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Disney CEO Bob Iger resigns from Apple board as TV battle looms By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European premiere of “The Lion King” in London

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Apple Inc (O:) said on Friday that Walt Disney Co (N:) Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger had resigned from the company’s board of directors on Sept. 10 as the two companies prepare to compete head-to-head in the streaming television business.

Iger departed Apple’s board the same day the company revealed new details about Apple TV+, a $4.99-per-month service that will launch on Nov. 1. Apple is spending billions in Hollywood to secure original programming for the service.

The monthly subscription price for Apple TV+ undercuts Disney, which earlier this year announced its own streaming service that will feature its iconic children’s content and cost $6.99 per month. The Disney+ service will debut on Nov. 12.

Apple and Disney have long had a unique relationship among major American companies, dating back to when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs became a Disney director and major shareholder when the entertainment giant bought Pixar, the digital animation studio majority owned by Jobs. Iger became an Apple director shortly after Jobs’ death in 2011.

“While we will greatly miss his contributions as a board member, we respect his decision and we have every expectation that our relationship with both Bob and Disney will continue far into the future,” Apple said in a statement.

Iger said it was “an extraordinary privilege” to have served on Apple’s board for eight years.

“I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple, and for my fellow board members,” Iger said in a statement. “Apple is one of the world’s most admired companies, known for the quality and integrity of its products and its people.”

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Fed’s Bostic says ‘we won’t have to do anything’ on interest rates

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Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic became the latest central banker to advocate a hold on interest rates, telling CNBC that he doesn’t see a need to change given current conditions.

Despite the market pricing in up to two cuts this year, Bostic said that unless there’s a significant shift in economic performance, the Fed should stay put.

“There are many different scenarios about what’s going to happen between now and say June or July. My baseline expectations are that the economy is not going to see rising risks and it’s going to stay stable, so we won’t have to do anything,” he told CNBC’s Steve Liesman during a “Squawk Box” interview.

“But my focus is on today and what we know today and what we know next week as the data comes in. If we see more weakness than expected, then I’d be open to moving. But that’s not my expectation,” he added.

Bullard, Clarida also see no cuts

Though he is not a voter this year on the Federal Open Market Committee, Bostic gets input into the decision-making process.

Earlier Friday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard also told CNBC he does not see a likelihood of a cut, and both speakers come a day after Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida also told the network that he’s not anticipating a change.

Markets, though, are not on the same page.

Traders in the fund funds futures market are indicating a 54% chance of a rate cut by June and a 59% probability of two moves by the end of the year, despite consistent statements from Fed officials indicating otherwise. Markets fear that the coronavirus could continue to spread and dent global economic growth, necessitating a further easing on policy beyond the three cuts the Fed implemented in 2019.

Like Bullard, Bostic said he expects the coronavirus to be “a short-term hit” to the economy.

“I have no impulses really to think that we need to do anything differently with our policy stance than we are doing today,” Bostic said.

The Fed currently targets its benchmark overnight borrowing rate in a range between 1.5%-1.75%. The FOMC has kept the rate steady the past two meetings after last year’s cuts.



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