Facebook controversy; G20 tensions; Activist at Barclays

1. Facebook falters: Shares in Facebook are down about 3% in extended trading after ...

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 2:11 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 2:11 PM

1. Facebook falters: Shares in Facebook are down about 3% in extended trading after weekend revelations about a data controversy prompted renewed scrutiny of the social media giant.

Concerns have grown about how Facebook user data was used to reach voters ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

Christopher Wylie, who co-founded and previously worked for Cambridge Analytica, said he harvested data from millions of Facebook users that "allowed us to move into the hearts and minds of American voters in a way that had never been done before."

Cambridge Analytica is a controversial data firm that worked for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica and Wylie from its platform and is conducting a review after reports that Cambridge Analytica gained access to information about 50 million Facebook users in violation of its policies.

2. Tariffs and the G20: Frictions over global trade loom over the G20 meeting of major world economies, which begins Monday in Buenos Aires.

Trump's plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum sent a tremor through global markets and angered US trade partners, who said they aren't afraid to retaliate. The administration has offered exemptions to Canada and Mexico. It's unclear whether other countries will be spared.

"This is a very significant moment in the G20 and elsewhere," said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "The US is trying to force a change in its trading relationships with the world, and every country in the G20 is going to have to decide how to respond to that."

3. Putin wins again: President Vladimir Putin won a landslide victory in Sunday's election, according to Russian state television quoting Russian Central Election Commission data.

Putin was widely expected to win. His fiercest opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.

"To the surprise of no one, Russian President Putin was re-elected over the weekend. This suggests Russian policies carry on, and foreign governments' policies towards Russia carry on. There is nothing here to change market expectations," said Paul Donovan, global chief economist at UBS Wealth Management.

Putin is now starting a new 6-year term, the last he can serve according to the Russian constitution.

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4. China's central bank gets a new boss: There's a new leader at China's powerful central bank.

China's parliament confirmed Monday that deputy governor Yi Gang has been promoted to the top job at the People's Bank of China. He replaces veteran governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who is retiring after leading China's central bank for more than 15 years.

Yi is a US-educated economist who speaks English fluently. He has been deputy governor of the central bank for the last decade. He begins his first five-year term at the central bank immediately.

5. Global market overview: There's a fair bit of negativity in the markets right now.

US stock futures are declining. Facebook is one of the main losers on Monday morning.

European markets are all in the red in early trading. Asian markets ended the day with mixed results.

Meanwhile, shares in Barclays are up about 4% in London after the British bank reported that the fund run by activist investor Edward Bramson had acquired a 5.2% stake.

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6. Coming this week:
Monday - Oracle earnings; G20 meeting starts
Tuesday -
FedEx earnings
Wednesday - General Mills earnings; AT&T trial opening statements; Jerome Powell has his first press conference on interest rates as chairman of the Federal Reserve
Thursday - Darden, Nike earnings

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