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CEO Daily: Friday, September 11

September 11, 2015

Those of us who go to bed early missed an extraordinary few minutes of television last night on Stephen Colbert’s third evening as host of the Late Show. Vice President Joe Biden, who was in New York, stopped by for an interview with the comedian that turned raw and emotional, with both men talking candidly about their struggles with the loss of loved ones. Biden’s description of the selflessness of his son Beau, who died in May from brain cancer, is worth watching here.


When the conversation turned to whether Biden would run for President, however, Biden was noncommittal. MSNBC anchor Christopher Hayes made what I thought was the most telling point in a twitter post: “People are at their most authentic, honest and likable when not running.” My guess, based on last night’s performance, is that Biden is not running.


Meanwhile, the other great guessing game over whether the Fed will raises continues unabated. In a column posted this morning that is worthy of a politician, Mohamed El-Erian, former CEO of Pimco, analyzes the odds of a September rate increase and puts them at 51 to 49 against. Really Mohamed? 51-49?


More news below. Enjoy the day, and the weekend.




Alan Murray

Top News

• Street divided over Fed’s move

There is no consensus about whether the Federal Reserve will opt to end its policy of zero interest rates next weeks, with some observers saying that the Fed’s mixed messages has led to great uncertainty. Guy Haselmann, a Scotiabank strategist, has been working on Wall Street for about three decades and told Bloomberg he’s never seen such confusion. A decision either way is expected next week. Bloomberg

• New York wants $15 minimum wage

The backers of a push to adopt higher minimum wages across the U.S. have won over a key supporter: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He is leading the charge for a $15 minimum wage for all New Yorkers – the first statewide push of its kind after backers have won victories in key cities like Seattle and Los Angeles. Cuomo didn’t discuss specifics, nor address the state’s diverse cost of living. But he is planning to pursue a legislative route to make this a reality, and there are some indications that could be a challenge.  Fortune

• Saudi Arabia decision hurts oil

Media outlets are reporting Saudi Arabia won’t support holding an emergency OPEC meeting aimed at stopping crude’s slide, news that sent oil prices sharply lower on Friday. It is being reported that Saudi leaders think a meeting wouldn’t result in concrete action toward defending oil prices. Meanwhile, analysts at Goldman Sachs cut their 2016 Brent oil target to $49.50, down from $62, as the bank projected Iran has the potential to ramp up next year.  MarketWatch

• Ellen Pao gives up on lawsuit

Former venture capitalist Ellen Pao has opted not to appeal a court decision earlier this year that ruled against Pao in a gender discrimination case against VC firm Kleiner Perkins. “It is time to move on,” Pao said, calling the battle painful to her both personally and professionally. The case was closely followed by national media outlets and especially by those working on Silicon Valley.  Fortune

Around the Water Cooler

• Renters aren’t looking to buy homes

Zillow reports that 4.9 million renters say they plan to buy in the next year, down from 5.2 million in January, in a pessimistic report that shows more renters have lost faith that they will be able to buy a home. That’s problematic for the housing market, as it won’t get a huge boost from new buyers soon. In markets where home prices have surged, places like San Francisco and Denver, renters’ confidence is especially weak. New homeowners are needed to help stimulate economic growth, rather than rely on the same pool of buyers over and over.  WSJ

• Kohl’s goes to Fashion Week

Kohl’s has been in the retail business for over 50 years. And for the first time ever, this year it held its first runway show at New York Fashion Week. The department store may seem like an odd fit for Fashion Week – Kohl’s is known as a destination for savvy shoppers and not those looking to open their wallets up to pay a premium price for style. But Kohl’s is looking to generate buzz by showing over dozens of looks by reality start turned designer Lauren Conrad.  Fortune

• Big brewers target craft rivals

Some of the world’s biggest brewers are on the hunt for smaller craft beer rivals, angling to better position themselves as customers increasingly to try want smaller, lesser known brands. This week alone, Heineken bought a 50% stake in Lagunitas, while MillerCoors on Thursday said it would buy a majority stake in Saint Archer Brewing Company. And what do the craft brewers get out of these deals? The distribution and marketing heft that the bigger companies can easily provide.  Fortune