The daily business briefing: August 16, 2018

Corona beer maker invests big in Canadian cannabis producer, regulators subpoena Tesla after Musk tweet, and more

Tesla cars outside a showroom
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

1. Corona beer maker invests big in Canada's top cannabis producer

Corona beer maker Constellation Brands announced Wednesday that it would infuse another $4 billion into Canada's top cannabis producer, Canopy Growth. The move marks the biggest investment in the pot industry, which is seeing booming demand. Constellation invested nearly $200 million in Canopy last year in a partnership to make a non-alcoholic cannabis-based beverage, making it one of the first alcohol makers to dive into the pot business. Toronto-listed Canopy's shares rose by as much as 35 percent on the news, but Constellation shares fell by 8 percent in New York. Canopy said it would use the proceeds from the deal to expand and raise its profile in the nearly 30 countries likely to approve medical marijuana. "This (deal) marks the end of the warm-up in our sector," Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said. "It's fully go-time."


2. Securities regulators subpoena Tesla as scrutiny of Musk tweet continues

The Securities and Exchange Commission has served Tesla with a subpoena, adding to the fallout from a tweet by CEO Elon Musk in which he said he was considering taking the electric car maker private, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the investigation. The subpoena came days after regulators began looking into the Aug. 7 Twitter post. In the tweet, Musk said he had funding for the move, which could take tens of billions of dollars, "secured." The stock's value shot up by 11 percent on the day of the post, although it fell in the coming days and has fluctuated since. On Wednesday, it fell by 3 percent in afternoon trading.

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The New York Times CNBC

3. U.S. stock futures rise after Wednesday's decline

U.S. stock-index futures rose early Thursday after a sharp decline on Wednesday as Turkey's currency crisis continued to worry investors. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.5 percent, while those for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq-100 gained 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq's larger gains were boosted by better-than-expected results from tech industry bellwether Cisco. On Wednesday, all three of the major U.S. indexes closed down due to fears of contagion from Turkey's troubles to foreign banks. The Turkish lira rallied Wednesday for the second straight session after Turkish officials said Qatar had pledged $15 billion in direct investments for Turkey. Trade tensions with the U.S. have contributed to the crisis, with President Trump imposing new tariffs and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan retaliating.

MarketWatch Reuters

4. Uber reports narrower losses

Uber reported Wednesday that it lost $891 million in the most recent quarter, down from $1.06 billion in the same period last year. The ride-hailing service continued to attract more riders and revenue, with gross bookings hitting $12 billion, an increase of 41 percent over a year ago. The company's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is struggling to lead the company out of a series of controversies surrounding its corporate culture, and lure back disillusioned riders who defected to rival Lyft. After driver payments, promotion costs, and other expenses, Uber posted net revenue of $2.8 billion, up 63 percent from a year ago. "We had another great quarter, continuing to grow at an impressive rate for a business of our scale," Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

The Associated Press

5. Italy moves to revoke bridge operator's contract after collapse

Shares in the holding company for Autostrade per l'Italia, operator of the bridge that collapsed this week in the Italian port city of Genoa, plunged by more than 20 percent on Thursday after the government announced steps to revoke its contract to operate toll roads. Trading was so volatile that analysts could only estimate the size of the price drop, which resulted in suspended trading due to a rule triggered when shares rise or fall by more than 10 percent. Holding company Atlantia, owned by the Benetton fashion company, said in a statement that the government could not legally revoke the contract without finding specific fault by the company in the collapse, which left dozens dead.

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.