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Update on the latest business

April 6, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks tumble

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are tumbling again as trade tensions heat up between the U.S. and China.

Technology companies, banks and industrial stocks are falling the most in afternoon trading on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial average has lost about 500 points, the Nasdaq composite fell more than 100 and the S&P 500 was off more than 40.

The market has been on a bumpy ride this week as traders try to get a sense of whether a trade dispute between the two nations will escalate. President Donald Trump has proposed more tariffs on Chinese goods.

There wasn’t much for investors to like in the government’s latest jobs report either. Employers added 103,000 jobs last month, the weakest showing in months, and January and February’s numbers were also revised lower.

TRUMP-CHINA

China vows ‘counterattack’ on Trump tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — China’s government says it will “counterattack with great strength” if President Donald Trump goes ahead with plans to raise U.S. tariffs on an additional $100 billion worth of Chinese goods.

A Commerce Ministry spokesman said Friday that negotiations were impossible after Trump responded to Beijing’s protests about his earlier plan to raise duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods by announcing still more possible tariff hikes.

The spokesman, Gao Feng, said at a news conference: “If the U.S. side announces the list of products for $100 billion in tariffs, the Chinese side has fully prepared and will without hesitation counterattack with great strength.”

Gao gave no details of what measures Beijing might take.

Gao said, “under these circumstances, the two sides cannot possibly conduct any negotiations about this issue.”

TRUMP-CHINA-KUDLOW

White House adviser: Blame China, not Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top White House economic adviser is saying, “Blame China, don’t blame Trump,” for any trade fight.

Larry Kudlow said President Donald Trump means “enough is enough” and is demanding that China stop “stealing” American intellectual property.

Kudlow spoke Friday outside the White House. He dismissed the notion that a trade war is inevitable, stressing that it’s just a proposal to raise U.S. tariffs on an additional $100 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Trump tweeted moments later, criticizing the World Trade Organization and suggesting it’s “unfair” to the U.S.

Kudlow started his job as director of the national economic council this week. He says he hopes differences can be mended through negotiations.

ECONOMY-JOBS REPORT

US added modest 103K jobs in March, rate stays 4.1 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a modest 103,000 jobs in March after several months of bigger gains, though the government’s jobs report suggests the labor market remains healthy.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate remained 4.1 percent, a 17-year low, for the sixth straight month. Average hourly pay ticked up, climbing 2.7 percent compared with a year earlier.

Hiring has accelerated since last fall, defying expectations that a shortage of workers would make it harder for companies to fill open positions. Employers have added a healthy average of 211,000 jobs a month in the past six months.

Still, hiring in January was revised sharply lower to 176,000, while February’s figure was revised higher to a blockbuster 326,000. Overall, the revisions lowered job gains in those two months by 50,000.

FEDERAL RESERVE-POWELL

Powell says Fed expects to stick with gradual rate hikes

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is painting a mostly sunny view of the U.S. economy and saying the Fed remains committed to raising its key interest rate gradually.

Powell notes in his first speech as Fed leader that the central bank raised its key rate by a quarter-point at its March meeting, just the sixth increase since late 2015. He depicts that rate hike as “another step in the ongoing process of gradually scaling back” the ultra-low rates it employed to lift the economy out of the Great Recession.

Powell says this “patient approach has paid dividends and contributed to the strong economy we have today.” He says the Fed will continue to balance the risks of moving too slowly in raising rates or moving too quickly.

FORD RECALL

Ford recalls trucks, SUVs for transmission shifter problem

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford is recalling about 350,000 trucks and SUVs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico because they might be in a different gear than the one shown on the shift indicator.

The recall covers the 2018 F-150 pickup and Expedition large SUV with 10-speed automatic transmissions. Also covered are 2018 F-650 and F-750 trucks with six-speed transmissions.

Ford says that on some vehicles, a clip that locks the gear shift cable to the transmission might come loose. The company says a driver might be able to shift into park and remove the key while the transmission is in another gear, allowing unintended movement.

Ford knows of one crash and one injury due to the problem.

Dealers will make sure the clip was installed correctly and secure it if needed.

BEST BUY-DATA BREACH

Best Buy warns of data breach

UNDATED (AP) — Best Buy is warning that some of its customers’ payment information may have been compromised in a data breach.

The retailer is the latest company, along with Delta Air Lines and Sears, to report the cyberattack last fall against a third-party operator of its chat services. Best Buy says a “small fraction” of its online customer population may have been affected, whether or not chat services were used.

The software company, (24)7.ai, says it discovered and fixed the breach in October. The attack may have exposed customers’ names, addresses, credit card numbers, card security codes and expiration dates.

Best Buy says it will directly contact any affected customers and they will not be liable for fraudulent charges. It will also offer free credit monitoring.

FACEBOOK-PRIVACY SCANDAL

Facebook to alert users on compromised data use

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook will begin alerting users whose private data may have been compromised in the Cambridge Analytica scandal starting Monday.

All 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice on their feeds titled “Protecting Your Information.” It will have a link to information on which Facebook apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps.

In addition, 87 million users whose data might have been shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a more detailed message informing them of that fact.

The political data-mining firm allegedly used ill-gotten Facebook user data in its efforts to sway elections. Cambridge Analytica says it only ever received data on 30 million users.

EUROPE-FACEBOOK

Facebook says up to 2.7 million EU users affected by leak

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says that Facebook has told it that up to 2.7 million people in the 28-nation bloc may have been victim of improper data sharing involving political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.

EU spokesman Christian Wigand said Friday that EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova will have a telephone call with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg early next week to address the massive data leaks.

The EU and Facebook will be looking at what changes the social media giant needs to make to better protect users and how the U.S. company must adapt to new EU data protection rules.

Wigand said that EU data protection authorities will discuss over the coming days “a strong coordinated approach” on how to deal with the Facebook investigation.

MEXICO-DRUGS

US says Mexican music promoter laundered money for cartel

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department says a prominent Mexican concert promoter laundered money for the Jalisco drug cartel.

The department named promoter Jesus Perez Alvear, better known as Chucho Perez, to the foreign narcotics kingpins list on Friday. The designation freezes his U.S. assets and bars Americans from doing business with him.

Alvear has been active in promoting large regional concerts throughout Mexico and representing major names in the country’s banda and norteno musical scene.

On Friday, the department also named Venezuelan-Italian fashion photographer Miguel Jose Leone Martinez to the list.

It said that Leone Martinez, better known as Miguel Leone, poses as a fashion photographer to recruit models and beauty pageant contestants as prostitutes for bosses of the Cuinis gang, an arm of the Jalisco cartel.

OFFSHORE WIND-ZINKE

Interior secretary: ‘Opposition’ to offshore drill plan

PLAINSBORO, N.J. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (ZINK’-ee) acknowledges there is “a lot of opposition” to President Donald Trump’s plan to open most of the nation’s coastline to oil and gas drilling.

At a forum on offshore wind energy Friday in Plainsboro, New Jersey, the interior secretary touted Trump’s “all of the above” energy menu that calls for oil and gas, as well as renewable energy projects.

But he noted strong opposition to the drilling plan on the East and West Coasts, adding there is little to no infrastructure in many of those areas to support drilling.

Zinke says he’ll take state opposition to the drilling plan into consideration when deciding on whether to implement it.

But he would not say whether he will exempt New Jersey or other states.

OIL PIPELINE

Dakota Access pipeline developer submits spill response plan

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline has submitted a court-ordered spill response plan for the Lake Oahe reservoir in the Dakotas.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners submitted the 270-page plan Monday, along with a review by an independent engineering company concluding that the pipeline complies with federal regulations.

Federal Judge James Boasberg ordered the work last December.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe maintains it wasn’t allowed adequate input in the plan. It last month announced its own “Clean Water Campaign” to better prepare for a spill under Oahe, from which it draws water.

Tribal Chairman Mike Faith says the tribe will establish water-monitoring wells, buy equipment and train a rapid response team.

RIGHT TO DISCONNECT

Boss buzzing you after hours? NYC might let you say buzz off

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology that once promised freedom from the office has instead become a ball and chain in its own right. It’s blurred the lines between work hours and, well, any other hours.

A New York City Council member wants to put a stop to that.

Rafael Espinal has proposed legislation that would bar employers from requiring employees to check and respond to non-emergency emails, texts and other electronic communications sent outside of regular work hours, or retaliating against them if they didn’t.

The recently introduced legislation is only in the beginning stages, with initial committee hearings expected sometime in June.

Doubters wonder how it could work, especially in always-buzzing New York City.

DONUT FRIES

Dunkin’ Donuts selling fries, pretzels and chicken tenders

BOSTON (AP) — Want some fries with that doughnut?

Dunkin’ Donuts is selling Donut Fries along with other non-traditional products as part of a new $2 snacking menu at a small number of its stores in the Boston area.

In addition to the fries, customers can order pretzel bites, waffle-breaded chicken tenders, Munchkin dippers and a gluten-free brownie.

Dunkin’ Donuts says the menu is paired with signature beverages and is designed as an afternoon snack.

The test will gather feedback from customers and employees to help determine whether to sell the items nationally.

Dunkin’ Donuts and other coffee chains are trying to upgrade their food menus to get more people to stop throughout the day. Starbucks, for example, has been tinkering with its salads, sandwiches and snacks to boost sales at lunchtime.

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