November 10, 2017 / 1:26 PM / a month ago

Friday Morning Briefing

Trump sets out a tough trade message in Vietnam, bitcoin slides by over $1,000 in less than 48 hours and robotic dairy milking takes off in the United States.

Tax reform

World stocks edged lower on signs that U.S. tax reforms could be delayed after Senate Republicans unveiled a plan that differed significantly from the House of Representatives’ version.

The plan differed on several key fronts, including how they treat the corporate tax rate, the tax deduction for state and local taxes, and the estate tax.

As soon as the House of Representatives’ proposed tax reform bill had hit the news, divorce lawyer Malcolm Taub’s phone started to buzz. The tax deduction for alimony was on the chopping block, eliminating the break for the spouse who pays alimony, and the tax hit for the one who receives it. 

Americans are more likely to believe the wealthy will benefit most from the tax reform currently being pushed by Republicans who insist their goal is to help the middle class, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll. 

World

U.S. President Donald Trump set out a strong message on trade at a meeting of Asia-Pacific countries in Vietnam, saying the United States could no longer tolerate chronic trade abuses and would insist on fair and equal policies. 

France’s foreign minister said he believed that former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri was not under house arrest in Saudi Arabia and did not have any particular constraints on his movements.

A Hezbollah-run media unit said Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported to have been in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal during the Syrian army and its allies’ operation to clear it. 

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May should stop misleading voters and admit that Brexit can be avoided if Britain decides to unilaterally scrap divorce talks, the man who drafted Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty said.

Along a stretch of highway in suburban Bayamon, Puerto Rico, construction workers tried desperately to make progress repairing a 100-foot-long sinkhole before the clouds rolled in. The crater was among thousands of sites damaged by a storm that exposed an already fragile infrastructure in Puerto Rico, decimating water, power and roadways all at once.

China 

Reuters TV: Surveillance and silence in China’s ‘democracy village’. 

Chinese venture capital and private equity funds are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into local start-ups serving up snack food products of the healthier kind, and threatening the market share of larger Chinese and global food companies.

China will raise foreign ownership limits in financial firms in a step granting access to a tantalizing multi-trillion dollar financial services market, as the world’s second-biggest economy seeks to position itself as a major global finance hub.

Breakingviews: China’s “Singles’ Day” kicks off nearly a month of discounts and promotions. The extravaganza means lots of free PR and huge transaction volumes for $480 billion behemoth Alibaba. 

An Australian Green Tree frog named "Godzilla" sits during the launch of the Australian Museum's national frog count phone app called "FrogID" in Sydney, Australia, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray

An Australian Green Tree frog named "Godzilla" sits during the launch of the Australian Museum's national frog count phone app called "FrogID" in Sydney, Australia, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray

 

Business

Trump’s broadsides against cable network CNN may complicate the U.S. government’s legal case if it decides to block AT&T’s deal to buy media company Time Warner, according to legal experts. 

Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP is exploring a sale or initial public offering of Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a U.S. diagnostics company that could be valued at more than $7 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said. Read the exclusive. 

British budget airline easyJet says its new chief executive officer would be industry veteran Johan Lundgren, a travel executive who most recently spent 12 years at rival travel firm TUI.

Kobe Steel said a lack of quality controls and a focus on profits was behind the widespread data tampering that has shaken up the supply chains of car and plane makers around the world. 

The force of “Star Wars” lifted Walt Disney shares as the promise of a new film trilogy overshadowed disappointing quarterly results and struggles at the media company’s television business. 

Crude oil markets were slightly higher, supported by continuing supply cuts and expectations that an output deal will be extended at the end of the month. 

Tech

Bitcoin dropped below $7,000 to trade more than 5 percent down on the day, having fallen by well over $1,000 since hitting an all-time high on Wednesday. 

Uber lost a bid to overturn a decision by a tribunal which had said its drivers deserved workers’ rights such as the minimum wage, in a blow to the company as it also battles to keep its license in London. 

Equifax reported lower quarterly profit, and quarterly revenue missed estimates, as the credit bureau warned that its massive data breach had prompted some customers to hold back business. 

Convincing big U.S. dairy owners to buy robots to milk their cows - and reduce the farmhands they employ - used to be a tough sell for Steve Fried. Recently, his job has gotten easier, he says, in part because of Trump. Read the latest story in the "Trump Effect" series. 

Investors poured a record $1.3 billion into funds managing tech shares over the past week, contrasting with a picture of ebbing inflow into world equity vehicles and losses on U.S. stock funds, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said. 

Alphabet’s Google unit told U.S. election regulators in a letter seen by Reuters that it “strongly supports” tightening rules on online political advertising as part of efforts to curtail “foreign abuse and influence” in elections. 

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