The daily business briefing: July 7, 2020

A court orders the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down for more environmental review, TikTok pulls out of Hong Kong, and more 

The TikTok app
(Image credit: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Court orders shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline pending review

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday ordered the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down the controversial project pending a more thorough environmental review. The court gave Energy Transfer 30 days to empty the 570,000-barrel-per-day pipeline, the largest from the North Dakota shale fields, after finding that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers failed to provide an adequate environmental impact statement. The pipeline, which carries oil from the Bakken shale basin to the Midwest and Gulf Coast, has faced protests from environmental groups and Native American tribes. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith said it was a "historic day" for the tribe and its supporters. "This pipeline should have never been built here," he said.


2. TikTok pulling out of Hong Kong

Beijing-based short-form video app TikTok said Monday that it would get out of the Hong Kong market following the enactment of China's new security law in the semi-autonomous former British colony. TikTok previously said it would not comply with requests from China for user data or censorship. Also on Monday, Facebook, Twitter, and Google said they would stop processing requests from Hong Kong authorities for user data, pending a review of China's newly imposed security law. The law, which lets Beijing crack down on government critics and reduces Hong Kong's autonomy, has had a chilling effect on free speech and internet use, as many Hong Kong residents deleted social media accounts and one upstart political party shut down.

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3. Small Business Administration releases data on coronavirus relief loans

The Small Business Administration on Monday released the names of 660,000 small businesses and nonprofits that received loans of at least $150,000 under the federal $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Companies associated with President Trump and members of his administration were among the recipients. The program, launched in early April, was part of the package Congress approved to provide relief to businesses and individuals affected by coronavirus shutdowns. The data released Monday showed that the government distributed $521 billion in loans, with the average recipient getting $107,000. Officials from the SBA and the Treasury Department said information provided by the borrowers indicated that the loans helped support 51 million jobs, or about 84 percent of workers at small businesses.

The Washington Post

4. Supreme Court lets cellphone robocall ban stand

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a ban on robocalls to cellphones, rejecting a push by political consultants and pollsters who called the law an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment right to free speech. The justices addressed the question of the ban's constitutionality by overturning a recent exception to the nearly 30-year-old law that allowed automated calls to people who owed the government money. "Americans passionately disagree about many things. But they are largely united in their disdain for robocalls," Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the majority. Eliminating the exception in cases involving government debt prevented opponents from riding "a discrete constitutional flaw in a statute to take down the whole, otherwise constitutional statute."

USA Today

5. Stock futures pull back after Monday's surge

U.S. stock index futures fell early Tuesday following Monday's big gains, as investors continued to focus on developments in the coronavirus crisis. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down by roughly 1 percent, while those of the Nasdaq fell by 0.5 percent. On Monday, the Dow and the S&P 500 rose by 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 2.2 percent to reach a record high as major technology shares surged. Amazon gained 5.7 percent to close above $3,000 per share for the first time. Netflix also hit a record after rising by 3.5 percent. Apple, Microsoft, and Google-parent Alphabet all gained 2 percent or more. Wall Street also was buoyed by a stock surge in Asia, where China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index broke into bull market territory.


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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.