Trump vs the Fed, Second Putin Summit, Microsoft Boost: CEO Daily for July 20, 2018
Good morning, and happy Friday.
Yesterday, we released the Fortune Global 500, our annual list of the world’s largest public companies, ranked by revenue. You can see the full list here, but for CEO Daily readers, I have some exclusive takeaways from datameister Scott DeCarlo:
- Together, the 500 companies accounted for $30 trillion in revenue in 2018 — an amount equal to 38% of global GDP. Don’t let anyone tell you big companies don’t matter.
- Amazingly, only 12 of those companies — or 2.4% — are headed by women, which suggests the world is making bad use of half the global talent pool. The number is down from 14 last year.
- Profits were up 23% last year from a year earlier, totaling $1.88 trillion.
- China now accounts for 111 companies on the list, up from just 29 a decade ago. The U.S. was down six to 126.
- There were 13 fast-growing Fortune Global 500 companies that jumped more than 100 places in rank from a year ago, including Alibaba (No. 300), Tencent (No. 331), and Facebook (No. 274).
And remember when McDonald’s was the ultimate symbol of global commerce? The hamburger chain fell off the 2018 Global 500 list.
Also yesterday, we released our new 40 under 40 list. That one, I’m happy to say, has 18 women on it. You can see the full list of young people shaking the world here.
I’ll be on vacation next week, but the Daily will continue in David Meyer’s competent hands.
Trump vs the Fed
President Trump’s antipathy towards the Feds is well-established, but the Fed? The Federal Reserve is supposed to be independent and there’s a two-decade tradition of the White House keeping its nose out of monetary policy, but the president has expressed his displeasure at the decision to raise interest rates. “I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” he said. “I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best.” Treasury yields dropped following Trump’s pronouncement. Bloomberg
Trump not vs Putin
President Trump has invited Russian President Putin over to the White House for a second summit in the fall. This took a lot of people by surprise, not least Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who learned about the visit while onstage at a conference. Coats is one of many who would still like to know what Trump and Putin told one another at their Helsinki summit, and he’s urging Trump not to repeat the one-on-one stunt again. Wall Street Journal
Microsoft’s profits for its fiscal Q4 beat analyst estimates, at $1.14 a share rather than $1.08. Sales were up 17% to $30.1 billion, where $29.2 billion had been predicted. Why? Cloud. Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 businesses are signing up more and more customers, with Azure’s revenues up 89% in the quarter, and Office 365 sales up 38%. Microsoft’s shares are now up 2.45%. Bloomberg
EBay’s stock is down 10% after the company announced almost 300 layoffs in the Bay Area and warned of lower-than-expected revenue in the current quarter. Generally, investors greet news of layoffs with a share price boost, on the expectation that it will improve profits, so this latest development does not look good for the online marketplace. Fortune
Around the Water Cooler
California’s Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has won a deal to build a track in the Chinese province of Guizhou. The line is intended to welcome tourists, and construction is expected to start by early next year. HTT is also building hyperloop systems—a high-speed transportation method involving high-powered magnets—in Abu Dhabi and Ukraine. CNBC
Japan’s Kobe Steel has been indicted for competition law violations due to the fabrication of strength and quality data about its products. The falsifications, to which Kobe Steel confessed last year, have led customers such as Boeing, Toyota and General Motors to investigate whether they have in fact been using sub-standard materials. BBC
Trump on Google
President Trump is not happy about Google’s $5 billion Android EU antitrust fine. Over Twitter—naturally—he seemed to roll it into his wider view of the EU as a foe. “They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!” he exclaimed. Better buy your European luxury car before the price goes up… Vox
Columbia Business School management professor Rita Gunther McGrath writes for Fortune that Google’s fine is “really about access to highly personal data, and the very business model that underlies Google’s enormous profitability.” In short, forcing Google to decouple Search and Chrome from Android makes it harder for the company to offer well-targeted ads, hitting Google where it really hurts. Fortune