Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 1, 2022

The first shipment of Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa under deal with Russia, Banana Boat recalls a sunscreen spray after carcinogen found in samples, and more

1

1st ship containing Ukrainian grain leaves port under deal

The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the Odesa port on Monday under a deal seeking to get a backlog of crops out of the country to ease a growing global hunger crisis. The ship was headed to Lebanon with more than 26,000 tons of corn, according to Turkey, which brokered the deal along with the United Nations. Ukraine's minister of infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, tweeted that the ship was the first to leave Odesa since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. More than 20 million tons of grain from last year's harvest have been stuck due to a Russian blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports, contributing to a global food shortage.

2

Banana Boat sunscreen spray recalled after benzene traces found in samples

Edgewell Personal Care on Sunday recalled one of its Banana Boat sunscreen sprays after an internal sample review found trace levels of benzene, a carcinogen. The company announced Friday that tests showed that the product, Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30, had small amounts of the chemical. Edgewater responded by pulling several batches of the sunscreen off the market. The company said benzene isn't an ingredient in any of its products. The review found that the chemical came from the propellant used to spray sunscreen out of the can. Edgewater said it hadn't received any reports of problems blamed on the chemical, which could potentially cause blood disorders, or cancers, including leukemia.

3

Lufthansa pilots' union set for possible strike

Lufthansa pilots have voted in favor of a possible strike at the German airline, the Vereinigung Cockpit union announced Sunday. The union said there was still time to avoid a walkout but that the vote should send an "unmistakable signal" that the company needs to "take the cockpit staff's needs seriously." The pilots' union is demanding a 5.5 percent pay increase for this year, and an automatic adjustment to keep up with inflation next year. A separate dispute between Lufthansa and a union representing the airline's ground staff led to a one-day strike on Wednesday that forced the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights.

4

Stock futures fall slightly after best month since 2020

U.S. stock futures edged lower early Monday, the first day of trading after the market's best month since 2020. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were down 0.2 percent. All three of the main U.S. indexes made strong gains on Friday to cap the month with another winning week. The Dow finished July up 6.7 percent. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose 9.1 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively, last month. "We are seeing a relief rally in the stock market, as pessimism reached extreme levels, and as longer-term interest rates have been coming back down," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

5

Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster antitrust trial to start

The trial starts Monday in the Justice Department's lawsuit seeking to block Penguin Random House's proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of rival Simon & Schuster. The Justice Department argues that the merger would reduce competition. Penguin Random House, owned by German media giant Bertelsmann, is the biggest U.S. book publisher, and Simon & Schuster is No. 4. The Justice Department says the deal would give Penguin Random House too much influence over what books will be published, probably reducing what authors are paid and giving customers fewer titles to read. The case will be a key test of the Biden administration's antitrust policy. The Justice Department plans to call author Stephen King, whose books are published by Simon & Schuster, as a witness.

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