The daily business briefing: March 14, 2019

Harold Maass
Boeing jet on a tarmac
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
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U.K. lawmakers reject 'no-deal' Brexit

Britain's Parliament on Wednesday approved an amendment saying the government must not leave the EU without a deal establishing new trade practices. The measure barring a "no-deal" Brexit passed 321 to 278. A day earlier, lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed deal with the EU, despite last-minute concessions May negotiated with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that guaranteed the Irish backstop, designed to avoid a hard border with Ireland, wouldn't indefinitely keep the U.K. tied to European regulations. On Thursday, Parliament will vote on a three-month delay of the country's exit from the European trading bloc, currently scheduled for March 29. [Reuters]


Boeing shares fall further after U.S. grounds planes

Boeing shares fell by another 2 percent on Wednesday after President Trump said that the U.S. was grounding Boeing 737 Max jets like the ones that crashed Sunday in Ethiopia and in the Java Sea five months earlier. Both crashes killed everybody on board. Wednesday's decline brought Boeing stock's losses since Sunday to 13 percent. The Federal Aviation Administration had resisted calls to bar the popular Boeing planes from flying, saying it had found "no systemic performance issues" to justify grounding the jets, as numerous other countries have done. The FAA and Canada changed course, they said Wednesday, after newly available satellite-tracking data suggested similarities in the crashes. "The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern," Trump said. [Reuters, The New York Times]


Fiat Chrysler recalls more than 850,000 vehicles over emissions issue

Fiat Chrysler said Wednesday that it was voluntarily recalling 862,520 vehicles in the U.S. due to the models' failure to meet emissions standards. The automaker described the recall as "routine." The Environmental Protection Agency said the recall resulted from emissions investigations it performed, as well as in-use testing by Fiat Chrysler that was required under EPA regulations. The vehicles covered by the recall include 2011-2016 Dodge Journey front wheel drives, 2011-2014 Chrysler 200/Dodge Avenger front wheel drives, 2011-2012 Dodge Caliber front wheel drives with continuously variable transmissions, and 2011-2016 Jeep Compass/Patriot front wheel drives with continuously variable transmissions. [The Associated Press, Jalopnik]


GE shares fall after profit outlook misses expectations

General Electric shares dropped by 2 percent in pre-market trading on Thursday after the industrial giant revealed a disappointing full-year profit outlook. The struggling company said it expected 2019 adjusted earnings per share to be between 50 cents and 60 cents, falling short of the FactSet consensus of 70 cents. "We have work to do in 2019, but we expect 2020 and 2021 performance to be significantly better," said GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp, who was appointed in October. GE also said adjusted industrial free cash flow would be negative $2 billion to flat. GE shares have gained 46.8 percent in the past three months but remain down 27 percent over the past 12 months. [MarketWatch, CNBC]


Stock futures inch down after China reports weak industrial data

U.S. stock index futures edged down early Thursday after China reported that its industrial output growth had fallen to a 17-year low. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by about 0.2 percent, while those of the S&P 500 fell by 0.1 percent. Nasdaq futures were flat. Concerns about negotiations aimed at ending the U.S.-China trade war also weighed on markets, after President Trump said he was in no rush to make a deal. Other data from the world's second largest economy helped offset the negative sentiment, with retail sales and fixed asset investment coming in stronger than expected. [CNBC]