Markets: S&P hits record as Fed signals cut
The S&P 500 index broke 3,000 for the first time this week as Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell indicated that an interest rate cut could be coming, said Craig Torres and Christopher Condon in Bloomberg.com. Speaking before Congress, Powell said June’s stronger-than-expected jobs report “hadn’t shifted the outlook” for the U.S. economy, pointing to a “slowdown in business investment, decelerating global growth, and declines in housing investment and manufacturing output.” Last week, President Trump announced two new nominees for the Fed board, including Judy Shelton, a former campaign adviser and frequent Fed critic.
Pharma: Price disclosure rule blocked
A federal judge sided with pharmaceutical companies objecting to a Trump administration plan to force them to disclose drug prices in television ads, said Katie Thomas and Katie Rogers in The New York Times. Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled this week that the Department of Health and Human Services’ planned directive exceeded its authority. President Trump said last week that he would issue an executive order requiring drugmakers to lower prices, though it was not clear how that would be implemented.
Tesla: Rebound from production challenges
Tesla shattered its previous production and delivery records in the second quarter, said Elijah Shama in CNBC.com. The electric vehicle manufacturer “delivered 95,200 cars during the three months ending June 30—a 51.1 percent increase over an admittedly weak first quarter.” Tesla also hinted at a backlog of orders for the third quarter. It was a strong turnaround after the company was “plagued by challenges transporting cars from its factory in Fremont, Calif., across the world as well as questions about waning customer demand.”
Space: Buying shares in orbital tourism
Virgin Galactic “is preparing for liftoff as a publicly traded company,” said Maureen Farrell in The Wall Street Journal. Richard Branson’s space-tourism venture this week announced plans to sell a 49 percent stake for $800 million to a public shell company. Virgin Galactic expects the money will fund the business “until its spaceships can commercially operate and turn a profit”; the deal will make it “the first publicly listed human-spaceflight company.” Though it has not yet sent any of them into space, Virgin Galactic has gotten “some 600 people to plunk down roughly $80 million in total to secure seats” on its flights.