Business News at a Glance
Posted November 7, 2018 9:48 p.m. EST
The Election Showed a Divided Country, and Investors Can Live With That
Stocks jumped Wednesday, extending a recovery from the sharp sell-off in October with broad-based gains, after midterm elections that will split control of the U.S. government between both major parties. The S&P 500 rose 2.1 percent, led by giant technology companies including Amazon, Apple and Google. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 2.6 percent, its strongest gain this month. Stock in consumer discretionary companies climbed 3.1 percent, in a sign of growing optimism that President Donald Trump, stung by his party’s loss of the House of Representatives, could seek a win by striking a trade bargain with China.
Russian Trolls Were at It Again Before Midterms, Facebook Says
A Kremlin-backed group of internet trolls that meddled in the 2016 presidential election appeared to be trying to influence U.S. voters using Facebook days before the midterm elections, the social network said. Just hours after most polls had closed, Facebook said it had blocked more than 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts “due to concerns that they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in a statement. In February, more than a dozen members of the group were indicted in connection with a conspiracy to illegally influence the 2016 election.
Midterm Elections Deliver a Ratings Surge, With Fox News in the Lead
In a big night for television news, 36.1 million people watched Tuesday’s coverage of the midterm elections, according to Nielsen. The spike in viewers came on a day when turnout soared in both Democratic- and Republican-leaning parts of the country. Fox News led all channels with 7.8 million viewers in prime time on Tuesday, according to Nielsen. NBC had the largest broadcast network audience, with 5.7 million viewers, while its cable sibling, MSNBC, brought in 4.7 million viewers. CNN finished in second place among the cable networks, drawing an audience of 5.1 million.
After Protest, Booksellers Are Victorious Against Amazon Subsidiary
A worldwide strike by antiquarian booksellers against an Amazon subsidiary proved successful after two days, with the retailer apologizing and saying it would cancel the actions that prompted the protest. Even the book dealers were surprised at the sudden reversal by AbeBooks, the company’s secondhand and rare bookselling network. The uprising, which involved nearly 600 booksellers in 27 countries removing about 4 million books, was set off by the retailer’s decision to cut off stores in five countries: the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, South Korea and Russia. AbeBooks never explained its actions beyond saying it was related to payment processing.
Australia Likely to Block Hong Kong Company’s Bid for Gas Pipeline
Li Ka-shing may be one of the most influential businessmen in Asia, but that reputation — and fear of Chinese influence — is working against his company’s ambitions to buy a critical gas operation in Australia. The Australian government, seeking to balance national security interests and economic growth, said Wednesday that it was likely to block CK Group, a company led by Li, a Hong Kong billionaire, from acquiring APA Group, the country’s largest gas and pipeline company. A final decision is expected in two weeks, according to a Treasury statement. CK Group bid 12.98 billion Australian dollars ($9.6 billion).
San Francisco Approves Business Tax to Fund Homeless Services
Voters in San Francisco approved a tax increase on the city’s largest businesses that would nearly double its budget for homeless services, a measure seen as an effort to hold wealthy technology companies accountable for exacerbating the local housing crisis. Tech executives have poured money into the campaigns for and against the measure. Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and the payments company Square, spent $125,000 to oppose it, while Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce, spent $2 million to support it. Salesforce contributed an additional $5 million to the campaign in favor of the initiative, known as Proposition C.