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Update on the latest in business:

June 13, 2017

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Technology stocks lead US indexes higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology stocks are leading the market slightly higher in midday trading, making up some of the ground they lost over the past two days.

Western Digital gained 2.5 percent today, while chipmaker Analog Devices climbed 2.1 percent. Banks also have been doing well. Comerica rose 2.6 percent.

At 12:55 p.m. Eastern Time, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 83 points, to 21,318.

The S&P 500 index rose 9 points, to 2,438. And the Nasdaq composite rose 40 points, to 6,216.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.21 percent.

PRODUCER PRICES

Wholesale prices were flat in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level stayed unchanged in May as food and energy prices slipped.

The Labor Department says its producer price index, which measures inflation before it reaches the consumer, was flat in May after a 0.5 percent monthly gain in April. Over the past 12 months, producer prices have risen 2.4 percent — with rising gasoline and natural gas costs being a key driver.

But energy and food prices weakened in May.

Energy prices fell 3 percent in May, while food costs ticked down 0.2 percent. Prices did rise for services such as car rentals and retailing clothing, jewelry, footwear and accessories.

Core inflation at the wholesale level, which excludes food, energy and trade services, fell 0.1 percent in May but rose 2.1 percent over 12 months.

SEARS-JOB CUTS

Sears to cut 400 full-time jobs, mostly at corporate office

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears is cutting about 400 full-time jobs as part of the troubled retailer’s plan to turn its business around.

The company, which owns the Sears and Kmart chains, says the cuts include some at its corporate offices in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, support functions globally, certain field operations positions and jobs related to store closures. The eliminated jobs represent less than half a percent of the 140,000 full-time and part-time employees it had at the end of January.

Sears Holdings Corp. says the job cuts are part of its previously announced plans to save $1.25 billion in costs a year. The retailer, which has been losing money for years, has been closing stores, selling locations and putting some of its famous brands up for sale.

VERIZON-YAHOO

Verizon takes over Yahoo to complete $4.5 billion deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon has taken over Yahoo, completing a $4.5 billion deal that will usher in a new management team to attempt to wring more advertising revenue from one of the internet’s best-known brands.

Today’s closure of the sale ends Yahoo’s 21-year history as a publicly traded company. It also ends the nearly five-year reign of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who isn’t joining Verizon.

Yahoo’s email and other digital services will be run by Tim Armstrong, who has been in charge of AOL. Armstrong is now CEO of a new Verizon subsidiary called Oath, which will consist of Yahoo and AOL services.

Verizon won’t be getting Yahoo’s prized stakes in two Asian internet companies, Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. Those will belong to a newly formed company called Altaba.

FCC-PRISON PHONE CALLS

Appeals court tosses FCC cap on cost of calls to prisons

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court has tossed regulations intended to cap the price of some calls to prison inmates, which can cost families thousands of dollars a year.

The companies that provide prison phone service sued to stop 2015 rules issued by the Federal Communication Commission. Those aimed to limit high charges for calls between inmates and people in the same state.

The court says the FCC lacked authority to set rates for in-state prison calls. The agency does regulate the price of out-of-state calls for prisoners.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he plans to work on the problem of high prices of prison calls “in a lawful manner.”

TRUMP-APPRENTICESHIPS

Trump to tout apprenticeships as way to fill jobs gap

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says apprenticeships could match workers with millions of open jobs, but he’s reluctant to devote more taxpayer money to the effort.

Instead, Trump and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta say the administration is focused on getting universities and private companies to pair up and pay the cost of such learn-to-earn arrangements.

The president has accepted a challenge from Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff to create 5 million apprenticeships over five years. And as part of a week-long apprenticeship push, Trump today visited Waukesha (WAW’-kih-shaw) Technical College in Wisconsin with his daughter, Ivanka, as well as Acosta and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Trump said in a Cabinet meeting Monday, “Apprenticeships are going to be a big, big factor in our country.”

GM-SELF-DRIVING CARS

GM says it has made 130 self-driving Bolts

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it has built 130 self-driving Chevy Bolt electric cars at a factory in suburban Detroit.

The cars are equipped with GM’s second-generation self-driving software and equipment. They’ll join 50 self-driving Bolts that are already being tested in San Francisco; Scottsdale, Arizona; and the Detroit area.

CEO Mary Barra says GM is the first automaker to assemble self-driving vehicles in a mass-production facility. GM has been building self-driving Bolts at its Orion Assembly Plant since January.

Barra says GM eventually plans to place the self-driving Bolts in ride-hailing fleets in major U.S. cities, but she gave no target date. She says the new vehicles will help GM accelerate its testing in urban environments.

AIRPLANE SECURITY-LAPTOPS

DHS chief hints laptop ban may not be extended right now

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Homeland Security is hinting that an expected expansion of an airplane laptop and electronics ban may not be necessary right now.

Secretary John Kelly isn’t ruling out an expansion from 10 airports mostly in the Middle East and Africa, but he says he has a “fair amount of confidence” that aviation security can be raised enough to limit or eliminate some inconveniences for travelers.

Kelly was speaking at the International Summit on Borders in Washington.

His agency first banned laptops and other large electronics from the cabins of flights headed to the United States from 10 cities in March amid concerns about an undisclosed threat described only as sophisticated and ongoing.

Airlines and others in the aviation industry balked at the possible expansion.

NUTRITION FACTS PANEL

FDA to delay rule requiring new nutrition facts panel

NEW YORK (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says it intends to delay a rule that would require food companies to label their products with a revised nutrition facts panel.

The new panel, which had the support of former first lady Michelle Obama, would make the calorie listing larger, make serving sizes clearer and specify the amount of added sugars in products.

Previously, the FDA had said companies had until July 26, 2018 to comply, with smaller food makers getting an extra year. Now the FDA says it intends to give companies additional time to be in compliance. The FDA says details will be provided when the extension is officially announced.

HEALTH OVERHAUL-SHAKY EXCHANGES

Centene to offer insurance in exchanges in 3 more states

ST. LOUIS (AP) — At a time when insurers are pulling out of offering health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, one company says it’ll start covering more Americans.

Centene Corp. says it will begin offering coverage for insurance exchanges in Missouri, Kansas and Nevada. The company hasn’t said whether its foray into Missouri and Kansas will fill a 32-county void that will result from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s decision to leave that individual insurance marketplace next year.

That Blue Cross decision affects about 67,000 people.

Centene also plans to expand in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

CHINA-ANBANG INSURANCE

Report: Chinese insurance tycoon detained

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese business news magazine says the chairman of the insurance company that bought New York City’s Waldorf Hotel has been detained by regulators.

Today’s report by Caijing follows accusations of possible misconduct by Anbang Insurance Group.

The magazine, citing unidentified sources, says Anbang’s chairman (Wu Xiaohui) was detained last Friday.

Anbang made a high-profile series of foreign acquisitions that included paying $2 billion for the Waldorf in 2016.

Anbang denied accusations in April by another magazine, Caixin, that it improperly used payments from policyholders as capital.

NEIMAN MARCUS-OUTLOOK

Neiman Marcus focuses on exclusives, personalized offers

NEW YORK (AP) — Neiman Marcus is on its own as it tries to turn around its weak business.

The upscale department store chain has confirmed that talks for a partial sale or outright purchase of the company have ended. The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that talks had stalled between Neiman Marcus and Hudson’s Bay, which operates such chains as Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Like many luxury retailers, Neiman Marcus has struggled as even wealthy shoppers are looking for cheaper deals online. It reported another quarter of sales declines, though business has improved as it increased its assortment of exclusive merchandise and personalized its offers to customers.

CEO Karen Katz says such moves will help differentiate itself from rivals and help business.

NEWARK AIRPORT REDEVLOPMENT

Christie breaks ground on $2.4B Newark Terminal A project

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A $2.4 billion overhaul of Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal A is officially underway.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie broke ground on the project today with officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The 44-year-old terminal will get three new roadway bridges, a new parking garage and upgraded interior to accommodate more passengers.

The new terminal is expected to be completed by 2022.

The project is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs and nearly $1 billion in direct payroll wages, and generate $3.9 billion in regional economic activity.

KFC-SANDWICH TO SPACE

KFC to send chicken sandwich to edge of space on balloon

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — KFC plans to make a space pioneer out of a chicken sandwich next week when it sends it to the edge of the atmosphere with the help of a high-altitude balloon.

The promotional stunt for the Zinger sandwich comes two months after the fast food chain unveiled Rob Lowe playing Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Col. Harland Sanders in a space suit as part of an ad campaign. The ads promised to send the breaded chicken sandwich into space.

KFC is partnering with balloon maker World View on the project. The chain says the launch window opens June 21 for what it says is the longest controlled stratospheric balloon flight with a commercial payload in history. The sandwich will return to earth and bring back telemetry data.

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