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Power Sheet: Viacom Suffers Yet Another Blow

-Back to the future? The latest sign that the deep dissatisfaction behind the U.K.’s Brexit majority is powerful also in the U.S. comes in the form of a one-word bumper sticker spotted recently in Texas: “Texit.” Could they be serious? Maybe it’s time to remember what no Texan ever forgets, that Texas is the only U.S. state that used to be a nation.

-Does anyone believe China’s official growth numbers? And if not – which seems to be the case – then shouldn’t we stop paying attention to them? China will announce second-quarter GDP growth on Friday, and most of the media would have you believe that investors worldwide are on the edges of their seats. But I have yet to encounter anyone who, when asked, admits to believing the numbers. Morgan Stanley money manager Ruchir Sharma said it out loud in an interview in Hong Kong last week. “You don’t get an economy of China’s size with zero volatility with the number every quarter to reach the target,” he said. It’s like a company managing earnings to come in a penny above the Street’s consensus EPS estimate every single quarter, except that in China the mandatory number is the government’s own growth target of 6.5% to 7%. “To get to 6% to 7% is impossible,” Sharma says. He figures the real rate is 4% to 5%, which is no better than, say, Malaysia’s 4.7% or Ireland’s 4.8% growth last year. Sharma’s new book is immodestly titled The Rise and Fall of Nations. Time calls it “a vital guide to the new economic order.”

-Just what Philippe Dauman didn’t need. The Viacom CEO is busy trying to avoid getting fired by his majority shareholder, Sumner Redstone, which is not that easy to do. And then yesterday Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker downgrades the stock from “market perform” to “underperform.” She explains in a new report, “We don’t see how anyone can come in and successfully turn this company around over the next 12 months.”

The stock is up this year, apparently on expectations that Dauman will be replaced. But Ryvicker says the company is such a disaster that even that may not be enough. Dauman insists he has set the stage for great performance, but you have to wonder how much longer he can survive as this high-profile drama wears on.

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What We’re Reading Today

SEC will investigate Tesla and Elon Musk
The agency wants to know what the company and its CEO knew in mid-May about the death of a driver who was using the autopilot feature in a Tesla vehicle. Prior to announcing the fatality, the company and Musk sold $2 billion in shares. The crash occurred 11 days before the stock sale. Tesla reported the crash to regulators on May 10, but not to investors.  Fortune

China loses Hague ruling over South China Sea
The international tribunal sided with the Philippines in a case in which China argued it had exclusive control in the South China Sea. The ruling will increase pressure for President Xi Jinping to reduce military presence in the area. According to the Chinese Communist Party paper The People’s Daily, the Chinese government will “neither acknowledge … nor accept” the ruling. The Guardian

Another Hershey Trust board member resigns
Joan Steel, who has served on the Hershey Trust board, which is the largest controlling shareholder of Hershey, stepped down without stating a reason over the weekend. It’s the fourth person to step away from the board since late 2015 and it comes as Irene Rosenfeld‘s Mondelez seeks to merge with the chocolate giant. There are nine board members remaining, which is enough for a quorum, but it’s unclear how Steel’s resignation could affect the discussions. WSJ

Twitter to livestream both political conventions
Jack Dorsey‘s company announced it would air both the Republican and Democratic Conventions on its Live app via mobile and the web. It’s an effort by Dorsey to build on the exposure Donald Trump‘s use of Twitter has provided the social media company and a continuation of an effort to become a prominent player in the livestream space.  Wired

Building a Better Leader

When strategizing, the slowest deciders…
…often perform the best. Those making quick decisions are often overconfident, leading them to overlook options. Harvard Business Review

The greatest weapon a company can have against disruption…
…is a great story, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger. He pointed to the success of the NBA Finals to explain why the power of ESPN’s stories will remain, no matter the distribution platform. Fortune

The power of negotiation switches back to employees
Just over 50% of employees say the expanded job market is giving them stronger negotiating power with their current company or the next one. HR Morning

Political Points

Republicans want criminal inquiry into Clinton’s testimony
Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Robert Goodlatte have sent a letter to the Justice Department, calling for an investigation into whether Clinton lied when testifying to Congress about her use of a private email server. The FBI said there were instances where emails that were marked confidential at the time were sent via the server and that Clinton didn’t turn over all the emails, despite her public statements to the contrary. It’s unclear if the Justice Department will pursue an investigation. NYT

Obama calls for public option in healthcare law
Writing on the website of the American Medical Association’s top journal, President Barack Obama admitted the Affordable Care Act hasn’t done enough to reduce drug prices and reach those in more rural areas. He has renewed his call for creating a government-run plan to compete against insurers. While Clinton also supports a public option, it’s a political long shot even if she wins the presidency. NPR

Up or Out

Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey will step down but will continue at the company as chief creative officer and president. Marco Gobbetti will succeed Bailey as CEO. Fortune

Richard Hamada has resigned as CEO of Avnet. He will be replaced by William Amelio. Arizona Republic

Fortune Reads and Videos

JPMorgan Chase employees get a big raise
We’re not talking about the investment bankers. CEO Jamie Dimon announced that the minimum wage at the bank will jump from $10/hour to $12 to $16.50/hour, depending on where the employee is based. Fortune

Yahoo’s patent portfolio receives some bad news
As CEO Marissa Mayer looks to sell patents, reports indicate that nearly all them have deficiencies that could render them invalid. Fortune

Adidas sues Skechers again
This time it involves patents for Adidas’ Springblade technology, and it’s the second suit it has filed against Skechers since last year. Fortune

Happy Birthday

Google CEO Sundar Pichai turns 44 today.  The Guardian

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau