The daily business briefing: January 2, 2017
European stocks launch 2017 on a solid note, French workers get the 'right to disconnect' from the office, and more
Eurozone stock index kicks off 2017 with highest level in a year
European stocks rose to their highest level in just over a year on Monday, the first trading day of 2017. Not all markets were open, however. Britain and Switzerland remained closed for the New Year holiday, as did Asia's biggest markets. The U.S. and Canada will be closed, too. In the Eurozone, the blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index gained half a percent, hitting its highest mark since December 2015, after the purchasing managers' index for factories in the bloc came in solidly higher than the level separating economic growth from contraction.
French workers get 'right to disconnect' from the office
France's "right to disconnect" law took effect on Sunday, Jan. 1, giving many employees the right to ignore work emails when they are off duty. Under the law, French companies with more than 50 employees will have to negotiate with their workers and develop clear policies limiting work-related technology use and communication outside the workplace. French officials hope the new measure will help reduce worker burnout. "Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work," Socialist lawmaker Benoit Hamon told the BBC in May. "They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog."
Hearst TV stations blocked from DirecTV over negotiations impasse
Hearst television stations went dark on DirecTV on Sunday after the companies failed to reach a new transmission agreement. The blackout affected 33 stations in 28 markets. Hearst had been warning viewers since Dec. 27 that there could be trouble ahead due to obstacles in the negotiations, saying that DirecTV wants to be able to carry Hearst stations at "below market rates." DirecTV said Hearst was preventing DirecTV customers from receiving its signals because it wants "a significant increase in fees just to allow those same families to watch shows available for free over-the-air."
2 protesters arrested over anti-Dakota Access Pipeline banner
Two anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protesters were arrested Sunday and charged with trespassing and burglary for unfurling a banner from the rafters at the Minnesota Vikings' Minneapolis stadium during a game. The protesters, identified by police as Karl Mayo, 32, and Sen Holiday, 26, dangled beside the banner. The banner had the word "divest," the logo of U.S. Bank, which has the stadium's naming rights, and #NoDAPL printed on it.
Samsung and Hyundai chiefs see rising protectionism as a problem in 2017
Top executives at Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor said Monday that slowing economic growth and rising protectionism around the world would stoke increasing uncertainties for their businesses in the coming year. Samsung Vice Chair Kwon Oh-hyun urged employees to step up quality control in the face of the headwinds, which come as the South Korean technology giant is preparing to announce the findings of its investigation into the overheating problems that resulted in the discontinuation of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Hyundai Motor Chair Chung Mong-koo said that despite the threat of protectionism, Hyundai and its sister Kia Motors expect new model introductions to boost sales by 4.7 percent to 8.25 million vehicles this year. They sold 7.88 million last year, missing their 2016 sales target.