1 Starting on an Unsteady Note
This Wednesday morning saw a rise in futures, but the U.S. stock markets had a tough Tuesday as we approach the end of September trading. All three major indices experienced a drop of over 1%, with the Dow recording its worst day since March. It was simply one of those days when everything seemed off. In August, new home sales took a significant hit, Amazon found itself facing a substantial antitrust lawsuit (more details below), and the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board dropped more than expected. Stay tuned for live updates on the market.
2 FTC Accuses Amazon of Monopolistic Behavior
In a long-anticipated move, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against Amazon in federal court, alleging that the e-commerce giant is using its "monopoly power" to stifle competition. Alongside 17 states, the FTC claims that Amazon is unfairly employing anti-discounting practices to prevent sellers from advertising lower prices and essentially compelling them to use Amazon's expensive fulfillment services. Amazon is gearing up for a legal battle and argues that if the FTC succeeds, it would result in fewer product choices, higher prices, slower deliveries, and fewer options for small businesses – the opposite of what antitrust laws aim to achieve, according to Amazon's general counsel.
3 Back to Work for Hollywood Writers
Hollywood's screenwriters can finally return to work. The Writers Guild of America, representing the writers, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing the studios, have unveiled the terms of their agreement, effectively ending a strike that disrupted the entertainment industry for nearly 150 days. The deal includes pay raises, safeguards against artificial intelligence, increased contributions to health and pension plans, and residual payments from streaming. While writers can resume their work, the actors' union remains on strike, keeping the production of narrative films and television shows at a standstill until their issues are resolved.
4 President Biden Supports Striking Auto Workers
President Joe Biden showcased his pro-union stance on Tuesday by joining striking auto workers on a picket line in Michigan. Addressing a crowd of United Auto Workers members, including President Shawn Fain, Biden encouraged them to persevere, stating, "Stick with it. You deserve a significant raise and other benefits. We saved them, it's about time they step up for us." Michigan holds significant importance for Biden's reelection prospects next year, as he narrowly won the state in 2020, while his likely rival, former President Donald Trump, also had a strong showing in 2016. On Wednesday, Trump is set to visit Michigan but will speak at an auto supplier whose workers are not represented by the UAW.
5 Target Shuts Stores Citing Crime Concerns
Target has announced the closure of nine stores in cities like New York, Portland, and San Francisco, citing concerns over crime and violence at these locations as the primary reason. The major retail chain has attributed some of its recent challenges to "shrink," which includes losses from lost, stolen, and damaged merchandise. Retail theft has played a significant role in these losses, according to Target. However, a survey by the National Retail Federation indicates that theft rates have not significantly risen compared to historical norms, despite retailers increasingly pointing fingers at organized retail crime for their losses.