Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 11, 2017

Stock futures point to gains as Irma and North Korea fears ebb, China works on timetable for ending gas car sales, and more

1

Stocks set to rise as fears ease over Hurricane Irma, North Korea

U.S. stock futures pointed to strong gains early Monday in a sign of relief after North Korea held off on a potential Sunday missile test that could have inflamed international tensions, and Hurricane Irma hit Florida with less force than feared. Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq-100 futures were all up at least 0.6 percent. Overseas, Nikkei futures gained by 0.8 percent after Pyongyang held a celebration honoring its nuclear scientists Sunday but did not launch a missile. Irma weakened quickly as it tore up Florida's west coast on Sunday, leaving at least 4 million homes and businesses without power. It was expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm as it pushed into north Florida and Georgia after leaving behind $15 billion to $50 billion in U.S. insurance losses.

2

China works on timetable for ending gas, diesel car sales

China is considering announcing that it is working on a timetable for ending sales of gasoline and diesel cars. A deputy industry minister, Xin Guobin, said at an auto industry forum over the weekend that the government has started "research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles," China's Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily reported. France and Britain said in July that they would eliminate sales of vehicles using only traditional combustion engines by 2040 to reduce emissions that scientists say contribute to global climate change.

3

Oil prices inch down as Irma threatens to dent demand

Oil prices edged lower on Monday as Hurricane Irma knocked out power to nearly four million homes and businesses in Florida and raised fears that the storm could cut into fuel demand. While Hurricane Harvey affected fuel prices by knocking out Gulf Coast oil refineries and denting supply, Irma could have the opposite effect by displacing millions of people and keeping many from driving. "We believe that Irma will have a negative impact on oil demand but not on oil production or processing," Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note. Industry analysts also are focusing on discussions about a possible extension to the 15-month production cuts agreed to by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers including Russia.

4

May expects victory in key Brexit vote

Supporters of the British government's Brexit bill warned of a "chaotic" exit from the European Union if opponents defeat it in a key vote on Monday. Prime Minister Theresa May's government headed into the vote confident it had rallied just enough lawmakers to move the legislation forward, although it still will face obstacles. Labor Party leaders said they would oppose the bill, calling it a "power grab," but Brexit Secretary David Davis said people who backed leaving the EU in last year's referendum did not "vote for confusion." "The real challenge will be whether May can keep the draft amendment-free at the so-called committee stage it enters next," according to Bloomberg .

5

It smashes box office records in opening weekend

It, the New Line and Warner Bros. film adaptation of Stephen King's novel, smashed expectations and led the box office by bringing in $117.2 million in its debut weekend, shattering the record for largest September debut. It more than doubled the previous mark of $48.5 million set by Hotel Transylvania 2 in 2015. It also broke the record for the biggest opening weekend for a horror or supernatural film, crushing the previous high mark of $52.6 million set by Paranormal Activity 3 in 2011. It had the second highest opening ever for an R-rated movie, trailing only Deadpool's blockbuster $132.4 million debut in 2016. The film's performance came despite preparations for Hurricane Irma in Florida and Georgia, which possibly dented attendance by as much as 5 percent.

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