The daily business briefing: July 26, 2017

The U.K. vows to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040, the S&P 500 hits another record ahead of a Fed decision, and more

The New York Stock Exchange
(Image credit: /AFP/Getty Images)

1. U.K. says it will ban sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040

The British government said Wednesday that it would ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2040 in the latest move by public officials and automakers to embrace electric vehicles and ditch the traditional internal-combustion engine. France made a similar announcement two weeks ago, and Volvo recently said it would only sell electric and hybrid cars starting in 2019. "We can't carry on with diesel and petrol cars, not just because of the health problems, but also because the emissions they cause will accelerate climate change," U.K. Environment Secretary Michael Gove told the BBC.

Bloomberg BBC News

2. S&P 500 sets another record ahead of Fed decision

The S&P 500 broke another in a string of records on Tuesday as Caterpillar and McDonald's reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations, brightening investor outlook in one of this earnings season's busiest weeks. "The majority of companies that have reported have beaten" Wall Street estimates, said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout. "If there is a negative in these numbers, and this was expected, it is that the earnings growth rate has declined from the first quarter." On Wednesday, market watchers will be parsing the statement by Federal Reserve policy makers at the end of their two-day meeting. The Fed is not expected to raise interest rates, but it could give an indication of when it will begin unwinding assets it piled up to help stimulate the economy.

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3. Trump says Apple CEO promised 3 new U.S. factories

President Trump claims that Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised to build three factories in the U.S. "He's promised me three big plants — big, big, big," Trump said, according to a Tuesday report in The Wall Street Journal. Apple previously announced plans for a $1 billion fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S. The iPhone maker did not immediately comment on Trump's remarks. Apple supplier Corning last week said it would "immediately" invest $500 million and create 1,000 new U.S. jobs making glass for medical devices, and fellow Apple supplier Foxconn is considering making display panels in U.S. plants.

The Wall Street Journal CNBC

4. Chipotle attributes norovirus case to sick worker

Chipotle Mexican Grill said a sick employee appeared to have been the source of a norovirus outbreak that forced the company to temporarily close a Virginia restaurant last week. Shares of Chipotle, which was already struggling to bounce back from a string of 2015 food safety crises, dropped by 13 percent last week. It was also hurt by a viral video showing rodents at a Dallas restaurant. The company is retraining kitchen crews on food safety and imposing a zero-tolerance policy regarding respect for the new rules. Chipotle's stock got a modest bump Tuesday when it reported a doubling in quarterly profit on stronger sales and fewer giveaways to win back customers.


5. Oil rises above $50 a barrel, boosting global markets

Overseas stock markets gained on Wednesday as oil's rise above $50 a barrel, along with strong corporate earnings and economic data, eased fears of another global economic slowdown. Energy shares led European stocks higher after Brent crude broke the $50 threshold for the first time in more than a month. Oil has struggled all summer on concern that output cuts by leading OPEC and non-OPEC producers will not be enough to end global oversupply that has dragged down crude prices. A decline in U.S. crude stockpiles due to strong seasonal demand helped lift prices, although experts say prices could fall again without continued output cuts.

Reuters Bloomberg

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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.