A scientist's radical idea to engineer mice to stop Lyme disease

Residents of Nantucket are considering a proposal to genetically engineer the island's white-footed mice in order to curb Lyme disease.

Posted: Jul 29, 2018 9:02 AM
Updated: Jul 29, 2018 9:48 AM

1. Blockbuster profits: The trade war has cast a shadow over parts of Corporate America, but it is bringing a bit of good fortune to the steel industry.

President Donald Trump's metal tariffs have sent steel prices surging and sparked blockbuster profits for steel manufacturers.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum hauled in record sales, thanks to an 18% spike in prices. Nucor recorded the best second quarter in its history. Its profit more than doubled.

"All in all, we're very happy with tariffs," Nucor CEO John Ferriola told analysts earlier this month.

Those words haven't been uttered by many other corporate bosses, who are grappling with sticker shock.

Tariffs levied by the United States and major trading partners are eating into the profits of Harley-Davidson, General Motors, General Electric, 3M and hundreds of other companies. CEOs are scrambling to raise prices and reshuffle their supply chains.

Unsurprisingly, steel companies are feasting on a price spike from Trump's 25% steel tariff. The benchmark price of US-made steel has zoomed 41% higher since the start of the year to $917 per short ton, according to S&P Global Platts.

Related: Corporate America is caught in the crossfire of trade war

Tariffs aren't the only factor. Steel demand is strong in an economy that just clocked its fastest growth since 2014.

Following the booming profits from Nucor and Reliance, US Steel and AK Steel are scheduled to report results this week.

Both steel makers are expected to reveal a jump in revenue, though not by as much as their rivals. That's because US Steel and AK Steel are locked into annual contracts that have fixed pricing. Those contracts expire later this year, potentially allowing them to capitalize on the price hikes.

Nucor is seizing on the momentum to plow $1 billion back into its business, a huge increase that will mostly go toward expansion.

"What will happen to our great country if we continue to operate with a massive trade imbalance?" Ferriola asked. "We agree with the administration's efforts to address this issue."

Of course, steel customers are less than thrilled.

Material costs have risen by as much as 50% at FJM Ferro, a Brooklyn company that fabricates steel used in Manhattan skyscrapers.

Steel companies may have record profits, but it does hurt the mom-and-pop shops," said Joe Casucci, FJM Ferro's founder and CEO.

Even large companies are getting squeezed. GM slashed its profit outlook last week, warning of a $300 million jump in commodity costs linked to higher steel and aluminum costs.

"You have to be careful with tariffs because there's always a cost," said Philip Gibbs, a steel analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

He pointed out that spiking US steel prices threaten to make American businesses less competitive. Some companies may eventually try to find other ways to get steel into the country.

"It feels good in the short run as prices go up," Gibbs said. "But then all the customers complain."

Related: How the US economy is doing now in four charts

2. Jobs report: Economists are expecting another solid month of gains when the Labor Department reports Friday on job growth for July.

The US economy has cranked into high gear, growing at the fastest pace in almost four years, and unemployment is 4%, near the lowest in a half-century.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect 195,000 jobs were created in July, roughly in line with the average for this year.

3. Fed watch: The Federal Reserve is not expected to raise interest rates when it meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. But investors will be watching the Fed's statement closely for its read on the economy and clues about interest rates.

The Fed has signaled that it plans two more rate hikes this year and three in 2019.

4. Critical moment: This may be the most closely watched earnings report in Tesla's history.

The electric car maker reports results on Wednesday. Tesla just hit an important target for production of the Model 3, its most accessibly priced car. But Tesla is trying to stop mounting losses, and Elon Musk keeps making headlines with bizarre tweets.

5. Apple earnings: Apple will release is quarterly results on Tuesday, and a strong report could push the most valuable company in America to a milestone — a $1 trillion market cap.

Analysts may question Apple executives on whether the trade war its hurting the bottom line. And Apple fans will be hunting for hints about the next iPhone.

6. Coming this week:

Monday — Caterpillar earnings

Tuesday — Eurozone second-quarter GDP; Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Apple earnings

Wednesday — Fed statement; Humana, Sprint, Tesla earnings

Thursday — Bank of England meets; Berkshire Hathaway, Yum Brands, Aetna earnings

Friday — US jobs report; Kraft Heinz, Toyota earnings

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43170

Reported Deaths: 1548
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13790791
Ramsey5357237
Dakota278196
Stearns254919
Anoka2477114
Nobles16976
Washington132441
Olmsted131920
Mower9902
Scott9234
Rice8958
Clay62738
Blue Earth6002
Kandiyohi5951
Wright5555
Carver5092
Todd4042
Sherburne3715
Lyon3592
Freeborn3160
Watonwan2720
Steele2661
Benton2433
St. Louis24116
Nicollet21212
Martin1765
Winona15315
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
Le Sueur1421
Otter Tail1211
Crow Wing11612
Pine1140
Chisago1121
McLeod1020
Dodge1000
Carlton960
Unassigned9238
Pipestone904
Polk893
Murray850
Isanti840
Chippewa821
Waseca800
Itasca7612
Douglas750
Morrison701
Becker690
Meeker661
Faribault640
Beltrami580
Jackson580
Sibley582
Pennington540
Brown512
Wabasha440
Mille Lacs402
Fillmore380
Renville373
Rock350
Swift351
Houston320
Lincoln320
Yellow Medicine320
Grant310
Roseau300
Redwood250
Koochiching241
Wilkin233
Cass212
Norman210
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin170
Marshall160
Clearwater140
Pope140
Mahnomen131
Hubbard110
Stevens110
Lake90
Traverse80
Lac qui Parle60
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35769

Reported Deaths: 756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7663185
Woodbury336044
Black Hawk254459
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14938
Dallas142831
Linn141684
Scott112210
Marshall110519
Dubuque101623
Story8808
Pottawattamie84213
Wapello71531
Muscatine69745
Crawford6803
Sioux5150
Tama49029
Webster4395
Wright4021
Louisa36713
Jasper35917
Plymouth3545
Cerro Gordo3451
Warren3371
Dickinson3093
Washington2549
Hamilton2071
Boone1741
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1441
Allamakee1384
Shelby1210
Mahaska12017
Carroll1171
Franklin1170
Bremer1167
Poweshiek1118
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1032
Emmet990
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion850
Floyd842
Guthrie824
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Jackson720
Butler702
Osceola700
Sac690
Buchanan661
Calhoun662
Hancock631
Harrison630
Iowa631
Jefferson630
Lyon630
Fayette610
Humboldt611
Delaware571
Madison572
Lee542
Monroe547
Palo Alto530
Mills520
Winneshiek521
Clayton513
Grundy480
Mitchell480
Winnebago460
Davis431
Kossuth430
Union420
Howard370
Lucas354
Chickasaw320
Greene310
Unassigned310
Appanoose293
Cass290
Worth280
Ida240
Keokuk231
Page220
Van Buren211
Adair170
Audubon171
Ringgold161
Montgomery152
Decatur130
Fremont110
Wayne110
Adams80
Rochester
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Nice couple days ahead, the heat is on by the weekend
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