Business briefing

The daily business briefing: October 24, 2017

New York investigates sexual harassment at Weinstein Co., Trump vows not to change 401(k) rules to pay for tax cuts, and more

1

New York launches Weinstein Co. sexual harassment investigation

New York's attorney general sent a subpoena to the Weinstein Company on Monday under a new investigation into alleged sexual harassment and possible civil rights violations at the movie studio co-founded by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, according to sources familiar with the investigation. The subpoena has not been made public, but it reportedly requests information about sexual harassment and other discrimination complaints the company has received. It also seeks company policies on hiring, promoting, and firing. "If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. Also on Monday, Harvey Weinstein's former London assistant said she was publicly breaking her non-disclosure agreement to talk about the years of sexual harassment she endured.

2

Trump rejects limiting before-tax 401(k) deductions to pay for tax cuts

President Trump on Monday rejected the possibility of raising money to pay for Republican tax cuts by reducing the pre-tax contributions Americans can make to their 401(k)s. "There will be NO change to your 401(k)," Trump tweeted. "This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!" Trump's position on the matter removes one option as Republicans rush to push through the legislation by the end of the year. Republicans are looking for ways to help pay for more than $1 trillion in corporate and individual tax cuts, including eliminating the federal deduction for state and local taxes. That possibility is facing opposition from House Republicans in high-tax states.

3

Stock futures edge up after Monday losses

U.S. stock futures edged higher early Tuesday, but not enough to return the major indexes to record territory after Monday's losses. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose by 0.2 percent while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures gained 0.1 percent. All three closed slightly below last week's records on Monday, weighed down by declines for several big technology and industrial stocks. General Electric dropped by 6.3 percent — its biggest one-day fall in more than six years — after leading brokerages cut their price targets for its shares due to an anticipated dividend cut. The Dow and the S&P hit records all five days last week, lifted by anticipation of tax cuts.

4

Critics protest EPA decision to block climate presentations by government scientists

Democrats and environmental activists on Monday protested the Trump administration's decision to stop government scientists from presenting climate change-related research at a Rhode Island conference. "This type of political interference, or scientific censorship — whatever you want to call it — is ill-advised and does a real disservice to the American public and public health," said Sen. Jack Reed (D), the state's senior senator. Outside the conference, a small group of protesters carried signs saying, "Denial is not a policy," and "Un-gag science." The EPA said its scientists were allowed to attend the event but were not allowed to present their research because "it is not an EPA conference."

5

Amazon receives 238 bids from places hoping to host its new headquarters

Amazon said Monday that 238 cities and regions submitted proposals to host its new headquarters. Every U.S. state except Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota met last Thursday's deadline for sending in bids, as did several provinces and territories in Canada and Mexico. Amazon has now started sifting through the applicants, and it expects to announce its decision in early 2019. The online retail giant is seeking a place with at least a million people, nearby international airports, a low cost of living, and a highly educated work force. It plans to invest $5 billion to build the facility, and create 50,000 jobs to run it.

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