Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 7, 2021

Ryanair drops possible purchase of Boeing 737 MAX jets, global stocks rise as weak hiring signals slower Fed tapering, and more

1

Ryanair abandons potential Boeing 737 MAX order over pricing

Ryanair said Monday it was scrapping a potential order for Boeing 737 MAX jets, the latest setback for Boeing as it tries to recover market share it lost during the two-year grounding that followed two deadly crashes. Ryanair, a Dublin-based budget carrier that is Boeing's biggest customer outside of the U.S., said the decision came after a dispute over pricing. Ryanair bought 75 737 MAX jets last year in a vote of confidence for the planes, and recently said it had spent 10 months negotiating a possible order for more. Analysts had been following the discussions to gauge how quickly Boeing would be able to get deliveries back on track after the crisis.

2

Stocks rise after weak hiring points to slower Fed tapering

Global stock markets and Wall Street futures gained on Monday after an unexpectedly weak August jobs report on Friday raised investors' hopes that the Federal Reserve might hold off on cutting bond purchases it has been using to boost the economic recovery. "The weaker-than-expected jobs gains drastically reduce the chance of Fed tapering" at the September board meeting, Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report. The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added only 235,000 jobs in August, far below the 720,000 to 730,000 jobs economists had expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq fluctuated early Tuesday. The three main U.S. indexes were flat several hours before the resumption of trading following the three-day Labor Day weekend.

3

Toyota investing $13.5 billion in EV battery improvements

Toyota said on Tuesday it planned to spend more than $13.5 billion by 2030 on developing batteries and strengthening its battery supply system. The announcement came as the Japanese automaker, which led the industry's push into hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles with its popular Prius, works on rolling out its first all-electric vehicles next year. Toyota said it was working to cut the cost of its batteries by 30 percent or more by tweaking its materials and battery-cell structure. "Then, for the vehicle, we aim to improve power consumption, which is an indicator of the amount of electricity used per kilometer, by 30 percent," chief technology officer Masahiko Maeda said.

4

El Salvador becomes 1st country to make bitcoin legal tender

El Salvador on Tuesday became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Residents of the small, impoverished Central American nation now are allowed to use the cryptocurrency to pay for everything from a cup of coffee to a home loan or even taxes. The administration of President Nayib Bukele will spend more than $225 million to help get people started. The plan will include a network of 200 bitcoin ATMs and a $30 credit in bitcoin to anyone who starts using Chivo (slang for "cool"), a government-run e-wallet for purchases in bitcoin or U.S. dollars. Chivo's app got off to a mixed start, not showing up until 2 a.m. on Huawei's app store and facing delays on Apple's and Google's as well. Bitcoin's value was down by 1 percent early Monday at $51,350.

5

California man sentenced to 4 years for printer-toner scam

Seventy-nine-year-old toner salesman Gilbert Michaels has been sentenced to four years in prison for a decades-long, multi-million-dollar scam charging tens of thousands of small businesses and charities inflated prices for printer cartridges. Michaels, of West Los Angeles, was convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, and money laundering in December 2019 after prosecutors accused him of using boiler room telemarketing businesses to get people to pay up to 10 times the retail price for toner. The operation started in the 1970s, and hit more than 50,000 victims across the United States. In one six-year period, Michaels sold $126 million worth of toner in the scheme, prosecutors said. Michaels' attorneys said the charges stemmed from the competitive nature of the toner business and allegations made by biased rivals. 

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