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Business Highlights

January 18, 2019


Travel industry fears damage from a long government shutdown

ATLANTA (AP) — The scene at most of the nation’s airports has so far been marked more by concerned passengers showing up early than by missed flights. Longer lines are evident at some airports. But delays resulting from a rise in federal security screeners calling in sick have been slight. Yet concern is quickly growing that the partial shutdown of the government will continue and cause damage to the travel industry and eventually the economy.


Tiffany holiday sales slip as Chinese tourists spend less

NEW YORK (AP) — Tiffany & Co. says holiday shoppers and Chinese tourists spent less on its bling. The luxury jeweler, famous for its little blue boxes, says sales slipped in the holiday shopping season as Chinese tourists spent less while traveling due to the strong dollar, making it more expensive to buy Tiffany jewelry outside of its stores in China. The company also says it was hurt by stock market volatility, the uncertainty around Brexit and protests in Paris.


Lawsuits ramp up pressure on family that owns opioid company

Lawsuits are seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the opioid crisis in the US, but one family is getting a lot of the scrutiny. A new filing in a Massachusetts case ramps up the legal and financial pressure against the Sackler family, which owns the company that makes OxyContin. The specific allegations of deceitful marketing are likely to work their way into other lawsuits across the country, possibly including the 1,500 cases that are being overseen by a federal judge in Ohio.


EU wants to exclude agriculture from trade talks with US

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is insisting that agriculture be kept out of the EU-U.S. trade negotiations, despite Washington’s wishes to include the vast sector. The EU Commission announced its proposals for a negotiating mandate from the 28 member states and said that the EU negotiations will be “strictly focused on the removal of tariffs on industrial goods, excluding agricultural products.” It also said that any deal will be limited in scope.


Germany’s Mercedes-Benz plans assembly plant in Egypt

BERLIN (AP) — German automaker Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars unit says it is developing plans to open an assembly plant in Egypt. Mercedes-Benz said in a statement Friday that the passenger car plant would be built by a local business partner and the project is being developed “in close collaboration” with Egypt’s government.


On the road to make an affordable car, Tesla cuts jobs

Tesla is cutting 7 percent of its workforce as it tries to make a car that is affordable to more people. CEO Elon Musk said Friday that it’s extremely difficult to produce an electric car that is competitive with gas-powered vehicles. Tax incentives to buy electric cars, seen as a waste by many GOP lawmakers, are being cut.


Report: Facebook’s privacy lapses may result in record fine

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook may be facing the biggest fine ever imposed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations involving the personal information of its 2.2 billion users. The Washington Post reports that the FTC is considering hitting Facebook with a penalty that would top its previous record fine of $22.5 million, dealt to Google in 2012. The FTC didn’t respond to a request for comment due to the government shutdown and Facebook declined to comment.


Manufacturing surge pushes industrial production up 0.3 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industrial production increased 0.3 percent in December, led by the biggest surge in manufacturing in 10 months. The Federal Reserve said Friday that that manufacturing output jumped 1.1 percent last month, the largest gain since February 2018. Automakers drove much of the growth with a 4.7 percent jump in production.


Oxford suspends research funding from China’s Huawei

LONDON (AP) — Oxford University says it is suspending research grants and funding donations from Huawei amid growing security concerns about the Chinese telecom giant. It’s another setback for Huawei’s image in Europe, an important market for the company, which has been effectively blocked in the U.S. The university said in a statement Thursday that Oxford “will not pursue new funding opportunities” with Huawei or related companies, though two existing research projects will continue.


Virginia looks to raise age limit on tobacco products

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Tobacco-friendly Virginia is preparing to raise the age limit on buying traditional and electric cigarettes from 18 to 21. GOP leaders in the majority-Republican General Assembly announced Thursday they were backing legislation to raise the limit for all tobacco products, citing the rapid growth of teenage vaping. Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria announced support for the legislation.


The S&P 500 climbed 34.75 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,670.71. The Dow jumped 336.25 points, or 1.4 percent, to 24,706.35. The Nasdaq composite added 72.76 points, or 1 percent, to 7,157.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 15.25 points, or 1 percent, to 1,482.50.

U.S. crude rose 3.3 percent to $53.80 in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 2.5 percent to $62.70 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.6 percent to $1.45 a gallon and heating oil added 1.7 percent to $1.92 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 2 percent to $3.48 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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