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Inside Finance (Aug 26th, 2019)

1. It's a good day on Wall Street. The gains come to the relief of investors whose patience has been stretched thin by four straight weeks of stock losses. At last check, the Dow and S&P 500 were both up by about 0.84 percent. The Nasdaq was up by a bit more, roughly 1.05 percent. Keep in mind that, despite all the recession talk, history suggests that markets will continue to have strong rallies that traders can turn into profit. On a random side note on this Monday morning: did you know Peppa the Pig and Death Row Records are owned by the same company? They are, and now that company has been bought by struggling toymaker Hasbro. – CNN

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2. A weekend can make all the difference—just take the trade war with China, which has eased this morning after comments from President Trump. Speaking from the sidelines on the last day of the G7 meeting, President Trump revealed that he had recently had two positive phone calls with Beijing. He said negotiations would resume "very shortly," and expressed optimism about the prospects of a deal. It isn't clear who the president spoke with on the phone, and Chinese officials, including a key media figure and the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, said they knew nothing about the calls. The comments have successfully shifted the trade narrative away from whether or not President Trump regrets escalating the trade war, which dominated news cycles over the weekend. – CBS

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3. Let's stick with the G7 for more good economic news, this time between Japan and the U.S. Standing next to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday, President Trump announced that the two countries had struck a trade deal "in principle." The broad strokes include more U.S. agricultural products getting to Japan in exchange for President Trump's promise not to hike tariffs on Japanese cars. Prime Minister Abe said he hopes that the details will be ready for signatures at a United Nations meeting next month. – USA TODAY

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4. A judge's decision today could have a widespread and expensive impact on the pharmaceutical industry. An Oklahoma judge is expected to rule in a case against Johnson & Johnson. That company's accused of aggressively promoting opioids, thereby contributing to the opioid epidemic that has cost the state as much as $17.5 billion. The state is urging the judge to penalize Johnson & Johnson $17 billion, to be paid out over 30 years and used to combat the opioid epidemic. Analysts say the ruling could be a bellwether for how similar suits will play out in the future. – THE STREET

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5. Can a U.S. president order businesses to stop working with China? It depends on how you interpret a 42-year-old law meant to target terrorists and drug traffickers. Last week I referenced President Trump's tweet that included the line "Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China." He later clarified that he believes he has the right to issue this order under the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. That law does give presidents extended powers to regulate international trade during times of national emergencies. To test whether he can order businesses out of China, the president would first have to declare the trade war a national emergency. – AP

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6. Going back to the G7, leaders there agreed to spend $22 million fighting fires in the Amazon rain forest. The decision came out of a meeting on environmental issues. President Trump skipped the meeting, citing meetings with India and Germany, though leaders from both of those countries were at the environmental meeting. In response, Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro accused French President Emmanuel Macron of viewing the rain forest as "a colony or a no man's land." Separately, an environmental fund co-created by Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged $5 million to preserve the rain forest. – BBC

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7. The streaming wars heated up this morning with Disney's announcement that its upcoming service will include high-definition streaming options. For $6.99 per month, Disney+ will offer HDR, 4K and Dolby Atmos streaming. That undercuts Netflix, which doesn't offer high-definition streaming under its basic plan ($8.99 per month). – CNBC

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8. Despite the good news from the trade war front today, investors are still searching for safe havens—pushing gold prices to a six-year high. An ounce of gold briefly passed $1,550 in value, though it later dipped below that mark. It's the same market force that has inverted the yield curve: as economic waters become choppy, investors search for safe bets like bonds and gold. – MARKETWATCH

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9. Beyond Meat was up nearly five percent in the middle of the day, after earlier announcing a partnership with KFC. "Beyond Fried Chicken" will debut at a KFC location in Atlanta this week. At last check, a single share in Beyond Meat costs more than $150. Compare that to its IPO price of $25. – CNN

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10. Lyft went public around the same time as Beyond Meat, and while its stock has since dipped below the IPO price, the ride-hailing company is having a good day today. At last check, the stock price was up more than 3.5 percent, after Guggenheim analysts predicted that Lyft will become profitable by 2021. That's a big turn around for a company that lost more than $600 million last quarter. – CNBC

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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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