Apple iPhones won’t face tariffs amid China trade dispute: report

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Apple wants to make your iPhone more secure

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Apple has received assurances that the U.S. government will not place import tariffs on iPhones manufactured in China amid an escalating trade conflict between the two nations, according to a report Monday.

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The Trump administration told Apple CEO Tim Cook that the tech giant’s flagship product will not be impacted, even as Trump ordered tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, the New York Times reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. However, Apple is said to be concerned that China will enact other policies that could hurt its business, including closer scrutiny of its products or efforts to delay its supply chain.

Apple shares fell more than 1.5% in trading Tuesday, outpacing declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the SP 500. Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Peter Navarro, the White House National Trade Council Director, told reporters Monday that he had “no knowledge or comment” on whether Cook had received assurances that iPhones would be exempt from the tariffs, Fox News reported.

Apple reported more than $13 billion in sales in China in its most recent quarter, up 21% year-over-year. Most of Apple’s parts suppliers for the iPhone are based in China.

Cook downplayed concerns about U.S.-China trade relations during an earnings call last month, noting that the iPhone was “the most popular smartphone in all of China” in the second quarter.

“I’m a big believer that both countries can win and grow the pie together,” Cook said.

Starbucks provides weak sales outlook, will close 150 stores

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Starbucks’ coffee will now cost you more

FBN’s Cheryl Casone on Starbucks’ decision to raise its prices.

Starbucks shares fell as much as 3% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the coffeehouse chain provided a weak sales forecast for its upcoming quarter and said it would shutter 150 stores in fiscal 2019.

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The Seattle-based company said it would close underperforming stores in “densely penetrated markets” and slow its rate of store growth. Starbucks said it traditionally closes about 50 underperforming locations annually.

Starbucks said it expects same-store sales to grow 1% in its third fiscal quarter of 2017. Analysts had expected same-store sales to grow 3% in that period.

“While certain demand headwinds are transitory, and some of our cost increases are appropriate investments for the future, our recent performance does not reflect the potential of our exceptional brand and is not acceptable,” Starbucks CEO and President Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “We must move faster to address the more rapidly changing preferences and needs of our customers.”

Starbucks said it will return an additional $25 billion more to shareholders than initially planned in the form of share buybacks and dividends. The company will hike its dividend 20% to 36 cents per share.

The chain, which operates more than 8,000 U.S. stores, said the changes were made to address the weaker-than-expected sales growth, adding that several digital initiatives were expected to add 1% to 2% in comparable sales in fiscal 2019. Starbucks said it would provide additional details on its plans at an investor presentation on Tuesday afternoon.

The changes came weeks after Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz announced he would leave the role in June. Schultz is widely rumored to have political aspirations.

General Electric to leave Dow Jones Industrial Average amid stock slide

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GE CEO signals dividend could be cut: Gasparino

A General Electric spokeswoman would not deny that the conglomerate’s dividend could be cut. FBN’s Charlie Gasparino with more.

General Electric, one of the 30 original members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, will be removed from the leading index amid a prolonged stock slide and financial difficulties that have forced the one-time giant to cut costs.

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Walgreens Boots Alliance will replace GE on the index as of the start of trading on Tuesday, June 26. General Electric was the only remaining original stock on the Dow. However, with shares trading below $13 as of Tuesday, the company’s stock “has a weight in the index of less than one-half of one percentage point,” according to a SP Dow Jones Indices press release.

“General Electric was an original member of the DJIA in 1896 and a member continuously since 1907,” says David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at SP Dow Jones Indices. “Since then the U.S. economy has changed: consumer, finance, health care and technology companies are more prominent today and the relative importance of industrial companies is less.”

General Electric CEO John Flannery has enacted company-wide cost-cutting measures as part of a broader restructuring plan. The company cut its quarterly dividend in half last November and is said to be considering another dividend cut in the near future.

General Electric had been the Dow’s lowest-performing stock over the last 12 months, with shares plunging more than 50%. Shares fell 2% in after-hours trading, while Walgreens shares rose more than 2%.

“Walgreens is a national retail drug store chain offering prescription and non-prescription drugs, related health services and general goods,” Blitzer said. “With its addition, the DJIA will be more representative of the consumer and health care sectors of the U.S. economy. Today’s change to the DJIA will make the index a better measure of the economy and the stock market.”

FedEx CEO: ‘Trade is a two-way street’

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Concerns Trump’s economic success could be offset by trade fallout

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FedEx CEO Fred Smith said the company is concerned about growing tensions between the U.S. and its trade partners.

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“Trade is a two-way street, and FedEx supports lowering trade barriers for our customers, not raising them,” he said during the global shipping giant’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call.

Last week, FedEx issued a statement saying tariffs on Chinese imports are “counterproductive to U.S. economic interests.”

This is not the first time Smith has sounded the alarm on President Trump’s trade jabs. In March, he said he was “concerned” about recently-enacted tariffs on steel and aluminum and warned the initiative could offset the benefits of tax reform, as reported by FOX Business.

Shares of FedEx posted their worst day in two months Tuesday, responding to President Donald Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. FedEx and its rival, United Parcel Service, each fell about 2%.

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    But FedEx rebounded slightly in after-hours trading after reporting quarterly earnings and revenue that beat expectations, due in part to higher shipping rates and tax benefits.

    FedEx also said its global supply chains are well-established and would be difficult to disrupt in a trade war.

    The Memphis, Tennessee-based company’s fourth-quarter net income climbed about 11% to $1.13 billion, or $4.15 a share. Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings per share hit $5.91, beating the consensus estimate of $5.71.

    Revenue jumped 10% to $17.3 billion, beating Wall Street’s projection of $17.25 billion.

    FedEx expects to report revenue growth of 9% in fiscal 2019. The company also provided guidance for full-year earnings of $17 to $17.60 per share. Analysts were looking for $17.47 per share.

    Disney’s Bob Iger won’t walk away from Fox bidding war: Porter Bibb

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    Disney will have to raise its bid for Fox’s assets: Porter Bibb

    Porter Bibb, managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners, discusses Disney’s and Comcast’s bids for some of 21st Century Fox’s assets.

    The Walt Disney Company likely won’t back down after Comcast made a larger, all-cash offer of $65 billion for most of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, according to a media analyst.

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    Porter Bibb, managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners, told FOX Business’ Liz Claman that Disney CEO Bob Iger is crafting his next move.

    “He is sharpening his pencil and putting his next bid together because he’s not walking away,” Bibb said on Tuesday.

    Bibb said although Disney is not attempting to beat Comcast’s offer, it must raise its bid for Fox’s assets.

    “The market is saying, ‘You cannot go with the Disney bid as it stands,’” he said.

    21st Century Fox previously agreed to sell its entertainment assets, including the Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studios along with cable and international TV businesses, to Disney. The deal was for $52.4 billion in stock.

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      Both Comcast and Disney would be willing to sell off Fox’s 21 regional sports TV networks to avoid any antitrust intervention from the Department of Justice, according to Bibb.

      “The key to this deal with Comcast, Fox and Disney is the out of town tryout that’s occurring right now in the U.K. over Sky,” he said on “Countdown to the Closing Bell.”

      The U.K. has cleared 21st Century Fox to take part in a bidding war for Sky.

      Disney has pledged $2 billion in Sky News funding over 15 years if the 24-hour channel is acquired through the 21st Century Fox deal. Comcast has five days to put its best offer on the table for Sky News under European Union and U.K. regulations.

      “Bob Iger desperately wants Sky as well as the other Fox entertainment assets,” Bibb said. “He is going to have to counter that.”

      The board of directors of 21st Century Fox will meet on Wednesday to discuss the Comcast and Disney offers, according to FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino. Disney has five days to counter Comcast’s if board members find that Comcast’s bid is a better offer than Disney’s.

      “This is Rupert Murdoch’s biggest deal and he’s in the catbird seat. He cannot lose, his Fox shareholders cannot lose and it’s going to go through the roof in terms of value,” Bibb said.

      21st Century Fox is the parent company of FOX Business and Fox News.

      Fujitsu Lifebook T938, First Take: Let’s twist again

      There aren’t that many opportunities to buy a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a central twisting hinge these days, as 360-degree rotation has rather stolen this format’s thunder. But Fujitsu continues to support it, with the new Lifebook T938.

      This is a solidly built machine that could survive in a bag without a protective sleeve, and it’s not too heavy at 1.3kg. The 13.3-inch screen sits in a relatively large bezel, as you’d expect in a laptop whose screen can be set to face outwards for use in tablet mode. But you might not want to consider holding this laptop in a hand or crook of an arm for very long, as that 1.3kg weight will soon take its toll. The touch-screen’s FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution delivers enough detail, and Fujitsu offers an anti-glare option.

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      The keyboard is beautifully springy, offering a little more resistance on the downward stroke than usual: I rather like that, although tastes vary. The enter key is double-width and double-height, and the arrow keys are nearly full size. Touch typing at normal speed was no problem at all. The touchpad is nicely responsive and has physical buttons.

      The 13.3-inch Lifebook T938 has a central screen hinge, runs 8th-generation Intel Core processors and weighs 1.3kg.


      Image: Fujitsu

      The Lifebook T938 runs on Intel 8th generation Intel Core processors, my review sample being fitted with a Core i7-8650U, along with 16GB of RAM. There are also Core i5-8350U and Core i5-8250U options. SSD storage is available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, in PCIe or SATA III format.

      There are lots of security features. The wrist rest houses Fujitsu’s PalmSecure biometric system, which uses vein patterns for user authentication. There’s also a fingerprint reader on the screen section, catering for login when the screen is uppermost and the PalmSecure reader is covered. Even more security is provided by a smartcard slot on the laptop’s left edge.

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      Fujitsu caters for legacy as well as cutting-edge connections, and there is a good range here: a pair of USB 3 ports and a USB-C port sit alongside a full-size HDMI port and an old-fashioned VGA connector. All of these fit into the base fairly easily. Fujitsu has not found it so easy to fit in a full-size RJ-45 Ethernet connector, and so has opted for a pull-out/pop-out port, as on the Lifebook U938. It’s very clever, but might prove a bit flimsy in the long term. An SD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack round things off. LTE mobile broadband is available as an option.

      The battery is removable and a second internal cell provides enough juice to allow you to hot-swap a replacement battery without having to close down the system.

      Everything fits together very well, and those legacy ports will certainly enhance this laptop’s appeal for some. Fujitsu fans who want a 13.3-inch convertible with 360-degree rotating screen and an 8th generation Intel Core processor should consider the Lifebook P728.

      The price for my review unit has not been confirmed, but a Core i5-8250U version costs £1,276 (inc. VAT; £1,066.33 ex. VAT) online. My Core i7 unit will therefore be a premium-priced system.

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