Afternoon Coffee: Rusal Gets a Reprieve from Treasury, California Ruling Takes Aim at IC Classification

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Aluminum giant Rusal got a break from the U.S. Treasury Tuesday, after the department amended its Russia sanctions program to allow the company to potentially escape the blacklist, according to the Wall Street Journal. Metals markets breathed a sigh of relief, as anxiety about aluminum supply levels had followed a surge in demand.

Gig Economy Ruling 

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that the existing text for determining employee status is invalid, paving the way for companies like Uber to have to follow minimum-wage and overtime laws, the New York Times reports. In place of the old standard, the court erected a much simpler “ABC” test that is applied in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Mohair Ban 

Zara, H&M, Gap and other clothing chains have vowed to stop using mohair in their apparel following allegations of animal cruelty at a dozen goat farms in South Africa, the Washington Post reports. The commitment will not be instantaneous, of course. H&M, for example, said it is working to trace the source of all of its products and plans to ban mohair across all 4,700 of its stores by 2020.

Manufacturing Activity

And finally, an economic update: U.S. factory activity slowed for a second straight month in April, CNBC reports, as ISM’s index of national factory activity dropped to a reading of 57.3 last month from 59.3 in March. Shortages of skilled workers and rising capacity constraints have begun to weigh on a booming manufacturing sector supported by strong global demand.

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