Bloomberg Businessweek-Europe Edition January 18, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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50 Numéros

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2 min
in brief

Global coronavirus cases have surpassed 92.1m and almost 2 million have died. Worldwide, only about 30 million people have been vaccinated. Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s strict lockdowninitiated in late 2020—could continue for 10 more weeks to contain the virus’s aggressive resurgence. Bitcoin slid as much as 26% on Jan. 10-11 in its biggest two-day decline since March. The cryptocurrency had more than quadrupled in value over the past year. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the construction of 800 housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The expansion in the Israeli-occupied territory threatens to complicate relations with Joe Biden’s administration. The U.S. House impeached President Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by his supporters. On Jan. 13, 10 Republicans joined all 222 Democrats in…

2 min
why this governor is a great choice for commerce secretary

President-elect Joe Biden has made a number of excellent selections for his cabinet, including three members who recently led city halls: Marty Walsh for Labor, Marcia Fudge for Housing and Urban Development, and Pete Buttigieg for Transportation. It speaks to how important mayors have become in the work of governing the country—especially as Washington has abdicated its responsibilities for so many years—and also to how effective mayors have been at making progress even without much federal help. But it’s not just mayors. One of Biden’s picks, Gina Raimondo for commerce secretary, is especially encouraging. The role doesn’t have the highest profile in the cabinet, but it’s one of the most important economic jobs in Washington. The Department of Commerce exerts great influence on an array of federal economic policies, with a…

1 min

▶ A Lucrative Lockdown Netflix reports fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 19. With people staying home worldwide, streaming movies and shows has been a huge business, though Disney has aggressively encroached on Netflix’s turf. ▶ Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th U.S. president on Jan. 20. Security is on high alert after a mob attacked the Capitol seeking to stop the certification of his election. ▶ The European Central Bank discloses its rate decision at a virtual news conference with President Christine Lagarde on Jan. 21. The deposit rate is likely to remain at –0.5%. ▶ Bank of America and Goldman Sachs report fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 19, followed by Morgan Stanley on Jan. 20. Expect strong returns from investment banking and trading. ▶ China reports fourth-quarter GDP, industrial production, and retail sales…

6 min
which is the party of business now?

Big Business is in a tight spot. Rebellious Trump loyalists have amped up their influence over the Republican Party, which business has traditionally leaned on for support. Meanwhile, although President-elect Joe Biden is a moderate, the Democratic Party’s platform is the most left-leaning it’s been in decades. “From a business standpoint we’re concerned about the growing ranks of populist viewpoints in the Republican Party and the growing ranks of progressive and socialist viewpoints in the Democratic Party,” says Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. So big companies and business groups such as the Chamber are playing a delicate game. They’re distancing themselves from Trump as fast as they can and hoping that his grip on the party will loosen once he leaves…

6 min
the electric truck that couldn’t

Clean-energy startup Nikola Corp. had a tough year even by 2020 standards. The once high-flying alternative-fuel vehicle maker started life as a public company with a short seller levying fraud allegations against founder Trevor Milton, who denied the claims but then resigned after the Securities and Exchange Commission took interest. That collapsed a deal to build trucks with General Motors Co. and resulted in the indefinite postponement of Nikola’s much-ballyhooed Badger electric pickup truck. Believe it or not, the truly hard stuff is still ahead: building a real business selling large fuel cell trucks that turn hydrogen into electricity. Milton may be gone, but the SEC’s attention has had a chilling effect on Nikola’s efforts to forge partnerships that would help develop its business faster. GM in late November said it…

5 min
occidental goes green to produce more oil

Deep in the Permian Basin, America’s biggest oilfield, Occidental Petroleum Corp. plans to build a facility that it believes could change the way the world thinks about fossil-fuel emissions. The globe’s first large-scale direct air capture (DAC) plant will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and pump it deep underground, where it will remain for millions of years. The process would essentially be the reverse of what oil and gas companies do today. The goal is to lower emissions of the primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming—and one day even produce a carbon-negative barrel of oil. But to cover the cost of operating the plant, Occidental will initially use much of the CO2 to push out lucrative oil from underground reservoirs, thereby replacing one pollutant with another. The facility, expected…