The daily business briefing: May 21, 2018
Mnuchin puts China trade war "on hold," stock futures rise as trade tensions ease, and more
Mnuchin: U.S. puts China trade war 'on hold'
The U.S. will hold off on imposing tariffs on Chinese products as talks continue on reducing America's trade deficit with China, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday. "We're putting the trade war on hold," Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. Mnuchin said the two countries had made significant progress in negotiations last week. Beijing committed Saturday to significantly increasing its purchases of U.S. goods and services. U.S. officials said last week that China would increase its purchases by $200 billion, although economists speculate that figure is too high, as it amounts to more than half of the annual trade gap. Mnuchin declined to confirm a specific total.
Stock futures rise as China trade tensions ease
U.S. stock futures surged early Monday as investors reacted to news of a deal aimed at reducing America's trade deficit with China. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped by 0.9 percent, while those of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 rose by 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Oil prices and the dollar also rose after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared the brewing trade war between the U.S. and China to be "on hold." "There's certainly a 'feel-good' sentiment on risky assets" due to the U.S. trade announcement, said Stephane Barbier de la Serre, a strategist at Makor Capital Markets, although he cautioned that it was too early to call the U.S.-China agreement a definitive truce.
GE near deal to merge transport business with Wabtec
General Electric is close to a deal to merge its transportation business with Wabtec Corp., Reuters reported Sunday, citing two people familiar with the matter. The GE unit makes train engines, and Wabtec also makes rail industry equipment. The deal reportedly would value the combined business at more than $20 billion, making it the biggest yet under GE CEO John Flannery, who took over in August under orders to cut costs and boost the industrial giant's falling stock price. The merger deal is expected to be announced as early as this week, Reuters reported.
Starbucks to let people sit in cafes, use bathrooms without buying anything
Starbucks announced over the weekend that it would allow people to sit in its cafes and use the restrooms even if they don't buy anything. The announcement came five weeks after the manager of a Philadelphia Starbucks called police on two young black men who arrived early for a business meeting at the coffee shop, and were sitting down after being told they could not use the restroom because they hadn't made a purchase. The men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, reached a settlement with Philadelphia city officials, agreeing to a symbolic payment of $1 each. The city agreed to provide $200,000 for a grant program for teens aspiring to be entrepreneurs.
Deadpool 2 bumps Avengers: Infinity War from top of box office
Deadpool 2 dethroned Avengers: Infinity War as leader of the box office, taking in $125 million in the U.S. and Canada over its opening weekend. The debut of the sequel featuring Ryan Reynolds' wisecracking superhero was the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie. Deadpool 2's haul fell just short of a projected $130 million to $150 million debut. It also fell shy of the original Deadpool's opening weekend haul of $132.4 million. Avengers: Infinity War had led the box office for the three previous weekends. It dropped to second place, adding $28.7 million to its domestic total, which now stands at $595 million. Worldwide is has brought in $1.8 billion.