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CEO Daily: Thursday,12th January

Good morning.

BCG is releasing its annual list of the world’s most innovative companies today, based on a survey of 1,500 executives globally. Among other things, it shows U.S. dominance in innovation is rising, not waning, with American companies taking the top six spots, and 34 of the top 50.

The top ten most innovative companies in 2016:

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Tesla Motors
  4. Microsoft
  5. Amazon.com
  6. Netflix
  7. Samsung Electronics
  8. Toyota
  9. Facebook
  10. IBM

Only two Chinese companies made the top fifty – Xiaomi (35) and Huawei (46). BCG said one of the characteristics distinguishing the most innovative is a willingness to tap outside innovators. Some two-thirds of the most innovative said that they often find new ideas through external partners. BCG will publish the full report here, although it didn’t seem available at the time of this writing.

Separately, pharmaceutical companies lost about $24 billion in value yesterday, after Donald Trump called them “disastrous” and said they have been “getting away with murder” in their pricing. You can read his comments here.

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

Top News

Well, That Escalated Quickly

President-elect Donald Trump’s press conference was overshadowed by a predictable row over the unverifiable and occasionally lurid claims made in a briefing dossier compiled for the Democratic Party during last year’s election campaign. As such, those hoping for more clarity and detail on policy goals and direction were left largely frustrated. On the issue of relations with his business empire, the original theme of the press conference, Trump said he will resign from all positions with Trump Organization entities and his daughter Ivanka (whose husband Jared Kushner is set to become a senior White House adviser) will also step down from executive roles. The business will in future be run by his sons Eric and Donald Jr. Fortune

Tillerson Takes a Tough Line on Russia

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson distanced himself from some key policy positions of his future boss in a nine-hour confirmation hearing in the Senate. Tillerson supported upholding sanctions on Russia, and condemned its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its involvement in Syria’s civil war, although he did say that there were better ways of conducting relations with Moscow. He also disagreed with the President-elect’s suggestion that Japan might one day acquire nuclear weapons, and called only for a ‘full review’ of Barack Obama’s deal with Iran, rather than its scrapping. Fortune

Exxon Will Have to Come Clean on Climate Documents

If confirmed as Secretary of State, Tillerson may still be dogged by his past as CEO of ExxonMobil, which was ordered by a Massachusetts court to hand over decades’ worth of documents of its views of climate change. Prosecutors in Massachusetts and New York are investigating whether Exxon knowingly misled its shareholders and the public as to what it knew about the phenomenon. Tillerson told the Senate yesterday that while he believed climate change to be real, it was extremely difficult to measure and predict with certainty. The issue is important because policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions now being implemented around the world may have a profound impact on future oil and gas prices, and thus on the value of Exxon’s reserves. Fortune

DoJ Indicts 6 VW Executives

The Justice Department indicted six Volkswagen executives as part of a $4.3 billion settlement related to the diesel emissions scandal, which also puts the company on probation for the next three years. All but one of the accused are believed to be in Germany, which typically does not extradite its citizens. The company’s shares hit a new post-Dieselgate high on relief that the indictments avoided implicating VW’s top management. However, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the investigation is still open. Bloomberg

 

Around the Water Cooler

Nintendo Launches the Switch

Nintendo’s latest attempt to revive past glories goes live in the U.S. tomorrow. The company will start accepting preorders for its new Switch console – albeit only from those who show up in person at its New York store. The console, which will run on Nvidia’s Tegra chips, is designed to be used both as a mobile and an at-home gaming device. It’s expected to be priced around $300, or maybe a little less. While a hardware product capable of competing with PlayStation and Xbox is long overdue, more important for Nintendo’s future will be the software that will run on it. Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run experienced very different fortunes last year, due largely to their pricing policies. Fortune

Senate Takes 1st Step To ACA Repeal

The Senate passed a budget resolution that GOP leaders see as the first stage to repealing the Affordable Care Act. However, the momentum behind an immediate  repeal appears to be fading. Five GOP Senators added their names Monday to an amendment that would essentially likely delay the repeal process by about a month to give congressional committees more time to craft an alternative. Most of the GOP senators supporting a more cautious approach come from states that opted into the expansion of Medicaid to cover poor, childless adults.  Fortune

U.S. to Launch WTO Complaint vs China

The Obama administration is expected to launch a formal complaint against China at the World Trade Organization over alleged subsidies to its aluminum industry, according to The Wall Street Journal. The paper’s sources said the complaint would zero in on cheap loans to aluminum companies from state-run banks, as well as cut-price electricity. China’s share of world aluminum output has risen to 55% from 24% 10 years ago, during which time much of the primary aluminum smelting business in the U.S. has been shuttered. WSJ, subscription required

The VC Market Cooled in 2016

The U.S. venture capital market took a distinct chill at the end of last year. The value of deals in the fourth quarter fell 17% from the previous three months to an eight-year low, while the total number of deals dropped below 1,000 for the first time in five years. The decline in dollars invested was most pronounced in Silicon Valley (-37%) and New England (-41%). While uncertainty around the election may account for some quarterly weakness, figures for the full year were also down across the board. The $56.8 billion invested was down 20% from 2015, while the number of deals fell 16% to 4,520.  FT, metered access

Summaries by Geoffrey Smith Geoffrey.smith@fortune.com;

@geoffreytsmith