Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 10, 2023

Tesla plans to build a high-capacity-battery factory in Shanghai, 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' has a blockbuster opening as families return to theaters, and more

1

Tesla to build high-capacity-battery factory in Shanghai

Tesla plans to build a Shanghai factory that will make its Megapack high-capacity battery for energy storage, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing China's official Xinhua News Agency. The report didn't specify the size of Tesla's investment, but said the project would expand the electric car maker's presence in the world's second-largest economy as U.S.-China relations worsen. Tesla posted a photo of the signing ceremony on Twitter. The company plans to break ground in the third quarter, with production starting in spring 2024, Xinhua reported. Tesla plans to produce 10,000 Megapacks per year at the factory, enough to store 40 gigawatt hours of energy. Each Megapack unit can hold enough energy to power 3,600 homes for one hour.

2

'Super Mario Bros Movie' dominates weekend box office

The Super Mario Bros. Movie led the domestic box office, pulling in $146 million in its opening weekend. The animated movie by Illumination, Nintendo, and Universal has totaled $204.6 million in its first five days of release, surpassing Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($106 million) to score the biggest opening of the year. It is also the second biggest debut ever for an animated film, and the highest grossing debut for Illumination, overtaking 2015's Minions. The Super Mario Bros. Movie made $173 million at the international box office as well, bringing its global total to $377 million, in a sign of recovery from the pandemic for family movies. "This is great news for theaters," said senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

3

PC shipments plunged in 1st quarter, signaling end of 'COVID-driven demand'

Personal computer shipments fell 29 percent globally in the first quarter as demand weakened, market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) said in a report published Sunday. Apple was hit particularly hard, with its shipments plunging 40.5 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Dell saw a 31 percent decline. Total computer shipments came in at 56.9 million in the first three months of 2023, down from 80.2 million in the same period in 2022. The data "represented a coda to the era of COVID-driven demand," IDC said. "The pause in growth and demand is also giving the supply chain some room to make changes as many factories begin to explore production options outside China."

4

Unions launch strike at Rutgers University

Three unions representing about 9,000 Rutgers University faculty and staff plan to strike Monday to demand higher pay, improved job security for adjunct faculty, guaranteed funding for graduate students, and other benefits. Union members plan picket lines at Rutgers' three main campuses in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, New Jersey, in the first such strike in the university's more than 250-year history. "Those closest to our learning and to the university's mission to teaching, research, and service deserve more than to merely be surviving and scraping by," masters student Michelle O'Malley said in a Sunday virtual town hall. The university is considering seeking a court injunction to end the strike. It said most classes would continue, as would patient care at university health facilities.

5

Stock futures steady ahead of earnings season

U.S stock futures were little changed early Monday ahead of the start of earnings season. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 0.1 percent. The major indexes rose on Thursday at the end of a trading week shortened ahead the Good Friday holiday. The Labor Department released the March jobs report on Friday. The economy added 236,000 jobs, roughly meeting the 238,000 figure estimated by economists polled by Dow Jones. The unemployment rate, which had been expected to remain at 3.6 percent, fell to 3.5 percent. The data was consistent with expectations of an economic downturn as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to fight inflation.

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