The daily business briefing: February 10, 2020

Trump proposes extending tax cuts in his election-year budget, Bitcoin surges above $10,000, and more 

A Bitcoin
(Image credit: INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Report: Trump budget proposes tax-cut extension

The White House on Monday plans to release President Trump's election-year budget, which reportedly will include an extension of the tax cuts Republicans passed in 2017. The spending plan estimates that the U.S. economy will grow by 3 percent annually, on average, over the next 15 years, fueled by further tax cuts and low interest rates, a senior administration official said Sunday. Currently, cuts to individual tax rates are scheduled to expire in 2025. Extending them to 2035, as Trump's budget reportedly requests, would cost $1.4 trillion by some estimates. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects lower economic growth under current tax laws.


2. Bitcoin jumps above $10,000 for 1st time since September

Bitcoin's price surged as high as $10,129 on Sunday, marking the first time the leading cryptocurrency had risen above $10,000 since September. Bitcoin has jumped by more than 41 percent so far this year. Other cryptocurrencies also have gained, with ethereum up by 20 percent in five days and almost 78 percent on the year. The gains have come as the main U.S. stock indexes have pushed into record territory. "This breakout is the real deal. Fundamental investment activity is backing this $10k breakout," Willy Woo, general partner at Adaptive Capital, tweeted on Sunday.

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3. Stocks struggle against ongoing coronavirus concerns

U.S. stock index futures struggled for footing early Monday in a sign of continuing concern about economic damage from China's coronavirus outbreak. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were essentially flat, shifting between minor losses and gains several hours before the opening bell. China reported Sunday night that the total number of cases of the flu-like virus had pushed above 40,000, with more than 900 deaths. U.S. stocks fell on Friday, snapping a four-day winning streak as fears of the epidemic's financial fallout overshadowed the news that the U.S. economy had added a better-than-expected 225,000 jobs in January.


4. Ghosn lawyers ask Dutch court for release of Nissan, Mitsubishi documents

Lawyers representing ousted former Nissan and Mitsubishi leader Carlos Ghosn on Monday asked a Dutch court to order the two automakers to release internal documents regarding his dismissal. Ghosn, who served as chairman of the Dutch-registered Nissan-Mitsubishi BV, fled house arrest in Japan in December and went to Lebanon to avoid trial on charges of financial crimes that were filed in 2018. His lawyers said in the Amsterdam hearing, the first public court session in a case they filed in the Netherlands in July, that the Japanese automakers should pay Ghosn $17 million in damages for violating Dutch labor laws. "Nissan and Mitsubishi publicly shamed Ghosn," attorney Roeland de Mol told the court. "Their reports and accusations were never put to Ghosn. There was no due process."


5. Birds of Prey leads weekend box office

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) fell short of expectations but still debuted at the top of the weekend domestic box office, bringing in $33.3 million. Margot Robbie stars in the DC Comics film about Harley Quinn, a girlfriend of Batman villain the Joker. Birds of Prey, which cost $84.5 million to make, made another $48 million in ticket sales overseas, the studio, Warner Bros., said. The film knocked Sony's Bad Boys for Life out of the top spot it had held for three weeks and into second place, at $12 million in North America. Universal's World War I film 1917 came in third with $9 million, followed by Dolittle with $6.7 million and Jumanji: The Next Level with $5.5 million on its ninth weekend.

The New York Times

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