DealBook Briefing: Hoping to Bridge the Gap in Trade Talks

Other factors include:

Weakness in the Chinese economy. At least 20 companies reported yesterday that their 2018 earnings would fall short of expectations. The Chongqing Changan Automobile Company, Ford Motor’s primary partner in China, warned of a profit slump of as much as 93 percent last year. China Life Insurance said its net income may have fallen as much as 70 percent. And Chinese exporters suffered a sluggish start to 2019.

Slowing Chinese investment abroad. Net purchases of U.S. commercial real estate by Chinese companies — big buyers earlier in the decade — have slipped to their lowest level since 2012.

Worries to the west. The motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson said that tariffs — along with other shifts in its business — left it barely breaking even in the final quarter of 2018. In the European Union, there are concerns whatever happens: If China and the U.S. reach a deal, Mr. Trump might turn his attention to German cars and French wines. If not, China might dump discounted goods into the European market. “We are next in the queue,” said William De Vijlder, the chief economist at BNP Paribas.

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Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Stephen Grocer in New York, and Tiffany Hsu and Gregory Schmidt in Paris.

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The Trump administration’s growth forecast is much rosier than those of economists at the Federal Reserve and elsewhere, who warn that growth is slowing and put some of the blame on the government, writes the NYT’s Jim Tankersley.

More Apple news: Shares rallied after the company outlined plans for life beyond the iPhone. And it plans to lower prices on some phones outside U.S. to offset a strong dollar.

Pacific Gas and Electric filed for a corporate reorganization on Tuesday that “is shaping up to be one of the most complicated and difficult in recent years,” writes Ivan Penn.

Facing tens of billions of dollars in claims related to 17 major wildfires in California in 2017, with its equipment under investigation in several other blazes last year, PG&E decided to declare bankruptcy despite having a stable income stream and several offers of financing.

Now creditors and suppliers of the state’s largest utility will face off against California officials and fire victims to be paid, while renewable energy companies and climate change activists jockey for position. Lawyers, bankers and consultants are likely to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.

This is PG&E’s second bankruptcy in less than 20 years; the first came after California tried to deregulate utilities. Dan Reicher, who was an assistant energy secretary in the Clinton administration, called it “a real mess,” adding:

“It comes down to lots of needs: Take care of the fire victims, keep the lights on, ensure progress on climate change and protect ratepayers. That’s at least a partial list.”

Roger Lynch will step down as chief executive of Pandora, the company announced, after stockholders approved a $3.5 billion acquisition by SiriusXM. (Billboard)

John Startin will join Evercore in April as a senior managing director in the advisory practice of its investment banking business, moving from Goldman Sachs. (Evercore)

JPMorgan Chase has overhauled its deal-making team in London, switching its heads of mergers and acquisitions in the region. (Financial News)


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