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CEO Daily: Thursday, 22nd September

Good morning.

 

 

Stocks rose around the world today, as markets celebrated the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay interest rate hikes one more time. But Chairman Yellen said the case for a rate rise has strengthened, and three members of the Fed’s policy committee dissented from her decision, increasing the odds that the Hamlet of Foggy Bottom will act in December.

 

 

Meanwhile, this morning Fortune releases its annual 40 under 40 list – a celebration of the young people who are disrupting business and society. Spend some time with the list, which you can find here. It’s a window into the world to come.

 

 

Finally, new polls out today show Hillary Clinton has a six point lead nationally (WSJ/NBC), but Donald Trump has taken the lead in the key battleground states of Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio (Fox). The U.S. election is still too close to call.

 

 

By the way, I wasn’t trying to make a political comment yesterday when I quoted Irish telecom magnate Denis O’Brien saying good things about the work of the Clinton Global Initiative, as some readers suggested. Seems to me it is possible to believe CGI has done good things for the world without necessarily endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. I will be glad when this election season ends.

 

More news below.

 

 

 

 

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

Top News

North Carolina Declares State of Emergency

North Carolina declared a state of emergency after one person was shot (by a member of the public) and four police officers injured in a second night of rioting in Charlotte. Police used tear has to disperse large crowds who had gathered to protest the shooting by police of Keith Lamont Scott, an African-American, the day before. Local civil rights leaders have disputed police claims that Scott was shot after refusing to drop a handgun he was carrying. Either way, the violence at the protests spread well beyond the police, with widespread damage to local hotels and restaurants. Reuters

Fed Guides for Rate Hike By Year End

The Federal Reserve more or less nailed on an interest rate rise before the end of the year, but indicated that it expected the economy to struggle to gain any further momentum next year. “The case for an increase had strengthened,” Janet Yellen repeated after the Fed’s policy-making committee’s two-day meeting, where three of the committee, Esther George, Eric Rosengren and Loretta Mester, voted for an immediate hike. But the Fed trimmed its expectations for further rate hikes for the coming years, in an admission that productivity growth is likely to stay muted “for an extended time.” The Fed now only sees two rate hikes next year and three each in 2018 and 2019. Fortune

Apple Reportedly Eyeing F1 Icon McLaren

Supercar maker McLaren, owner of the eponymous Formula 1 racing team, denied a report by the Financial Times that it is in talks with Apple over the sale of a major stake to the Cupertino company. McLaren’s denial had predictably little success in damping speculation about how such an investment would bolster Apple’s (still-unconfirmed) ambitions in carmaking. McLaren’s engineering expertise—including, significantly, in the realm of battery-powered engine technology and chassis materials–has obvious attractions, but the U.K.-based company has no more experience of mass production than Apple itself. As such, the report appears to buttress recent speculation that Apple is concentrating on developing an automotive technology capability rather than planning to go head-to-head with Toyota, GM and the rest. Fortune

Zuckerberg Bets on Biotech Moonshots

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC said it would invest $3 billion over the next decade ($300 million a year, on average) to help “prevent, cure and manage all human diseases.” While that money is too serious to be dismissed as a hubristic PR stunt for a biotech fund, it should be pointed out, for context, that the global pharma industry (excluding university and government research) spends $144 billion a year on R&D and is still losing the battle against, for example, anti-microbial drug resistance. The philanthrocapitalist fund’s first investment will be $600 million in Biohub, a new center at the University of California that brings together the research facilities of three Bay Area universities. “The Biohub will fund Chan Zuckerberg investigators to support high-impact projects that may be too exploratory to receive government support,” UCSF said in a statement. Fortune

 

Around the Water Cooler

The Slow Death of TPP

Vice President Joe Biden said he sees a “less than even chance” that the U.S. Congress approves the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact before the next administration takes office in January. Biden, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said that the brief “lame duck” session of Congress after the Nov. 8 presidential election was “our only real shot” for approving TPP. The Obama administration sees the pact as a crucial part of a foreign policy shift to counter the rising economic power of China, but is opposed by both the Republican and Democratic candidates. Even in Congress, neither House Speaker Paul Ryan nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees the agreement passing this year. Fortune

Ericsson: Globalization in Microcosm

Ericsson is to end 140 years of manufacturing in Sweden, cutting 3,000 jobs at the last of its plants across its home country, according to the daily Svenska Dagbladet. The announcement is part of a plan to accelerate over $1.1 billion in cost cuts against a background of sluggish demand and overcapacity in the business of network infrastructure, especially in developed markets. The company still has around 17,000 employees in total in Sweden, out of a global workforce of some 120,000. For all the upheaval, Ericsson remains emblematic of the gains of globalization: its products have helped raised productivity around the world, benefiting both consumers and shareholders alike (not to mention the Kingdom’s Treasury), to a degree that would never have been possible if it had been limited to its own backyard. It can never count on either Swedish or even EU demand to sustain the kind of employment levels it has known in the past. Fortune

Maersk Doesn’t Want to Be Hanjin

Denmark-based AP Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, is to split into two companies focused respectively on energy and transport. The prolonged downturn in global trade, combined with the prospect of oil under $60 a barrel ad infinitum, is forcing more restructuring in a sector that has been shaken by the so far disorderly bankruptcy procedure of Korea’s Hanjin. Maersk’s container shipping business has enough to worry about without being chained to an oil drilling and service operation that currently accounts for one-quarter of group revenue and ties up large amounts of capital. “Both face very different underlying fundamentals and competitive environments,” the company said in its entry for 2016’s Understatement of the Year. Maersk said drilling head Claus Hemmingsen would head up the energy division, while Soren Skou, who took over the combined company in June, will head the container shipping unit. CFO Trond Westlie and Jakob Thomasen, head of Maersk Oil, will leave the company.

Bahamas Leak Implicates Former EU Antitrust Chief

Another leak of information regarding the use of tax havens has embarrassed one of the EU’s top officials. Neelie Kroes, who ran the European Commission’s antitrust department between 2004-2010 and then its digital policy directorate until 2014, had an undeclared directorship of a Bahamas company originally set up to buy assets off the defunct Enron. The company was never operational, according to Kroes’s lawyer. The disclosure will keep the current row over serving and past EU officials’ private-sector activities bubbling, while not having quite the same explosive quality as the decision by Jose Manuel Barroso, the former Commission President, to take a role at Goldman Sachs. Fortune