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April’s Jobs Report Disappoints but Keeps Fed on Track: DealBook Briefing

April’s Jobs Report Disappoints but Keeps Fed on Track: DealBook Briefing


Tendayi Kapfidze, LendingTree: Mr. Kapfidze writes that disappointing wage growth suggests that “inflation pressures are not building up in the economy. The outlook for rates is heavily dependent on expectations for inflation which in term are influenced by wages.”


Unemployment rate falls below 4 percent

The U.S. labor market remained strong last month, with the unemployment rate falling below 4 percent for the first time since 2000.

April marked the 91st consecutive month of job gains, far and away the longest streak of increases on record. And the jobless rate is reaching historically low levels. In the last 60 years, there has been only one sustained period where unemployment stayed below 4 percent: the late 1960s.


Here are the numbers

• 164,000 jobs were added last month. Wall Street economists had expected an increase of about 193,000, according to Bloomberg.

• The unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, the lowest rate since 2000 and a sign that the job market has become even more competitive. It had been 4.1 percent since October.


Year-over-year wage growth

Year-over-year wage growth

• The Labor Department revised the job figures for February slightly downward, but revised the numbers for March sharply upward. The result was a net increase of 30,000 jobs, compared with previous estimates.

• Average earnings rose by 4 cents an hour last month and are up 2.6 percent over the past year.

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Jay-Z

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Michael Zorn/Invision, via Michael Zorn/Invision/Ap

Federal judge to Jay-Z: Can I get a court appearance?

The man born Shawn Carter hasn’t responded to subpoenas from the S.E.C. tied to its investigation of Iconix Brand Group. Iconix bought Rocawear, which he co-founded, for $200 million.

Why the S.E.C. is interested, according to its statement:

“In March 2016, Iconix publicly announced a $169 million write down of Rocawear, and in March of this year, Iconix announced a further write down of $34 million. The S.E.C.’s application states that the commission seeks Carter’s testimony to inquire about, among other things, Carter’s joint ventures with Iconix.”

The S.E.C. said Mr. Carter wasn’t suspected of wrongdoing. A spokeswoman said he had nothing to do with the case and shouldn’t have to appear.

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AP/Douglas Healey

Xerox just undumped its C.E.O.

It’s becoming one of corporate America’s strangest sagas: Xerox said last night that, contrary to the terms of the settlement it reached on Tuesday with the activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, its C.E.O. and board are staying put. Some explanation:

Xerox says the settlement expired last night, after Mr. Deason missed a deadline to withdraw a lawsuit.

Mr. Icahn and Mr. Deason say the board had demanded “unprecedented” legal protections.

What’s next: Fujifilm will want Xerox to continue pursuing their deal. Mr. Icahn and Mr. Deason will keep fighting the board — and also Fujifilm, as “an aider and abettor” of what they argue to be breaches of fiduciary duty.

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Steven Mnuchin in Beijing.

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Andy Wong/Associated Press

What have the Beijing trade talks achieved so far?

Not much in terms of solid plans. The U.S. delegation reiterated demands like a $200 billion cut in the trade deficit with China, which Beijing deemed “unfair.”

We’ve written before about the splits in the U.S. delegation between free-traders like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and hard-liners like the U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer. But China’s negotiators face their own problem: They’re superqualified on economics, less so on trade law.

A sign that relations haven’t completely frozen over: Beijing approved Qualcomm’s plans for a Chinese joint venture on smartphone chips. (Still no word on the NXP takeover.) And UBS is seeking control of its Chinese joint venture.

Elsewhere in trade: A congressional race in Boeing’s home district is suddenly a tossup. How tariffs are reshaping the solar industry, including by spurring M.&A.

The political flyaround

• Rudy Giuliani’s disclosures might have been aimed at solving a legal problem for President Trump, but they may have created several others. (More explanation here.) Mr. Giuliani also contradicted some of the president’s accounts of James Comey’s firing. White House staffers were blindsided.

• How Fox News, normally a safe space for Mr. Trump, became a source of problems for him. (NYT)

• Scott Pruitt didn’t just buy an Oklahoma house from a lobbyist; he bought it in partnership with another lobbyist. (NYT)

• The Justice Department updated its sexual harassment guidelines. Critics worry about how they’ll be applied. (NYT)

• There has been an uptick in scam PACs ostensibly supporting causes like police and cancer victims. (Politico)

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Cristina Chen-Oster, right, with a fellow plaintiff against Goldman Sachs, Shanna Orlich.

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Richard Perry/The New York Times

Is #MeToo finally changing Wall Street?

After 13 years and dozens of lawyers, a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination at Goldman Sachs has won class action status. One of the plaintiffs, Cristina Chen-Oster, spoke to Bloomberg Businessweek:

Goldman’s ferocious defense and the long arc of the case so far might seem like a warning to women considering new battles. Chen-Oster takes a sunnier view. She laughs when she recounts how a friend at a different financial firm went to compliance training that, she said, boiled down to: Do whatever it takes to avoid another Chen-Oster vs. Goldman Sachs. “It’s having a positive impact,” she says.

Elsewhere in banking: How James Gorman’s take-it-or-leave-it approach helped Morgan Stanley. A judge upheld a conviction against a former Goldman Sachs programmer for stealing its high-frequency trading code. HSBC’s C.E.O. is preparing a new strategy as the firm plans a $2 billion stock buyback. Why it’s hard to show when a trading strategy turns criminal.

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Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Why Lyft has never caught up to Uber

When its bigger rival kept hitting problems last year, Lyft wasn’t fast or aggressive enough to blow up the Death Star of its industry. “We couldn’t get out of our own way from a product and engineering perspective,” a former Lyft manager told The Information. Travis Kalanick once deemed one of Lyft’s C.E.O.s “lame sauce.”

An example, from Amir Efrati of The Information:

Lyft developed a cheaper shared-ride service called Lyft Line before Uber, but allowed Uber to get ahead with announcing its own, not-yet-developed version, called UberPool. Lyft worked on “upfront pricing” — telling riders the price of a ride before they book — for months before Uber beat it to the punch.

Elsewhere in tech: Facebook has fired several employees for abusing access to user data. Its staffers get a “Sauron alert” when their profiles a viewed by a colleague, something not available to the public. The tale of the Great Bitcoin Heist. Twitter urged users to change their passwords after a glitch caused some to be stored in an unencrypted format. Lawmakers want the tech industry to move faster on improving employee diversity.

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Warren Buffett

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Rick Wilking/Reuters

The deals flyaround

• Berkshire Hathaway bought 75 million shares in Apple — “an unbelievable company,” in Warren Buffett’s estimation — in the first quarter. (CNBC)

• Jim Stewart asks if Amazon and Netflix should change how antitrust regulators look at the Time Warner deal and other mergers. Jennifer Saba of Breakingviews thinks T-Mobile’s justification for its Sprint acquisition, building out a 5G network, makes sense.

• Xiaomi’s forthcoming Hong Kong I.P.O. shows Chinese companies choosing to list closer to home. (NYT)

• BP has reportedly hired Morgan Stanley to consider buying some of BHP Billiton’s assets. (Bloomberg)

• Bayer sold its remaining stake in Covestro, a maker of polymers, for $2.6 billion to help pay for its Monsanto deal. (Bloomberg)

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How crime (sometimes) pays

In this weekend’s NYT Magazine, read up on true financial crime tales:

• How hackers tried to steal nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh’s central bank using the financial world’s wire transfer system.

• The opioid maker Insys said its doctor payments were part of a speakers’ program; prosecutors called them kickbacks.

• Why thieves love baby formula.

Revolving door

• Silver Lake has hired A.J. Murphy, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s head of global capital markets — a rare arrival from outside at the managing director level, the firm told Michael.

Thomas Piquemal, Deutsche Bank’s global head of M.&A., has gone to Fimalac, the investment vehicle for the French mogul Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, as deputy C.E.O. (FT)

• Société Générale has extended the contract of its C.E.O., Frédéric Oudéa, and named four deputy C.E.O.s: Séverin Cabannes, Diony Lebot, Philippe Aymerich and Philippe Heim. (FT)

• JPMorgan Chase has hired Manuela Veloso, head of Carnegie Mellon’s machine-learning department, as its first head of A.I. research. (WSJ)

The speed read

• The former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn was charged with conspiracy over the diesel emissions scandal. (NYT)

• Is Warren Buffett a job creator? It depends where you look. (Bloomberg)

• Prominent Theranos investors including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have disclosed losses of $600 million in a lawsuit. (WSJ)

• Nike’s C.E.O., Mark Parker, apologized to employees after recent turmoil over misconduct, unnamed sources said. (WSJ)

• The fast-food industry has a problem: not enough teenagers. (NYT)

• Chuck Plunkett, the Denver Post editorial page editor who called the paper’s owners “vulture capitalists,” resigned. (NYT)

• The family dispute behind a lawsuit to prevent Sotheby’s auctioning a piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat. (NYT)

• Remington Outdoor said that a bankruptcy judge had approved its reorganization plan, which will transfer ownership to creditors including JPMorgan Chase. (NYT)

• James Avery, a self-taught jeweler who built a Southern empire, died on Monday. (NYT)

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