The daily business briefing: November 23, 2022
Disney shares surge as Iger returns as CEO, Thanksgiving travel returns to near pre-pandemic levels, and more
Disney shares surge after news Iger is returning as CEO
Walt Disney Co. shares jumped as much as 9.9 percent on Tuesday after the entertainment giant brought back former CEO Bob Iger to replace his successor, Bob Chapek. It was the best day for the stock in nearly two years. The company's shares had fallen 41 percent in 2022 before the announcement, due to a series of disappointing results. Despite Tuesday's surge, the stock is headed for what could be its worst year since the 1970s, unless Iger's return restores confidence enough to spark further gains. Iger, 71, served as Disney's CEO for 15 years, capping four decades with the company. He has agreed to stay for two years while Disney searches for a permanent replacement, the company said.
Thanksgiving travel rush nearly back to pre-pandemic crowds
The Thanksgiving travel rush has returned to 98 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with 54.6 million people planning to spend Thanksgiving at least 50 miles from home, according to AAA. This year, many people will be leaving early and staying late, because they can now spend a few days working remotely. "It's a stressful and expensive time to fly," said Chris Williams, who was traveling with his family from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Atlanta. "But after a couple years of not getting to spend Thanksgiving with our extended family, I'd say we're feeling thankful that the world's gotten to a safe enough place where we can be with loved ones again."
Unrest breaks out at Foxconn iPhone factory in China
Violent protests erupted early Wednesday at Foxconn's flagship iPhone factory in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, according to footage uploaded to social media. Hundreds of workers angry about a plan to delay bonus payments chanted, "Give us our pay!" Protesters smashed surveillance cameras and windows, and clashed with riot police and people in hazmat suits. The rare display of dissent in China marked an escalation of unrest at the huge factory in a city that has seen mounting frustration over China's strict COVID prevention policies. Foxconn said it had fulfilled its payment obligations, and denied reports of infected staff living on campus with new workers. Production was not slowed by the unrest, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Biden administration extends pause on student-loan repayment
The Biden administration on Tuesday said it would extend a pause on federal student loan payments until after June, or whenever its plan to forgive some student debt takes effect. The payments, suspended earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, had been scheduled to resume in January. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the extension was necessary "because it would be deeply unfair to ask borrowers to pay a debt that they wouldn't have to pay, were it not for the baseless lawsuits brought by Republican officials and special interests." Court challenges are preventing the administration from moving forward with President Biden's proposal to drop $10,000 in student debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 annually, with another $10,000 excused for Pell Grant recipients.
Stock futures little changed ahead of Fed minutes, Thanksgiving holiday
U.S. stock futures were little changed early Wednesday ahead of the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes expected to provide clues about next steps in the central bank's aggressive interest-rate hikes to bring down inflation. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were up 0.1 percent at 7 a.m. ET. The Dow rose 1.2 percent on Tuesday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose 1.4 percent. Investors will be focused on the Fed minutes ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday, the unofficial start of the crucial holiday shopping season.