The daily business briefing: January 2, 2020

Airbus tops Boeing to become the No. 1 planemaker, Trump to unveil flavored e-cigarette ban, and more

(Image credit: PASCAL PAVANI/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Airbus overtakes Boeing as world's No. 1 planemaker

Airbus surpassed Boeing to become the world's largest planemaker in 2019. It was the first time the European aircraft maker topped its American rival since 2011. Airbus delivered 863 aircraft in 2019, exceeding its target. Boeing, meanwhile, saw sales plummet due to the grounding of its top-selling Boeing 737 Max following two deadly crashes. Airbus faced its own factory problems but made a late push with extra resources to finish the year to beat its target of 860 jets. It had a higher goal earlier in the year, but reduced it slightly in October. Last year, Airbus delivered 800 aircraft.


2. Trump expected to unveil flavored e-cigarette ban

The Food and Drug Administration will soon move to end the sale of all flavored e-cigarette cartridges except menthol and tobacco, The Wall Street Journal reports. President Trump hinted at a total ban on all flavored e-cigarette cartridges in a Tuesday night news conference at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and is expected to make it official later this week. The ban reportedly won't apply to tank vaping systems, which let users mix their own flavors but aren't as commonly used among young people. This is seemingly a concession to the vaping industry, which warned against what a total ban would do to small vaping businesses. Public health groups criticized the scaled-back plan, saying it wouldn't do enough to halt the rapid rise in teen vaping.

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The Wall Street Journal The Washington Post

3. Japanese prosecutors raid Ghosn's Tokyo home

Japanese authorities raided former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn's Tokyo home on Thursday. Ghosn skipped bail and fled Japan ahead of his trial on financial misconduct charges, including underreporting income. Ghosn, who was arrested a year ago, surprised even his own lawyers by showing up in Lebanon, one of three countries where he has citizenship. He said he had left Japan to escape unjust charges and "political persecution." Japanese prosecutors and police did not immediately comment on the raid.

The Associated Press

4. U.S. stock futures gain ahead of first day of 2020 trading

U.S. stock index futures rose early Thursday hours before the opening bell on the first trading day of the year. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were all up by 0.5 percent or more. Wall Street finished 2019 with a year-end rally, and completed 2019 with the biggest gains in years. The S&P 500 rose by 28.9 percent in 2019, thanks partly to a late boost from a "phase one" deal aiming to de-escalate the U.S.-China trade war.


5. Former NBA commissioner David Stern dies at 77

Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who helped build the basketball league into a global brand, died Wednesday less than three weeks after suffering a brain hemorrhage and undergoing emergency surgery. He was 77. Stern was involved with the NBA for years before taking on the job of commissioner in 1984. He served in the position longer than anyone else, and by the time he left in 2014 he had helped make NBA basketball popular worldwide. "Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand — making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time, but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation," said Adam Silver, who succeeded Stern as commissioner. "David Stern earned and deserved inclusion in our land of giants," the National Basketball Players Association said.

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.