Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 5, 2018

Trump's trade adviser says no exceptions on tariffs for allies, Black Panther scores a huge third weekend, and more

1

Key Trump aide says no exceptions on tariffs for allies

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that it was unlikely that the Trump administration would exempt any allies from President Trump's suddenly announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, which will hit Canada and Europe hardest. "As soon as he starts exempting countries, he has to raise the tariff on everybody else," Navarro said on Fox News Sunday. Separately, he said on CNN that Trump could grant exceptions if they serve U.S. interests. Several Republicans urged Trump to reverse his decision, saying it would do the U.S. more harm than good. Kevin Brady, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, urged Trump to exempt Canada and Mexico, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said: "You're punishing the American taxpayers, and you are making a huge mistake."

2

Black Panther leads the box office with another big weekend

Black Panther remained the box office leader with a $65.7 million haul over the weekend. It had the third-biggest third weekend ever, behind Avatar, which brought in $69 million in 2010, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which banked $90 million in 2016. The Ryan Coogler-directed blockbuster has now surged past the $500 million mark in North America. Black Panther also is already the third-biggest grossing comic book superhero movie in North America, behind The Dark Knight ($534 million in 2008) and The Avengers ($623 million in 2012). Globally, the film has made a total of $900 million, and it doesn't open in China, the world's No. 2 movie market, until next weekend.

3

U.S. stock futures mixed over trade war, geopolitical concerns

U.S. stock futures were mixed early Monday after last week's losses as investors braced for the rising threat of a trade war after President Trump's announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs were met with threats of retaliation by other countries. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which dropped by 3 percent last week, slipped another 0.3 percent early Monday. S&P 500 futures dropped by 0.4 percent, and Nasdaq-100 futures gained 0.2 percent. World stocks also were mixed on Monday as investors processed China's forecast of 6.5 percent annual economic growth, down from 6.9 percent last year but still strong. The threat of political instability in Italy after Sunday elections ended with a potential hung parliament added pressure on stocks.

4

Rising U.S. shale oil output to offset OPEC cuts

Rising U.S. shale oil output will claim some of OPEC producers' market share over the next five years, the International Energy Agency said Monday. The shift will move the U.S. closer to energy self-sufficiency after once being the world's biggest oil importer. The deal between OPEC and other oil producers, including Russia, to trim production to curb a global glut, has helped increase oil prices, which is expected to spark U.S. production to rise by 2.7 million barrels per day to 12.1 million in 2023. Those increases from U.S. shale fields would more than offset declines in supply elsewhere. Adding natural gas liquids production, which will rise by 1 million barrels per day to 4.7 million by 2023, will make the U.S. the world's top oil liquids producer, by far.

5

West Virginia teachers' strike enters 8th school day

West Virginia public school teachers are striking for an eighth day on Monday, after lawmakers balked at the deal for a 5 percent pay raise Gov. Jim Justice (R) reached with union leaders last week. The state House passed the raise, but the state Senate approved a bill with just a 4 percent raise, so a conference committee was appointed to resolve the difference. Senate opponents said the money wasn't there for the full raise, but Democrats said the one-percent difference only amounted to $13 million, and new revenue projections indicated the state could afford it. West Virginia's teachers, among the lowest paid in the nation, walked out on Feb. 22, forcing public schools in all 55 of the state's counties to close, canceling classes for nearly 277,000 students.

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