The Week in Business: The Markets and Impeachment


Before we get started, if you’re craving impeachment updates, you can get the latest with our new Impeachment Briefing newsletter. We’ve got more on the economic impact below — plus news on a victory for college athletes and what to expect from a new term for the Supreme Court.

CreditGiacomo Bagnara

President Trump claimed that the ongoing impeachment inquiry was to blame for driving stocks down early in the week. But investors probably care less about impeachment than they do about economic fundamentals. Stocks did tumble in the first part of the week, but analysts said that was because of signs of deteriorating global trade. At the end of the week, though, markets rebounded on a mostly positive jobs report. Job growth in the United States may be slowing as manufacturing jobs take a hit from the trade war but the jobless rate continued its steady decline to 3.5 percent (the lowest in a half century).

California wants to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals and hire agents. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law on Monday, bucking the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s long-held policy that students not be paid directly from their success, even as their colleges and coaches make millions each year on television broadcast deals and merchandise sales (not to mention the use of students’ likenesses). Until 2014, the N.C.A.A.’s restrictions also included how much food teams could feed players, only a fraction of whom eventually turn professional. The N.C.A.A. called the new law, which is to take effect in 2023, “unconstitutional” and said it might challenge it. It’s unclear if students in California who sign endorsement deals or hire agents will be penalized under the association’s rules.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said he would “go to the mat” and fight the Democratic senator, Elizabeth Warren, over her plan to break up big tech, should she become president. In leaked audio recordings with employees revealed by The Verge, the Facebook chief said that breaking up his company or Google or Amazon makes election interference “more likely” because “the companies can’t coordinate and work together.” In response to the audio, Ms. Warren renewed her criticism of Facebook.

CreditGiacomo Bagnara

The United States Supreme Court, in its new term starting this week, will consider whether transgender and gay employees are protected under workplace discrimination laws, specifically whether discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is considered sex discrimination under the existing federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In one case, Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor, said he was fired because he was gay. “The claim could accurately be framed entirely in terms of sex and nothing else: Zarda was fired for being a man attracted to men,” his lawyers wrote. “That is sex discrimination pure and simple.” The case is the court’s first on gay rights since the retirement last year of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinions in all four of the court’s major decisions on the issue.

Pro-democracy protests continue in Hong Kong after the police shot a protester with a live round last week as both sides grew more combative. The city’s leader invoked an emergency power on Friday to ban face masks during protests, a move that could further inflame tensions in the territory whose status as an economic hub has already been weakened by President Trump’s trade war and Beijing’s tightened grasp. Many protesters, first aid responders and journalists use masks as protection from tear gas. Some protesters wear them as protection against increased surveillance and possible retaliation.

The United Kingdom’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, had a new plan to pull Britain out of the European Union, but the union rejected it on Friday. Now Mr. Johnson is without a deal as his deadline for leaving the European Union looms. The British government said it would follow a recent Parliament measure obligating it to ask Brussels for more time if no new deal is reached by Oct. 19, but Mr. Johnson has publicly denied he would seek an extension. He has said repeatedly that he would take Britain out of the European Union “do or die” by Oct. 31. British negotiators will be given another chance to argue their plan on Monday. Expect new maneuverings next week by Mr. Johnson as he looks to secure an exit.

A ruling by the World Trade Organization in a fight over aircraft subsidies gave the United States the right to impose tariffs on billions in European exports. So expect higher prices on Parmesan cheese, French wine and Scotch whisky.

Thousands of lawsuits claim Johnson’s Baby Powder may have asbestos, but the company says its product is safe. Two Times reporters, Roni Rabin and Tiffany Hsu, investigate the allegations. Watch “The Weekly,” The Times’s new TV show, on FX and Hulu.

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