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The daily business briefing: February 10, 2021


President Biden met with the chief executives of Walmart, Gap, Lowe’s, and JPMorgan Chase at the White House on Tuesday in a bid to build support for his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and a higher minimum wage. The group, which also included Vice President Kamala Harris, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and outgoing U.S. Chamber of Commerce leader Thomas Donohue, dicsussed Biden’s push for gradually raising the minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, to $15 an hour. They also talked about expanding earned-income tax credits and other options for stimulating the pandemic ravaged economy. Biden argued for the need of his stimulus plan, then opened the floor for input. Gap CEO Sonia Syngal spoke about the pandemic’s effect on women and people of color working in retail. [The New York Times]


The Aunt Jemima brand has been renamed the Pearl Milling Company, Quaker Oats parent PepsiCo said in a statement released Tuesday. Quaker Oats announced in June that it was changing the name and logo of the 130-year-old pancake and syrup brand, which featured a Black woman long depicted wearing a kerchief, because “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.” Products with the new name and logo will reach stores this summer. PepsiCo said the Pearl Milling Company was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and “was the originator of the iconic self-rising pancake mix that would later become known as Aunt Jemima.” Pearl Milling Company said in its own statement that customers and employees helped decide the name, and it was “developed with inclusivity in mind.” [NBC News]


U.S. stock index futures rose early Wednesday after Wall Street’s six-day winning streak came to an end Tuesday. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, several hours before the opening bell. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose by 0.4 percent. The market got a boost from better-than-expected earnings from Twitter, Lyft, Cisco Systems, Mattel, and Yelp. The Dow inched down by less than 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 fell by 0.1 percent on Tuesday as investors continued to watch for movement toward approving the next coronavirus relief package. The Nasdaq rose by 0.1 percent as Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix closed higher. [CNBC]


Twitter reported Tuesday that it added users in the last quarter of 2020 and in January, the month when it permanently suspended then-President Donald Trump’s account over posts it said risked inciting violence. The micro-blogging site said user growth could slow this year compared to early in the coronavirus pandemic, when lockdowns forced people to spend more time online. Twitter said its January user growth exceeded similar figures for the month over the past four years. The company said it normally doesn’t provide guidance on user growth for the current quarter, but it made an exception due to extraordinary circumstances, a reference to the Trump ban. Twitter shares rose by 3 percent in extended trading. [The Wall Street Journal]


Lyft shares jumped by more than 9 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the ride-hailing company reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations. The company’s revenue came in at $570 million, surpassing the $563 million expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Revenue reached $45.40 per rider, compared to $42.20 expected in a FactSet survey. Lyft’s 12.55 million active riders fell short of FactSet’s prediction of 13.2 million, but it marked an increase over the 12.51 million riders in the previous quarter. Taken as a whole, the results were interpreted as a sign that the company is slowly recovering from the pandemic. [CNBC]

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