Mr. Moynihan, 58 years old, got the top role after CEO Kenneth Lewis unexpectedly announced his retirement in fall 2009. During that period, Bank of America faced major financial problems following acquisitions of Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. To stay afloat, the bank had to take $45 billion from the government.
.. After Donald Trump’s surprise 2016 election, bank stocks broadly jumped. Bank of America shares surged 74% between then and the end of 2017.
.. For the full year of 2017, the bank posted a $21.1 billion profit, excluding an adjustment from the tax cut, roughly matching the bank’s all-time profit record from 2006.
.. The bank issued millions of new shares during the crisis, however, so its per-share earnings remain far below where they were precrisis. Likewise its shares, unlike those of competitors such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., remain below precrisis levels.
.. “Bank of America has done a sensational job under Brian Moynihan,” Mr. Buffett said
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg opened the call just after 5 p.m. Eastern time by saying the company had“a solid quarter.” He crowed about Instagram, calling it an “amazing success” and said he believed that the unit grew twice as quickly under Facebook than it would have solo. About 12 minutes into the call, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg chimed in, providing her usual litany of examples of how advertisers were adopting its various ad tools.
There were few signs that anything major was amiss.
And then around 5:20 p.m., Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner addressed analysts and dropped one bombshell after another, rattling investors and raising red flags about whether Facebook’s powerful moneymaking machine is starting to sputter.
First he said the advertising revenue growth slowed down more in Europe than anywhere else in the world partly because of new privacy laws there. That was a bit jarring, as most investors had come to believe the new law that went into effect in May would have minimal, if any, impact.
Then, he noted that the overall revenue growth rate wasn’t just slowing in the second quarter, but would continue to do so in the third and fourth. He partly blamed “currency headwinds” and new privacy options for users but also revealed that new ad formats such as those within Instagram Stories weren’t pulling in the same amount of money as ads shown in the Facebook and Instagram feeds.Operating margins, Mr. Wehner added, would fall to the “mid-30s” from about 44% currently over the next few years, stemming in part from investments in security and safety
.. Mr. Wehner and Ms. Sandberg noted that Facebook had yet to feel the full effects of the new European privacy laws. Mr. Wehner pointed out that Facebook would see a hit to revenue growth owing to changes to its products that would boost privacy.
“The question is will this monetize at the same rate as News Feed?” Ms. Sandberg replied to one question about the moneymaking potential of Stories. “And we honestly don’t know, we’ll have to see what happens.”
.. Ms. Sandberg replied: “I mean, even at decreasing growth rates, we are still growing and predicting growth at very healthy rates.”
.. they must grapple with the question of whether Facebook, too, has limits.
.. “While the company is still growing at a fast clip, the days of 30%+ growth are numbered.”
In Central African Republic and other anarchic states, people suffer and perish under rule of the AK-47.
For thousands of years, humanity’s greatest challenge was poverty and disease, but increasingly it may be conflict.
.. That’s because we’re making huge strides in most places, with the share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty dropping from about 90 percent in the early 1800s to less than 10 percent today. Yet there are exceptions like CAR, South Sudan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo that are horribly off track — because they are ruled in parts not by governments but by gunmen.
.. So we must rethink the global war on poverty. These days the world should tackle conflict as aggressively as it fought AIDS. Donors need to focus not just on building wells or schools, but also on building peace. This may make liberal doves uncomfortable, but the blunt reality is that in some places the most important humanitarians are the peacekeepers carrying weapons.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan, for example, said in a recent speech that “fixing the business side of our tax code is really all about helping families and workers,” adding that “cutting the corporate tax rate means more jobs here in the United States. It will foster increased competition, which will directly drive up wages for our workers.”
Yet few American companies have offered specific plans that support those promises. While many chief executives broadly praise Republicans’ efforts to cut taxes, few have detailed how they would deploy the savings from a corporate tax cut or put more money back in workers’ pockets.
The lack of pledges to create jobs has not been lost on President Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn, who seemed perplexed last week about the lack of corporate enthusiasm for a tax cut.
Mr. Cohn asked his audience of chief executives how many of them would invest more if the tax cut were passed. When only a few attendees raised their hands, Mr. Cohn asked: “Why aren’t the other hands up?”
.. Communications Workers of America asked several companies that employ its members to promise to give workers a pay increase if the cut in the corporate tax rate goes through.