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Opening Bell: 9.18.18

Opening Bell: 9.18.18

China says Trump forces its hand, will retaliate against new U.S. tariffs [Reuters]
The Chinese commerce ministry’s statement came hours after Trump said he was imposing 10 percent tariffs on about $200 billion worth of imports from China, and threatened duties on about $267 billion more if China retaliated against the U.S. action.
The brief statement gave no details on China’s plans, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing later that the U.S. steps have brought “new uncertainty” to talks between the two countries.

Hearing Set for Monday to Hear Kavanaugh and His Accuser [NYT]
In setting the hearing, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, backed down from a committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, planned for this Thursday, and pushed a confirmation once seen as inevitable into limbo.
The hearing with Judge Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist in Northern California, sets up a potentially explosive public showdown that carries unmistakable echoes of the 1991 testimony of Anita Hill, who accused the future Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in an episode that riveted the nation and ushered a slew of women into public office. It will play out against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, which has energized Democratic women across the United States, in an institution, the Senate, that is more than three-quarters male.

Gary Cohn praises US justice system for not jailing bankers [NYPost]
The former Trump adviser and Goldman Sachs president said on Monday he believes no Wall Street executives had done anything criminally wrong in the run-up to the financial crisis.
“I don’t know what law was broken,” he said during an event in New York. “I thought the US criminal justice system worked.”
“I love the justice system in this country,” he added.

Two-thirds of Amazon Prime members would try banking with the retailer, according to Bain study [CNBC]
About two-thirds of Amazon Prime members would try a free online bank account from the e-commerce giant, according to a report from consultant Bain & Co. That’s considerably higher than the percentage of regular Amazon customers (43 percent) or non-Amazon customers (37 percent) who would try an account, indicating strong loyalty to the Prime bundle of services.
Expectations have been high since it was reported in March that Amazon is in talks with banks including J.P. Morgan Chase and Capital One to create a checking-account like product for its customers. Since then, big U.S. lenders including Chase and Citigroup have announced or rolled out digital-only accounts targeting some of the same millennial customers that the Amazon product may appeal to.

Visa, Mastercard Reach $6.2 Billion Settlement Over Swipe Fees [Bloomberg]
The two card companies will pay between $5.54 billion and $6.24 billion to settle the claims, according to a filing Tuesday. Visa and Mastercard had previously set aside $5.3 billion related to the case. Earlier this year, as the two sides drew closer to an agreement, they put aside an additional $900 million.
“After years of thoughtful negotiation, we are pleased to be able to reach this agreement and move forward in our partnership with merchants to provide consumers convenient, reliable, secure ways to pay,” Kelly Mahon Tullier, Visa’s general counsel, said in a statement.

SpaceX’s First Moon Tourist Is a Japanese Billionaire [WSJ]
SpaceX’s first paying passenger will be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who is to blast off from earth in 2023, circle the moon and return, the company’s founder and chief executive, Elon Musk, said at an event Monday evening, where the space tourist also made brief remarks.
Mr. Musk said he and Mr. Maezawa weren’t disclosing the price tag for the lunar joy ride.
Mr. Maezawa, an art collector, said he would invite six to eight artists to participate in the lunar voyage as a way of inspiring their work

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