WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK?
🤝Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that trade talks with China are “very productive” and the two sides are simply working out the language translations in each country’s report. The nearly year-long trade war seems to be approaching an end.
🇬🇧UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced she will resign after Brexit concludes on Wednesday. The news follows more failed votes on potential trade deals this week as the April deadline continues to inch closer.
📉Fourth-quarter GDP growth in 2018 is expected to fall below the 3% benchmark, new revisions are revealing.
🚙The ride-sharing giant Lyft (LYFT) opened its IPO at $72 on Friday, beating rival Uber in the race the to enter capital markets. The stock rose 20% in pre-market trading.
🏠New home construction in February fell by the most in 8 months, US home sales data showed on Thursday.
💲Treasury yields hit a 15-month low on Wednesday. The news comes a week after the 10-year T-bill fell below the 3-month T-bill for the first time since 2007.
A Week for the Apples
Apple (AAPL) kicked off its week with the start of its annual conference, announcing the introduction of several new products as well as updates to older ones. Here’s the highlight reel:
Apple News Plus
Apple kicked off the weekend introducing a new subscription-based service, similar to that of Apple Music, that is geared towards current news. Apple News Plus costs $9.99 and provides access to up to 300 magazines including notable news services like The Wall Street Journal. And yes, family sharing is included in the price. The app will offer recommendations based on previous readings, as well as the option to download articles for offline reading.
Apple Credit Card
Hinted at several weeks ago, Apple formally announced the introduction of its credit card. The card is backed by Goldman Sachs (GS) and Mastercard (MA) and is meant to be left digitally in your Apple wallet. Physical titanium cards are offered as well, but they only come with 1% cash back compared to the typical 2% on all purchases.
Besides the digital nature of the card, the truly unique aspect of the Apple credit card is that it comes with no card number, security code, or expiration date. Temporary ones can be generated for websites that are not yet equipped to handle the simple design.
Apple TV Plus
The first Apple TV was introduced in 2007, but it was just this week that the company announced it will be working on original programming going forward. The announcement is Apple’s first step to competing against Netflix’s (NFLX) growing original content base. Actors like Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Carell, and Reese Witherspoon helped make the announcement. The service will be introduced in the fall.
In addition to the added features of Apple TV, the company also revealed a new Channels service that will allow users to choose individual channels to pay for rather than buying bulk groups like cable television. Services like HBO, PBS, and Cinemax can be purchased individually and streamed directly through Apple TV rather than being redirected to a 3rd party application.
Apple is continuing its trend of transitioning to subscription-based services with iOS apps being the next domino to fall. Apple Arcade works similar to that of Apple Music, and Apple News Plus, in the fact that it allows the user to pay a monthly subscription for access to up to 100 games from the App Store. The games are available across all Apple products, from laptops to iPhones, and are able to be downloaded for offline play.
In other Apple news, the US International Trade Commission decided that the company infringed a Qualcomm (QCOM) patent and thus some older iPhones should be banned from global marketplaces. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced he will testify in the major trial starting in April.