The daily business briefing: August 14, 2018

Stocks rebound as fear of contagion from Turkish crisis eases, Tesla's stock fluctuates on questions over Musk plan, and more

The Turkish lira
(Image credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

1. Global stocks, U.S. futures rebound as Turkey fears ebb

European stocks bounced back from days of losses on Tuesday after the Turkish lira surged by 7 percent off of historic lows after a three-week decline. The lira still has lost two-fifths of its value this year in the country's ongoing financial crisis. The relief over the lira's positive swing combined with reassuring German data to offset signs of slowing growth in China. U.S. stock index futures climbed early Tuesday. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 0.4 percent, while those of the Nasdaq-100 gained 0.5 percent. Turkey's situation remained tense, however. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday threatened to boycott U.S.-made electronic products, escalating a feud with the Trump administration that has contributed to the lira's losses.

CNBC The Washington Post

2. Tesla stock fluctuates on questions over Musk's plan

Tesla's stock swung between gains and losses on Monday as investors digested CEO Elon Musk's comments about his proposal to take the electric car maker private. Tesla shares jumped by more than 3 percent in pre-market trading after a blog post by Musk went up on the company's website in which he said representatives of Saudi Arabia's sovereign-wealth fund had approached him "multiple times" about taking Tesla private. The shares later dropped before ending the day up by 0.3 percent at $356.41. Last week, Musk tweeted that he had "funding secured" to take the company private once the shares reached $420, sending the stock soaring. Investors have filed at least one lawsuit over Musk's remarks due to their effect on the stock, and federal regulators reportedly are looking into the comments.

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3. China steps up spending plan as economy slows

China's finance ministry on Tuesday told local governments to accelerate issuance of bonds for infrastructure projects in the coming months as fresh data showed signs of a cooling economy. The government also unveiled a $14 billion urban railway plan. Official data showed fixed-asset investment slowing to a lower-than-expected 5.5 percent in January through July as Beijing discouraged heavy government borrowing for projects intended to boost growth. China has been shifting its focus to boosting domestic demand and dialing back its campaign to reduce financial risks and debt since its trade war with the Trump administration started. As U.S. prepares even tougher tariffs on Chinese imports, domestic consumers are showing more caution in their spending.


4. Home Depot crushes expectations, shares rise

Home Depot shares jumped by 3 percent in pre-market trading on Tuesday after the home-improvement chain reported quarterly revenue and profit that exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The Atlanta company said its second-quarter profit reached $3.51 billion, or $3.05 per share. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were expecting just $2.84 per share. The company also raised its revenue and profit projections for the rest of 2018. Home Depot had been facing headwinds after a chilly start to spring prompted many homeowners to put off gardening and remodeling projects, but business picked up in summer as people invested in properties hoping to see them appreciate.

The Associated Press CNBC

5. Times Up distributes $750,000 to groups helping low-wage workers

The Times Up Legal Defense Fund, dedicated to helping victims of sexual harassment and assault, on Tuesday announced its first grants to 18 groups supporting low-wage and domestic workers. The recipients included groups working on education and outreach, as well as those offering resources to people in need. Fatima Goss Graves, CEO of the National Women's Law Center, a nonprofit managing the fund, said about 3,500 people have shared their stories and asked for help since the fund launched in January. "It's a big reminder that harassment happens everywhere," Graves said. "We are seeing women working in some of the lowest-paid fields contact us, and some of the highest-paid fields."

The Associated Press

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.