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Chinese consumers are starting to “take sides” as the U.S.-China trade dispute rages on, and that could hamper the success of some U.S. companies, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.

Perhaps it already is: U.S. tech giant Apple recently warned that its fiscal first-quarter results would miss expectations due to weaker-than-anticipated iPhone sales in China. Then, earlier on Friday, Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock of Starbucks, citing “a number of points of caution” in the Chinese market.

“We know that the Chinese consumer’s beginning to take sides,” Cramer said on “Mad Money.” “That’s not good news for any American companies that do business over there, even if many of their stocks seem to reflect that we might be getting some progress in the trade talks.”

Cramer was referring to shares of apparel companies like Nike, Lululemon and Tapestry, all of which do business in China but have not seen their sales slow in a material way. Stocks of industrials with ties to the People’s Republic, like Boeing and Deere, an agricultural play that should be suffering from tariffs on U.S. crops, are also holding firm.

“I wonder if the action in Deere is signaling that maybe we’ll get some progress in these Chinese trade talks, or, at the very least, they’ll make a bunch of ag[ricultural] purchases as a show of good faith,” the “Mad Money” host wondered.

But the best ways to gauge trade talk progress in Cramer’s book are what he called “the three As”: American Express, Apple and aerospace.

If American Express is able to get a license to operate in China, that will signal that China is ready to embrace the U.S. financial sector, Cramer explained. If the Chinese government “starts making nice” with Apple, that would also be “very positive,” he said, much better than the news of iPhone price slashes in China that made waves Friday.

“But the most important show of good faith would be for China Airlines to place a gigantic order of planes with Boeing, an order that would reverberate throughout the entire aerospace complex, including Honeywell, United Technologies, and GE, … which is finally starting to [trade] like an aerospace and industrial stock again,” Cramer said.

For now, though, the “winners and losers in China” are starting to emerge, and there’s no denying that “the Chinese economy’s gotten pretty tricky here, especially for American companies,” he said.

“Frankly, China’s become unfathomable at the moment. We have no idea [what] their government’s doing, what it’s thinking,” Cramer said. “Maybe it’s darkest before the dawn, but I’d argue it’s ill-advised to predict the dawn until we’re further along into the night.”

Stocks sank in Friday’s trading session as worries about an economic slowdown in China took hold. For a timeline of the trade war and tariff exchanges between U.S. and Chinese trade authorities, click here.

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Saudi airport hit by cruise missile, Yemen’s Houthis claim



Supporters of the Houthi movement shout slogans as they attend a rally to mark the 4th anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen’s war, in Sanaa, Yemen March 26, 2019.

Khaled Abdullah | Reuters

Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement has claimed responsibility for a cruise missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport, the group’s Al-Masirah TV channel reported early Wednesday morning.

Saudi Arabia has not officially confirmed the attack, which comes just a day after Saudi authorities said they intercepted two drones launched by the group. Abha Airport is in southwestern Saudi Arabia, roughly 100 miles from the Yemeni border.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran, have launched numerous drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and claim to have carried out drone attacks against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On May 14, the group claimed drone attacks on Saudi oil pumping stations, an act Riyadh labeled as terrorism. No one was hurt in the attack.

The Houthis have been fighting Saudi Arabia in their country since the kingdom launched an offensive against it in early 2015 in defense of Yemen’s internationally-recognized government, which the rebels had overthrown. The Houthis currently control a significant portion of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

The more than four-year long conflict has been deemed by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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StoreDot and BP charge an electric scooter in just five minutes



StoreDot says its battery gave an electric scooter full charge in just five minutes.


Israel’s StoreDot is making major headway in its bid to charge up devices in a matter of minutes with new battery technology.

The Herzliya-based start-up’s lithium-ion battery on Tuesday managed to recharge an electric scooter from Spanish firm Torrot in just five minutes.

It completed the demonstration alongside oil major BP, a strategic backer of the company. The companies claim this is the first time an electric two-wheeler has been charged in such a short amount of time.

“What we are demonstrating with the scooter is the capability of the technology,” Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot’s CEO, told CNBC in an interview Tuesday.

Myersdorf added it’s the first time the company has showed off five-minute charging with a battery pack containing so many cells — this one contains 168 in total.

In addition to BP, StoreDot also counts Mercedes owner Daimler and tech giant Samsung as investors. It previously attracted headlines with its cell phone battery which, again, boasts five-minute charging.

“We are developing a new generation of lithium-ion batteries,” said Myersdorf. “More specifically, we are eliminating the use of graphite in the battery.”

The company’s chief explained that the reason behind taking graphite out of the equation is that the mineral doesn’t work as well at charging devices quickly.

Instead, the firm is using materials like tin, germanium and silicon in combination with organic compounds that it claims are a better solution for lithium-ion batteries than the cells used in most consumer electronics currently.

‘First step’

StoreDot finds itself in a heated race with a multitude of companies looking to address the problem of slow recharging times for electric vehicles.

Porsche recently unveiled an electric car that can add 60 miles of range from a four-minute charge, while start-ups including Sila Nanotechnologies and QuantumScape are also trying to shake up the battery market.

StoreDot’s latest demo is the “first step” toward eventually charging electric cars and even trucks at super-fast speeds, Myersdorf said. It’s looking to demo five-minute charging with Mercedes cars in a year’s time.

The firm expects five-minute smartphone and power bank charging to be available in the second half of 2020, while fast charging for electric cars likely won’t come onto the market until 2023, StoreDot’s boss said.

It’s also looking to set up a battery-making plant similar to Tesla’s Gigafactory, called OneGiga. Myserdorf said StoreDot is currently in talks with U.S. authorities to work out an ideal location for the facility.

Companies like BP and Daimler have had to wake up to the slow-burning shift toward electrification, as global pressure to prioritize clean energy over fossil fuels ramps up amid concerns over climate change.

“Electric vehicles will play a major role in the future of road transport, and that’s why BP is investing in technology and infrastructure,” said Jon Salked, technology director at BP’s advanced mobility unit.

“Electrification presents exciting opportunities for businesses like BP and we see possibilities to expand and complement our business offerings.”

WATCH: We went inside Tesla’s Gigafactory. Here’s what it looked like

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Reckitt names Pepsico executive Laxman Narasimhan CEO



British consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser on Wednesday named PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan to succeed Rakesh Kapoor as chief executive officer.

Narasimhan, PepsiCo’s global chief commercial officer, will join Reckitt as CEO-designate and be appointed to the board on July 16.

He will become group CEO on Sept. 1, the company said in a statement.

Narasimhan’s initial priorities will be to focus on delivering outperformance, especially in the health business unit, and to drive the Lysol maker’s plan to split the firm into two business units under the same company, Reckitt said in a statement.

Kapoor said in January that he would leave by the end of 2019 after more than eight years at the helm.

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