Opening Bell: 9.14.18

Florence Makes Landfall, Unleashing Powerful Wrath on Carolinas [Bloomberg]
The Category 1 storm carried maximum sustained winds of 90 miles (145 kilometers) an hour, menacing the coast with life-threatening storm surges and heavy rains. Landfall occurred at 7:15 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin at 7:35 a.m. local time.
About 150 people were awaiting rescue from rising waters, the City of New Bern, North Carolina, said on its Twitter account, advising those affected to move to an attic or second story for safety. About 239,000 Duke Energy Corp. customers in North and South Carolina have been affected by power outages, according to the company’s website, while more than 300,000 have lost power in North Carolina, the state’s Emergency Management department tweeted. As many as 3 million may eventually be in the dark for days or even weeks.

China to ask Wall Street for ideas on improving U.S. ties [Reuters]
The Chinese government sent invitations for the hastily-convened meeting a few weeks ago as trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies appeared to be headed for a full-blown trade war.
Top financial firms in both countries are sending representatives to the meeting, although heavyweight invitees such as Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman were unable to rearrange their schedules to attend the meeting, a source said.
The meeting will be chaired by Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the People’s Bank of China, and John Thornton, ex-president of Goldman Sachs.

Paul Manafort and special counsel reach tentative plea deal: Sources [ABCNews]
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has tentatively agreed to a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller that will head off his upcoming trial, sources familiar with the negotiations tell ABC News.
The deal is expected to be announced in court Friday, but it remains unclear whether Manafort has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors or is simply conceding to a guilty plea, which would allow him to avoid the stress and expense of trial, according to three sources with knowledge of the discussions.

Gary Cohn Backed Goldman Sachs’s 1MDB Dealings, Book Says [Bloomberg]
Cohn supported the “potentially lucrative line of business” that some of its top Asia-based bankers were developing in Malaysia, said the authors of “Billion Dollar Whale,” to be released by Hachette Books on Tuesday. Those executives included Tim Leissner, the former Goldman banker who led the 1MDB bond sales, and Andrea Vella, who headed Goldman’s debt and structured finance business in Asia.
“The backing of a domineering and powerful personality like Cohn afforded significant cover to those involved in the 1MDB business and drowned out the voices of those who were uncomfortable with the plans to raise billions of dollars for the fund,” the authors — Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope — wrote. Cohn left Goldman in 2016 and later became White House economic adviser, a role he relinquished earlier this year.

Jeff Bezos says Amazon will announce HQ2 decision before the end of the year [CNBC]
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the decision for the winner of the company’s second headquarters will not be announced Thursday during his interview at the Economic Club Washington D.C.
“The answer is very simple,” Bezos told David Rubenstein, the president of the Economic Club of Washington D.C. and the cofounder of the Carlyle Group. “We will answer the decision before the end of the year.”
Bezos reiterated that his team at Amazon is “working hard” to choose the final winner of HQ2, but declined to share further information on the process. The company previously announced 20 finalists, including Washington D.C., northern Virginia, and Montgomery Country, Maryland.

Pot Shop Employee Fights Off Attackers With Trusty Glass Bong [HuffPo]
The attempted robbery occurred last Thursday afternoon at the Recreational Cannabis Farmers Market in Shannonville, Ontario, when three men entered the store with their faces covered.
The robbers sprayed bear mace on two store employees, a man and a woman, but the male clerk didn’t let that stop him from protecting the merchandise.
Surveillance video shows the clerk grabbing a bong and using it as a weapon.

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