6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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One important measure of China’s economy slowed to a multimonth low in November. According to MarketWatch:

An official measure of activity outside China’s factory gates fell to the lowest level in 15 months in November, as renewed weakness in construction activity outweighed strength in the service sector.

China’s official nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index dropped to 53.4 from October’s 53.9, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity, while a figure below that level indicates a contraction.

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) will block the ability of customers to watch pornography over its Wi-Fi systems. According to MarketWatch:

Starting next year, people will no longer be able to watch porn at Starbucks — because that’s apparently a thing.

“We have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our US locations in 2019,” a company rep announced Thursday in a statement.

J. Crew stopped a plan to launch a new brand. According to The Wall Street Journal:

J.Crew Group Inc. will discontinue its budget clothing line called Mercantile and shut down the newly launched Nevereven brand, according to an internal memo sent Thursday to employees.

The moves undo some decisions made by former CEO James Brett, who departed earlier this month after a disagreement with the board about the company’s turnaround plans.

In the memo, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the company told employees its priorities will be to “return the J.Crew brand to profitable growth” and “more diligently manage our balance of investments and expenses,” among other plans.

Financial results from HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) show that PC sales are healthy. According to The Wall Street Journal:

An upswing in the personal-computer market helped HP Inc. more than double its profit in the latest quarter, and the company signaled strong growth in technology spending from corporate clients and consumers in 2019.

The printer and personal-computer giant, born from the 2015 split of Hewlett Packard, said its fourth-quarter profit was $1.45 billion, or 91 cents a share, compared with $660 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg directly asked for an investigation of billionaire George Soros after he attacked the company. According to The New York Times:

Sheryl Sandberg asked Facebook’s communications staff to research George Soros’s financial interests in the wake of his high-profile attacks on tech companies, according to three people with knowledge of her request, indicating that Facebook’s second in command was directly involved in the social network’s response to the liberal billionaire.

Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, asked for the information in an email to a senior executive in January that was forwarded to other senior communications and policy staff, the people said. The email came within days of a blistering speech Mr. Soros delivered that month at the World Economic Forum, attacking Facebook and Google as a “menace” to society and calling for the companies to be regulated.

NASA will used outside vendors for future moon trips. According to The New York Times:

Astronauts may one day set foot on the moon again, and small robotic spacecraft will be there waiting for them.

NASA announced on Thursday that it had selected nine companies that will compete for billions of dollars in contracts to take small payloads for the agency to the surface of the moon.

“We are building a domestic American capability to get back and forth to the surface of the moon,” said Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator. NASA astronauts last landed there in 1972, and no American spacecraft has touched down on the lunar surface in one piece since then.

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