The daily business briefing: August 7, 2018

Harold Maass
An Iranian oil facility
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Oil prices rise after Trump reimposes Iran sanctions

Oil prices edged higher early Tuesday after President Trump signed an executive order reimposing sanctions on Iran, which could tighten supply. Iran exported about three million barrels of oil per day in July. Trump said the sanctions would exert "maximum economic pressure" on Tehran three months after he pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. Trump said the 2015 agreement requiring Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions was a "horrible, one-sided deal." He urged other nations to show Iran that it had to "change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation." European foreign ministers said they "deeply regret" Trump's move, and vowed to try to salvage the deal. [Reuters, The Associated Press]


Facebook joins tech companies banning Alex Jones and Infowars

Facebook on Monday became the latest major tech company to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars show in what the businesses called a crackdown on hate speech. Over the past few days, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify also have removed material linked to Jones, following protests on social media. Facebook took down four pages belonging to Jones, including two involving Infowars. Facebook said it had suspended Jones' account for 30 days over violations of community standards against hate speech that "attacks or dehumanizes others." Jones responded via Twitter saying, "We've been banned completely on Facebook, Apple, & Spotify. What conservative news outlet will be next?" [The Associated Press]


MoviePass decides to limit users to 3 movies per month

MoviePass said Monday that it was scrapping a plan to hike its subscription fee and block access to some new blockbusters, and instead announced that it would limit users to three movies per month. Currently, customers can watch a movie per day for the $9.95 monthly fee. MoviePass estimates that 85 percent of its more than three million users will feel no effect from the change, because only 15 percent of subscribers see more than four movies per month. Those are the ones whose viewing MoviePass seeks to rein in. While most subscribers "experimented fairly," CEO Mitch Lowe said, "the fact is that a small number have used our business model to a point where it was compromising the business' long-term stability." [Entertainment Weekly]


Global stocks follow Wall Street higher

World stocks rose close to a six-month high on Tuesday as Chinese stocks made their biggest jump in two years. The surge came after European stocks made early gains following the best close for U.S. stocks since January. Chinese stocks gained 2.7 percent as hopes for increased government spending and strong global earnings lifted investors' spirits after a four-day sell-off resulted in losses of 6 percent. In the U.S., the S&P 500 closed Monday at its highest level since Jan. 29 overnight, and appeared poised for further gains. S&P 500 futures rose by 0.2 percent early Tuesday, while those of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq-100 gained 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, as solid corporate earnings overshadowed concern over trade tensions between the U.S. and China. [Reuters, MarketWatch]


NASCAR CEO Brian France arrested for driving under the influence

NASCAR CEO Brian France was arrested Sunday night on Long Island for driving under the influence and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Sag Harbor Village police said France's blood alcohol levels were twice the legal limit, he was in possession of oxycodone pills, and he had difficulty keeping his balance during a sobriety test. France, 56, was released from jail on Monday morning, and has a court appearance scheduled for Sept. 14. "We are aware of an incident that occurred last night and are in the process of gathering information," NASCAR said in a statement. "We take this as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts." [The Guardian]