Business

Business News at a Glance

Posted July 22, 2018 9:44 p.m. EDT

A Lone Trump Deal Lifts the Sons of a Refugee

The Trump Organization has struck just one new hotel deal since the president took office. It’s with two brothers in rural Mississippi. Dinesh Suresh Chawla, immigrants from India and the sons of a refugee, own the Hampton Inn and 16 other hotels in the Delta, a Democratic and heavily African-American pocket of deeply Republican Mississippi. Their business “went nuclear,” Dinesh Chawla said, after Donald Trump’s elder sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., announced in June 2017 that the Trump family business had become partners with the brothers on four hotels in Mississippi.

Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

At a time of mounting uncertainty in Europe, Portugal has defied critics who insisted on austerity as the answer to the Continent’s economic and financial crisis. The country reversed cuts to wages, pensions and social security, and offered incentives to businesses, driving economic growth last year to its highest level in a decade. The gloom that had gripped the nation through years of belt-tightening began to lift. Business confidence rebounded, and production and exports began to take off. "There’s an enthusiastic mojo here,” one foreign investor said.

Revealed: 2 ‘Giants’ Who Cut Breitbart’s Ads

The anonymous-run Twitter account named Sleeping Giants emerged after the 2016 election with a plan to choke off advertising dollars to Breitbart News, the nationalist website tied to the Trump administration. Sleeping Giants urged people to question brands about their support of the site. Hundreds of brands blocked their ads from Breitbart. But last week, Matt Rivitz, 45, a freelance copywriter in San Francisco, was identified as the account’s creator by The Daily Caller, the website co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Rivitz expressed his dismay in how he was identified but added, “I’m super proud of this thing.”

Loophole for Derivatives Is Blind Spot for Regulators

A decade after a financial crisis fueled in part by a tangled web of derivatives, regulators still have an incomplete picture of who holds what in this $600 trillion market. A legal loophole allows major banks to avoid telling U.S. authorities about certain trading in derivatives, which are financial instruments whose values are derived from the prices of other things, like a stock or a barrel of oil or a bundle of mortgages. Designed to protect their holders against future risks, derivatives evolved into vehicles that traders used for financial speculation. The market — and who is exposed to what — is often opaque.

Fiat Chrysler Loses Leader and Faces Bumpy Road

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles already faced difficulties, including a reliance on the Jeep and Ram divisions and a limited presence in China, before it was forced over the weekend to hastily replace Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, who led the company for 14 years. The company must find a way to deal with its own shortcomings without him — even as the auto industry experiences changes that would be challenging enough under the best of circumstances. Now, the hard decisions fall to new Chief Executive Mike Manley, who has been running the arm of the company that is easily its best reason for optimism.

He Asked Putin Tough Questions. Then He Began a Russian Holiday.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted President Vladimir Putin of Russia about meddling in U.S. elections, presented him with a copy of the special counsel’s indictment of a dozen Russian intelligence agents and, to Putin’s clear displeasure, asked why so many of his political opponents ended up dead. Wallace's 34-minute interview drew 3.2 million viewers, a rare instance of ratings for a 6 p.m. news segment hitting prime-time levels. So what did Wallace do after wrapping up his interview in Helsinki, Finland, last week? He took a vacation ... to Russia.

Comics Eye Streaming as Sales Slow Down

In the face of flagging sales and competition from digital entertainment, publishers like DC and Dark Horse Comics are creating their own streaming platforms to connect more directly with readers and encourage fan engagement. The goal is to reach readers who may not live near a comic book shop but want to keep up with the Avengers and the Justice League. Experts say the direct-to-consumer model also helps compete with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video. The initiative comes at a challenging time for the comic book industry. The market declined 6.5 percent in 2017, according to estimates by ICv2 and Comichron, an industry analysis site.