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The daily business briefing: July 10, 2019

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Harold Maass
A 1960s Beetle
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The daily business briefing newsletter
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1.

Ross says U.S. will issue licenses for some trade with Huawei

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday that the Trump administration would issue licenses to U.S. companies to do business with Chinese tech giant Huawei "where there is no threat to national security." The move, which another official said would let chip makers keep selling to Huawei, marked a concrete step to follow up on President Trump's announcement last month that his administration would dial back restrictions on the Chinese telecommunication gear and smartphone maker as part of an effort to restart trade talks with China. Trump made the promise after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping just weeks after his administration placed Huawei on a U.S. black list due to fears its products could be used by Beijing for spying. [The New York Times]

2.

VW produces last Beetles at Mexico plant

Volkswagen on Wednesday will produce the last of 5,961 Final Edition versions of its Beetle at the last remaining plant making the iconic small cars, in Puebla, Mexico. The final vehicle off the assembly line will go to a museum. The vehicles were designed by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s in Adolf Hitler's push to expand auto ownership with a car for the volk, or people. It later became a symbol of Germany's post-World War II economic rebirth. The cars were sold around the world, and were particularly popular in the U.S., where they were an icon of America's 1960s counterculture. The Beetle ends its run as Volkswagen tries to bounce back from a diesel-emissions cheating scandal and prepares to launch a battery-driven compact car. [The Associated Press]

3.

Stocks continue to struggle ahead of Powell testimony

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped slightly on Tuesday, marking its third straight day of losses. The Dow closed down by less than 0.1 percent, after briefly turning positive late in the day. The broader S&P 500 rose by 0.1 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.5 percent. Markets have been cautious this week ahead of two days of congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Investors will be looking for hints from Powell on the central bank's next moves on interest rates. An unexpectedly strong June jobs report has dampened expectations for a big rate cut at the Fed's next meeting in late July, although analysts still predict a quarter-point hike. U.S. stock index futures fell another 0.2 percent early Wednesday. [CNBC]

4.

WarnerMedia announces details for streaming service HBO Max

WarnerMedia on Tuesday announced new details about its upcoming streaming service, giving it the name HBO Max. The platform will launch with 10,000 hours of content next year, WarnerMedia said, and will be the exclusive home of Friends when the series leaves Netflix. HBO Max will also exclusively stream classic shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, new shows like The CW's Batwoman, HBO programming, and a slate of HBO Max originals like a Dune series, original films produced by Reese Witherspoon, and more. No price point has been officially announced for this service, but a previous report from The Wall Street Journal indicated it may cost either $16 or $17 a month. HBO Max is set to launch in spring 2020. [WarnerMedia, The Wall Street Journal]

5.

Report: Few companies meet Paris climate accord goal for reducing emissions

Many companies in industries with high emissions are not doing enough to help fight climate change, the London-based Transition Pathway Initiative said in a report produced for some of the world's biggest institutional investors. The report, released Wednesday, found that nearly half of the 274 publicly listed companies examined in such industries as automobiles and mining did not do enough to factor the risks of climate change into their business decisions. Out of 160 companies reporting emissions, only one in eight are meeting the 2015 Paris climate accord's goal for reducing emissions. "Broadly speaking we see more progress than we see backsliding," said Simon Dietz, a London School of Economics environmental policy professor and co-author of the report. "But most companies are not progressing." [The Associated Press]