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GOLDMAN SACHS: America’s largest companies are obsessed with 3 things that underscore why the rest of the year is going to be challenging

The second half of 2018 is poised to be tougher than the first for corporate America, judging from recent commentary by executives.

Goldman Sachs’ equity strategists once again compiled a roundup of the biggest themes that came up during quarterly earnings calls conducted by S&P 500 companies. Their quarterly S&P 500 Beige Book mimics the Fed’s version, which compiles anecdotes from business leaders on the biggest issues they’re confronting.

During second-quarter earnings calls, tariffs, higher margins, and wage growth were the three themes that stood out.

“Following another excellent S&P 500 earnings season, companies acknowledged that the operating environment will become more difficult in the second half of 2018, with trade tensions and increased margin pressure in focus,” David Kostin, the chief US equity strategist, said in a note on Thursday.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk opens up about personal and professional struggles in revealing interview

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is describing the past year as “the most difficult and painful year of my career.”

In a revealing New York Times interview published Thursday night, Musk said he had been charging full speed ahead in all directions – with the production of his electric-car company’s first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3 sedan, and with the many business and personal obligations he says have begun to affect his health. “It’s not been great, actually. I’ve had friends come by who are really concerned,” Musk told The Times.

“There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days – days when I didn’t go outside,” Musk said, adding: “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”

Normally known for his brash and unorthodox leadership style, Musk was, at points, penitent and self-reflective, acknowledging the headaches that some of his more recent public behaviour has caused for his company, its board members, and its shareholders.

Trump is considering a huge change to the way America’s biggest companies report their earnings

President Donald Trump on Friday said he had instructed the US Securities and Exchanges Commission to investigate the abolition of quarterly financial reporting for US companies.

Writing on Twitter, Trump said that he had discussions with business leaders and that one leader had asked him to move toward a system of reporting every six months.

“In speaking with some of the world’s top business leaders I asked what it is that would make business (jobs) even better in the U.S,” Trump tweeted. “‘Stop quarterly reporting & go to a six month system,’ said one. That would allow greater flexibility & save money. I have asked the SEC to study!”

Listed companies in the US must report financial results every three months, but in many other countries businesses are mandated to do so only twice a year.

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