Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 19, 2017

GOP senators launch one more push to replace ObamaCare, Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy protection, and more

1

Senate GOP makes final push to replace ObamaCare

Senate Republicans on Monday launched a final attempt to replace ObamaCare. The bill, proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would replace much of the Affordable Care Act with block grants to states, and phase out the Medicaid expansion. It also would end the mandate for Americans to buy insurance. Republicans have two weeks to pass the bill before special procedures preventing Democrats from filibustering it expire. Until then, the GOP can pass the bill with 50 votes. After the deadline, it will take 60, which the 52-seat Republican majority can't get. The Congressional Budget Office, however, said it could not provide estimates on the proposal's impacts on premiums and the number of Americans without insurance, which would rise.

2

Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy protection

Toys 'R' Us Inc., the nation's largest toy store chain, filed for bankruptcy protection late Monday. The retailer has been struggling under a heavy debt load since a buyout more than a decade ago. Its troubles mark the latest in a series of setbacks for brick-and-mortar retailers due to tough competition from Amazon and other online retailers, along with falling mall traffic. Under bankruptcy protection, Toys 'R' Us will try to restructure $400 million in debt due next year. "This filing is really a buildup of financial problems over the past 15 years," said Jim Silver, an industry analyst and the editor of toy-review site TTPM.com. "Finally, the straw broke the camel's back."

3

U.S. stocks head for slight opening gains ahead of Fed meeting

U.S. stock futures edged higher early Tuesday ahead of the start of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting, although global stocks struggled. Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq-100 futures all gained 0.1 percent or less, suggesting they could set fresh records as Fed officials gather to consider their next move on interest rates, and when they will start selling some of the bond holdings the central bank bought to help the economy bounce back after the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow set its 40th record close of the year on Monday, and the S&P 500 set its 35th all-time high of 2017. The Nasdaq Composite had its second highest close.

4

Northrop Grumman announces $7.8 billion deal to buy Orbital

Northrop Grumman announced Monday that it plans to buy fellow defense contractor Orbital ATK Inc. for $7.8 billion. The deal gives Northrop Grumman broadened access to lucrative work building missile defense systems and space rockets for the government at a time when tensions with North Korea have increased attention to these programs. "Clearly, as we watch what's happening around our globe, the rather rapid advance of some of our potential adversaries is quite concerning," Northrop Chief Executive Wes Bush said on a call with analysts.

5

Equifax confirms earlier data breach

Equifax learned about a computer breach in March, five months before the massive breach it previously disclosed, the company confirmed Monday. In a statement, the company said the March breach was separate from the one in which personal and financial data on 143 million people was compromised, although the breaches were done by the same hackers. The news was expected to deepen the company's troubles, which have already led to investigations and the retirement of two top Equifax security executives.

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