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Update on the latest in business:

November 7, 2017


Stocks lower as travel companies, banks take losses

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly lower today as travel companies, retailers and banks take losses. Travel booking sites Priceline and TripAdvisor are taking steep losses following their third-quarter reports. Companies that pay big dividends, including utilities, are making gains. Oil prices are down slightly after they jumped to two-year highs a day ago.

At 12:38 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index was down 3 points at 2,588.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 35 points, to 23,513.

And the Nasdaq composite lost 23 points, to 6,763.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 13 points, to 1,484 as investors continued to watch for signs of progress by House Republicans on their proposed tax cuts. Investors feel smaller and more U.S.-focused companies could benefit the most from a corporate tax cut.


US job openings flat in September as hurricanes slow hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted roughly the same number of open jobs in September as the previous month, partly because hurricanes held back hiring at restaurants and hotels.

The Labor Department says 6.09 million jobs were available at the end of September, not far from the record high of 6.14 million reached in July. The number of open jobs in restaurants and hotels fell 111,000.

Job offers were also likely held back by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Total hires fell 2.7 percent to 5.27 million, the lowest in five months.

Excluding the storms’ impact, the job market remains mostly healthy. The government said last week that employers added a net total of 261,000 jobs in October. That partly reflected a recovery in hiring after the hurricanes dragged down jobs gains in September.


Humana cuts jobs, adds jobs elsewhere

UNDATED (AP) - The health insurer Humana is cutting about 1,300 positions a couple months after starting an early retirement program.

A spokesman says the positions amount to less than 3 percent of the insurer’s workforce. Those who lose jobs can apply for another position with Humana, which also has 1,450 openings. The final number of cuts has not been determined.

The insurer says more than 1,150 people volunteered for early retirement, and will leave next year.

Humana Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation’s biggest providers of Medicare Advantage coverage, which involves privately run versions of the federal Medicare program for people who are over 65 or disabled.

Humana says the personnel moves were among several measures it is taking to position itself “for long-term sustainable success.”

The company did not release details on where the job cuts, or additions, would take place.


Changes to House tax bill on child care benefits, credits

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House’s tax-writing committee has revised provisions on child care benefits and credits for working Americans in the GOP tax overhaul.

President Donald Trump and his party are counting on the bill to help them protect Republican majorities in next year’s elections.

For Republicans, the plan would bring needed tax relief to the middle class, kick-start the economy and create jobs.

For the Democrats, it represents a tax-cut bounty for big corporations.


Fossil fuels will be main energy source for decades - OPEC

VIENNA (AP) — OPEC says growth in global oil demand will steadily lessen from an annual average of 1.3 million barrels a day between 2016 and 2020, to 300,000 barrels a day by 2035-2040. But it says fossil fuels will remain the main energy source decades from now.

The organization’s annual World Oil Outlook published today says renewables are projected to record the fastest growth but their share of total energy supply is still anticipated to remain below 5.5 percent by 2040.

The report by the 14-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries says that the use of fossil fuels — 81 percent of the global energy mix in 2015 — will decline by 2040. But the cartel says they will still account then for 74 percent of all energy used.


Waymo rolls out autonomous vans without human drivers

DETROIT (AP) — A self-driving car company created by Google is pulling the human backup driver from behind the steering wheel.

Waymo is testing vehicles on public roads with only an employee in the back seat. The testing started Oct. 19 with an automated Chrysler Pacifica minivan in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Arizona. It’s a major step toward vehicles driving themselves without human backups on public roads.

Waymo, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, is in a race with other companies such as Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Uber, Lyft and Apple to bring autonomous vehicles to the public. The companies say the robot cars are safer than human drivers because they don’t get drowsy, distracted or drunk.


Trump administration moves ahead with Obama menu-label law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is moving ahead with a law from the Obama years that will require calorie counts to appear on foods served at restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and pizza delivery chains nationwide.

Despite years of opposition by some food sellers, the Food and Drug Administration is offering only minor accommodations to industry complaints about the difficulties of displaying the information.

The FDA is posting recommendations to help businesses comply with the law.

Trump appointees have delayed or upended numerous other regulations passed by the Obama administration. But the menu labeling rules, championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, appear on track to take effect next May after years of delays.


Film critics bar Disney from awards over LA Times dispute

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four prominent film critics groups say they will bar Walt Disney Co. films from receiving awards consideration over the company’s decision to bar the Los Angeles Times from advance screenings of its films and access to its talent.

Disney said last week the Times disregarded “basic journalistic standards” in a series of reports on the relationship between the city of Anaheim and Disneyland Resort.

A company spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment today.


SeaWorld continues losing streak, names Ross to the board

NEW YORK (AP) — SeaWorld is reporting another quarterly loss with an ongoing decline in attendance exacerbated by this year’s hurricanes.

Attendance has suffered since the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” suggested that its treatment of animals may have led to the deaths of trainers. It announced last year that it would not breed killer whales and stop using them in shows.

The company has been cutting costs to help counter the decline in attendance, which fell 8.8 percent during the third quarter. The company last month said it would cut 350 positions, mostly at its Orlando, Florida headquarters.


Tapestry reports 1Q loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Tapestry Inc. (TPR) on Tuesday reported a fiscal first-quarter loss of $17.7 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.

On a per-share basis, the New York-based company said it had a loss of 6 cents. Earnings, adjusted for costs related to mergers and acquisitions and non-recurring costs, came to 42 cents per share.

The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 36 cents per share.

The luxury goods maker posted revenue of $1.29 billion in the period, which fell short of Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.3 billion.

Tapestry expects full-year earnings to be $2.35 to $2.40 per share, with revenue in the range of $5.8 billion to $5.9 billion.

Tapestry shares have risen 18 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has risen 17 percent in the last 12 months.


Leaks show Russian oligarchs registering jets in Isle of Man

MOSCOW (AP) — Leaked papers revealing investments in tax havens by the world’s wealthy suggest that several Russian oligarchs have registered private jets in the Isle of Man, avoiding taxes in Russia.

Russia’s Novaya Gazeta, which shared access to the “Paradise Papers” with other organizations, reported late Monday that 17 jets have been registered in the Isle of Man, a crown dependency of the U.K. The jets were registered on the behalf of individuals including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s childhood friends, the Rotenberg brothers, and metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska.

Other reports showed Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also registering a jet there.

Much of the “Paradise Papers” includes bank statements, emails and loan agreements from Appleby, a law firm that helps set up offshore dummy companies and trusts. Appleby told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which obtained the records, that there is “no evidence” it has done anything wrong.


Hong Kong is the world’s top city for international visits

LONDON (AP) — Hong Kong is set to retain its status as the city most visited by international travelers this year in spite of strained relations with mainland China.

In a report published today, market research firm Euromonitor International said it estimates 25.7 million arrivals in Hong Kong this year, down 3.2 percent on 2016.

Thai capital Bangkok retains second place but its popularity has grown faster than Hong Kong’s, with arrivals up 9.5 percent at 21.3 million.

London is Europe’s top city, in third place with 19.8 million arrivals, but the report suggests it is set to be overtaken in the coming seven years as Asian cities soar in popularity.

The Asia Pacific region, according to author Wouter Geerts, Euromonitor’s senior travel analyst, remains the “standout region.”


Ex Pilot execs’ attorneys argue against guilt by association

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Attorneys for two former executives at the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain say their clients shouldn’t be found guilty by association with 14 members of the company’s sales team who pleaded guilty in a scheme to defraud customers through diesel fuel rebates.

Former Pilot President Mark Hazelwood, former vice president Scott “Scooter” Wombold and two former saleswomen, Heather Jones and Karen Mann, entered their second day of trial Tuesday. Federal prosecutors say some of their colleagues will testify against them.

The rebate scam caused Pilot to pay an $85 million settlement and a $92 million penalty. The company is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who have denied any prior knowledge of the scheme and have not been charged.

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