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Update on the latest in business:

February 12, 2018


Stocks claw their way back

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are posting solid gains in midday trading as the market recovers from its worst week in two years.

Technology and industrial companies and retailers were leading the market higher today. Apple rose 3.3 percent, Boeing climbed 2.7 percent and Amazon also rose 2.7 percent.

European markets are also higher.

At 12:48 p.m. Eastern Time, the Dow was up 378 points, at 24,572. The S&P 500 was up 34 points, to 2,654. And the Nasdaq was up 95 points, to 6,969.

The market is coming off two weeks of steep losses that put stocks into a “correction” — a decline of 10 percent from a peak — for the first time in two years.


Trump threatens ‘tax’ on countries that exploit US trade

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s planning to announce a “reciprocal tax” on countries that take advantage of the United States on trade, with more details to be released later this week.

Trump is noting his plans for the so-called tax in a meeting with state and local leaders. He says they’ll be hearing about it during the week and the coming months.

Trump is also addressing the ongoing negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement and says he’s hopeful it will be successful.

The president is complaining that Canada doesn’t treat the U.S. well.

Trump says the U.S. can no longer continue to be taken advantage by foreign countries. Trump is blaming “laziness” for trade deals he thinks are bad for America.


Trump’s $4 trillion budget helps move deficit sharply higher

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is proposing a $4 trillion-plus budget for next year that projects a $1 trillion or so federal deficit and — unlike the plan he released last year — never comes close to promising a balanced federal ledger even after 10 years.

And that’s before last week’s $300 billion budget pact is added this year and next, showering both the Pentagon and domestic agencies with big increases.

The spending spree, along with last year’s tax cuts, has the deficit moving sharply higher with Republicans in control of Washington.

The original plan was for Trump’s new budget to slash domestic agencies even further than last year’s proposal, but instead it will land in Congress three days after he signed a two-year spending agreement that wholly rewrites both last year’s budget and the one to be released today.

The 2019 budget was originally designed to double down on last year’s proposals to slash foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, home heating assistance and other nondefense programs funded by Congress each year.


Trump predicts ‘big week’ for infrastructure

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is unveiling his long-awaited infrastructure plan, a $1.5 trillion proposal that fulfills a number of his campaign goals. But it relies heavily on state and local governments to produce much of the funding.

The administration’s plan is centered on using $200 billion in federal money to leverage local and state tax dollars to fix America’s infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports.

Trump tweeted today that after “so stupidly spending $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is now time to start investing in OUR Country!”


General Dynamics buying CSRA for about $6.8 billion

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — The defense contractor General Dynamics is buying CSRA for almost $7 billion with the latest Senate proposals pushing defense spending aggressively higher.

Shares of CSRA Inc. soared more than 30 percent before the opening bell today.

General Dynamics will pay $40.75 per CSRA share. That’s a 32 percent premium to its Friday closing price of $30.82. The deal includes an additional $2.8 billion in debt.

Chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic said in a printed statement that the acquisition will help General Dynamics provide cost-effective internet technology solutions to the Department of Defense, intelligence community and federal civilian agencies.

CSRA and General Dynamics Corp. are based in Falls Church, Virginia.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of the year.


Air bag danger: Ford adds 33K Rangers to do-not-drive list

DETROIT (AP) — Ford and U.S. safety regulators are telling the owners of 33,428 Ranger pickup trucks in North America not to drive them because they have Takata air bag inflators “that are an immediate risk to safety.”

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt says a company investigation into Ranger inflators from the 2006 model year found test results showing that more inflators had ruptured or recorded high internal pressure readings.

Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say dealers will tow the Rangers to service bays to replace the faulty inflators and provide loaner vehicles. The company says parts for the repairs already are available.

The Rangers added to the do-not-drive list were built between Aug. 5 and Dec. 15, 2005.

Also included on the do-not-drive list are certain 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks, which were made by Ford and are similar to the Ranger.


German court rules several Facebook settings violate laws

BERLIN (AP) — A German court has ruled that Facebook’s insistence that users provide their real names violates the country’s data protection laws.

The Berlin state court ruled in a suit brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations that Facebook’s “real name” clause violated the country’s regulation that providers of online services must allow users to remain anonymous.

The dpa news agency reported today that the court also ruled some clauses in Facebook’s terms of service were framed too broadly, and that several settings that are activated by default shouldn’t be. Those include a Facebook smartphone app feature, which reveals the location a person is chatting from unless it’s turned off.

Facebook, which is appealing the ruling, says many of its terms have changed since the suit was brought in 2015.


21st Century Fox offers concession to seal Sky takeover

LONDON (AP) — 21st Century Fox is proposing to insulate Sky’s news operations from the influence of Rupert Murdoch and his family to win approval of its bid to take over the London-based pay TV company.

The offer is part of a document released today that lays out Fox’s response to a regulator’s preliminary ruling that the deal isn’t in the public interest because it would give Murdoch too much control over the country’s media.

The Competition and Markets Authority must finalize its decision before making a recommendation to the government on whether it should approve Fox’s effort to buy the 61 percent of Sky Plc it doesn’t already own for 11.7 billion pounds ($16.3 billion).

A previous takeover attempt six years ago was derailed by the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch’s British newspapers.


Beleaguered gunmaker Remington points to bankruptcy court

MADISON, N.C. (AP) — Remington, the gunmaker beset by falling sales and lawsuits tied to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, has reached a financing deal that would allow it to continue operating as it files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The maker of the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the Connecticut shooting that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead in 2012, said Monday that the agreement with lenders will reduce its debt by about $700 million and add about $145 million in new capital.

The company will attempt to file a prepackaged reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

Remington Outdoor Co., based in Madison, North Carolina, said that business won’t be disrupted as it restructures its finances.


US finds recalls fixed problem with leaky gas tank flanges

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. safety regulators have closed an investigation into leaky gas tank flanges, determining that recalls by three German auto brands took care of the problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the probe in July of 2017 after Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi issued four recalls due to fuel leaks from flanges made by parts supplier Continental. The polymer flanges can crack and leak fuel, potentially causing fires.

Continental told the agency at the time that it sold the flanges to 11 automakers and five other parts supply companies, possibly affecting millions of vehicles.

But Continental found a lack of problems with flanges used by other automakers. Agency investigators determined that further recalls aren’t necessary.


APNewsBreak: Unfinished Vegas casino-resort to open in 2020

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The long-mothballed unfinished Fontainebleau casino-resort on the Las Vegas Strip is scheduled to open under a new name in 2020.

The 63-story bluish tower will be transformed into The Drew Las Vegas under a partnership between hospitality giant Marriott International and New York-based real estate firm Witkoff.

The companies told The Associated Press ahead of today’s announcement that the property will feature a casino, approximately 4,000 rooms and suites, convention and meeting space, and a variety of entertainment, nightlife, retail and dining options.

The site is near the Circus Circus and SLS hotel-casinos. The luxury property will also be home to the Strip’s first JW Marriott and the company’s top-end “Edition” brand.

The Drew will be one of two casino projects expected to open on the northern end of Strip in 2020.


Improving finances help Pittsburgh shed distressed status

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The city of Pittsburgh is getting out of a state program that helps financially distressed governments.

The Wolf administration says that improving finances mean Pittsburgh no longer qualifies, becoming the second city and 14th municipality in the state to emerge from distressed status.

Pittsburgh was plagued by debt, pension demands and budget problems when it entered into the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act program in 2003.

At that time, the city’s credit was junk-bond status. It had spent more than it collected for at least three years and had run a 5 percent deficit for two successive years.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s secretary of community and economic development made the decision after a hearing in late December on the current status of Pittsburgh’s finances.

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