World Trade Body’s Chief Urges Nations to Avert Trade War
The head of the World Trade Organization says the whole international community has a responsibility to reduce tensions and avert a full trade war, which would produce “no winners.”
Trade tensions between the U.S., China and others have spiraled lately and WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo told a German business conference in Berlin on Tuesday that “the warning lights are flashing.”
He said that “the continued escalation of tensions will pose an increased threat to stability, to jobs and to the kind of growth that we’re seeing today,” noting that there is a time lag between the introduction of trade restrictions and the time when their full impact is felt.
Azevedo said that “there will be no winners … and every region will be affected” by an all-out trade war.
US Approves Sale of $330M in Military Gear to Taiwan
The Trump administration says it has approved the sale to Taiwan of $330 million in spare parts and related support for Taiwan’s F-16 fighters and other military aircraft.
A Pentagon statement Monday said the sale will improve Taiwan’s ability to defend itself without altering the basic military balance in Asia.
China opposes all U.S. military sales to Taiwan.
Taiwan split with the mainland in 1949, but China claims it as part of its territory and has threatened to invade if necessary to reunite Taiwan with the mainland.
Washington has no official relations with the island’s democratically elected government but is obliged by U.S. law to see that it has the means necessary to defend itself.
US Home Prices Rise at Slowest Pace in Nearly a Year
U.S. home prices rose in July at the slowest pace in 10 months as home sales have stumbled amid higher mortgage rates.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 5.9 percent in July compared with a year earlier, down from a 6.4 percent annual gain in July.
Home prices are rising at twice the rate of wages, which has likely contributed to a cooling in the market this year. Sales of existing homes have dropped 1.5 percent in the past 12 months. Mortgage rates last week reached their highest level since May.
Las Vegas, Seattle and San Francisco reported the biggest annual gains, with all three cities seeing double-digit increases. Yet in 15 of 20 cities, price gains were smaller in July than the previous year.
Michael Kors Ups the Glamour, Buys Versace for $2B
Michael Kors is buying the Italian fashion house Gianni Versace in a deal worth more than $2 billion (1.83 billion euros), continuing its hard charge into the world of high-end fashion.
The deal announced Tuesday follows the New York handbag maker’s $1.35 billion acquisition last year of the shoemaker Jimmy Choo.
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., like others in the fashion industry, is trying to fire up sales by tacking on big name brands like the globally revered Versace
Tapestry, once known as Coach, owns Stuart Weitzman and last year it acquired Kate Spade.
By all accounts, Kors has successfully melded Jimmy Choo into its portfolio, putting up big sales in the most recent quarter.
Inspire Brands Buys Sonic Burger chain for $2.3B
Arby’s owner Inspire Brands is buying the Sonic drive-in hamburger chain.
Inspire is paying $43.50 per share cash, or $2.3 billion, for Sonic, which has 3,600 restaurants in the U.S. Inspire expects the deal to close by the end of this year.
Sonic will operate as a separate business unit within Inspire and remain based in Oklahoma City. The first Sonic opened in Oklahoma in 1953.
Inspire says Sonic’s management team will also remain in place.
Sonic earned $63.7 million in its 2017 fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31. That was down slightly from the previous two years.
Atlanta-based Inspire was formed earlier this year when Arby’s acquired the Buffalo Wild Wings chain.
Inspire said Tuesday owning multiple chains will help it share resources, including customer loyalty data and suppliers.
Automaker BMW Issues Profit Warning on Trade, Pricing
German luxury automaker BMW says its profits and sales will fall short of its forecasts this year because of fears over international trade conflicts and as new emissions tests affect the pricing of cars.
The Munich-based company said Tuesday that sales revenue in its automotive division would fall slightly compared with last year instead of increase, while earnings before tax would be moderately below last year’s figure instead of roughly in line.
A key earnings metric — operating profit margin — would fall short. BMW predicts 7 percent, below its target range of 8-10 percent.
The company said that new, tougher emissions tests in Europe have led to market and sales distortions, even though BMW has managed to implement the new standard ahead of time.
BMW shares dropped 6 percent.
Just Dunkin’: Dunkin’ Donuts to Change its Name
Dunkin’ is dropping the donuts — from its name, anyway.
Doughnuts are still on the menu, but the company is renaming itself “Dunkin'” to reflect its increasing emphasis on coffee and other drinks.
The change will officially take place in January, when the new name will start appearing on napkins, boxes and signs at its U.S. stores. The name change will eventually be adopted by international stores.
Dunkin’ has more than 12,500 restaurants globally.
The 68-year-old chain says its new logo will still have the familiar rounded font and orange-and-pink color scheme that the company has used since 1973.
Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ says the name change is one of several things it’s doing to stay relevant to younger customers. It’s also simplifying its menu and adding dedicated mobile ordering lanes.
Instagram Co-Founders Resign From Social Media Company
The co-founders of Instagram are resigning their positions with the social media company.
Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said in a statement late Monday that he and Mike Krieger plan to leave the company in the next few weeks.
Krieger is chief technical officer. They founded the photo-sharing app in 2010 and sold it to Facebook in 2012 for about $1 billion.
There was no immediate word on why they chose to leave the company but Systrom says they plan to take time off to explore their creativity again.
Representatives for Instagram and Facebook didn’t immediately respond to after-hours messages from The Associated Press.
Instagram has seen explosive growth since its founding, with an estimated 1 billion monthly users and 2 million advertisers.
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