From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.

  • Rate Hike and Roiled Markets: The Federal Reserve this week defied President Trump and raised the benchmark interest rate by another quarter percentage point on Wednesday. It was the fourth increase of the year, and while largely expected, the move sent markets sharply lower. Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that two more rate hikes are on the horizon in 2019 given the strength of the economy and labor market, though his tone was somewhat softer than in previous statements. The market declines were exacerbated by turmoil in Washington, D.C., with the threat of a government shutdown creating more uncertainty about the economic outlook. The conditions made for a historically bad week on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average booking its worst week since the financial crisis a decade ago and the Nasdaq officially entering bear market territory. More here.

  • Another Facebook Exposé: The public narrative over Facebook's ($FB) handling of user data went from bad to worse with the publication of a New York Times investigation that revealed the social network gave more personal data than previously disclosed, including private messages and contact lists, to dozens of tech partners without users' knowledge. According to the report, Facebook shared the data with several big tech companies over the years, including Spotify ($SPOT), Netflix ($NFLX) and Yahoo, as well as companies with ties to the Russian and Chinese governments. The report raises questions about whether Facebook violated a deal with the Federal Trade Commission about sharing user data, although Facebook denies it broke the agreement. More here.

  • Altria Takes Juul Stake: Juul Labs, the wildly popular and controversial e-cigarette maker whose stated goal is to make cigarettes obsolete, is giving up a 35 percent stake to Altria, maker of Marlboro and other top cigarette brands, in exchange for $12.8 billion. For Altria, the deal represents a hedge against declining smoking rates as vaping skyrockets in popularity, though the agreement does not give the company a path to control. The stake values Juul at $38 billion, more than Airbnb or SpaceX. Juul's 1,500 employees will reportedly receive holiday bonuses that average over $1 million apiece. More here.

  • Pot Partnership: AB InBev ($BUD), the global beer distributor, and Tilray, the Canadian marijuana producer, agreed on a joint venture to develop cannabis-infused non-alcoholic beverages. But unlike other recent deals in the growing cannabis industry ー such as Altria's 45 percent stake in Cronos and Constellation Brands' 38 percent stake in Canopy Growth ー no money or stock will change hands in the Anheuser-Busch deal with Tilray. Instead, both companies will put down $50 million each to develop THC and CBD-infused beverages for the Canadian market. More here.

  • Boring Tunnels: Elon Musk's Boring Company unveiled its first 1.14-mile test tunnel under Los Angeles on Tuesday in a splashy event meant to show off Musk's concept for underground urban travel that he says could solve the "soul-destroying" traffic nightmare in cities like L.A. Members of the press were on board Tesla ($TSLA) Model Xs for some of the first test trips, which topped out around 40 m.p.h., though Musk has said the "loop" will eventually be able to move vehicles on tracks at 150 m.p.h. Perhaps more newsworthy than the trip was the fact that, according to Musk, it cost just $10 million to build the mile-long test tunnel. Meanwhile, in New York City, a rail tunnel currently under construction is costing taxpayers $3.5 billion per mile. More here.

ーCarlo Versano