The daily business briefing: February 13, 2019

Harold Maass
Cars for sale
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
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U.S. stocks gain after lawmakers reach tentative deal to prevent shutdown

Stocks surged on Tuesday on the news that congressional negotiators had reached a tentative deal on border security in time to avert another federal government shutdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite rose by about 1.5 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 1.3 percent. Markets also got a boost from optimism about the prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal. U.S. stock index futures gained early Wednesday after President Trump said Tuesday that he might be willing to extend the truce in his trade war with China to provide more time for the world's two biggest economies to reach a deal. [CNBC]


National debt rises above $22 trillion for first time

The national debt has risen above $22 trillion for the first time, the Treasury Department reported Tuesday. Over the last month, the national debt increased by $30 billion to $22.012 trillion. The debt has been rising faster since Republicans passed President Trump's 2017 tax cuts, and rose by more than $1 trillion in just the last 11 months. An increase in domestic and military spending has contributed, too. Experts say this could lead to an increase in interest rates, and make it more difficult for the government to cover programs. The national debt was at $19.95 trillion when Trump took office. [USA Today]


7 million Americans 3 months behind on car payments

Seven million Americans are at least 90 days behind on their car payments, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Tuesday. The number marked a record. Economists said it was troubling to see the number rise higher than it was following the financial crisis a decade ago despite today's low unemployment and growing economy. "The substantial and growing number of distressed borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefited from the strong labor market," New York Fed economists wrote in a blog post. Car delinquencies are considered a sign of real financial trouble, because people need their vehicles to get to work, and can live out of them if they lose their homes. "Your car loan is your No. 1 priority in terms of payment," said Michael Taiano, a senior director at Fitch Ratings. [The Washington Post]


U.S. on track to become net exporter of oil

The U.S. expects domestic oil production to rise this year and next, making the U.S. a net exporter of crude and petroleum products in 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday. Government forecasters are reaffirming estimates of 12.4 million barrels of daily crude production in 2019 and 13.2 million barrels daily in 2020. The U.S. already is the world's biggest oil producer, with most of the increasing production expected to come from Texas and New Mexico, areas already booming from hydraulic fracturing and other methods of getting oil and gas out of shale formations. "The U.S. energy industry continues to transform itself," said Linda Capuano, administrator of the Energy Information Administration. [The Associated Press]


Report: Renault board to cancel $34 million in Ghosn pay, severance

Renault's board plans to cancel as much as $34 million in ousted leader Carlos Ghosn's deferred pay and severance, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Ghosn, 64, was arrested in Japan in November for allegedly failing to disclose more than $80 million in 2010-2018 compensation. Nissan, part of an auto-making alliance with French automaker Renault, ousted Ghosn as its chairman after the arrest. He resigned from Renault last month. The Renault board met Wednesday and is expected to drop a two-year non-compete clause with Ghosn, which is worth about $5 million, as well as 460,000 performance shares allotted for Ghosn since 2014 now worth about $29 million. [Reuters]