September 16, 2019

Summer Winds Down, and Big Tech Is Called Before Congress

Summer Winds Down, and Big Tech Is Called Before Congress

The Week ahead

The newest jobs numbers are expected to show healthy gains, and Detroit automakers will report sales for August.

Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, is among the representatives of big technology companies who will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about efforts to combat foreign influence in the midterm elections.CreditCreditMike Segar/Reuters

Here’s what to expect in the week ahead:


Markets to close as summer winds down

Summer is (unofficially) over. The United States and Canada observe Labor Day on Monday, and markets in both countries will be closed as traders pack up their linen suits and winterize their beach houses. Starbucks is already selling pumpkin spice lattes in many locations as thoughts turn to autumn.

— Zach Wichter


Auto numbers expected to show depressed annual sales

A year-on-year rise of new-vehicle sales of just over 1 percent is expected as American automakers report numbers for August on Tuesday. The industry is unlikely to celebrate the gain, as it comes against a weak total from 2017, when hurricanes Irma and Harvey depressed sales in southeastern states and in Texas. More telling will be the annualized sales rate, which is expected to come in at 16.8 million vehicles, according to That’s a distinct slowing from the more than 17 million sales car companies have enjoyed in each of the last few years.

— Neal Boudette


Big tech to testify before Senate on the midterms

Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday about how the big technology companies are preparing for the midterm elections. The hearing is a follow-up to the one convened in November, in which senators questioned how social media platforms allowed Russian disinformation intended to influence voters ahead of the 2016 elections to flourish. Wednesday’s hearing is expected to focus on what changes the companies have made to thwart any similar disinformation efforts.

The chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, and Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, have already confirmed their attendance. The Senate committee also invited Larry Page, chief executive of the Google parent company Alphabet, though it was not clear if he would attend. The committee rejected Google’s offer to send Kent Walker, its senior vice president of global affairs, saying it wanted a more senior executive.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Dorsey will also testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on how Twitter monitors the content people post on Twitter. Several Republican members of the House committee have said that they believe that Twitter is biased against conservatives. Twitter has rejected those charges.

— Sheera Frenkel


Jobs report could show another healthy number

The Labor Department on Friday will report the latest numbers on the jobs created in August. Wall Street is looking for a gain of just under 200,000 jobs, a bit higher than the 157,000 increase in payrolls in July. But August tends to be what economists term a “noisy” month for data, with large subsequent revisions to the numbers in the past. While a surprise is always possible, the odds favor a healthy figure, with the economy growing at a strong pace. The unemployment rate is expected to decline slightly to 3.8 percent.

— Nelson Schwartz

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