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A roundup of what The Globe and Mail’s market strategist Scott Barlow is reading today on the Web

Billionaire Peter Thiel is a controversial figure, to say the least, but he’s also a wildly successful technology-focused venture capitalist. At a recent conference, Mr. Thiel made some startling near-accusations against current tech heavyweights like Google,

“Google is building artificial general intelligence at DeepMind. We need to be asking: Is this a military weapon? Is this a dual-use weapon? Silicon Valley has been a lot more dishonest about artificial intelligence than we were about the nuclear bomb, and we have also had far less discussion of it… We now need to be asking: How many foreign intelligence agents have infiltrated AI and DeepMind at Google? Is Google’s senior management infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?... Are they worried that their technology will be stolen through the backdoor anyway? These questions need to be asked by the FBI and the CIA, and in a not so gentle manner.”

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“Notes from Peter Thiel’s speech at the National Conservatism conference on July 14, 2019’ - Bonnie Kavoussi, Medium

“Peter Thiel calls for a U.S. probe of Google’s “seemingly treasonous” moves in working closely with China” - Bloomberg

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Morgan Stanley U.S. equity strategist Michael Wilson believes the S&P 500 rally will top out, again, at 3000,

“[The recent] decline in interest rates has made U.S. stocks more attractive on valuation, the fundamentals are no longer strong. Therefore, despite the marginal break above 3000 this past week, we expect another failure … the catalyst this time will be the disappointment from growth slowing further toward outright negative numbers on a year-on-year basis, in earnings and maybe even the economy. From our lens, the incoming data clearly show that growth has slowed much more than what the consensus expected this year, yet forecasts remain optimistic for a resurgence in the second half and into 2020.’

In a separate report, Mr. Wilson argued that upcoming earnings guidance for the second half of 2019 and into 2020 will be a huge determinant of equity market returns from here.

“@SBarlow_ROB MS: Break above 3000 will fail again’ – (research excerpt) Twitter

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“ @SBarlow_ROB MS: All about Q2 guidance” – (research excerpt) Twitter

See also: “@SBarlow_ROB [Citi’s] Levkovich moves sector ratings around ahead of Q2 earnings’ – (research excerpt) Twitter

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There have been frequent calls for Canadian politicians to ‘stand up to China’ but I strongly suspect none of the people involved are farmers,

“[Canadian] pork and beef producers here now find themselves shut out of China altogether, the latest victims of worsening diplomatic relations between the two countries after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December. “We expected that when barbecue season started up that’s when we’d make our money,” Mr Hulshof said. “China has put a fork in it.” … The move is another blow to Canada’s agriculture sector, coming on the heels of China’s ban on imports of canola, soy and peas. Those measures are widely seen as retaliation for Ms Meng’s detention in Vancouver on a US arrest warrant to face charges of bank and wire fraud in an indictment that alleges that Huawei conducted business in Iran in contravention of US sanctions.”

“Canada’s meat farmers skewered in Huawei dispute” – Financial Times (paywall)

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Tweet of the day: “ @michaelxpettis China's 6.2% Q2 GDP growth was pretty much as expected. Because China's reported GDP number tells us little about the economy’s underlying health or its performance, and a great deal about domestic political conditions, what matters is whether Beijing maintains its sangfroid…” – Twitter

Diversion: “Teens are increasingly depressed, anxious, and suicidal. How can we help?” – Vox

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