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Morning Brief: US, China trade war heats up

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

What to watch today

Trade wars are escalating and the markets are reacting. Late Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from China. On Wednesday, China fired back with tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from the U.S. Dow futures fell by nearly 500 points in premarket trading.

On the economics calendar on Wednesday, investors will get the first of three days of labor market news, with ADP’s private payrolls report for March expected to show that 210,000 jobs were created in the private sector during the month. Also on the economic calendar will be readings on service-sector activity and factory orders.

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Top news

WPP boss Sorrell being investigated for alleged misconduct:  WPP (WPP), the world’s biggest advertising company, is investigating an allegation of personal misconduct against Chief Executive Martin Sorrell who has denied wrongdoing. Sorrell, who built WPP into the industry leader over three decades, said the allegation concerned financial impropriety and specifically the use of company funds. WPP said the allegation did not involve amounts which were material to the company. [Reuters]

CBS submits initial bid for Viacom at price below market value: CBS Corp. (CBS) has made an offer to acquire Viacom Inc. (VIA), and the bid is contingent on its management team being at the helm of the merged entity, according to people familiar with the matter. The all-stock offer is below Viacom’s current market valuation of $12.5 billion, the people said. A special committee of CBS board members tasked with handling negotiations presented the offer to a special committee of Viacom’s board in recent days. [The Wall Street Journal]

Spotify founders enriched to the tune of $5.8B: Spotify Technology SA’s stock (SPOT) debut just made its founders two of Sweden’s richest people. Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek is worth $2.4 billion thanks to his 9% economic stake in the music-streaming service. Co-founder Martin Lorentzon’s 12% holding gives him a $3.4 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. [Bloomberg]

Fed’s John Williams goes to NY heavy on economics, light on markets: While Williams is a centrist when it comes to interest rates, he made a name for himself from within the Fed system by poking holes in central bank doctrine. His pet project lately centers on convincing his colleagues to rewrite their entire inflation approach ahead of the next recession. His views gained influence on Tuesday, when the New York Fed announced Williams will succeed William Dudley as the district bank’s president. The move will make him part of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s leadership team. The New York Fed president, the chair and the board’s vice chair have in recent years formed a troika at the heart of Fed decision-making. [Bloomberg]

For more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

Police officers stand by in front of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, Calif. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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The Morning Brief provides a quick rundown on what to watch in the markets, top news stories, and the best of Yahoo Finance Originals.