Financial Daily Dose 1.16.2020 | Top Story: US and China Make Phase One Official While Trade Questions Linger

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Robins Kaplan LLP

Well, Phase One is official, thanks to a White House signing yesterday that included Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. With that act comes our first substantive look at the deal that’s been thus-far shrouded in secrecy. Some highlights: commitments from China to purchase “an additional $200 billion worth of American goods and services by 2021,” the eventual easing of tariffs from both sides (though leaving in place the “bulk of the tariffs” currently in effect on $360 billion of Chinese goods), and promises from China to “strengthen its intellectual-property protections.” Still, the agreement leaves many issues unresolved—from cybersecurity to China’s controls over companies’ data to its state-owned industries and business subsidies – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Law360

More details on what’s actually in there (and what’s missing) – NYTimes and MarketWatch

And what part of the pact may already be in trouble – Bloomberg and WSJ

A coming 1MDB storm wiped out roughly 13% of Goldman Sachs’ 2019 profits and “darkened otherwise strong results.” The bank put away $1.1 billion in late 2019 “to help pay for an expected settlement with regulators,” who allege that Goldman “overlooked signs of corruption at the Malaysian fund, known as 1MDB, in pursuit of fees” – WSJ

Post-Ghosn Nissan’s a mess. Revenue and profits “are falling in markets around the world,” and the carmaker’s US sales were down 10% in 2019, “a staggering decline at a time when auto sales are at near-record levels.” What gives? Well, industry insiders say much of the blame lies with Ghosn himself and his “unrelenting push for growth, often at the expense of the bottom line” – NYTimes

After stepping back and sizing up the current landscape for central banks, the Journal declares that the era of the Fed and its counterparts being the “unchallenged drivers of financial markets and the business cycle” is nearly over, thanks in no small part to rates so low and (and tepid growth keeping them there) that central bankers will likely be left on the sidelines – WSJ

Our first look at the CFPB’s official legal approach to defending its structure as constitutional, courtesy of its appellate counsel, Kirkland’s Paul Clement – Law360

Though I wouldn’t have bet on it based on my own at-least-weekly Target runs, holiday sales at the Minneapolis-based retailer didn’t meet expectations this year. Target blamed “weak sales of toys and electronics” for its failure to hit Q4 goals – WSJ and MarketWatch and Marketplace

Quite the fascinating look at the work that Twitter’s top lawyer—Vijaya Gadde—has on her plate as the final word on enforcing the company’s user rules – Bloomberg

France’s Societe Generale has settled out of the “massive Libor-rigging litigation investors have leveled against more than a dozen big banks,” though no deals have emerged about the price associated with its exit – Law360

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has pledged $1 billion in investments in India as part of a major “charm offensive in a promising but challenging market.” The extra bill will add to the $5 billion that Amazon claims to be spending already to build out its Indian operations – WSJ

With the Oscar noms now announced [and a big snow on the way here in the North], it’s officially catch-up time for us cinephiles. Here’s how to watch from the comfort of your own couch – NYTimes

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