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Update on the latest in business:

November 27, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks mostly lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes are mostly lower after a strong gain the day before.

A steep loss for United Technologies Tuesday is taking industrial and defense companies lower. United Technologies gave up 6.2 percent after saying it won’t buy back any stock as it splits into three companies.

Steelmakers and other materials companies are falling while technology and internet companies edge higher.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

US consumer confidence slips in November but is still strong

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence slipped this month but remains strong.

The Conference Board, a business research group, says its consumer confidence index fell to 135.7 in November from October’s 18-year high 137.9.

The index measures consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for the next six months. Their evaluation of today’s economy improved — but their assessment of future conditions slipped in November.

“Overall, consumers are still quite confident that economic growth will continue at a solid pace into early 2019,” says Lynn Franco, a Conference Board economist. “However, if expectations soften further in the coming months, the pace of growth is likely to begin moderating.”

Americans’ sunny mood reflects a strong job market. Unemployment has dropped to a five-decade low 3.7 percent.

HOME PRICES

US home prices rise more slowly amid weaker sales

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices increased more slowly in September from a year ago as higher mortgage rates weighed on sales.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.1 percent from a year earlier. That’s down from a 5.5 percent yearly gain in the previous month. It was the sixth straight month that home price increases have slowed.

The weaker price gains reflect a broader slowdown in the nation’s housing market. Sales of existing homes rose modestly in October, snapping a six-month streak of declines. But sales are still 5.1 percent lower than they were a year ago. New home sales have fallen for four straight months. Mortgage rates have jumped in the past year, reaching 4.8 percent last week, up from 3.9 percent a year ago.

GIVING TUESDAY

Charities hope the wallets stay open on Giving Tuesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Charities and non-profits are happy to see that people spent loads of money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with hopes that those same wallets stay open on Giving Tuesday.

Online spending hit record levels throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, with Cyber Monday alone bringing in $7.9 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks the numbers.

The 92nd Street Y in New York City is credited for launching Giving Tuesday in 2012, which last year raised more than $300 million for charities around the world in a single day.

In addition to the cash injection, charities are also accepting donations of time and other means of support.

PIPELINE LAWSUIT-NEW YORK

Court rules against proposed pipeline project

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — An appeals court in upstate New York has ruled in favor of landowners who are fighting against a gas company’s plans to build a pipeline from Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario.

WIVB-TV in Buffalo reports the court ruled corporations can use eminent domain to gain access to private property only if the project is legal, which it says the planned project by National Fuel Gas is not.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation previously ruled that the pipeline by National Fuel does not meet water quality standards.

The suburban Buffalo-based company has issued a statement saying it remains committed to the project and is considering an appeal.

Lia Oprea, one of four landowners opposed to the project, says they are thrilled.

National Fuel has until Dec. 9 to file its appeal.

FRANCE-GAS PRICE PROTESTS

Macron says France will delay cap on nuclear energy

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron says the country will move more slowly than promised to cap the amount of energy it derives from nuclear energy.

Amid popular discontent about high energy prices, Macron said Tuesday that France will shut down 14 nuclear reactors by 2035 out of 58 now in order.

Yet he said France would cap the amount of electricity it derives from nuclear plants at 50 percent by 2035. That is a delay compared with the goal of 2025 set by his predecessor, Francois Hollande.

France depends more on nuclear energy than any other country, getting about three-quarters of its electricity from its 19 nuclear plants.

The French leader promised to develop renewable energy instead, saying his priority is weaning France’s economy from fuel that contributes to global warming.

SMITHFIELD-DOMINION PARTNERSHIP

New joint venture formed to convert pig poop to power

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The world’s largest pork company is teaming up with a major energy company to turn pig manure into renewable natural gas.

Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy announced a joint venture partnership Tuesday to trap methane from hog waste and convert it into power for heating homes and generating electricity.

Smithfield previously announced that its company-owned and contract farms over the next decade will cover waste-treatment pits to capture the gas and keep out rainwater. The gas will be channeled to processing centers and converted into natural gas.

The joint venture with Dominion will operate initially in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah. The first projects are scheduled to be operating by late 2019.

SOYBEAN SURPLUS-TARIFFS

US farmers store record soybean crop as China dispute weighs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — American farmers still working to get out their remaining soybeans after a weather-plagued harvest season are struggling to figure out what to do with a record crop now their traditionally dominant export market is largely closed.

Usually by this point in the year, 100-car trains filled with North Dakota soybeans would be moving to ports on the West Coast destined for China. This year is different because that leading soybean customer has all but stopped buying American soybeans in response to President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs.

Some farmers are storing unsold beans, hoping prices will improve and markets open. But with farmers already in debt due to high costs but falling net income, economists are warning they could be forced out of business by the export crisis.

CHICK-FIL-A-UNIVERSITY

School blocks Chick-fil-A as dining option, cites values

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Students at a private university in New Jersey can eat more chicken as long as it’s not Chick-fil-A.

Rider University removed the restaurant from a survey asking students what restaurants they would like on campus, “based on the company’s record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ community.” The fast-food chain was included in previous surveys.

Chick-fil-A has supported Christian values. Its corporate purpose is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”

Chick-fil-A says it has “no policy of discrimination against any group.”

Rider says it understands some may view the decision as a “form of exclusion.” But the school says it wanted to be “faithful to our values of inclusion.”

The university plans to hold a campus forum on the issue.

BRITAIN-UBER FINED

Uber fined nearly $1.2 million by Dutch, UK over data breach

LONDON (AP) — The ride-hailing service Uber has been fined the equivalent of nearly $1.2 million by British and Dutch authorities for failing to protect customers’ data during a cyberattack in 2016.

Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office said Tuesday it fined the company 385,000 pounds ($491,000) and Dutch officials imposed a 600,000-euro ($679,000) fine for violating Dutch data protection laws.

British officials cited a series of “avoidable data security flaws” that allowed personal data for roughly 2.7 million U.K. customers to be downloaded by hackers during an incident in October and November 2016.

Dutch officials say Uber did not report the data breach to authorities within 72 hours as required by regulations. Officials say 174,000 Dutch citizens were affected by the data breach.

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