Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 6, 2017

Tech giants file brief opposing Trump's immigration order, Toyota and Suzuki start work on partnership details, and more

1

Tech giants file opposition brief against Trump immigration order

Ninety-seven companies, including tech giants Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter, filed an amicus brief on Sunday opposing President Trump's executive order on immigration, saying it was discriminatory and hurt businesses. "Immigrants make many of the nation's greatest discoveries, and create some of the country's most innovative and iconic companies," the companies said in the brief, which was filed in a case brought by Minnesota and Washington state. A federal judge in Seattle blocked the ban, and the Trump administration has filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump has responded with angry tweets, first saying that the "so-called judge" would be overturned, then saying that he had left the country vulnerable to a terror strike. "If something happens blame him and court system," Trump tweeted.

2

Toyota and Suzuki start hammering out partnership agreement

Toyota and Suzuki Motor corporations said in a joint statement on Monday that they had agreed to work toward a partnership in parts, procurement, and research and development. The two Japanese automakers first said in October that they were exploring ways they could work together. One immediate benefit of such an arrangement for Toyota, the world's No. 2 automaker, would be potential access to India's growing market through Suzuki's majority stake in Maruti Suzuki India, which sells half of the cars in the Indian market.

3

Tiffany CEO leaves after luxury retailer posts weak holiday sales

Tiffany CEO Frederic Cumenal is stepping down as the luxury jewelry chain tries to restore profits after a string of disappointments, most recently a weaker than expected holiday season, the company announced on Sunday. Board Chairman Michael Kowalski, Cumenal's predecessor, will return to the job he left when Cumenal took over in 2014. "The board is committed to our current core business strategies, but has been disappointed by recent financial results," Kowalski said. The company said last month that its holiday problems were magnified by "post-election traffic disruptions" around its New York City headquarters, which abuts Trump Tower, President Trump's Manhattan home and headquarters.

4

German factory orders rise sharply

Germany reported Monday that factory orders shot up by 5.2 percent in December, the biggest surge since 2014. The numbers far exceeded economists' expectations, which averaged 0.7 percent in a Bloomberg survey. The performance marked a rebound after a 3.6 percent decline in November. The rise came thanks to a 6.7 percent boost in domestic orders, and a 10 percent increase in orders from around the euro zone. ING economist Carsten Brzeski cautioned that factory orders were highly volatile. "Still," he said, "against the background of Brexit and Trump, today's data suggest that the German industry could shift into a higher gear in the first quarter of 2017."

5

Super Bowl ads vary, from whimsical to political

This year's Super Bowl commercials ranged from the silly to the political on Sunday. Coca-Cola's ad was one of several that was interpreted as a statement on the tensions that have risen since President Trump took office in January. Coke revived a 2014 ad featuring a multilingual version of "America the Beautiful" that took on new meaning as the nation debates Trump's immigration order. "People are saying, 'Is this trolling Trump?'" said Rob Schwartz, chief executive of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. "I don't think it's trolling. It's a big smack in the face of 'dude, this is America.'" Audi, Budweiser, and 84 Lumber also aired ads supporting diversity, although a version of 84 Lumber's commercial depicting Trump's proposed border wall was only available online.

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