Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 7, 2022

Juul agrees to pay $438.5 to settle youth vaping investigation, Liz Truss vows a "hands on" effort to confront U.K. energy crisis, and more

1

Juul agrees to $438.5 million settlement in youth vaping investigation

Juul Labs agreed Tuesday to pay $438.5 million to settle an investigation by 34 states over the company's marketing of its high-nicotine e-cigarettes, which have been blamed for fueling a surge in teen vaping. In addition to the monetary penalty, the settlement calls for Juul to severely limit its marketing and sales practices. The agreement, announced by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong on behalf of the states and Puerto Rico, resolves one of the biggest legal threats Juul has faced, although it is still targeted in nine separate lawsuits brought by other states, as well as hundreds of personal suits filed on behalf of teenagers who say they became addicted using Juul's products.

2

Liz Truss promises 'hands on' approach to U.K. energy crisis

Britain's new prime minister, Liz Truss, vowed Tuesday to "deal hands-on with the energy crisis forged" by Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and said "together we can ride out of the storm" of the economic problems hitting the United Kingdom. Immediately after replacing former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Truss appointed a team of senior Cabinet members diverse in gender and ethnicity but united in commitment to Truss' free-market policies. In a speech outside her new official home on Downing Street, Truss promised to cut taxes to encourage economic growth as the country contends with high inflation. She is expected to unveil her plans to deal with the country's energy crisis on Thursday.

3

Bed Bath & Beyond names interim CFO

Bed Bath & Beyond on Tuesday named Chief Accounting Officer Laura Crossen as its interim chief financial officer, replacing Gustavo Arnal, who died last week in a fall from his high-rise Manhattan apartment building. The New York City medical examiner's office ruled the 52-year-old Arnal's death a suicide. He died days after Bed Bath & Beyond announced it will close 150 stores and cut its workforce by 20 percent in an effort to get its finances in order as it struggles with weak sales. The company also said it might sell stock and had lined up $500 million in outside financing. Arnal's death further complicated the home-goods retailer's turnaround plan.

4

Biden administration releases details on $50 billion semiconductor fund

The Commerce Department on Tuesday unveiled its $50 billion plan to boost domestic semiconductor production to counter China. About $28 billion of the CHIPS for America Fund will be used for grants and loans for building U.S. facilities to make advanced chips to reduce dependence on a foreign supply chain. The Biden administration has framed the effort as crucial for national security. Another $10 billion will go toward expanding production of older generations of chips used in cars and communication equipment. About $11 billion will be dedicated to other research and development projects. Congress approved the fund in July. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told The New York Times the fund is "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," so "we have to get it right."

5

Stock futures rise slightly after Tuesday's losses

U.S. stock futures edged higher early Wednesday after losing ground on Tuesday at the start of a holiday-shortened trading week. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up about 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.2 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 fell 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, on Tuesday, adding to three weeks of declines. The tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.7 percent, capping its first seven-day losing streak in six years. The losses came as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to its highest level since June, and the 30-year Treasury reached its highest level since 2014.

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