The daily business briefing: September 26, 2019

Harold Maass
Shinzo Abe at the UN


U.S., Japan reach limited trade deal

The U.S. and Japan on Wednesday reached a limited trade deal that will open Japanese markets to American farm goods and reduce U.S. tariffs on Japanese industrial equipment, bicycles, green tea, and other goods. The two countries announced the agreement as President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Trump said the deal was a "huge victory for America's farmers, ranchers, and growers," because it would reduce barriers on $7 billion worth of American farm goods. The deal did not include a promise from Trump not to impose threatened new tariffs on imported Japanese cars. Japan had pressed for such assurances, raising concerns the agreement was in jeopardy. [The New York Times]


Goldman Sachs: Cities face costly, 'significant' climate change risks

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday released a report warning of costly, "significant" potential risks to some of the world's largest cities as climate change hits them with more frequent and extreme storms, higher temperatures, and rising sea levels. The bank's Global Markets Institute noted that New York, Tokyo, and Lagos are high on the list of major cities that could face harmful flooding from storm surges. Miami, Alexandria, Dhaka, and Shanghai also face flood threats because they are just above sea level. The report also pointed out that 80 percent of global GDP comes out of cities, and half the world's population lives in them. [Business Insider]


EBay CEO Devin Wenig steps down

EBay CEO Devin Wenig resigned on Wednesday over what he described as differences with the online auction company's recently changed board. "In the past few weeks it became clear that I was not on the same page as my new Board," Wenig said in a tweet. "Whenever that happens, it's best for everyone to turn that page over." EBay shook up its board earlier this year and said it was looking at options for StubHub, its ticketing unit, and eBay Classifieds. The issue of the classifieds business sale reportedly was a factor in Wenig's departure. EBay shares fell by 1.9 percent after the news, after gaining 40 percent since Wenig took over four years ago. [Reuters]


Stock futures rise with trade, impeachment inquiry in focus

U.S. stock index futures edged higher early Thursday, pointing to opening gains of 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq. The three main U.S. indexes all rose on Wednesday after President Trump said the U.S. and China could reach a deal to end their trade war sooner than expected. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed up by 0.6 percent, while the Nasdaq surged up by just over 1 percent. Investors also are closely monitoring the impeachment inquiry House Democrats launched against Trump this week following revelations about Trump's phone call with Ukraine's president in which the two discussed military aid to Ukraine, and Trump pressed for Ukraine to investigate political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden's son. [CNBC]


Juul CEO resigns as vaping concerns rise

E-cigarette maker Juul announced Wednesday that CEO Kevin Burns was stepping aside and would be replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, a top executive at tobacco company and major Juul investor Altria. The shakeup came as Juul struggles with the backlash over rising vaping-related deaths and illnesses, which has raised the likelihood of federal regulation and prompted some states to ban vaping products, particularly flavored e-cigarettes critics link to a rise in teen vaping. Juul also announced that it would suspend all TV, print, and digital ads, along with some of its lobbying as the Food and Drug Administration considers banning flavored e-cigarettes. [CNN]