Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 29, 2022

Hurricane Ian damage stresses an already "unstable" Florida insurance market, Porsche shares rise in blockbuster IPO, and more

1

Hurricane Ian devastation to make Florida insurance market 'even more unstable'

Hurricane Ian's catastrophic crash through Florida on Wednesday and Thursday is adding tremendous pressure to an already stressed property insurance market. Ian hit Florida's southwest coast with dangerous storm surge, torrential rains, and 150 mile-per-hour winds that put it tied as the most powerful storm on record on Florida's Gulf coast. Florida's private insurance market has lost more than $1 billion in each of the last two years, and insurers have dropped or declined to renew coverage for hundreds of thousands of Floridians. The market "will most likely become even more unstable in the wake of the storm," said Mark Friedlander, communications director at the Insurance Information Institute.

2

Porsche shares rise after VW prices IPO at top of range

Volkswagen on Wednesday priced its initial public offering of Porsche shares at the top end of the targeted $74.50 to $80.34 range. The shares rose nearly 2 percent early Thursday as they made their trading debut on the Frankfurt exchange. The pricing values Porsche at nearly $73 billion, making the IPO one of Europe's largest to date. It also makes Porsche one of the world's five biggest automakers by market value, behind its German parent VW but ahead of German rival Mercedes-Benz, which is valued at more than $56 billion. Tesla, at more than $886 billion, is No. 1, followed by Japan's Toyota. VW created 911 million Porsche shares, a nod to the luxury sportscar maker's iconic sports car model. VW is selling 25 percent of Porsche shares, about 12.5 percent of the company, to raise up to $9.2 billion.

3

E.U. proposes more Russia sanctions 

The European Union proposed new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday. The measures are meant to punish Moscow for "sham" annexation referendums in four occupied Ukrainian regions, Russian President Vladimir Putin's mobilization of 300,000 military reservists, and the Kremlin's threat to use nuclear arms in Ukraine. Russia's actions "escalated the invasion of Ukraine to a whole new level," top E.U. official Ursula von der Leyen said, and the bloc is "determined to make the Kremlin pay." The latest sanctions include an oil price cap, trade restrictions, and the blacklisting of several people behind the referendums. For the measures to take effect, all E.U. nations must sign on, and Hungary's approval is not assured.

4

Stock futures fall after Wednesday's rebound

U.S. stock futures fell early Thursday morning after Wednesday's rebound from days of losses. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 0.7 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 1.3 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 gained 1.9 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively, on Wednesday, snapping six-day losing streaks on continuing concerns about high inflation and rising interest rates. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 2.1 percent. The rally came as the Bank of England said it would purchase bonds "on whatever scale is necessary" to bolster the country's struggling financial markets and currency, after the British pound touched record lows against the dollar earlier in the week.

5

MacKenzie Scott files for divorce from 2nd husband, Dan Jewett

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has filed for divorce from her second husband, Seattle science teacher Dan Jewett, who worked at her children's school. Scott filed the divorce petition in King County Superior Court in Washington State on Monday, The New York Times reported. Jewett did not contest it. Any division of property was set in a separation contract the couple agreed to previously. Scott married Jewett last year after her 2019 divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Since then, she has given nonprofits more than $12 billion as part of a plan to donate most of her fortune, once estimated as high as $62 billion, according to Bloomberg estimates, but now down to $27.8 billion due to the donations and stock market declines.

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