Microsoft Goes After TikTok’s US Business Despite Trump

Despite President Trump telling reporters on Friday night that he intends to ban social media sensation TikTok from operating in the United States, Microsoft (MSFT) is moving ahead with plans to buy the firm’s US operations from Chinese parent ByteDance. Microsoft said on Sunday that it is moving forward with its acquisition plan, after CEO Satya Nadella and President Trump spoke over the weekend, per The WSJ. The software and cloud computing giant said that it will ensure the data of American TikTok users is transferred to the US, in addition to new privacy and security protections, in an effort to allay the fears of Trump and other senior officials.

A successful deal would solve the geopolitical minefield that threatened to throw a spanner in the works of TikTok’s growth plans, while poaching a high profile Chinese technology asset would go down as a win for Washington over Beijing in the continued tensions between the two superpowers. Further news on the deal will likely come sooner rather than later, as Reuters reported on Sunday that Trump has given ByteDance 45 days to make a deal. 

Nasdaq rides big tech earnings to close another strong week

The Nasdaq Composite jumped by 1.4% on Friday, after trillion-dollar giants Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) all saw their share prices jump following expectation-beating earnings updates. Apple enjoyed the best day, closing 10.5% higher after reporting growth in all of its product lines year-over-year, assuaging fears that economic contraction and consumers stuck in lockdown would hurt demand for its products. The company also increased its profit margin year-over-year, despite the additional costs associated with the pandemic. Facebook jumped 8.2% following its earnings report, while Amazon gained 3.7%.

The week was a mixed one for stocks however, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling marginally, as investors digested data showing the US economy shrank by more than 30% in the second quarter. In a sign of growing investor fear, the price of gold neared $2,000 an ounce towards the end of the week. Investment firm T. Rowe Price noted that the housing market appears to be a bright spot amid the economic gloom, as pending home sales rose in June for the first time in four months.

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