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Morning Brief: Trump to announce $50B in new tariffs against China

Thursday, March 22, 2018

What to watch today

Wednesday was highlighted by the Federal Reserve’s FOMC statement and press conference. Among other things, the Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that an escalation of trade tensions around the U.S.’s tariff policy could cause the economy to slow down and force the Fed to reassess its economic outlook.

Today, we already have reports that President Donald Trump will announce $50 billion in new tariffs against China. U.S. stock market futures are already selling off. All eyes will be on any developments around trade.

Top news

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence about data leakFacebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg made his first public statements on Wednesday following revelations that the profile information of 50 million users was used without their knowledge or consent as part of a targeted advertising campaign to elect Donald Trump. But instead of speaking to the press, or even hosting a Facebook Live video, as he has done in the past, Zuckerberg posted a message to his official Facebook account.  [Yahoo Finance]

US facing off against AT&T to block merger with Time Warner:  The Trump administration is facing off against AT&T (ATT) to block the telephone giant from absorbing Time Warner, in a case that could shape how consumers get — and how much they pay for — streaming TV and movies. Opening arguments come Thursday in the landmark antitrust case in federal court in Washington. The Justice Department has sued to block the $85 billion deal, saying it would hurt competition and consumers would have to pay more to watch their favorite shows, whether on a TV screen, smartphone or tablet. [AP]

General Mills sounds inflation alarm for food industry:  General Mills (GIS) shares fell nearly 9% Wednesday after the company lowered operating-profit guidance for its full fiscal year ending in May. The maker of Cheerios cereal, Yoplait yogurt and Progresso soups now forecasts adjusted earnings-per-share growth of zero to 1% for the period, down from its earlier guidance of 3% to 4% growth. On a conference call, management was contrite for not catching the trend of accelerating inflation earlier, and it outlined plans to respond by cutting costs, reconfiguring logistics networks and raising some prices. [The Wall Street Journal]

Google is working on its own blockchain-related technology: Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is working on blockchain-related technology to support its cloud business and head off competition from emerging startups that use the heavily-hyped technology to operate online in new ways, according to people familiar with the situation. Companies use blockchain and other so-called digital ledgers to securely record transactions and process other data over the internet — a service Google could use, for example, to reassure customers that their information is protected when stored on the giant network of computer servers that power its cloud services. [Bloomberg]

For more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced that its female polar bear Victoria gave birth at Highland Wildlife Park to the first cub to be born in the UK for 25 years. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/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.