Business briefing

The daily business briefing: November 14, 2017

GE shares dive after it cuts dividend, Amazon buys rights to a TV adaptation of Lord of the Rings, and more

1

GE shares plunge after dividend cut

General Electric shares dropped by 7 percent on Monday after the industrial conglomerate company reported earnings that fell below analysts' expectations and announced that it was halving its quarterly dividend. GE also said it would cut its home office staff by 25 percent and reduce the number of seats on its board as part of an aggressive corporate restructuring. The stock's decline was the worst GE has seen since April 2009. CEO John Flannery said 2018 would be a "reset year" for the company. "The GE of the future is going to be a more focused industrial company," Flannery said.

2

Amazon buys rights to multi-season adaptation of Lord of the Rings

Amazon has acquired "multi-season" TV rights for the Lord of the Rings series, Deadline reported Monday. J.R.R. Tolkien's high fantasy trilogy was most famously adapted between 2001 and 2003 by director Peter Jackson, with the final film, The Return of the King, winning a record-tying 11 Oscars, including Best Picture. "We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings," said Tolkien Estate and Trust representative Matt Galsor. While the series will be set in Middle Earth, it will have storylines from before the first book in Tolkien's trilogy, according to Deadline.

3

Stocks inch down as concerns about tax overhaul continue

U.S. stock futures edged down early Tuesday, with all three main benchmark indexes falling by about 0.1 percent as concerns over a possible pullback lingered. The markets could be influenced by comments by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and other Fed officials, and by any news on how GOP proposals for massive corporate tax cuts are progressing. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite posted modest gains of roughly 0.1 percent as uncertainty over the Republican tax overhaul persisted.

4

Missouri investigates Google business practices

Missouri's attorney general, Josh Hawley, said Monday that he has launched an investigation into Google's business practices. The state is looking into the internet search giant's "collection, use, and disclosure of information" about its users and their online activities, as well as its "alleged misappropriation" of rivals' online content, to see whether Google has violated the state's consumer protection and antitrust laws. "There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind," Hawley said. "My office will not stand by and let private consumer information be jeopardized by industry giants, especially to pad their profits."

5

Bipartisan analysis finds GOP tax cuts would raise taxes for 13.8 million

The Senate's tax-cut proposal, billed as tax relief for the middle class, would raise taxes on 13.8 million moderate-income American families, according to a bipartisan analysis released Monday by Congress' nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. House and Senate Republicans are trying to work out internal differences to pass their versions of the bill so President Trump will be able to sign it before the end of the year. Trump tweeted on Monday that lawmakers should approve a steeper tax cut for the wealthy, and end ObamaCare's "unfair & highly unpopular individual mandate" for all Americans to buy health insurance.

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