The daily business briefing: December 1, 2017

The Dow breaks the 24,000 barrier, Senate Republicans make late revisions to save their tax plan, and more

A trader at the Dow Industrial Average closing
(Image credit: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Dow surges to break 24,000 barrier

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 24,000 for the first time in history on Thursday after surging by 332 points, or 1.4 percent. The blue-chip index got a big lift as Senate Republicans rallied support for their tax overhaul, which includes big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Trump administration efforts to ease business regulations, and recent signs of a strengthening global economy also have helped boost stocks. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes also rose and closed at record highs. U.S. stock futures edged down early Friday, led by tech stocks, as investors showed caution after the Senate's tax vote was delayed for last-minute revisions to win over conservatives concerned over an analysis indicating the tax cuts would increase deficits.


2. Republicans make last-minute changes to save tax overhaul

Senate Republicans scrambled overnight to rewrite some of their tax overhaul to win over fiscal conservative holdouts after the Joint Committee on Taxation released an analysis concluding that GOP tax cuts would add $1 trillion to the national deficit over a decade. Republicans, hoping to pass the plan on Friday, reportedly made a change to roll back some of the tax cuts after six years in a bid to appease deficit hawks, including Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Republicans need 50 of their 52 senators' support to pass the bill. They got closer Thursday, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) saying he would vote yes. Some senators remained undecided, however, so Republican leaders still need a few more votes.

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The Associated Press The Washington Post

3. OPEC and allies agree to extend oil production cuts

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil producers agreed Thursday to extend crude output cuts until the end of 2018. The reductions have helped reduce a global glut and bring up prices over the past year. The 24-nation alliance, led by OPEC powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Russia, said it would take another look at the matter if rising prices cause idled U.S. shale operators to ramp up production again. "We are going to be agile, depending on how events unfold," Saudi Arabian oil minister Khalid Al-Falih said after a day-long meeting ended with the agreement to extend the policy. "It's been a great day."

The Associated Press

4. House GOP leaders draft short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown

House Republican leaders are working on a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded through Dec. 22 and avoid a government shutdown when funding runs out next Friday. Republicans plan to use the extra time to hammer out a longer-term deal with Democrats covering spending, immigration, and other issues, and avoid a freeze on spending for the Pentagon and domestic agencies. President Trump has apparently told advisers that a government shutdown could help him politically by giving him the opportunity to show supporters he is standing firm on his demand to tighten immigration enforcement and get money for the wall he promised to build on the Mexican border. Trump has told several people he would blame a shutdown on the Democrats, The Washington Post reported.

The Associated Press The Washington Post

5. Uber investor Shervin Pishevar accused of sexual misconduct

At least five women have accused early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar of sexually harassing or assaulting them, Bloomberg reported Thursday. Some of the women said Pishevar, also a co-founder of Hyperloop One, used job or investment prospects to pressure the women. Another allegation involved Uber's new head of operations for Advanced Technologies Group, Austin Geidt. According to some of Geidt's colleagues, Pishevar "placed his hand on her leg and moved it up her dress" at a 2014 Uber holiday party before she twisted free. Pishevar's lawyer said Geidt and Pishevar have "a friendly, professional relationship," and a crisis manager hired by Pishevar said he is the victim of a "smear campaign."


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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.