The daily business briefing: April 26, 2018
Ford says it will stop selling most of its cars in the U.S., Facebook's earnings beat expectations despite its privacy scandal, and more
Ford to stop selling most of its cars in the U.S.
Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it planned to cut another $11.5 billion from its spending plans and stop selling most of its cars in the U.S., including the Fusion, Taurus, and other slow-selling sedans to focus on trucks and SUVs. The moves are part of President and CEO Jim Hackett's "fitness" initiative. The company expects to save $25.5 billion by 2022 as it works to reach a profit margin target ahead of schedule, Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said as the company reported first-quarter earnings per share and revenue that exceeded expectations. Ford now says it should hit an 8 percent profit margin by 2020, two years ahead of schedule. "Everything is on the table," Shanks said. "We can exit products (and) markets."
Facebook earnings beat expectations despite privacy concerns
Facebook on Wednesday reported quarterly sales and profits that exceeded analysts' expectations despite the data-privacy scandal that erupted in March. Users and lawmakers have criticized Facebook over its handling of personal data after revelations that data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed information on tens of millions of users. Facebook said its sales totaled $11.97 billion in the quarter, beating analysts' average estimate of $11.41 billion. Its profit came in at $4.99 billion, up from the $4.01 billion analysts expected. "Despite facing important challenges, our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018," Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call. Facebook shares jumped 4 percent in after-hours trading.
Teachers plan walkouts in Arizona and Colorado
Thousands of teachers in Arizona and Colorado plan to walk out of their classrooms on Thursday in the latest in a string of protests demanding higher pay and more funding for public schools. The planned walkouts have forced hundreds of schools to temporarily shut down in the two states. Teachers said they were following the leads of their counterparts in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. "Our colleagues in other states have shown us what's possible," said Noah Karvelis, a 23-year-old music teacher who helped organize the walkout in Arizona.
Chevron evacuates executives from Venezuela
Oil giant Chevron Corp. has evacuated its executives from Venezuela after the government in the South American nation imprisoned two of its workers over a contract dispute with state-owned oil company PDVSA, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing four sources familiar with the matter. Chevron also told other employees to stay away from facilities involved in its joint venture with PDVSA. The arrests came in the first raid by government agents since Venezuela's government launched a purge last fall that has led to the arrest of dozens of executives at PDVSA and some of its business partners. The arrested Chevron workers reportedly had balked at signing an expensive contract for furnace parts proposed by PDVSA officials.
Secret audio reveals NFL owners fretted over Trump's national anthem tweets
Audio of an October 2017 meeting between NFL owners, executives, and player leaders obtained by The New York Times reveals the conflict the league's management faced as President Trump ramped up his criticism of the national anthem protests last fall. Despite a close relationship with the president, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the room that Trump's commentary was "divisive" and "horrible." The players "sounded aggravated" on the topic of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans, and how he remains unsigned. Some owners pushed back, with Houston Texans owner Bob McNair saying, "You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that [kneeling] business."