The daily business briefing: October 24, 2018

The EU rejects Italy's budget over its deficit, a South Carolina lottery ticket hits the $1.6 billion jackpot, and more

A Mega Millions advertisement
(Image credit: ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)

1. EU rejects Italy's proposed budget over deficit

The European Union on Tuesday for the first time sent back a member state's proposed budget, rejecting the spending plan of Italy's populist government because it violated the bloc's fiscal laws and would "suffocate" Italy. The European Commission repeatedly told Italy it would have to cut its 2019 deficit or face heavy fines, but Italy's leaders stuck with a proposed deficit of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product, even though Italy's total debt is already double the eurozone limit at 131 percent of GDP. Luigi Di Maio, Italy's vice premier and the leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, wrote on Facebook after the rejection: "We know that we are on the right path, and therefore we won't stop."

The New York Times

2. Winning ticket from S.C. hits record $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot

One winning ticket sold in South Carolina matched the six winning numbers in the Tuesday night drawing for the record $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot. South Carolina Education Lottery spokesperson Holli Armstrong said the details on the winner and the location where the ticket was purchased were not being immediately released due to "security procedures." Another 36 tickets matched the five white balls, good for $1 million prizes. "A million dollars is life changing. But a billion dollars is extraordinary," said Mega Millions host John Crow. The winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70, and Mega Ball 5. The jackpot had been growing since a group of California office workers won $543 million in July.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

CBS News USA Today

3. U.S. stock futures drop, pointing S&P to 6th day of losses

U.S. stock futures fell early Wednesday, pointing to a lower open on Wall Street after the S&P 500's fifth straight day of losses on Tuesday. Futures for the S&P 500 fell by another 0.8 percent, while those of the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1 percent. On Tuesday, U.S. stocks clawed back from heavy early losses stoked by signs that President Trump's tariffs are deflating corporate earnings. The S&P 500 closed down nearly 0.6 percent after earlier falling more than 2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged by about 500 points, but closed down 126 points, or 0.5 percent. Caterpillar fell 7.6 percent despite better-than-expected quarterly results, due to concerns about rising freight costs and higher steel costs due to Trump's tariffs.

The New York Times MarketWatch

4. Trump says he 'maybe' regrets making Powell Fed chairman

President Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that while the Federal Reserve has its independence on setting economic policy, he would like Chairman Jerome Powell to know that he wants interest rates lowered. "Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates," Trump said. Powell, he added, "almost looks like he's happy raising interest rates." Powell's four-year term started in February, and when asked if he regrets nominating Powell to the post, Trump responded, "too early to say, but maybe." He also said he believes the Fed is "the biggest risk" to the economy, because "I think interest rates are being raised too quickly." The Fed has been slowly raising rates this year to protect against higher inflation or financial bubbles.

The Wall Street Journal

5. Saudi crown prince gets standing ovation despite Khashoggi backlash

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made an unannounced appearance at Saudi Arabia's global investment conference on Tuesday and received a standing ovation, despite his links to the Saudi agents believed to have killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, in Turkey. Many Western executives and government officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, canceled plans to attend the "Davos in the desert" conference, which is focused on bringing together global executives, as questions swirled over whether the crown prince ordered the killing, which he denies. The crown prince is now scheduled to participate in a Wednesday panel discussion on building the regional economy, his first public speaking appearance since Khashoggi disappeared three weeks ago.

The New York Times CNN

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

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.