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Opening Bell: 9.24.18

Opening Bell: 9.24.18

Senate Democrats Investigate a New Allegation of Sexual Misconduct, from Brett Kavanaugh’s College Years [The New Yorker]
The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.

China Says It Won’t Hold Trade Talks Unless Trump Stops Threats [Bloomberg]
The response, which came just over an hour after the U.S. imposed new duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods on Monday, underscores a deepening gulf between both governments in a dispute that observers say is less about a row over a bilateral goods deficit and increasingly about a U.S. desire to put the brakes on China’s economic ascent.
Trump has repeatedly threatened higher tariffs on the remaining Chinese imports should Beijing retaliate against Monday’s round. As China has said that step is certain, the stage appears set for yet another escalation of the trade war. China canceled talks that were scheduled for this week, and is digging in by prepping stimulus measures to cushion the economy.

Sky advises shareholders to accept Comcast offer ‘immediately’ [CNBC]
“As the price of the Comcast Offer is materially superior, it is in the best interests of all Sky shareholders to accept the Comcast Offer,” the company said.
“Accordingly, the Independent Committee unanimously recommends that Sky shareholders accept the Comcast Offer, and in order to ensure the successful closing of the Comcast Offer, and given the possibility of a delisting of Sky in the near future, urges shareholders to accept immediately.”

UK PM May’s ministers still fully behind her Brexit plans: spokesman [Reuters]
May’s Conservative Party is deeply divided over the direction talks with the EU should take, with opponents of her plans, including her former Brexit minister, holding a press conference on Monday to spell out an alternative vision based on a free trade agreement.
Her cabinet of top ministers is due to discuss the ongoing negotiations with the bloc on Monday and her spokesman reiterated that May remained committed to her plans.
“The cabinet gave its full support to the white paper (her proposals), and that continues to be the case,” the spokesman told reporters.

App-Only Banks Rise in Europe and Aim at Traditional Lenders [NYT]
So-called fintech companies have sought to take on the world’s biggest banks for years, but only recently have companies like Monzo begun to build a critical mass. Millions of customers across Europe, most in their 20s or 30s, have signed up over the past two years. And thanks to favorable regulations in the region and an influx of venture capital, that shift is accelerating.
Here in Britain, officials have been concerned about the power of large banks in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and they see the start-ups as weakening the hold of traditional lenders. The authorities have adopted policies such as a “regulatory sandbox,” allowing what are known as challenger banks to test new financial products and get feedback from regulators before proposing them to customers.

Gold Giant Barrick Agrees to Buy Rival Rangold for $6 Billion [WSJ]
Barrick shareholders will own 67% of the combined company, and Randgold investors will own 33%, the companies said Monday. The deal remains subject to shareholder approval.
In London morning trading, Randgold shares were up 5.1% at £51.76 ($67.68)
The deal will pair up two of the gold-mining industry’s biggest personalities: Barrick’s John Thornton, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, and Mark Bristow, the chief executive of Randgold renowned for taking motorcycle trips through Africa.

Nearly $18 million worth of cocaine found hidden in boxes of unclaimed bananas [USA Today]
The port offered two pallets of the fruit to the department because no one ever claimed them.
Two sergeants were loading up the bananas Friday morning when they noticed one of the boxes felt different.
They snipped the straps, opened it up and found a bundle full of a white powdery substance hidden beneath the bananas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents confirmed it was cocaine. They searched all 45 boxes and found 540 packages of cocaine with an estimated street value of $17.8 million.

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