Business briefing

The daily business briefing: October 7, 2021

Facebook reportedly delays new products pending reviews, Republicans propose a short-term debt limit fix, and more

1

Report: Facebook delays new products pending reviews

Facebook is delaying the rollout of new products pending a review following a whistleblower's allegation that the company knew content on its platforms could be harmful to users, particularly teens, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. More than a dozen people are conducting "reputational reviews" on new and existing Facebook products, partly to ensure that they don't harm children, the Journal reported. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on the social network that he asked executives to review the products over the next few days. "It's very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids," Zuckerberg wrote. The company last week held off on launching Instagram Kids over mental-health concerns.

2

McConnell says Republicans will allow vote on short-term debt

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans would go along with raising the debt limit to cover federal spending into December. The proposal marked an acknowledgement of the threat of a catastrophic and historic debt default in mid-October. McConnell has said Republicans would not help Democrats lift the cap, calling for them to do it on their own, without GOP votes, using the complicated process known as budget reconciliation. McConnell said his short-term solution would give Democrats more time to get that done and "moot Democrats' excuses about the time crunch they created." Senate Democrats declared victory and said a vote would be held soon. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there was no need for a complicated process when a vote on a straightforward increase would "get this done today."

3

GM aims to double revenue by 2030 as it ups EV investment 

General Motors said Wednesday that it aimed to boost annual revenues to $280 billion from the $122.5 billion it reported in 2020, as it pushes to become a leading seller of electric vehicles while increasing profit margins for its internal combustion engine vehicles. The automaker outlined the goals at the start of a two-day investor event. The automaker in November announced it would increase its spending to develop electric vehicles and automated technology by 35 percent to $27 billion. It increased that number again in July to $35 billion. The company has been using the money to develop Ultium, the underlying EV architecture and accompanying batteries for its next-generation EVs, including the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado, and Chevrolet and Buick crossovers.

4

Stock futures rise on hopes of debt limit deal

U.S. stock index futures rose early Thursday after Republicans said they would allow a vote on a short-term debt limit extension, easing fears of a catastrophic and historic government default. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 0.4 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. Concerns about the stalemate over raising the borrowing limit have weighed on markets for days, as have rising energy prices and bond yields. "Right now, there are loads of fears out there. It just takes a couple of positive developments and suddenly that picture changes. Last night, we had positive news on the debt ceiling," said Lewis Grant, an equities portfolio manager at Federated Hermes.

5

India's Reliance Ventures to open 7-Eleven stores in India 

India's Reliance Ventures said Thursday it had reached a franchise agreement with 7-Eleven to open convenience stores in the world's second most populous nation. The news came after Indian rival Future Retail earlier this week ended its 2-year-old agreement with 7-Eleven to develop the franchise. Reliance Ventures is expected to launch its first store in financial hub Mumbai within days. The stores will compete with local chains, including Twenty Four Seven and In & Out, and mom-and-pop stores. "India is the second largest country in the world and has one of the fastest-growing economies," 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto said. "It's an ideal time for the largest convenience retailer in the world to make our entry into India."

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