Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 8, 2016

Trump nominates a fossil fuel industry ally to run the EPA and a wrestling entrepreneur to run the SBA, stocks post fresh records as post-election rally charges on, and more

1

Trump taps fossil fuel industry ally to head EPA

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a fossil fuel industry ally, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump's transition team confirmed in a statement Thursday. Pruitt, a Republican, has helped craft his state's legal challenge of President Obama's policies aiming to fight climate change, including regulations pushing power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions scientists blame for warming the planet. Trump said Pruitt was the right choice to transform an agency that has "spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs." Environmentalist groups denounced the choice. The Sierra Club said putting Pruitt in charge of the EPA was like "putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires."

2

Stocks set fresh records as post-election rally continues

U.S. stocks continued their post-election rally on Wednesday, with the main indexes posting some of their biggest one-day gains yet to set fresh records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 298 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 19,550, the latest in a series of records. The blue-chip S&P 500 gained 29 points, or 1.32 percent, to close at 2,241, also a record. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 61 points, or 1.1 percent. Stocks were already going strong before the election, with economic growth and the jobs market strengthening, and investors are betting that President-elect Donald Trump will accelerate growth. Overseas stocks edged higher Thursday but S&P 500 futures teetered between gains and losses before the opening bell.

3

Trump vows to reduce prescription drug prices

President-elect Donald Trump vowed to "bring down drug prices" in an interview for Time magazine's cover story naming him its Person of the Year, published Wednesday. "I don't like what has happened with drug prices," he said. Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, did not say what he would do to reduce prescription drug prices, although he previously has suggested he might favor allowing cheaper medicines to be imported from overseas. Trump's comments, which triggered a brief drop in the share prices of pharmaceutical companies, marked the latest in a series of indications that he plans to play an interventionist role in the business world as president.

4

Trump tweets insults at Carrier union leader after criticism

A war of words erupted Wednesday over President-elect Donald Trump's push to stop air-conditioning manufacturer Carrier from moving jobs from Indiana to Mexico. After Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, accused Trump of lying about how many U.S. jobs were being saved in the deal Trump helped broker with Carrier, Trump slammed Jones via Twitter, saying the union leader "has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!" In a follow-up tweet, Trump attacked the union, saying: "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana." Trump "needs to worry about getting his Cabinet filled," Jones said, "and leave me the hell alone."

5

Trump taps wrestling entrepreneur McMahon to run Small Business Administration

President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday chose Linda McMahon, co-founder and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, to head the Small Business Administration, citing her "tremendous background." Trump called McMahon "one of the country's top female executives," praising her for helping the WWE grow from a 13-person operation to a company with more than 800 employees worldwide. Trump said in announcing the pick that McMahon, who made unsuccessful runs for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut in 2010 and 2012, would play a key role in his efforts to create jobs and cut business regulations. In another key appointment, Trump nominated Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) to be the U.S. ambassador to China.

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