Business briefing

The daily business briefing: November 7, 2017

Toyota lifts its annual earnings forecast, Harvey Weinstein reportedly hired security firms to keep allegations quiet, and more

1

Toyota raises forecast for year's income

Toyota reported Tuesday that its quarterly profit rose by 16 percent, and the Japanese automaker also lifted its annual operating income forecast. Toyota's quarterly sales grew by 10 percent, fueled by strong sales of its RAV4 sport-utility vehicle and Camry sedan in the U.S., and its hybrids in Japan. Toyota, Japan's top automaker, also credited its rising profit to cost cuts and a cheaper yen, which helps boost earnings for Japanese exporters. Toyota said it saved $875 million in the last six months with a new manufacturing process and other cost-cutting measures, freeing up money needed for research and development. "We not only need to develop ... leading technologies but also need to commercialize them," said Toyota's chief financial officer, Osamu Nagata.

2

Report: Weinstein hired security firms to keep allegations quiet

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein hired corporate spies to gather information on women accusing him of sexual harassment and journalists working to expose the allegations in an attempt to suppress the story, The New Yorker reported Monday, citing documents and seven people involved in the effort. An operative from Black Cube, a company run largely by former Israeli intelligence officers, pretended to be a women's rights activist in meetings aiming to get information from actress Rose McGowan, who later publicly accused Weinstein of rape, and also met with a journalist while posing as a victim to find out which accusers were talking with reporters. A Black Cube contract signed in July stated that the operation's goal was to prevent the publication of the allegations.

3

U.S. stocks stick near records as world stocks continue rising

S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures inched up early Tuesday, as the main U.S. stock indexes held close to all-time highs ahead of a fresh flurry of quarterly earnings reports and a speech by outgoing Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. On Monday, the S&P 500, the Dow, and the Nasdaq Composite all rose to all-time closing highs, the 26th time they have set simultaneous records this year. The U.S. gains helped lift global stocks on Tuesday, marking their ninth straight day of gains. The MSCI 47-country "All World" index rose by 0.2 percent, pushing it above the 500-point level after gains of nearly 20 percent so far this year.

4

Report: GOP tax bill would raise taxes for 12 percent of Americans

The House Republicans' tax bill would increase taxes for 12 percent of Americans in 2018 and at least 28 percent by 2027, according to a report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center released Monday. Many people making less than $48,000 a year would be among those paying more. Most taxpayers would get a break, with those making $48,000 to $86,000 getting an average cut of $700 in 2018. The rich, however, would reap far greater benefits. For example, the top 1 percent (making more than $730,000) would save $37,000 next year. The top 0.1 percent (with incomes of more than $3.4 million) would get cuts averaging $179,000. "The largest cuts in terms of dollars and as a percentage of after-tax income would accrue to the higher-income households," TPC wrote.

5

Broadcom offers $103 billion for Qualcomm in biggest tech takeover attempt ever

Broadcom made an unsolicited $103 billion bid for Qualcomm, a rival chipmaker, in the tech industry's biggest takeover attempt ever. Qualcomm is the No. 3 chip producer behind Intel and Samsung. A merger of the two iPhone suppliers would not vault the combined company past either of those larger rivals, but a deal still would raise antitrust concerns, analysts said, as they would have about 40 percent of the cellphone chip market. The combined company also would have "massive market share" in chips powering Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, said Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer at ABI Research. Broadcom said it believed consumers would "embrace" the prospect of a deal.

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