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Business / Business Education / Finance / Money / Personal Finance

Opening Bell: 3.21.18

Opening Bell: 3.21.18

Congress Stymied on $1.3 Trillion Bill With Days to Go Before Shutdown [Bloomberg]
Lawmakers had hoped to announce a bill by the end of the day Tuesday, but disagreements persisted over immigration, border security, tax breaks and a rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey.
Current government funding expires at the end of the day Friday. House Republicans had already delayed their planned vote by a day, to Thursday. Now, under current rules, a vote might not be held until Friday, leaving little time for the Senate to act. Otherwise, another stopgap spending bill would be needed to keep the government open.

Scoop: Zuckerberg finally plans to speak [AXIOS]
Axios is told that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to speak out in the next 24 hours on the data-harvesting revelations that have hammered his stock price, inflamed lawmakers in D.C. and Europe, and trapped his social network in a crisis of trust.

Powell’s Fed likely to raise rates, may upgrade 2018 outlook [Reuters]
The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates at its first policy meeting under Chairman Jerome Powell and may signal more hikes are coming in response to tax cuts and government spending that could further stoke a robust U.S. economy.
The U.S. central bank projected late last year that it would lift rates three times in 2018, but some investors believe the fiscal stimulus and recent hints of inflation pressures will push policymakers to add an additional increase to the mix.

CEO Pay Hits Record Highs on Stock Market’s Surge [WSJ]
Median pay for the chief executives of 133 of the largest U.S. companies reached an all-time high of $11.6 million in 2017, up from $11.2 million in 2016, a Wall Street Journal analysis of proxy statement data found.
Total pay—including salary, cash incentives, equity, perquisites and more—rose at least 9.9% for half of the executives, the fastest annual growth since 2014, while about a quarter of the executives received raises of 25% or more. Most of the gains came from stock awards, as firms largely held the line on cash compensation and stock options.

Peter G. Peterson, a Power From Wall St. to Washington, Dies at 91 [NYT]
Mr. Peterson was one of the few captains of business whose reach extended into the public sphere. Forbes magazine described him as having “one of the most distinguished résumés in America.” He was secretary of commerce under President Richard M. Nixon, led government commissions and advisory bodies and for 22 years was chairman of the influential Council on Foreign Relations in New York, succeeding the banker David Rockefeller, who died last year, also on March 20.
As a fiscal watchdog, he created a well-financed foundation that addresses a spectrum of fiscal issues and holds conferences that draw America’s top financial and political leaders.

Amazon just passed Alphabet to become the world’s second most valuable company [CNBC]
The e-commerce giant rose 2.7 percent on Tuesday lifting its stock market value to $768 billion. Alphabet, the parent of Google, fell 0.4 percent and is now valued at $762.5 billion.
While the U.S. tech mega-caps have rallied in the past year, Amazon’s performance has dwarfed them all, with the stock surging 85 percent over the past 12 months, including 35 percent to start 2018.

Uber’s $1.5 Billion Debt Deal Touches a Nerve on Wall Street [Bloomberg]
Deals like the loan expected to price in the coming days by Uber Technologies Inc. With the memory still fresh in their minds of how a similar Uber loan agreed in 2016 earned them a reprimand from regulators, some banks held back from the deal, people familiar with the matter said. Uber marketed it directly to investors. (Demand was so strong that the transaction was boosted to $1.5 billion on Monday before word emerged that an Uber self-driving car fatally struck a pedestrian.)
There’s a palpable sense of FOMO in the air on Wall Street: When Morgan Stanley was named an adviser to Uber on the transaction, some of its rivals fumed in private. What exactly did an advisory role entail, they wondered, and was it just a workaround that allowed the bank to arrange and distribute the loan for Uber the way that a traditional bookrunner would. A representative for Morgan Stanley declined to comment as did a representative for San Francisco-based Uber.

John Oliver gay bunny parody book has 150K back orders [NYPost]
Although the first copies of Oliver’s book won’t hit store shelves until March 23, Hachette Book Group, which is handling distribution for San Francisco-based publisher Chronicle Books, told Media Ink Tuesday it has 150,000 books on back order.
Preorders already pushed the Oliver book — written not by the funnyman but by staffers of his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight” — to No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list, knocking to No. 2 “A Higher Loyalty,” the memoir of former FBI Director James Comey.

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