Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 10, 2018

Toyota and Mazda pick Alabama for their new factory's site, Kodak shares soar after it announces cryptocurrency plans, and more

1

Toyota and Mazda pick Alabama as site for new joint factory

Toyota and Mazda have chosen Alabama as the winner in a multi-state contest for a joint car factory worth $1.6 billion, Bloomberg and Reuters reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the negotiations. Alabama reportedly edged out North Carolina to get the plant after the Japanese sifted through proposals for months. Mazda and Toyota planned to announce the decision Wednesday in Montgomery, Alabama's capital. They plan to open the shared factory in 2021. It will employ up to 4,000 people and produce about 300,000 vehicles a year. It will be the first new auto assembly plant announced under President Trump, who has pressured manufacturers to create jobs in the U.S. by building more plants in the U.S. for cars to be sold here.

2

Eastman Kodak shares soar after it announces plan for its own cryptocurrency

Eastman Kodak shares jumped by nearly 120 percent on Tuesday after the photo firm said it planned to mint its own cryptocurrency, the KodakCoin. The move is part of a blockchain-based initiative to help photographers control image rights. At the CES tech show in Las Vegas, Kodak also outlined plans to install rows of Bitcoin mining rigs at its Rochester, New York, headquarters, making it the latest company to make a move into blockchain activity. "This is a phenomenon we saw back during the dot com days in the late 1990s where traditional companies would mention some kind of internet strategy and their stock price would jump up," said Garrick Hileman from the University of Cambridge.

3

U.S. stock futures pull back after string of records

U.S. stock futures dropped early Wednesday in apparent profit-taking following a series of record closes in 2018, including the most records in a new year for the S&P 500 since 1964. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 fell by 0.5 percent. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 dropped by 0.7 percent. Analysts said the pullback was just a pause in the rally. All three main U.S. stock indexes closed at record highs on Tuesday, with a lift from health care and bank stocks. The Dow led the way, rising by 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 edged up by 0.13 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.09 percent.

4

Judge temporarily blocks Trump effort to end DACA protections

A federal judge late Tuesday temporarily blocked the Trump administration's effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has let more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children stay in the country and work. U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a request by California and other plaintiffs to delay President Trump's decision to end the program while lawsuits work their way through the courts. Alsup said the plaintiffs had shown that young immigrants were otherwise "likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm." The ruling came as Democrats and Republicans debate giving the immigrants a way to stay. The Justice Department called the program, implemented by former President Barack Obama in 2012, an "an unlawful circumvention of Congress."

5

India eases rules on foreign investment in bid to boost growth

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday eased restrictions on foreign investment in retail and airlines in an effort to revive economic growth in Asia's third biggest economy. Foreign airlines now can buy up to 49 percent of money-losing state carrier Air India. Single-brand retailers and builders will be able to do business in India without approval from the federal government, and without local partners. "By increasing the limits you are sending out a signal that you are moving in the direction of opening up the Indian economy to foreign investment," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Care Ratings Ltd. "How much actual investment comes depends on other conditions in the market."

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