Business briefing

The daily business briefing: July 7, 2017

The economy adds a better-than-expected 222,000 jobs, Tesla shares plunge for a third day, and more

1

Economy adds 222,000 jobs in June, exceeding expectations

The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 222,000 nonfarm jobs in June, exceeding an average forecast of 180,000 new jobs in a MarketWatch survey of economists. Also, May's gains, initially reported at 138,000, were adjusted up to 152,000. The unemployment rate edged up from 4.3 percent, a 16-year low, to 4.4 percent as more people entered the labor force looking for work. Economists said before the report was released that any sign of continued strong hiring would provide support for the Federal Reserve officials' plans to start reducing the central bank's $4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, which it bought up to boost the economic recovery following the Great Recession.

2

Tesla shares continue their plunge

Tesla's stock continued to slide on Thursday, dropping another 5 percent to bring its three-day decline to about 12 percent following disappointing quarterly results. The drop came just two weeks after shares in the electric car maker reached an all-time high, and as the company prepared to start production of its first mass-market car, the Model 3, on Friday. The dive cost Tesla its recently attained title as the biggest U.S. car company by market capitalization, with General Motors reclaiming the top spot with a value of $52.7 billion as Tesla slipped to $51.6 billion. Tesla reported this week that deliveries had fallen short of expectations in recent months due to production problems with its 100 kilowatt-hour battery packs.

3

France aims to end sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040

France said Thursday that it would work toward ending the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040, joining a movement to stop using traditional internal combustion engines in cars and trucks. "It's a very difficult objective," said Nicolas Hulot, France's environment minister. "But the solutions are there." Some other nations, such as Norway and India, have set even more ambitious goals, and the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker Volvo said this week it would shift to an all electric and hybrid lineup by 2019. France joined other European nations in pushing ahead with environmental offensives despite President Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, vowing to stop issuing new oil and gas exploration permits this year, and stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022.

4

FBI-Homeland Security report says hackers are targeting nuclear plants

A joint FBI-Homeland Security Department report obtained by The New York Times said that hackers have been targeting employees of nuclear power plants and other energy facilities since May, apparently attempting to map out their computer networks for future attacks. The report, out on June 28, does not identify the hackers or their nationalities. It also does not say whether they are believed to be trying to steal company secrets or if they simply want to cause chaos. The report does not specify how many facilities have been breached. Two people familiar with the attacks told the Times that industrial control engineers are primarily being targeted, because they have direct access to systems that, if harmed, could lead to explosions or hazardous material spills.

5

Samsung reports record operating profit

Samsung Electronics reported its best operating profit ever on Friday thanks to strong demand for its semiconductors and the new Galaxy S8 smartphone, which helped win back customers after the Note 7 recall fiasco. The South Korea-based company's operating revenue increased to 14 trillion won ($12 billion) in the second quarter of the year, beating analysts' expectations of 13 trillion won. Revenue rose to 60 trillion won, exceeding expectations of 58.4 trillion. Samsung, the world's largest maker of phones and memory chips, is relying on the Galaxy S8 to fix the damage to the company's reputation caused by the scrapping of the Note 7 last year due to defects.

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