The daily business briefing: June 16, 2023

The European Central Bank raises interest rate to highest level since 2001, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy steps down, and more

(Image credit: Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images)

1. ECB raises interest rate to highest level in more than 20 years

The European Central Bank on Thursday hiked its benchmark interest rate to the highest level since 2001, warning that the fight to bring down high inflation isn't over. "Are we done? Have we finished the journey? No, we are not at destination," Christine Lagarde, the president of the bank, told reporters in Frankfurt. The ECB raised its deposit rate a quarter percentage point to 3.5% after concluding that inflation was on track to remain too high for too long. The move marked the ECB's eighth straight increase, and came after the U.S. Federal Reserve paused its aggressive campaign to raise borrowing costs but signaled two more increases were coming later this year.

The New York Times

2. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy steps down

Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy is stepping down after eight years in the job to take a family medical leave of absence, the entertainment giant said Thursday. Kevin Lansberry, Disney's CFO of Parks, Experiences and Products, will take over on an interim basis in July. McCarthy's "impact on The Walt Disney Company during 23 years of dedicated service cannot be overstated," Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. McCarthy said she would help in the transition and "will always be rooting for the success of my extended Disney family." Disney shares slipped in after-hours trading following news of the change, the biggest shakeup since November, when Disney brought back Iger as CEO after he left the job in 2020.

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3. China cuts interest rates as pandemic rebound weakens

China's central bank cut a key interest rate for the first time since August on Thursday as it tries to stimulate the world's second-largest economy amid its sputtering recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Beijing is planning several major stimulus programs, including billions of dollars in infrastructure projects. China's economy came back strong after it abruptly abandoned draconian "zero Covid" restrictions late last year, but new economic data released this week showed that industrial output and retail sales growth slowed sharply in May. Many economists question whether the stimulus measures will be enough to counter weakening confidence and investment as multinational companies diversify their supply chains after disruptions caused by the pandemic and trade frictions with the West.

Bloomberg The Wall Street Journal

4. Stock futures flat ahead of data on consumer sentiment

U.S. stock futures were little changed early Friday ahead of fresh data on consumer sentiment. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were essentially flat at 6:45 a.m. ET. All three of the main U.S. indexes were on track to finish the week with gains after the Federal Reserve paused its aggressive campaign to raise interest rates to fight high inflation, while warning two more increases were likely this year. The S&P 500 is up nearly 3% this week, on track for its best week since March. The Nasdaq has risen 4% on the way to its eighth straight weekly gain, its longest winning streak since a 10-week run in 2019.


5. Report: DOJ to conduct antitrust review of PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger plan

The Justice Department has notified the PGA Tour it plans an antitrust review of its proposed merger with LIV Golf's Saudi backers, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The golf leagues, which have been locked in a divisive rivalry, said the agreement would stabilize the sport. The Justice Department had already been investigating concerns about anticompetitive practices in professional golf. The review could significantly delay the planned joint venture between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the Journal said. A senior Tour executive told employees this week that the fate of the deal might remain unclear for a year or more.

The Wall Street Journal

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.