The Week Ahead
Posted May 20, 2018 6:49 p.m. EDT
Zuckerberg to Visit Europe on His Apology Tour.
Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, travels to Brussels on Tuesday to meet with members of the European Parliament. He should expect a suspicious audience: Europe has been critical of the social network’s privacy policies, its influence on elections and the spread of misinformation and inflammatory content on its platform. Unlike Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress last month, the meeting in Brussels will be held behind closed doors, a decision that has been criticized by officials who wanted him to respond to questions publicly. A transcript of the meeting will be released afterward.
— ADAM SATARIANO
Trump Administration Faces Trade Deadlines
The public comment period for the $50 billion of tariffs that President Donald Trump has threatened to impose on China draws to a close Tuesday, and the Treasury Department faces a deadline to send the White House its recommendations for restrictions on Chinese investments over concerns of intellectual property violations. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the tariffs were temporarily off the table after three days of what he described as positive trade negotiations with China. However, tariffs and investment restrictions could come back into force if U.S. negotiators do not achieve their desired results in the ongoing trade talks.
— ANA SWANSON
Target Reports Earnings in a Mixed Retail Season
Target is expected to report first quarter results Wednesday. Quarterly results from other big retailers have painted a mixed picture of the industry. Last week, Macy’s blew away expectations with a big increase in sales, raising investors’ hopes that the company’s restructuring efforts were paying off. But first quarter sales from Nordstrom and J.C. Penney disappointed investors, and Walmart’s operating profits remained under pressure even as its e-commerce business rebounded.
— MICHAEL CORKERY
Fed Minutes Set for Release
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday will release the minutes of the most recent meeting of its Open Markets committee. The committee held interest rates stable at the two-day meeting that ended May 2, but analysts will be looking for any hint that rising inflation could prompt the Fed to ultimately raise rates more quickly than expected. After it raised its benchmark interest rate in March to a range of 1.5 to 1.75 percent, indications were that officials were leaning toward three rate increases this year instead of four.
— JIM TANKERSLEY
Home Sales Expected to Remain Strong
Two reports are expected to show that home sales remained elevated in April, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg, despite rising interest rates and tax changes that removed incentives for homeownership. Sales of new homes, which make up about 10 percent of all sales, hit a four-month high in March, and revisions have shown that home sales throughout the first quarter were stronger than initially reported. The Census Bureau will report Wednesday on sales of new homes, and the National Association of Realtors will report Thursday on sales of existing homes.
— WILLIAM P. DAVIS
Deutsche Bank Shareholders Can Voice Displeasure
Deutsche Bank will hold its annual meeting Thursday in Frankfurt, Germany, and, considering that the bank’s stock price has fallen a third since last year’s gathering, shareholders are not likely to be a happy bunch. Paul Achleitner, the supervisory board chairman, will probably bear the brunt of the abuse because of a messy management shake-up that raised questions about his oversight. But he still has enough support to survive a motion to oust him.
— JACK EWING
Strict New Privacy Rules Go Into Effect in EU
The world’s most sweeping data privacy regulations go into effect across the European Union on Friday. The rules intend to make it harder for companies to harvest data on the more than 500 million people living in the 28-nation bloc. The law requires organizations to get permission from their users before collecting any personal information, and companies could face steep fines — of up to 4 percent of global revenue — for noncompliance. But enforcement will be a challenge: Oversight falls to whichever country has a company’s European headquarters within its borders, and many of those countries have small data-protection agencies. The data protection office in Ireland, with a budget of 7.5 million euros (about $8.8 million) will be responsible for overseeing tech giants including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Apple.
— ADAM SATARIANO
Disney Has High Box-Office Hopes for ‘Solo’
Memorial Day weekend has been on the decline as a reliable, bonanza sales period for Hollywood. “Baywatch” (Paramount) got stranded on a sand dune last year. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (Disney) fizzled in 2016. “Tomorrowland” (Disney) drew yawns from ticket buyers in 2015. Film quality has played a role, but moviegoing habits have also changed.
Disney will try again when “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” about a younger Han Solo, arrives Thursday. “Solo,” which cost roughly $250 million to make and $150 million to market, will test demand for the galactic franchise, arriving a just five months after “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” (Installments had previously been spaced a year or more apart.)
Box office analysts have high hopes, predicting that “Solo” will earn between $140 million and $160 million at theaters in North America over the holiday weekend. The record for the period belongs to “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” which took in $140 million in 2007, or $172 million in today’s dollars.
— BROOKS BARNES