Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 7, 2017

U.S. job gains and earnings lift global stocks, Google engineer's anti-diversity memo triggers backlash, and more

1

U.S. jobs report helps lift global stocks

World stocks rose to record highs on Monday as jobs data and corporate earnings in the U.S. exceeded expectations, overshadowing rising tension over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose by 0.5 percent early Monday, as did Japan's Nikkei and Chinese blue chips. U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 0.2 percent as the benchmark blue-chip index aimed for a ninth straight record. S&P 500 futures added 0.1 percent, and Nasdaq-100 futures gained 0.2 percent. European stocks edged down, bucking the trend.

2

Google engineer's anti-diversity manifesto sparks backlash

Google executives and workers over the weekend condemned an engineer's widely distributed memo criticizing the company's efforts to improve workforce diversity and "left leaning" bias. The engineer argues in the 10-page treatise, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," that women are underrepresented in the industry due to biological factors rather than bias. "We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism," the document reads. Google's new vice president of diversity, integrity, and governance, Danielle Brown, said in a memo that the comments "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender." Google engineering vice president Aristotle Balogh said the manifesto contained "stereotyping and harmful assumptions" that had no place in company culture.

3

Tesla looks to raise $1.5 billion as it ramps up production

Tesla said Monday that it plans to raise $1.5 billion in a bond offering to boost its balance sheet as it spends heavily on ramping up production of its first mass-market car, the Model 3 sedan. The electric car maker has received thousands of reservations for the Model 3. The company started making the first deliveries of the vehicle just days ago, with 1,800 orders per day since Tesla launched the Model 3, which has a base price of $35,000, at the end of July. CEO Elon Musk has warned of "production hell" as Tesla ramps up to produce 5,000 vehicles per week by late 2017, and 10,000 Model 3s per week next year.

4

Oil producers start two-day meeting on compliance with output cuts

Representatives of leading oil producing nations on Monday start a two-day meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss why some are failing to deliver on promises to cut production to help ease oversupply and boost prices. The meeting, led by Kuwait and Russia, includes OPEC and non-OPEC nations. Some of the nations failing to meet their promised cuts are going into the meeting claiming that independent sources OPEC uses to assess compliance overstate their production levels. The deal seeks to cut daily output by 1.8 million barrels. Compliance was high when the agreement took effect at the start of 2017, but it has weakened as the cuts have failed to boost crude prices as much as hoped.

5

Iran strikes car-making deal with Renault

Iran on Monday signed a deal with French automaker Groupe Renault to produce 150,000 cars starting in 2018. The $778 million deal, Iran's biggest automobile deal ever, came after Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers resulted in the lifting of sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. It also came days after President Trump signed a bill overwhelmingly passed by Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The Renault deal is expected to create 3,000 jobs. Iran produces 1,350,000 vehicles a year, and aims to increase production to 3 million by 2025.

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