Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 5, 2018

The Trump administration proposes opening most U.S. waters to drilling, the Dow reaches 25,000, and more

1

Trump administration proposes opening nearly all U.S. waters to drilling

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday that the Trump administration is proposing to expand areas open to offshore oil and natural gas drilling, including nearly all of the nation's outer continental shelf in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The proposal would lift a drilling ban imposed by former President Barack Obama in his final days in office to protect more than 100 million offshore acres in the Arctic and off the Eastern Seaboard. Environmentalists said the move would amount to a massive giveaway to oil and gas companies that would spell environmental disaster. Zinke said the move would help make the U.S. "the strongest energy superpower," drawing a clear line between the "energy weakness" of Obama and the "energy dominance" of Trump.

2

Dow surges through 25,000 barrier for first time

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged past 25,000 in Thursday morning trading, the first time that threshold has ever been crossed. The breakthrough came just five weeks after the Dow broke the 24,000 barrier, marking the blue-chip index's fastest jump ever from one thousand-point milestone to another. Many investors see no sign of the market turning bearish, and some said it could be heading for a "melt-up," a rapid surge higher that usually leads to a sharp sell-off. Futures for all three major U.S. indexes rose by another 0.2 percent early Friday ahead of the monthly jobs report.

3

Kalanick sells 29 percent of his Uber stake to SoftBank consortium

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted as chief executive in June, is selling 29 percent of his stake in the ride-hailing company for about $1.4 billion, Reuters reported Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter. The sale is part of a deal in which investors led by China's SoftBank Group are buying a 17.5 percent stake in Uber, mostly by purchasing shares from Uber employees and early investors. Kalanick had offered to sell half of his 10 percent stake in the company, but SoftBank didn't need that much. The deal values Uber at $48 billion, a 30 percent discount on a previous valuation of $68 billion.

4

Apple confirms its devices vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown flaws

Apple confirmed in a blog post Thursday that users of its iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers are affected by the Spectre and Meltdown processor flaws that make electronic devices vulnerable to hackers, although there have been no known breaches yet. In the announcement, Apple said it had released patches to counter Meltdown in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2. The company promised to release patches against Specter in its Safari browser in "coming days." "We continue to develop and test further mitigations for these issues and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS," Apple said. The company said users could also protect themselves by only downloading software from "trusted sources" to avoid installing "a malicious app."

5

U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, fewer than expected

U.S. employers added 148,000 non-farm jobs in December, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The numbers fell short of the average increase of about 190,000 predicted by economists, and marked a slowdown from an average increase of 232,000 in the two previous months. Economists had been predicting that hiring would slow down eventually, just not this soon. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent. Wages increased by 2.5 percent over the last 12 months, edging up from November's 2.4 percent figure, but still considered sluggish.

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