Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 12, 2018

Black Panther reaches $1 billion worldwide, Musk says SpaceX Mars spaceship will be ready for 2019 test flights, and more

1

Black Panther hits the $1 billion mark at the global box office

Black Panther continued to dominate as it reached $1 billion in the global box office in just four weeks, according to estimates released by Box Office Mojo on Sunday. It is the 16th Disney movie to reach the billion-dollar mark, and the first Marvel superhero film to top ticket sales for four weeks in a row. Black Panther has grossed $562 million domestically, making it the No. 7 highest-grossing movie ever in North America, without adjusting for inflation. It has now surpassed The Dark Knight to become the second highest-grossing superhero movie ever in the U.S.

2

Musk says SpaceX Mars spaceship will be ready for short trips in 2019

SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Sunday at South by Southwest in Austin that the spacecraft his company plans to send to Mars should be ready for its first test flights in the first half of next year. SpaceX aims for the privately-funded project, announced in September 2017, to send a cargo ship to Mars by 2022, with an ultimate goal of setting up the infrastructure needed for a human colony on Mars. Once the basics — including glass domes, a power station, and other infrastructure needed for survival — are in place, Musk said, "then really the explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity [will begin], because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints."

3

U.S. stocks poised to extend gains after strong jobs report

U.S. stock futures rose sharply on Monday, indicating that Wall Street would start the week by extending gains it made Friday after a stronger than expected jobs report. A big February job gain showed the economy is strong, while moderate wage growth eased fears that rising inflation would prompt the Federal Reserve to speed up interest rate hikes. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.6 percent, while S&P 500 futures gained 0.5 percent and Nasdaq-100 futures jumped by 0.7 percent. On Friday, the Dow jumped by 1.7 percent to close above the 25,000 level for the first time since Feb. 28. Markets also rallied across Asia on Monday in the wake of Friday's surge in the U.S.

4

Report: China among countries at risk of banking crisis

China is one of the countries facing the greatest risk of a banking crisis, according to a report released by the Bank of International Settlements on Sunday. The review found that China's credit-to-GDP gap, which provides an indication of whether an economy is growing at an unhealthy pace, had surpassed a level seen as a warning sign for possible trouble. China, the world's No. 2 economy, also had a high level of debt servicing ratio, suggesting more debt than a borrower's income can support. The report found that Canada and Hong Kong were also at risk of a banking crisis, partly due to rising property prices.

5

Tesla confirms week-long shutdown aimed at speeding up Model 3 production

Tesla confirmed Sunday that it temporarily suspended production of its new Model 3 electric sedan for a week in late February to make an upgrade intended to help it increase output. "This is not unusual and is in fact common in production ramps like this," a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement. The Model 3 is Tesla's first mass-market vehicle, and it is considered crucial to the company's long-term success. But ramping up production has taken longer and cost more than the company expected. Tesla now hopes to reach a weekly production rate of 2,500 Model 3 sedans by the end of March, and 5,000 by late June.

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