Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 18, 2017

Theresa May calls snap elections seeking mandate on Brexit plan, Netflix predicts strong second quarter subscriber growth, and more

1

Theresa May calls for surprise election, seeking Brexit mandate

British Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly announced Tuesday that she would call an early election for June 8 in a clear bid to win a strong mandate as her government negotiates the terms of its departure from the European Union. May took power last July after former Prime Minister David Cameron, who preceded her as Conservative Party leader, resigned after voters rejected his call to remain in the 28-nation trading bloc. May, who previously had ruled out holding snap elections, formally initiated the two-year Brexit process last month. "I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I have to make," May said.

2

Netflix predicts strong subscriber growth in the coming quarter

Netflix shares dropped by 3 percent in after-hours trading before bouncing back and gaining more than 1 percent after the company reported that it added slightly fewer subscribers than it had forecast in the first quarter but expected big gains in the second quarter. Netflix subscriber rolls, the most closely watched growth indicator, rose by just under 5 million worldwide in the first three months of 2017, falling short of the 5.18 million analysts predicted, but the company said it expected to add 3.2 million more in the second quarter, while analysts had estimated just 2.4 million. The pre-market stock gains put Netflix to open Tuesday at a record high.

3

Boeing announces more engineer layoffs

Boeing plans to lay off hundreds of engineers as its aircraft sales slow, the company said Monday. Boeing announced that it was laying off another 1,800 mechanics and engineers earlier in 2017. Despite the earlier staff reductions through cuts and attrition, "we need to reduce our employment level further," John Hamilton, vice president of engineering at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, wrote in a Monday memo to company engineers. Hamilton also said that more layoffs later in the year will be determined "by the business environment and the amount of voluntary attrition."

4

New York officials consider proposal that could let Uber drivers get tips

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission announced Monday that it was considering requiring all car services that accept credit cards to offer passengers the option of leaving a tip. The change would mark a big victory for Uber drivers, because the ride-hailing app currently does not give customers that option. The decision came after the Independent Drivers Guild, which represents Uber drivers in New York, submitted a petition to the commission requesting the change. Meera Joshi, the city's taxi commissioner, said the proposal was "just one piece of a more comprehensive effort to improve the economic well-being of drivers." An Uber spokeswoman said the company "is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers," and will take a look at the proposal.

5

Business lobby calls for U.S. to use every means to level playing field in China

A U.S. business lobby, the American Chamber of Commerce in China, called on the Trump administration to "use every arrow" it has to help level the commercial playing field in China. The organization warned Tuesday in its annual business climate report that 2017 could be the toughest year in decades for U.S. firms in China, where government policies favor domestic companies against foreign rivals. The White House has said it is working on ironing out details on a 100-day plan President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, discussed to cut the U.S. trade deficit with China. It reached $347 billion last year.

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