Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 9, 2016

Trump picks a fast-food executive as labor secretary, five U.S. indexes post rare same-day records, and more

1

Trump chooses anti-regulation Labor Department secretary

President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that he would nominate fast-food executive Andrew Puzder to be the next Labor Department secretary. Puzder, CEO of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. parent CKE Restaurants, is a vocal critic of the protest movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a change he says would kill jobs. He also has been an outspoken business advocate and critic of government regulations. He has criticized everything from the Affordable Care Act to the recently delayed Labor Department rule making millions more workers eligible for overtime pay. His nomination was interpreted as a signal that Trump's Labor Department would undo Obama administration initiatives.

2

5 U.S. indexes set records on same day for first time in 2 decades

For the first time in nearly 20 years, five benchmark U.S. stock indexes on Thursday all closed at record highs on the same day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, the Nasdaq Composite, the Russell 2000, and the Dow Jones Transportation Average all hit fresh records as the post-election rally continued. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up by 0.3 percent to 19,615, its 13th record since the Nov. 8 election. The Dow industrials and S&P 500 appeared set to extend their gains early Friday, with futures edging higher before the opening bell.

3

Iran races to seal oil contracts with Western companies

Iran is rushing to strike oil deals with Western energy companies before President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, in case the incoming president renews Tehran's isolation, The New York Times reported Thursday. Iran recently began trying to get its oil production back to levels seen before recently lifted Western economic sanctions over its nuclear program devastated the country's oil industry, and its economy in general. The sanctions cut Iran's oil exports in half, but they were lifted nearly a year ago under an agreement to rein in Iran's nuclear program.

4

Oil prices steady before weekend meeting on production cuts

Oil prices remained firm on Friday ahead of a weekend meeting on output cuts between leaders of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers. OPEC has agreed to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017, and it is trying to get other major producers, such as Russia, to make similar cuts to help reduce a global glut that has dragged down prices. Hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand says a combined cut could push oil prices from around $50 a barrel to the $70 range, but other experts say the production cuts won't be enough to end the glut.

5

Trump to remain an executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice

President-elect Donald Trump will remain an executive producer of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice after taking office in January. The reality TV series, which Trump hosted and helped develop, ends a two-year hiatus and returns for a 15th season starting Jan. 2, with movie star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as host. Trump, whose last show as host aired in early 2015, likely will receive a fee in the low five figures per episode, although his exact share of the income has not been revealed, Variety reported. "Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show," Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said.

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