Hold It Right There
Good news for your loans: The Fed indicated Wednesday that interest-rate increases are probably off the table for the rest of the year. Now the bad news: The economy may be slowing faster than some people — like President Trump — would like to think. The central bank lowered its growth forecast to 2.1 percent, down from its 2.3 percent prediction in December — and well below the 3.2 percent that the White House envisions. Why the cool-off? The afterglow of the 2017 tax cuts has waned, the China trade war doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon and other countries’ economies are stagnating.
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Boeing took its first major customer blow since two of its 787 Max 8 jets crashed within five months of each other. Although no one knows what exactly caused the incidents yet, Indonesia’s national airline asked on Friday to cancel an order of 49 planes, worth $4.9 billion. Boeing has been scrambling to “fix” its best-selling fleet, which is currently grounded, by standardizing extra safety features and rolling out a software update.
European Union leaders took mercy on British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday by granting an extension to the March 29 deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc. It comes with conditions, though. If Mrs. May can convince Parliament to accept her Brexit plan in the next week, then she’ll have until May 22 to enact it. But they’ve already rejected it twice, so that could be a nonstarter. Which brings us to plan B: Britain gets a shorter delay, until April 12, although it’s hard to believe anything could be solved by then. Plan C is that Britain could ask for even more time.
Your Ride Is Here
Ready for the next wave of hot stocks? This Friday, ride-hailing company Lyft is shooting for the biggest initial public offering the tech world has seen since 2014 (when the juggernaut Alibaba went public at $169 billion). Lyft hopes to be valued at an optimistic $23 billion, considerably more than the $15.1 billion valuation from its last private funding round. Silicon Valley will be watching closely. A number of other young tech companies are planning to follow in Lyft’s I.P.O. footsteps shortly, including Lyft’s biggest rival, Uber (whose valuation goal dwarfs Lyft’s, at $120 billion), as well as Pinterest, Slack and Postmates.
A Battle on Two Fronts
The costly trade war between the United States and China shows no signs of concluding, despite Mr. Trump’s claims of progress. His delegates will travel to Beijing this week for another round of negotiations, followed by yet more talks in Washington in April. Perhaps complicating matters, Mr. Trump announced this week that he’ll probably keep high tariffs on Chinese goods in place even if an agreement is reached, just to make sure China holds up its end. Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with European leaders soon in an attempt to keep trade relations from getting messy there, too. (None of this is helping China’s flagging economy, by the way.)
Apple will unveil new products on Monday at a media event at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. One will be a new video streaming service that’s meant to compete with Netflix, Amazon and HBO. Another is a souped-up version of its Apple News app, which will offer a new paid tier that gives readers access to articles from participating magazines and news outlets that otherwise require a subscription. Apple is still hammering out partnerships with those publications, as many have balked at the terms it’s demanding.
It was a big week for clothes. In honor of Levi Strauss & Company’s I.P.O., traders got to go wild and wear jeans on the stock exchange floor. (The company’s stock price rose 32 percent on its first day of trading.) Also improving wardrobes as well as the bottom line: Rent the Runway, which allows women to rent and return designer items, is now valued at $1 billion after its latest round of funding. And Instagram is rolling out a new feature that will make it even easier to shop straight from your feed without leaving the app (or your bed).
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