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Environment Warning, China Markets, Apple Denial: CEO Daily for October 8, 2018

Good morning.

U.S. executives expect merger activity to continue at a torrid pace in the coming year. That’s according to EY’s Capital Confidence Barometer, a twice-yearly survey of executives that will come out later this morning. (CEO Daily got an early peek.). A few takeaways:

  • 71% of the more than 500 U.S. executives surveyed see corporate earnings improving in the coming months.
  • 51% say they plan to pursue acquisitions in the coming months, outpacing the 46% who said the same in April.
  • 99% of U.S. executives said they are primarily focused on U.S. M&A opportunities, rather than cross-border opportunities.
  • Merger fever is highest in media and entertainment, where 89% of respondents intend to pursue acquisitions in the next 12 months, and mining and metals, where 75% intend to pursue acquisitions.
  • Geopolitical concerns now slightly outpace concerns with “disruptive forces.” 46% say regulation, policy and tax changes are the biggest risk to their businesses.

You’ll be able to see the full report here after 9 a.m.

Separately, some CEO Daily readers took offense that we didn’t address the Kavanaugh confirmation vote in Saturday’s newsletter. Regular readers know the Saturday letter is devoted to developments in China. Rest assured we are fully aware of the historic and divisive nature of the Saturday vote—but also know our readers have ample other sources for that information. For my part, I sympathize with the very small number of Senators who actually agonized over the decision. This was a much tougher one than partisans on either side will admit.

I’m on my way to Tokyo, where Fortune is hosting a dinner and discussion tonight at the Canadian embassy as part of the run up to next week’s global forum in Toronto. More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

Top News

Environment Warning

Governments’ plans for dealing with climate change are wildly inadequate, according to a new report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC said major cities and entire countries will be flooded unless countries work to limit global warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. IPCC co-chair Jim Skea: “Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes.” Wall Street Journal

China Markets

China’s central bank yesterday cut banks’ reserve requirements in order to stimulate growth, in the context of the trade war with the U.S. The result in today’s trading was an almost-3% drop in Chinese markets, with Chinese banks losing more. Banks in Australia also saw their share prices fall. CNBC

Apple Denial

Apple has taken its attempted refutation of Bloomberg‘s Chinese-spy-chips story to Congress, telling it yesterday that it had found no evidence of its systems or supply chain being compromised, nor of suspicious transmissions from those systems. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre have said they have no reason to doubt Apple and Amazon’s denials of discovering “backdoored” chips in their servers. Reuters

Walmart Video

Walmart’s video-on-demand service, Vudu, has made a deal with MGM to create original series based on the movie studio’s film and TV catalog. “We feel it will be a great source of family-friendly, advertiser-friendly content—which won’t be viewable anywhere else,” said Vudu’s product chief Scott Blanksteen. Walmart will also commission shows from other studios, but it won’t become a studio itself. Variety

Around the Water Cooler

Trade Deal

China is not a fan of a clause in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that gives the U.S. a veto on the other countries’ free-trade deals with “non-market” economies—for that, read “China.” The Chinese embassy in Ottowa said the deal was “fabricating the concepts of ‘market country’ and ‘non-market country’ outside the World Trade Organisation framework,” and China felt sorry for “the damaged economic sovereignty of the countries involved.” South China Morning Post

Brazil Race

The hard-right Jair Bolsonaro won the first round of Brazil’s presidential elections so resoundingly yesterday that, with 46.2%, he almost cleared the threshold for winning outright, without the need for a second round. The choice Bolsonaro presents the electorate is one between “family, God and justice,” and Venezuela. Bloomberg

Swift Endorsement

Taylor Swift has endorsed two congressional Democratic candidates in Tennessee, thus breaking her longstanding silence on the political front. Swift said she was voting on issues such as support for LGBTQ rights and opposition to racism. Some of her fans reacted badly to the decision, claiming she “picked the wrong side.” NBC

U.K. and TPP

The U.K., eagle-eyed readers will note, is nowhere near the Pacific Ocean. Nonetheless, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country would welcome post-Brexit Britain to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal—or rather, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that replaced it after the U.S. pulled out—with open arms. A reminder: the EU just concluded a massive free trade deal with Japan. Financial Times

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.