Business Maverick: Wednesday April 17: Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
A New Trade Weapon? President Donald Trump may be giving China a new cudgel to use on American companies and striking another blow to the international rule of law. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the U.S. has made its own commitments to China and agreed that both sides will be subject to an enforcement mechanism. “This will be a two-way agreement,” Mnuchin said Monday, after saying over the weekend that the U.S. would be open to “ certain repercussions.” Details remain scant. But Mnuchin’s comments have caused plenty of raised eyebrows from legal scholars to the business community and Congress.Unimpressive ResultsBank of America Corp. said the interest-rate boost that lifted first-quarter earnings is likely to fade over the rest of 2019. Net interest income will probably increase 3 percent for the year, down from 6 percent in 2018 and 5 percent in the first quarter, Chief Financial Officer Paul Donofrio said in a call with investors Tuesday. That may mean slowing growth for a consumer unit that drove profit to a record in the first three months of the year.Litigation DropApple and Qualcomm say their deal ends all ongoing litigation, including contract manufacturers. The settlement comes with an undisclosed payment from Apple to Qualcomm. They also reached a six-year license agreement, effective April 1, a two-year option to extend and a multiyear chipset supply agreement. Over the past two years, the companies have waged war in courtrooms around the globe, arguing over how much the chipmaker can charge for its patented technology.Stocks RiseAsian stocks look set for a higher open after the benchmark U.S. equity index traded in the green. The S&P 500 rose in its fourth advance in five sessions, helped by gains in BlackRock Inc. and Citigroup Inc. The Nasdaq 100 Index briefly touched its record high, while the Russell 2000 Index of small caps rose for the first time this week. REITs plummeted as yields rose and Scotiabank analysts warned of occupancy risks. UnitedHealth Group Inc. fell on renewed concern that future health-care policy will harm its business, while Johnson & Johnson advanced after strong earnings. The dollar edged higher.Rebuilding Notre-DameFrench President Emmanuel Macron said Notre-Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt to be “even more beautiful” than it was. Apple’s CEO tweeted on Tuesday that the company will donate money, joining Francois-Henri Pinault, the chairman and chief executive officer of Gucci owner Kering SA, and his father, Francois Pinault, who said they would give 100 million euros ($112.9 million). The initial budget to restore the cathedral before the fire was about 150 million euros, and may need to be increased to about 450 million euros now, according to Michel Picaud, president of the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris. Cosmetics company L’Oreal SA and its principal shareholder, the Bettencourt Meyers family, promised 100 million euros, while the family’s charitable foundation will chip in another 100 million euros, the company said.