With the death toll rising, Israeli forces are preparing for a potential ground invasion.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times
The world braces for fallout from the Israel-Gaza conflict
More than 1,100 are dead as Israel fights to drive out Palestinian militants from towns near the Gaza Strip, two days after hundreds of Israelis were killed or captured in surprise attacks. Israel just ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, as rockets continue to land on both sides of the border and Israeli forces prepare for a potential ground invasion.
The rapidly escalating war has pushed up oil prices and raised questions about what the conflict means for the global economy, President Biden’s push to normalize diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and gridlock in Congress.
The latest: Israeli stocks and bonds fell after the attacks, and many businesses and schools in the country remain closed, while airlines have curtailed most flights to Tel Aviv. Israel’s central bank also said it will sell up to $30 billion worth of foreign reserves to shore up the shekel.
The U.S. pledged to send additional munitions and military assets to Israel and is moving Navy warships closer to Israel in a show of support.
Crude oil prices were up as much as 5 percent after the attacks, as traders pondered whether the fighting would crimp already tight global supply. “The price response that you’ve seen is quite understandable and proportionate,” Marcus Garvey, the head of commodities strategy at Macquarie, told Bloomberg Television.
But analysts and traders are also focused on whether Israel will retaliate against Iran, which some say helped plan the attacks. That could drive prices even higher.
The war is hanging over Saudi-Israeli security talks. While the Biden administration publicly remains committed to pressing both sides to normalize diplomatic relations, senior U.S. officials acknowledge that the attacks have thrown a wrench into those efforts. The Saudi reaction after this weekend’s attacks, which didn’t explicitly denounce Hamas and blamed Israel for failing to solve the Palestinian crisis, surprised Biden and several of his top aides, The Times reports.
The war may tamp down some of the chaos in Washington as well. Some Republican lawmakers suggested that the fighting may expedite efforts to select a new House speaker. Many in Washington are worried that failure to do so will delay further American aid to Israel — especially if the government shuts down next month.
A vote is scheduled for Wednesday, though the two leading candidates, Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, are each short of majority support.
In other fallout from the fighting: Elon Musk and his social media platform, X, are under scrutiny after he promoted two accounts known for spreading misinformation. He later deleted his posts after taking criticism for the move.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
U.S. lawmakers press Chinese officials on trade and Israel. Five senators led by Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, visited Beijing in the first congressional trip to China in four years. The delegation raised concerns on trade — with Schumer adding that the U.S. does not want to decouple economically from China — and urged President Xi Jinping to condemn Hamas’s attack on Israel.
Claudia Goldin wins the Nobel in economics for her work on gender equity in the workplace. The Harvard economics professor is the third woman to win the prize, and the first solo honoree. Her research has found that discriminatory employment practices harm businesses and society.
The I.M.F. and World Bank summit begins in quake-stricken Morocco. For the first time in 50 years, the annual meeting will be held in Africa, with a focus on climate change, inequality and geopolitics. The event will take place in Marrakesh, a few hours’ drive from the epicenter of last month’s devastating earthquake. The I.M.F. is expected to cut its global growth projection, with the United States the lone bright spot.
The U.A.W. votes to strike at Mack trucks. Members will go on strike against the truck maker as soon as Monday after the union rejected Mack’s proposal offering a 19 percent pay increase over five years. They join 25,000 other U.A.W. members who have walked off the job at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. Some management experts think employers have miscalculated unions’ determination to strike amid a growing power shift in labor relations.
A Disney-Peltz sequel?
Disney’s share price sank below $80 last week, its lowest point since Bob Iger returned as C.E.O. of the entertainment giant in November. Investors are contending with a business hobbled by streaming losses, a Hollywood strike and the question of Iger’s succession.
Now, the activist investor Nelson Peltz is making a new push to shake up the company.
Peltz has been buying up shares, giving him more than 30 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. (DealBook has confirmed those details.) Peltz, a co-founder of Trian Fund Management, also plans to request multiple board seats, including one for himself. If Disney rebuffs the plan, Trian may nominate directors to be voted on next spring at the annual shareholder meeting.
Disney has already faced down Peltz once since Iger’s return. The billionaire investor sought a board seat earlier this year, pushing the company to rein in costs — especially executive compensation — and focus on profits. Peltz in February withdrew his name after Iger announced a broad restructuring but said the C.E.O. needed to follow through on his promises to change the company.
But the stock has fallen nearly 30 percent since then. The company is struggling with spotty subscriber growth at Disney+ and Hulu, its streaming platforms, and the actors’ strike has put a freeze on television and movie production. (The industry has already accelerated a push to cut costs after a deal was agreed with striking writers.)
Disney aims to turn a profit on the streaming business by next autumn. To accomplish this, it has raised subscription prices and streamlined costs. The company has also agreed to resume paying dividends — a Trian demand — by year-end.
Trian sees a board shake-up as a necessary step to revive Disney’s share price. One of its demands is a board that is more accountable to and focused on shareholders.
Iger is scheduled to stay on as C.E.O. until 2026.
Blame the lawyers
Two high-profile defendants are pointing their fingers at lawyers in very different criminal cases. Both Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, and Donald Trump have signaled that they may invoke the role of their former lawyers to suggest that they share some of the blame and approved their actions. But they face a tough task, experts say.
Both have hinted they may deploy the so-called advice of counsel defense. To prove fraud, prosecutors must show the defendant not only acted illegally but also had bad intentions. The defense can try to show that they meant to follow the law and were wrongly advised. “But it’s a very technical defense,” Matthew Massey, a former federal prosecutor now at the law firm Beggs & Lane, told DealBook.
The defendant has to show that they honestly and in good faith sought the advice of counsel, fully and truthfully laid out all the facts, and faithfully acted intending to follow the law. “That’s really where the sticking point is in S.B.F.’s case,” Massey added, referring to the FTX founder. “What facts, if any, were relayed to counsel?”
Bankman-Fried hit his first hurdle in court last week. The judge said that Bankman-Fried’s defense team couldn’t mention the role of lawyers at FTX or Alameda Research, an affiliated trading firm, during jury selection. The defense will have to ask the judge for permission to mention counsel on a case-by-case basis. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty.
Trump may also struggle in his Jan. 6 case. Former allies, including William Barr, Trump’s last attorney general, have said that Trump ignored counsel advising him against seeking to undermine the 2020 election. Some of the former president’s attorneys are also accused in the trial, which makes it more difficult for him to use the defense. Trump has denied wrongdoing.
“You can taste the climate change.”
— A French winemaker on how the $333 billion global industry is being hit by rising temperatures and other extreme weather phenomena. The sector is being forced to adapt its methods, from harvesting grapes earlier to coping with dwindling water supplies.
The week ahead
After last week’s red-hot jobs report, inflation data and corporate earnings take center stage. Here’s what to watch out for this week.
Tuesday: PepsiCo is the first big name up for corporate earnings season.
Wednesday: Birkenstock is expected to make its trading debut. Also, the Fed is scheduled to release the minutes from last month’s rate-setting meeting, offering further insight into where policymakers stand on interest rates as inflation remains above the central bank’s 2 percent target.
Thursday: The week’s big event is the Consumer Price Index. Economists polled by Reuters have forecast that headline inflation last month will come in at 3.6 percent, a slight improvement on August. Delta Air Lines and Walgreen Boots Alliance report earnings.
Friday: It’s a packed day of corporate results, with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, BlackRock, Citigroup and United Health reporting. Elsewhere, China releases consumer- and producer-price inflation data.
THE SPEED READ
Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to buy Mirati Therapeutics, a maker of cancer-fighting treatments, in a deal worth up to $5.8 billion. (WSJ)
Metro Bank, an embattled British lender, raised 325 million pounds ($395 million) in new capital to address regulators’ worries about its finances. (NYT)
Traditional banking giants are largely sitting out a boom in lending to leveraged buyouts. (FT)
How allies of President Biden are seeking to thwart potential third-party challengers who could throw the 2024 presidential election to Donald Trump. (NYT)
Matt Gaetz, the Florida congressman who led the ouster of Representative Kevin McCarthy as speaker, said his coup was “absolutely” worth it, even if he loses his seat over the rebellion. (Axios)
Best of the rest
The head of Exxon Mobil’s shale business, David Scott, was arrested last week on a sexual assault charge as his company negotiates a deal to buy Pioneer Natural Resources. (Reuters)
How Home Depot helped disrupt an organized crime ring that prosecutors say was led by … a Florida pastor who ran a drug recovery program. (WSJ)
“The Wager That Betting Can Change the World” (NYT)
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