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CEO Daily: Wednesday, November 25

Turkey and Russia continued their tense standoff this morning, as one of the two pilots in the Russian plane shot down by Turkey was rescued. The other died in the event. President Recep Erdogan defended Turkey’s right to “protect its borders,” but said it didn’t want to escalate tensions. Russia said it would deploy anti-aircraft missles to Syria. President Putin had previously called Turkey an “accomplice of terrorists” and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov canceled a planned trip to Ankara.


Markets shrugged off the rising tension, however, and European stocks went up while oil prices went down.


Meanwhile. Google search data shows that for every three Americans searching for news on Turkey yesterday, there were seven more searching for information on turkeys – including how to brine them, how to cook them, etc. CEO Daily wishes you a peaceful Thanksgiving. We will be off, eating, for the next few days, but back again on Monday.


And a post script: Several readers emailed yesterday to object to a poor word choice in my commentary on Pfizer’s tax inversion. Without repeating the error, I apologize to those offended. I was reaching for a strong metaphor, and reached too far.


More news below, including yesterday’s Twitter spat between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.


Alan Murray

Top News

U.S. economy grew 2.1% in 3Q

The U.S. economy posted a better performance for the latest quarter than first thought, a revision that almost entirely attributed to improvement of data on inventories, which showed businesses restocked shelves at a faster pace than first estimated. The economy’s improvement was better than the initial 1.5% rate, though not as strong as the 3.9% pace notched in the spring. For the entire year, the rate of economic growth is projected to be about 2.5%. New York Times (subscription required)

But consumers are pessimistic

Consumer confidence dipped in November to the lowest level in more than a year, weaker than the lowest forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. What’s the cause of concern? The share of Americans who see greater job availability in the next six months dropped to the lowest level since October 2011. While the view on the labor market was pessimistic, the report showed steady spending as the holiday-shopping season kicks off. Bloomberg

Hewlett Packard’s revenue drops again

Hewlett Packard’s final quarterly results as one big company highlighted a big problem that the successors must face: sales dropped for the sixteenth time in the last 17 quarters. Earlier this month, the tech giant broke up into two separate companies as part of a plan to reverse the slide. Executives argue that separately, the businesses can be more efficient and nimble. HP Inc. is focusing on making printers and personal computers, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise makes data center equipment and software. Financial forecasts for both were below what analysts had expected. Fortune

Comcast under federal investigation

The Justice Department is reportedly probing whether the cable giant’s business practices in the cable advertising-sales market have violated federal antitrust law, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The investigation is looking into whether Comcast’s ad sales practices, as well as deals to represent rival pay-TV providers’ ad sales, are hindering competition. While the scope of the government’s probe isn’t clear, it appears to be at an early stage and Comcast says it plans to cooperate fully with the inquiry. WSJ (subscription required)

Around the Water Cooler

Bezos vs. Musk …. in space!

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin earlier this week successfully launched and landed its reusable rocket, a mission the e-commerce executive called “flawless.” Bezos also sent out his first tweet to mark the occasion. SpaceX, a rival founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, hasn’t safely stuck the lending for its reusable Falcon 9 spacecraft during operational runs. Musk took to Twitter to spar about the way Bezos described the mission, a spat that generated national headlines. Fortune

Malware sends retailers scrambling

Here’s some news that retailers definitely don’t want to see as they prepare for the new holiday season: hackers are targeting the industry with a new wave of malware intended to steal credit and debit card information from payment terminals. The malware in question has reportedly been in development as early as 2012 and attacks began targeting U.S. retailers a year later – with assault likely ongoing. Fortune