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The daily business briefing: June 13, 2019

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Harold Maass
The Huawei logo in Dongguan
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images
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1.

Oil prices jump after 2 oil tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman

Oil prices jumped by as much as 4 percent early Thursday, rebounding from the previous day's losses after apparent attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman raised concerns that turmoil in the region could disrupt supply. The crews of both tankers were evacuated. The U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet sent help after receiving distress calls. The incident came after the U.S. accused Iran of mine attacks on four oil tankers near the United Arab Emirates coast last month. Iran denied responsibility. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen recently hit Saudi oil facilities with missile and drone strikes. The rebels attacked a Saudi airport on Wednesday, injuring 26 people in what Houthi officials said was retaliation for the Saudi-led coalition's continued Yemen "aggression and blockade." [Reuters, The New York Times]

2.

Huawei wants Verizon to pay $1 billion in patent licensing fees

China's Huawei Technologies has told Verizon Communications that it should pay licensing fees for more than 200 of its patents, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Huawei, a leading maker of smartphones and wireless gear, reportedly is seeking a total of more than $1 billion. The patents Huawei is concerned about cover core network equipment and other telecommunications infrastructure. The dispute comes as Huawei battles with the Trump administration, which has blacklisted Huawei over allegations that its gear could be used by Beijing for spying. Huawei denies this. [The Wall Street Journal, Reuters]

3.

Report: Alibaba secretly files for massive Hong Kong share sale

Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding has filed confidentially for a Hong Kong listing, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The move could be the financial hub's biggest share sale since 2010. It could raise up to $20 billion, although Alibaba reportedly has not set a final target. The sale could take place as soon as the third quarter of this year. Alibaba set a record for the world's biggest initial public offering of stock when it raised $25 billion in New York five years ago. Alibaba declined to comment immediately on the report. News of the sale sent shares of firms affiliated with Alibaba, including New Huadu Supercenter and Sanjiang Shopping Club, climbing. [Bloomberg]

4.

U.S. stock futures edge higher after Wednesday's losses

U.S. stock index futures made modest gains early Thursday after President Trump declined to set a deadline on raising tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 0.3 percent, while those of the Nasdaq gained 0.4 percent. U.S. stocks edged down on Wednesday as uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade war continued to preoccupy investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dropped by 0.2 percent on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq fell by 0.4 percent. It was the first time this month that the Dow suffered back-to-back losses. [CNBC, MarketWatch]

5.

New York City officials try to help struggling cab drivers

Corey Johnson, the speaker of New York's City Council, on Wednesday unveiled bills designed to address policies that left thousands of cab drivers drowning in debt. Separately, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would eliminate up to $10 million in fees for taxi medallion owners. Drivers also will be offered financial counseling. The moves came after a New York Times investigation showed that city policies and inflated medallion prices, not just competition from ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, had left the city's taxi industry near collapse. De Blasio, a Democrat now running for president, also said he would extend a moratorium on authorizing more vehicles from ride-hailing services. [The New York Times]