Charlie Brown moving to Canada; Comey firing is new risk to Trump rally; Venice is booting cheap food joints

Profitable Moment

Supporting marriage equality is just good management

Now we know the reason why an elderly gent smeared a lemon meringue pie on Alan Joyce’s face in Perth. It was to protest against Qantas’ strong support for marriage equality, which the assailant Mr. Overheu called “corporate bullying aimed at social engineering.”
Qantas chief Joyce is a strong supporter of marriage equality in Australia; arguing that parliament should legalize same-sex marriage rather than putting it to a plebiscite as the government is proposing. Joyce believes a public decision will only encourage the worst behaviors…such as the one he experienced.

Joyce is openly gay (as indeed am I)…which is irrelevant to whether his airline campaigns for marriage equality. This is not about personal sexuality. It’s about productivity and good management!
As Lord John Browne, formerly CEO of BP, wrote in his book “The Glass Closet,” employees are more productive and firms are more profitable when people can be who they truly are.
A CEO’s duty is to do the best for the employees and shareholders. In this case Alan Joyce (and two dozen other top Australian CEOs supporting the cause) are right. 

What’s new… what’s next

By Matt Egan, Patrick Gillespie, Julia Horowitz and Paul R. La Monica of CNNMoney

1. Comey firing poses new risk to Trump rally

Wall Street’s fortunes are linked to the White House’s ability to push through sweeping reform. But it’s hard to see how the controversy over President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey can help the Trump agenda. If anything, the commotion threatens to further delay or derail the tax reform that investors are banking on. While stocks didn’t tumble in reaction, investors are paying close attention. This “isn’t helpful in any way,” said Cornerstone’s Chris Zaccarelli. 

2. Saudi Arabia gives women more freedom

The country’s government, long notorious for suppressing women’s rights, is taking steps to give women more freedom as it seeks to overhaul the economy. King Salman has ordered a review of laws that still make it hard for many women to work, travel, undergo medical procedures, and go to university without permission from a male relative. The review is slated to take three months. 

3. Venice bans cheap takeout joints in the city

Venetians are fed up with the subpar food sold to tourists on their streets. So they’re taking action: The city council has approved a rule that prohibits the opening of new takeout joints that sell meals like kebabs or pizza by the slice. Local officials say the encroachment of cheap takeout detracts from Venice’s beauty and cultural heritage. The city is among the most visited in Italy, which is the fifth most popular country for tourism in the world.

4. Drag passenger off plane…and stock flies high

There really must be no such thing as bad publicity. Shares of United Continental have surged since the video of a passenger being forcibly removed from a plane went viral. Why? Traffic and capacity rose in April. Delta and American, which have also faced bad press, are soaring too. This is great for Warren Buffett, who owns all three stocks. But another problem for the industry looms. Boeing is grounding its new 737 MAX planes due to engine issues.

5. Quick Takes:

You’re moving to Canada, Charlie Brown! Nova Scotia firm buys ‘Peanuts’ gang

These big economic headaches face South Korea’s new president

Amazon to build homeless shelter in its new Seattle headquarters

Another VW scandal? CEO faces scrutiny over possible market manipulation

Properties owned by North Korea near its Berlin embassy rented out as hostels

Citymapper wants to improve the humble public bus in London

Sprint says ‘door is open’ to mergers thanks to Trump. Time to call T-Mobile?

Struggling teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch may now look to sell itself

6. What’s next:

More trouble from retail? Both Macy’s and Kohl’s are expected to reveal shrinking first-quarter profits on Thursday morning. Shares of each retailer have lost about one-fifth of their value since the start of the year. The mood may a bit more upbeat after the closing bell when earnings are on tap from Nordstrom, the upscale retailer whose stock has outperformed many of its peers.

Bank of England in the hot seat: Britain’s central bank is scheduled to put out its decision on interest rates at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday. Markets aren’t anticipating the BoE will shift gears ahead of next month’s election and amid tough negotiations over the terms of Brexit.

NY Fed prez goes to India: Bill Dudley, one of the leaders of the Federal Reserve, is expected to deliver a speech on Thursday morning in Mumbai about the “benefits and challenges” of globalization. The remarks are set to be streamed on Facebook Live.

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