The daily business briefing: May 14, 2018
Trump vows to help China's ZTE 'get back into business" after sanctions, Waymo hires a Tesla safety executive, and more
Trump pledges to help China's ZTE rebound 'fast' after sanctions
President Trump on Sunday vowed to help Chinese cellphone maker ZTE Corp. "get back into business, fast," after being targeted with crippling U.S. sanctions. ZTE suspended its main operations after the Commerce Department last month banned U.S. companies from selling parts and services to the tech company for seven years over its failure to honor the terms of an agreement made after it was found to be illegally shipping U.S. goods to Iran and North Korea. Trump, in what was seen as a goodwill gesture ahead of high-stakes trade talks this week, tweeted: "Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!" Trump said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a fix.
Waymo hires safety executive from Tesla
Google-parent Alphabet's self-driving unit, Waymo, said on Sunday that it had hired Tesla executive Matthew Schwall, confirming a move first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Schwall was director of field performance engineering at Tesla, and served as the electric car maker's main technical contact with federal safety investigators. He will work on several self-driving car safety issues at Waymo. His departure from Tesla came as the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating several crashes involving electric vehicles.
Stock futures rise on latest sign of cooling U.S.-China tensions
U.S. stock futures rose early Monday after the latest sign that trade tensions were easing between the U.S. and China. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq-100 rose by 0.3 percent, while those of the S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent. The Dow is going for its eighth straight day of gains, which would be its longest winning streak since September 2017. The fresh optimism on China came as President Trump said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to keep Chinese telecom giant ZTE in business after it was hit hard by U.S. sanctions last month.
Chili's announces data breach
Tex-Mex chain Chili's Grill & Bar announced over the weekend that a data breach might have exposed some customers' credit and debit card information to hackers. The chain's parent company, Brinker International, did not provide a list of affected restaurants, but said that the breach occurred between March and April. "We sincerely apologize to those who may have been affected and assure you we are working diligently to resolve this incident," Brinker International said in a statement. The company said it discovered the problem on Friday. Hackers appear to have used malware to get access to the data.
Avengers: Infinity War leads box office for third weekend
Avengers: Infinity War led the domestic box office for the third straight weekend, earning $61.8 million this weekend. Life of the Party, starring Melissa McCarthy, was No. 2 with $16.2 million. Avengers: Infinity War made a record $257.6 million in North America on its first weekend, then tacked on another $112.5 million in its second weekend. Its hauls in weeks two and three were the second highest totals ever, behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Avengers: Infinity War reached $500 million domestically faster than any film other than Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it reached $1 billion globally faster than any other movie. Its global total has now reached $1.6 billion, making it the fifth biggest international release of all time.