The daily business briefing: May 10, 2017

Stock futures slip after Trump fires Comey, ESPN content costs clip Disney's earnings, and more

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(Image credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN)

1. Stocks futures edge down after Trump fires Comey

U.S. stock index futures slipped after President Trump unexpectedly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday. S&P 500 futures edged down by 0.2 percent early Wednesday, suggesting a lower open following gains that have pushed stocks into record territory. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped by 0.2 percent, and Nasdaq-100 futures fell by 0.1 percent. Bipartisan criticism of Trump's decision threatened to undermine his support, casting fresh doubt on the prospects of promised tax and regulation cuts that have lifted markets since Trump's election. The stock ripples show how "markets are still wary of an unpredictable president," said Hantec Markets analyst Richard Parry in a note.


2. Disney takes a hit as ESPN costs rise, cable subscriptions fall

Disney reported quarterly profits after the bell Tuesday, beating expectations for earnings per share but falling short of analysts' estimates with earnings of $13.34 billion, down from an expected $13.45 billion. Disney's theme park income jumped by 20 percent and movie revenue increased by 21 percent, but the company said programming costs for ESPN's sports content hurt its operating income. Disney CEO Bob Iger said ESPN also took a hit from dwindling cable subscriptions. Disney stock dropped by about 2 percent following the report.

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3. Tunnel collapses at nuclear waste site in Washington state

Hundreds of workers had to evacuate or take cover a plutonium-handling facility at the Department of Energy's Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state after part of a tunnel used to store contaminated radioactive materials collapsed. The cave-in occurred on a 20-foot section of the 100-foot rail tunnel at a spot where it joins another tunnel. The government cleans up radioactive materials from the U.S. nuclear weapons program at the facility, about 200 miles from Seattle. "This is purely precautionary," center spokesman Destry Henderson said of the take-cover order in a video posted on Facebook. "No employees were hurt and there is no indication of a spread of radiological contamination."

The Washington Post Reuters

4. Court orders Spirit pilots back to work

A federal court ordered Spirit Airlines pilots back to work on Tuesday after the company asked for a temporary restraining order restoring the status quo after "a pervasive illegal work slowdown" that forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The slowdown disrupted travel for more than 20,000 Spirit customers over the past week. The pilots union said its members would fully comply with the court order, which came a day after frustrated passengers clashed with Spirit employees at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Hollywood on Monday night after hundreds were stranded due to the cancellation of nine flights.

The Washington Post

5. ABC is bringing American Idol back for a 16th season

ABC confirmed Tuesday that it's reviving American Idol for a 16th season. The singing competition, originally aired by Fox, ended last April after a 15-season run beginning in 2002. Idol was the highest rated show on TV for eight straight years, starting in 2003-2004. Details of its return — such as who will host and judge — have yet to be announced. "American Idol is a pop-culture staple that left the air too soon," ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a statement. Disney/ABC TV Group President Ben Sherwood promised a "bigger, bolder, and better-than-ever Idol." Variety reported ABC is eyeing a March 2018 premiere and a Sunday night air time.

Variety Vulture

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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.