The daily business briefing: December 11, 2018

Harold Maass
Emmanuel Macron in Paris
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Theresa May seeks concessions from EU leaders after postponing Brexit vote

British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting with European leaders on Tuesday in a bid to salvage her deal on Britain's exit from the European Union. May on Monday postponed a crucial parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal with the EU, saying it faced rejection. May is expected to seek concessions from European leaders, including on the question of how to keep goods flowing across the border of Northern Ireland in the U.K. and EU-member Ireland. British lawmakers want flexibility on that issue, a key sticking point. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that there was "no room whatsoever for renegotiation." The apparent impasse left no clear path forward for May's government ahead of the U.K.'s scheduled March exit from the European trading bloc. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]


Macron calls for wage hike and bonuses in bid to end protests

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday urged employers to give workers end-of-year bonuses, repeated a pledge to raise the minimum wage, and promised to reduce taxes in a bid to end weeks of demonstrations by yellow-vested protesters. Macron also vowed to use "all means" to restore order, acknowledging widespread "indignation" at dwindling purchasing power. He said the public's anger was "in many ways legitimate" but said that "no anger justifies" looting stores or attacking police. "When violence is unleashed freedom stops," the embattled French president said in a televised address. [Fox News, BBC News]


Stocks climb back from heavy losses; futures point to more gains

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up by 25 points on Monday after climbing back from a 507-point drop as technology shares rebounded. The S&P 500 gained 0.15 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose by 0.8 percent. Amazon, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet all gained more than 0.7 percent. Facebook shares surged by 3.4 percent. Apple's stock closed up by 0.7 percent, recovering from a 2 percent plunge that came after a Chinese court ruled it had infringed on patents held by Qualcomm and ordered Apple to stop selling some late-model iPhones in the country. Futures rose sharply early Tuesday after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly said he had started talking with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about easing the U.S.-China trade war. [CNBC, The Washington Post]


Alphabet discloses another privacy bug and speeds up shutdown of Google+

Google-parent Alphabet said Monday that it would shut down Google+ in April, four months earlier than previously planned. Alphabet made the decision to speed things up after finding a software flaw that had could have allowed partner apps to access 52.5 million users' private data. In October, the company revealed that another bug might have exposed the data of 500,000 users to partner apps. Alphabet said then that it would scrap the consumer version of Google+ in August 2019, citing difficulties maintaining the unpopular service. The latest disclosure came a day before CEO Sundar Pichai was scheduled to testify to the House Judiciary Committee about Google's data collection practices. [Reuters]


Job openings edge down from record but remain high

The number of jobs open in the U.S. rose by 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 7.1 million in October, the Labor Department reported on Monday. The figure marked a step down from the 7.3 million open jobs tallied in August, but it was still the second highest number of openings on record. The data provided the latest evidence that the labor market remains strong and suggested that the modest slowdown in hiring in last Friday's jobs report did not indicate gloom among employers. The jobs report said employers added 155,000 jobs in November, down from 237,000 in October. Some economists interpreted the disappointing hiring number as a sign that robust hiring was starting to decelerate. [The Associated Press]