House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at a Fed Up? Rise Up! rally outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC September 24, 2019.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday approved Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s sweeping drug pricing bill, a key step in getting the legislation to the full House floor for a vote later this year.

The bill passed on a vote of 30 to 22 on Thursday evening.

The main thrust of Pelosi’s bill will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices on as many as 250 of the most expensive drugs per year and apply those discounts to private health plans across the U.S. The bill also includes a penalty on drugmakers that refuse to negotiate or fail to reach an agreement with the U.S. government, starting at 65% of the gross sales of the drug in question.

Republican members on the committee expressed concerns with the legislation, particularly that it would discourage innovation for new medicines in the pharmaceutical industry. Some GOP members said the legislation was rushed and dead on arrival in the Senate.

“I don’t believe that I was elected to write bills that would never go anywhere,” said Michael Burgess of Texas, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health panel. “And that’s exactly where this bill is headed.”

Prior to the vote Thursday, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr, D-NJ, introduced changes to the bill, which included a price cap for new negotiated drugs until there are at least two or more generic competitors. It also increases the minimum number of drugs Medicare must negotiate from 25 to 35, which would be phased in.

The legislation will need to move through other committees before it can go to the full House floor for a vote. Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders, who had been working on the plan for months, are working to get it through committees to the floor as soon as the end of this month. The House Education and Labor Committee approved the bill Thursday on a party-line vote.

Late Friday, a preliminary analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showed Pelosi’s plan would save Medicare $345 billion over 10 years. Those savings wouldn’t begin until 2023, assuming the bill gets passed by both the House and Senate and signed by Trump before the end of this year. The greatest savings would come in 2028 at $93 billion, the CBO said.

High prescription drug costs have become a rare bipartisan issue, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanding changes. Congress and the Trump administration are trying to pass legislation before the end of the year that would bring more transparency to health-care costs and, ultimately, lower costs for consumers. Health care remains a top issue for voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa is also currently working to rally support for a Senate drug pricing bill backed by Trump.

That plan, which lawmakers have described as a “middle ground” approach to handling drug prices, would also make changes to Medicare and includes a penalty for pharmaceutical companies that raise drug prices faster than inflation.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, called PhRMA, the industry’s main trade group, opposes both Pelosi’s and Grassley’s plans. The group says Pelosi’s bill gives “the federal government unprecedented, sweeping authority to set medicine prices in public and private markets while importing price controls from other countries that restrict access to innovative medicines.”

Watch: How insurance premiums and deductibles work

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A Chinese flag is seen in front of containers at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, an automated cargo wharf, in Shanghai on April 9, 2018.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

China released third-quarter GDP figures on Friday showing the economy grew 6.0% from a year ago — the lowest in at least 27-1/2 years, according to Reuters records.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected China’s third-quarter GDP to grow 6.1% from a year ago.

In the second quarter of 2019, China’s statistics bureau said the economy grew 6.2% from a year ago, as the country’s trade war with the U.S. took its toll.

China’s GDP has fallen sharply since the first quarter of 2018 when it grew 6.8% due to credit tightening and the country’s trade dispute with the U.S., said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy for the Asia and Oceania Treasury Department at Mizuho Bank.

“There is no doubt that the downturn is serious,” Varathan added in a note on Monday sent before the data.

Beijing’s official growth target for 2019 is 6% to 6.5%.

China’s economy is likely to slow further, say experts

Economists are pessimistic about the immediate outlook for China even though there were some bright spots in the September data points released on Friday, with retail sales up 7.8% from a year ago and industrial output rising 5.8% in the same period. Fixed asset investment rose 5.4% from January to September.

“Despite a stronger September, pressure on economic activity should intensify in the coming months,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.

“Cooling global demand will continue to weigh on exports, fiscal constraints mean that infrastructure spending will wane in the near-term and the recent boom in property construction looks set to unwind,” added in a note.

China’s growth is likely to continue to slow in the next two quarters, said Bo Zhuang, chief China economist at TS Lombard.

That comes as real output growth in services has slowed aggressively in the last few months, Zhuang told CNBC’s “Street Signs.”

Zhuang expects China’s growth to slow to 5.8% in the fourth-quarter of the year, with the country’s full-year growth target to be 6.1%.

“Given the trade talks and the conflict with the U.S., Chinese authorities are accepting lower growth rate,” said Zhuang.

Although Beijing’s official GDP figures are tracked as an indicator of the health of the world’s second-largest economy, many outside experts have long expressed skepticism about the veracity of China’s reports.

Recent data out of China has not been upbeat and analysts, including Evans-Pritchard and Zhuang, expect economic stimulus measures to be rolled out soon.

China’s import and export data for September came in worse than expected amid the country’s trade friction with the U.S.

The two economic giants have been embroiled in a trade dispute for more than a year, with each country applying tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods from the other.

The latest round of trade talks between the world’s two largest economies ended late last week in Washington, D.C. After the meeting, the U.S. said it would suspend a tariff increase on Chinese goods that were supposed to take effect on Tuesday this week.

U.S. President Donald Trump said China agreed to a “very substantial phase one deal” that will be written over the next three weeks. Trump also said the deal would address intellectual property and financial services concerns, as well as Chinese purchases of about $40 billion to $50 billion U.S. agricultural products.

CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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The skyline of Dubai is dotted with imposing structures. These include the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which stretches more than 2,700 feet into the heavens.

While these skyscrapers are undoubtedly impressive in terms of their scale and ambition, in the years ahead they will need to become increasingly sustainable. Under Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy, authorities want to generate 75% of power from clean sources of energy by the year 2050, while authorities have also introduced regulations to ensure that new buildings reduce energy and water consumption, among other things.

Multinational firm Atkins is responsible for the design of Dubai Opera, a 2,000-seat theater that opened in 2016. Its appearance is based on the traditional dhow boats used in the region.

While visually striking, the boat-inspired design also offers benefits in terms of how the building functions. Roupen Yacoubian, Atkins’ head of architecture for the Middle East, told CNBC’s “Sustainable Energy” that dhow boats had a “restricted base and a broad crown.” This form, he explained, “allows the building to cast a shadow on itself at peak periods in the day in order to manage and mitigate solar radiation.”

“I think the other feature that really stands out for me is the active one, which is … a flexible design, a flexible building that can accommodate … several different types of venues and modes,” Yacoubian added. This meant that the building was being intensely used and avoided the need to construct separate venues for different kinds of concerts, he said.

The façade of the structure is made up of more than 1,200 glass panels. “These glass panels have anti-reflective coating internally and externally in order to mitigate the solar radiation,” Yacoubian said.

In terms of making the building sector more sustainable in general, Derek Clements-Croome, an emeritus professor at the University of Reading, listed four principle areas for improvement: energy, waste, water and pollution.

Clements-Croome’s areas of interest include intelligent buildings and cities. “Intelligent buildings that are well-designed will have substantial savings in water consumption, energy and smart waste systems, for example, to reuse waste and also will be less polluting,” he explained.

“All of those things are very important but it’s difficult to give precise figures about savings — they will vary a lot depending on the context.”

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J.P. Morgan Chase has a reputation as the “best in class” among the Big Four U.S. banks, but Bank of America might be a better investment if you hold the stock for the next few years, according to Edward Jones analyst James Shanahan.

In an interview Oct. 17, Shanahan pointed to Bank of America’s

BAC, +0.30%

 record $7.6 billion in share buybacks in the third quarter and massive investment in technology as catalysts for improving earnings performance and growing market share. (Buybacks lower the share count to boost earnings per share. They also reduce a bank’s excess capital, which boosts returns on equity.)

Shanahan said better technology will enable the four largest U.S. banks to continue taking market share from smaller competitors.

“The biggest banks are generating so much cash flow that they have the ability to make large and substantial investments in technology and leverage those investments into larger retail deposit footprints,” he said.

The Big Four are investing $10 billion to $12 billion a year in new technology, Shanahan estimated. This will “create a tech infrastructure smaller banks will not be able to compete with and will never catch up to,” he said.

Shanahan expects the Big Four to leverage their growing deposit relationships “across services as they take more share over time.”

A valuation play

At its current level of profitability, Bank of America’s shares should be trading higher, Shanahan argues. When discussing longer-term prospects, he said: “They are kind of catching up, but within a couple of years they should reach a level of profitability similar to J.P. Morgan Chase

JPM, +0.56%.

That may seem a tall order. Let’s take a look at valuations for the Big Four, which also include Citigroup

C, +0.14%

 and Wells Fargo  

WFC, +0.04%.

 

Bank Ticker Closing price – Oct. 16 Tangible book value – Sept. 30 Consensus EPS estimate – next 12 months Price/ tangible book value Forward price/ earnings
Bank of America Corp.

BAC, +0.30%

$30.17 $19.26 $2.70 1.6 11.2
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

JPM, +0.56%

$119.68 $60.48 $10.13 2.0 11.8
Citigroup Inc.

C, +0.14%

$69.50 $69.03 $7.53 1.0 9.2
Wells Fargo & Co.

WFC, +0.04%

$49.59 $33.84 $4.63 1.5 10.7
Sources: FactSet, Edward Jones (tangible book values)

So Bank of America trades higher than Citigroup

C, +0.14%

 and Wells Fargo

WFC, +0.04%,

but significantly lower, by both measures, than J.P. Morgan.

When Shanahan spoke of “profitability,” he specifically meant return on tangible common equity (ROTCE), which he said is “the measure we pay most attention to.” For banks, the denominator of that ratio is total equity, less preferred equity, goodwill and intangible assets, including loan-servicing rights.

Here are estimated 2019 returns on tangible equity for the Big Four, based on actual results for the first three quarters and Edward Jones’ fourth-quarter estimates:

Bank Ticker Estimated ROTCE – 2019
Bank of America Corp. BAC 15.9%
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM 19.1%
Citigroup Inc. C 12.0%
Wells Fargo & Co. WFC 13.9%
Source: Edward Jones

Bank of America’s estimated return on tangible equity still trails J.P. Morgan’s by a wide margin, but it is also significantly higher than the estimates for Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

Shanahan actually has “buy” ratings on Bank of America and J.P. Morgan. He believes J.P. Morgan’s current premium valuation is justified because of “consistently stronger revenue and earnings growth, and industry-leading profitability,” he wrote in an Oct. 15 report. But the following day, he wrote that Bank of America’s price-to-tangible-book-value ratio of 1.6 was “unwarranted” because of its “strengthened financial condition and improved profitability.”

Wall Street’s view

Here’s a summary of opinion of the Big Four among analysts polled by FactSet:

Bank Ticker share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Closing price – Oct. 16 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential
Bank of America Corp.

BAC, +0.30%

54% 46% 0% $30.17 $33.07 10%
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

JPM, +0.56%

44% 56% 0% $119.68 $122.50 2%
Citigroup Inc.

C, +0.14%

83% 13% 4% $69.50 $81.75 18%
Wells Fargo & Co.

WFC, +0.04%

19% 70% 11% $49.59 $49.70 0%
Source: FactSet

Bank of American and Citigroup have majority “buy” ratings, with Citi the current favorite among analysts as a remedial play on its low valuation (see the first table above).

All four can also be seen as dividend plays. Here are current yields along with how much each company raised its dividend after annual capital plans were approved by the Federal Reserve earlier this year:

Bank Ticker Dividend yield Most recent increase in quarterly dividend payout
Bank of America Corp. BAC 2.39% 20.0%
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM 3.01% 12.5%
Citigroup Inc. C 2.94% 13.3%
Wells Fargo & Co. WFC 4.11% 5.0%
 Source: FactSet
Economic outlook — a bright spot in third-quarter numbers

An interesting common theme Shanahan has observed this earnings season is continued strength in credit quality, particularly for U.S. consumers. Credit-card delinquencies typically increase during back-to-school shopping season, with non-performing card loans increasing through the holiday season, he said.

But despite some slowing of economic growth indicated by recent reports, third-quarter consumer-loan delinquencies “do not even reflect [normal] seasonal trends,” Shanahan said.

That is a big surprise and may point to better-than-expected strength for American consumers for some time.

Don’t miss: This ETF can protect you from S&P 500 volatility and enhance your long-term returns

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Saudi Aramco has postponed the launch of what is expected to be the world’s largest initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

The state-owned oil giant, which had been preparing for an Oct. 20 official launch of the share sale, is pushing back the IPO until December or January, two people familiar with the matter said.

“It is a last-minute decision,” said one senior Saudi official. “A few things needed to be fine tuned including financial figures for the third quarter,” he said.

Last month, Saudi officials discussed delaying Aramco’s IPO, following attacks on the company’s largest oil facilities, which severely curtailed the kingdom’s output. They later decided to press on with the plan, according to people familiar with the matter.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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Stock indexes on Thursday lost steam in the final minutes of trade but finished near records, booking slight gains as investors drew optimism from a Brexit draft agreement and upbeat third-quarter results from U.S. companies such as Netflix and Morgan Stanley.

Read: EU and U.K. leaders say Brexit deal has been agreed

How did major indexes perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average 

DJIA, +0.09%

rose 23.90 points, or 0.1%, to 27,025.88, while the S&P 500 index

SPX, +0.28%

advanced 8.26 points, or 0.3%, to 2,997.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index 

COMP, +0.40%

gained 32.67 points, or 0.4%, to 8,156.85.

Thursday’s trade put the Dow about 1.2% from its July 15 closing record at 27,359.16, the S&P 500 finished about 0.9% from its July 26 closing record at 3,025.86, while the Nasdaq ended the session 2.1% from its all-time closing high at 8,330.21 hit July 26.

What drove the market?

U.S. stocks reacted positively overall to the start of third-quarter earnings reports and news that Britain was closing in on ending a nearly four-year-old divorce saga with the EU.

“Even though it is very early in the Q3 earnings reporting period, investors have been encouraged by the better-than-expected results for the large diversified banks and selected health-care companies,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, in a note.

Overall, the U.S. corporate earnings season is off to a good start. More than 78% of the S&P 500 index companies that have reported so far have topped analyst earnings expectations, according to FactSet.

Headlines pointing to a tentative Brexit deal helped to set the stage for U.S. equity indexes and sent the British pound

GBPUSD, +0.4443%

 higher, while also lifting European stocks.

However analysts cautioned that the agreement could still be derailed. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, a key ally of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, said it remained opposed to the draft agreement.

See: What a Brexit deal would mean for U.S. stocks and global investors

“It remains to be seen whether the reaction is short-lived as the politicians go toe-to-toe again at the weekend, but in the meantime the very possibility of an agreed outcome to the painful Brexit saga has resulted in a relief rally, both financial and psychological,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

Investors also digested a series of downbeat U.S. economic reports though. The number of unemployed workers who applied for jobless benefits in the second week of October rose slightly, but layoffs nationwide remained near a 50-year low and showed no sign of rising despite a slowdown in the U.S. economy.

U.S. new-home construction fell 9% in September from the month before, while permits for new housing construction were issued at a rate of 1.39 million homes, a 3% decline and below the 1.38 million consensus expectations.

Industrial production fell 0.4% in September, the largest one-month drop since April. Industrial capacity usage slumped to 77.5 in September from 77.9 in the prior month. An index of manufacturing activity in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey fell to 5.6 in September from 12.0 in August, below the 7.1 expected, according to Econoday.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that the U.S. and China have come “further than we ever have before” on a trade deal, in an interview with CNBC, noting that the two sides have seen momentum in reason like financial services and currency management.

“The chatter out of Washington and Beijing has been positive, so the odds of a phase one pact being signed next month at the G7 summit is high,” said Jerry Lucas, senior trading strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “With that and Brexit progress, the world is looking like a better place than two weeks ago.”

T he White House announced the G-7 summit would take place at Trump’s resort in Miami.

New York Fed President John Williams was due to deliver a speech and take part in a discussion in Manhattan at 4:20 p.m.

What companies were in focus?

Morgan Stanley

MS, +1.52%

shares rose 1.5% Thursday after the investment bank reported third-quarter profits and sales that beat Wall Street expectations.

Shares of Honeywell International Inc.

HON, +2.38%

 gained 2.4% after its third-quarter results topped Wall Street forecasts.

Philip Morris International Inc.’s stock

PM, +0.95%

rose 1% as it reported third-quarter results Thursday, announcing that earnings fell less than analysts had anticipated, though revenue rose less than expected.

Shares of Netflix Inc.

NFLX, +2.47%

 added 2.5% on Thursday after it reported third-quarter results late Wednesday. The streaming service said it added 6.77 million new paying subscribers in the quarter, with only 500,000 coming from the U.S.

Opinion: Netflix finally admits the obvious: Competition from Apple and Disney will hurt

Shares of International Business Machine Inc.

IBM, -5.52%

 tumbled 5.5% though after it reported less revenue than Wall Street expected after Wednesday’s closing bell.

Rail-based freight company CSX Corp.

CSX, +1.13%

 managed to closed up 1.1% following its report late-Wednesday, which showed that third-quarter profits unexpectedly rose and revenue fell in line with analyst forecasts.

How did other markets trade?

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note

TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.40%

 was up 0.7 basis point to 1.757%.

European stocks ended little changed after rising initially following the news of a tentative Brexit deal, with the FTSE

UKX, +0.20%

 up 0.2% and the Stoxx Europe 600

SXXP, -0.10%

off 0.1% at 393.08.

Oil futures finished higher Thursday, as the U.S. and Turkey reached a cease-fire pact in Syria, temporarily easing Middle East tensions, and a tentative Brexit deal fueled appetite for assets perceived as risk, despite a rise in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery

CLX19, +1.35%

 gained 57 cents to $53.93 a barrel.

Gold prices

GCZ19, +0.11%

 ended at the highest price in a week, up $4.30 at $1,498.30 an ounce on Comex and the U.S. dollar fell 0.4%, according to the ICE U.S. dollar index

DXY, -0.40%.

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Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said Thursday that the company is just starting to build out its consumer-facing digital banking offerings.

“We’re building for the long term. I feel good about the progress that we’re making,” the Goldman chief said in an interview with CNBC’s Wilfred Frost. “I think we’re in the early stages of building a digital platform for consumers that gives them more information, more tools are their disposal.”

Solomon highlighted several of Goldman’s forays into the traditional consumer banking industry, including the launch of its Marcus unit and new credit card offering with Apple.

The firm has spent $450 million so far this year on efforts to lure in new customers, including its launch of the Apple Card, the most successful on record in terms of adoption figures, Solomon said.

“Over the last three years we’ve built a digital bank with $55 billion in digital deposits, with $5 billion of loans; 4 to 5 million customers; a brand-new credit card platform and have launched a card with Apple. I feel like that’s pretty good progress over a short period of time.”

Goldman, one of the largest investment banks in the world, fell short of expectations earlier this week when it reported earnings below what Wall Street analysts expected. The bank said profit slumped 26% to $1.88 billion as its investing and lending division missed by the largest degree.

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IBM’s stock tanked after earnings and investors should not expect the situation to improve any time soon.

The technology company issued weaker-than-expected revenue for the third quarter, marking the fifth-straight quarter of falling revenue.

IBM shares dropped over 5% after its Wednesday earnings. The stock stayed down on Thursday and it could face more negative pressure in the weeks ahead based on an analysis of recent trading history.

A month after similar declines, shares of IBM trade negatively 71% of the time, and underperform the broader stock market, according to hedge fund analytics tool Kensho. The similar negative trading periods that were studied occurred seven times across the past five years.

In the third quarter, IBM had lowered its full-year earnings estimate to take into account the impact from its acquisition of Red Hat, among other factors.

The company’s cloud business has not done enough to offset sluggish sales in its services, hardware and financing businesses. Even with contributions from Red Hat, an acquisition that closed in the third quarter — and Red Hat revenue growing 19% in the quarter on a normalized basis which was better than its growth rate during its last quarter as an independent company — IBM’s Global Technology Services unit, its largest, struggled with revenue of $6.7 billion down 5.6% from the year ago period and slightly below the consensus estimate.

Some Wall Street analysts remain positive on IBM.

“We think the combination of new products should enable the company’s Systems segment to revert to growth in CY20 following recent declines (wind down of z14 cycle),” Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani, who has the equivalent of a buy rating on IBM stock, wrote in a note distributed to clients on Monday.

IBM shares are up about 25% since the beginning of the year.

IBM said it continues to forecast at least $12.80 in earnings per share, for the full year 2019. It beat by a penny in the third quarter — $2.68 per share vs. $2.67 analyst expectation. Analysts polled by Refinitiv expect $12.81 in earnings per share for the year.

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Netflix has gotten a new lease on life — or perhaps just renewed its subscription.

The stock stayed in the green Thursday after an 8% post-earnings move, ending the trading session with a more than 2% gain. The move was a welcome reprieve from a few painful months for Netflix shares, which are up just under 10% year to date.

But concerns around the streaming giant’s growth prospects — and encroaching competition — still linger.

Here’s what four experts see ahead for the stock:

Rich Greenfield, co-founding partner of technology, media and telecommunications analysis firm LightShed Partners, said Netflix has a lot to prove after “a major miss in Q2“:

“The international number was disastrous, and I think you had a lot of investors fearful that the international story was over, because remember: as you think about the next five years for Netflix, the next 10 years, 90%-95% of the growth was coming from overseas. And so when the international story hit a wall last quarter, people panicked. And you look at what happened to the stock on the chart. That was fear of international. So, coming in and actually exceeding expectations for Q3 was a really big sign. … When you look at a company that’s got almost 160 million subscribers, given the size now that they’re at, I think forecasting subscribers on a quarterly basis is really hard. The thing that’s going to move the stock over the next 12 months is do they start to see a reacceleration in global subscribers?”

Michael Graham, head of U.S. equity research and an internet analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said this quarter may have marked a turning point for the company:

“I think the biggest thing is last quarter, domestic subscribers declined sequentially, and they returned to growth this quarter. I think that’s the big thing. … The big point that the company was trying to make last night is that all those streaming packages are trying to take share away from the typical cable subscription, which is robust. I mean, Netflix at $12, 13 a month is a small amount compared to what most households pay for a cable bill.”

Laura Martin, senior analyst at Needham, said the next thing Wall Street needs to focus on is revenue per user, or RPU — and that it could spell trouble for Netflix’s stock:

“The issue’s going to be that RPU is going to come more into focus as you start adding $3 mobile-only subs[cribers] in these developing countries. I think the Street is going to make finer granularity about what kind of quality subs offshore Netflix is adding. And I think a stock that trades at seven times revenue, which is where Netflix is down to, can’t sustain a negative sub growth anywhere in the world, and that includes the U.S. So, I think as you get increasingly bundled sub adds from Amazon and Apple and Disney, it’s going to be harder for Netflix to maintain a positive subscriber growth in the U.S. … I sort of think it’s going to get worse and worse as you get more and more competitors with double-A balance sheets and huge cash hoards that Netflix is required to compete against now.”

Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at media investment giant GroupM, warned that rivals may have a difficult time catching up to Netflix on content because “if you’re not in with, like, $5 billion, you’re not really a player”:

“At least in the United States, I think that the amount of time people can devote to what we call television is relatively limited, and Netflix and all of the new services are going to be competing for that time. I don’t really think they’re competing with Fortnite, as was indicated a few quarters ago. … The cash burn issue is the point. If they can … find a way to keep the sub growth going while they’re burning cash and keep investors along for the ride, then they’ll be fine. But the reality is that … everyone else is coming up, if they’re willing to step up with money to pay for content. That’s not a given. Apple had $1 billion of content. That’s a nice kind of entry point, [but] it’s not clear that everyone else that’s playing will show up.”

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Wild gyrations seen this week for the British pound continued Thursday, with the currency falling anew after a key group of Northern Ireland politicians said they can’t support U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s current Brexit plan.

The pound

GBPUSD, -0.1403%

 slid 0.6% to $1.2755, from $1.2828 seen late Wednesday in North America. The pound has gained around 0.8% this week, but with plenty of ups and downs, while the FTSE 100 index

UKX, +0.43%

has fallen 1%. The index opened with mild losses at 7,162.83.

“We have been involved in ongoing discussions with the government. As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT,” said DUP leader Arlene Foster and MP Nigel Dodds in a statement.

“We will continue to work with the government to try to get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” the politicians said.

The pound spiked briefly Wednesday on a report, later dismissed, that the DUP would accept the so-called consent element of the revised Brexit agreement, seen as the last big obstacle to a deal. The U.K. has said it is open to some flexibility on the mechanism that would allow those politicians to decide whether it remains in regulatory alignment with the EU as set out in the latest Brexit deal proposals.

The development comes as a two-day European Union summit gets under way. The U.K. and the EU had hoped to have a withdrawal deal ready for that meeting.

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