The daily business briefing: January 29, 2021
GM announces plan to sell only electric vehicles by 2035, GameStop volatility continues after trading suspension, and more
GM plans to sell only electric vehicles by 2035
General Motors said Thursday that it would phase out gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035 and sell only zero-emission vehicles. The announcement was expected to trigger similar commitments from other automakers, signaling an industry-wide shift. A Ford spokesman declined to comment on GM's news but said Ford was "committed to leading the electric vehicle revolution in the areas where we are strong." GM's move could encourage President Biden to step up an already aggressive push to fight climate change. Electric cars already are the fastest-growing segment of the auto industry, although they still account for a small fraction of total vehicle sales.
GameStop shares plunge, bounce back after restrictions lifted
GameStop shares continued their volatile run on Thursday, dropping by 44 percent after a days-long meteoric rise. The fall came after trading app Robinhood suspended purchases of GameStop stock Thursday. Robinhood, citing the volatility, said it was temporarily restricting transactions of shares of GameStop, AMC Theaters, BlackBerry, Nokia, and other nostalgic stocks that Reddit users have been buying in a battle with hedge funds that were betting the shares would fall. After the closing bell, Robinhood said it would allow some selling of the restricted stocks on Friday, and GameStop jumped by 119 percent in pre-market trading. Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated other online brokers suspended GameStop sales. It's been corrected. We regret the error.
Stock futures fall as volatile month nears close
U.S. stock index futures fell early Friday in a sign of continuing volatility as the first month of trading in 2021 drew to a close. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 0.8 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by 1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. Stock markets have been up and down all month as investors shifted from optimism about the possibility of more coronavirus relief spending, and concerns about economic fallout from new lockdown measures to combat the pandemic. Earnings season is continuing. Visa, Mondelez, and Western Digital shares rose in extended trading after they all reported better-than-expected profits and sales.
Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 decisions in its 1st rulings
Facebook's Oversight Board on Thursday overturned four of the company's decisions to remove posts for violating policies against hate speech, promoting violence, and other issues. The rulings were the first ever by the board, which was formed last year and includes 20 journalists, politicians, and judges from around the world. The board is independent, but Facebook has said it will abide by its decisions. The board will take on bigger questions in the coming weeks, including whether to reverse Facebook's suspension of former President Donald Trump's account over comments he made before a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, leaving a Capitol Police officer and four others dead.
Democrats cite jobless claims in push for Biden pandemic relief plan
Democrats are citing Thursday's new unemployment figures as evidence that Congress needs to meet the Biden administration's call to "act big" on a new coronavirus relief package. The Labor Department reported that 847,000 people filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, down from 914,000 the week before but still historically high. President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan. Republicans have proposed splitting Biden's plan into smaller chunks, but Democrats said stubbornly high unemployment shows the need to get Biden's whole package passed as soon as possible. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are drafting a budget resolution bill that would let them pass the package with a simple 51-vote Senate majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold normally needed to advance legislation.