The daily business briefing: March 5, 2019

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma reportedly explores filing bankruptcy, a Tokyo court approves bail for Ghosn, and more

The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed August 21, 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, MA.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma considers bankruptcy filing

Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, is considering filing for bankruptcy protection to limit its potential liabilities under hundreds of lawsuits accusing it of contributing to the nation's opioid epidemic, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. The drug maker has hired two firms known as restructuring advisers. Purdue's wealthy owners, the Sackler family, face mounting pressure to address the litigation, which includes allegations that the company misled doctors and patients about the dangers of prolonged prescription opioid use. Filing for bankruptcy protection would let the company negotiate settlements with plaintiffs under a bankruptcy court judge.

The Wall Street Journal Reuters

2. Tokyo court approves Ghosn's 3rd bail request

A Tokyo court on Tuesday granted former Nissan leader Carlos Ghosn's third bail request, but prosecutors appealed the ruling, temporarily blocking his release. A final ruling could come Wednesday. The court set Ghosn's bail at 1 billion yen, or nearly $9 million. Ghosn, 64, was arrested three months ago for allegedly underreporting his income by more than $80 million. He also has been accused of shifting personal investment losses to Nissan. He denies all charges. Since his arrest, Ghosn has lost his leadership role in the automaking alliance that includes Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors of Japan, and Renault of France.

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The New York Times

3. Stock futures hover as markets await U.S.-China trade news; Target surges

U.S. stock index futures inched higher early Tuesday, pointing to a flat open as markets awaited news on progress toward a U.S.-China trade deal. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were all up by about 0.1 percent. Optimism on the prospects of an agreement to end the trade war between the world's two biggest economies lifted stocks early Monday, but the market closed down after the release of some disappointing economic data. On Tuesday, markets could be influenced by more data, including new home sales. Target shares surged by 5.7 percent early Tuesday after the discount retail giant reported holiday-quarter earnings and sales that beat Wall Street's expectations on strong traffic growth and digital sales.

CNBC MarketWatch

4. Lockheed Martin gets nearly $1 billion for Saudi missile system deal

The Pentagon said Monday it had awarded Lockheed Martin $946 million on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the company's THAAD missile defense system. The money is expected to be the first installment in a $15 billion deal. Saudi officials in November signed a government-to-government agreement to buy 44 THAAD launchers, missiles, and other equipment. The deal came despite scrutiny and criticism of the Saudi government over the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The THAAD (terminal high altitude area defense) technology is considered one of America's most prized missile defense systems.


5. Trump administration symbolically tightens Cuba embargo

The Trump administration announced Monday it will allow lawsuits against Cuban companies using properties confiscated after the 1959 revolution in the Caribbean island nation. The policy limits the lawsuits to a list of roughly 200 Cuban businesses and government agencies linked to the Cuban military and intelligence agencies and already subject to special sanctions. These businesses are not connected to U.S. legal or financial systems, so while the new policy amounts to a tightening of the six-decade U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, it is mostly symbolic and is not expected to have much impact on Cuba's economy or international companies that do business with the island's socialist government. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted that he "strongly" rejects the policy, calling it "arbitrary."

The Associated Press

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