Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 19, 2017

Trump signs his "Buy American, Hire American" order, the Murdoch family's support for Bill O'Reilly erodes, and more

1

Trump orders tightening of visas for highly skilled foreign workers

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday instructing his administration to review and tighten rules on awarding coveted H-1B visas to skilled foreign workers. The order, known in the White House as the "Buy American, Hire American" policy, addresses one of the central promises of Trump's campaign by aiming to "aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job," Trump said at the headquarters of toolmaker Snap-on in Wisconsin. "We're going to do everything in our power to make sure more products are stamped with those wonderful words 'Made in the USA.'" Trump also called for government procurement changes increasing purchases of U.S. products under government contracts.

2

Murdoch support for O'Reilly erodes over sexual harassment accusations

The Murdoch family, which runs Fox News, is "leaning toward announcing that [Bill O'Reilly] will not return to air," New York's Gabriel Sherman reported Tuesday. O'Reilly left the air for what was called a long-planned vacation last week shortly after a New York Times article revealed he and his employer had paid around $13 million to settle sexual harassment and verbal abuse accusations made by five women since 2002. Since the initial reports, dozens of advertisers have withdrawn from O'Reilly's show, The O'Reilly Factor. Fox News co-president Bill Shine reportedly is pressing to keep O'Reilly, the cable network's biggest ratings draw, but 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch and brother Lachlan want the star host gone. Their father, Rupert Murdoch, reportedly leans toward keeping O'Reilly on air.

3

May's call for snap elections lifts the British pound

The British pound remained near six-month highs above $1.28 early Wednesday following Prime Minister Theresa May's unexpected call for snap elections in June to strengthen her party's majority as it pushes its Brexit plan. "The market interpreted the move as an effort to strengthen the prime minister's majority and reinforce a more unified stance for the upcoming negotiations with the EU," Unicredit analysts said in a note on Wednesday. Stocks started the day flat as investors continued to stress over geopolitics, including the looming French presidential elections and high tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

4

United CEO says no firings over passenger's treatment

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said Tuesday that none of the company's employees, himself included, would be fired over the treatment of a passenger, Dr. David Dao, who was dragged bleeding off of plane leaving Chicago to make room for crew members from a partner airline on a fully booked flight. Munoz said he was responsible for "making this right." He has ordered a review of the company's policy on handling overbooked flights, and promised an update this month. United has faced harsh criticism over the incident, and its stock price has plummeted by more than 4 percent, erasing nearly $1 billion in market value. Three aviation security officers have been suspended over the incident.

5

Trump marks tax day saying tax reform effort in 'good shape'

As millions of Americans filed their returns on tax day, President Trump said Tuesday that his push for tax reform was "in very good shape." Trump made no mention of his own tax returns, which he has refused to release in a departure of 40 years of protocol. Trump has cited an ongoing audit as the reason he can't release his taxes, and that his election victory showed that voters don't care about his finances. Democrats, however, said they would oppose any tax reform effort until Trump release his returns. "It's going to make it much harder to pass tax reform with the president not releasing his tax returns because everything he proposes, people will say, I wonder if he's doing it for the public, or for himself," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

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