The daily business briefing: July 2, 2021
The NFL fines the Washington Football Team over workplace culture, 130 countries agree to global minimum tax plan, and more
NFL fines Washington Football Team $10 million
The NFL on Thursday fined the Washington Football Team $10 million following an investigation into the club's workplace culture. Independent counsel Beth Wilkinson and her firm interviewed more than 150 people, mostly current and former team employees, and concluded that the workplace environment there was highly unprofessional, particularly regarding the treatment of women. The investigators found a culture of fear where bullying and intimidation were common, and numerous female employees said they had been subjected to sexual harassment and disrespect in the workplace. "I feel great remorse for the people who had difficult, even traumatic, experiences while working here," said Dan Snyder, the team's owner and co-CEO. "I'm truly sorry for that."
130 countries agree to global minimum corporate tax plan
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development announced Thursday from Paris that 130 countries had signed onto the plan for a global minimum corporate tax. The news marked a victory for the Biden administration, which is pushing the proposal to prevent countries from luring global corporations with promises of lower taxes or other perks. "Multinational corporations will no longer be able to pit countries against one another in a bid to push tax rates down and protect their profits at the expense of public revenue," Biden said. "They will no longer be able to avoid paying their fair share by hiding profits generated in the United States, or any other country, in lower-tax jurisdictions. This will level the playing field and make America more competitive."
Trump Organization and CFO charged with tax crimes
The Manhattan district attorney's office on Thursday charged the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with tax crimes following a three-year investigation. Former President Donald Trump's real estate company is accused of operating a 15-year scheme to compensate executives off the books to help them dodge taxes. Weisselberg, who pleaded not guilty, is accused of failing to pay taxes on $1.7 million in perks, such as apartments and cars, that he should have reported as income. "To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme," said Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney. The charges unsealed Thursday did not implicate Trump directly. Lawyers for Trump's company said it was being targeted for political reasons.
Stock futures flat ahead of June jobs report
U.S. stock futures were little changed early Friday ahead of the June jobs report. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were flat, while Nasdaq futures were up by nearly 0.2 percent several hours before the opening bell. All three of the major U.S. indexes rose on Thursday. The Dow and the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose by 0.1 percent. Economists expect the Labor Department to report Friday that nonfarm payrolls added 706,000 jobs in June, up from 559,000 in May, and that the unemployment rate fell from 5.8 percent to 5.6 percent. Investors are expected to pay close attention to hourly wages. A big wage increase could signal broader inflation.
Auto sales surge, prices rise
U.S. automakers sold 4.43 million vehicles from April through June. The second-quarter total marked a 50.2 percent increase over the same period last year, but it still came in 0.4 percent lower than in 2019, the last normal year before the coronavirus pandemic shook the economy. Sales appeared to slow toward the end of the quarter as dealers ran short of cars and trucks to sell, due to production cuts caused by a global shortage of computer chips. Demand was high, however, helping to push up prices. Consumers willing to pay above the sticker price helped push the average sales prices above $40,000 in June, a first, according to J.D. Power. With inventory low, car companies cut discounts without hurting sales.