The daily business briefing: March 8, 2016

Harold Maass
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Brent crude oil prices hit 2016 high

Oil prices jumped by 5 percent on Monday, with benchmark Brent crude closing above $40 per barrel, a 2016 high. Oil has bounced up by more than 50 percent since sinking to 12-year lows less than two months ago. The rally started when Russia and leading OPEC producers proposed a production freeze to ease a global oil glut, and gained steam Monday on news that Latin American oil producers would meet Friday to discuss output. Oil prices pulled back a bit early Tuesday due partly to weak China trade data, dragging down global stocks, including U.S. futures. [Reuters]


Urban Outfitters stock jumps on unexpectedly strong earnings

Urban Outfitters shares jumped by 11.8 percent in extended trading Monday after the clothing and accessories retailer reported quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations. The company said it earned 61 cents per share in the quarter that ended Jan. 31, partly due to better margins over the crucial holiday shopping season. Analysts had forecast 56 cents per share. [The Associated Press]


Government asks judge to reverse New York iPhone ruling

The Justice Department on Monday asked a judge to overturn a ruling against forcing Apple to unlock an iPhone in a New York drug case. A magistrate judge in Brooklyn ruled in Apple's favor last week, and the government took its case to a higher judge. Prosecutors are citing an order by a judge in California for Apple to help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino massacre shooters, saying that case shows that Apple can be legally compelled to hack into iPhones. [Reuters]


Sponsors drop Maria Sharapova after failed drug test

Nike, Porsche, and Swiss watch brand Tag Heuer suspended their sponsorship ties with Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova after she announced Monday that she had failed a drug test at this year's Australian Open. The five-time Grand Slam winner said she had legally taken the drug, meldonium, since 2006 to treat several health issues. It was added to a list of substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as of Jan. 1. Tennis officials provisionally suspended her starting March 12. [Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press]


Wall Street bonuses fall... to $146,200

Wall Street bonuses averaged $146,200 last year, down 9 percent from the year before, according to data released by the New York State Comptroller’s Office on Monday. Bonuses have increased since the bottom of the financial crisis, but have not come close to bouncing back to the record of $191,360 of 2006. Industry profits dropped by 10.5 percent last year, and are not expected to be much better this year. Bank stocks are down more than the market in general so far this year. [The Washington Post]