The daily business briefing: September 15, 2016

Bayer agrees to buy Monsanto for $66 billion, Apple shares get a boost, and more

The iPhone 7 on display in California
(Image credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Bayer agrees to buy Monsanto for $66 billion

Bayer AG has agreed to buy Monsanto in a $66 billion, all-cash deal, the companies announced Wednesday. The deal, if approved by regulators, will create a massive one-stop agricultural supply maker, combining Bayer's pesticides and Monsanto's market-dominating seed business. Regulators are expected to consider carefully whether letting the two agricultural giants merge would further hurt competition in a period already marked by consolidation in the agricultural sector. "They are in for a tough time, said David Balto, a former Federal Trade Commission policy director.


2. Apple shares get boost from early iPhone 7 sales

Apple's stock jumped by 4.6 percent on Wednesday, increasing its gains over the last two days to 7 percent and reaching a 2016 high. The movement came as U.S. wireless carriers reported strong early orders for the iPhone, Apple's latest update of its popular smartphone. Rival Samsung's recall of its new Galaxy Note 7 due to potential battery fires also could boost iPhone sales by giving Galaxy users a reason to switch and help Apple turn around recent sales declines.

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3. Ford moving last of its U.S. small-car production to Mexico

Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields said Thursday that the automaker would move the last of its U.S. small-car production to Mexico over the next two or three years. Ford will move production of its Focus and C-Max small cars to a new factory in Mexico that will employ 2,800 workers. Ford already makes its Fiesta subcompact in Mexico, and its high-performance Focus RS in Germany. Ford said the shift would not result in U.S. job losses. After sending Focus production south, Ford will start producing other models in the same Wayne, Mich., plant.

Detroit Free Press CNN

4. Prosecutors investigate Wells Fargo sales practices

Federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into Wells Fargo & Co. sales practices, The Wall Street Journal reports. The bank was hit last week with a record $185 million in fines to settle accusations that its workers opened accounts for customers without their consent to hit sales targets. People familiar with the matter said prosecutors have not yet decided whether a case, if they pursue one, would be civil or criminal. Neither the bank nor the U.S. attorney's offices in New York and Northern California immediately responded to the Journal's requests for comment.

The Wall Street Journal CNBC

5. Stocks wobble ahead of economic data

U.S. stock futures gained slightly early Thursday as investors awaited fresh economic data that could influence the Federal Reserve's decision on when to raise interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 18 points, after edging down Wednesday as crude oil prices dropped. A barrage of pre-market data releases will include August retail sales, which are expected to show a 0.1 percent dip. If those numbers come in on target, it "won't be enough to shift markets expectations on a rate move," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a note.


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