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Update on the latest in business:

January 23, 2018


Tech and consumer-focused companies rise; Netflix leaps

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mixed today as consumer-focused companies like Netflix and Amazon climb while household goods makers including Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble sink following disappointing quarterly reports. Bond yields are down after rising to three-year highs in the last few days. That’s helping high-dividend companies like utilities.

At 12:50 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index added 3 points, to 2,836.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 31 points to 26,184. The 30-stock index was pulled lower by losses from Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble as well as Boeing.

The Nasdaq composite jumped 44 points, to 7,452. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was unchanged at 1,605.


Germany criticizes Trump’s plan for new tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Germany is criticizing President Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels.

Economy minister Brigitte Zypries says that Germany campaigns for “fair and free trade, and against protectionism.

Zypries says she’s concerned that Trump’s decision could trigger a new trade war with China and South Korea, which in turn would have repercussions for Europe and Germany.

The Trump administration says the president’s decision is part of his pledge to put American companies and jobs first.


Twitter Operating Chief Anthony Noto resigns

UNDATED (AP) — Twitter’s chief operating officer is leaving the social media giant to lead another company.

Anthony Noto joined Twitter in July 2014 after a stint at Goldman Sachs. He has also served as chief financial officer at Twitter.

Noto is considered a key part of the company’s leadership team. Shares of Twitter Inc. slid more than 3 percent before the opening bell today.

The San Francisco company says other Twitter executives will take over Noto’s duties overseeing business operations and advertising sales.

Noto is joining Social Finance Inc., an online lender, as chief executive and a director.


JPMorgan raising wages, hiring, expanding

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan is boosting wages, opening new branches and hiring thousands of new workers citing improved economic performance and sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code.

The U.S. recently slashed the corporate rate to 21 percent from, 35 percent.

Hourly wages will rise to between $15 and $18 from a range of $12 to $16.50, impacting 22,000 employees. The New York bank will also open 400 new branches and hire 4,000 people in its new U.S. markets, housing and small business divisions. Loans to customers seeking “affordable” homes will rise by 25 percent to $50 billion and it will boost philanthropy by 40 percent, to $1.75 billion.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. also says it will reduce medical plan deductibles by $750 per year for employees making less than $60,000.


Kimberly-Clark plans to cut 5,000 to 5,500 jobs

DALLAS (AP) — Kimberly-Clark is cutting 5,000 to 5,500 jobs, or 12 percent to 13 percent of its workforce, as the consumer products company tries to lower costs.

The Huggies and Kleenex maker says it plans to close or sell about 10 manufacturing plants while expanding production elsewhere. It’s also looking to exit or sell some low-margin businesses that make up approximately 1 percent of company sales.

The company does not say where the job cuts will take place.

Kimberly-Clark Corp., based in Dallas, anticipates pre-tax savings of $500 million to $550 million by the end of 2021.

Shares rose 1.4 percent in premarket trading.


Huge pay package for Musk at Tesla, with ambitious goals

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Elon Musk will remain at Tesla under a 10-year, all-or-nothing pay package that demands massive growth.

The agreement, revealed today in a regulatory filing, requires that Tesla grow in $50 billion leaps, to a staggering $650 billion market capitalization.

To put those demands in perspective, the electric car maker, based in Palo Alto, California, is worth less than $60 billion today.

Tesla must hit a series of escalating revenue and adjusted profit targets, only after which Musk would vest stock options worth 1 percent of company shares.

In order to vest shares when milestones are reached, Musk must stay on as CEO or serve as both executive chairman and chief product officer. Tesla provides for Musk’s long-term leadership, but also gives flexibility to name another CEO in the future.


French retailer Carrefour details investment plan, job cuts

PARIS (AP) — French retailer Carrefour says it will invest 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) over the next five years in online shopping as part of a plan to boost growth that will also result in 2,400 job cuts.

Europe’s biggest retailer says the job cuts will be implemented through voluntary departures. The positions being cut are at its French headquarters near Paris, where 10,500 people work.

CEO Alexandre Bompard, who took the helm in July, wants to step up investment in e-commerce in a bid to be able to compete with Amazon.


EU taking 8 jurisdictions off its tax haven blacklist

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is taking eight countries and jurisdictions off its tax avoidance blacklist after they made commitments to meet EU requirements.

Barbados, Grenada, Macao, Mongolia, Panama, South Korea, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates were removed after agreeing to tighten their tax laws.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says the fresh commitments show “that European pressure is effective. ”

Up to now, the system has centered on naming and shaming but Le Maire called for tougher action. He says, “Naming and shaming will not be enough. There also must be sanctions.”


Trudeau announces Pacific trade deal without US

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada and 10 other countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement.

The deal comes exactly one year after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the agreement.

The agreement follows two days of high-level talks in Tokyo and was confirmed by Canadian International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. The partners are now expected to work toward signing the agreement by early March.

Trudeau told a crowd at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the pact meets Canada’s objectives of creating and sustaining growth, prosperity and well-paying middle-class jobs today and for generations to come.

The agreement comes amid worries that Trump will pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade deal. Seventy-five percent of Canada’s trade goes to the U.S.


CEO says company working to stop ‘Tide pod challenge’

NEW YORK (AP) — Procter & Gamble says it’s working to stop the “Tide Pod challenge,” a social media-fueled trend in which teenagers eat single-load laundry detergent packets.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers warned last week that it had seen a spike in teenagers eating the detergent pods, which it says can cause seizures, respiratory arrest and even death.

CEO David Taylor called the trend “dangerous” and “extremely concerning” in a blog post Monday. He says the company is working with social media companies to remove videos of people biting into the detergent.

The pods have generally been hit a for P&G, but shortly after introducing the product in 2012, the company said it would create a double-latch lid to deter young children from accessing and eating them.


Unemployment rates hit record lows in 3 US states last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate fell to record lows in three U.S. states last month, as steady hiring soaked up more of those out of work.

The Labor Department says the jobless rate fell to the lowest levels since records began in 1976 in Hawaii, Mississippi and California. The rate in Hawaii was 2 percent, while Mississippi’s dropped to 4.6 percent and California’s declined to 4.3 percent.

Nationwide, employers added 148,000 jobs last month and the U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent. Employers added 2.1 million jobs last year, the fewest in seven years. Hiring typically slows as the unemployment rate falls and there are fewer people to hire.

Employers added more jobs in 10 states and cut them in 3. Employment remained essentially unchanged in the other 37.

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