Business Briefs – May 9, 2019

Uber Shifts Into Lower Gear, Prices IPO at $45 Per Share

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Uber is about to embark on a wild ride on Wall Street with the biggest and most hotly debated IPO in years. The world’s leading ride-hailing service set the stage for its long-awaited arrival on the stock market by pricing its initial public offering at $45 per share Thursday. The price is at the lower end of Uber’s targeted range, but still leaves the company with a market value of $82 billion.

Israeli Bonds to Be Listed by Top London Exchange

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia) – London stock exchange FTSE Russell, which is also responsible for the FTSE World Government Bond Index (WGBI), has announced that Israel is eligible to join the Index.

“Israel now meets the minimum Market Accessibility Level for the WGBI, in addition to the objective market size and credit quality criteria,” the exchange said in an announcement. “Should these criteria continue to be met for the September 2019 review, an announcement regarding a resulting index inclusion change and the timetable for implementation, which will include a minimum notice period of six months, will be made shortly thereafter.”

The WGBI includes 1,033 bond series issued by 23 countries, with over one-third consisting of U.S. government bonds. The market value of the bonds on the Index is over $20 trillion.

Juul’s ‘Switch’ Campaign for Smokers Draws New Scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) – E-cigarette giant Juul is pushing a multimillion-dollar campaign touting its vaping device as an alternative for middle-age smokers. And that’s raising concerns among health activists and others. Juul e-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a means of helping smokers quit. Anti-smoking groups say Juul is making unproven claims for its product, and they want the FDA to crack down.

Trump Calls on Congress to End ‘Surprise Medical Bills’

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is calling on Congress to end “surprise medical bills.” Those are the steep charges insured patients face when a member of the health care team that treated them is an out-of-network provider. Mr. Trump laid out his policy at a White House event on Thursday where he was joined by patients. Key lawmakers of both parties were already working on legislation. Trump says he wants it finished quickly.

Trump Deficits Projected to Be Worse Than Promised

WASHINGTON (AP) – A nonpartisan analysis says President Trump’s budget plan would produce significantly larger budget deficits than promised, mostly because its estimates of economic growth are too rosy. The Congressional Budget Office estimate says Trump’s budget would produce deficits that would be $2.7 trillion greater over the coming decade than promised by the White House budget office. Trump’s budget predicts economic growth averaging 2.9% over the decade, but CBO estimates growth averaging 1.8%.

Descendants Ensure Chinese Rail Workers Aren’t Forgotten

OGDEN, Utah (AP) – Descendants of Chinese laborers are among thousands gathering in Utah for the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. Speeches, ceremonies and a photo reenactment near the site of the 1869 hammering of the final golden spike are among the planned celebratory events. But for Chinese Americans, the milestone year has served to remind people of their ancestors’ role in one of the country’s greatest engineering feats.

Uber, Lyft Driver Strike Latest Move to Organize Gig Workers

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A strike by Uber and Lyft drivers in cities across the United States this week caused barely a ripple to passengers looking to catch a ride, highlighting the challenges in launching a labor movement from scratch in an industry that is by nature decentralized.

Activists and others involved in the labor movement are still declaring it a success. It grabbed headlines, trended on Twitter and won the support of several Democrats running for president. The action was also closely watched by labor organizers, who are brainstorming about ways to build worker power in the 21st-century economy.

Drivers say they wanted to draw the attention of the public, technology investors and political leaders to their plight: low pay and a lack of basic rights on the job.

“The goal is to bring awareness to the incredible disregard for workers,” said Lyft driver Ann Glatt, who helped organize the San Francisco strike and protest outside Uber headquarters.