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  • Wall Street’s main indexes were flat in morning trading on Wednesday.
  • Trading volumes were thin ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and an early close on Friday.
  • The biggest drop was a 7.2 percent decline in Hewlett Packard Enterprise after Chief Executive Meg Whitman said she would leave in February six years into the job.


Uber Reveals Data Breach and Cover-up, Leading to Two Firings

  • Uber revealed it paid hackers $100,000 in an effort to conceal a data breach affecting 57 million accounts one year ago.
  • The ride-hailing firm said it fired its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, and deputy Craig Clark for their roles in the breach and for covering it up.
  • In addition to the names, emails and phone numbers of millions of riders, about 600,000 drivers’ license numbers were accessed, Uber said.
  • Uber said financial information such as credit cards and Social Security numbers weren’t taken.
  • Uber said it identified the hackers and “obtained assurances” they had destroyed the stolen data.
  • The New York State Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation into the breach.

Meg Whitman’s Latest Turn Signal

  • Whitman, one the most high-profile executives in the United States, said on Tuesday she would quit as CEO in February and hand over the reins to company veteran Antonio Neri.
  • After reports surfaced that she was being considered for the top job at Uber, Whitman reinforced her dedication to the role in July by saying that she was fully committed to HPE and planned to remain CEO.

Deere Earnings Helped by Equipment Demand

  • Deere easily beat quarterly sales and profit expectations and predicted continued improvement in sales of its agricultural machinery next year.
  • Deere’s sales of farm and landscaping machinery soared 22% during the fourth quarter from the same period a year earlier to $5.4 billion.
  • Profit for the segment rose 57% to $584 million.
  • The company generates 70% of sales from agricultural equipment
  • Total net sales rose 25.5 percent to $7.09 billion.
  • Deere reported net income of with $510.3 million, compared with $285.3 million in the year-ago period.
  • Deere said the improvement stemmed from rising production of equipment and higher prices.
  • For 2017, farm equipment sales rose 9% from 2016 to $20.2 billion.

Rockwell Automation Rejects Third Proposal from Emerson

  • Last week Emerson sweetened its takeover offer to $225 per share, valuing the company at about $28.91 billion, in a bid to create a machine and software manufacturing giant. Rockwell previously rebuffed offers of $200 per share and $215 per share, and refused to engage in negotiations.

Retailers Offer Delayed Shipping Options to Avoid Peak Charges

  • UPS for the first time is tacking on a surcharge on packages shipped to homes around Black Friday and the week before Christmas, hoping to convince companies to send their orders outside those peak periods—or to make more money from ones that must be delivered then.
  • The surcharge has prompted e-commerce retailers large and small to consider other delivery options, such as FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service, passing the additional costs to their customers, or delaying shipments to cheaper times.
  • UPS expects the surcharge, which went into effect on Nov. 19 and lasts until Dec. 3, then returns mid-December, to smooth out the volume of packages it delivers during the holiday season.

P&G reviewing board seat recount; Trian calls it waste of time

  • P&G said on Wednesday it was reviewing a recount of a shareholder vote that showed activist investor Nelson Peltz had narrowly won a seat on the company’s board.
  • Peltz claimed victory after a preliminary tally of votes was released last week, but P&G had refused to concede and said it wants to see a certified result before declaring a winner.

Apple scientists disclose self-driving car research

  • Research by Apple computer scientists on how self-driving cars can better spot cyclists and pedestrians while using fewer sensors has been posted online, in what appears to be the company’s first publicly disclosed paper on autonomous vehicles.
  • The paper by Yin Zhou and Oncel Tuzel, submitted on Nov. 17 to independent online journal arXiv, is significant because Apple’s famed corporate secrecy around future products has been seen as a drawback among artificial intelligence and machine learning researchers.
  • The scientists proposed a new software approach called “VoxelNet” for helping computers detect three-dimensional objects.

Apple will release a new and cheaper iPhone by July, according to a report

  • Apple will launch an iPhone SE 2 during the first half of next year, according to China’s Economic Daily News.
  • The new model will cost about $450 and will be aimed at sales in emerging markets, according to the report.
  • The report suggested that the iPhone SE 2 will replace the current iPhone SE. That phone was designed to cater to fans of smaller displays and who want a less-expensive iPhone, especially consumers in emerging markets who can’t afford Apple’s more premium devices.
  • The iPhone SE has a 4-inch screen, much smaller than the 4.7-inch display on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. The current model starts at $349, $200 cheaper than the next most affordable smartphone, Apple’s iPhone 7.

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U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Fell in October

  • Orders for durable goods—products designed to last at least three years, such as office furniture and computers—decreased 1.2% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $236.0 billion in October
  • The fall follows a 2.2% increase in September.
  • A closely watched proxy for business investment, new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, dropped 0.5% in October. It was the largest drop in slightly over a year.
  • Orders for civilian aircraft declined 18.6% in October, and orders for defense capital goods dropped 9.6% from a month earlier. Both categories tend to be volatile. Orders for motor vehicles increased, potentially reflecting demand for cars after hurricanes Harvey and Irma earlier destroyed vehicles.
  • Excluding transportation, orders inched up 0.4% in October and have increased for four consecutive months.

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Pulled Back in November

  • The University of Michigan’s consumer-sentiment index was 98.5 in November, up from a preliminary reading of 97.8 but down from 100.7 in October.
  • Economic growth has been solid for much of 2017 and the unemployment rate fell in October to 4.1%, its lowest level in nearly 17 years.

U.S. Jobless Claims Decline Heading into Holiday Season

  • Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., decreased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000.
  • Weekly initial unemployment applications have held below 300,000 for more than 2½ years. That is the longest streak since claims remained below that level for about three years ended April 1970, though the U.S. population and workforce were far smaller in those days.

Trump says AT&T-Time Warner deal is ‘not good for the country’

  • “Personally, I’ve always felt that that was a deal that’s not good for the country. I think your pricing is going to go up,” Trump said Tuesday to reporters outside the White House during an impromptu news conference. “But I’m not going to get involved, it’s litigation.”
  • Last year on the campaign trail, Trump promised he would not let the just-announced AT&T-Time Warner deal go through, saying it would concentrate too much power in one company.

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U.K.’s Hammond Announces Sharp Cuts to Economic Forecasts

  • U.K. Treasury chief Philip Hammond on Wednesday presented gloomier forecasts for the economy, in a budget address to Parliament that earmarked an extra £3 billion ($3.97 billion) over the next two years to prepare for the country’s departure from the European Union.
  • He pledged billions of pounds in tax breaks and government loan guarantees to spur housebuilding over the next five years amid concern over high prices, and said those between 26 and 30 years of age would get subsidized rail travel.
  • The agency said it expects economic growth to slow from 1.5% this year to 1.3% in 2019, compared with March projections of growth of 2% and 1.7%, respectively.

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  • Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama became the first navigator to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in his search for a sea route to India. (1497)
  • S-O-S” was adopted as a distress signal at the International Radio Telegraphic Convention in Berlin. (1906)
  • President Franklin Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek met in Cairo to discuss measures for defeating Japan. (1943)
  • President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. (1963)
  • The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 242 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. (1967)

This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S&P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal.

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