Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 6, 2018

Trump name comes off Panama hotel after showdown, judge orders Martin Shkreli to forfeit $7.4 million in assets, and more


Showdown appears to end with Trump name coming off Panama hotel

Workers pried the Trump name off the sign in front of the Trump International Hotel in Panama on Monday, after the building's owner said he had won a battle with the president's family company over control of the property. The majority owner, Cypriot businessman Orestes Fintiklis, has been locked in a 10-day standoff with the Trump Organization, which has a management contract through 2031. Fintiklis sought to fire the organization, saying he blames it and the Trump brand for low revenue. Police showed up at the hotel several times during the clash, which included shoving matches and a power outage. Trump Organization executives said they would keep fighting to win control over the hotel, the company's only property in Latin America.


Judge orders Shkreli to forfeit $7.4 million in assets

Judge Kyo Matsumoto ruled Monday that former drug company leader Martin Shkreli will have to forfeit $7.4 million to the federal government under his upcoming criminal sentence on a fraud conviction. Shkreli was reported last year to be cash-broke, so the judge ordered him to forfeit his stake in several "substitute" assets, including a $5 million E-Trade brokerage account, the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and a painting by Pablo Picasso. He also will have to give up his stake in the drug company Vyera Pharmaceuticals. Shkreli became notorious while leading Vyera, formerly known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, by raising the price on a life-saving drug for AIDS patients by 5,000 percent in 2015.


Target shares fall after mixed report

Target shares dropped by 3.5 percent before the opening bell on Tuesday after the giant retailer reported better-than-expected sales in the fourth quarter but gave a cautious outlook on profit moving forward. Target's quarterly earnings also offset its strong online and in-store sales growth. The company also said it would continue a push to modernize by investing another $7 billion this year to open smaller stores and remodel older locations. Target's purchase of startup Shipt will help in the rollout of same-day delivery from roughly half its stores early this year.


Lego reports first sales, profit drop in more than 10 years

Lego on Tuesday reported its first sales and profit drop in more than a decade, saying it had sent "too much" stock to shops and warehouses. The family-owned Danish company said sales fell by 8 percent in a "challenging year" that forced it to cut 1,400 jobs. Profits fell by 17 percent, the company's first decline since 2003. Lego is facing strong headwinds as children turn away from its plastic mini-bricks and play more with modern toys. "We started 2018 in better shape and during the coming year we will stabilize the business by continuing to invest in great products," said Niels Christiansen, who took over as Lego's chief executive five months ago. "There is no quick fix and it will take some time to achieve longer-term growth."


U.S. stocks shake off days of losses

U.S. stocks surged on Monday, shaking off early losses and shifting momentum after several days of heavy losses. The S&P 500 dropped by 0.6 percent to start the day but turned around and closed up by 1.1 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 1.4 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped up by 1 percent. President Trump's threat of a trade war had weighed on stocks for several days, making it hard for analysts to predict where markets would head next. "It's incredibly difficult to try to understand the whims of this current administration and to try to make forecasts," said Emily Roland, head of capital markets research for John Hancock Investments. U.S. futures rose after North Korea signaled it would talk with the U.S. about abandoning its nuclear program.


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