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China’s Uber is worth $50 billion; Trump reverses on NAFTA; 15% business tax would be new low for advanced countries


Profitable Moment
 

Richard Quest rings the gong in Nigeria

Today I was granted the honor of ringing the closing gong at the Nigeria Stock Exchange, which has about 200 listed companies. And even though the stocks are electronically traded, the exchange still maintains a trading floor where brokers come and do business. 
 
It is Africa”s second largest, although a long way behind the Johannesburg market. In these difficult economic times, the daily trading value is around $10 million, which is dramatically down from its 2007 highs of $100 million.
 
The market has a young, vibrant management that’s introduced strict oversight and regulation. It deploys the latest software to discover any insider trading. It is forging new relations with experienced exchanges, especially the London Stock Exchange. 
 
There are some uniquely Nigerian customs – trading starts with Muslim prayers and finishes with Christian blessings. And they use a traditional gong rather than a bell. (The Nigerian hospitality was also on display when I visited the Nike Art Gallery, as evidenced in the photograph below.)
 
With a clear purpose, and the largest potential investor base, the Nigerian exchange will someday be a force to reckon with.
 
Now ring that gong…

Richard.Quest@cnn.com 

What’s new… what’s next
 

By Matt Egan, Patrick Gillespie, Julia Horowitz and Paul R. La Monica of CNNMoney

1. Trump’s 15% business tax would be new low

President Trump’s tax plan is light on details and may never happen. But his proposal to slash business taxes to 15% would give the United States the lowest headline corporate tax rate of any major economy in the world. That would be a marked change. Right now, America’s 35% corporate tax rate is the highest rate levied by any of the 35 countries in the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. And even though most U.S.-based companies pay far less, it’s important that Trump stay the course. Tax reform is the big key to keeping Wall Street investors happy.

2. Trump reverses on NAFTA, agrees to talks

After speaking with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (right), Trump decided it’d be best to renegotiate NAFTA instead of withdraw — for now. Trump reiterated via Twitter Thursday that pulling out of the deal is still an option. Withdrawal would put a lot on the line: the trading relationship between the three countries is worth $1.2 trillion. And over 14 million US jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. 

3. Didi — aka China’s Uber — worth $50 billion

Chinese ridesharing giant Didi Chuxing is near a deal for $5 billion to $6 billion in funding. It would value Didi at $50 billion. Only one startup is worth more: rival/partner Uber, with a value of $68 billion. Didi bought Uber’s China operations last year after they were locked in a battle nobody was winning. Didi is expected to use the money for driverless cars and global expansion. If it gets even more cash, people may have to start calling Uber the American Didi.

4. Boxed warehouse brings in robot workers

The robots are coming to this Union, New Jersey facility — but the human workers aren’t sweating it. E-commerce retailer Boxed robots are being welcomed with open arms even as they replace many of the functions humans used to do. That’s because Boxed is retraining all of its workers for new, less physically-exhausting roles. It’s even converting temporary workers to full-time. “Everyone is excited to start the new era,” one worker said. 

5. Quick Takes:

Kia invests $1 billion to build cars in India 

Nigerians are hopeful the country’s recession will end in 2017

Trump hasn’t done much for the middle class so far. That could change. 

Trump’s energy plan isn’t a game changer 

10 things United Airlines is doing to avoid another PR disaster 

Home sellers are making hay in the US now 

6. What’s next:

Near-zero growth under Trump? The first GDP report under President Trump is due out at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday – and the forecasts aren’t pretty. Private economists are calling for 1.1% growth, while the Atlanta Federal Reserve is bracing for just 0.2%. While Trump was president for most of the first quarter, most of his ideas for speeding up the US economy have not become law yet.
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