Last week’s healthy jobless numbers, as well as murmurings of flexibility from the Fed, eased concerns about a recession this year. But truth is, the jobless numbers are a notoriously lagging indicator. And for that matter, the Fed is too. Neither signal tells us much about what lies ahead.
Corporate CFOs, on the other hand, often have their fingers more firmly placed on the economy’s pulse. And the folks at Deloitte keep their fingers on the pulse of CFOs. The latest Deloitte CFO Signals report is out this morning, and CEO Daily got an early glimpse. Some takeaways:
– 55% of the 147 CFOs surveyed expect a U.S. recession by the end of 2020.
– CFOs optimism about their own company’s prospects declined sharply to its lowest level in nearly three years.
– Compared to a year ago, CFOs’ expectations for business spending declined sharply, and those for labor costs rose.
– Only 23% see favorable conditions in Europe, down from 32% a year ago. And just 7% expect better conditions next year.
– Only 24% see favorable conditions in China. And just 12% expect better conditions next year, compared to 27% last quarter.
More news below.
Talks between President Trump and congressional Democrats about ending the partial government shutdown have collapsed. According to both sides, Trump asked Nancy Pelosi if the Dems would fund his wall, she said no, and he said “bye-bye” and walked out. There was also this exchange: Chuck Schumer asked Trump, “Why won’t you open the government and stop hurting people?” and the president responded, “Because then you won’t give me what I want.” CNN
It still isn’t clear how those China trade talks turned out, despite yesterday’s optimism. China said they laid the foundation for a resolution, and neither side mentioned further tariffs after the end of the 90-day ceasefire, but investors remain nervous. That, coupled with the above-mentioned failure of the U.S. government shutdown talks, has put U.S. futures firmly in the red for today. Asian markets are OK, though. Bloomberg
Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are to divorce after a quarter-century of marriage. This may be an issue for Amazon, because its CEO owns a 16.3% stake in the company. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “much will depend on whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement outlining the terms of a possible split exists.” WSJ
Google should not have to remove links for everyone around the world just because EU law says they should be taken down for privacy reasons, according to the top adviser of the EU’s highest court. If the Court of Justice of the European Union follows its advocate general’s recommendations, Google—and its users outside the EU—will win a major limitation to the search engine’s “right to be forgotten” obligations in the bloc. Fortune
Around the Water Cooler
Reuters sources suggest that former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn will tomorrow be hit with two more charges of financial misconduct in Japan, making for a total of three. The first charge was for under-reporting his income by half; the other two apparently include another of the same but for a different period, and one for “aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008.” Reuters
Want to order the cheapest version of the Tesla Model X or Model S? You have until Sunday, after which Elon Musk’s operation will stop selling the 75kWh-battery-equipped versions of those vehicles, leaving only the more expensive (by $15,000-$18,000) 100kWh versions. Of course, there’s still the Model 3, which will now be more clearly differentiated (and which is now the best-selling premium vehicle in the U.S.) The Verge
The Ford Explorer has gotten its first thorough redesign in eight years. The 2020 Explorer comes with Ford Co-Pilot360 driver assistance, greater towing capacity and better fuel efficiency. Prices start at $33,000 and the SUV goes on sale this summer. CNBC
The San Francisco Giants’ home stadium will for the next two decades be called Oracle Park. The change is effective immediately, with AT&T signs being replaced today with temporary banners. How much did Oracle pay? Bloomberg says “more than $200 million,” while SFGate theorizes the figure is more in the $300 million to $350 million, er, ballpark. SFGate