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The daily business briefing: May 17, 2019

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Harold Maass
The Purdue Pharma logo
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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1.

Trump disclosure forms show mixed year for his businesses

President Trump's businesses showed mixed results in 2018, according to a financial disclosure form released Thursday. Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, brought in $22.7 million, nearly 10 percent less than the year before, while his Washington hotel, where many of his supporters stay, had revenue of $40.8 million, slightly more than in 2017. The filing offered an updated general view of the president's finances. His 2017 disclosure reported revenues of $453 million and assets totaling $1.4 billion or more. No full tally of his 2018 finances was immediately available, and the forms don't show profits and losses. [The New York Times]

2.

5 more states sue Purdue Pharma over its role in the opioid crisis

Five more states on Thursday filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma accusing the drug maker of contributing to the nationwide opioid epidemic. The suits by Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Wisconsin, and West Virginia, which accused Purdue of using deceptive marketing practices to boost sales of the drug OxyContin, brought to 44 the number of states taking legal action against the company. "This filing today represents another step forward to stop the senseless deaths and bring accountability to the system," West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey said. The states, excluding Kansas, also targeted former Purdue Pharma president Richard Sackler, who resigned from the company's board in 2018. [NBC News]

3.

Stocks struggle as trade concerns offset strong earnings

U.S. stock index futures fell early Friday as U.S.-China trade tensions continue to worry investors despite a flurry of strong earnings reports. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down by 0.5 percent ahead of the opening bell, while those of the Nasdaq fell by 0.6 percent. All three of the main U.S. indexes rose by around 0.9 percent on Thursday, driven partly by better-than-expected earnings reports from Walmart and Cisco Systems. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China lost ground on Friday after the Trump administration moved to prevent American companies from doing business with China's Huawei Technologies, the world's No. 3 smartphone maker, due to claims its equipment could be used by China for spying, which the company denies. China's ruling party newspaper said the trade war will make China stronger. [CNBC]

4.

Deere shares drop after quarterly profits fall short of expectations

Deere & Co. shares dropped by 4 percent in pre-market trading on Friday after the construction and agricultural equipment maker reported quarterly earnings that fell short of expectations. Deere reported that its net income for the quarter fell to $1.13 billion or $3.52 a share, down from $3.67 and below the FactSet consensus forecast of $3.60 per share. Total revenue came in at $11.34 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent but just under the FactSet consensus of $11.36 billion. Trade tensions, which have raised concerns about access for U.S. farmers to China's market, along with "a delayed planting season in much of North America are causing farmers to become much more cautious about making major purchases," said Deere Chief Executive Samuel Allen. [MarketWatch]

5.

FBI investigates alleged Brazil kickback scheme

The FBI is investigating Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, General Electric, and Philips on suspicion the corporate giants were involved in a medical-equipment kickback scheme in Brazil, Reuters reported Friday, citing two Brazilian investigators. Brazilian prosecutors are investigating whether the multinational companies directed payoffs to government officials for help getting contracts to sell equipment to Brazilian public health programs over the past two decades. Authorities in the South American country believe that more than 20 companies might have participated in the scheme, which inflated prices health agencies paid for magnetic resonance imaging machines, prosthetics, and other equipment. GE declined to immediately comment. Johnson & Johnson confirmed it had received "preliminary inquiries" and is cooperating. [Reuters]