The daily business briefing: September 10, 2018

Harold Maass
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CBS chief Moonves leaves after new sexual misconduct charges

Longtime CBS chief Leslie Moonves stepped down Sunday night, hours after The New Yorker magazine reported new sexual misconduct allegations against him by six women. One of the women said Moonves forced her to perform oral sex, and others said he retaliated when they rejected his advances. Moonves acknowledged that he had relations with three of the women but denied using his position to hurt their careers. Six other women accused Moonves of sexual harassment or assault in a previous New Yorker article. CBS let Moonves remain on the job after the previous allegations but the CBS board of directors announced Sunday that he would leave effective immediately. The network also will donate $20 million to organizations that support equality for women in the workplace, with the money coming out of Moonves' severance pay. [The New Yorker, The New York Times]


Jack Ma announces plan to step down as Alibaba chairman

Alibaba founder Jack Ma announced Monday that he would step down as chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant next September. In a letter released by the company, Ma said CEO Daniel Zhang would succeed him. Zhang took over the CEO post previously held by Ma in 2013 in the beginnings of the succession plan. Ma, a former English teacher, founded the company in 1999 to connect Chinese exporters with foreign partners. Alibaba later expanded into direct retail sales to consumers, growing into the world's biggest e-commerce company, as measured by total value of goods sold and making Ma, 54, one of China's most famous and richest entrepreneurs. [USA Today]


U.S. stock futures rise after last week's losses

U.S. stock futures edged higher early Monday as Wall Street's three main indexes struggled to bounce back from last week's losses. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 percent while those of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 rose by 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. On Friday, all three finished lower, capping weekly losses for the S&P of 1 percent, and 2.6 percent for the Nasdaq Composite. All three of the gauges are up 4.8 percent to 14 percent on the year. Trade tensions, offset by strong U.S. economic data, have weighed on global stocks for months. [MarketWatch]


Ford says it won't build hatchback in U.S.

Ford said Sunday it would not move production of its Focus Active hatchback wagon to the U.S. from China, despite President Trump's claim that his new tariffs mean the vehicle can be made in America. Ford said on Aug. 31 that it was scrapping plans to ship the cars from China to America, citing the tariffs. Trump claimed victory, tweeting: "This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!" But Ford said it would "not be profitable" to build the vehicle in the U.S. because it expected yearly sales below 50,000. In April, Ford announced that it would focus on more profitable SUVs and stop making cars in the U.S. other than Mustangs. [The Associated Press]


China threatens retaliation as Trump eyes more tariffs

China on Monday vowed to retaliate if President Trump follows through with his proposal to extend new tariffs to Chinese products worth $267 billion under his push to force China to roll back what he calls unfair trade policies. The Trump administration already has imposed 25 percent levies on $50 billion of Chinese goods, and a public comment period on tariffs covering another $200 billion came to a close last week. Added to those tariffs, the $267 billion in goods Trump said he is now considering would extend the levies to nearly all of China's exports to the U.S. China exported $3 worth of goods for every $1 worth that it imported from the U.S., so Beijing soon would run out of tariffs it could enact to retaliate. That raises the possibility it could target operations of U.S. companies instead. [The Associated Press]