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GE Sells Appliance Business to Haier

Brace yourself for another down day in the U.S. stock market, after Thursday’s brief respite. Futures are plunging, in the wake of another nose dive in China, with the Shanghai composite losing 3.5%. Oil prices are also down.

Speaking of China, General Electric (GE) of Boston announced this morning it is selling its appliances business to China’s Haier for $5.4 billion in cash. That comes only weeks after GE abandoned a $3.3 billion deal to sell the appliances business to Sweden’s Electrolux, following opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators.

The antitrust regulators killed the Electrolux deal because they were trying to protect U.S. consumers from higher prices. Haier’s products are set to get 45% more expensive due to a new import tariff if Donald Trump has his way, so buying a big domestic manufacturer could keep it one step ahead of the GOP frontrunner. Trump’s tariffs are intended to punish China for devaluing the yuan – at a time when the Chinese government is struggling to slow the currency’s decline.

And if you skipped last night’s GOP debate because you think that by ignoring him, Donald Trump will go away – well, you are wrong. Trump put in a good performance, invoking the 9-11 terror attacks to beat back Ted Cruz’s criticism of his “New York values.” There is no reason to think his lead in the polls – which has surged, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released before the debate – is going away.

There was a brief moment in last night’s debate when Ohio governor John Kasich concisely articulated a pro-business agenda: freeze regulation, cut taxes, restrain spending and restore some modicum of bipartisan dialogue. But he was largely ignored.

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