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Inside Finance (Aug 9th, 2019)

1. The roller coaster continues today, with early morning gains giving way to broad downturns this afternoon. At last check, the Nasdaq was down 0.63 percent, the S&P 500 was down 0.42 percent, and the Dow was down 0.15 percent. Chip stocks like Micron Technology and Advanced Micro Devices are getting hit especially hard on news that the U.S. is severing ties with Chinese telecom giant Huawei (more on that below). Overseas, Britain's Sterling has hit a two-year low after the latest government numbers show the economy is shrinking. – CNN

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2. President Trump is playing into suggestions that a trade war with China could soon become a currency war. In his latest tweeted attacks against the Federal Reserve, he repeated his calls for further rate cuts and added that he'd like to see a weaker dollar. This would be a major development because G-20 nations have repeatedly agreed to leave currency values out of trade disputes. It also bucks U.S. tradition going back to at least the '90s, which states that a strong dollar is in America's best national interest. Speaking to reporters, President Trump added that he's "not ready to make a deal" with China and that the U.S. will cut ties with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. In China, it appears importers will begin reducing the level of U.S. crude coming into the country. – BLOOMBERG

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3. It's Friday, which means it's time to add some finance-related humor to our Twitter feeds. For today's #FollowFriday, let's check out the Psycho on Wall Street. Otherwise known as Jesse, this young trader has had a boom and bust history with stocks. He made roughly half a million in the early days of pot stock trading. Then, nearly as quickly, he lost a good chunk of it. All that drama feeds into his comedic take on stocks.

The humor is rooted in real analysis of market movement and news of the day. Need a meme about candlestick charts? Here you go. Want to take a swipe at the crypto bulls who say digital currency will usher in a new era of wealth equality. You're covered. You can also find him giving more sincere advice on the occasional podcast. – @PSYCHOONWALLST

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4. Major banks have provided Congress with thousands of pages of documents relating to Russians who may have had business with President Trump, his family, or his organizations. Cooperating banks include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank is Trump's primary bank, and it has been forced to pay billions in fines for its implication in multiple Russian money-laundering schemes. In addition to Congressional inquiries, the banks are also cooperating with state investigators in New York. – WSJ

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5. Netflix has reportedly shelled out $200 million for a multi-year contract with "Game of Thrones" creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss. It's the latest investment from Netflix, which has made a point of spending big on original content to set itself apart from the increasingly intense streaming competition. Under this new deal, Benioff and Weiss will produce content exclusively for Netflix, with the exception of their upcoming contributions to the "Star Wars" franchise (that project has been in the works for more than a year). – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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6. Embattled cannabis company CannTrust is facing more trouble today, as it announces that its audits for 2018 have been withdrawn. The auditor, KPMG, decide to withdraw its audits while reviewing an investigation into CannTrust's unlicensed growing operations. Those unlicensed operations eventually ended when Canadian authorities seized five metric tons of cannabis from the company. – MARKETWATCH

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7. A New York Times report accuses JPMorgan executives of protecting disgraced investment banker Jeffrey Epstein. According to the report, the bank reviewed Epstein's account 10 years ago, while Epstein was serving time for sex crimes. The bank determined that his accounts were "potentially problematic," but the decision was allegedly overruled by bank executive Mary Erdoes. Another executive, James Staley, is said to have visited Epstein while he was serving time. The bank called the report false. – NYT

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8. Uber posted its second-quarter results yesterday, which missed analysts expectations for earnings and growth. All told, the company lost $5.2 billion in the second quarter alone. – CNBC

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9. PG&E, the Californian utility company facing blame for multiple devastating wildfires, missed analyst expectations in its latest quarterly report. The company raised expenditure expectations by billions. It now expects 2019 costs to total as much as $4.1 billion this year, and a good chunk of that extra spending stems from claims related to the wildfires. Investigators say those fires were caused by faulty PG&E equipment. To minimize fire risk this year, PG&E is planning widespread strategic blackouts. – REUTERS

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10. A new study of millennial investing habits found that, among the 100 most popular companies, 13 of them are Chinese. Younger investors remain bullish on companies like Alibaba, which was the fifth-most popular company on the list. – YAHOO! FINANCE

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Schuyler Durham writes Inside Finance. He’s a lifelong Portlander who got his start covering the local music scene, but later became enamored with the complexities of financial and political reporting. After three years in broadcast news, he's now diving back into the digital realm. You can keep up with his writing on Twitter at @SchuylerWriter or watch him goof around on Instagram at @bitterbuddha.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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