Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 24, 2017

French election's first round lifts stocks, flight attendants' association defends suspended American Airlines worker, and more

1

French vote lifts stocks

U.S. stock index futures jumped by 1.2 percent early Monday and European stocks soared as investors expressed relief that centrist Emmanuel Macron had come out on top in the first round of France's presidential election. Macron is considered the favorite to win the second round on May 7, in which he will face off against second-place vote-getter Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front who has called for clamping down on immigration and pulling France out of the European Union. "While markets had deemed a Le Pen-Macron (run-off) as the most likely outcome, there was an element of uncertainty," said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz. "Now that this has been lifted, there will be a relief rally, bolstered by how quickly the mainstream candidates ... have endorsed Macron, the market's favorite."

2

Flight attendants' association leader defends suspended American Airlines employee

The president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Bob Ross, defended the American Airlines attendant accused of inadvertently hitting a woman as he snatched her baby stroller, narrowly missing the child she was holding as she boarded a flight from San Francisco to Dallas on Friday. Ross said a male shown on a Facebook video confronting the flight attendant might have "threatened" the flight attendant, a greater offense. The male passenger, insurance executive Tony Fierro, came to the woman's defense, telling the flight attendant, "You do that to me and I'll knock you flat," and the flight attendant responded, "Hit me, come on and hit me." American, trying to get ahead of a backlash like that recently faced by United Airlines, said it was "disappointed" with the employee's actions and had removed him from duty pending an investigation.

3

Medical suppliers agree to $24 billion acquisition deal

Medical technology firm Becton, Dickinson and Co. said Sunday that it had struck a deal to buy rival C.R. Bard Inc. The agreement, valued at $24 billion, would join two of the world's biggest health-care suppliers and create an industry giant making everything from syringes to infection-prevention technology. The deal amounts to a 25 percent premium on Bard shares based on its latest closing price. The proposal has been accepted by the boards of both companies, but still must be approved by regulators and Bard shareholders. If all goes as planned, the cash-and-stock deal will be finalized in the fall.

4

Bloomberg urges world leaders not to follow Trump's lead on climate

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said in an interview with The Associated Press that world leaders should reject President Trump's lead on climate change. Trump, who once called the threat of human-caused global warming a hoax orchestrated by China, has ordered his administration to begin dismantling many of the environmental initiatives of his predecessor, Barack Obama. Bloomberg, who considered his own presidential bid after finishing his third term as New York's mayor, last week released a book, Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, that he co-authored with former Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope. Bloomberg said the book was intended as part of an effort to save the Paris agreement to reduce carbon emissions, which Trump has ordered his administration to review after promising in his campaign that he would scrap it.

5

CNN anchor says Ailes sexually harassed her at Fox News

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota on Sunday became the latest in a series of women to say that she had been sexually harassed by Roger Ailes when she worked at Fox News. Camerota said that Ailes, who was ousted as Fox News chief over harassment claims made by other women, had asked her to meet him at a hotel so they could get to "know each other better," and suggested that doing so would help her succeed at the cable news channel. "I knew in my head at that moment, I'm never going to that hotel under any circumstances, but I didn't know what that meant for me or my career," Camerota, now host of CNN's New Day, told CNN's Brian Stelter in an interview. "I remember thinking, 'Is this it?'" Ailes' lawyer, Susan Estrich, said he "vigorously denies this fictional account." Another woman, former guest commentator Debbie Schlussel, accused host Sean Hannity of sexual harassment, just days after the company forced out ratings-leading host Bill O'Reilly over similar allegations. Hannity vehemently denies the claim.

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