|Bid||222.05 x 800|
|Ask||222.14 x 800|
|Day's Range||220.53 - 222.29|
|52 Week Range||142.52 - 222.63|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.06|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||35.51|
|Earnings Date||Jan. 28, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||243.51|
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser has released new documents today that illuminate the initial jockeying between the company and Facebook as they discussed the need for Cambridge Analytica to delete data associated with 87 million Facebook users' profiles. The data was improperly obtained in 2014 by researchers with access to Facebook's developer platform who were being paid by Cambridge Analytica to obtain and process social media users' information for the purpose of targeting political ads. In December 2015 a Guardian article about Cambridge academic Dr Aleksandr Spectre (Kogan) outlined how he had acquired the Facebook profiles for research, and that Cambridge Analytica had improperly acquired that data.
Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) have jumped 9% in 2020 to help it ascend into the $1 trillion market cap club. Is it time to buy?
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for the repeal of Section 230, part of a U.S. law that protects internet companies from liability for content their users post online.In an interview with the New York Times editorial board, Biden said companies should be responsible for libel on their platforms. The former vice president focused his ire on Facebook Inc., the largest social-media company, and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.Section 230, a provision of the Communications Decency Act passed in 1996, “should be revoked, immediately,” Biden said.The rule has allowed internet giants to take a hands-off approach to content on their sites, but has also spurred free expression online. Overturning Section 230 could make internet companies far more cautious about what they let users write on their platforms. Smaller websites could be hurt the most.Read more: The 26 Words That Helped Make the Internet a MessTechnology companies have lobbied to protect Section 230, but there have been successful efforts to weaken it already. Congress passed a sex trafficking law in 2018 that chipped away some of the protections.Biden’s remarks to the New York Times, published Friday, came as part of the newspaper’s presidential endorsement process. He focused particularly on Facebook. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false,“ Biden said. “You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible.”“I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know,” Biden added. “I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem.”Other Democratic presidential candidates have expressed concern about Section 230. At tech industry conference SXSW, Amy Klobuchar said, “It is something else that we should definitely look at as we look at how we can create more accountability.”Biden also said the U.S. should embrace some privacy protections like those in Europe, where citizens have more rights to remove negative content about them posted online.To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Major technology and internet companies have long fueled the U.S. stock market’s climb to record levels, but that trend has come with one notable exception: Amazon.com Inc., which has languished in a fairly narrow trading range for months.Amazon shares haven’t notched an all-time high since September 2018, in contrast to mega-cap peers like Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook, which have been hitting records on a near-daily basis. Many of these names experienced pronounced draw-downs over the past year and a half, mostly due to disappointing earnings reports or outlooks. But they regained their momentum last year, as their growth assuaged investor caution. Amazon, however, remains about 8.5% below its own peak.Because of its long-term prospects, Amazon is about as close as a stock can be to a consensus choice among Wall Street firms. Over the near term, though, it is “the most hotly debated among investors” as “debates persist on both AWS and next day shipping efforts,” according to UBS analyst Eric Sheridan, referring to its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing business.Since the start of 2019, Amazon shares are up about 24%, below the 32% rise of the S&P 500, as well as the much larger gains seen in other bellwethers. Microsoft and Facebook are both up more than 60% since the start of last year, while Apple has doubled. The rally resulted in trillion-dollar valuations for Apple, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet, a milestone that Amazon briefly eclipsed in 2018.The underperformance reflects concerns over Amazon’s earnings trends, even as it has continued to grow revenue at a double-digit clip. Major investments into initiatives like one-day shipping are seen as headwinds, and shares “may be range bound ‘tactically’” given the impact of this spending, Morgan Stanley wrote on Thursday. The firm added that “near-term profitability is likely to still disappoint” because of these investments, even as it sees the effect as temporary and one-day shipping deepening Amazon’s competitive moat within e-commerce.Another key issue is the waning dominance of Amazon Web Services, which has long been a major driver for earnings and margins, but has faced growing competition from rivals like Alphabet and especially Microsoft. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, which cited IDC data, Amazon Web Services was 12 times larger than Microsoft’s cloud business in 2014. By 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, it was just four times larger.James Bach, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote that Amazon was particularly facing “stiffer competition” with government contracts. “Microsoft’s extensive sales experience, installed base within U.S. agencies and broad range of edge-computing products all make a compelling offering,” he wrote. Microsoft is “uniquely positioned to claim market share as federal agencies upgrade and secure IT systems.”In October, Microsoft beat out Amazon for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract, a deal Amazon had been seen as the favorite to win. The company subsequently claimed it lost the contract because of political interference by President Donald Trump, and filed a lawsuit challenging its validity.Amazon earlier this week named a new sales chief for AWS. Deutsche Bank wrote that the “magnitude of personnel changes” at AWS, along with rising competition, underscored the “increased risk of further deceleration” at the business.Separately, Morgan Stanley this week wrote that a quarterly survey of chief investment officers suggested some cause for caution about AWS growth. “Quarterly survey results can be volatile, but AWS saw a notable [quarter-over-quarter] drop in net expected budget share gains” over the next three years, analyst Brian Nowak wrote. “It will be important to continue to monitor these metrics going forward as we think about AWS forward growth.”Amazon is expected to report fourth-quarter results later this month. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Wall Street is looking for revenue growth of nearly 19% and expecting net income to fall by nearly a third. AWS revenue is seen growing more than 30% on a year-over-year basis, according to a Bloomberg MODL estimate.Wall Street remains almost unanimously positive on the stock. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, 53 firms recommend buying the stock, compared with the four with a hold rating. None advocate selling the shares.To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steven Fromm, Janet FreundFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- European Union privacy watchdogs are gearing up to police digital assistants after revelations that Amazon.com Inc. workers listened in on people’s conversations with their Alexa digital assistants.Bloomberg first reported in April that Amazon had a team of thousands of workers around the world listening to Alexa audio requests with the goal of improving the software.Similar issues have been raised over Google and Apple Inc.’s digital assistants, triggering privacy fears across the world, as intimate conversations in some users’ homes were laid bare to technicians fine-tuning the technology.EU regulators are now working on a common approach on how to police the technology, said Tine Larsen, head of the data protection authority in Luxembourg, where the U.S. retail giant has its European base and employs a staff of more than 2,000.“Because it’s a question of principle, the members of the EDPB should work out a common position in line with the consistency mechanism to apply data protection rules in a harmonized way for this type of treatment,” she said, referring to a panel of regulators from across the 28-nation EU.The revelations of the snooping into people’s homes came after regulators across Europe were handed beefed-up powers with its General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, including the right to levy fines of as much as 4% of a company’s global annual sales for the most serious violations. But the move toward common guidelines for digital assistants means companies should avoid fines -- for now.Larsen’s comments echo those of Helen Dixon, head of the Irish watchdog, responsible for overseeing the likes of Apple and Google.She told Bloomberg in November that the regulator first has to “bottom out fully on whether it’s true” when companies say they need to do transcripts of people’s interactions with the assistants. That’s why a focus will be first on coming up with guidelines, instead of investigations or inquiries, she said.Amazon said in a statement that “to help improve Alexa, we manually review and annotate a small fraction of 1% of Alexa requests” and that “access to data annotation tools is only granted to a limited number of employees who require them to improve the service.”EU regulators are working on a common position on the privacy issues surrounding voice assistant systems, said Johannes Caspar, head of the watchdog in Hamburg, Germany. “We urgently need common and reliable industry standards on this to better regulate” privacy protections, he said in an email.Caspar’s office initiated a number of probes into the issue, including one into Facebook over audio transcriptions from its Messenger users, he said. The questions his office has asked of Facebook have been discussed within the EDPB, the EU body of national regulators. The plan is to use the results to have a more coordinated approach by all European regulators affected by the issue, he said.Europe Mulls New Tougher Rules for Artificial IntelligenceThe U.K., which is set to leave the EU at the end of the month, will soon publish the results of a consultation into security features for smart speakers and other connected devices, with proposals for mandatory industry requirements that could lead to potential new regulation, U.K. Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan told Bloomberg Wednesday.Siri ChangesApple, whose Siri virtual assistant is embedded in its operating phone and desktop computer operating systems, pointed to an August blog post about the issue.“We know that customers have been concerned by recent reports of people listening to audio Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality evaluation process — which we call grading,” it said. “We heard their concerns, immediately suspended human grading of Siri requests and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. We’ve decided to make some changes to Siri as a result.”Google, which offers similar technology, referred to its September announcement that it would add new security protections to the way its workers listen to audio snippets, meant to help improve the product’s quality.In a blog post in September, Google said it would tell users that their audio may be listened to if they opt in to a feature that also improves audio quality. “We believe in putting you in control of your data, and we always work to keep it safe. We’re committed to being transparent about how our settings work so you can decide what works best for you,” the company said.While Amazon is escaping penalties over Alexa, Luxembourg, which is the company’s main privacy watchdog in Europe, is probing the company for other potential breaches.This follows complaints from activists that the online retailer is illegally tracking and profiling internet users without their permission, as well as not providing full access to users’ data.Amazon ‘Cooperating’The company says it’s “cooperating” with the authority, “which is at an advanced stage of its fact finding,” according to an emailed statement. The data commission declined to comment on any probes, citing local rules.French privacy activists La Quadrature du Net, filed one of the complaints on behalf of more than 10,000 customers. They urge regulators to crack down on “behavioral analysis and targeted advertising” by Amazon and levy a fine that is “as high as possible” due to the “massive, lasting and manifestly deliberate nature” of the alleged violations without the consent of its users.None of Your Business (Noyb), a group created by Austrian activist Max Schrems, followed up with a separate complaint last January over data access concerns, accusing Amazon of violating EU law by not handing over all personal data requested by a user of its Amazon Prime service.Arthur Messaud, a lawyer with La Quadrature du Net, and Schrems said they’d had no updates from the Luxembourg regulator, which is bound by strict secrecy provisions under national law, meaning it can’t reveal details until after any fines have been levies and all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.(Updates with Google response from 15th paragraph)\--With assistance from Natalia Drozdiak.To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Chapman, Giles TurnerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Facebook's $22 billion buyout of WhatsApp six years ago should have been blocked, the boss of France's antitrust watchdog, which is set to help review EU rules, has told Reuters. "Clearly, deals such as the Facebook/WhatsApp merger should probably not have been allowed," Isabelle de Silva said in an interview. A spokesman for Facebook had no immediate comment.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. was sued by four potential competitors who accuse it of anticompetitive behavior and who asked a judge to order Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to give up control of the social media behemoth.The companies also said if Facebook isn’t forced to sell its WhatsApp and Instagram assets, it’ll integrate them into the social network, “consolidating its market power across the globe, likely permanently foreclosing competition in the relevant markets for decades to come.”The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Francisco by Reveal Chat HoldCo LLC, a successor to the dating site LikeBright; USA Technology and Management Services Inc., better known as the credit and financial service provider Lenddol; former peer-to-peer site Cir.cl Inc.; and former identity verification provider Beehive Biometric Inc.The companies describe Facebook as “one of the largest unlawful monopolies ever seen in the United States” and say the aim of the lawsuit is “to halt the most brazen, willful anticompetitive scheme in a generation.”The big internet platforms are facing a high level of scrutiny of their business practices after years of virtual inaction in Washington. Both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which share a mandate to enforce antitrust laws, have announced broad reviews of the technology sector -- indicating that Facebook and possibly Amazon.com Inc. will undergo parallel investigations by both agencies.Facebook Response“We operate in a competitive environment where people and advertisers have many choices,” Facebook said in an emailed statement. “In the current environment, where plaintiffs’ attorneys see financial opportunities, claims like this aren’t unexpected but they are without merit.”The companies suing say getting Zuckerberg to divest is necessary to get Facebook to cease its anticompetitive behavior.“There is no adequate remedy of law to prevent the irreparable harm that has -- and will continue -- to result from Zuckerberg’s continued control of Facebook,” the companies said.Facebook opened its platform to developers when it needed their help to catch up in the early 2010s to the fast-growing mobile market and then gave many of them the boot when it no longer needed them or started to see them as rivals, the companies claim in the lawsuit.The company cut off many developers’ access to user data, rendering their apps useless and forcing some out of business, according to the lawsuit.(Updates with Facebook comment)\--With assistance from Sarah Frier.To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Burnson in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Joe Schneider, Peter BlumbergFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
With Apple's first quarter fiscal 2020 financial results due out on January 28, it's time for investors to see why AAPL stock appears to be a strong buy...
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(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc. hit a milestone on Thursday, as a rally in the stock took it above a $1 trillion valuation for the first time, solidifying the dominance of technology and internet stocks as the biggest titans of Wall Street.Shares rallied in the last half hour of trading to close at $1,450.16, up 0.8% on the day.With the gain, Alphabet became the newest member of an elite club to trade with the historic 13-digit market capitalization. Only two other U.S. names are past the threshold: Apple Inc., valued at about $1.38 trillion, and Microsoft Corp., at $1.27 trillion. Globally, the list is topped by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, which went public last month and currently has a market cap of about $1.8 trillion.Amazon.com Inc. flirted with the level last year, but the e-commerce company would have to rise more than 7% for its current valuation of $931.1 billion to return above $1 trillion.These four companies are by far the largest on Wall Street, and their huge size gives them an outsized impact on overall market direction. Together, they represent more than 15% of the weight of the S&P 500.The rest of the market is, at best, hundreds of billions of dollars away from trillion-dollar valuations. The fifth-largest U.S. stock by market cap, Facebook Inc., currently has a valuation of $632.9 billion. The biggest company outside the tech or internet sector is Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in sixth place, valued around $559 billion.Alphabet’s move above the level is just the latest step higher for the Google parent company. Shares are up about 40% from a June low, with the rally largely fueled by optimism over its 2020 prospects, particularly with respect to ad revenue. Alphabet will report fourth-quarter results on Feb. 3.Among recent commentary, Evercore ISI raised its price target on the stock to $1,600 from $1,350, writing that it expects the company will continue “to compound on its defensible dominance in Search and video advertising with YouTube.” Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank raised its own target to a Street-high view of $1,735, writing that the stock “trades too cheaply.” The firm cited more ad product launches, an expanded stock buyback program, and “improving competitiveness in the Cloud business.”To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steven Fromm, Jeran WittensteinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Facebook Inc. “very irresponsible” and “shameful” for the way the company allows false information to spread on its social media platform.She said that during the last election Facebook made no attempts to look at Russia’s use of the platform to spread disinformation and doesn’t view it as their obligation to try to stop it in the future.“They intend to be accomplices with misleading the American people,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday in response to a question about whether Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executive have too much power. “I think their behavior is shameful.”Companies including Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have been under pressure to take action to prevent the spread of false and misleading information on their sites. Facebook’s new policy to address “deepfake” videos has come under fire from some lawmakers and disinformation experts who say it fails to address other kinds of online manipulation.QuickTake: How Deepfakes Make Disinformation More Real Than EverThe California Democrat was asked about the social media company, given its proximity to her San Francisco district.“All they want are their tax cuts and no antitrust action against them, and they schmooze this administration in that regard,” Pelosi said. “They have been very irresponsible.”The company is facing antitrust probes by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, as well as a majority of state attorneys general led by New York’s Letitia James.Facebook declined to comment on Pelosi’s remarks. The company has been working to better detect instances of foreign governments trying to manipulate U.S. users, and in recent years has taken down several campaigns similar to Russia’s effort during the 2016 presidential campaign.But Facebook has stopped short of fact-checking politicians, saying last week that it would allow candidates to continue to lie in their ads. Facebook executives have said the company shouldn’t determine truth or falsity in political speech. Instead, Facebook is putting political ads in a public archive, where voters can see who paid for which messages.(Updates with context on Facebook actions in the final two paragraphs.)\--With assistance from Ben Brody and Sarah Frier.To contact the reporter on this story: Billy House in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- An online feud between two of the top Democratic presidential candidates took an odd turn Wednesday morning when defenders of Senator Elizabeth Warren helped promote a hashtag ostensibly attacking her. It was an instructive moment in the mechanics of online political discourse as passions around the 2020 election season rise.The situation began Tuesday at the Democratic presidential debate. Some of the most dramatic moments of the night were exchanges between Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, in the wake of reports that he had told Warren a woman could not be elected president, which she confirmed and he denied.After the debate, a video circulated appearing to show Warren refusing to shake Sanders’ hand, followed by a sharp exchange ending with Sanders turning and walking away abruptly. Warren said to Sanders, “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”On Wednesday morning, the hashtag NeverWarren appeared at the top of Twitter’s trending topics. As of late Wednesday afternoon it had been mentioned more than 80,000 times, according to Ben Nimmo, director of investigations for social media monitoring company Graphika. “It looks like it started off among some long-standing Sanders supporters,” he wrote in an email, “but the most striking thing is that all the most-retweeted posts are of people criticizing the hashtag and the mentality behind it, and/or calling for unity.”The hashtag fit into a long-running narrative about Sanders supporters, who some Democrats criticized in 2016 for being insufficiently supportive of Hillary Clinton in the general election. Even before the debate Tuesday a faction of his fans had signaled they might not vote for any other Democratic nominee. This faction was clearly somewhat responsible for pushing the anti-Warren hashtags Wednesday.The Sanders campaign itself didn’t seem to be involved. His spokeswoman, Briahna Gray, repeatedly Tweeted the hashtag WomenForBernie, but did not use the NeverWarren hashtag. Some pro-Sanders activists discouraged others from using it.A significant amount of the NeverWarren activity actually came from those trying to rebut its message. NBC News reporter Ben Collins used a disinformation identification tool to determine that the three most popular tweets using the hashtag were all denouncing it. Mehdi Hasan, a columnist at the Intercept, tweeted, “Yep, let’s be clear: if you’re tweeting in support of this ludicrous NeverWarren hashtag, you’re not only dumb but you’re also telling the world that you’re ok with kids in cages and bans on Muslims.” That message has received more than 1,700 retweets.Britt Julious, a Chicago Tribune columnist, posted a tweet attacking the hashtag (while still deploying it). She received more than 1,200 retweets.“I thought it was odd that it was trending when I woke up this morning. When I looked through the hashtag, I saw that it was a lot of Warren supporters who seemed upset that it was trending,” Julious wrote in an email, saying she remembered a similar dynamic during the 2016 campaign. “Twitter tends to have that echo effect. Like one person will say something weird and then someone else finds it, replies back trying to shoot it down, and the pileup begins.”There has been evidence of significant manipulation of trending topics for years, including numerous media reports exposing coordinated activity pursuing commercial and political ends.Nor is this the first example in the 2020 Democratic primary. Late last year, a comedy troupe managed to get the hashtag DropOutBloomberg onto the list of trending topics, after members pretended the Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign had fired an intern for tweeting a bizarre (and fictional) Bloomberg campaign staff dance video. Some of the people tweeting the hashtag were clearly in on the joke. Others didn’t seem to be. (Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)A major reason things like this happen is that Twitter has automated its trending topics. The company’s algorithms look for hashtags that are included in large numbers of tweets, not necessarily the underlying message of the tweets. A Twitter spokeswoman wrote in an email that “people can choose to Tweet with a hashtag they might disagree with, and our Trends product neutrally represents their behavior in the form of a trending topic.“Alex Stamos, a disinformation expert and former Facebook executive, said many Twitter users don’t realize that by quote tweeting a message that they disagree with, they’re only fueling the underlying hashtag. “Some of these hashtags, it’s like a ten-to-one ratio of people criticizing the hashtag do to people pushing it,” Stamos said in a phone interview.Activity on Twitter can inspire news coverage that fails to interpret the context. The Hill and the Daily Wire wrote about the NeverWarren hashtag. CNN’s Chris Cillizza also mentioned it without explaining that much of the engagement came from Warren’s defenders.Stamos cautioned that Twitter isn’t representative of actual public sentiment and that some of the accounts tweeting about Warren have racked up thousands of tweets within a few days of creation, a suspicious sign. “There’s empirical evidence over and over again that Twitter does not reflect political reality in the United States.”Meanwhile, pro-Sanders accounts flooded Warren’s Twitter mentions with images and emojis of snakes--an icon typically lobbed at women accused of being dishonest.In a tweet, Stamos encouraged users to change their behavior to avoid accidentally promoting that which they oppose. He wrote, “1) Don’t use a hashtag to criticize that hashtag. 2) Stop quote-tweeting small-follower accounts as criticism. 3) Don’t believe that the population of ‘people’ on Twitter is reflective of anything, including ‘candidate X’s followers.’”(Updates third paragraph with Warren’s post-debate remarks)To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Joshua BrusteinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer sits down with Chairman of the Children’s Health Defense, and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The billionaire bromance between Donald Trump and France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, has surely been one of the more unexpected consequences of the U.S. president’s global trade war. Back in October, Trump lavished praise on the king of luxury — calling him by turns an artist, a great businessman and a gentleman — after LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE opened a handbag factory in Texas. The symbolism was rich, considering Trump had just days earlier removed leather goods from a list of European products worth $7.5 billion that were hit with higher U.S. import tariffs. Trump wasted no time in spelling out the link: “I can’t tax him, because he moved to the United States.”The mood has cooled since then. Leather handbags and luxury items worth $2.4 billion are now back on the U.S. president’s hit list as part of potential tariffs targeting France, which the White House says is discriminating against U.S. firms such as Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. with a new digital-services tax. The U.S. has also threatened more tariffs targeting the European Union related to the long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies between Boeing Co. and Airbus SE. Brussels has dispatched its top trade official this week to try to calm tensions, but there’s every chance the spat could worsen. For a president fighting impeachment and campaigning for re-election, French wines and German cars are tempting political targets.That has put Trump-whisperers like Arnault in an awkward position. While by no means the chief culprit of the EU’s trade surplus with the U.S. that Trump so hates, luxury products sold by LVMH such as wine and spirits are France’s key export sector after aerospace. The U.S. market brings in about 24% of the group’s revenue, almost as much as France and Europe put together. Shrewd re-jigging of the supply chain, and the luxury industry’s ability to pass on price increases to its well-heeled buyers, have so far helped keep the wolf from the door. LVMH’s pledge to create 1,000 jobs in Texas, even if a “Made In the USA” label leads to upturned noses, has made Trump less likely to want to penalize the company with luxury levies. He’s also less likely to oppose Arnault’s proposed $16 billion acquisition of iconic U.S. jeweler Tiffany & Co.It’s not just LVMH: Airbus, one of Trump’s favorite punching bags and the biggest brand in European aerospace, pulled off a similar feat. Its local presence in Alabama has spared the aircraft it produces in the U.S. from the 10% EU tariffs (and likely deterred Trump from pricier duties). Considering France is being singled out for harsher punishment, the fact that Paris-listed LVMH and Airbus are among the top five best-performing euro-area blue-chip stocks since Trump arrived in the White House will comfort French President Emmanuel Macron.But how much longer can moving resources into the U.S. keep delivering results? Airbus is scrambling to continue ramping up production in Alabama, where its investment now totals $1 billion, but that hasn’t been enough to silence the threat of higher tariffs. For the luxury-goods sector, not everything “Made in France” can be “Made in the USA.” LVMH is clever enough to sell locally-made U.S. sparkling wine in funky single-serve bottles, but it will never be the same as champagne. European corporate takeovers of U.S. targets, while rising, are vulnerable to Trump’s unpredictability.Europe’s top multinationals may have also been helped by the fact that Trump’s focus so far has been primarily on China. Being a secondary target hasn’t been too bad for the EU: Tit-for-tat tariffs between China and the U.S. actually saw France get a total export boost to both countries worth an estimated 0.3% of GDP, according to Nomura research. (For Germany it was 0.1%.)It’s clear that exporting high-value items that are difficult to substitute, such as aircraft or luxury goods, is a natural defense against trade wars; Airbus was also helped by Boeing’s troubles. But China may now be receding into Trump’s rear-view mirror following the signing of a phase-one trade deal. If Europe takes its place as Trump’s chief concern, things will be different. While European investment into the U.S. increased by $226.1 billion in 2018, to $3.0 trillion, the U.S. trade deficit with the EU also hit a record that year. Tariffs on German cars — which would be far harder to pass on to consumers than for a bottle of Dom Perignon, or an A320 airplane — remain an ugly prospect, even after an increase in their local U.S. production over the past decade.Europe’s CEOs will be praying the EU can convince the White House that an escalation in tariffs would hurt American jobs, saddle the consumer with higher prices and deter hiring and investment. If that’s not enough, then maybe the next delegation the EU sends should include Arnault and the gift of a few handbags — Made in USA, of course.To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Wikipedia is available in Turkey again after a nearly three-year ban.The Turkish government agency in charge of internet technologies lifted the ban after the nation’s top court ruled last month that the restriction violated free speech.A detailed explanation of the court’s ruling was published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday, prompting regulators to restore access to the website.“As access to Wikipedia is still actively being restored across Turkey, some users in Turkey may experience restored access sooner or later than others,'’ the website said in a statementThe site was blocked in April 2017 after Wikipedia refused to remove entries that accused the government of cooperating with terrorist organizations.The Turkish government has blocked access to other popular websites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook in the past, for allegedly promoting terrorist propaganda or insults against Turkish political figures.The limits on free speech have been denounced by opposition parties as well as the European Union and human rights groups.To contact the reporter on this story: Asli Kandemir in Istanbul at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stefania Bianchi at email@example.com, ;Onur Ant at firstname.lastname@example.org, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Pinterest (PINS) becomes the third largest social media network, surpassing Snapchat, per a recently released eMarketer Report. The report predicts Pinterest's user growth to continue in 2020.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. has engaged a specialist in drone and aviation law as a Washington lobbyist, suggesting the company is pushing further into the growing field.The Cupertino, California-based tech giant retained Lisa Ellman, a parter at Hogan Lovells, to conduct the lobbying. Ellman leads the law firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice. She also co-founded the Commercial Drone Alliance and is working to expand the commercial drone industry, according to her biography online.Ellman worked in the Obama administration and the Justice Department earlier in her career. Ellman’s lobbying work for Apple began in December, according to a company filing that was made public this week. Representatives for Apple and Ellman declined to comment.The company used drones a few years ago to help it collect mapping data. In December, it met with regulators about a proposed law that would require drones to sport virtual license plates. The company also sells several drones from DJI through the Apple website and Apple retail stores.Apple has a team exploring satellites, a type of unmanned aircraft, and Ellman could assist in regulatory efforts that would need to be conducted to launch such an effort. Apple rivals, including Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc., have developed drones in recent years.Apple lobbied the government on issues related to unmanned aerial vehicles” in 2017 and “issues related to autonomous vehicles and unmanned aviation” in late 2018, according to disclosures to the U.S. Senate.The company spent more than $5.5 million on lobbying in the first three quarters of 2019, according to the latest disclosures to Congress, while Google and Facebook Inc. spent millions more. Apple has also lobbied on taxes, music copyright, privacy, competition, immigration and financial technology, among other issues.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.