Business News at a Glance
Posted August 12, 2018 9:19 p.m. EDT
Trade Clash Pits Harley Vs. Trump and Bikers
Gary Rathbun rumbled into the pre-eminent gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts atop his Harley-Davidson, a 2009 Ultra Classic. It is likely to be the last Harley he owns. Like many of Harley’s most loyal customers, Rathbun was enraged by the company’s announcement this summer that, because of the Trump administration’s trade fight, it would begin manufacturing the bikes it sells in Europe outside the United States. President Donald Trump’s denouncement of Harley’s decision has put one of the country’s most iconic brands in the uncomfortable position of clashing with a president who is immensely popular with most of its customers.
As Barnes & Noble Struggles to Find Footing, Founder Takes Heat
Leonard Riggio’s company — Barnes & Noble — is floundering, the publishing industry that depends on it is worried, and Riggio has nobody to turn to but himself. That much became evident last month when Barnes & Noble abruptly fired its chief executive, Demos Parneros. Riggio, 77, the company’s chairman, disputed that Barnes & Noble is mired in a leadership crisis. To adapt, Riggio said that Barnes & Noble would close big, underperforming stores and open smaller ones in more highly trafficked areas. In the last decade, the chain has closed more than 150 stores and now operates 633.
Turkish Regulators Step In to Deal With Fall in Currency
Turkey’s main banking regulator curbed the ability of Turkish banks to swap liras for foreign currencies in an announcement on its website late Sunday. The move was one of the first actions Turkish financial officials have taken to address the drastic fall in the value of the lira since President Donald Trump said Friday that he would increase tariffs on the imports of Turkish steel and aluminum. A large Turkish bank, Garanti Bank, also said late Sunday that it would no longer allow customers to open new foreign exchange trading positions.
Turkey’s Financial Crisis Surprised Many. Except One Analyst.
For the past seven years, Tim Lee, who writes an investment newsletter, has been warning that a financial crisis in Turkey would set off a wider calamity in global markets. Just about nobody listened — until now. A plunge in the Turkish lira and the prospect that the country might soon need a bailout has spurred an investor exodus in Turkey, which gathered steam Friday as the currency dropped as much as 16 percent. Relative to the dollar, the lira is down 70 percent this year. The stock prices of European banks dropped sharply Friday.
Trump’s National Security Claim for Tariffs Sets Off Crisis at WTO
The most lasting impact of President Donald Trump’s sweeping tariffs could be to hobble the World Trade Organization. The trade group has been thrust into the role as chief judge in a fight among its most powerful members. At the center of the battle is whether the United States’ claim that its steel and aluminum tariffs are necessary to protect national security or whether they are simply a ruse to protect U.S. metal manufacturers from global competition. Now, the global trade group is in the difficult position of having to make a ruling that could cause problems whatever it does.
Google-Facebook Dominance Hurts Ad Tech Firms, Speeding Consolidation
Online advertising companies have struggled for several years as Google and Facebook solidified their grip on digital dollars. Now, many ad tech companies and their investors are throwing up their hands. Venture capital money going into ad tech startups is falling sharply, helping push consolidation. Financing reached a high of $2.92 billion in 2015, but this year, it is on pace to be less than half that, according to CB Insights, a research firm. The number of independent ad tech companies has fallen 21 percent since 2013, to 185 as of the second quarter of 2018, according to LUMA Partners.
‘The Meg’ Is a Surprise Box-Office Monster
Going into the weekend, “The Meg” looked like a big, fat belly flop for Warner Bros. Surveys indicated minimal interest in the killer shark movie, which cost at least $200 million to make and market. But “The Meg” took in $44.5 million at North American theaters. “The Meg” collected an additional $97 million overseas. Second place for the weekend in the United States and Canada went to “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” (Paramount), which took in about $20 million, for a new global total of $438 million, according to comScore, which compiles box-office data. “Christopher Robin” (Disney) was third.