Business briefing

The daily business briefing: April 20, 2018

Regulators will reportedly fine Wells Fargo $1 billion in settlement, U.S. ships carrying sorghum to China turn around, and more

1

Report: Regulators to fine Wells Fargo $1 billion

Federal regulators are expected to impose a $1 billion fine on Wells Fargo on Friday as part of a settlement over allegations that the bank sold unnecessary products to customers for years. The agreement between Wells Fargo and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will mark the toughest crackdown on a major bank so far by the Trump administration. Wells Fargo was accused of numerous misdeeds, including forcing customers to buy auto insurance policies they did not need, The New York Times reported, citing four people briefed on the regulatory action. The penalty could help insulate the Trump administration against allegations that it is going easy on big banks.

2

Ships carrying U.S. sorghum to China turn around after tariff announcement

Several ships carrying sorghum from the U.S. to China turned around this week after Beijing imposed a 178.6 percent anti-dumping surcharge on imports of the grain from the U.S., Reuters reported late Thursday, citing trade sources and an analysis of export and shipping data. Twenty ships were carrying 1.2 million tons of the grain, valued at more than $216 million, and at least five of the vessels changed course within hours of China's announcement on Tuesday. Sorghum is used as an animal feed, and represents a small part of the billions of dollars in exports involved in a simmering trade dispute between the Trump administration and China.

3

Kushner Cos. subpoenaed after AP report on false paperwork

The Kushner Cos. confirmed Thursday it received a federal grand-jury subpoena for information related to its paperwork on rent-regulated tenants in its buildings in New York City. The subpoena came shortly after The Associated Press reported that the company, which is run by the family of President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, routinely filed false papers with the city claiming there were no rent-regulated tenants in the buildings, even though there were hundreds. The Kushner Cos. issued a statement saying it has "nothing to hide and is cooperating fully with all legitimate requests for information, including this subpoena."

4

Stock futures get a lift from GE's better-than-expected earnings

U.S. stock futures clawed back from early losses on Friday after GE became the latest corporate giant to report quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street's expectations. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were flat after climbing back from an early drop. Futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 recovered from early declines and edged higher. Led by Thursday's declines in the consumer staples, real estate, and technology sectors, the Dow fell by 0.3 percent, dropping it back into negative territory for 2018. The S&P 500 fell by 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.8 percent. The markets, buoyed by solid corporate earnings, remained in a position to close the week with gains. GE shares gained 3.2 percent in pre-market trading.

5

Lyft aims to make riders' trips carbon neutral

Ride-hailing company Lyft announced Thursday that it will entirely offset the carbon emissions from its employees' cars, effectively making all riders' trips carbon neutral. Lyft plans to use the make, model, and miles driven by its cars to determine exactly how much CO2 it needs to offset. The company will then donate millions to carbon offset projects related to forestry, renewable energy, and landfill emissions. "In the future all vehicles will operate with clean energy," wrote the company's co-founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green, in a Medium post. "This action is not the full solution, but a real step forward."

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