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The 10-Point: My Guide to the Day's Top News

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
Trump Travails
President Trump said Thursday he had been planning to fire former FBI Director James Comey regardless of any advice from the Justice Department because Mr. Comey was a “showboat” who he claimed had lost the faith of his employees. In his first full account of the events that led up to Mr. Comey’s dismissal Tuesday, Mr. Trump contradicted the initial White House accounts that he acted after top Justice Department officials recommended Mr. Comey’s ouster. The president also confirmed he had asked Mr. Comey whether he was personally a target of a federal investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. In the past three days, the administration’s shifting explanations have led new Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to insist that the White House correct the record on his role in the firing; Mr. Comey’s acting successor, Andrew McCabe, to defend the FBI’s integrity; and Democrats to renew demands that an independent prosecutor take over the Russia probe.

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My First Home
First-time buyers are rushing to buy homes after a decade on the sidelines, promising to kick a housing market already flush with luxury sales into higher gear. Tracking home sales to a particular age group is hard, but a series of data points form a mosaic of a generation of young people ready to buy: The number of new-owner households was double the number of new-renter households in the first quarter of this year, the share of first-time buyers is creeping back toward the historical average and mortgages for first-time buyers are on the rise. For the first time in a decade, new households are overwhelmingly choosing to buy rather than rent. Accordingly, home builders are beginning to shift their focus away from luxury homes and toward those at lower price points to cater to this burgeoning millennial clientele.
The Jonas Touch
Howard Jonas has struck gold. Again. The businessman and telecom speculator has agreed to sell one of his companies, a long-struggling wireless venture, to Verizon for $3.1 billion, after the price nearly doubled in recent weeks because of a bidding war between Verizon and AT&T that surprised him. It is a big premium for an obscure company called Straight Path Communications that has just nine employees and has yet to build out a network. This marks another windfall for Mr. Jonas, who made a splash in 2000 by selling a stake in internet-calling company Net2Phone for more than $1.1 billion in cash to AT&T. He used that windfall to fund an array of ventures, including looking for shale oil in Mongolia, publishing “Star Trek” comic books and trying to cure cancer. One of his forays led to the creation of Straight Path.
All That Glitters
Immortalized as West Egg and East Egg in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” Long Island’s Gold Coast is resurgent, but with a different population: young families looking for good public schools and alternatives to nosebleed New York City home prices. Instead of seeking sprawling properties with large amounts of acreage, these buyers are fighting over postage-stamp-size properties with easy commutes to Manhattan. There were 5,754 home sales on Long Island (excluding the Hamptons and North Fork) in the first quarter of 2017—the most for that period in 14 years. The uptick is most keenly felt in sought-after North Shore school districts where commute times to Manhattan hover around 30 minutes. To meet the demand, builders are snapping up small houses in coveted areas, demolishing them and constructing larger homes.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Candid Camera
That Was Painless
Want to up your video-shooting game? You don’t have to be a pro with lots of fancy gear. Michael Hsu shows how to make the most of your iPhone.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

U.S. Weighs Expanding Laptop Ban to Flights Between U.S. and Europe

New Census Leader to Inherit Challenges Facing 2020 Count
WORLD

Trump Administration Reaches Deal With China to Boost Exports

Kurd-Led Force Homes In on ISIS Bastion With Assent of U.S. and Syria Alike
BUSINESS

McDonald’s Boosts Its Payout for Franchise Upgrades

Money From Chinese State Giants Helped Fund Aluminum Stockpile
MARKETS

The Yield Curve in China’s Jittery Bond Market Just Inverted

An Algorithm, an ETF and an Academic Study Walk Into a Bar
NUMBER OF THE DAY
17%
The approximate drop in Macy’s shares Thursday, when the department store reported another quarter of falling sales ahead of a series of results from other retailers also battling problems with store traffic and online competition.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
April was the first month in seven years where we didn’t have one Cuban migrant, not one…On a typical day at this time last year, we would probably pick up anywhere from 50 to 150 Cuban migrants.
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft on a dramatic drop in the number of Cubans trying to sail illegally to the U.S. The shift is largely because of new policies set by both the Obama and Trump administrations and mirrors a significant decrease in migrant flow along the southwestern U.S. land border.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what are your thoughts on Mr. Trump’s comments on Mr. Comey? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Margaret Rawson
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on Snap’s first quarterly report as a public company, Steve Shannon of New Jersey commented: “Snap is nothing more than Twitter in a new wrapper. Should anybody be surprised?” David Lazarus of New Jersey weighed in: “Very predictable after the similar problems Twitter had. Facebook and Google totally dominate online advertising and unless antitrust suits get traction, it isn’t likely to change.” And Jan Rogers Kniffen of Connecticut shared: “Valuation is always a problem when there are no earnings and no likelihood of earnings, and a fierce competitor (Facebook/Instagram) for the business that is never likely to have earnings. The Cheshire cat begins to fade away, his smile the last to go.”

This daily briefing is named "The 10-Point" after the nickname conferred by the editors of The Wall Street Journal on the lead column of the legendary "What's News" digest of top stories. Technically, "10-point" referred to the size of the typeface. The type is smaller now but the name lives on.

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