Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter to step down in December

Graydon Carter, the editor of Conde Nast’s influential culture magazine Vanity Fair and a decades-long critic of President Donald Trump, will step down in December after 25 years at the helm, the publication said on Thursday.

Carter, 68, who has steered Vanity Fair through the shifting journalism landscape and expanded it onto a successful digital platform as well as print edition, will oversee its 2018 Hollywood issue, the publication said.

”I’ve loved every moment of my time here and I’ve pretty much accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” Carter said in a statement, adding that he was “now eager to try out this ‘third act’ thing.”

Carter’s feud with Trump dates back to his time as co-founder of Spy magazine. The satirical monthly, which spanned the 1980s and ‘90s, ridiculed the New York real estate magnate as a “short-fingered vulgarian.”

Trump, in turn, has not minced words in his criticism of Vanity Fair and Carter. In November 2015, Trump tweeted, “I have watched sloppy Graydon Carter fail and close Spy Magazine and now am watching him fail at @VanityFair Magazine. He is a total loser!”

Last December, after Trump won the White House, Vanity Fair published a scathing review of the Trump Grill restaurant and Trump’s New York Trump Tower. In return, Trump tweeted, “Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!”

Vanity Fair’s average monthly print circulation was 1.2 million for the six months ended June 2017, According to the Alliance for Audited Media.

In an interview with the New York Times published on Thursday, Carter said he wanted to “leave while the magazine is on top.”

“I want to leave while it’s in vibrant shape, both in the digital realm and the print realm,” he told the Times.

The Times said no replacement has been named yet for Carter, who earns a “seven-figure salary” at the magazine, but suggested that New York magazine’s editor-in-chief, Adam Moss, and Janice Min, former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, are potential candidates.

Carter was appointed editor of Vanity Fair in 1992, and turned the magazine’s focus to crime, culture and celebrities. He nurtured revered writers such as Christopher Hitchens and Dominick Dunne, humorists Fran Lebowitz and James Wolcott, and photography great Annie Leibovitz.

Lilly to lay off 8 percent of employees in bid to cut costs

Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N) said on Thursday it would lay off about 8 percent of its employees as the drugmaker, which has suffered setbacks over the past year in the development of two potential blockbuster drugs, works to cut costs.

Lilly will cut about 3,500 positions around the world, resulting in yearly savings of about $500 million, beginning in 2018. The company’s shares rose 1.8 percent.

The company expects most of the cuts to come from a voluntary early-retirement program it is offering in the United States. It is also closing a plant in Iowa and research and development offices in New Jersey and China.

Lilly’s operating margins have lagged behind those of the company’s rivals, according to Morningstar analyst Damien Conover.

“Lilly’s R&D as a percentage of sales has trended a bit high over the last couple of years,” Conover said. “Part of this is to try to get its operating margins more in alignment with the overall group.”

Lilly expects charges of about $1.2 billion before tax, or $0.80 per share after tax.

Lilly outlined in July a likely multi-year delay for its experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to approve the drug, calling for an additional clinical study.

That delay followed the failure of a trial in November of Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s treatment solanezumab, which the company had hoped would be the first medicine approved to slow progression of the disease.

The company said it has the potential to launch two new medicines by the end of 2018 – a breast cancer drug and a treatment for migraines. The FDA is currently reviewing abemaciclib to treat advanced breast cancer.

Trump turns again to Democrats on debt ceiling, immigration

President Donald Trump embraced the idea on Thursday of ending the need for periodic raises of the ceiling on U.S. debt by Congress, again siding with Democrats a day after stunning fellow Republicans by striking a deal with the opposition party on the debt limit and federal spending.

Trump also turned to Democratic congressional leaders on Thursday in an effort to resolve another pressing matter, the fate of the 800,000 so-called Dreamers, young adults brought illegally into the United States as children.

The Senate approved $15.25 billion in aid for areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters, along with measures in the deal Trump reached with Democrats that would fund the federal government and raise its borrowing limit through Dec. 8.

The bill now goes go to the House of Representatives for final congressional approval. But the measure faced stiff opposition from House conservatives who traditionally favor strict curbs on federal spending.

The leadership of the largest group of House Republican conservatives came out against the deal on Thursday, saying it meant more federal spending without fiscal reforms.

After blindsiding Republican leaders with that agreement, Trump called top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer on Thursday morning, along with the Republican congressional leaders with whom he has had a tense relationship.

Trump embraced the idea of eliminating the statutory cap on the U.S. Treasury Department’s authority to borrow to keep funding federal deficits and meet debt obligations. Over the years, some conservative Republicans have opposed increasing the debt ceiling without significant cuts in federal spending. That resistance has caused jitters in financial markets over the prospect of an unprecedented U.S. government default on debt.

Hurricane Harvey boosts U.S. jobless claims to more than two-year high

 The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits jumped to a more than two-year high last week amid a surge in applications in hurricane-ravaged Texas, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a strong labor market.

The surge in claims reported by the Labor Department on Thursday offered an early glimpse of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the economy. The storm unleashed unprecedented flooding in Houston, disrupting oil, natural gas and petrochemical production and forcing a temporary closure of refineries.

As Texas tries to recover from the late August storm, Florida is bracing for Hurricane Irma, which is expected to make landfall over the weekend.

Economists say Harvey could put a dent in third-quarter gross domestic product and hold back job growth in September. But they expect any lost output to be recouped in the fourth quarter and payrolls growth to rebound in October.

“The near-term economic impact of what increasingly appears to be two severe natural disasters in close proximity to one another will be a clear negative,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “Having said that, the national economy appears to remain on track.”

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits surged 62,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Sept. 2, the highest level since April 2015, the Labor Department said. The weekly increase was the largest since November 2012. A Labor Department official said last week’s data had been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Disney, Comcast shares fall on disappointing forecasts

Shares of Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) tumbled on Thursday after Disney warned of stagnant earnings and No. 1 cable operator Comcast forecast more subscriber losses.

Shares of Disney fell almost 5 percent and Comcast was off nearly 6 percent in late trading.

Walt Disney and Comcast are the two latest examples of media and entertainment companies struggling under increased competition and a trend by consumers of ditching cable packages for less expensive online streaming options.

Comcast expects to lose up to 150,000 video subscribers in the third quarter due to competition and the impact of recent hurricanes, Matthew Strauss, executive vice president of the company’s Xfinity Services, said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference. The Xfinity unit comprises Comcast’s residential video, phone and internet businesses.

Walt Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger, said at the conference that the company’s earnings per share for the current fiscal year ending Oct. 1 will be roughly in line with a year ago, when it earned $5.72 per share. Analysts had been expecting the company to earn $5.88 this year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Disney’s new streaming service, set to launch in late 2019, will exclusively feature movies from the “Star Wars” franchise and Marvel films such as “Avengers” and “Iron Man,” Iger said.

In addition, Disney will create four to five new Disney movies and four or five original TV shows exclusively for the streaming app, he said.

Disney said last month it would launch its own streaming service and stop providing new movies to Netflix starting in 2019.

The company had not previously disclosed the distribution plan for the films from superhero studio Marvel and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm after the deal with Netflix ends in 2018.

Comcast shares were down $2.41 at $38.76 on Nasdaq, and Disney was down $5.00 at $96.50 on the New York Stock Exchange in late trade.