The Week's Top Stories: Arrest Escalates China Tensions, Lyft Rushes IPO

December 7, 2018

From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.

  • Ho-Ho-Horrible Week: The first week of December was anything but jolly on Wall Street. All the major indices ended lower after see-sawing wildly throughout the week. The roller-coaster started with a sharp rise on Monday after it appeared the U.S. and China had come to an agreement on tariffs and then a steep drop Tuesday on worries about a flattening yield curve. News that the U.S. intends to bring charges against a high-profile Chinese businesswoman, and fears about China’s potential retaliation, made matters even worse. Big-cap tech stocks bore the brunt of the sell-off, with Apple ($AAPL) suffering a blow after a trio of downgrades due to slowing iPhone demand. Read more here.

  • China Tensions Escalate with Arrest: Canadian authorities arrested the CFO of Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, last weekend on behalf of U.S. authorities as she was switching flights in Vancouver. It took a few days for the incident to surface. Once it did, it shook investor confidence over the simmering trade war between the U.S. and China ー which had already been on thin ice following shifting statements from the White House over a plan to de-escalate the tariff tit-for-tat. Meng Wanzhou was charged with fraud and is alleged to have used a separate company as cover to do business with Iran, violating sanctions. Read more here.

  • Hiring Slows a Bit: The November jobs report hit the tape Friday morning, showing a gain of 155,000 jobs for the month ー slightly below expectations, but nevertheless strong. Economists were hoping for an increase of 190,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7 percent, and wage growth grew by another 0.2 percent, for a 3.1 percent year-over-year gain. Another healthy jobs report may give the Fed a green light to raise the benchmark interest rate when it meets later this month, a fear that has been spooking traders.

  • Lyft Rushes IPO: Lyft has filed papers with the SEC that signify a big step toward the company's initial public offering, expected in the first half of 2019. The ride-hailing company didn’t provide the number of shares it will float or their price range as it races to beat Uber to market. Lyft, which only operates in North America, is thought to be valued at more than $15 billion, while Uber’s valuation is estimated at as much as $120 billion. Both rivals are reportedly speeding up their IPO plans given the recent volatility in the market. Read more here.

  • Oil Supply Cut: OPEC and Russia reached a deal to slash oil production, sending U.S. crude prices spiking 5 percent. The cartel and its Russian partners agreed to take 1.2 million barrels a day off the world market following weeks of plummeting oil prices. The decision acted as a rebuke to President Trump, who had urged OPEC to keep the spigot open. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the decision was “not driven by any political agenda.”

-by Carlo Versano