Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 28, 2017

Trump announces tax plan with cuts for businesses and the rich, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at 91, and more

1

Trump announces tax plan with cuts for businesses, wealthy

President Trump on Wednesday unveiled his proposal to cut individual and business taxes, the broadest changes to the federal tax code in decades. "There is no reason that Democrats and Republicans in Congress should not come together to deliver this giant win for the American people and begin the middle class miracle once again," Trump said. The push to deliver on a campaign promise to reduce individual and corporate rates to boost the economy came after Trump and Senate Republicans suffered a painful defeat when they failed to pass the latest GOP bid to replace ObamaCare. Republicans are energized about the plan, which would reduce taxes by by nearly $6 trillion over a decade, but Democrats said it would only help the rich. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called Trump's plan "morally repugnant and bad economic policy."

2

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at 91

Hugh Hefner, who created Playboy magazine and turned it into an entertainment empire and emblem of the sexual revolution, died Wednesday at his home, the Playboy Mansion, in Beverly Hills, California. He was 91. Hefner was inseparable from the Playboy brand, which started with a magazine featuring naked women and intelligent interviews, and grew to include nightclubs, videos, clothing, and TV shows. Hefner hosted the TV program, Playboy's Penthouse, in the late 1950s and early '60s, sporting a tuxedo and smoking a pipe as he interviewed celebrities, surrounded by "playmates." Hefner faced criticism, first from conservative forces in the '50s, then from feminists. The brand faded over time, with circulation dropping from a peak of seven million in the '70s to 800,000 in 2015.

3

Toshiba agrees to sell chip unit for $17.7 billion

Toshiba announced Thursday that it would sell its memory chip unit for $17.7 billion to a consortium that is led by Bain Capital and includes Apple, Dell, and other big technology firms. Toshiba shareholders approved selling off the chip business earlier this year, and the Japanese electronics giant's board approved the sale to the Bain consortium last week. Toshiba, the world's second largest producer of NAND flash memory, moved toward selling the unit after its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in March. The deal still faces hurdles. It requires regulatory approval, and Western Digital, Toshiba's partner in the semiconductor business, is seeking an injunction to block the sale, saying it violates its partnership contract.

4

Stocks struggle after getting boost from tax plan

U.S. stock futures edged lower early Thursday, after investor excitement over the unveiling of Republicans' proposed tax cuts lifted stocks on Wednesday. Fresh data on gross domestic product and more speeches by Federal Reserve policy makers could impact the market later in the day. On Wednesday, stocks gained after President Trump and Republican lawmakers released their tax plan framework, which includes big cuts in corporate and some individual tax rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-day losing streak to close 56 points higher, and the S&P 500 touched an all-time high, but couldn't hold on, although it gained on the day. "The whole sentiment of the strong market is I think due to the tax relief hope," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

5

Google meets Europe's deadline to open access to shopping rivals

Google on Wednesday announced concessions to European regulators that will give competitors a better shot at attracting online shopping business starting Thursday. The changes came after Google faced a record antitrust fine of $2.8 billion after European Union regulators this summer determined that Google had used its internet search dominance to favor its own shopping service over those of its rivals. The concessions came in time to meet a deadline requiring Google to open its shopping platform or potentially face further fines. "We're giving comparison shopping services the same opportunity to show shopping ads from merchants on Google's search results pages as we give to Google Shopping," Al Verney, a spokesman for Google in Brussels, said.

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