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What I think I learned last week #29

If you have been living in a cave, you may have missed news about Facebook. I am tired of hearing about it since I own a whole lot of it, but if you want to catch up, click here. I have to ask, what ever happened to Trump?

Here he is! Trump Tariffies China. Trump announced new tariffs aimed at Chinese products. Stocks fell by biggest amount in six weeks.

Our tariffs, your problem. European stocks hit 2018 lows on trade war fears.

European growth looks to be slowing for the second straight month on Purchasing Managers’ Index data. The new business index had the weakest pace in six months.

Hedge funds have amassed bearish bets of more than $3 billion against the world’s largest advertising companies, including WPP, Publicis, Omnicom and Interpublic. Hedge funds have also increased their bets against higher oil prices. Short interest in West Texas Intermediate jumped 15%.

Greencore, the world’s largest sandwich maker by making 1.5 billion sandwiches a year, warned that its profits will fall short of expectations. Its stock price fell 23%. That’s a lot of bread. No baloney.

Google will supply the US Department of Defense with artificial intelligence technology to help analyze drone data.

Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer, said it has joined forces with Google to create an online voice assistant called “Lea” as part of an attempt to compete with Amazon. Carrefour has high hopes for this digital assistant, stating that customers “can use it to manage their shopping lists … using just their voice!” Of course, Lea will have to join a union, can only work 35 hours per week, and must not be available to use during lunch hours. Otherwise, Lea will have to go on a virtual strike.

Inflation data came in benign following January’s spike and matched estimates. However, on a three-month basis, the core CPI climbed by most in a decade.

US durable goods orders grew the most in eight months, led by transportation equipment. The 3.1% rise was double the expected number.

Japan’s core machinery orders beat expectations as they rebounded in January from December’s steep decline in a good sign for continued capital spending.

Larry Kudlow, once a respected economist in the 1980s and now known as a commentator on CNBC, has been appointed Director of the National Economic Council, replacing Gary Cohn. Larry is known for his wide pinstriped suits, Reagan red ties, and full-throated defense of free markets, pure capitalism, low taxes and economic freedom from government. In other words, he is my kind of guy.

US retail sales in February fell 0.1%, the third month in a row that retail sales declined. Economists had expected an increase of 0.3%. Stripping out gas and autos, retail sales were up 0.3%.

Broadcom canceled its offer to buy Qualcomm after Trump said “NO”.

US technology firms face tougher tax rules in Europe. The European Union, always with its hand out, is looking to create a new tax that would disproportionately affect successful US companies without harming failing European tech companies. « The amount of profits currently going untaxed is unacceptable, » European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said. It is truly offensive to them that someone is making money that the bureaucrats are not entitled to.

Dropbox had a successful IPO in New York, surging 40% in what was the biggest tech IPO since Snap over a year ago.

And that’s what I think I learned last week….