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Business Highlights

February 1, 2019


A robust job gain in January shows US economy’s durability

WASHINGTON (AP) — The healthy pace of hiring the government reported Friday illustrated the job market’s durability nearly a decade into the economic expansion. The U.S. has now added jobs for 100 straight months, the longest such period on record. The unemployment rate did rise in January to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, but mostly for a technical reason: Roughly 175,000 federal workers were counted as temporarily unemployed last month because of the shutdown.


Starbucks faces tricky time as ex-CEO mulls presidential run

DETROIT (AP) — For Starbucks, former CEO Howard Schultz is a hero — and a headache. Schultz spent more than 30 years at Starbucks, growing a handful of coffee shops into a global brand. But as the billionaire mulls running for president as an independent, the company will have to tread carefully. Some Democrats fear Schultz could tip the 2020 election to President Donald Trump by splitting their vote.


Fears grow: 1/3 of UK firms consider move abroad over Brexit

LONDON (AP) — Nearly a third of U.K. firms may shift their operations abroad because of Britain’s pending departure from the European Union, a survey of 1,200 company directors suggested Friday, as the political stalemate over a Brexit deal heightened jitters among businesses. The survey by the Institute of Directors, an employers’ group, found that 16 percent of businesses already had relocation plans while a further 13 percent were “actively considering” a move. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29.


Trump plans to meet Xi after US-China talks end with no deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump expects to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to try to resolve a six-month trade standoff after U.S. and Chinese negotiators ended two days of talks Thursday without settling the toughest issues that divide the world’s two biggest economies. The White House says the two countries made progress but “much work remains to be done.”


14-year-old’s FaceTime bug discovery could rattle Apple

Fourteen-year-old Grant Thompson says he and his mom emailed, called, tweeted and even faxed Apple to report an eavesdropping bug. He says it took nine days for a response. The bug allows callers to activate another person’s microphone remotely even before the person has accepted or rejected the call. Some people question how long it took Apple to address the bug. Apple says it’s committed to improving the reporting process.


Game break: 10 Super Bowl ads to watch Sunday

NEW YORK (AP) — This year’s Super Bowl ads are designed to entertain and go down easy. Stella Artois is bringing back Carrie Bradshaw and “The Dude.” Doritos is featuring a remix of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and Chance the Rapper. And some aim for the heart like Microsoft’s ad that shows children with disabilities using its controller.


Foxconn again shifts Wisconsin plan after Trump intervenes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group shifted its stated strategy again for a massive Wisconsin campus, crediting a conversation with President Donald Trump for cementing plans to proceed with building a factory to make high-tech liquid display screens. The news capped a week of confusion about Foxconn’s plans in Wisconsin. The company now says it will have a manufacturing plant after earlier saying it would be focused more on research.


Family made billions on opioid as crisis raged, filing says

BOSTON (AP) — The company behind OxyContin ramped up efforts to sell more of the powerful painkiller even as evidence mounted that it was helping fuel a deadly opioid crisis, according to newly public allegations in a lawsuit. The attorney general in Massachusetts is suing Purdue Pharma and the family that owns the company over the toll of the drug. The company fought disclosure of some of the claims and now says internal documents are being taken out of context and used to vilify the firm.


US factories grew at faster pace in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — American factories grew at a slightly faster pace in January than in the previous month when there had been a big slowdown in manufacturing activity. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Friday that its manufacturing index rose to 56.6 last month, up from a reading 54.3 in December. Anything above 50 signals growth in manufacturing.


The S&P 500 index rose 2.43 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,706.53. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 64.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,063.89. The Nasdaq composite dropped 17.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,263.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 2.64 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,502.05.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 2.7 percent to $55.26 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 3.1 percent to $62.75 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 4.3 percent to $1.44 a gallon. Heating oil gained 1.9 percent to $1.91 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 2.8 percent to $2.73 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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