Breaking Down the Business Landscape: USA’s Top 7 Stories This Month

In the ever-evolving realm of business, staying informed is not just an advantage, but a necessity. As the economic landscape of the USA undergoes shifts and surges, it becomes imperative to dissect the most pivotal developments.

Join us as we embark on a journey to dissect and analyze the top stories shaping the business landscape in the USA this month. From groundbreaking innovations to regulatory shifts, we leave no stone unturned in our quest to bring you the most pertinent insights. Step into the heart of the action and explore the pulsating beats of the American business world.

1. JPMorgan Chase & Co • Jeffrey Epstein • U.S. Virgin Islands • Jes Staley

JPMorgan Chase & Co • Jeffrey Epstein • U.S. Virgin Islands • Jes Staley

JP Morgan Chase with the US Virgin Islands and former executive Jes Staley has reached a verdict, to resolve lawsuits via settlements with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The bank will pay $75m to the territory as they were allegedly involved in funding Epstein’s sex trafficking ring. JP Morgan refused to admit any wrongdoing in the settlement. 

A 290m settlement was previously agreed with Epstein’s victims by The Wall Street giant, it claimed to settle with Mr. Jes Staley an unknown amount in a confidential agreement. 

Mr. Staley has stated that he did not know about Epstein’s sex crimes. Its $75m settlement with the US Virgin Islands will contain $30m to aid local charities, $25m will be used to support law enforcement around human trafficking, and the rest will go towards legal fees. 

The territory had wanted $190m but unfortunately, the settlement is only $75m which is 39.47% of the amount demanded. JP Morgan said the settlement was, “in the best interest of all parties”.

2. Competition law • United States Anti-trust law • Federal Trade Commission

Competition law • United States Anti-trust law • Federal Trade Commission

With tech giants flexing their monopoly powers, a previous student, “Lina Khan” published an article in 2017 that didn’t gain much attraction but now she leads the Federal Trade Commission, founded antitrust movements, with names: “new structuralism”, and “neo-Brandeisianism”. These movements have started as a result of big tech companies taking advantage of the common people by forcing them to enroll in its Prime subscription service and making the cancellation process difficult.

Although the movement was for the people, it generally failed as it didn’t gain public support. Tech companies believed by many to be “monopolies” have continued to lose users, market share, and prestige. Perhaps the war over the future of antitrust law is gaining some attraction now, and shortly hopefully, we’ll see a form of antitrust that is more market-friendly. 

3. Consumer confidence index • Consumer • The Conference Board

Consumer confidence index • Consumer • The Conference Board

From an upwardly revised 108.7 in August, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® fell once further in September to 103.0 (1985=100). The Present Situation Index, which is based on consumers’ assessments of the present state of the economy and labor markets, increased slightly from 146.7 to 147.1 (1985=100).

The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ short-term expectations for economic, business, and labor market circumstances, decreased from 83.3 in August to 73.7 (1985=100) in September. Expectations dropped once further to below 80, which traditionally denotes the beginning of a recession within a year. In line with the brief and mild economic decline we expect for the first half of 2024, consumer concerns about an oncoming recession have also risen once again.

Present Situation

Consumers’ assessment of current business conditions was slightly less pessimistic in September.

  • While 20.9% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” down from 21.5 percent in August,
  • 16.4% said business conditions were “bad,” down from 17.3%.

Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was slightly more positive in September.

  • 40.9% of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” up from 39.9% in August.
  • But 13.6% of consumers said jobs were “hard to get,” up from 13.2% last month.

Expectations Six Months Hence

Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term business conditions outlook in September.

  • 14.1% of consumers expect business conditions to improve, down from 17.5% in August.
  • Meanwhile, 18.4% expect business conditions to worsen, up from 17.3%.

4. Jack in the Box • Houston • French fries

Jack in the Box • Houston • French fries

A shocking update has just been reported, a video of a Jack-in-the-Box employee shooting at a drive-thru customer, weirdly enough the argument was over missing curly fries. 

According to the lawsuit, Randall Kallinen and his family ordered a combo meal at the restaurant and fifteen minutes later, they were rushing to save their lives. The video released, shows the employee Alonniea Fantasia Ford appearing to be extremely angry with Ramos. He is in the driver’s seat, his wife is sitting in the front passenger seat. They paid the right amount for their combo meal but didn’t receive the curly fries included in the meal, which resulted in an argument. Not even halfway through the argument, the employee (Ford) pulled a gun and minutes later, she was firing at least twice at the family. 

Jack-in-the-Box received heavy criticism from the public after the incident, facing backlash on whether they do any employee screening before hiring. The family filed the lawsuit back in 2022 and the restaurant claimed that they had no involvement in this incident and they are not responsible for the behavior of their staff. The lawsuit claims $250,000 in damages.

5. FAT Brands • Smokey Bones • NASDAQ:FAT • Nasdaq • Sun Capital

FAT Brands • Smokey Bones • NASDAQ:FAT • Nasdaq • Sun Capital

Evidently, Fat Brands like running full-service restaurants.

The owner of Johnny Rockets and Twin Peaks said on Monday that it had paid $30 million to Sun Capital to buy the 61-unit Smokey Bones.

The purchase of Florida’s Smokey Bones by Fat Brands, a Los Angeles-based firm that also owns Fatburger, Fazoli’s, Great American Cookies, Round Table Pizza, and numerous other restaurants, marks the company’s 18th acquisition. The Smokey Bones purchase, also known as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, is expected to boost Fat Brands’ annual EBITDA by $10 million.

Following the 2021 agreement with Twin Peaks, which manages around one-third of its facilities, it is also another purchase of a company-run system.

Additionally, Sun Capital, from which Fat Brands purchased Johnny Rockets in 2020 for $25 million, is the source of this company’s second acquisition.

This also indicates a return to dealmaking for Fat Brands, which has mostly avoided it since purchasing ideas valued at close to $1 billion in 2021, with the exception of a modest deal for Nestle Toll House Café last year.

For some time in 2024, Fat Brands has been planning to make Twin Peaks public. Additionally, the business has said it will look at acquiring smaller ideas to transform into Twin Peaks locations.

Fat Brands said that existing debt was used to finance the $30 million. Smokey Bones and Sun Capital received advice from Kroll Investment Banking.

6. Target Corporation • Organized retail crime • San Francisco

Target Corporation • Organized retail crime • San Francisco

In Portland, three Target locations will close as a result of a rise in theft and organized retail crime, the retailer stated on Tuesday.

Target will close its locations on SW Morrison, SE Powell, and NE Halsey next month. Six more locations will also close by the retailer in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland.

Target said in a release that “We take the decision to close stores very seriously, and only do so after taking meaningful steps to invest in the guest experience and improve business performance,”.

The company claims that organized retail crime and theft make it impossible for them to maintain effective store operations because they “threaten the safety of our team and guests” and “contribute to unsustainable business performance.”

The company claims that even after increasing security and putting in place theft-deterrent measures, it still “faces fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully.”

The following Target stores will close effective Oct. 21:

  • Portland Galleria: 939 SW Morrison St.
  • Portland Powell: 3031 SE Powell Blvd.
  • Portland Hollywood: 4030 NE Halsey St.

Target says 15 stores will remain open in the Portland metro area.

7. Cryptocurrency • Binance

Cryptocurrency • Binance

DWF Labs recently purchased a sizeable position in FRONT tokens, a development that highlights the expanding impact of decentralised finance (DeFi) aggregator platforms. The investment, which totaled 699,192 units and was believed to be worth $299,000, caused the token’s price to climb by a significant 4.2% on Tuesday. The cryptocurrency is currently selling at around $0.435 per unit.

Following DWF Labs’ investment, the market valuation of FRONT tokens increased by 3% and now stands at $39.3 million. The market capitalization and token price increases demonstrate the potential worth of these digital assets.

The Frontier platform, which serves as an aggregation layer for DeFi, is connected to FRONT tokens, allowing for easier asset management across numerous blockchains and DeFi applications. Several apps, including Ethereum, Binance Chain, Bandchain, Kava, and Harmony are supported by Frontier.

Frontier tracks and combines DeFi protocols to solve the problem of fragmentation in the DeFi ecosystem. Compound, Maker, Synthetix, Aave, InstaDApp, Uniswap, bZx, Balancer, and Curve are a few of the well-known protocols that are included in it.

The recent purchase of DWF Labs has increased demand for FRONT tokens and highlighted the significance of DeFi aggregator platforms like Frontier in the digital currency market. DWF Labs has caused controversy before in the world of cryptocurrencies. The company previously attracted notice by moving 1.8 billion LEVER tokens, estimated to be worth $2.85 million, into Binance.

To Sum it up:

The US business landscape is constantly changing, and this month has been no exception. Here are 7 of the top business stories that have shaped the landscape in September:

  1. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has reached a $75 million settlement with the US Virgin Islands and former executive Jes Staley to resolve lawsuits alleging that the bank was involved in funding Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring.
  2. Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, is leading a movement to reform antitrust law and address the growing power of tech giants.
  3. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index fell to 103.0 in September, down from 108.7 in August. This is the lowest level of consumer confidence since July 2022.
  4. A Jack-in-the-Box employee in Houston was arrested for shooting at a drive-thru customer over missing curly fries.
  5. Fat Brands, the owner of Johnny Rockets and Twin Peaks, acquired Smokey Bones for $30 million.
  6. Target announced that it will close three stores in Portland, Oregon due to a rise in theft and organized retail crime.
  7. DWF Labs purchased a large position in FRONT tokens, causing the token’s price to climb by 4.2%.

These are just a few of the many business stories that have shaped the US landscape in September. It is important to stay informed about these developments, as they can have a significant impact on the economy and our daily lives.

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