some credit. To build a company worth nearly $1 trillion, you need to think a few steps ahead. And that’s exactly what Apple demonstrated at Tuesday’s fall launch event.
Heading into the event, the conventional wisdom was that this would be an off year for the iPhone. The world would largely ignore the new iPhone 11, while awaiting the first Apple 5G phones, expected to debut a year from now. Investors have fretted about slowing iPhone sales and have focused instead on Apple driving revenue via peripheral devices (AirPods and Apple Watches) and services (Apple Card, iCloud, and Apple Music).
But leave it to Apple to cut right when everyone expected it to cut left. Apple argued that while the world is zeroed in on having more bandwidth with 5G, its focus should be on images. Almost the entire discussion around the phones centered on their ability to produce professional quality images and video. The new higher-end Pro models feature three separate lenses, including wide angle and telephoto, and nifty new tools, like the ability to take a video while shooting still photos by holding down the shutter button. And get ready to hear about the front-facing camera’s slow-motion capability. People are already psyched to take “slowfies.”
A few years ago, Apple realized that health and fitness apps were the best reason to switch from analog watches to Apple Watches. Apple knows any phone can make calls or run apps; what differentiates its phones are their ability to capture images. You could upload them faster with 5G; but faster won’t make the images better.
Warming Trade Winds
Stocks soared in a sudden trade thaw. China said it would exempt 16 U.S. products from tariffs. President Trump then agreed to delay levies on some Chinese imports, and China tossed pork and soybeans into the no-tariff basket. The White House then put a damper on a deal. Still, for the week the Dow industrials rose 1.6%, to 27,219.52; the S&P 500 was up 1%, to 3,007.39; and the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.9%, to 8176.71.
Trump and the Taliban
After a U.S. soldier was killed in Afghanistan by a car bomb, Trump tweeted that he was canceling a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David to complete a peace treaty. On Monday, he declared the talks dead. By Tuesday, Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, who criticized the meeting, was either fired by tweet or resigned.
Draghi’s Swan Song
In his last major act as president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi pushed through rate cuts and restarted quantitative easing. Trump used the ECB’s actions to criticize the Fed, which meets this week, and call for negative rates. He also called Fed officials “boneheads.”
WeWork Sweats an IPO
The initial public offering of We Co., the parent of WeWork, staggered along.
which made $2 billion investment in the start-up at a $47 billion valuation, urged it to postpone the IPO, which may give it a valuation below $20 billion. The company was also mulling governance changes. Meanwhile,
thudded 28% after its debut on Thursday, but rose on Friday. And
leads a group of banks underwriting the big IPO of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company.
Activist investor Elliott Management took a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T and immediately pressed the company to sell off units and refocus on telecom. Elliott says its plan would bring AT&T stock to $60. AT&T says it is already working on a restructuring plan and had hired
Opposition in Parliament outmaneuvered United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, blocking his attempt to call a snap election and passing a law banning the U.K. from leaving the European Union without a deal. Scotland’s highest civil court also said the PM’s suspension of Parliament was illegal.
Annals of Regulation
Trump said the administration plans to ban fruit-flavored e-cigarettes after lung problems emerged. The California legislature neared passage of a bill ordering gig-economy companies like Lyft and Uber to reclassify its drivers as contract employees. And the Sackler family, owner of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, agreed to pay $3 billion to settle lawsuits.
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