more potential problems, according to Natalie Kitroeff and David Gelles of the NYT.
• Engineers found potential issues with wiring that helps control the Max’s tail, which could lead to a short circuit — and possibly a crash if pilots respond incorrectly.
• The problem may also exist on the Max’s predecessor, the 737 NG, 6,800 of which are in service.
• There are also issues with the Max’s engines, including a possible weakness in a rotor and a potential vulnerability to lightning strikes.
The discoveries threaten “to extend a crisis that is consuming one of America’s most influential companies and disrupting the global aviation business,” Ms. Kitroeff and Mr. Gelles write.
And Boeing may face another hurdle: 737 Max pilots could be required by the F.A.A. to take flight-simulator training, the WSJ reports, citing unnamed sources. Boeing has long claimed that such training was unnecessary.
Who could cash in on California’s new privacy law
The California Consumer Privacy Act goes into effect this month, forcing internet companies to comply with stricter limits on how they use customer data. That could mean riches for a slew of consultants offering to help, writes Eric Newcomer of Bloomberg.
• “The C.C.P.A. mandates that businesses are able to tell customers what data they have gathered about them, and to stop selling that data upon request,” Mr. Newcomer writes. “That requires companies to be more conscious of what data they keep and where they keep it.”
• “A wave of start-ups, law firms and consultants are looking to take advantage of that anxiety — and to capture some of the $55 billion that companies are expected to spend on initial compliance with the law.”
• “Bart Willemsen, an analyst at Gartner who advises clients on compliance, has identified over 200 companies pitching products to help companies adhere to privacy rules.”
• But, Mr. Newcomer cautions, none actually has a comprehensive solution. “There’s no single silver bullet,” Mr. Willemsen said.
Tim Cook of Apple at the Golden Globes, unaware of the needling to come.
Tim Cook of Apple at the Golden Globes, unaware of the needling to come. 
A frosty reception for Big Tech at the Golden Globes
Tech giants like Apple and Amazon were hoping for wins at last night’s Golden Globes to prove that they are serious players in the media world. They instead got pointed jabs in their direction.
• Apple, whose “Morning Show” was up for three awards, was stung by the night’s M.C., the comedian Ricky Gervais, who said the company “runs sweatshops in China.” He then needled actors who work with Apple, Amazon and other big corporations.
• And in introducing the movie “Jojo Rabbit,” the actor Sacha Baron Cohen skewered Mark Zuckerberg by likening the Facebook chief to the film’s protagonist, “a naïve, misguided child who spreads Nazi propaganda and only has imaginary friends.”
But the companies may have been more concerned about winning. Here’s how they did:
• Apple whiffed.
• Amazon won two awards for “Fleabag,” while Netflix picked up awards for “The Crown” and “Marriage Story.”
• Oldish media giants did the best: AT&T won six awards (four through HBO and two through Warner Bros.), while Disney (through FX and Hulu) won three.
Tom Brady
Tom Brady  Elise Amendola/Associated Press
What business can learn from the Patriots
The New England Patriots were shockingly booted early from the N.F.L. playoffs over the weekend. But the economist (and New York Jets fan) Mohamed El-Erian writes that there are lessons the corporate world should take from the team’s long success.
Rather than gloat, “I’d rather reflect on how the Patriots have been able to manage success so well and so long — quite an achievement in both sports and business,” Mr. El-Erian writes in Bloomberg Opinion.
What quarterback Tom Brady, Coach Bill Belichick and others can teach:
• The Patriots constantly came up with “small changes in the way they play and in their personnel that make a huge difference on the field.”
• “The team never seemed to relax or become complacent. Discipline was paramount.”
• Brady was the Patriots’ only constant star over the years. But the coaches consistently “found and developed previously unknown players who would then feature in our nightmares,” Mr. El-Erian writes.
The speed read
• One Medical, which operates health clinics across the U.S. and counts Alphabet as a backer, has filed for an I.P.O. (TechCrunch)
• Shareholders of Hudson’s Bay, the owner of Saks, approved a plan to take the retailer private in a deal that values the company at about $1.5 billion. (Bloomberg)
• Town Sports International, the owner of New York Sports Clubs, has reportedly agreed to buy the cycling studio company Flywheel. (FT)
Politics and policy
• Ben Bernanke, the former Fed chairman, has suggestions for how the central bank can continue to support the economy despite low interest rates. (NYT)
• Britain reportedly plans to push the E.U. to speed up trade negotiations to wrap up a Brexit deal by December. (FT)
• Some defense contractors fraudulently used shell companies to win Pentagon contracts, a government watchdog has found. (Bloomberg)
• The British government is said to be investigating whether a cyberattack caused an outage at the London Stock Exchange in August. (WSJ)
• New York State officials reportedly offered Amazon $800 million more in incentives than had been disclosed to build its huge new campus in New York City. (WSJ)
Don’t expect many Chinese companies to present at CES, the huge electronics expo, because of the U.S.-China trade war. Do expect more smart-home devices and really expensive TVs. (WSJ, FT)
Best of the rest
• Operatives working for Carlos Ghosn reportedly exploited a security loophole at an airport in Japan to help the auto executive to flee the country. (WSJ)
• A top forensic pathologist questions whether Jeffrey Epstein really died by suicide. (60 Minutes)
• The world’s top two cocoa producers, Ivory Coast and Ghana, are trying to raise the prices for chocolate. (WSJ)
• Can the popular fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen move beyond, well, salads? (NYT)
Thanks for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.
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