Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 6, 2022

Foxconn says China iPhone factory COVID outbreak hurt November revenue, Textron's Bell wins contract to build Army's next-generation helicopter, and more

1

Foxconn says COVID troubles at China iPhone plant dragged down November revenue

Foxconn Technology Group said Monday that its November revenue fell 11 percent compared to a year earlier due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions and worker unrest at its Zhengzhou, China, factory, the world's biggest iPhone assembly facility. Foxconn has been working to contain a COVID outbreak at the China plant, which employs more than 200,000 people, since October. Foxconn has kept the facility operating by keeping workers on-site to limit contact with the outside. Thousands of employees have fled the site in recent weeks, many saying they were afraid they would catch COVID. Apple reported in early November that the disruptions were causing a decline in shipments of its high-end iPhone models.

2

Textron's Bell wins Army contract to build next-generation helicopter

The U.S. Army on Monday said it had chosen Textron Inc's Bell unit to build its next-generation helicopter, ending years of competition for the contract to replace 2,000 UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters built by Sikorsky since the 1970s, and 1,200 Apache attack helicopters. The Army was seeking an aircraft that could carry a dozen soldiers 400 nautical miles. The initial award was for $232 million, but the first batch of helicopters will be worth $7.1 billion. The contract for an undetermined number of Bell's V-280 "Valor" aircraft could eventually bring the company $70 billion in the coming decades, depending on how many the U.S. and its allies buy.

3

SCOTUS hears arguments on web designer's refusal of gay-wedding jobs

The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case involving a Christian website designer's claim she has a free-speech right to refuse service to same-sex couples preparing to get married. The court's conservative justices' questions suggested they were inclined to side with the Colorado web designer, Lorie Smith, who says she won't work for same-sex couples because gay marriage goes against her Christian faith. "She is willing to sell to everyone, but she won't do a website that celebrates something that offends her religious beliefs," said Justice Neil Gorsuch, a member of the 6-3 conservative super-majority. The court's three liberal justices argued against blanket exemptions for such a refusal to work for same-sex couples.

4

Hertz agrees to pay $168 million to settle false theft claims

Rental car giant Hertz Global Holdings announced Monday it had agreed to pay $168 million to settle claims that it falsely reported its customers for theft after they legally rented. In a statement, Hertz said it would settle 364 claims, resolving "more than 95 percent" of the disputes. CBS News first reported in February that the rental car company was facing hundreds of lawsuits from customers who claimed to have been falsely arrested for auto theft after Hertz reported they stole their rental car. Some customers said they were arrested and prosecuted for stealing cars because Hertz was unable to find its own vehicles after the renters returned them. Others blamed the mistaken theft reports on confusion about payments, rental extensions, or returns.

5

Stock futures flat after Monday's losses

U.S. stock futures were little changed early Tuesday after Monday's selloff. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were nearly flat at 6:45 a.m. ET. The Nasdaq was up 0.2 percent. On Monday, the Dow and the S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, as concerns mounted that the Federal Reserve would have to continue raising interest rates longer than previously expected to bring down high inflation. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.9 percent. Better-than-expected November ISM Services data, an indicator of the economy's health that looks at the purchasing level of manufacturers, and last week's surprisingly strong jobs report, fueled the anxiety about rate hikes.

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