The daily business briefing: June 22, 2017

Tropical Storm Cindy disrupts oil operations as it hits Louisiana, stocks head into a third rough day as oil prices fall, and more

Chinese stock market
(Image credit: WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Tropical storm disrupts oil and gas operations in Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Cindy disrupted shipping in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and drove workers off of oil and gas platforms, shutting down one-sixth of the Gulf's oil production. It also forced a halt to the uploading of vessels at a major oil-import terminal. The storm's outer bands dumped heavy rains on the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, with its top sustained winds reaching 50 miles per hour, and the system made landfall in southwestern Louisiana near the Texas border early Thursday. The governors of Louisiana and Alabama have declared emergencies as the storm brought threats of flash flooding and tornadoes. "The biggest impact would be on shipping activity which will remain suspended through Friday," said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

Bloomberg ABC News

2. Stock futures edge down again as oil gloom continues

U.S. stock futures fell early Thursday, pointing to another tough day for the markets as crude oil prices sank further into bear market territory. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell by 0.1 percent, as did the Nasdaq 100 index, while S&P 500 futures dropped by 0.2 percent. The Dow and the S&P both closed down for a third straight day on Wednesday as oil prices dropped sharply, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose by 0.7 percent as biotech shares jumped after a New York Times report saying President Trump was working on an executive order to ease drug industry regulations.

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3. Nissan-Renault aim to start driverless ride-hailing service

The Nissan and Renault alliance is working toward launching driverless ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, becoming the latest automakers to dive into new technology to expand beyond simply manufacturing vehicles. Ogi Redzic, head of Nissan-Renault's Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services division, said the self-driving services with electric vehicles probably would not be available before 2020, but would debut "certainly within 10 years." "We think that the big opportunity for us is in automation, electric vehicles, and ride-sharing and hailing together," Redzic said. Goldman Sachs estimates that the ride-hailing market will grow eightfold by 2030.


4. Journal fires reporter over communication with source

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday fired its chief foreign affairs correspondent, Jay Solomon, over emails suggesting he had business dealings with an Iranian-born aviation businessman, Farhad Azima, who was one of his sources. After Solomon's dismissal The Associated Press published a report saying Solomon and Azima communicated about ventures, including one involving arms sales to foreign governments. Solomon issued a statement to the AP saying he had made "mistakes in my reporting." He apologized to his colleagues, but said, "I never entered into any business with Farhad Azima, nor did I intend to. But I understand why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr. Azima may look like I was involved in some seriously troubling activities."

The Associated Press The New York Times

5. Diageo to buy George Clooney's tequila brand for 'up to $1 billion'

George Clooney.

(Image credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Diageo, a multinational beverage company, has agreed to buy George Clooney's high-end Casamigos tequila brand "at up to $1 billion," the company said Wednesday. The deal will help Diageo expand its presence in the fast-growing tequila market, which already includes the Don Julio, DeLeon, and Peligroso brands. The London-based Diageo also owns Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker, and Guinness. The sale is expected to close later this year. Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes said buying Casamigos, which Clooney started four years ago with entrepreneur Rande Gerber and real estate developer Mike Meldman, "supports our strategy to focus on the high growth super-premium and above segments of the category." Clooney said the deal "reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo. But we’re not going anywhere. We'll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two."

The Hollywood Reporter Bloomberg

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