March 26, 2018 / 11:36 AM / a month ago

Monday Morning Briefing

Good morning. Analysts fear that ‘FANG’ stocks may be losing their bite, Uber makes its second retreat from an Asian market and Thai drag queens hope that a new TV show will bring greater LGBT acceptance.

Attendees are seen before students and gun control advocates hold the "March for Our Lives" event demanding gun control after recent school shootings at a rally in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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Highlights

Is Wall Street's beloved FANG stock quartet breaking up? The outcry over Facebook’s handling of users’ data has bled $75 billion from the social media company’s stock market value, with concerns about potential regulation of internet companies also hurting Alphabet. Opinion polls published yesterday in the United States and Germany cast doubt over the level of trust people have in Facebook over privacy, as the firm ran advertisements apologizing to users. However, anyone tempted to #DeleteFacebook is still likely to be monitored by the social network, which tracks nearly 30 percent of global website traffic.

 Remington, one of the largest U.S. makers of firearms, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday to carry out a debt-cutting deal with creditors amid mounting public pressure for greater gun control. Thousands gathered in Washington DC for in a "March for Our Lives" protest over the weekend demanding gun control after recent school shootings.

Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels who claims she had sex with Donald Trump before he was president said she had been threatened in 2011 while in a parking lot with her infant daughter to discourage her from discussing the relationship. 

 World

At least 64 people including children were killed by a fire which engulfed a busy shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. The fire, one of the deadliest in Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union, swept through the “Winter Cherry” shopping center yesterday afternoon.

China said it is willing to hold talks with the United States to resolve their differences over trade, as alarm grows over a possible trade war between the world’s two largest economies. World stocks came off six-week lows and U.S. stock futures jumped on optimism surrounding the talks.

Egyptians began voting in a presidential election set to deliver an easy win for incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, with turnout the main focus after all serious opposition withdrew complaining of repression.

Commentary 

A growing cohort of pro-Russian politicians in Europe is untroubled by Putin's illiberal policies and benefits from his support. “The danger of the populist-nationalist-far-right/far-left affection for Russia, especially from the White House, is that it renders increasingly faint the distinction between a charismatic authoritarian leader and the messiness of democratic rule,” writes John Lloyd.

By appointing John Bolton as national security adviser, Trump has shaken off his generals' moderating influence – and become even less predictable, writes Peter Apps. "Trump has clearly become frustrated with senior figures around him telling him what he cannot do... By bringing Bolton into the White House, Trump will gain an ally who has built a career on being almost as idiosyncratic and iconoclastic as him."

Tech

Ride-hailing firm Uber has agreed to sell its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab, marking the U.S. company’s second retreat from an Asian market.

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom won one battle with New Zealand authorities when a Wellington court ruled the attorney general broke the law by refusing his request to be given all information about him held by public agencies.

Executives from Apple and IBM have called for more oversight on how personal data is used following the Facebook breach that saw roughly 50 million users’ data misused by consultancy Cambridge Analytica. 

Reuters TV

A Texas congressman who viewed a confession tape says the man blamed for the deadly Austin bombing spree showed no remorse for his actions.

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