Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 13, 2017

Oil prices touch a three-month low, Biden urges tech innovators to help with the fight to end cancer, and more

1

Oil prices touch lowest level in three months

Oil prices fell by roughly one percent early Monday, touching their lowest level in three months before regaining some ground. The movement came as U.S. drillers added oil rigs for the eighth straight week. The news of the additional rigs came after crude inventories jumped by 8.2 million barrels last week in the U.S., the world's biggest oil consumer. The swelling inventories have dragged down prices, offsetting the effect of production cuts agreed to by OPEC and other major oil producers aiming to ease a global glut.

2

Biden urges tech innovators to help beat cancer

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday called on technology innovators to work on ending cancer. "Your generation could be the first generation on Earth that goes through life with a completely different understanding of cancer as preventable … instead of a death sentence," Biden told a crowd of 1,000. Biden, whose son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer two years ago, led the Obama administration's Moonshot Cancer initiative, and said that the effort had contributed to advances but faced numerous obstacles to speeding up cancer research. "You're the future," he told the crowd. "We need your help."

3

Trading week starts cautiously ahead of Fed meeting

U.S. stock futures edged down early Monday, with the S&P 500 index falling by 0.1 percent as investors started the week cautiously ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting. Friday's strong February jobs report was seen as paving the way for the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates when the meeting concludes on Wednesday. "Markets fully expect a rate rise, so market reaction is likely to be muted unless the Fed disappoints," Mike Bell, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, wrote in a note. "All attention is likely to be focused on the press conference to see whether a more hawkish tone is struck. If so, yields and the dollar could move higher still."

4

Toshiba Tec stock soars on report of share sale

Toshiba Tec Corp. shares gained six percent early Monday after a Nikkei report that its parent, Toshiba Corp., said it might sell shares in the company. Toshiba Corp. denied the report. Toshiba, seeking ways to handle a looming $6.3 billion writedown in connection with its U.S. nuclear business, is working with an advisory firm to help it find a buyer for Toshiba Tec, which makes cash register systems.

5

Kong beats out Logan to lead weekend box office

Kong: Skull Island took in $61 million at the domestic box office in its debut weekend, beating out previous-week No. 1 Logan. Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.' head of domestic distribution, said the debut "far exceeded everyone's expectations." Warner Bros. and Legendary's Kong, starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, and Samuel L. Jackson, is the second in a "monster universe" series that started with 2014's Godzilla, which grossed $529 million worldwide.

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