The daily business briefing: January 13, 2021

Harold Maass
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Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson dies at 87

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire Republican donor, died Monday at his home in Malibu, California, from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. He was 87. Adelson, the son of a cabdriver, built an empire that included casinos in Las Vegas, Macau, Singapore, and other gambling destinations. He served as chairman and CEO of the world's biggest gaming corporation, Las Vegas Sands Corp. He led the development of the casino-convention center model that now dominates the Las Vegas Strip. He used his wealth and influence to serve as a GOP kingmaker, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Republican candidates and conservative political action committees, supporting right-wing agendas in the United States and Israel. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, The New York Times]


YouTube suspends Trump channel for 7 days

YouTube said Tuesday that it had suspended President Trump's channel for violating policies against inciting violence. The Alphabet-owned video streaming service was the latest in a series of social media companies to suspend Trump's access over his remarks encouraging supporters to "fight" to get Congress to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's election win. Trump also repeated his unfounded claim that widespread vote fraud had robbed him of a landslide victory. He later condemned the violence. YouTube said it would prevent Trump from uploading or livestreaming videos for seven days, adding that the ban could be extended. The decision came after advertisers threatened to boycott unless YouTube removed Trump's channel. [Reuters]


GM unveils electric van and transport services

General Motors shares jumped by 6.2 percent to a record high on Tuesday after the automaker unveiled a new electric van and indicated it might develop a flying car. GM said it was starting a new business, BrightDrop, which will start selling the EV600 electric transport van next year. BrightDrop also will produce a fleet of other electric products, not just vehicles, as well as software intended to help companies transport goods more efficiently. The first BrightDrop product that will be offered for sale is a delivery pallet, the EP1, which was developed with FedEx and will help couriers handle 25 percent more packages. The stock surge capped a decade-long turnaround after GM emerged from bankruptcy after the Great Recession, and went public in 2010. The stock's previous record was set in October 2017. [MarketWatch, CNBC]


Stock futures flat ahead of impeachment vote

U.S. stock index futures were flat early Wednesday in a sign of investor caution ahead of a House vote on impeaching President Trump. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were all down by less than 0.1 percent several hours before the opening bell. The Dow gained 0.2 percent on Tuesday, and the S&P 500 inched up by less than 0.1 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by 1 percent. The three main U.S. stock indexes remain down so far this week as turmoil in Washington continues to worry investors. The market is getting a lift from expectations for more coronavirus relief. President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to release his economic plan on Thursday. [CNBC]


Midwestern Pet Foods expands recall after 70 dogs die

Midwestern Pet Foods said Wednesday that it had expanded a recall of some of its products linked to recent dog deaths. The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement that it was "aware of more than 70 dogs that have died and more than 80 that are sick after eating Sportmix pet food," up from 28 deaths at the time of the initial recall Dec. 30. The food reportedly could contain potentially unsafe levels of aflatoxin, a byproduct of mold. The toxin can grow on corn and other grains commonly used in pet food, the FDA said. High levels of aflatoxin can kill pets. The expanded recall affects "additional corn-containing lot codes of Sportmix, Pro Pac Originals, Splash, Sportstrail, and Nunn Better dry dog and cat foods." [USA Today]