Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 14, 2017

Intel enters the autonomous vehicle technology rush, the CBO says the GOP health plan leaves 24 million more uninsured, and more

1

Intel joins driverless-car rush with deal to buy Mobileye

Intel Corp. on Monday agreed to buy Mobileye, an Israeli company that makes sensors and cameras for driverless vehicles, for $15.3 billion. The deal puts the computer-chip maker into direct competition with tech industry rivals Nvidia and Qualcomm in the race to develop autopilot systems for car manufacturers. Goldman Sachs last year projected the market for autonomous vehicle systems to grow from $3 billion in 2015 to $290 billion in 2035. Intel's entry into the fast-growing market comes as it tries to diversify beyond its core semiconductor business.

2

CBO: GOP health plan would leave 24 million more uninsured

The House Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 24 million over 10 years, according to a review released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday. The bill, however, would save the government $337 billion over the same period. The savings for the government pleased conservatives, but the expected swelling of the ranks of the uninsured cast fresh doubts on President Trump's promise that the GOP plan would provide "insurance for everybody." The CBO said that 14 million people would lose coverage in the first year. Premiums would be 15 to 20 percent higher than under the Affordable Care Act next year, but 10 percent lower after 2026. The White House's internal review projected even steeper losses, with 26 million fewer covered.

3

Kushner family strikes unusually favorable deal with Chinese company

A company owned by the family of President Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, is set to receive more than $400 million from Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese firm that is investing in the Kushners' office tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Jared Kushner previously sold his ownership of the building to his family. Some real estate experts told Bloomberg the $4 billion deal was unusually favorable for the Kushner family, and the arrangement raised concerns of conflicts of interest due to Anbang's ties to the Chinese government. A Kushner spokesperson said: "Kushner Companies has taken significant steps to avoid potential conflicts and will continue to do so."

4

Stocks edge down as Fed starts meeting

U.S. stock futures fell early Tuesday as Federal Reserve policy makers headed into a two-day meeting that investors expect to conclude with a quarter-point interest rate hike. The S&P 500 was down by 0.1 percent early Tuesday, after closing Monday nearly unchanged. The unexpectedly strong February jobs report, released on Friday, raised the odds of a hike to a near certainty, coming after several Fed leaders said a March increase would be justified if employment and inflation data remained strong going into the meeting. If the Fed follows through as expected, it will be the U.S. central bank's third rate increase in 15 months.

5

U.K. Parliament clears government to start Brexit process

The U.K.'s Parliament on Monday gave the government of Prime Minister Theresa May authority to start formal negotiations on the country's departure from the European Union, with no further input from lawmakers. Voters approved the move in a 2016 referendum. David Davis, the Cabinet minister responsible for negotiating Brexit, said lawmakers agreed "to get on with the job of leaving the EU and negotiating a positive new partnership with its remaining member states. ... We are now on the threshold of the most important negotiation for our country in a generation." The unelected House of Lords had passed two amendments calling for guarantees that EU residents in the U.K. could remain, and giving Parliament the right to approve the final Brexit deal. The elected House of Commons rejected the amendments, and Parliament cleared the government to proceed. May says she wants to start the process by March 31.

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