Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 9, 2021

Senate votes to end debate on bipartisan infrastructure bill, scientists issue dire climate report, and more

1

Senate votes to end debate on bipartisan infrastructure bill

The Senate voted 68-29 on Sunday night to end debate on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, meaning the measure could pass as soon as Monday night. Eighteen Republicans voted with the Democrats to move the legislation along. Under Senate rules, lawmakers opposed to the measure could run the clock for 30 more hours before a final vote, The Hill reports, which could push the expected passage of the bill to Tuesday morning. If it passes, the measure will go on to the House.

2

World's climate scientists issue 'code red for humanity'

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a dire report Monday warning that the world was already locked into more weather-related disasters, higher and more acidic oceans, and other significant changes to the planet due to greenhouse gas emissions humans have put into the atmosphere since the 1850s. In all five scenarios the 234 climate scientists laid out, the world fails the most ambitious climate target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement — keeping the world less than 1.5 degree Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times — though the scientists said the most dire scenario, doing nothing, is less likely than before. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called the report's findings "a code red for humanity" and said we owe it to "the entire human family" to cut emissions fast and sharply to avoid catastrophe.

3

Judge suspends Florida 'vaccine passport' ban for cruise ships

A federal judge in Miami granted Norwegian Cruise Line a preliminary injunction Sunday night, at least temporarily blocking a Florida law that bans private companies from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams wrote in her ruling that Florida "fails to provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate" for its "vaccine passport" ban. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) first issued an executive order banning companies from requiring proof of vaccination, then signed a law passed by the legislature that would fine cruise ships that required vaccination proof up to $5,000 per passenger. Under Williams' ruling, the Norwegian Gem can now set sail from Miami on Aug. 15 with only demonstrably vaccinated passengers and crew.

4

Saudi oil company Aramco sees 'stunning' jump in net income

Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company, reported $25.5 billion in net income for the second quarter of 2021, a 288 percent jump compared to the same period last year. The "stunning" results correspond with higher oil prices as demand resumes and the global economy recovers from the pandemic-induced downturn, CNBC reports. Analysts had been expecting a high number, but the result still surprised many. "While there is still some uncertainty around the challenges posed by COVID-19 variants, we have shown that we can adapt swiftly and effectively to changing market conditions," Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement. The company hinted at possibly increasing its dividend payout level, as many of its competitors have, but did not elaborate. Nasser also said the company would continue to look into "sustainability and low-carbon fuels." 

5

Stock futures wobble after Friday record

Stock futures dipped slightly early Monday as investors weighed America's COVID-19 surge with Friday's strong July jobs report, which pushed the Dow Industrial Average to a record Friday close. Futures for the Dow dropped 0.3 percent before the opening bell Monday, while those for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost 0.15 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. The strong jobs report could push the Federal Reserve to pull its monetary support measures sooner than expected, "which could pressure the market," CNBC says. Investors will be watching key inflation data set to be released later this week. 

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