Stocks lower as tensions simmer
U.S. stocks fell Wednesday as trade tensions simmered, with the White House said to be preparing to blacklist more Chinese technology companies. The dollar and Treasuries held their ground after the release of meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve, which stressed a patient approach to interest-rate changes.
The S&P 500 index fell for the third session in four, with tech shares under pressure amid the latest developments in the trade war with China. Markets continue to run hot and cold as investors react to the near-daily salvos in the conflict, trying to size up how much damage they will bring to growth and supply chains. The Fed minutes put a damper on prospects for lower rates this year, weighing slightly on equity markets as fed funds futures showed a slight drop in the odds for a rate cut.
Energy shares slid along with crude futures after an unexpected buildup in U.S. oil and gasoline stockpiles, while retail stocks declined on disappointing earnings from Lowe’s Cos. and Nordstrom Inc.
Judge: Qualcomm violated antitrust
Qualcomm abused its position as a giant of the semiconductor industry to harm competition and overcharge cellphone-makers, a federal judge has ruled, sending shock waves through the smartphone industry. In a decision issued late Tuesday, Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, found that Qualcomm’s patent-licensing practices violated antitrust law. The Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm in 2017, arguing that the company used its monopoly position as the supplier of two kinds of wireless chips to compel handset-makers to pay “onerous” fees for the use of its patents.
China airlines seek payouts
Boeing is facing compensation claims from the three biggest airlines in China, which have grounded dozens of 737 Max jetliners since the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March. Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, which are all state-controlled, said Wednesday they had asked for payouts, confirming reports in state-run news media. Xiamen Airlines, a smaller carrier, also said it would seek compensation.
Amazon looks at societal impact
Amazon said Wednesday that its shareholders had voted down proposals that would have pushed the company to reconsider its societal impact in two key areas: facial recognition and climate change. The proposals asked Amazon to develop a more comprehensive approach to reducing its carbon footprint and put the brakes on how the company sells surveillance technologies to governments.