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Update on the latest in business:

October 9, 2018


Stocks waver

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes have wavered between small losses and gains, with the market nearly even split between winners and losers.

Raw-material producers sank sharply on worries that higher costs and weakening demand are eroding profits. But energy stocks climbed with the price of oil, and technology stocks recovered some of the sharp losses caused by last week’s rapid rise in interest rates.

Treasury yields dipped in this week’s first day of bond trading following a holiday on Monday.


Sears adds a restructuring expert to board

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears is adding a restructuring expert to its board, suggesting that the company may be preparing to take drastic actions to survive or to protect its remaining assets.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company, which also owns Kmart, said Tuesday it was bringing on board Alan Carr, managing member and CEO of Drivetrain LLC, a restructuring advisory firm. Sears said he has significant experience as a principal, investor and adviser leading complex financial restructurings.

The announcement was made with Sears nearing a key debt repayment in less than a week.

Earlier this month, the hedge fund owned by Sears Holdings Corp. CEO Eddie Lampert urged the retailer’s board to sell more of its real estate and restructure its debt as it seeks to avoid a trip into bankruptcy court.


One of oldest US coal companies files for bankruptcy

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — One of the oldest coal companies in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy to deal with steep debt amid declining world demand.

Englewood, Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston.

Company officials say in a statement the filing is part of a restructuring agreement with an unnamed group of lenders.

Company officials say operations won’t be interrupted and there are no expected staff reductions.

Court filings show the company has $770 million in assets and $1.4 billion in debt.

Westmoreland was incorporated in 1854 in Pennsylvania. It has coal mines in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Ohio, North Dakota and Texas, and a coal-fired power plant in North Carolina.

Its mines in Canada are not part of the bankruptcy filing.


Pakistan’s currency plunges as it seeks IMF loan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s currency plunged by about 7 percent on Tuesday after the government said it would seek emergency bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund.

The Pakistani rupee briefly weakened to 138 to the dollar on Tuesday before settling at 133.6. The rupee was trading at 124.3 at close of business Monday, before the announcement was made.

A Pakistani delegation will meet with IMF officials in Indonesia later this week.

After a visit last week, the IMF said Pakistan is facing significant economic challenges, with diminishing growth, high fiscal and current account deficits, and low foreign exchange reserves.

Pakistan is also seeking fresh loans from China, which is already heavily invested in its transport and energy sectors.


Turkish firms reduce prices to help fight inflation

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s finance minister says several private sector firms have agreed to reduce their prices to support the government’s effort to bring down painfully high inflation.

Berat Albayrak also announced Tuesday that the government would not raise electricity and gas prices until the end of the year as part of the campaign to rein in consumer prices.

The announcement came after Turkey’s annual inflation rate jumped to nearly 25 percent in September — up from some 18 percent recorded in August.

The country has been hit by a currency crisis that saw the lira lose close to 40 percent of its value since the start of the year over concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic policies and a diplomatic and trade spat with the United States.


German exports slip for second month in a row

BERLIN (AP) — German exports dropped in August over the previous month for the second month in a row in the latest disappointing news about Europe’s largest economy.

The Federal Statistical Office reported Tuesday that exports were down 0.1 percent to $126.24 billion in August, in seasonally and calendar adjusted numbers. Imports decreased 2.7 percent.

Compared to August 2017, exports were up 2.2 percent.

ING economist Carsten Brzeski says “the traditional German growth engine is stuttering once again” with industrial production and exports losing momentum, “but reduced momentum from a high level is still no reason to worry.”


Israeli leader picks Wharton professor as central bank chief

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has nominated a University of Pennsylvania business school professor to be the next chief of Israel’s central bank.

Netanyahu said Tuesday that Amir Yaron is “the most qualified for the position of Bank of Israel governor” and is “considered one of the world’s experts in financial economics.”

Yaron, an Israeli national, is a professor of banking and finance who has taught at the Wharton School since 2009.

Outgoing Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug issued a statement saying she looked forward to helping Yaron with the transition.

Flug announced in July that she would not seek another five-year term. Her term ends in November.


Starbucks provides backup care benefit to US workers

SEATTLE (AP) — Starbucks’ U.S. employees have a new benefit: subsidized backup care for children and adults.

The company says employees will get up to 10 backup care days each year to use when regular care is unavailable. More than 180,000 employees will be eligible.

In-home backup care for kids or adults will cost employees $1 per hour. Care in a childcare center costs $5 per hour.

Starbucks is partnering with Care.com, a company that connects people to caregivers. Starbucks will also offer its employees free senior care planning through Care.com.

The benefit is an unusual one. In a 2017 survey of U.S. employers, only 9 percent of companies with 1,000 employees or more offered back-up child care as a benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

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