SBUX - Starbucks Corporation

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
84.21
-0.17 (-0.20%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
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Previous close84.38
Open84.68
Bid84.05 x 1300
Ask84.25 x 4000
Day's range83.57 - 84.94
52-week range60.42 - 99.72
Volume7,537,205
Avg. volume6,417,921
Market cap99.755B
Beta (3Y monthly)0.52
PE ratio (TTM)28.85
EPS (TTM)2.92
Earnings date28 Jan 2020
Forward dividend & yield1.64 (1.94%)
Ex-dividend date2019-11-12
1y target est94.58
  • Huda Beauty's Huda and Mona Kattan joins Influencers with Andy Serwer
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Huda Beauty's Huda and Mona Kattan joins Influencers with Andy Serwer

    Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer sits down with influencers Huda and Mona Kattan of Huda Beauty.

  • Starbucks’ open bathroom policy may be hurting foot traffic, new study finds
    Yahoo Finance

    Starbucks’ open bathroom policy may be hurting foot traffic, new study finds

    Starbucks' changes to its bathroom policy appear to be impacting foot traffic for the coffee giant.

  • Financial Times

    Starbucks, Amazon and Costco rapped for weak human rights disclosure

    Many of the world’s biggest listed companies including Amazon, LVMH and Qualcomm are not transparent in how they identify and address human rights issues in their businesses and supply chains, according to the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. The London-based not-for-profit found about half of 200 groups it analysed failed to show any evidence at all that they are identifying and addressing human rights issues with the tech sector of particular concern. Forty tech manufacturers, which were included in the CHRB ranking for the first time this year, scored particularly badly with an average score of 18 per cent compared to 24 per cent across the entire basket of companies.

  • Bloomberg

    How Amazon’s Klutzy Politicking Backfired in Seattle

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a company that is so good at so many things, Amazon is remarkably bad at politics.Exhibit A is the latest debacle in its hometown of Seattle, where the company’s push to seat a more politically moderate city council backfired. Campaign cash aimed at producing a less tax-happy council triggered the opposite result and turned a socialist headed for defeat into a martyr.Amazon has never been known for subtlety. The $1.45 million it spread around in political contributions to City Council candidates not only set a record, but also changed the trajectory of the election. Polls showed that voters who were poised to replace some leftist council members changed course. After Amazon’s donations became public, they elected five of seven candidates opposed by a business coalition. One of them was Councilmember Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party, who declared her come-from-behind re-election victory in front of a giant red sign that declared, “Tax Amazon.” Which the newly Amazon-unfriendly council almost certainly will do.Amazon employs 54,000 people in Seattle and owns or occupies 47 buildings there. That’s made the city seem like the biggest company town in the U.S., and has probably blinded Amazon’s leaders to the angst and tumult they’ve unleashed in a place that’s become both more prosperous and less livable.Sawant, who managed less than 40% of the vote in the August primary, went so far as to call Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, “our enemy,” and described her victory as a win for working people against the world’s richest man.“Amazon overplayed their hand,” said Egan Orion, the candidate who lost to Sawant. “I wasn’t able to make my closing arguments. There was so much noise.”Once Amazon donated in such a big way, the race became nationalized. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidates vying for the hearts of the Democratic Party’s left flank, chimed in via Twitter to trash the Amazon contributions.Here’s what Warren had to say:Here’s Sanders:Another winner, Tammy Morales, favors a bevy of local tax options to raise money for homeless services, housing and other needs. Her list includes revisiting an employee head tax similar to one Amazon successfully fought in 2018, plus a local estate tax and a tax on high salaries dubbed an “excess compensation tax.”Amazon has been trying to fine-tune its relationship with Seattle for years, and concern about relations with the City Council was among the reasons it announced in 2017 that it was looking for a second headquarters location — another endeavor that showcased the company’s limited political skills.That contest blew up in New York City when politicians and others protested the size of an Amazon enticement package — up to $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives.In Seattle, Amazon had mostly maintained a quiet political presence until May 2018, when the City Council passed the Amazon Tax on larger companies, a head tax of $275 per employee.Amazon promptly announced that it would stop construction on one of its new buildings if the tax were imposed.The council then hastily repealed it when polls showed it could harm the council at the next election — the contest that ended so disastrously for the company this month.Starbucks, also headquartered in Seattle, took a different approach, donating a much smaller sum to the business campaign. A Starbucks executive also sent a letter to employees urging a vote for unspecified “change” and invited the public to have a cup of coffee. This was a subtle, defter move, in part because it was hard to tell exactly what the company was saying.At this juncture, perhaps after apologizing or remaining quiet a while, Amazon has a few choices. It could face probable new taxes gamely or think along the lines of Apple, which recently announced a $2.5 billion plan to ease the housing shortages and affordability crisis in California. Or take a page from Microsoft, the tech giant across Lake Washington from Amazon, which last winter offered a well received $500 million investment in affordable housing and homelessness relief across the region.To be fair, Amazon has invested in a homeless shelter in Seattle for families, Mary’s Place, which will eventually occupy eight floors in one of the new Amazon buildings. Mary’s Place does great work. But that answer to the enormous problem of homelessness and housing affordability now seems a trifle. The overall contribution to challenges facing the city is too small to those who believe Amazon needs to step up and invest in ways commensurate with its size and impact.To contact the author of this story: Joni Balter at jcbalter@gmail.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joni Balter is a longtime Seattle columnist and writer who contributes to local NPR and PBS affiliates.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Luckin’s Sales Top Forecast as It Chases Starbucks in China
    Bloomberg

    Luckin’s Sales Top Forecast as It Chases Starbucks in China

    (Bloomberg) -- Luckin Coffee Inc., the chain that’s trying to overtake Starbucks Corp. in China, gave investors a jolt of optimism as it reported better-than-expected revenue and said it aims to break even next year.The Xiamen, China-based company, in its second set of quarterly results since going public in May, reported revenue of 1.54 billion yuan ($219.6 million) for the September quarter. That’s more than six times the year-earlier level, and tops the 1.47 billion yuan average of analysts’ estimates. Luckin’s net loss widened to 531.9 million yuan from 484.9 million yuan a year earlier.Luckin’s latest results provided some comfort to investors who have been looking for progress in the company’s financial position. The shares climbed 13% in New York to $21.46 each.The stock had dropped almost 30% from a July peak as the Chinese startup faced questions over its strategy of burning millions of dollars to lure customers with discounts. Other startups including Uber Technologies Inc. and WeWork Cos. have also come under scrutiny for spending heavily to chase blazing growth at the cost of profits.Luckin’s restaurants are now profitable, and the company is on track to break even at the corporate level in the third quarter of next year, Chief Financial Officer Reinout Schakel said in an interview.“We expect to take over Starbucks as the No. 1 coffee player in China by the end of this year in number of stores,” Schakel said. “We have a very strong brand.”China is becoming an important market for coffee retailers as the traditionally tea-drinking nation develops a taste for java. While weaker consumer spending amid a trade war and slowing economy may present a challenge, the company could benefit from its lower prices. The chain is very focused on its per-cup cost and affordability, Schakel said.“We give a very clear message to our consumer around our value,” Schakel said. Luckin targets white-collar, middle-class office workers, who are a “resilient consumer,” he said.Luckin claimed only 2.1% of the coffee market in China last year but wants to bolster that by opening more stores in two years than the industry giant has done in 20 years. Starbucks, meanwhile, with more than a 50% market share in the Asian nation, is also planning to continue its rapid expansion by opening one store every 15 hours.(Recasts first paragraph, updates stock move.)To contact the reporters on this story: Bhuma Shrivastava in Mumbai at bshrivastav1@bloomberg.net;Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at wchang98@bloomberg.net, Jeff Sutherland, Lisa WolfsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Starbucks (SBUX) to Open Largest Reserve Roastery in Chicago
    Zacks

    Starbucks (SBUX) to Open Largest Reserve Roastery in Chicago

    Starbucks' (SBUX) strategy to boost the overall brand through its premium Roastery/Reserve brands bodes well.

  • Trump Trade, Walmart & Nvidia Previews & Buy CASY Stock - Free Lunch
    Zacks

    Trump Trade, Walmart & Nvidia Previews & Buy CASY Stock - Free Lunch

    All eyes will be on President Trump Tuesday for U.S.-China trade war updates. Walmart, Nvidia, and others are set to report their quarterly earnings. And why Casey's General Stores (CASY) is a Zacks Rank 1 (Strong Buy) right now...

  • Starbucks commits to hiring 5,000 vets a year
    Yahoo Finance

    Starbucks commits to hiring 5,000 vets a year

    Starbucks has recommitted to veteran hiring with a goal of bringing on 5,000 hires annually.

  • Alibaba's 'Singles Day' shopping party gives a boost to U.S. brands
    Yahoo Finance

    Alibaba's 'Singles Day' shopping party gives a boost to U.S. brands

    Among the standouts are Apple, Starbucks, Nike, Mondelez, and Estée Lauder.

  • Entrepreneur Rachel Zoe: This is the hardest time in fashion I’ve ever seen
    Yahoo Finance

    Entrepreneur Rachel Zoe: This is the hardest time in fashion I’ve ever seen

    While Rachel Zoe has been able to successfully leverage her name into a handful of businesses, she isn’t so optimistic about the fashion industry at large.

  • "Merry Coffee": Starbucks Debuts 2019 Holiday Cups
    Zacks

    "Merry Coffee": Starbucks Debuts 2019 Holiday Cups

    Starbucks (SBUX) just debuted their highly-anticipated holiday cups for 2019, kicking off the holiday season for the coffee giant (and consumers).

  • Financial Times

    When fast fashion jumps on the eco-wagon

    H&M says it wants to help make the fashion industry more “sustainable”. In a FT piece published on Wednesday, the Swedish fashion giant’s chief executive, Karl-Johan Persson, talked about some of the investments the company had made in pursuit of this “sustainability”. For example, H&M has invested in a Swedish start-up called Renewcell, which produces clothes from recycled textiles.

  • Top retail CEOs weigh in on the holiday shopping season
    Yahoo Finance

    Top retail CEOs weigh in on the holiday shopping season

    Expectations on a strong holiday shopping season are running high on Wall Street.

  • McDonald's is in a leadership crisis, but investors are sticking with the stock
    Yahoo Finance

    McDonald's is in a leadership crisis, but investors are sticking with the stock

    Quite the week for McDonald's, headlined by a new CEO taking the helm. Here's why one investor is sticking with the stock.

  • From Online Gambling to Pot, Crypto Commerce Takes Off This Year
    Bloomberg

    From Online Gambling to Pot, Crypto Commerce Takes Off This Year

    (Bloomberg) -- After being given up for dead, cryptocurrency-based commerce -- albeit still tiny -- has started growing again.The amount of digital money sent to 16 merchant service providers such as BitPay rose 65% between January and July, according to data researcher Chainalysis. The price of Bitcoin, which accounted for 89% of all such transactions, had more than doubled over the seven months, to about $10,000. Typically, steep run-ups in the cryptocurrency’s price push people to spend less, and instead to hold or to speculate.The resurgence is in contrast to last year, when Chainalysis found that Bitcoin-based commerce was in decline. This time around, the researcher looked not just at Bitcoin but also at Tether, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash, which are used to fund everything from online gambling to purchases at pot shops. “It suggests there’s more overall trust in crypto,” Kim Grauer, senior economist at New York-based Chainalysis, said in a phone interview.In one of the biggest efforts for mainstream use, Intercontinental Exchange Inc. plans to begin testing its consumer app for digital assets with Starbucks Inc. in the first half of 2020. Processor BitPay and others are adding support for new coins, also boosting commerce. The company, which says it processes more than $1 billion annually, anticipates continued growth as new cryptocurrencies are added to the mix including Bitcoin Cash Ether and XRP, spokesperson Jan Jahosky said in an email.The overall amount of crypto used in commerce remains tiny: It was $5.5 million on average per day in July, up from only about $3 million in January. Starbucks alone books about $70 million in sales daily.Inconvenience has been a major barrier. Transaction confirmation on the Bitcoin network can take an hour -- making it hard for someone to just walk in a store, buy a cup of coffee and leave. Many businesses still don’t accept the coins. And many consumers are still leery to spend them anyway, due to most cryptocurrencies’ wild volatility.Increased use of Tether -- a so-called stablecoin because its price doesn’t typically fluctuate much -- gave crypto commerce a boost, with the token’s use in commerce increasing five-fold between January and July, according to the researcher. In those seven months, Tether accounted for 9% of all commerce, Chainalysis said.“There’s still a lot of growth in Bitcoin,” Grauer said. “But if you look at Tether, especially in the second half of the year, Tether took off.”To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland at okharif@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.net, Dave Liedtka, Rita NazarethFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Milk Revival Boosts Battered Farmers in Key States for Trump
    Bloomberg

    Milk Revival Boosts Battered Farmers in Key States for Trump

    (Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Pocket Cast or iTunes.Struggling dairy farmers are finally getting some relief after a wave of closures that hit particularly hard in the presidential election battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Minnesota.Even as Americans drink less milk, prices on commodity markets have surged to five-year highs, providing some help to those still operating.While it may be too late to save many farms, the turnaround eases the financial pressure on a swath of President Donald Trump’s rural base ahead of next year’s election. The Trump campaign is trying to pick up Minnesota, which he narrowly lost in 2016, and fighting to hold onto neighboring Wisconsin, which he won last time by fewer than 23,000 votes.Dairy is especially important to Wisconsin. “America’s Dairyland” as the slogan reads on the state’s license plates. Residents embrace the nickname “Cheeseheads,” and foam cheese-wedge hats are staples at sports events and tourist shops. Towns across the state depend on the money dairy farmers spend at equipment dealers, feed stores, cafes and local retailers.“By spring, if we keep the prices where they are now, farmers are going to be in a better mood,” said John Rettler, 57, who with his three sons operates a 240-cow dairy operation near Neosho, Wisconsin.He and his neighbors have endured a five-year glut and trade disputes that have cut access to key export markets. Weather hasn’t been kind either, with a wet spring delaying grain planting and then early snowstorms in October ruining some of the crop of silage and hay farmers planned to feed their cows with over the winter.Dairy farmers are “very crabby” right now, said Rettler, who also presides over the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative board. “They’re beaten up so badly. How many times do you get kicked in the stomach and get back up?”Many didn’t. In the 12 months ended Oct. 1, one in 10 dairy farms in Wisconsin closed and one in eight in Minnesota. All those closures are finally having an impact on the downtrodden U.S. milk market. Class III futures, which represent milk used to make cheddar cheese, are up about 40% in 2019, heading for the best year since 2007.“People will recover some footing,” said Marin Bozic, a dairy economist at the University of Minnesota. “They’re stepping back from the brink. And they have time to make strategic decisions on their own terms.”Traditional dairy farmers still face tough competition from larger operations, with some groups owning tens of thousands of cows, Bozic said.U.S. per-capita milk consumption has been declining since the late 1970s as Americans shifted away from cereal for breakfast and more people drink other beverages including water and plant-based substitutes such as almond milk.Dairy farmers were hit with more competition from abroad when the European Union lifted milk production caps in 2015. The shift in the U.S. toward more large dairies added to the glut, driving down prices.Low prices and environmental concerns are now finally keeping global production in check. In the U.S., despite the price downturn, the dairy herd initially continued to grow, with larger dairies adding cows as smaller farms closed, Bozic said.More dairy cows finally started to go to slaughterhouses early last year. In August, there were 48,000 fewer cows in the 24 largest producing states than a year earlier, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture.The milk price increase is already hitting food companies such as Dean Foods Co., the top U.S. dairy processor, which cited higher costs for milk in reporting a wider-than-expected loss in the second quarter. Starbucks Corp. singled out higher dairy costs in the current year in an Oct. 30 earnings call. Kraft Heinz Co., meanwhile, said it boosted prices last quarter in the U.S. on products such as macaroni and cheese and Philadelphia cream cheese.Food processors with out-sized exposure to dairy, including cheese, butter and infant formula, face lower margins, said Amit Sharma, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets. Consumers are switching to other beverages as milk prices rise, he added.Exit OpportunityEven with the higher prices, Bozic expects dairies to continue to close at an above-normal rate, predicting another 6% to 7% operating farms will shut down within a year.“There are a lot of farms that their balance sheets have been so damaged that there’s no recovery,” said Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin.In some cases, farmers are hanging on in the hope that their inventory of cows and equipment will command higher prices when they sell, said Wayne Gajewski, 59, who has an 80-cow operation near Athens, Wisconsin.“For some I’ve talked with, if they get some equity back, it will be an opportunity to exit the industry because they will have something to walk away with,” Gajewski said. “It’s just the stress of the industry with the margins being so tight.”Gajewski grew up on a farm near his current operation, which he’s been running since 1979. He plans to stick it out and takes the milk-price increase as a sign the industry is moving in the right direction. He expressed hope that the Trump administration will conclude trade deals with China and Japan and win passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.“Hard times aren’t always necessarily bad because they help people become better managers of what they have,” he said. “For those that survive it, agriculture can have a brighter future.”(Updates with additional context beginning in 12th paragraph)\--With assistance from Lydia Mulvany and Jonathan Roeder.To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Dorning in Washington at mdorning@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, James Attwood, Patrick McKiernanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Dutch Shell, Starbucks and Celgene
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Dutch Shell, Starbucks and Celgene

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Dutch Shell, Starbucks and Celgene

  • ETFs in Focus on Starbucks' Solid Q4 Earnings Report
    Zacks

    ETFs in Focus on Starbucks' Solid Q4 Earnings Report

    Here we discuss the impact of Starbucks' Q4 earnings results on certain ETFs with high exposure to the coffee giant.

  • Top Stock Reports for Facebook, JPMorgan & Royal Dutch Shell
    Zacks

    Top Stock Reports for Facebook, JPMorgan & Royal Dutch Shell

    Top Stock Reports for Facebook, JPMorgan & Royal Dutch Shell

  • CBD is ‘the caffeine of the 21st century’: Recess CEO
    Yahoo Finance

    CBD is ‘the caffeine of the 21st century’: Recess CEO

    The key to selling a CBD product is to not sell the CBD, according to Benjamin Witte.

  • Dunkin' is trying to take over the world
    Yahoo Finance

    Dunkin' is trying to take over the world

    Dunkin' may have a nice opportunity to dial up its growth overseas.

  • In the Future, We Will All Work in Food Service
    Bloomberg

    In the Future, We Will All Work in Food Service

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Of the 128,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs created in October, according to today’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47,500 were at food services and drinking places. While that 37% share was anomalously high, the sector has been a major driver of job gains for this entire expansion. Of the 20 million new jobs created since employment bottomed out in February 2010, 3 million, or almost 14%, have been at food services and drinking places, much higher than their 8% share of employment. The restaurant employment boom seemed to be fizzling in late 2017, and definitely proceeded at a slower place for most of 2018 and earlier this year. But now it seems to be gaining strength again.The continued rise of food services employment says something encouraging about the current business cycle. Regardless of some weakness this year in manufacturing and oil and gas, and worries that the longest-ever expansion might finally be fading, Americans in general are still going out for meals and drinks — and restaurant and bar owners are still hiring workers to serve them.Over the longer haul, the rise of the restaurant tells several different stories, not all of them so encouraging. For example, employment at food services and drinking places hasn’t passed employment in manufacturing yet, but seems destined to overtake it before long.Food services jobs don’t pay as well as factory jobs or offer as regular hours: average weekly earnings in October were $389 in the former, $1,198 in the latter. Minimum wage laws and other policy efforts may be able to raise that pay somewhat, but there are limits because productivity growth in the sector is so slow. Since 1990, real output per hour worked has risen 10% at food services and drinking places, and 116% in manufacturing. A shift away from making stuff to providing services and experiences is perhaps inevitable in a wealthy, maturing economy, but it does pose challenges for maintaining economic growth and broadly shared prosperity.The rise of restaurants also signals a change in how we get our food. Overall spending on food has declined a lot as a share of disposable income since the 1920s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But restaurants have actually been taking a growing share of our paychecks over time, and thanks to them the overall food share has barely budged over the past decade.This is isn’t just about restaurants, of course. Full-service restaurants remain the biggest employer in the food services sector, with limited-service ones (e.g., fast food and fast casual) a close second, and together they accounted for more than 81% of the food services and drinking places jobs gains since February 2010. But the fastest growth has come at what the North American Industry Classification System refers to as snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars, a category that likely (the BLS never says) includes national chains such as Starbucks and Smoothie King as well as the locally owned coffee shops and juice bars one now finds in virtually every American downtown.(1)Microbreweries that serve drinks and even food generally aren’t included here, because they’re counted as manufacturers, but they’re clearly part of this phenomenon as well. Employment at breweries, wineries and distilleries was up 103,300, or 144%, from February 2010 through September, and small establishments where customers often show up in person have driven most of those gains.Feeding and serving drinks to people outside of their home has been a business for an awfully long time, but it also appears to be a major 21st century growth industry.(1) Data for narrower jobs categories comes out with a one-month lag, which is why this chart only goes to September.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at justinfox@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at sgreencarmic@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Company News for Nov 1, 2019
    Zacks

    Company News for Nov 1, 2019

    Companies in the news are: SBUX, KHC, TWTR, BMY

  • HKEX’s Li Apologizes After Remarks on China and Hong Kong
    Bloomberg

    HKEX’s Li Apologizes After Remarks on China and Hong Kong

    (Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officer of Hong Kong’s stock exchange apologized for recent remarks on China’s handling of the former British colony, becoming the first prominent local business leader to express remorse after stepping on the political landmine.Charles Li, who runs Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd., said on Friday he’s sorry for any confusion caused by his remarks that civil unrest had exposed faults underlying the “one country two systems” framework for the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997. “I am the biggest supporter of one country two systems,” he said.Earlier this week, he had said the system’s initial execution was fundamentally flawed and noted that Beijing authorities never trusted the former British colony to uphold its rule. On Friday, he said the design is perfect and that it’s only a problem of implementation. He said he shouldn’t have touched on such politically-sensitive issues as a businessman. His intent had been to give people abroad context and a more complete picture of what’s happening in Hong Kong.Comments when “translated into pieces, and translated and reported out of context,” may sometimes not precisely reflect the speakers’ intent, he said on Friday.Li, the first Chinese national to lead the stock exchange in the former British colony, made his controversial comments in London earlier this week, just days before the police shot tear gas into crowds along streets and bars celebrating Halloween. Until his remarks, CEOs and other business leaders in Hong Kong had largely avoided discussing the months-long pro-democracy protests, a topic that’s repeatedly proven problematic for a variety of prominent figures outside China.For executives, the danger of wading in is that they risk upsetting authorities in Beijing -- but also protesters, who’ve targeted stores including local franchises of Starbucks over perceived slights.The National Basketball Association had its exhibition games pulled from the airwaves in China and its Chinese sponsors disappear after the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeted his support for the protesters. Meanwhile, activists called for protests at Apple stores after the company pulled a live-mapping app that tracked deployments of police.Even actions by rank-and-file employees can drag companies into the controversy. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. has fired staff and threatened to terminate workers for supporting the demonstrations, let alone participating in them. And French lender BNP Paribas SA publicly apologized for a posting on an employee’s personal social media account, saying it doesn’t tolerate “disrespectful” language.The protests already have weighed on HKEX in other ways. Last month, the exchange dropped a 29.6 billion-pound ($38 billion) unsolicited takeover bid for London Stock Exchange Group Plc after opposition from the U.K. company and a cool reception from Beijing. The proposal failed to win support in China, where the official People’s Daily pointed to “persistent worries” about Hong Kong given the current unrest and instead promoted LSE’s existing tie up with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.(Updates with additional comment from Li and background on LSE bid from fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Kiuyan Wong in Hong Kong at kwong739@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Candice Zachariahs at czachariahs2@bloomberg.net, ;Jun Luo at jluo6@bloomberg.net, David ScheerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.