6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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The financial punishment against Bayer in a lawsuit it lost has been lowered. According to The Wall Street Journal:

A California judge on Monday reduced by more than $200 million a jury verdict linking Bayer AG’s Roundup weedkiller to cancer but upheld the jury’s findings that the company acted with malice.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos said the $250 million in punitive damages awarded by the jury must be slimmed down to match the $39.25 million in compensatory damages that the jury found appropriate. If the plaintiff agrees to the reduction by Dec. 7, no new trial is needed.

The head of Softbank, which has taken billions of dollars in investment from the Saudis, will not speak at the nation’s most important business gathering. According to The Wall Street Journal:

SoftBank Group Corp.’s Chief Executive Masayoshi Son on Tuesday became the highest profile executive to cancel a speaking engagement at a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia following the death of a journalist who was critical of the Kingdom’s royal family.

In the past two weeks dozens of executives and government officials have canceled plans to attend the conference, after Turkey accused Riyadh of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Unemployment numbers are about the same as they were two decades ago. However, wages are close to stagnant recently. According to The New York Times:

So in many ways, the labor market looks like the economic heyday of 2000 and 2001, but in one important way it does not: wage growth.

The government has several wage metrics that take different approaches, each with pros and cons. But virtually all of these agree that wage growth today is much slower now than it was on the eve of the 2001 recession, with its identical unemployment rate.

The Chinese government has sent a signal that tariffs will not make it back down from a trade war with the United States. According to CNBC:

Chinese government leaders have a message for American investors: They’re not afraid of a trade war with the United States.

On Monday in Beijing, Zhang Qingli, a leading member of a Chinese committee tasked with forging alliances with other nations, told a small group of U.S. business leaders, lobbyists and public relations executives that China refuses to be intimidated by an ongoing trade war with the Trump administration

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) will be more aggressive with its shipping options for customers as the holiday season approaches. According to CNBC:

In the fight for shoppers’ holiday dollars, retailers are increasingly touting perks like free shipping and easy returns.

Walmart said Tuesday it’s expanding two-day shipping and in-store returns to many items sold by third parties on its website next month, just ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) is expanding its effort in the smokeless cigarette business. According to CNBC:

Philip Morris International is unveiling two new versions of its smokeless tobacco device, iQOS, in the more than 40 markets around the world where iQOS products are already available.

The company is also introducing a less expensive line of expensive tobacco insert for the devices, called HEETS, in Japan as it tries to fend off competition and boost sales in key markets.

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