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Broken Stock: U.S. Fund Managers Are Selling Millions of Facebook Shares and Investing in Other Companies — 5 Points

1. According to Reuters, Facebook’s “losses are becoming other companies’ gains.” In response to the social media company’s declining profits and tainted reputation, 93 United States mutual funds have completely sold out their positions in Facebook this year.

2. Specifically, Fidelity Investments, The Hartford, and Putnam Investments have liquidated their 12 million shares in Facebook. Jana Partners and Third Point LLC have “together sold nearly 3.7 million Facebook shares in the third quarter.”

3. U.S. mutual funds are instead putting their money towards payment companies such as Visa, Worldpay and consumer companies like PepsiCo and Chef’s Warehouse. Other investors are are moving their investments towards “growth-focused hedge funds.”

4. Jim Hamel, portfolio manager of the Artisan Global Opportunities Fund, said, “The revelations in the first quarter of 2018 about data privacy issues and the growing global concerns about data security and the potential for increased regulation made it challenging to handicap the required investments to remedy some of these issues.” Essentially, many think Facebook is going to continue to lose profits, so they are moving their investments elsewhere.

5. Facebook’s future, in terms of luring investors, looks murky. According to Todd Rosenbluth, director of mutual fund research at independent research firm CFRA, “Once a company gets put into the penalty box by a growth investor it’s hard to get out. When a stock is perceived as a broken growth stock it loses its appeal.”

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-funds-facebook/fed-up-with-facebook-u-s-fund-managers-look-for-alternatives-idUSKBN1O519Y

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Power Struggle in Wisconsin: Republicans Approve Limiting Power of Incoming Democratic Governor — 5 Quotes

1. “After a rancorous, sleepless night of debate, Republican lawmakers early Wednesday pushed through a sweeping set of bills that will limit the power of Wisconsin’s newly elected Democrats, including the incoming governor and attorney general. The legislation, which Democrats vehemently opposed and protesters chanted their anger over, passed through the Republican-held State Legislature after hours of closed-door meetings and some amendments. The votes fell largely along party lines; no Democrats supported the measures.”
-Mitch Smith, The New York Times.

2. “That’s what this is about: power-hungry politicians using their grubby hands in their last-ditch effort to desperately cling to power. All we’ve seen demonstrated today and over the past few days is a contempt for the public.”
-Katrina Shankland, Democratic State Representative.

3. “It provides more opportunity for oversight for a coequal branch of government.”
-Romaine Quinn, Republican State Representative.

4. “Is this democracy at work? Is this an example of elected representatives working for the citizens and taxpayers of Wisconsin? It looks more like party leaders trying arrogantly to hold onto as much power as they can for themselves and the special interests that finance their campaign attack ads.”
-Editorial, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

5. “We’re going to work with the governor-elect, but we’re going to do it in a way that’s balanced between the legislative and administrative level.”
-John Nygren, Republican State Representative.

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Global Stocks Fall After Trump Tweets Signal Uncertainty in Trade Relations Between U.S. and China — 6 Points

1. On Wednesday, stocks fell all around the world. The day before, “Trump posted a series of messages on Twitter warning that a fragile cease-fire in the trade war between the United States and China could be derailed.” This led to a 3 percent decrease in stocks on Wall Street on Tuesday which led to stocks falling in Asia and Europe the following day.

2. Specifically, stocks dipped .6 in Britain, 1.2 percent in Germany and 1.4 percent in France. Hong Kong, China and Taipei, Taiwan saw a 1.6 decrease in stocks, while Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan had stocks fall slightly over .5 percent. Chinas currency weakened by .3 percent against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday as well.

3. In the United States, though, stocks are predicted to rise this coming week. Still, On Tuesday, “Investors in the United States sent Treasury yields sharply down,” signaling concerns around growth.

4. Overall, investors have been guessing for the majority of this week. There is large uncertainty in regards to what Trump and President Xi Jinping have agreed to. Without knowing how smoothly trading relations will become between the two economic superpowers, investors have a hard time figuring out the strength of the world economy.

5. According to the New York Times, “The biggest concern plaguing investors is that an extended trade war could erode global growth just as the world’s biggest economies are already starting to cool.”

6. Trump tweeted on Tuesday, “We are either going to have a REAL DEAL with China, or no deal at all — at which point we will be charging major Tariffs against Chinese product being shipped into the United States.” Global stocks will likely continue to fall unless an agreement is reached.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/business/global-markets.html

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OPEC Will Meet on Thursday, Likely to Reduce Oil Supply Despite Resistance From Trump — 6 Points

1. On Thursday, over 200 oil industry representatives and financial analysts will meet at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headquarters in Vienna, Austria. This meeting is supremely important given the state of the oil industry.

2. In recent months, oil prices have continuously fluctuated. West Texas Intermediate crude, for example, was $76 a barrel in early October (the highest level since 2014), but dropped to below $50 a barrel last Thursday.

3. Accordingly, at the meeting, “Most analysts say that the oil producers have little choice but to announce a substantial cut in production of at least one million barrels a day, or around 1 percent of world oil supplies.” If they don’t do this, oil prices could potentially fall under $40 per barrel and there would be a “massive oversupply” of oil next year.

4. OPEC, though, is facing constraints from President Trump, who, more than any other U.S.President, is committed to influencing the oil market. On Wednesday, he tweeted, “Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!”

5. Still, OPEC has tremendous political and economic influence. “The 15-member organization produces about 40 percent of the world’s oil,” and they have a history of changing and guiding the oil market. In fact, Helima Croft, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said, “At the end of the day they are the closest thing to a regulator or central bank of the oil markets.”

6. Analysts are confident that in the short run OPEC can indeed stop price drops and combat the oversupply of oil. Halting price drops in the long run, though, is nearly impossible to predict.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/business/energy-environment/opec-meeting-oil-industry.html

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3 Thoughts on Business Development From Marion Crawford, Founder and CEO of Crawford Strategy, a Marketing and Branding Agency

Question One: Please introduce yourself, including what you do.

My name is Marion Crawford. I am the founder and CEO of Crawford Strategy, a full-service marketing and branding agency based in Greenville, SC. We are a team of 30 spirited thinkers and doers on a mission to help brands become unforgettable. We determine what makes them stellar and share their unique brand story with the right audiences. We have clients in a variety of industries, but have a particular depth of expertise in healthcare, financial services, higher education and travel and tourism. Our clients include Prisma Health, United Community Bank, University of South Carolina Upstate and North Myrtle Beach. I have had the pleasure of speaking at Becker’s Hospital Review conferences as well as Becker Strategy Group’s inaugural conference. For more information about how we elevate brands, please visit crawfordstrategy.com.

Question Two: What are your top 3 tips for successful business development?

1. An integrated marketing and communications strategy is key to a strong business development effort. If you know what makes your company unique and can show how your company is helping other businesses or people, you should share that information with the world. Be sure to leverage the many media platforms available to you to reach your potential customers.
a) Owned media: this includes your website, blog, signage, newsletters, etc. Make sure your owned media is compelling, engaging, and relevant to your clients’ needs.
b) Shared media: this includes your various social channels. Shared media is a powerful tool for building your brand reputation. Develop a plan for each of your social platforms that speaks to and engages the audience on that particular channel.
c) Earned media: historically, this has been traditional public relations media outlets like print, TV, and radio, but can also include online and email publications. Regularly share your company accomplishments or unique stories, especially those that would be meaningful to your prospective customers.
d) Paid media: advertising remains a great way to craft and share your message with prospective customers. Today, clients have the opportunity to connect with their desired audience through an array of digital channels, including paid social advertising, streaming video ads and search engine marketing (SEM). It takes the right combination of digital strategy and creative content to reach a target audience where they already spend time online. In today’s digital age, this holistic approach is critical to a client’s success.

2. Your prospective customer should play the starring role in your business development efforts. You can shout from the rooftops about what you do, but if you don’t consider what your prospective customer wants or needs, then you are missing a big opportunity. It should always be about the customers and their goals first. Then, it is about you and your ability to help them meet those identified goals.

3. Share your expertise to hook new customers. Make information available to your prospective customers that would help them achieve their goals. You can offer newsletters that are filled with helpful information, publish e-books and white papers on your website for download, or can speak at conferences and share tips. When you have already helped a prospect with a need, this may be the thing that brings them back to you as a customer in the future.

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George H.W. Bush Dies at Age 94 — 6 Quotes, Reactions

1. “After 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”
-George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush’s son and Former President.

2. ”It was with sadness that I learned of the death of President George H.W. Bush last night. President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom. He was also a patriot, serving his country with honour and distinction in Office and during the Second World War. Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush’s family and the American people.”
-Queen Elizabeth.

3. “George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.”
-Barack and Michelle Obama, Former President and First Lady.

4. “He was in fact the first American President that I was privileged to meet. I recall being deeply touched by your father’s concern for the Tibetan people and the situation in Tibet. It is truly admirable to have lived over 94 years. While nothing can replace the loss of a father, we can rejoice in the fact that his was a meaningful life, dedicated to public service. I commend your parents for encouraging their children, including you my dear friend, to devote yourselves to the service of others.”
-The Dalai Lama.

5. “We will never forget his steady and inspired leadership in guiding the world to the peaceful end of the Cold War,” Ms. Rice wrote. “He has finished his race with honor and dignity.”
-Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State.

6. “We have lost a great American. Service defined President George H.W. Bush’s life, and he taught all of us about leadership, sacrifice and decency. We send our deepest sympathies to the Bush family.”
-Tim Cook, CEO, Apple.

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U.S. Credit Demand Declines, Percentage of Approved Applicants Falls As Well — 4 Points

1. Over the last year, Americans demand for credit has declined. The percentage of approved applications has declined as well. This data is based on a survey airing Monday from the New York Federal Reserve. The survey is done every four months.

2. In terms of credit demand, application rates amongst the people surveyed fell from 49 percent a year ago to 47.8 percent now. In June, the application rate was 42 percent. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, “U.S. borrowers filed the fewest weekly applications for home refinancing in almost 18 years.”

3. Additionally, the percentage of approved applicants fell as well. In October 2017, “respondents who applied over the previous 12 months were granted credit” 41.3 percent of the time. This year, the percentage dripped to 37.7.

4. Essentially, this survey revealed that “mortgage refinance application rejections ‘notably’ rose, as did to a lesser extent rejection rates for credit card applications and for credit card limit extensions.”

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-consumercredit/u-s-credit-demand-declines-rejection-rates-rise-ny-fed-survey-idUSKBN1O21YI

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Trump Announces He Is Withdrawing the United States from NAFTA — 5 Points

1. On Saturday, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Specifically, he said, “I will be formally terminating Nafta shortly… It’s been a disaster for the United States. It’s caused us tremendous amounts of unemployment and loss and company loss and everything else.”

2. This move is “intended to force House Democrats to enact a revised version of the pact despite concerns that it fails to protect American workers.”

3. If Trump follows through on withdrawing from NAFTA, congress will have six months to pass the revised NAFTA, which Trump calls the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. If no deal can be reached, both versions of the deal — the current NAFTA and United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — would be void.

4. Trump added that he would veto any bill that does not include $5 billion for a southern border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He then continued to say that he would be fine with having no NAFTA deal if he does not like any of the Democrats revisions. Having no trade agreement would “result in far more restrictive trade that could have a severe impact on industry and agriculture in all three nations.”

5. Overall, Trump, in withdrawing from the current NAFTA deal, is leaving congress with two options: “approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or risk having no trade deal in place.”

Sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/02/us/politics/trump-withdraw-nafta.html / https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/02/politics/trump-terminate-nafta/index.html

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The United States and China Halt Trade War, At Least For Now — 4 Things to Know

1. On Saturday, the United States and China called a truce on their trade war. On the U.S. side, President Trump agreed to hold off on introducing new tariffs. On the Chinese side, President Xi Jinping promised to increase purchases of American products.

2. Specifically, Trump is postponing his plan to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. Trump initially wanted this policy to start on January 1. China agreed to increase industrial, energy, and agricultural purchases in return.

3. Despite the immediate resolution, the two presidents are still deeply divided on their trade theories and policies, as well as ideas on market access. Both sides seem unwilling to back down on certain issues but plan to meet for further negotiations. Trump said he would still increase tariffs if the two countries don’t reach a border trade agreement in the next 90 days — an ambitious goal for a relatively short amount of time.

4. For now, this meeting “pauses what was becoming a headlong race toward economic conflict.” Economists think it will “reassure jittery financial markets, as well as American farmers, who worried about the fallout from a prolonged trade battle.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/01/world/trump-xi-g20-merkel.html

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Microsoft Surpasses Apple, Becomes Most Valuable U.S. Company — 4 Quotes

1. “Apple has officially been dethroned as the world’s most valuable company. After flirting with reclaiming the title all week, Microsoft passed Apple on Friday and ended the day as the most valuable company, with a market cap of $851 billion. Both companies remain well below the $1 trillion milestone that Apple and Amazon hit earlier this year.”
-Seth Fiegerman, CNN.

2. “Microsoft’s ascension to the most valuable company would be its first return to the top spot since 2002. Apple has held the No. 1 spot as most valuable company since 2012, when it unseated Exxon.”
-Thomas Heath, Washington Post.

3. “Satya Nadella’s appointment as Microsoft chief executive four and a half years ago surprised many observers, including this correspondent. However, moves to abandon the mobile phone strategy of previous CEO Steve Ballmer and return Microsoft to its business-to-business roots with acquisitions including LinkedIn and GitHub have paid off. Microsoft stock has since tripled and increased by 7 per cent in November alone. … Longer-term, the game-changer for Microsoft has been Nadella’s decision for Microsoft to totally focus its products around the Cloud infrastructure market starting to close the gap behind Amazon Web Services, which controls one-third of the market.”
-Andrew Cave, Forbes.

4. “A time to buy. Microsoft saw improvement across all it business sectors in Q1: Productivity and Business Processes: up 19% to $9.8 billion. Intelligent Cloud: up 24% to $8.6 billion. More Personal Computing: up 15% to $10.7 billion. Those are strong revenue numbers, and Microsoft’s business model lends itself to predictability. The company has built a lot of its business on recurring revenue. It’s adding consumers to its ecosystem and growing its customer/subscriber base.”
-Daniel B. Kline, The Motley Fool.