Retail: SCOTUS rules in favor of American Express
“Points lovers just got a boost from a most unusual place: the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Jennifer Surane in Bloomberg.com. The justices ruled 5-4 this week that American Express did not violate antitrust laws when it struck agreements with retailers to prevent them from offering customers incentives to pay with cheaper cards. AmEx charges merchants roughly 2.4 percent of a transaction’s price, compared with the roughly 2 percent or less its competitors charge. AmEx’s higher swipe fees, the conservative justices ruled, are justified because of its “more robust rewards program.”
Economy: Trending toward a recession?
A closely watched economic signal is “perilously close to predicting a recession”—and Wall Street is worried, said Matt Phillips in The New York Times. The so-called yield curve, which is the difference between interest rates on short-term U.S. government bonds and long-term ones, has been falling precipitously, and every recession in the past 60 years has been preceded by the curve inverting, or falling below zero. The gap between two-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury notes is now roughly 0.34 percentage points. “It was last at these levels in 2007,” just ahead of the worst recession in 80 years.
Ride sharing: Uber allowed to operate in London again
“Uber has won its appeal to continue operating in London,” said Sean O’Kane and James Vincent in TheVerge.com. This week’s ruling by London’s transportation authority gives the ride-sharing company a probationary license that must be reviewed every 15 months. U.K. regulators refused to renew Uber’s license last September, but the firm continued operating during the appeal process. Uber must now provide the authority with an audit of its operations every six months, and follow strict procedures on “reporting criminal activity by its drivers or complaints from users.”
Tech: Intel boss exits after employee affair
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich abruptly left the company last week after it was determined that a prior relationship with an employee “violated company policy,” said Cara Lombardo and Jay Greene in The Wall Street Journal. The affair between the 58-year-old executive and a middle manager began a decade ago, before Krzanich was CEO, and ended several years ago. The woman still works at the chipmaker. The policy Krzanich violated was introduced in 2011, and prohibits managers from having romantic relationships with direct or indirect reports.