The daily business briefing: August 2, 2017
Apple's strong earnings report pushes stock to record high, Dow approaches 22,000 level, and more
Apple shares hit record high after strong quarterly report
Apple shares jumped by 6 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday, hitting a record high after the iPhone maker reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings and projected a sales boost in the second half of the year. If Apple's gains hold or grow, the stock is expected to help lift the Dow Jones Industrial Average above the 22,000 mark for the first time in history on Wednesday. Apple said iPhone sales increased by 1.6 percent to 41.03 million, beating analysts' average estimate of 40.7 million. Apple also reported surprisingly strong iPad sales, and even the much-maligned Apple Watch showed a sales increase of 50 percent.
The Dow takes aim at the 22,000 level
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a record high for a second straight day on Tuesday. The Dow closed at 21,963.92 after gaining 0.3 percent thanks to a flurry of strong earnings reports recently from industry leaders including Boeing, Chevron, Intel, and Apple. The Dow has now set records on 31 days this year, and it is poised to start Wednesday with fresh gains, with Dow futures edging higher and putting the blue-chip benchmark stock index in position to break the 22,000 level for the first time. The other two main U.S. indexes, the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, also finished with gains on Tuesday, both rising about 0.2 percent.
Trump administration prepares China trade investigation
The Trump administration is getting ready to launch a broad investigation of China's trade practices, The New York Times reports. After the inquiry, the U.S. could impose steep tariffs on Chinese imports or take other action. The move would mark a shift from President Trump's effort to improve cooperation between the U.S. and China. The change comes as the U.S. grows frustrated by China's failure to do more to help get North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile programs, and as the administration tries to respond to China's government-led effort to become a leading supplier of microchips, electric cars, and other cutting-edge technologies.
Trump says Foxconn CEO said Wisconsin investment could reach $30 billion
President Trump said Tuesday that the CEO of Apple supplier Foxconn had told him in confidence that the company's investment in a Wisconsin manufacturing plant could reach $30 billion, triple the size of the deal announced last week. Trump made the remark to small-business leaders gathered at the White House. He didn't elaborate on how Foxconn chairman Terry Gou imagined the investment swelling — skeptics have already called the $10 billion figure overly optimistic. "Think of this," Trump said. "He may go $30 billion investment, but he told me that off the record so I promised I wouldn't tell anyone."
Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman dies at 74
Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman died Tuesday morning, the warehouse retail company said in a statement. He was 74. Brotman was a lawyer before diving into entrepreneurship by helping to start the Costco chain with Jim Sinegal in 1982. Brotman served as the company's chairman for decades, while Sinegal served in the more public role of CEO. "When he and Jim Sinegal started it, everyone thought it was a tough sale because so many warehouse clubs had failed," board member John Meisenbach said. "They stuck to their guns in not trying to be a fancy place, and they took care of their employees."