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Bloomberg Businessweek 12/10/2018

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

United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
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50 Issues


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in brief

At the G-20, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman agreed to curbs on oil production. That sent petroleum prices jumping the most since June, but within days, both sides cautioned that there was no final decision on cuts. Days after announcing a trade truce with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump called himself a “Tariff Man” in a tweet, unsettling investors and setting off an 800-point decline in the Dow Jones industrial average on Dec. 4. Bayer said it will cut 12,000 jobs, many of them in Germany, as it reorganizes its business structure in the wake of its massive takeover of U.S. seed company Monsanto. Russia threatened to target countries that store U.S. missiles should Washington withdraw from a landmark arms treaty dating…

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▶ The Battle for Britain A divided British Parliament votes on Theresa May’s Brexit proposal on Dec. 11. The outcome may determine whether she stays on as Prime Minister—or if the U.K. can come up with another alternative to crashing out of the European Union without a deal. ▶ ANA, the only Japanese buyer of the Airbus A380, rolls out the first of three jumbos from the paint shop on Dec. 13, with livery resembling a sea turtle. ▶ Nissan’s board meets on Dec. 17 to vote on a new chairman, after ousting Carlos Ghosn following his arrest in Tokyo last month. ▶ The governing council of the European Central Bank holds its monetary policy meeting on Dec. 13. It’s expected to cap bond-buying. ▶ The Gulf Cooperation Council gathers on Dec. 9 in…

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an american patriot

The death of the 41st president will be much mourned, his passing serving as a memorial to a seemingly vanished era of temperance and civility in Washington. His “kinder, gentler” style of politics stands in unavoidable contrast to that of the current occupant of the White House. But this should not occlude the main reason to celebrate the life of George Herbert Walker Bush—namely that he was both a patriot and a politician and he understood those roles as intimately connected and complementary. He sought power for himself, but tried to exercise it for the benefit of others. Bush enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 18 to fight in World War II. He was soon flying combat missions over the Pacific. In 1944 his plane was shot out of the sky.…

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hugo chávez’s long goodbye

Hugo Chávez had barely been in office two months when Nelson Chitty La Roche, a burly, gruff, gun-toting lawmaker from the Venezuelan political establishment, told me he was fed up. Chitty didn’t care for the way the young socialist leader was pushing around Congress and threatening to rule by decree, and he let out, somewhat flippantly, that he was starting to map out plans to have him impeached. It was an absurd notion. In those heady, early days of the regime, Chávez was wildly popular. Polls showed he had the support of about 80 percent of the population, an estimate that, if anything, struck me as low. He was their showman, their savior, their avenger—the man who would speak for them and fight for them and provide for them. Trying to drive…

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ge’s path to recovery

General Electric Co.’s 126-year-long story is one of survival by reinvention. While many of its contemporaries have flamed out or merged away their identities, GE has remained a household name and a symbol of corporate America. But these rebirths had side effects, and those are now behind GE’s greatest crisis since the Great Recession. On Oct. 1, Larry Culp became just the 12th chief executive to lead the industrial conglomerate that traces its roots to Thomas Edison. He arguably has the hardest job of them all. GE stock had collapsed by more than 50 percent in the year leading up to his abrupt appointment, and it’s fallen more than an additional 30 percent since; on Dec. 4, it closed at $7.28. Some GE bonds have traded at junk-like levels amid doubts…

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the money pit that’s swallowing ge

With anxiety over General Electric Co. running high on Wall Street, Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp has plenty of work to do. Perhaps his most formidable challenge will be tackling GE’s book of longterm-care insurance, a vestige of its GE Capital unit. Once little more than an afterthought, the portfolio has turned into a money pit that threatens to complicate GE’s turnaround efforts. As medical costs soar and Americans live longer, the assumptions GE made years earlier about what it will have to pay out for such things as home health aides and nursing home stays are proving too rosy. This year it said it will need an extra $15 billion to cover future claims, including $3.5 billion set aside so far. And unloading them on a would-be buyer would likely…