The daily business briefing: July 28, 2017
The Senate rejects "skinny" ObamaCare repeal by one vote, Bezos briefly takes world's richest person title from Gates, and more
Senate rejects 'skinny' ObamaCare repeal
Three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John McCain of Arizona — joined Democrats to defeat the "skinny repeal" of ObamaCare by one vote early Friday, essentially ending the GOP's seven-year effort to undo the Affordable Care Act. McCain, who returned to Washington for the health-care debate this week after being diagnosed with brain cancer, explained his surprise vote via Twitter, saying the proposal "fell short of our promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare with meaningful reform." The bill would have ended the individual insurance mandate but otherwise left much of ObamaCare in place. President Trump said senators who voted no "let the American people down." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said "it is time to move on."
Tech shares struggle for second day
Stocks lost ground in Asia on Friday as technology shares followed their U.S. counterparts down. European markets also struggled. Technology stocks in the U.S. appeared headed for another day of selling, with Nasdaq-100 stock futures down by 0.6 percent and S&P 500 futures down by 0.3 percent after the Nasdaq Composite's 0.6 percent decline Thursday. One reason for the tech malaise was Amazon's 77 percent drop in earnings, which the online retail giant reported after trading closed Thursday. Amazon shares fell by 3 percent late Thursday, and another 2.6 percent in premarket trading Friday. Twitter also plunged after reporting that it failed to lure more monthly users last quarter.
Bezos briefly takes world's richest person title from Gates
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly overtook Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth over $90 billion early Thursday, due to Amazon's surging stock price. Bezos fell back behind Gates later in the day when Amazon's stock dipped after the company reported quarterly profits falling short of expectations, leaving him worth $88.8 billion compared to $89.8 billion for Gates. Bezos owns 17 percent of Amazon's stock, accounting for $83 billion of his fortune. He has climbed up the list of the world's wealthiest people as his online retailer has extended its dominance, pushing its market capitalization above $500 billion. Gates has been No. 1 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index since 2013.
Report: Wells Fargo charged car borrowers for unneeded insurance
Wells Fargo charged more than 800,000 people for auto insurance they didn't need when they took out car loans, according to an internal report obtained by The New York Times. Many of the customers are still paying for it. The unneeded collision coverage pushed about 274,000 of the borrowers into delinquency and led to the wrongful repossession of nearly 25,000 vehicles. Some of those affected were active-duty members of the military. The revelations came as the bank, one of the largest in the U.S., tries to repair its reputation after a scandal in which employees created millions of bank and credit card accounts customers never requested. Wells Fargo confirmed the improper insurance practices occurred and vowed to make amends to customers.
Apple kills the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle
Apple announced Thursday that it has officially discontinued the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. The music players were the last devices the company offered that were not programmed with iOS. The iPod Shuffle revolutionized the digital music industry in 2005 as the first iPod with faster flash storage and no screen; when the iPod Nano debuted later that year, it replaced the iPod Mini and paved the way for the creation of the iPhone. The devices, however, were never updated to support Bluetooth or Apple Music and thus were out of sync with the company's later innovations.