U.S. to accuse China of trying to steal COVID-19 intellectual property, blocks Huawei from chips
Catch up on the top industries and stocks that were impacted, or were predicted to be impacted, by the comments, actions and policies of President Donald Trump and his administration with this weekly recap compiled by The Fly:
1. COVID-19 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: The Wall Street Journal's Dustin Volz wrote on Monday that the Trump administration is on the verge of advising that "hackers tied to the Chinese government" are looking to steal data from researchers in the United States who are working on to develop a coronavirus vaccine. "The alert, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security, is expected to accuse Beijing of working to steal from American institutions intellectual property and health information related to coronavirus vaccines and treatment through hacking and other illicit means and may come within days," added the WSJ story. Novavax (NVAX), Inovio (INO), Vaxart (VXRT), Moderna (MRNA) and Gilead (GILD) are among publicly listed drug companies that have been mentioned as hopefuls in the development of a coronavirus treatment.
2. U.S.-CHINA TRADE NEGOTIATIONS: President Trump said earlier this week that he is not in favor of Washington reopening discussions with China over Phase one of a trade agreement that the two countries reached at the start of the year, Reuters' Steve Holland and Jeff Mason reported. "No, not at all, not even a little bit," the president said at a press briefing in response to a question about possibly reworking the deal, as some Chinese advisers have reportedly recommended. "I'm not interested. We signed a deal. I've heard that too - they'd like to re-open the trade talks to make it a better deal for them."
Meanwhile, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) remains optimistic that China will meet its Phase 1 trade deal purchase commitments despite the slow pace of buying to date and recent criticism of China by U.S. President Trump, Reuters' Karl Plume reported. ADM CEO Juan Luciano said during the virtual BMO Capital Markets Global Farm to Market Conference that lower commodity prices due to the coronavirus pandemic may limit the value of China's first year U.S. agricultural product purchases, "but it's a two-year agreement."
3. HUAWEI BAN, THREAT OF RETALIATION: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM) confirmed its intention to build and operate an advanced semiconductor fab in the United States with "the mutual understanding and commitment to support from the U.S. federal government" and the State of Arizona. Right after its confirmation, however, the company was dealt what appeared to be a setback by the federal government as the U.S. announced plans "to protect U.S. national security" by restricting Huawei's ability to use U.S. technology and software to design and manufacture its semiconductors abroad. Reuters has said the rule change is a blow to Huawei as well as to Taiwan's TSMC, which is a major producer of chips for Huawei's HiSilicon unit.
The move against the Chinese telecom-equipment maker threatens to ignite a new round of U.S.-China tensions, with the Editor-in-chief of a state-run paper tweeting that China could respond by restricting or investigating U.S. companies "such as Qualcomm [QCOM], Cisco [CSCO] and Apple [AAPL]," or suspending the purchase of Boeing (BA) airplanes.
4. USPS REVIEWING DELIVERY CONTRACTS: The U.S. Postal Service has "quietly launched" a review of its package delivery contracts in a move that underscores how President Trump "is moving closer to reshaping an independent agency he has dubbed 'a joke,'" according to The Washington Post's Jacob Bogage and Josh Dawsey, citing six people with knowledge of the matter. The USPS has sought bids from consulting firms in recent week to reevaluate rates for companies such as Amazon (AMZN), UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) to deliver products, the report said.
5. TESLA FACTORY REOPENING: Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk made the case directly to President Trump in a phone call last month that restarting Tesla production would pose little risk to workers, The Washington Post's Faiz Siddiqui and Josh Dawsey reported. Musk told Trump he wanted to open by May 1 and that doing so wouldn't pose a "significant risk" to workers, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said "Thank you!" to President Trump on Twitter for his tweet saying California should let the company open its plant in Freemont, California "NOW."
6. ENERGY COMPANIES: President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that, "Crude Oil prices going up as Saudi Arabia cuts production levels. Our great Energy Companies, with millions of JOBS, are starting to look very good again. At the same time, gasoline prices at record lows (like a big Tax Cut). The BEST of all Worlds. 'Transition To Greatness'". Some of the largest publicly traded energy companies include BP (BP), Chevron (CVX), ConocoPhillips (COP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and Total (TOT).
"Week in Review" is The Fly's weekly recap of its recurring series of "Trump Effect" exclusive stories.