The daily business briefing: June 29, 2020

Harold Maass
A Starbucks store in NYC
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

1.

Starbucks becomes latest company to pause social media ads

Starbucks on Sunday said it would pause social media ads, becoming the latest major company to do so since the launch of a campaign led by civil rights organizations boycotting Facebook to get it to do more to stop racist and violent content. The coffee chain said it was suspending Facebook ad buys as it discusses fighting hate speech online with civil rights organizations and media partners. Starbucks said it was not participating in the "#StopHateforProfit" ad-boycott campaign. Other companies that have halted ad buys on Facebook and, in some cases, other social media include European consumer-goods giant Unilever, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Patagonia, Eddie Bauer, REI, Magnolia Pictures, jeans maker Levi's, and many smaller companies. [The Associated Press, USA Today]

2.

Fed releases list of companies whose bonds it is buying

The Federal Reserve released a list on Sunday revealing roughly 750 companies whose corporate bonds it will buy to help them access credit needed during the coronavirus crisis. The companies on the list included Apple, Walmart, and ExxonMobil. The U.S. central bank plans to purchase the bonds in the coming months. The Fed said it had already purchased nearly $429 million in bonds from 86 of the companies on the list, including AT&T, Walgreen's, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Marathon Petroleum. The Fed announced its plan to buy corporate bonds, a first, in March as lockdowns imposed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic triggered a stock crash because investors were selling risky stocks in favor of safer government bonds, pushing up interest rates and raising borrowing costs. [The Associated Press]

3.

Nissan denies suggestion of internal plot to oust Ghosn

Nissan Motor Co. on Monday denied reports that there was an internal conspiracy to get rid of former chairman Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested in Japan in 2018 but fled the country before a trial on financial misconduct charges. "I know that in books and the media there has been talk about a conspiracy but there are no facts whatsoever to support this," Motoo Nagai, chairman of Nissan's auditing committee, told shareholders at the Japanese automaker's annual general meeting. Shareholders questioned Chief Executive Makoto Uchida on how he would restore trust undermined by the Ghosn scandal. They also asked for his plans to boost flagging sales in the United States and China. Uchida repeated his promise to step down if he fails to turn around the company, which last month reported its first annual loss in 11 years. [Reuters]

4.

Dow, S&P 500 edge higher despite coronavirus surge

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose early Monday despite increasing concerns that coronavirus spikes in several states could reverse the economic recovery as it forced the rolling back of some business reopenings. Dow futures were up by about 0.3 percent, while those of the S&P 500 made narrower gains. Futures for the Nasdaq were down by about 0.2 percent several hours before the opening bell. Big increases in confirmed infections in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and several other states brought the seven-day national average of daily new cases to 45,255, more than 41 percent higher than the previous week. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Sunday that the "window is closing" for the U.S. to get the growing outbreak under control. [CNBC]

5.

Gunmen attack Pakistan's stock exchange

Four gunmen tried unsuccessfully to storm Pakistan's stock exchange in Karachi early Monday. The attackers drove up to the exchange's front gate. Two got into a parking area before all four were killed in a gun battle with security forces. At least two guards and a policeman also died, officials said. Traders and officials reportedly took shelter inside the exchange during the hour-long clash. Social media posts purportedly from the Baluchistan Liberation Army claimed that the separatist group was responsible for the attack. The B.L.A. is an insurgent movement in Pakistan's resource-rich Baluchistan Province, where the group in recent years has targeted Chinese interests linked to large development projects under China's Belt and Road Initiative. [The New York Times, Reuters]