6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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The tariff war between the United States and China has escalated again. According to MarketWatch:

Beijing warned it would match the Trump administration step for step should it move ahead with new tariffs on Chinese imports, as trade data showed the country is shoring up its economy for a long trade conflict with the U.S.

China’s Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday criticized the U.S.’s plan to impose new 25% tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese goods on Aug. 23, and released an updated list of items it would target with similar tariffs that would go into effect the same day.

Plans for a huge retail merger deal were dropped. According to The Wall Street Journal:

In a surprise move, Rite Aid Corp. and Albertsons Cos. called off their planned $24 billion merger on the eve of a shareholder vote in the face of mounting protests from investors.

Some of Rite Aid’s biggest shareholders had planned to vote against the pharmacy’s planned merger with privately held grocer Albertsons, unconvinced by the companies’ argument that a deal was necessary to fend off competition from Amazon.com Inc. and others.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has sold another business as part of its restructuring. According to The Wall Street Journal:

General Electric Co. has struck a deal to sell another part of GE Capital, this time selling its energy debt financing business to Starwood Property Trust Inc. for $2.56 billion.

Starwood said Wednesday it agreed to buy GE Capital’s Energy Project Finance Debt Business. The deal includes unfunded loan commitments of $400 million.

Growth in digital subscribers allowed The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) to remain the most successful newspaper in the United States. According to The New York Times:

The New York Times continued its digital growth in the second quarter of 2018, adding 109,000 digital-only subscribers. With that rise came an increase in revenue that counteracted a decline in print advertising.

The company said on Wednesday that revenue from digital subscriptions rose to $99 million in the second quarter, a jump of nearly 20 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Over all for the second quarter, total revenue increased 2 percent, to $415 million, and the company reported a profit of almost $24 million.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is examining comments by Elon Musk about taking Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) private. According to CNBC:

 Elon Musk’s lawyers are probably pouring over rule 14e-8 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 right about now.

That regulation is the one the Tesla CEO may or may not have violated when he sent the markets into a frenzy and halted trading in Tesla’s shares after nonchalantly tweeting Tuesday that he was thinking about taking the electric car company private and had “funding secured,” securities lawyers say.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) made a decision that cut into the sales of a major junk food product. According to CNNMoney:

Hostess’ comeback hasn’t been all sweet. The maker of Twinkies, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs, reported disappointing earnings Wednesday sending its stock sliding 16%.

Hostess Brands CEO Andrew Callahan said Wednesday the company had been hurt in the second quarter by shrinking shelf space and “lower promotional support from one large retail partner.” Callahan did not specifically name the retailer, but an analyst on a conference call with company executives revealed it was Walmart.