The daily business briefing: October 6, 2023

Exxon Mobil is close to deal to buy shale-driller Pioneer, the SEC sues Musk for testimony on Twitter stock purchase, and more

Elon Musk outside the SEC
Elon Musk outside the SEC
(Image credit: Natan Dvir / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

1. Report: Exxon Mobil nears deal to buy Pioneer

Exxon Mobil is close to an agreement to buy shale-driller Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday night. It would be Exxon's largest deal since its massive 1999 merger with Mobil. The deal could "reshape the oil industry," according to the Journal. A final agreement is expected within days, although it could still fall through, the Journal's sources said. Exxon posted record profits in 2022 and has been exploring ways to use some of its stockpiled cash to expand in West Texas shale. Acquiring Pioneer would give it dominance in "the oil-rich Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, a region the oil giant has said is integral to its growth plans," the Journal said. The Wall Street Journal

2. SEC sues Elon Musk for testimony on Twitter stock purchase

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a lawsuit seeking to force billionaire Elon Musk to testify about his 2022 purchase of Twitter stock, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The SEC says in the complaint that Musk had been subpoenaed and scheduled to appear on Sept. 14, but "two days before his scheduled testimony, Musk abruptly notified the SEC staff that he would not appear." He raised "several spurious objections, including an objection to San Francisco as an appropriate testimony location," the SEC said. The Wall Street regulator started investigating Musk, who bought Twitter last year, in April 2022. It has requested thousands of documents from him and others, and taken testimony from Musk twice. Bloomberg, The Verge

3. Stock futures rise ahead of jobs report

U.S. stock futures rose early Friday ahead of the September jobs report. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.3% at 6:45 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.4%. Economists polled by Dow Jones predicted the report, due out at 8:30 a.m. ET, would show that the U.S. economy added 170,000 jobs last month, down from a gain of 187,000 in August. They expect the unemployment rate to fall to 3.7% from 3.8% a month earlier. A soft jobs report could boost stocks and ease upward pressure on bond yields by reducing pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again this year to fight inflation. CNBC, Reuters

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4. Tesla cuts Model 3, Model Y prices to boost demand

Tesla has reduced U.S. prices of its Model 3 compact sedan and Model Y SUV by 2.7% to 4.2%, its latest cuts to boost sagging demand for its electric vehicles. The move came after the company reported third-quarter deliveries that fell short of estimates. Tesla shares fell 1.5% before the bell on Friday on concerns that the company's profit margins would take a hit. The stock has more than doubled this year, though. The cuts will bring the Model 3 price down by $1,250 to $38,990. The Model Y's long-range version will come down by $2,000 to $48,490, according to Tesla's website. Reuters

5. US considering recall of millions of air bag inflators

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held a public hearing Thursday on a possible recall of millions of potentially dangerous air bag inflators. The regulator is gathering testimony and commentary on inflators made by ARC Automotive Inc. of Knoxville, Tennessee. These inflators reportedly have a manufacturing flaw that can cause the metal inflator canister to "rupture" on impact, sending metal shrapnel into a car's interior, potentially injuring drivers and passengers. "These injuries can be gruesome and can happen in crashes where otherwise the individual would have walked away from the crash unharmed," said Bruce York of the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation. The Associated Press

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