The daily business briefing: September 12, 2019

Harold Maass
The Purdue Pharma HQ
Drew Angerer/Getty Images


Trump delays tariff increase as goodwill gesture

President Trump on Wednesday said he would delay imposing higher tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. The increase in the levies from 25 percent to 30 percent had been set to take effect on Oct. 1, but Trump said he would push the date to Oct. 15 "as a gesture of goodwill," and at the request of Beijing. The move followed an announcement by China that it would exempt 16 U.S.-made products from its new tariffs ahead of U.S.-China trade negotiations scheduled for next month. China said it was showing its good faith, but some analysts said Chinese farms and companies would benefit most from Beijing's relief. [The Washington Post, MarketWatch]


Purdue Pharma reaches tentative opioid-suit settlement

Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, reportedly have reached a tentative settlement with thousands of local governments, states, and tribes that have sued over the drug manufacturer's alleged role in the opioid crisis. Firm details were not immediately available, but two people involved in the negotiations told The New York Times that Purdue, maker of OxyContin, would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and be dissolved. A new company, not controlled by the Sacklers, would be created and continue selling Purdue's medicines, but the profits would go to the plaintiffs. The Sackler family would pay out $3 billion of its own wealth over seven years. Purdue would reportedly donate "rescue" drugs for addiction treatment and overdose reversal. Sixteen states suing Purdue have rejected the proposed deal. [The New York Times, NBC News]


Trump renews attacks on Fed 'boneheads'

President Trump on Wednesday resumed his attacks against the Federal Reserve, calling Fed officials "boneheads" for not cutting interest rates enough. "The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt," Trump tweeted. "INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term." The Fed did not immediately respond to Trump's latest criticism. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has declined to address the president's repeated attacks. "We're completely and totally focused on our jobs," he said last week. "That's all we're going to focus on." [CNBC, USA Today]


Trump administration announces plan to ban flavored vaping products

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration would propose blocking the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. The news came a year after the FDA declared vaping an "epidemic." The regulations would not amount to a full ban on vaping products, as tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes would still be allowed, but Azar said the FDA was finalizing plans to "clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes" to fight a rise in teen vaping. Six people recently have died from a lung disease tied to e-cigarettes. More than 450 possible cases have been reported in 33 states. Until a cause for the crisis is found, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned people against vaping altogether. [NBC News]


Stock futures rise as Trump delays tariff hikes on Chinese imports

U.S. stock index futures gained early Thursday as investors continued to focus on developments in the U.S.-China trade war. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by less than 0.2 percent, while those of the Nasdaq rose by more than 0.3 percent. The gains came after President Trump said he would delay his latest round of tariff hikes on Chinese imports by two weeks "as a gesture of good will" ahead of trade talks scheduled for next month in Washington. The Dow rose by 0.8 percent, and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 0.7 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, on Wednesday after China said it was exempting 16 U.S. products from its latest new tariffs. [CNBC]