Laptop ban coming to all European flights; OPEC tells US to pump less oil; The $500,000 US visa touted in China

Profitable Moment

Laptop ban could hit all Europe flights

European aviation is bracing itself for the US to dramatically widen its ban on larger electronics being allowed in the cabin.
I am hearing that the entire continent could be included. One airline CEO told me he knows It’s coming, he just doesn’t know when. Plans at major airports like Heathrow and Amsterdam are being made to quarantine US bound flights so they can do secondary security screening for laptops in hand baggage.
All that said, this ban when it arrives, is nonsense. If the security situation is that bad then an agreement is required. Think about it logically: if it’s possible to get a device on a plane out of, say, Frankfurt, what difference does it make if the plane is bound for the US or elsewhere?

Oh, and there’s worse; if the ban does come into force, expect European safety regulators to balk at so many lithium batteries going into the hold – itself a major fire risk. All these arguments are being pressed hard by the Europeans. But it seems the Americans aren’t listening. According to one source, the the US is “hell bent” on expanding its ban. 

What’s new… what’s next

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

1. OPEC to US: Stop pumping so much oil 

Saudi Arabia-led OPEC was hoping its supply cuts would stabilize oil markets. That strategy has been undermined by resurgent output from American shale companies. Now, OPEC has an unusual plea for its US rivals: Please stop pumping so much. OPEC’s monthly report included a warning that balancing the market will “require the collective efforts of all oil producers.” The request underscores how much influence OPEC has lost due to the rise of US shale.

2. A visa program and the Kushners’ China pitch

The pitch from the Kushner family to wealthy Chinese business owners was simple: Invest in our property and get on a path to U.S. citizenship. The spiel, given at an investment conference in Beijing last weekend, has cast a spotlight on a murky visa program that has become a target for reform. The EB-5 visa grants immigrants a path to a green card if they invest more than $500,000 in a project that creates jobs in the United States. But critics see a host of problems: Too much money goes to wealthy urban areas, and there are opportunities for abuse and fraud.

3. Does anyone shop at department stores?

Macy’s, Kohl’s and Dillard’s all reported a drop in overall revenue and same-store sales. And the results were worse than what investors expected. The stocks plunged on the news. Department stores are having a tough time competing against Amazon and a resurgent Walmart. Meanwhile, Sears CEO Eddie Lampert curiously told investors that his company, which also owns Kmart, “has all the customers it could possibly want.” Wall Street disagrees.

4. Harsh reality of Brexit finally sets in 

Wage growth is cooling down. Inflation is picking up. Economic growth is slowing. Consumers are clamping up their wallets. Signs of Brexit’s economic reality are finally starting to appear. Proponents of the deal said the Bank of England and international organizations were fear mongering. Now the Bank of England is warning Brits that wage growth won’t be sufficient to compensate for the rising prices at stores and shops. 

5. Quick Takes:

Emirates Airline’s profits plunge, blames terrorism, cheap oil, Brexit and Trump

Moscow WeChat fans can rejoice. China’s top messaging app back in Russia

 ‘Unprecedented’ drop in demand for guns since Trump defeated Clinton

Art of the deal? Trump on NAFTA: ‘Will I settle for less than I go in with? Yes’

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel bashes Facebook despite user growth slowdown

Setback for Uber. Europe says it’s a transportation company, not tech service

6. What’s next:

Retail rebound in April? It’s hard to imagine any good retail news right now given all the embattled brick-and-mortar chains noted above. But economists expect US retail sales figures due out at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday will reveal consumers spent more in April. Separately, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment report, slated for 10 a.m. ET, should give a sense for how Americans are feeling during the first part of May.

JCPenney jitters: It’s never a good sign when your stock plunges even before you post results. That’s what happened to JCPenney today ahead of the struggling department store’s Friday morning report. Wall Street is clearly bracing for more bleak news: JCPenney shares have lost more than one-third of their value this year alone.

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