Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 28, 2017

Apple hikes CEO Tim Cook's bonus after revenue rises, consumer confidence dips but remains strong, and more

1

Apple boosts Tim Cook's bonus after revenue bounces back

Apple gave CEO Tim Cook a 74 percent increase in his annual bonus after the iPhone-maker's revenue and profit increased, bouncing back from a rare decline last year, the company said Wednesday in a regulatory filing. Cook received $9.33 million in incentive pay and $3.06 million in salary for the year ended Sept. 30. Along with a previously disclosed equity award of $89.2 million, his compensation came to roughly $102 million. His top five lieutenants received bonuses of $3.11 million, bringing their total to $24.2 million each. Apple also said Cook spent $93,109 for travel on private aircraft after the board said he should fly on private planes for all business and personal trips for security reasons, given his high profile.

2

IRS: Paying 2018 property taxes early to get deduction might not work

The Internal Revenue Service confirmed Wednesday that some taxpayers will be able to prepay their 2018 property taxes, before the newly passed GOP tax overhaul takes effect and the deduction for the taxes is scaled back. The move will let them save on their 2017 income taxes. Only people who pay before the end of the year and who have already been notified by local tax authorities how much they will owe in property taxes will be able to take advantage of the strategy. State and local laws vary on tax assessments, so some of the many Americans rushing to prepay property taxes might not get the break.

3

Stocks edge higher in light holiday week trading

The three main U.S. stock indexes edged higher on Wednesday in light post-Christmas and pre-New Year's trading, regaining some of the previous day's losses. Tech, health care, and industrial shares led the way, with homebuilders also climbing following a report showing that pending U.S. home sales edged up last month. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial indexes rose by 0.1 percent, and the Nasdaq inched up by 0.04 percent. Futures for all three gained modestly early Thursday as rising oil prices lifted energy stocks. "Trading is obviously very light, but the market is certainly going out on a high as we head into the end of the year," said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.

4

Consumer confidence falls but stays strong

Consumer confidence dipped slightly this month but remained high during the holiday shopping season, the Conference Board said Wednesday. "Despite the decline in confidence, consumers' expectations remain at historically strong levels, suggesting economic growth will continue well into 2018," said Conference Board economist Lynn Franco. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index edged down to 122.1 in December from 128.6 in November. The fall was slightly more than predicted. "This is an unexpected sign of weakness from the biggest driver of U.S. economic growth," Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research report.

5

Former Shkreli lawyer convicted of helping defraud drug company

New York lawyer Evan Greebel, who once advised disgraced former drug executive Martin Shkreli, was convicted on Wednesday of helping Shkreli defraud a pharmaceutical company. A different jury earlier this year cleared Shkreli of the same charge but found him guilty of defrauding hedge fund investors. Greebel served as outside counsel to Shkreli's former company, Retrophin Inc. Bridget Rohde, acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, said the verdict showed lawyers can't "use their legal expertise to facilitate the commission of crime." A lawyer for Greebel, who denies wrongdoing, said the defense team was "shocked by the verdict" and would continue to fight to clear him.

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