The daily business briefing: March 14, 2018
Walmart announces expansion of grocery deliveries, Trump reportedly plans tariffs targeting Chinese goods, and more
Walmart expands grocery delivery as battle with Amazon escalates
Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to about 800 stores in 100 cities by the end of the year, the giant retailer said Wednesday. The move, which will affect markets that reach 40 percent of the U.S. population, marks an escalation in Walmart's battle with Amazon, which recently expanded its new Amazon Prime grocery delivery service to six cities, and is adding other Prime benefits for shoppers at the Amazon-owned Whole Foods. Other grocery chains such as Kroger and Target have partnered with third-party shippers like Instacart and Shipt to offer similar services. Walmart also is rolling out curbside grocery pickup at more stores.
Trump plans tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods
President Trump aims to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, primarily in the technology and telecommunications sectors, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing a source who discussed the issue with the White House. Another source said the list could include 100 targeted products. China forces U.S. companies to give up tech secrets in exchange for permission to operate in the world's No. 2 economy. Trump has repeatedly complained about China's $375 billion trade surplus with the U.S. The steel and aluminum tariffs Trump announced last week appear unlikely to trigger a feared trade war, partly because key allies are exempted, but some experts predict China will respond harshly if it is directly targeted.
Dick's Sporting Goods CEO says gun policies could hurt sales
Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack said Tuesday that the company expected to lose some sales due to its decision to raise the minimum age for rifle buyers from 18 to 21 in response to the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Stack said it was "too early to tell" how many customers Dick's would lose over the policy, but, "The announcement we made two weeks ago is not going to be positive from a traffic and sales standpoint." Stack said the company had received a surprising "outpouring of support," but that sales would nevertheless suffer because "some of those customers that buy firearms buy other things also."
Stocks struggle to regroup after being dragged down by Tillerson's firing
U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as President Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and threats of new tariffs against China stoked uncertainty and fears of a trade war. "Any time there's change, investors get nervous," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston. "They have to go back to the drawing board to figure out what the implications might be." Politico reported that the China tariffs might be imposed as early as next week. The day's news weighed on stocks after they opened higher thanks to new data showing that consumer price growth slowed last month, easing fears of rising inflation. U.S. stock futures rose early Wednesday, pointing to a rebound as investors look ahead to data on retail sales.
Trailer provides first glimpse of next Fantastic Beasts film
The first full trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald debuted Tuesday, featuring Jude Law as a young Dumbledore just sprouting his soon-to-be iconic beard. Core characters from the first Fantastic Beasts film also make an appearance, including Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander and Dan Fogler as Muggle sidekick Jacob Kowalski. Notably, there is only a brief shot of Johnny Depp as the dark wizard Grindelwald; Depp's casting as the titular villain drew controversy due to allegations of abuse leveled against him by his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Still, the trailer features plenty of flashes of magic, as well as the iconic sounds of "Hedwig's Theme."