Business briefing

The daily business briefing: October 3, 2019

The U.S. hits the EU with tariffs on planes and whiskies, hiring at private companies slowed in September, and more

1

U.S. announces tariffs on EU planes, other goods

The Trump administration said Wednesday it would impose 10 percent tariffs on European-made Airbus planes in response to illegal EU aircraft subsidies. The U.S. also announced 25 percent duties on French wine, Scotch and Irish whiskies, and European cheese. The move followed World Trade Organization approval for the tariffs, which cover $7.5 billion worth of EU goods annually. The levies take effect Oct. 18, but exempt parts from an Airbus assembly plant in Alabama, and parts used by U.S. aircraft maker Boeing. The transatlantic trade tensions have been ongoing but overshadowed by the tit-for-tat tariffs exchanged between the U.S. and China in their trade war.

2

ADP says businesses added 135,000 jobs in September

U.S. businesses added just 135,000 jobs in September, according to data released Wednesday by ADP, the biggest American processor of paychecks. Economists polled by Econoday had expected a 152,000-job gain. ADP also cut its estimate of job gains in August from 195,000 down to 157,000, adding to evidence of slowing hiring. "Businesses have turned more cautious in their hiring," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which produces the report with ADP. "Small businesses have become especially hesitant. If businesses pull back any further, unemployment will begin to rise." The federal government's monthly jobs report, which also covers public-sector workers, will be released Friday morning.

3

Johnson sends EU proposed Brexit changes as deadline nears

Britain presented the European Union with a revised Brexit deal, with the U.K.'s scheduled departure from the trading bloc less than a month away. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that if the two sides couldn't agree on divorce terms it would be "a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible." On Thursday, Johnson brings his new plan to Parliament, which rejected the Brexit deal proposed by his predecessor, former Prime Minister Theresa May. Johnson has vowed to lead Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal, but Parliament has passed a law requiring him to get an extension to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

4

Stocks struggle to rebound from two days of heavy selling

U.S. stock index futures edged up by 0.2 percent early Thursday after two days of heavy selling. The three main U.S. indexes dropped sharply on Wednesday in a second day of losses driven by evidence that manufacturing activity is slowing down due to the U.S.-China trade war. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1.9 percent, and the broader S&P 500 lost 1.8 percent, its worst day in more than a month. The Nasdaq closed down by 1.6 percent. European stocks also fell. "There's no question that the global economy is slowing and that's beginning to show up in U.S. data," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at private bank Brown Brothers Harriman. The U.S. and China are due to hold fresh high-level trade talks next week.

5

Microsoft announces new dual-screen foldable smartphone, the Surface Duo

Microsoft at an event Wednesday officially announced the new dual-screen foldable Android smartphone, the Surface Duo, which essentially looks like a smaller version of the Surface Neo, another dual-screen foldable device Microsoft also announced. Each display on the Duo is 5.6 inches. This long-rumored re-entry into the smartphone arena comes two years after Microsoft officially killed its Windows Phone operating system, and Engadget writes that the last time Microsoft made its own smartphone was with the "underwhelming" Lumia 950 and 950 XL in 2015. This is also Microsoft's first Android phone. The company said the phones will be on sale by the end of 2020.

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