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Update on the latest in business:

April 5, 2019


Stocks approach record after US jobs report hits sweet spot

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks climbed Friday after a better-than-expected report on U.S. jobs eased worries that the economy is slowing too sharply.

U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs last month, more than economists had forecast. More importantly, it gave encouragement to economists who said the prior month’s jobs report, which was shockingly weak, may have been an aberration and that the economy can continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace.

The jobs report also hit a happy medium for markets, strategists said. It was neither low enough to heighten recession worries nor high enough to prod the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

Stocks around the world have also been climbing as the United States and China say they are making progress on talks to ease their trade war.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. Ten of the 11 sectors that make up the index were higher. Energy and health care helped lead the way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35 points, or 0.1%, to 26,419, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.6%.


Where Americans found jobs: Health care and restaurants

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. job growth in March surged in the service sector, with health care adding 49,000 jobs as hospitals and nursing care facilities stepped up hiring.

Restaurants and bars gained more than 27,000 jobs. Professional and business services accounted for 37,000 additional positions, expanding the ranks of engineers, consultants and accountants.

By contrast, manufacturing lost 6,000 jobs, marking that sector’s first decline in a year and a half. The weakness stemmed from a sharp drop in employment at automakers, likely reflecting layoffs by General Motors. Retailers shed jobs for a second straight month.

The Labor Department said that overall, U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent.


Report on Ethiopian crash ratchets up pressure on Boeing

NEW YORK (AP) — A preliminary report released Thursday on the Ethiopian Airlines crash last month found that pilots followed all recommended procedures issued by Boeing, ratcheting up pressure on the plane maker that critics say has put profits before safety.

The findings from the Ethiopian government provide the clearest link yet to a similar crash involving the same Boeing model plane in the waters off Indonesia in October. All 346 on board the two flights died.

The report raises questions about whether Boeing did enough to alert pilots after the Indonesian crash and whether the Federal Aviation Administration should have grounded the 737 MAX planes earlier and not waited until the second crash on March 10.

Still, the report is only a first draft and raised some questions left unanswered, such as why the crew turned back on a faulty anti-stall system a half-minute before the plane slammed into the ground.

A final Ethiopian report with those details is not expected for months. The Indonesian final report could take until August or September and so attention will now likely turn to other government and regulatory probes.


Boeing dealing with second software problem on troubled jet

UNDATED (AP) — Boeing has found another software issue that needs fixing on its 737 Max jets, and the discovery explains why the aircraft maker is delaying its schedule for getting the planes back in the air.

A Boeing spokesman on Friday called it a “relatively minor issue” and said the plane maker already has a fix in the works.

The spokesman, Charles Bickers, said the latest issue is not part of flight-control software that Boeing has been working to upgrade for months.

That software, known by its acronym MCAS, is suspected in two recent deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that led regulators to ground the plane worldwide last month.


Elon Musk, SEC told to meet for at least 1 hour about tweets

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge in New York has ordered Tesla CEO Elon Musk and U.S. securities regulators to meet for at least an hour to try and settle a dispute over Musk’s tweets.

Judge Alison Nathan also told both sides Friday to send her a letter by April 18 saying whether they have reached a deal. If they don’t, Nathan will decide on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s motion to find Musk in contempt.

The SEC wants Nathan to fine Musk for allegedly violating a court-approved settlement requiring his tweets to be approved by a lawyer if they disclose important company facts. Musk’s lawyers say he didn’t violate the settlement.

The judge also wrote that if Musk is found in contempt, both sides will write legal briefs about his punishment.

The order comes after Nathan urged both sides to agree at a hearing on Thursday in New York that Musk attended.

SEC attorney Cheryl Crumpton recommended fines for Musk if Nathan finds him in contempt of the October settlement. The SEC alleges that Musk blatantly violated the settlement with a Feb. 19 tweet about Tesla vehicle production that wasn’t approved by the company’s “disclosure counsel.” The agency contends that Musk hasn’t sought the lawyer’s approval for a single tweet.

But Musk attorney John Hueston told the judge that the SEC had failed to show his client had violated the deal.


Trump’s pick to head the World Bank wins election

WASHINGTON (AP) — David Malpass, the Treasury official nominated by President Donald Trump to head the 189-nation World Bank, has won election to the post.

The World Bank says Malpass was approved unanimously by the bank’s 25-member executive board on Friday. He will begin a five-year term next Tuesday succeeding Jim Yong Kim, who stepped down earlier this year, three years before his term was to end.

Malpass was serving in the Trump administration as Treasury’s under secretary of international affairs. He has been a longtime critics of the World Bank and its sister lending organization, the International Monetary Fund.

However in his Treasury post, Malpass helped win support last year for a $13 billion funding increase for the bank.


Billionaire gives $100 million to fund Connecticut education

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — One of the world’s wealthiest couples announced Friday they are donating $100 million to support public education and new businesses in some of Connecticut’s most disadvantaged communities.

The contribution from hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio and his wife, Barbara, is believed to be the largest known philanthropic donation to the state, according to Gov. Ned Lamont’s office.

The Dalios live in Greenwich and Ray Dalio is the founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates. Forbes lists his net worth at more than $18 billion.

He said the donation is earmarked for areas with high poverty and drop-out rates, and will create career paths that encourage kids to stay in school.

The governor says the state plans to leverage the donation into a $300 million investment over five years, with Connecticut matching Dalio’s $100 million and another $100 million from other philanthropists and business leaders.

The state and Dalio Philanthropies said the money will be used for such things as funding entrepreneurs with small loans and early-stage equity capital, while providing mentorship.

It also will be used to create education programs in schools that directly link students to jobs and help get those who have dropped out of school back into educational or job-training programs.


Environmental groups to sue Shell over climate change

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Climate activists delivered a court summons Friday to oil company Shell in a court case aimed at forcing it to do more to rein in carbon emissions.

Friends of the Earth Netherlands, one of the groups involved, said it wants a court in The Hague to order Shell to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and to zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Climate Accord.

The summons, more than 250 pages long and backed up by boxes of supporting documents, was wheeled into the headquarters on a trolley as a couple of hundred activists looked on.

The move comes a year after the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth sent a letter to Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden accusing the company of “breaching its legal duty of care” by causing climate damage across the globe.

In a statement, Shell outlined renewable energy projects it is involved in in the Netherlands and said that it agrees climate change action is necessary and that the company is “committed to playing our part.”