The daily business briefing: August 30, 2017

Stocks rebound as North Korea fears fade, gas futures hit two-year high as Harvey knocks another refinery offline, and more

An oil refinery braces for Tropical Storm Harvey
(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

1. Stocks rebound as North Korea fears recede

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded Tuesday from an opening plunge to close up by 57.97 points or 0.3 percent. The nearly 200-point swing was the biggest for the benchmark stock since last Dec.7, when it gained back 320 points to finish higher. Stocks plunged when trading opened due to fears of a military response to North Korea's firing of a missile over Japan. World stocks gained early Wednesday as those fears receded after a measured U.S. response, with President Trump saying that the world had received North Korea's message "loud and clear" and that all options remained on the table. "This may have been interpreted by investors as a sign that the U.S. will approach the situation in a more measured and diplomatic manner, as opposed to raining down 'fire and fury,'" said IronFX analyst Charalambos Pissouros.

MarketWatch Reuters

2. Gasoline futures jump as Harvey forces another refinery to close

Gasoline futures rose by about 3 percent early Wednesday to hit a two-year high as Tropical Storm Harvey's flooding caused more disruption for energy companies. Motiva is reportedly shutting the nation's largest refinery, increasing the share of U.S. refining capacity now offline to 19.6 percent. The Gulf Coast is home to nearly half the nation's refining capacity. "We have no idea when (the refineries will) come back on, the market is taking a wait and see approach," said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy.

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3. Icahn sells unfinished Las Vegas casino for $450 million profit

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn announced Tuesday that his company had completed the sale of the unfinished Fontainebleau casino property in Las Vegas for $600 million, more than four times what he paid for it in February 2010. "We are pleased to announce the sale of the Fontainebleau, which was one of Icahn Enterprise's hidden gems," Icahn said in a statement. "This successful investment is an example of our 'contrarian' modus operandi, which seeks to invest in undervalued assets and businesses, nurture, guide, and improve their condition and operations, and ultimately sell them for large gains." New York-based developer Steven Witkoff led the investor group that purchased the site.

Forbes Nasdaq

4. Murdochs pull Fox News off air in U.K.

Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced Tuesday that it was pulling the conservative news outlet off the air in the U.K. because it had failed to attract an audience there. "Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.," 21st Century Fox said in a statement. "We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the U.K." Fox News also had become a target for criticism by opponents of plans by Rupert Murdoch and his sons, who control the media empire, to take over Sky, the U.K.'s top pay TV provider, for $15 billion.


5. Uber says it faces DOJ bribery investigation

The Justice Department is conducting a preliminary investigation into whether Uber Technologies violated foreign bribery laws, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Investigators are looking into allegations that Uber managers broke a law against bribing foreign officials to get favorable treatment. The preliminary inquiry will determine whether a full investigation is warranted. It was not immediately clear what foreign country or countries were involved. Uber said it was cooperating fully. The news marked the latest in a series of setbacks for the ride-hailing service after a year of scandals involving allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic corporate culture. The troubles cost co-founder Travis Kalanick his job as CEO. Uber's board this week picked Expedia chief Dara Khosrowshahi as its next leader, hoping to put the controversies in the past.

The Wall Street Journal CNET

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