Business briefing

The daily business briefing: July 8, 2021

Trump sues social media companies over bans, Egypt lets ship that blocked Suez Canal leave, and more

1

Trump sues social media companies, accusing them of censorship

Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he was suing Facebook, Google, and Twitter, accusing them of wrongfully censoring him and others. Trump said he was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the social media giants and their CEOs. Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump's accounts after some of his supporters staged a deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, seeking to prevent the certification of his election loss to President Biden. The companies said Trump had violated policies against inciting violence. "We're demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well," Trump said at a news conference at his golf course in Bedminster.

2

Egypt lets ship that blocked Suez Canal leave

Egyptian authorities on Wednesday let the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for days earlier this year leave the country after its owners agreed to pay millions of dollars in compensation. The Suez Canal Authority did not disclose the terms of the agreement, but the organization's chairman, Osama Rabie, said it was "a fair deal" for both sides. The ship, the Ever Given, ran aground in March and blocked the crucial global trade route for nearly a week. After it was dislodged from the canal's banks, Egyptian authorities demanded reimbursement for the costs associated with the rescue mission, and seized the ship under court order pending the result of negotiations with its owners. Authorities initially demanded $900 million.

3

Melinda French Gates considering leaving charity foundation

Melinda French Gates will resign as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation if she and her husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, can't work together now that they are splitting up, the foundation said Wednesday. The couple announced two months ago that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage. If French Gates winds up leaving the foundation, Bill Gates will provide "personal resources" for her to distribute for philanthropic purposes, the foundation added. The foundation launched in 2000 to provide money for education, health care, and other projects. The foundation spent more than $5 billion in 2019, and Bill and Melinda French Gates have committed another $14 billion to the organization.

4

Fed minutes confirm debate on timing of reducing bond purchases

The Federal Reserve released minutes from its last policy meeting on Wednesday indicating that leaders at the central bank last month discussed the timing of dialing back their efforts to support the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. A few policymakers "mentioned that they expected the conditions for beginning to reduce" the Fed's $120 billion in monthly bond purchases, which help keep interest rates in check, to "be met somewhat earlier than they had anticipated ... in light of incoming data." The debate at the June meeting provided the latest indication that Fed leaders have a mostly positive outlook on the trajectory of the economy as coronavirus infections and deaths fall and vaccination numbers rise.

5

Stock futures dive after latest S&P 500, Nasdaq records

U.S. stock index futures dropped sharply early Thursday after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose to the latest in a string of record highs on Wednesday. Futures tied to the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq were all down by 1.2 percent or more several hours before the opening bell, as investors started unwinding bets on high growth and inflation. Some investors are expressing concern that labor shortages and supply-chain bottlenecks could hurt the recovery, as could the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus. Bond demand surged, driving yields to their lowest level since February. The S&P 500 rose by 0.3 percent on Wednesday. The Nasdaq closed 1.4 points to eke out a record.

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