The daily business briefing: April 10, 2017

Stocks struggle ahead of G-7 meeting, Fox announces investigation into claims against Bill O'Reilly, and more

Bill O'Reilly at FOX Studios
(Image credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

1. Stocks struggle as tensions rise in the Middle East

Global stocks opened the week mixed on Monday as suicide bombings at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt added to tensions in the Middle East. European shares bounced between slight gains and losses as investors expressed caution, waiting for developments from a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations being held in Lucca, Italy. The gathering was expected to focus on the aftermath of U.S. airstrikes against a Syrian air base that allegedly launched a deadly chemical weapon attack on a rebel-held area. "Given Russia's response on Friday that the missile strikes on the Syrian air base could have extremely serious consequences, investors will keep an open eye the week ahead on how the situation evolves," FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed said in a note.

The Associated Press MarketWatch

2. 21st Century Fox investigates sexual harassment claim against Bill O'Reilly

Fox News' parent company 21st Century Fox announced Sunday that it will have a law firm investigate the sexual harassment claims against Bill O'Reilly, host of The O'Reilly Factor. "This is not blowing over," said civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents Wendy Walsh, a former contributor to O'Reilly's show, who triggered the investigation by calling 21st Century Fox's anonymous hotline last week to say that O'Reilly had promised to get her a job at the news channel but backed out after she rejected his romantic advances. She earlier gave the same account to The New York Times, which reported a week ago that O'Reilly and his employer had paid $13 million to five women who accused him of sexual harassment and other abuse. O'Reilly has denied the claims, saying accusers "target" him due to his fame. Sixty advertisers have dropped the show since the Times report.

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Variety The New York Times

3. Delta tries to get back to normal after 5 days of cancellations, delays

Delta Airlines struggled with flight delays and cancellations for a fifth straight day on Sunday. The nation's second-largest carrier has canceled 3,500 flights since Wednesday, when a massive storm hit Atlanta, where it is based. A Delta spokesman declined to comment on Sunday, but aviation experts and Delta flight crews said that the problems were magnified by Delta's failure to quickly realize the severity of the storm and react, plus its reliance on the mega-hub it operates in Atlanta. The airline said it expected a "relatively normal" schedule on Monday after it canceled just 150 flights on Sunday, down from more than 1,200 over the two preceding days combined.

Bloomberg CNN

4. Barclays disciplines CEO for trying to unmask whistleblower

British regulators are investigating Barclays CEO Jes Staley and his bank for allegedly trying to unmask a whistleblower, the bank said Monday. Barclays said it formally reprimanded Staley for trying to identify the person who wrote a letter raising concerns about a senior executive in what the bank was treating as a whistleblower case. The bank had a law firm investigate and found that Staley "honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter." Staley said he had apologized to the Barclays board and "accepted its conclusion that my personal actions in this matter were errors on my part."

Reuters The Associated Press

5. Toyota to invest $1.3 billion in Kentucky plant; Trump claims credit

Toyota on Monday announced plans to invest more than $1.3 billion to upgrade an auto assembly plant in Kentucky. The Japanese automaker had the spending in the works for years in a bid to increase cost efficiency, but following President Trump's threat to impose a sharp border tax on companies that produce cars in Mexico to sell in the U.S., Toyota highlighted the spending and the previously announced creation of 700 U.S. jobs. Trump claimed credit, saying Toyota's move "is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration." A Toyota spokesman, Scott Vazin, said Trump's policies did not play a role in the company's decision, but Toyota shares "his goal of growing the economy and jobs in the U.S."

Bloomberg The New York Times

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.