The daily business briefing: August 23, 2017
Stock futures simmer down after Dow's big jump, U.S. sanctions Chinese and Russian firms over North Korea, and more
Stock futures edge lower after Dow's biggest leap in four months
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up by 196 points, or 0.9 percent, on Tuesday in its biggest one-day surge since April, as bullishness returned to the markets after last week's losses. The S&P 500 gained 1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite jumped by nearly 1.4 percent. Caterpillar, Cisco, Boeing, and Apple led the Dow's climb, with all of them rising by 1.6 percent or more. The S&P made broad gains, with 10 out of 11 primary S&P 500 sectors rising, led by tech, health care, and materials. Reports that President Trump's top aides and congressional leaders were making progress putting together a tax-reform plan helped fuel the gains. European stocks edged down on Wednesday, as did U.S. stock futures, pointing to a slightly lower open.
U.S. targets Chinese and Russian firms with sanctions over North Korea
The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed new sanctions against Chinese and Russian firms and individuals accused of supporting North Korea's controversial weapons programs. The Treasury Department measures targeted six Chinese-owned entities, but held off on an expected swipe against Chinese banks. Four other firms — one Russian, one North Korean, and two based in Singapore — also will be affected, as will six individuals, four of them from Russia, one from China, and one from North Korea. The move came after the United Nations this month stepped up sanctions against North Korea after it successfully conducted its first two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. China said the move could damage bilateral cooperation, telling the U.S. to "immediately correct its mistake."
The Village Voice to end print edition after 62 years
The owner of The Village Voice, New York's pioneering progressive alt-weekly, announced Tuesday that it was ending its print edition. The end of the print run marked a major symbolic setback for alternative newspapers across the country after years of cutbacks and declining print ad revenue. The 62-year-old Village Voice was one of the nation's first alt-weeklies. The paper's owner, Peter Barbey, said it "plans to maintain its iconic progressive brand with its digital platform and a variety of new editorial initiatives," but ending the print edition was necessary to safeguard the Voice's future.
Mutual fund companies mark down their Uber shares after scandals
Four mutual fund companies have marked down their investments in Uber, suggesting a year of scandals has soured investors on the ride-hailing company. Vanguard Group, Principal PFG, and Hartford Funds HIG marked down their shares in Uber, which is not listed so it doesn't trade publicly, by 15 percent, and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. cut its estimated price by 12 percent. Fidelity Investments held its estimate at $48.77 at the end of the second quarter, while BlackRock Inc., the outlier, wrote up its shares in each of the last two quarters, lifting it to $53.88 as of June 30.
Mnuchin's wife apologizes for Instagram rant
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Scottish-born actress Louise Linton, apologized Tuesday for a rant on Instagram against a critic who called her "deplorable" for calling attention to her expensive designer clothing, and accused her of wasting taxpayer money on her "little getaway." Linton posted a photo of herself exiting a government plane, with the hashtags "#tomford," "#hermesscarf," and "#valentino." Linton shot back, saying, "Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband?" She faced an instant backlash on social media. Her Instagram account was promptly switched to a private setting. "I apologize for my post on social media yesterday as well as my response," Linton said. "It was inappropriate and highly insensitive."