Business briefing

The daily business briefing: May 16, 2017

Global cyberattack eases as signs point to North Korea, Home Depot's stock rises as it beats Wall Street's expectations, and more

1

Cyberattack eases as signs point to North Korea

A global cyberattack spread the WannaCry ransomware to thousands more computers on Monday, but there were no catastrophic disruptions like the ones reported when the attack first hit on Friday. The new breaches occurred in Asia, where most offices had shut down by the time the first wave hit at the end of last week, and the malicious software spread as people returned to work and logged in at the start of the new week. China reported that nearly 40,000 organizations, including 4,000 academic institutions, were affected. A feared second wave of copycat attacks in Europe and elsewhere did not materialize. Researchers at Google and security firms Symantec and Kaspersky Lab found similarities between WannaCry and malware created by Lazarus group, a hacking operation previously linked to North Korea.

2

Home Depot's stock rises after profits beat expectations

Home Depot shares jumped by more than 2 percent in pre-market trading early Tuesday after the company reported that its profits jumped by more than expected as more customers flocked into its home improvement stores. Home Depot said its net income reached $1.67 per share, beating an average estimate of $1.61 per share among analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. Home Depot reported revenue of $23.9 billion. Analysts had forecast $23.7 billion. The company also raised its profit outlook for the 2017 fiscal year.

3

Sears sues to prevent vendor from cutting Craftsman tool supply

Sears filed a lawsuit on Monday asking a Chicago court to prevent a vendor, One World Technologies, from cutting its supply of Craftsman power tools. China-based One World has attempted to break a contract with Sears, saying the struggling retail chain could not provide adequate guarantees it would be able to come up with the money to pay for its products. One World could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit. Sears says One World is unfairly trying to exploit negative news coverage about Sears to get out of a legal agreement and get better terms. CEO Edward Lampert wrote in a blog post that Sears is "generally not a litigious company, but we will fight back to protect our legal rights, hold One World to its contractual agreements, and ensure that our customers are not affected by this business dispute."

4

WSJ: Ford to cut 10 percent of its workforce

Ford Motor Co. plans to announce later this week that it plans to cut its salaried workforce in North America and Asia by 10 percent as CEO Mark Fields tries to boost profits, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported late Monday. Ford neither confirmed nor denied the story. It is trying to cut costs by $3 billion in 2017 in a bid to restore profits in 2018 even though U.S. auto sales are declining for the first time in seven years. Ford is facing pressure from board members and shareholders to show how its strategic plan will turn things around after the company reported that its first quarter profits fell by 35 percent thanks to higher costs for warranties, recalls, and materials.

5

Dollar falls again after latest Trump controversy

The dollar dropped for the fifth day following The Washington Post's Monday report that President Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats that could have provided clues exposing the source of the information. The latest development came as investors were already jittery as Trump faced questions about his decision to fire James Comey as FBI director, even though Comey was in charge of the investigation into Russia's attempt to interfere in last year's election and possible collusion with Trump associates.

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