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Update on the latest in business:

September 25, 2018


Stocks mostly higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mostly higher as energy companies rise along with oil prices.

ConocoPhillips rose 1.5 percent Tuesday and Chevron added 0.5 percent.

High-dividend stocks like utilities fell as interest rates increased. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates Wednesday, and higher rates make bonds more appealing compared to stocks.

Facebook slid 0.8 percent after the founders of Instagram said they are leaving the company.

Bond prices continued to fall. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3.10 percent.


US home prices rise at slowest pace in nearly a year

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in July at the slowest pace in 10 months as home sales have stumbled amid higher mortgage rates.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 5.9 percent in July compared with a year earlier, down from a 6.4 percent annual gain in July.

Home prices are rising at twice the rate of wages, which has likely contributed to a cooling in the market this year. Sales of existing homes have dropped 1.5 percent in the past 12 months. Mortgage rates last week reached their highest level since May.

Las Vegas, Seattle and San Francisco reported the biggest annual gains, with all three cities seeing double-digit increases. Yet in 15 of 20 cities, price gains were smaller in July than the previous year.


US consumer confidence rises to 18-year high in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence shot up to an 18-year high in September.

The Conference Board, a business research organization, says its consumer confidence index climbed to 138.4 in September from 134.7 in August. This month’s reading was the highest since September 2000.

The index measures consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for the next six months. Both improved in September.

“These historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending, and should be welcome news for retailers as they begin gearing up for the holiday season,” said Lynn Franco, the Conference Board’s director of economic indicators.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 4.2 percent from April through July, fastest rate in nearly four years.


Automaker BMW issues profit warning on trade, pricing

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German luxury automaker BMW says its profits and sales will fall short of its forecasts this year because of fears over international trade conflicts and as new emissions tests affect the pricing of cars.

The Munich-based company said Tuesday that sales revenue in its automotive division would fall slightly compared with last year instead of increase, while earnings before tax would be moderately below last year’s figure instead of roughly in line.

A key earnings metric — operating profit margin — would fall short. BMW predicts 7 percent, below its target range of 8-10 percent.

The company said that new, tougher emissions tests in Europe have led to market and sales distortions, even though BMW has managed to implement the new standard ahead of time.

BMW shares dropped 6 percent.


UK’s Labour opposition says it will reject May’s Brexit deal

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s main opposition Labour Party says it will reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal with the European Union when it comes to a vote in Parliament.

If Britain and the EU agree on a deal, it must be approved by individual nations before Britain leaves. In the U.K. that means a vote by lawmakers, and the math looks ominous for May’s minority government.

Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer says the party will reject a deal along the lines May is proposing because it does not meet “six tests,” including protecting workers’ rights and retaining access to European markets.

Starmer said Tuesday that May’s negotiations with the bloc were “chaotic and failing.”

Labour leaders are under pressure from members to back a new referendum on Britain’s EU membership.


Michael Kors ups the glamour, buys Versace for $2 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Kors is buying the Italian fashion house Gianni Versace in a deal worth more than $2 billion, continuing its hard charge into the world of high-end fashion.

The deal announced Tuesday follows the New York handbag maker’s $1.35 billion acquisition last year of the shoemaker Jimmy Choo.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., like others in the fashion industry, is trying to fire up sales by tacking on big name brands like the globally revered Versace

Tapestry, once known as Coach, owns Stuart Weitzman and last year it acquired Kate Spade.

By all accounts, Kors has successfully melded Jimmy Choo into its portfolio, putting up big sales in the most recent quarter.


Inspire Brands buys Sonic burger chain for $2.3 billion

ATLANTA (AP) — Arby’s owner Inspire Brands is buying the Sonic drive-in hamburger chain.

Inspire is paying $43.50 per share cash, or $2.3 billion, for Sonic, which has 3,600 restaurants in the U.S. Inspire expects the deal to close by the end of this year.

Sonic will operate as a separate business unit within Inspire and remain based in Oklahoma City. The first Sonic opened in Oklahoma in 1953.

Inspire says Sonic’s management team will also remain in place.

Sonic earned $63.7 million in its 2017 fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31. That was down slightly from the previous two years.

Atlanta-based Inspire was formed earlier this year when Arby’s acquired the Buffalo Wild Wings chain.

Inspire said Tuesday owning multiple chains will help it share resources, including customer loyalty data and suppliers.


Town council withdraws Nike boycott following criticism

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island town council that approved a nonbinding resolution to boycott Nike products has reversed course.

No public comment was allowed at Monday’s North Smithfield Town Council meeting when members voted 5-0 to withdraw the resolution that passed 3-2 last week.

President John Beauregard pushed the resolution that asked town departments to refrain from purchasing Nike products. Beauregard was upset with Nike’s use of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign.

Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice.

Beauregard apologized Monday for the attention the issue brought to the town.

He says his opinion of Nike and Kaepernick has not changed, but he made a mistake by asking the council to take a formal position.


Just Dunkin’: Dunkin’ Donuts to change its name

Dunkin’ is dropping the donuts — from its name, anyway.

Doughnuts are still on the menu, but the company is renaming itself “Dunkin’” to reflect its increasing emphasis on coffee and other drinks.

The change will officially take place in January, when the new name will start appearing on napkins, boxes and signs at its U.S. stores. The name change will eventually be adopted by international stores.

Dunkin’ has more than 12,500 restaurants globally.

The 68-year-old chain says its new logo will still have the familiar rounded font and orange-and-pink color scheme that the company has used since 1973.

Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ says the name change is one of several things it’s doing to stay relevant to younger customers. It’s also simplifying its menu and adding dedicated mobile ordering lanes.


American expands inflight food options on domestic routes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines is expanding its inflight food options with the addition of a light and healthy Mediterranean menu.

The world’s largest carrier on Monday announced an agreement with the restaurant chain Zoe’s Kitchen.

American, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, says the new Zoe’s Kitchen menu will be sold on most domestic flights longer than three hours beginning Dec. 1. Options will include hummus topped with olives, a turkey sandwich with specialty cheese and crunchy Mediterranean slaw, and a chicken wrap with roasted tomatoes, arugula and artichokes.

American currently serves cookies and mini pretzels for free during flights over 250 miles (400 kilometers). Sandwiches, wraps and snack boxes are also available for sale on most domestic flights.

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