The daily business briefing: July 2, 2019

The S&P 500 hits a record but U.S.-China trade concerns persist, OPEC agrees to extend oil output cuts, and more

A trader on the NYSE
(Image credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

1. S&P 500 rises to record after U.S., China hold off on new tariffs

U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the S&P 500 gaining 0.8 percent to close at a record high after the U.S. and China agreed to hold off on imposing more tariffs while they restart talks on ending their trade war. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq, led by chipmakers, jumped by 1.1 percent to cap a four-day winning streak. Early Tuesday, U.S. stock index futures edged lower, with futures for the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq all roughly 0.1 percent lower ahead of the open in a sign of caution as investors awaited concrete signs of progress toward a U.S.-China deal.


2. OPEC, allies set to extend output cuts

OPEC nations agreed Monday to extend output cuts of about 1.2 million barrels a day, or about 1 percent of global consumption, until early next year. OPEC allies, led by Russia, are expected to approve the cuts on Tuesday to help boost crude prices. A weakening global economy plus soaring production in the U.S., which has overtaken Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer, have countered the cuts by other nations. The alliance between OPEC and other producers, known as OPEC+, has been cutting supply since 2017 in an effort to prop up prices. The price of benchmark Brent crude has risen by more than 25 percent this year, partly because Trump administration sanctions against OPEC members Venezuela and Iran have reduced their oil exports.

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3. Nike cancels release of shoe with Betsy Ross flag

Nike has canceled the release of a U.S.-themed sneaker featuring the Betsy Ross flag with 13 white stars in a circle. The decision reportedly came after former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal with Nike, told company officials the Betsy Ross flag, created during the American Revolution, is offensive as a symbol of an era of slavery, a complaint echoed by some others on social media. Nike created the shoe, the Air Max 1 USA, in celebration of the Fourth of July. It had been scheduled to go on sale this week. Kaepernick declined to provide an immediate comment. Nike had shipped the shoes to retailers but asked for them to be returned because they "featured the old version of the American flag," a Nike spokeswoman said.


4. U.S. proposes more tariffs on EU goods over Airbus subsidies

The U.S. Trade Representative's office on Monday added more European Union products to a list of goods facing possible tariffs in retaliation for European aircraft subsidies. The U.S. has said in the long-standing dispute that the subsidies give Europe's Airbus an unfair advantage over U.S. aircraft maker Boeing. The list of $4 billion worth of targeted EU goods includes cherries, meat, cheese, olives, pasta, some types of whiskey, and cast-iron tubes and pipes. The new list comes on top of a list of targeted EU products valued at $21 billion that was published in April. The EU is preparing its own retaliatory tariffs over a similar case against Boeing.


5. Japan resumes commercial whale hunting

Japanese whalers completed their first commercial hunt in 31 years on Monday, bringing two minke whales into the port city of Kushiro in northern Japan. Japan halted commercial hunts in 1988 and conducted only what it called research whaling after the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling. Japan gave the required six-month notice that it was withdrawing from the IWC, and its exit took effect this week. Japan plans to allow hunts only in its exclusive economic zone at sea. The catch is limited to 227 whales for the rest of 2019, fewer than were typically caught under Japan's research program, which was frequently criticized by conservationists as a cover for commercial whaling because the meat was sold in markets, although demand is low.

The Associated Press

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.