The daily business briefing: March 15, 2019

Harold Maass
Tesla Model Y on display
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U.K. lawmakers approve Brexit delay

Britain's Parliament voted Thursday to approve delaying the U.K.'s exit from the European Union, which had been scheduled for March 29. The 412 to 202 vote marked an acknowledgement that lawmakers need more time to agree to Brexit terms, although they overwhelmingly rejected holding a second referendum on whether to leave the EU. Earlier this week, lawmakers rejected for the second time Brexit terms that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU. Parliament also rejected leaving the EU with no deal in place. The issue remained unresolved, however, because the Brexit deadline is legally binding. May must now go back to the EU and request an extension, probably for three months, but all 27 remaining members of the European trading bloc would have to agree to the change. [BBC News]


Tesla unveils Model Y SUV

Tesla on Thursday unveiled its Model Y SUV, which CEO Elon Musk predicted would become the electric-car maker's best seller. A $47,000 two-row version will come out in fall 2020. It will go from 0 to 60 miles per hours in 5.5 seconds. A $60,000 performance model is expected to be available this year, with a $39,000 base model to be released in 2021. Musk said the Model Y would share about 75 percent of its components with Tesla's new Model 3 sedans, making the SUV far less expensive to launch that the Model 3 has been. With its $39,000 to $60,000 range, the Model Y is more expensive than the Model 3 but far less costly than the ultra-luxury Model X SUV. [USA Today, CNBC]


Huawei pleads not guilty to scheme to violate Iran sanctions

Chinese tech giant Huawei on Thursday pleaded not guilty to allegations that it plotted to violate Iran trade sanctions. The indictment, which has complicated efforts to end the U.S.-China trade war, was announced in January against the company and two affiliates. Prosecutors say Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was in on the alleged conspiracy to violate the sanctions, and lied about the No. 2 smartphone maker's relationship with a shadowy Iranian company, Skycom. Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei's founder, was arrested in Canada and is awaiting extradition. She denies the charges. [The Associated Press]


U.S. stock futures boosted by Brexit, trade developments

U.S. stock index futures rose early Friday as investors continued to react to Brexit developments and hints of movement on U.S.-China trade negotiations. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 gained just over 0.3 percent, while those of the Nasdaq rose by 0.5 percent. Sentiment got a lift from fresh signals of movement in talks to end the U.S.-China trade war, after China's Xinhua news agency reported Friday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had spoken by phone with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Mnuchin said Thursday that a summit between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign a deal would not happen in late March as once hoped. [CNBC]


Report: Uber to launch IPO process in April

Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies is planning to start the process of holding its initial public offering of stock in April, Reuters reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. Uber would issue its required public disclosure, then hold a series of events to attract investors. That schedule would put it on track to launch its stock shortly after rival Lyft's IPO, which is expected by the end of March. Both companies filed confidential paperwork in December to move toward IPOs. Uber was most recently valued at $76 billion in the private market, and is expected to seek a valuation of up to $120 billion. The smaller Lyft has been valued at $15 billion and is seeking to bump that to as high as $25 billion. [Reuters]