The daily business briefing: July 13, 2021
Weisselberg out at Trump Org., J&J vaccine gets FDA warning, and more
Weisselberg removed as officer of Trump Org. subsidiaries
Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who was recently indicted for allegedly running a 15-year tax fraud scheme, has been removed as an officer at some of the company's subsidiaries, The Wall Street Journal reports. Weisselberg has worked for the Trump family since 1973, and records show he was previously listed as treasurer, director, vice president, and secretary of the Trump Payroll Corp., which processes payroll for Trump Organization staff and is also facing charges in the same criminal case as Weisselberg. Now, Donald Trump Jr. is listed as executive vice president, director, secretary, treasurer, and vice president, while his younger brother, Eric Trump, is named president, director, and chairman. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Payroll Corp. have pleaded not guilty in their case. If convicted of the top charge he's facing, second-degree grand larceny, Weisselberg, 73, could spend 15 years in prison.
FDA adds warning of rare nerve syndrome to J&J COVID-19 vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday updated its fact sheet for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to warn of a "very low" risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome after vaccination. Preliminary reports show there have been about 100 suspected Guillain-Barré syndrome cases among people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine; the vaccine has been administered to more than 12.8 million Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Among the people who developed the syndrome, the symptoms developed about 42 days after vaccination. An FDA official told Axios that while the "available evidence suggests an association" between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome, "it is insufficient to establish a causal relationship." J&J shares were down slightly in pre-market trading.
Report: Biden to warn U.S. companies about risks of operating in Hong Kong
The Biden administration this week plans to warn U.S. companies that operating in Hong Kong is becoming increasingly risky, the Financial Times reports. China has been cracking down on the financial hub and former British colony, and recently imposed a new law that allows Beijing to sanction "anyone that enables foreign penalties to be implemented against Chinese groups and officials," the FT explains. The Chinese government can also access data stored by foreign companies in Hong Kong. The administration will also advise businesses that they face legal risks if their supply chains rely on forced labor by interned Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. "We want to make clear to the business community... that they need to be aware of reputational, economic, and legal risk of their involvement with entities involved in human rights abuses," an unnamed official told the FT.
Stock futures steady ahead of bank earnings data
U.S. stock futures were mostly unchanged before the opening bell Tuesday as investors awaited data on consumer prices and the start of earnings season. The nation's largest banks are set to release data on inflation and earnings Tuesday morning. "Expectations are high," explained The Wall Street Journal, "particularly for the major banks, who are predicted to have benefited from the economic recovery. Investors say they are most interested in what executives say about whether business looks good for the remainder of the year." The three major U.S. indexes were expected to remain near their record levels. Futures for the S&P 500 were steady after hitting their 39th closing level of the year on Monday. Futures for the Dow dropped 0.1 percent and those for the Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent.
Musk says he 'rather hates' being Tesla CEO
Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a Delaware court on Monday that he "rather hates" being the head of Tesla. Musk was in court to defend the company's 2016 purchase of home-solar company SolarCity Corp. Plaintiffs say the move was meant to benefit Musk, who also was the chairman of SolarCity at the time of the purchase. Musk defended the move as being essential to Tesla's sustainable-energy strategy, The Wall Street Journal reports. Opposing counsel must prove Musk controlled the transaction through "force of will." In response to the accusation, the billionaire said he hated running Tesla and "would much prefer to spend my time on design and engineering, which is what intrinsically I like doing."