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Has Donald Trump Been Good for Business?

November 18, 2019, 9:30 AM UTC

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Good morning.

Has Donald Trump been good for business? At the end of his first year in office, the answer from most CEOs was a pretty clear yes. Long-sought corporate tax reform had been enacted, ending the flight of businesses from U.S. shores, and the regulatory build-up of the Obama years had been stopped, if not rolled back.

But two years later, as Geoffrey Colvin deftly describes in this essay for the December issue of Fortune magazine, the picture is decidedly more mixed. Trump’s trade policies, his immigration policies and the overall erratic nature of his governing have cast a cloud over the business environment that isn’t easy to shake. As Colvin argues, uncertainty is the ultimate enemy of business, and today, uncertainty abounds.

Next year, of course, is an election year, and the more pertinent question business leaders have to answer is: compared to what? If Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination, they will find few business leaders in their camp. The 2020 election could be another where business finds it has no clear voice.

I’m in Paris this morning, where the Fortune Global Forum is getting underway. I’ll be reporting from the Forum today through tomorrow.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Aramco IPO

Saudi Aramco is now seeking to raise only $24-$25.6 billion in its IPO, rather than the $100 billion that had previously been planned. The IPO would value the world's biggest oil producer at $1.6-$1.7 trillion (rather than the $2 trillion Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had been hoping for). Aramco's international roadshow has also been pared back—more recognition that overseas investors are wary. Financial Times

FAA Certifications

The Federal Aviation Administration's certification processes could be fundamentally altered by the Boeing 737 Max disasters, FAA chief Steven Dickson has said. The changes could even see the agency involved in the design process from the get-go. Wall Street Journal

Yahoo Japan and Line

Yahoo Japan and Line are going to merge, combining Japan's biggest search engine (and an e-commerce and banking player) with its biggest messaging service. Yahoo Japan is owned by Softbank; the deal would give it control over the Linepay payments service, which it could combine with its existing PayPay service. BBC

BME Bids

The Swiss stock exchange operator SIX Group has made a $3.13 billion bid for Bolsas y Mercados Espanoles, the Spanish bourse. The offer was made public mere minutes after Euronext said it was in takeover talks with BME. Bloomberg

AROUND THE WATER COOLER

Ford Mustang

Fortune takes a close look at Ford's Mustang Mach-E, the electric, utility-vehicle continuation of the iconic brand. It's not just futuristic; it's a big gamble, too, given how different the vehicle is from its gasoline-powered predecessors. Fortune

Indian Stakes

The Indian government plans to sell its stakes in the state-run Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation by March next year. All in all, the government aims to sell stakes in 28 firms. It says the moves are essential for meeting its disinvestment targets. Business Today

Chinese Reserves

China is quietly diversifying its currency reserves as it seeks to reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar, analysts say. So expect more sterling, yen and euros—China's buying a lot more gold these days, too. CNBC

Election Promises

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising tax cuts for businesses, as he tries to shore up support ahead of the Dec. 12 general election. He has quite some shoring-up to do on that front, having previously been profanely dismissive of the effects of his favored Brexit on the business community. The business lobby is still worried about the skills effects of the Conservatives' tight immigration policies. Guardian

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. 

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