The daily business briefing: August 27, 2018

The U.S. and Mexico near a NAFTA breakthrough, Tesla shares fall after Musk drops proposal to take company private, and more

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Australia
(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. U.S. and Mexico near NAFTA deal as talks continue

U.S. and Mexican trade negotiators are nearing a deal settling bilateral sticking points on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement, with talks resuming Monday, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Sunday. "We've continued making progress," Guajardo said. Mexico and the U.S. have focused on revising rules for auto production, which President Trump identified as a reason he sees the 24-year-old trade pact as a "disaster" for U.S. workers. Canada will return to the discussions once the U.S. and Mexico reach a deal. The easing trade tensions and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's most recent expression of confidence in U.S. economic growth helped lift global stocks, with futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 up by 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Reuters MarketWatch

2. Tesla shares fall after Musk scraps proposal to take company private

Trading in Tesla shares in Germany on Monday suggested the electric-car maker's stock was headed for a 5 percent drop when U.S. markets open, as investors digest CEO Elon Musk's decision to drop plans to take the company private. Musk said in a Friday blog post that consultations aided by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley had found that existing shareholders opposed the proposal, which Musk revealed in a tweet three weeks ago. Tesla's shares are already down by nearly 10 percent from where they were on Aug. 7, just before Musk's controversial Twitter post. Musk and Tesla still face investor lawsuits and the possibility of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the accuracy of Musk's claim in his tweet that funding for the buyout deal was already "secured."

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3. China's Didi Chuxing suspends Hitch ride service after killing

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is suspending one of its carpooling services, Hitch, nationwide starting Monday following the rape and murder of a woman, allegedly by her driver, the company said Sunday. The company also fired two executives in the latest rush by China's largest online ride-hailing platform to deal with public complaints. The company's users book about 30 million rides per day. The latest fatal attack blamed on a driver came just three months after the last one, in which another Didi driver was accused of killing a flight attendant. In the latest case, police in the city of Yuequing in Zhejiang province said the Didi driver admitted raping and killing the 20-year-old woman, who hailed a ride from him on Friday. She reportedly sent a text message asking friends for help after the driver picked her up.

The Associated Press

4. Crazy Rich Asians leads the box office for 2nd weekend

Crazy Rich Asians led the box office for the second straight weekend, bringing in an estimated $25 million. The romantic comedy's second-weekend haul was down just 6 percent from its debut weekend, a feat rarely seen in Hollywood as most films drop sharply after their opening splash. Incredibles 2, for example, fell by 56 percent between its first and second weekends. Crazy Rich Asians now has made $76.8 million domestically. The Warner Bros. film was the first major studio movie with a mostly Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club, which was in theaters 25 years ago. Crazy Rich Asians has exceeded expectations by so much that the studio has already started working on a sequel.


5. Rare '70s Apple computer goes up for auction

A rare piece of Apple computer history is going up for auction. One of just 60 of the remaining Apple 1 computers, out of 200 originally made, will be sold by Boston-based RR Auction in September. The computer is fully functioning, after being restored by Apple expert Corey Cohen. It includes the original keyboard from the 1970s, and performed flawlessly in a roughly eight-hour test. The computers were built in 1976 and 1977 by Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Cupertino, California. The computer originally sold for $666, but is expected to bring at least $300,000 at auction.

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.