The news at a glance
Washington: SEC chair makes way for Trump
Wall Street regulators began “an exodus from Washington” this week, said Ben Protess and Alexandra Stevenson in The New York Times. Mary Jo White, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, became the first major Obama administration appointee to announce plans to step down after Donald Trump takes office in January, with others expected to follow suit in the coming weeks. Democrats had hoped to appoint a strong supporter of financial regulations to replace White, whom liberal lawmakers regarded as a moderate. “Now, the agency is almost certain to be pushed to the right” and Wall Street rules watered down.
“White’s legacy is a mixed one,” said Helaine Olen in Slate.com. She laid out tough new rules for Wall Street under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, in addition to spearheading new protections for investors. But she earned the wrath of liberals such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren when “other mandates languished,” including a move to force companies to reveal their total political spending. All the same, her leftwing critics may wish she’d stayed. With Trump pledging to gut the Obama administration’s key financial reforms, she’ll almost certainly have been tougher on Wall Street than whoever comes next.
The bottom line
▪ Android captured a record 88_percent of the global smartphone market during the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics, with more than 328_million devices shipped worldwide. Apple, however, still commands more than 60_percent of global smartphone profits.
▪ While many corporations assume that younger workers have more energy, and are therefore more productive, more people under the age of 45 (43 percent) say they are exhausted at work than those over 45 (35_percent). The least exhausted workers are those over 60.
Harvard Business Review
▪ Roughly 3.1_million Americans quit their jobs in September, the highest monthly number this year and a sign that workers are gaining more leverage in the job market. There were 1.4_unemployed workers per job opening in September, down from a high of 6.7 in 2009.
▪ Veterans made up 44_percent of the nearly 120,000 full-time hires the federal government made in 2015. The share of veterans among new government hires has stayed relatively constant since the Obama administration pledged in 2009 to give former service members preferential consideration for job openings.
The Washington Post
▪ China’s online retail giant Alibaba sold a record $17.7_billion worth of goods during last week’s “Singles’ Day,” the annual Chinese shopping holiday that now dwarfs the U.S.’s post-Thanksgiving Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending sprees. Alibaba topped last year’s reco rdsetting sales of $14.3 billion by about 3:20 p.m. local time.
The Wall Street Journal
Labor: Organizing app rankles Walmart
Walmart is telling workers not to download a smartphone app built by a labor advocacy group, said Sarah Nassauer in The Wall Street Journal. WorkIt, an Android app that was released on Monday, lets Walmart store employees chat with one another and receive advice on workplace policies and other legal rights. It’s designed by OUR Walmart, which isn’t a traditional union but advocates for higher pay and other benefits at the retail giant. The company has instructed store managers to tell employees not to download the app, describing it as “a scheme to gather workers’ personal information.”
Health care: Walgreens sues Theranos for $140M
The falling out between Walgreens and disgraced blood-testing startup Theranos is headed to court, after the national pharmacy chain filed suit against Theranos in Delaware last week, said Melody Petersen in the Los Angeles Times. Together, the two companies built blood-testing stations in 40 Walgreens pharmacies in Arizona before the purportedly revolutionary blood-testing method developed by Theranos was revealed to be wildly inaccurate. Walgreens, which is asking for $140 million in the lawsuit, terminated its partnership with Theranos in June.
Airlines: United to limit carry-ons for budget fares
United Airlines just took a page “out of its low-cost competitors’ playbook,” said Jeffrey Dastin in Reuters.com. The Chicago-based airline this week unveiled a new low-cost, no-frills fare class dubbed Basic Economy. Fliers opting for the cheaper tickets should pack light, however, because they will be limited to one carry-on bag that fits under a seat, not in the overhead bin. United “is the first major U.S. carrier to make such a move for carry-ons,” hoping to attract bargain-conscious customers. Basic Economy fliers also won’t be assigned seats until their departure day, “meaning people on the same ticket may be split apart.”
Retail: Amazon cracks down on counterfeiters
“For the first time in Amazon’s 20-plus-year history,” the company is suing merchants that sell counterfeit items on its marketplace, said Leena Rao in Fortune.com. The e-commerce giant filed two lawsuits in Washington state this week against sellers accused of peddling fake goods, which are a growing problem for the company. One of the lawsuits targets a company allegedly selling knockoffs of the Forearm Forklift, a fabric strap that helps wearers move heavy furniture. Forearm Forklift is said to have lost 30 percent of its annual revenue since 2008, largely because of fakes sold online.
Egyptian cotton’s dirty laundry
The luxury bedsheets business is in the midst of a “king-size” crisis, said Matthew Campbell in Bloomberg.com. Major U.S. retailers, including Target and Walmart, cut ties with Welspun, a top Indian manufacturer of 100_percent Egyptian cotton sheets and other luxury textiles, after the firm was caught mislabeling products that were “woven with lowerquality cotton blends.” The scandal came to light after Target investigators conducted microscopic analysis of sheet fibers and found that 750,000 of the store’s “Egyptian cotton” sheets, which sell for as much $75 each, “ didn’t contain any Egyptian cotton at all.” The highest-quality Egyptian material, prized for its silky feel, costs twice as much as standardgrade cotton sourced from India, “providing powerful incentive to cheat.” When the Cotton Egypt Association later conducted random tests on store-ready products, it found that 90_percent were fakes.