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(Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,287 words, ~ 5 minutes.)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Axios' Dan Primack, Felix Salmon and Kia Kokalitcheva write: If CEOs are the new politicians, many of them don't seem to have thought carefully about foreign policy — particularly about working with autocratic regimes.
Why it matters: Corporate America continues to do business with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who allegedly oversaw the beheading of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and to court business in places like China and Turkey.
American CEOs are increasingly stepping up to take positions on domestic issues like gun control, transgender rights and climate change. But when it comes to abuses that take place outside U.S. borders, they tend to fall silent — or say things they regret.
Driving the news: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi took a social media beating yesterday, after telling "Axios on HBO" that the Khashoggi murder was "a mistake" and then compared it to Uber's self-driving accident in which a woman was killed. (He said after the interview that he regretted the comment.)
Khosrowshahi will talk more about his Saudi Arabia remarks to Axios at an all-hands meeting later this morning, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Uber is not alone in what looked like a soft shrug at the crime:
Be smart: U.S. companies are still wary of taking a stand on international issues.
The bottom line: There's a long tradition in America that "politics stops at the water's edge." Insofar as CEOs are the new politicians, they seem to have adopted the same principle.
Clashes raged for more than 16 hours in Hong Kong, with police shooting a protestor at close range, a man lit on fire, and Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam denouncing "enemies of the people." (Axios)
Boeing's stock rose by 4.5%, the most since June, after it provided more detail on how the 737 MAX will return to the skies but backed away from a timeline on full regulatory approval. (Bloomberg)
15 Asia Pacific countries aim to sign the world's largest trade deal next year. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will include China, Australia, Japan and South Korea. (CNBC)
PG&E will offer $13.5 billion in compensation to the victims of wildfires sparked by its power lines as part of a restructuring plan. (Bloomberg)
The trade war is starting to hit home for more Americans, affecting their buying habits and expectations about the economy, new data from research firm CivicScience shows.
Why it matters: Tariffs imposed on Chinese goods have largely avoided items purchased directly by consumers so far, but as the trade war has dragged on, more firms are having to pass costs on to customers.
The U.S. bond market was closed to commemorate Veterans Day, pausing a massive selloff in U.S. Treasuries that has taken yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to their highest level since the start of August.
Why it matters: The Treasury market has provided a more accurate reflection of U.S. economic data so far this year, and rising yields show safe-haven bonds are losing their appeal.
Yes, but: Correlation is not causation, Lisa Shalett, CIO of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, wrote in a Monday note to clients, arguing that yields are rising because of increased inflation expectations, not renewed growth.
Of note: The Treasury yield curve has meaningfully reversed its inversion in both the 3-month/10-year and 2-year/10-year curves.
Don't sleep: As I wrote on Oct. 31, the Fed's bond-buying program looks to have played a significant role in the yield curve rising out of inversion.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere is in talks to take over the top job at WeWork after the departure of co-founder Adam Neumann, the Wall Street Journal reported.
But, but, but: CNBC later reported that "a source close to SoftBank confirmed Legere is one of many candidates being considered for the role, but he’s not the leading candidate."
Between the lines: "T-Mobile and WeWork have leadership in place that runs in similar circles," CNBC notes.
Chile's peso fell to its lowest value against the dollar on record and the country's stock market dropped to near its weakest since early 2017, as continued violence and protests have pressured the government to rewrite its constitution.
Why it matters: Chile has long been an oasis of stability in volatile Latin America and was consistently among the strongest and most market friendly democracies. But it's now mired in wide-ranging disruption and chaos and pulling down asset values in the rest of region.
Watch this space: "The fact that the slowdown in economic activity and the fall in inflation pressures occurred prior to the protests, only increased investors' concerns and exacerbated the peso's decline," Simon Harvey, FX analyst at Monex, told Reuters.
The big picture: Latin American currencies have collectively turned lower against the dollar as recent protests in Chile and Bolivia have followed unrest in Ecuador and a surprise election result in Argentina.
Alibaba's Singles Day delivered roughly $38.4 billion of sales Monday, 26% higher than the previous year's total.
The intrigue: The one-day Chinese festival, a corporate-created answer to Valentine's Day, recorded sales that were billions of dollars higher than the combined total expected from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping in the U.S., according to projections from Adobe Analytics.
Flashback: Alibaba has come a long way from its not-so-humble stock market debut, which remains the largest ever (but is poised to be heartily outdone if and when Saudi Aramco makes its IPO).