5 Most Important Things in Business Today

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LG Electronics will raise prices on washing machines due to new tariffs. The Wall Street Journal reports:

 LG Electronics Inc. has told retailers it plans to raise prices on its laundry appliances following President Donald Trump’s approval this week of steep tariffs on imported washing machines.

“As a result of the trade situation, we will be initiating pricing actions, which will be sent under separate cover shortly,” Thomas Yoon, an executive at the South Korean manufacturer, told retailers in a memo dated Wednesday and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) will have its own cybersecurity company. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., said Wednesday it is launching its 13th unit: a cybersecurity business called Chronicle LLC.

The company plans to sell cybersecurity services to other companies. Chronicle Chief Executive Stephen Gillett, a former executive at antivirus-software firm Symantec Corp. SYMC 0.71%, said Chronicle would help companies better use their data to improve security.

Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) earnings were hurt by commodities prices, and it issued a weak forecast:

The outlook for 2018, however, indicates that Mr. Hackett (Ford’s CEO) needs to manage several factors outside of his direct control. Rising commodity costs, unfavorable currency movements and higher interest rates will pressure margins at both the company’s automotive division and the lucrative Ford Credit finance arm.

Ford’s global profit margin of 5% on the core auto business last year is in the bottom tier of major auto companies and well below the 9% operating margin GM reported through the first three quarters. A company that enjoys a lead in the profitable market for large pickup trucks, Ford is now finding itself on more equal ground with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV when it comes to regional profits.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) will have several years to pay taxes on the money it will bring back to the United States. According to Bloomberg:

The eye-popping $38 billion tax bill that Apple Inc. said it plans to pay on its mammoth pile of accumulated foreign earnings will probably hit federal coffers in an eight-year trickle, not a one-time torrent.

The special, cut-rate “repatriation” tax that Congress imposed on multinationals like Apple gives them as long as eight years to pay the new levy — with no interest or penalties. That drawn-out schedule puts the biggest bills off until later years, meaning Apple’s first repatriation payment would probably be much closer to $3 billion, according to tax experts.

A Chinese company that might become a competitor to Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has started alliance talks with U.S. grocer Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). According to CNBC:

Chinese e-commerce and technology company Alibaba Group and U.S. grocer Kroger have had early discussions on working together, including a meeting in which U.S. executives traveled to China, a source familiar with the matter said.

The business development talks are at an initial stage, and it is not clear if they will lead to any cooperation, the person said, declining to be named.

The discussions come as U.S. e-commerce company Amazon.com is expanding aggressively into groceries with its acquisition of Whole Foods Market.