The daily business briefing: August 2, 2021
Senators release $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, Square agrees to acquire Afterpay in $29 billion deal, and more
Senators release $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday unveiled the finalized $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill after weeks of negotiations. Schumer said he would immediately take steps to start debate on the proposal to upgrade the country's roads, bridges, pipes, ports, and internet connections. Schumer said that, given "how bipartisan the bill is," the Senate should be able to "quickly process relevant amendments and pass this bill in a matter of days." Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a lead negotiator along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), said the bill "takes our aging and outdated infrastructure in this country and modernizes it, and that's good for everybody." Schumer reiterated his plan to also pass a roughly $3.5 trillion budget resolution sought by Democrats before the August recess.
Square to acquire Afterpay in $29 billion deal
Square said Sunday it had agreed to acquire Australia's Afterpay in a $29 billion, all-stock deal. Square said it would integrate Afterpay, an installment-payment company aiming to be a cheaper alternative to a credit card, into its Seller and Cash App units. The arrangement would let more retailers offer buy now, pay later services at checkout. Afterpay's technology lets customers get their goods right away but pay in four interest-free installments. Customers pay a fee if they miss an automated payment, and their accounts then remain locked until the balance is fully paid, a policy that Afterpay says limits bad debts.
Democratic leaders urge White House to renew eviction ban
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders on Sunday called on the White House to renew and extend the eviction moratorium that expired at midnight Saturday. "Action is needed, and it must come from the administration," the senior Democrats said. The White House last week called on Congress to extend the ban, saying the Supreme Court indicated in June that only Congress could do so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented the ban in September to keep people from losing their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic leaders also asked the Treasury Department how local jurisdictions could step up distribution of $46.5 billion in rental assistance Congress has approved since December. So far, only 6.5 percent of the money has been disbursed.
Stock futures rise ahead of 1st day of August trading
U.S. stock futures rose early Monday ahead of the first day of trading in August. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq all were up by about 0.5 percent several hours before the opening bell. All three of the main U.S. indexes made their sixth straight month of gains in July despite volatility triggered by concerns that a coronavirus surge driven by the virulent Delta variant could disrupt the economic recovery. The S&P 500 finished the month up by 2.3 percent, while the Dow and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. Earnings season continues this week with reports by Lyft, Amgen, Uber, CVS Health, General Motors, Roku, and Square.
Jungle Cruise leads the weekend box office
Disney's Jungle Cruise led the weekend box office with $34.2 million in its opening weekend. The film, which stars Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, also made $30 million through Disney+ Premier Access, which offered subscribers the option of streaming the action movie for $30. A Disney spokesperson said the company was trying to offer "consumer choice during these unprecedented times" by letting moviegoers watch the new release in theaters or, if they want to avoid the risk of coronavirus infection, in their own living rooms. Jungle Cruise, inspired by a popular ride at Disney theme parks, also brought in about $30 million overseas for a global total of $90 million, significantly less than Black Widow's debut but more than Cruella's.