Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 15, 2017

Three CEOs quit Trump's manufacturing council, U.S. stocks poised to gain after North Korea calls off Guam missile plan, and more

1

Merck, Intel, and Under Armour CEOs quit Trump's manufacturing council

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier resigned from President Trump's American Manufacturing Council on Monday, saying that Trump had not denounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan forcefully enough after the deadly violence at a Saturday white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. After Trump on Saturday faulted "many sides" for the clash, Frazier, who is African-American, said America's leaders must honor the fundamental value that all people are created equal "by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy." Trump responded by mocking Frazier on Twitter, saying now "he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" Later Trump denounced neo-Nazis and the KKK as criminals and thugs. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank also quit the council.

2

U.S. stocks poised to gain after North Korea shelves Guam missile plan

U.S. stock futures rose early Tuesday as tensions with North Korea continued to ease after state media said the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, had decided to hold off on a plan to fire missiles into waters near Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory. U.S. stocks made broad gains on Monday, led by technology companies and banks, after a weekend without harsh rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea. "What the market really reacted negatively to on Thursday was Trump's somewhat incendiary comments about 'fire and fury,'" said Dave Lafferty, chief market strategist of Natixis Global Asset Management. "The administration sort of walked back Trump's comments over the weekend."

3

GoDaddy cuts off Daily Stormer website

Web hosting company GoDaddy on Monday announced that it was ending service to The Daily Stormer after the white supremacist and neo-Nazi website published an article insulting Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed when a suspected white nationalist allegedly plowed into a crowd with a car. The article referred to Heyer as "fat and a drain on society," saying "most people are glad she is dead." GoDaddy said The Daily Stormer, which bills itself as "The World's Most Genocidal Republican Website," violated its terms of service. "They have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider," GoDaddy said. "If no action is taken after 24 hours, we will cancel the service."

4

Judge tells Costco to pay Tiffany $19 million over falsely identified 'Tiffany' rings

A federal judge ruled Monday that Costco must pay jewelry and luxury goods retailer Tiffany & Co. more than $19 million for selling about 2,500 diamond rings falsely identified as "Tiffany" rings. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain wrote in her opinion that Costco management "displayed at best a cavalier attitude toward Costco's use of the Tiffany name in conjunction with ring sales and marketing." The decision followed a 2015 jury verdict finding Costco made $3.7 million in profit from the sales. Costco had argued the term "Tiffany" had become a generic term for a ring's setting, and said it would appeal.

5

U.K. proposes temporary customs deal to ease Brexit

Britain's Brexit department said Tuesday that the U.K. might seek "a temporary customs union between the U.K. and the EU" to help businesses transition as the country departs from the trading bloc. The British government also said that a long-term "customs partnership" with "extremely slick, extremely streamlined customs arrangements" could eliminate the need for most border controls for goods moving between the U.K. and the EU. Officials in the EU, however, said such "frictionless" trade is impossible outside the structure of the EU.

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