The daily business briefing: September 27, 2023

The FTC accuses Amazon of running an illegal online monopoly, Biden visits auto workers on picket line, and more

Amazon delivery
Amazon delivery
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1. FTC, 17 states file antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

The Federal Trade Commission and 17 states filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday. The 172-page complaint accuses Amazon of wielding monopoly power and using it to favor its own services and squeeze third-party sellers who use its marketplace. The suit says the e-commerce giant's practices result in "artificially higher prices" because merchants have been blocked from selling goods for less elsewhere. "A single company, Amazon, has seized control over much of the online retail economy," said the lawsuit, filed in a Washington federal court. "It exploits its monopolies in ways that enrich Amazon but harm its customers." David Zapolsky, Amazon's general counsel, said the FTC "is wrong on the facts and the law." CNN, The New York Times

2. Biden visits striking auto workers on picket line

President Biden visited striking United Auto Workers union members at a General Motors plant in Michigan on Tuesday, telling them they "deserve a raise." He was the first sitting president in a century to visit a labor union picket line. Biden's visit came nearly two weeks into the Detroit-based union's first simultaneous strike against all three Detroit automakers — Ford, GM and Chrysler's Stellantis. It also came a day before former President Donald Trump, the front-runner to be Biden's Republican challenger in the 2024 election, is scheduled to speak at a non-union auto parts supplier in Michigan, a potentially crucial state in the election. The Detroit News

3. Hollywood writers cleared to return to work

Hollywood writers are returning to work Wednesday after the Writers Guild of America approved a deal with studios to end a four-month strike. "Today, our negotiating committee, WGAW board and WGAE Council all voted unanimously to recommend the agreement," the writers guild posted on social media Tuesday. "The strike ends at 12:01 a.m." The writers are permitted to work as the union's 11,000 members vote on ratifying the new contract over the next few days. The 148-day strike was one of the longest in Hollywood history. A key part of the deal was a new business model that includes pay residuals and viewership transparency for online streaming. The Washington Post

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4. Stock futures rise as Treasury yields edge back

U.S. stock futures rose early Wednesday as Treasury yields retreated from recent highs that fueled concerns about rising borrowing costs. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.2% at 6:45 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively. The S&P 500 has fallen 5.2% so far this month as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields rose 48 basis points to their highest point in 16 years, driven by expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again later this year and keep them high longer to fight inflation. "Heightened investor anxiety due to the looming possibility of a partial U.S. government shutdown is not helping matters," added Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management. MarketWatch

5. JPMorgan Chase settles Virgin Islands lawsuit over Jeffrey Epstein ties

JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday it has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit by the U.S. Virgin Islands over the bank aiding Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking and profiting from its ties to the late financier, a JPMorgan customer. JPMorgan did not admit wrongdoing under the settlement, which directs $55 million to local charities and anti-trafficking efforts, CNBC reported. "This litigation proves that survivors have a voice, and corporate America is finally ready to listen," said lawyer Brittany Henderson, who represents Epstein accusers. Her firm filed class-action lawsuits against JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank. Those cases were settled earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported. CNBC, The Wall Street Journal

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