Business News at a Glance
Posted November 2, 2018 10:34 p.m. EDT
Mickey Turns 90, and the Disney Marketing Machine Celebrates
Small and subtle are not the Walt Disney Co.'s style. But a new effort to focus attention on one of its oldest characters, Mickey Mouse, is truly something to behold. Disney is using Mickey’s 90th birthday as a monstrous marketing moment, with the company’s cross-promotional machine revved up to what may be its highest level yet. Every corner of the $168 billion company is contributing to the campaign, which will intensify Sunday when ABC runs “Mickey’s 90th Spectacular.” Mickey made his official debut in 1928 in “Steamboat Willie,” Hollywood’s first cartoon with synchronized sound.
U.S. Added 250,000 Jobs in October
The last official snapshot of the economy before Americans vote Tuesday offered another reminder of the labor market’s persistent strength. Hiring is up. Wages are up. The total number of workers and job searchers is up. A swerving stock market, tariffs and weakening growth in other countries may be causing agita, but they have done little to dent economic momentum in the United States. Employers added 250,000 jobs in October, extending a record streak of growth to 97 months, the Labor Department reported Friday. Last week, the government estimated that the economy grew at a hearty annualized rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter.
Senior Google Lobbyist Is Stepping Down From Her Role
Susan Molinari, a former Republican congresswoman from New York who leads Google’s federal lobbying and policy effort, is stepping down from her role at the company. The change is the latest indication of a shake-up at the company’s Washington operation. Google has been under fire from lawmakers in Washington and Europe and faces growing antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic. Molinari said she had begun looking for the right time to step back from her responsibilities amid several life changes, including her husband’s retirement, her daughter’s college graduation and her father’s death. Molinari joined Google in 2012.
Alibaba Feels the Pinch From China’s Slowing Economic Growth
Alibaba Group, China’s biggest e-commerce company, is expecting rockier times ahead, a troubling sign for a vast economy that is one of the world’s most important engines of growth. The flagging pace of economic expansion in China and the country’s trade war with the United States led the company to cut its estimate of revenue growth for the current fiscal year, which ends in March, by around 5 percent. For the quarter that ended in September, revenue came in at $12.4 billion, a 54 percent increase from a year earlier but less than analysts had expected.
Apple Will Stop Revealing How Many iPhones It Sells. That’s a Bad Sign.
Apple told investors Thursday that it would stop reporting numbers central to understanding the performance of its biggest business: selling iPhones. The company said it would no longer disclose how many iPhones, iPads and Mac computers it sold each quarter. Without this data, investors will not be able to track the average selling price of iPhones, a crucial number for assessing whether consumers are balking at paying up for Apple’s higher-priced phones. The decision, along with Apple’s disappointing forecast for this quarter’s sales, helped drive the company’s stock price down more than 7 percent Friday.
Could New York’s Suit Against Exxon Help Undermine the Law Behind It?
A Wall Street Journal editorial this year called New York’s Martin Act “the worst law in America.” But it remains a useful way for the state’s attorney general to hold corporations accountable. Its latest high-profile use, though, may ultimately undermine it. Last week, New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood used the act to sue Exxon Mobil based on claims that it misled investors about the value of its oil and gas assets by discounting the likely impact of new climate change regulations. But the act is facing opposition. A bill introduced in Congress this year would effectively prohibit states from pursuing fraud claims involving corporate disclosures.