Valuation advisor Murray Devine is out with a new first-half private equity report, which shows that buyout firms continue to pay up for blue-chip assets but have become gun-shy when it comes to question marks. Key takeaway:

Deal volume and valuation trend lines have begun to diverge, a tendency that's typically more common near the end of a market cycle.

Go deeper: Swiss consulting firm Wellershoff & Partners this week released new research hitting on a similar theme, arguing that the large-cap U.S. private equity market is way over-capitalized when compared to disbursement activity. Moreover, it believes it is understating the problem, given the boom in private equity's shadow capital market of big sovereign wealth funds and others who are diving deep into both private equity directs and co-invests.

Wellershoff suggests one solution would be for large-cap firms to cut existing fund sizes or break them up into smaller sub-funds – something we saw over-capitalized VC firms do in 2001/2002– but acknowledges that such an outcome is highly unlikely.

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Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 19,128,901 — Total deaths: 715,555— Total recoveries — 11,591,028Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 4,884,406 — Total deaths: 160,111 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: Trump floats executive action even if stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: U.S. economy adds 1.8 million jobs in July — Household debt and credit delinquencies dropped in Q2.
  5. Sports: The pandemic's impact on how sports are played.
  6. 1 🎮 thing: Video gaming growth soars.

Trump floats executive action even if stimulus deal is reached

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The White House is finalizing a series of executive orders addressing key coronavirus stimulus priorities if negotiations with Congress fall apart, and it's leaving the door open for President Trump to use them even if a deal is reached that doesn't encompass all of his priorities, two administration officials tell Axios.

What we’re hearing: “I wouldn't be surprised that, if something gets left off the table, we’d be like ‘we can take this executive action too and be able to win on it anyway,’” one official said.

33 mins ago - Technology

TikTok responds to Trump executive order: "We are shocked"

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

TikTok said Friday that it was "shocked" by President Trump's executive order that will ban Americans from dealing with ByteDance, its China-based owner, in 45 days.

Why it matters: TikTok argued that Trump's move "risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth."