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Update on the latest in business:

November 19, 2018


Tech stocks lead slump

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology stocks are leading a slump on Wall Street led by big drops in Apple and Facebook.

Apple lost 3.9 percent in midday trading and Facebook gave up 5.2 percent.

Nissan’s U.S.-listed shares slumped 5.1 percent after the carmaker’s chairman, Carlos Ghosn, was arrested after allegedly under-reporting his income.

High-dividend stocks like utilities held up better than the rest of the market.


Nissan chair Ghosn arrested in probe of financial misconduct

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) —Nissan Motor Co. says its chairman Carlos Ghosn (gohn) has been arrested and will be fired for alleged under-reporting of his income and misuse of company funds.

The Japanese automaker’s CEO says that Ghosn was detained after he arrived in Japan earlier in the day.

The Yokohama-based company says the violations by Ghosn and another executive were discovered during a months’ long investigation that was instigated by a whistleblower.


UK’s May has eye on rebellion as EU prepares for Brexit push

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. and the European Union plowed ahead today with plans to have their divorce deal signed, sealed and delivered within days as British Prime Minister Theresa May waited to see whether rebel lawmakers opposed to the agreement had the numbers to challenge her leadership.

The draft agreement reached last week triggered an avalanche of criticism in Britain and left May fighting to keep her job even as British and EU negotiators raced to firm up a final deal before a weekend summit where EU leaders hope to rubber stamp it.

The 585-page, legally binding withdrawal agreement is as good as complete, but Britain and the EU still need to flesh out a far less detailed seven-page declaration on their future relations.

May said “an intense week of negotiations” lay ahead to finalize the framework.


Acrimonious Pacific summit underscores China-US tensions

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — Pacific Rim leaders have failed to reach agreement on a joint declaration on world trade for the first time in nearly three decades, highlighting the growing tensions between China and the U.S.

The acrimony at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit also underscored a rising rivalry between China and the West for influence in the South Pacific, where Beijing has been wooing impoverished island states with aid and loans.


Germany, France propose euro budget to bolster currency zone

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A top eurozone finance official says the 19 countries that use the euro will push ahead with discussions on a eurozone budget proposed by France and Germany to make the currency union more resistant to crises.

Mario Centeno, president of the eurozone finance ministers’ group, said that ministers had a “very good discussion” of the proposal at their meeting today in Brussels and that “the topic will remain on our agenda.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that “everyone is aware of the necessity of reinforcing the eurozone.”

A separate budget could help countries in difficulty stabilize their economies. Le Maire said that even though discussions were of small amounts, of 20-25 billion euros ($23-29 billion), “you need a starting point and a framework.”


General Electric shuffles management at power unit

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric is shuffling leadership at its power unit as it moves to split the division in its ongoing effort to slim down operations.

Scott Strazik, current president of Power Services, will serve as the CEO of the GE Gas Power business.

Russell Stokes, current CEO of GE Power, will serve as CEO of GE Power Portfolio. That new unit will focus on steam and nuclear power along with the power conversion business.

The power unit recorded a $22 billion charge in the third quarter.

The management changes come less than two months after the ouster of General Electric CEO John Flannery, having served just one year on the job. He was replaced by H. Lawrence Culp, former CEO of Danaher Corp.


Brazil’s Petrobras to be led by privatization advocate

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s president-elect is appointing a pro-market reformer to lead the state oil company Petrobras.

The government’s Agencia Brasil today confirmed the appointment of Roberto Castello Branco, a former director of mining company Vale.

Castello Branco has advocated privatizing Petrobras, which would be unpopular in sectors that depend on subsidized pricing.

Fuel prices set by Petrobras were at the center of a major trucking strike earlier this year that brought Latin America’s largest nation to a halt.

Castello Branco was a board member of Petrobras in 2015 and 2016. He is currently a professor at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, a university and business-focused think tank.

Castello Branco is a long-time friend of Paulo Guedes, expected to oversee widespread privatizations as the next finance minister.

Jair Bolsonaro’s administration takes over Jan. 1.


Putin and Erdogan mark key phase in natural gas pipeline

ISTANBUL (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) have marked the completion of a key phase of TurkStream, a natural gas pipeline connecting the two countries.

Speaking at a ceremony in Istanbul, Erdogan announced the offshore part of TurkStream’s two parallel lines two kilometers deep in the Black Sea had been finished and said the final leg of the “historic project” had been reached.

The lines are expected to supply Russian gas to Turkey and European markets through Turkish territories. Together, the two 930-kilometer (578-mile) underwater lines, along with the Russian and Turkish onshore pipes, will carry 31.5 billion cubic meters (1.1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas annually.


Plans to expand Detroit’s Motown Museum get $500,000 boost

DETROIT (AP) — The Motown Museum’s expansion plans are getting a $500,000 boost.

The grant from the DTE Energy Foundation was announced today by Robin Terry, CEO and chairwoman of the museum. The money will help support the development of an education and community engagement space at the museum for young artists that also will house the museum’s summer camp programs.

The $50 million expansion will be built around the existing museum, which includes the original studio and famed “Hitsville U.S.A.” sign.

The museum is located where company founder Berry Gordy — a former auto plant worker — launched his music empire. The label started in 1959 and scores of stars and hits were created before Motown relocated to California in 1972. The label marks its 60th anniversary early next year.

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