The daily business briefing: December 6, 2017
Bitcoin pushes above $12,000 for the first time, Hyperloop One co-founder takes leave to fight "smear campaign," and more
Bitcoin hits $12,000 for first time
Bitcoin surged to another record high on Wednesday, reaching the $12,000 milestone for the first time as runaway demand for the cryptocurrency continued. Bitcoin, which started the year below $1,000, has been lifted this week by Friday's announcement by federal regulators that they would let CME Group Inc and CBOE Global Markets list bitcoin futures contracts. The move fueled optimism among investors about broader mainstream use of cryptocurrencies despite warnings by some financial experts that their meteoric rise signals a bubble that could soon burst.
Hyperloop One co-founder takes leave to pursue suit after harassment allegations
Virgin Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar is taking a leave of absence from the startup and from his venture capital firm, Sherpa Capital, to focus on a defamation lawsuit he filed last month against people he says have tried to ruin his reputation. Last week, Bloomberg reported that five unnamed women had accused Pishevar, an investor in Uber and Airbnb, of sexual misconduct. Pishevar's crisis management team denied the allegations and said he was the target of a "smear campaign." Pishevar is suing the Republican opposition research firm Definers Public Affairs for allegedly spreading false gossip that he works for the Russian government, and paid to settle a sexual assault claim in London. A Definers partner last month told Recode that Pishevar's "claims are delusional."
Trump lawyer denies Deutsche Bank demanded records
President Trump's lawyer on Tuesday denied a report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump family accounts. A person familiar with the matter said Germany's largest bank, which has lent the Trump Organization hundreds of millions of dollars for real estate projects, was asked to provide data on certain transactions, and had handed over key documents to Mueller's investigators, who are looking into Russia's election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates. "We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false," Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, told Reuters.
U.S. stocks face more pressure after Tuesday losses
U.S. stock futures slipped early Wednesday, as tech stocks came under renewed pressure following Tuesday's losses. Tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 futures fell by 0.4 percent, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped by 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures edged down by 0.1 percent. Investors appear to be worried that the retention of the corporate alternative minimum tax in the Senate GOP version of the party's tax overhaul could hurt tech companies. All three of the main U.S. benchmark indexes closed lower on Tuesday in a broad sell-off led by utilities and telecoms.
Former employees accuse gossip editor of sexual misconduct
Twelve former employees of gossip publications owned by American Media Inc., including National Enquirer and Us Weekly, said top editor Dylan Howard frequently engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, including openly describing sexual partners and forcing women to watch or listen to pornography, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. Howard allegedly gave himself the nickname "Dildo" and made inappropriate comments in the office, including telling colleagues that "he wanted to create a Facebook account on behalf of [another employee's] vagina," AP writes. Another editor said Howard "encouraged her to have sex with people for information." He quit after an internal investigation in 2012, but was rehired. He called the new claims "baseless."