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Stocks waver...Construction spending hits record high...Productivity falls

February 1, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are wavering between small gains and losses in early trading after several big companies reported disappointing quarterly results or outlooks. Losses in food and beverage stocks and other consumer-goods companies outweighed gains in energy and other sectors. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department says construction spending rose 0.7 percent in December to a record high. It was the fifth consecutive monthly gain, with all major sectors showing modest increases. Spending on housing projects rose 0.5 percent while nonresidential construction was up a stronger 1.1 percent. Spending on government projects rose 0.3 percent as strength at the federal level offset a drop in state and local construction.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity edged down at a 0.1 percent rate in the fourth quarter. It was the weakest showing in nearly two years and further evidence of the struggles the country is having boosting worker efficiency. The Labor Department says the fourth-quarter decline followed a much stronger 2.7 percent gain in the third quarter. Labor costs increased at a 2 percent rate in the fourth quarter after two quarters of declines.

NEW YORK (AP) — Lowe’s says it’s handing out bonuses of up to $1,000 for its more than 260,000 hourly employees, becoming the latest major employer to invest in its workers after Congress approved a tax cut that will help businesses. The home improvement chain says the bonuses will be given out to both part-time and full-time hourly workers across all its U.S. facilities including distribution centers. Lowe’s says it will be sweetening benefits for maternity and parental leave as well as adoption assistance.

DETROIT (AP) — Mitsubishi is recalling some of its top-selling models in the U.S. because the accessory drive belt can come loose and cause engines to stall. The recall covers just over 141,000 Outlander SUVs from 2008 through 2012, Outlander Sport SUVs from 2011 through 2012, Lancer cars from 2009 through 2012 and Lancer Sportbacks from 2010 through 2012. All have Mitsubishi’s 4B11 or 4B12 engines. Dealers will replace the belt tensioner with an improved one at no cost to owners.

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