Business briefing

The daily business briefing: June 4, 2021

Biden adds companies to China blacklist, stock futures remain flat ahead of May jobs report, and more

1

Biden expands list of blacklisted Chinese companies

President Biden signed an executive order on Thursday expanding a ban on U.S. investment in Chinese companies believed to be linked to China's military. Biden also added more companies to the blacklist, bringing the total to 59. Many of the additions were subsidiaries of state-owned companies and other businesses included on the original blacklist drawn up by former President Donald Trump's administration. Several of the new companies on the list have links to state-owned aerospace giant Aviation Industry Corporation of China. Two are affiliates of telecommunications gear-maker Huawei. The order was one of the first concrete steps by the Biden administration as it reviews China policy, including tariff hikes imposed by Trump, who accused China of unfair trade practices.

2

Stock futures flat ahead of May jobs report

U.S. stock index futures were flat early Friday ahead of the release of the May jobs report. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by about 0.1 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures tied to the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq were little changed. The Labor Department releases the May jobs report later in the morning. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the report to show that U.S. nonfarm employers added 671,000 jobs last month, up from a disappointing 266,000-job gain in April. Some analysts said they would not be surprised if the May figure exceeded expectations after the April figure came in so low. Citigroup economists, who forecast a May gain of 760,000 jobs, said the new data, which will provide clues on whether worker shortages are hurting hiring, "will be a key factor in determining the path of Fed policy in coming months."

3

Biden cuts infrastructure proposal in meeting with GOP negotiator

President Biden reportedly said in a Wednesday meeting with the top Republican negotiator, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), that he would cut the size of his infrastructure proposal to about $1 trillion and drop a proposal to pay for it partly with a corporate tax hike, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Instead, Biden wants to raise money by eliminating loopholes for corporations and wealthy taxpayers, and setting a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent, eliminating loopholes companies use to lower their tax bills. Republicans proposed covering the costs of upgrading roads, bridges, and other infrastructure by diverting money that had been set aside for coronavirus relief. They said Biden's plan was unacceptable because it still sought to pay for infrastructure with increased tax revenue from businesses.

4

United to buy 15 small supersonic jets from startup Boom

United Airlines said Thursday it planned to buy 15 small supersonic Overture jetliners from startup Boom Technology, aiming to launch flights in the new planes by the end of the decade. Boom is aiming to test a scaled-down prototype later this year or in early 2022. It plans to have the full-size, 88-seat version ready to carry passengers by 2029, provided regulators rule that they meet safety and other standards. Colorado-based Boom is one of three companies that have been developing supersonic business jets to fill a gap left when the 100-seat Anglo-French Concorde was retired in 2003 due to high costs and noise concerns. Aerion Corp. folded last month after failing to raise enough money to produce its planned supersonic business jet. Boston-based Spike Aerospace is still working on its 18-seat supersonic plane. 

5

Bryant's widow questions Nike on leaked Gianna shoes

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, called out Nike in an Instagram post on Thursday after a photo leaked showing a shoe she had worked on with the sports apparel company to honor her late daughter, Gianna, but decided not to sell. Vanessa Bryant said in the post that the shoes were "NOT approved for sale," or even to be made. She said she had decided not to re-sign a contract with Nike, and had never received any pairs of the shoes. The Instagram user who posted pictures claimed they were "from a Nike authorized retailer" and that Nike seemingly "sent pairs to this retailer (as well as others) with the intent of selling" them, TMZ reported. Nike did not immediately comment. Bryant demanded an explanation.

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