Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 18, 2016

Oil prices drop after production-freeze talks fail, Yahoo closes bidding on its websites, and more

1

Oil price-freeze talks fail over Iran's absence

Negotiators from 18 major oil-producing nations failed to reach an agreement on freezing production during a Sunday meeting in Qatar. The talks hit a wall after Iran declined to send its oil minister, and regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia said it wouldn't agree to a freeze unless Iran signed on. Iran wants to boost its production back to levels seen before it was hit with now-lifted sanctions. Oil futures fell by 6.8 percent on the news, and analysts warned that the price of a barrel of crude could drop as low as $30 within days on fears that a global glut will continue.

2

Bidding on Yahoo websites wraps up

Yahoo on Monday is closing bidding on its websites, which get nearly 1 billion visitors per month. The potential sale comes after years of attempts by CEO Marissa Mayer to turn around the once high-flying internet pioneer. Yahoo announced in February that it was cutting its workforce by 15 percent, about 1,600 jobs. The end of bidding comes a day before Yahoo releases its first-quarter earnings. The company is expected to report that earnings fell 12 percent year-over-year, to about $1 billion.

3

Morgan Stanley profit falls but beats estimates

Morgan Stanley on Monday reported first-quarter profits that exceeded analysts' expectations. The investment bank's net income fell by 53 percent from a year earlier to 55 cents per share, but 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast 47 cents per share, on average. Despite Chief Executive Officer James Gorman's effort to increase the firm's emphasis on its less-volatile wealth management business, the firm was hurt by the early 2016 market downturn that has hit all of Wall Street.

4

Air France resumes flights to Iran

Air France resumed flights to Iran on Sunday for the first time since 2008 in the latest concrete result from last year's landmark deal to curb Iranian nuclear activities and lift sanctions. French Transport Minister Alain Vidalies and a delegation of business leaders were on the flight from Paris to Tehran. Air France CEO Frederic Gagey said he hoped the flight would "become very popular, very attractive" among tourists.

5

Sport Chalet announces it is closing all of its stores

Sport Chalet is launching going-out-of-business sales at its 47 stores. "We're closing. Thank you for 57 great years," the struggling sporting goods chain told customers via email over the weekend. Most of the chain's stores are in California, with five in Arizona and two in Las Vegas. The company, like other sporting goods chains, has been losing ground against online retailers and discount chains, such as Target, for years. Sports Authority, a much bigger chain, filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

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