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Update on the latest in business:

March 11, 2019


Stocks are higher, but Boeing weighs on Dow

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology stocks are powering broad gains on Wall Street, although a drop in Boeing is weighing on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Apple is up 3.2 percent after an analyst upgraded the stock, while Nvidia is gaining 4.7 percent after announcing an acquisition.

Boeing fell 6.8 percent after a second deadly crash involving one of its new 737 Max planes.

The Boeing loss restrained gains in the Dow.

The upbeat start Monday follows the worst week since January for the S&P 500. Stocks were helped by a U.S. government report showing retail sales rose slightly in January.


US retail sales up just 0.2 pct. as consumers stay cautious

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales rose slightly in January after a sharp drop in December, reflecting caution taken by consumers amid a government shutdown and volatile stock market.

The Commerce Department said that retail sales increased just 0.2 percent, after a sharp fall of 1.6 percent in December, the biggest drop in 9 years.

The economy has stumbled after healthy growth last summer and fall. Weaker economies overseas, the U.S.-China trade fight, and the 35-day government shutdown dented consumer and business confidence.

Economists believe growth could fall below a 1 percent annual rate in the first three months of this year.

In January, auto sales plunged by the most in five years, and furniture and electronics stores sales also declined.


Boeing down following crashes

UNDATED (AP) — Shares of Boeing headed for their worst loss in more than three years after the second crash involving the newest version of its workhorse 737.

The company has delivered 350 of the planes and has around 4,500 on order from airlines around the globe.

Authorities in Ethiopia, China and Indonesia grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft Monday following the crash Sunday of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner that killed 157 people.

Investigators have recovered the flight recorders from the field where the plane went down. Although, an airline official said one of the recorders may be partially damaged.

Sunday’s crash was strikingly similar to that of a Lion Air jet of the same Boeing model in Indonesian seas last year, killing 189 people. The crash was likely to renew questions about the 737 Max 8, the newest version of Boeing’s popular single-aisle airliner, which was first introduced in 1967 and has become the world’s most common passenger jet.


Tesla walks back its plan to close most showrooms

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla is walking back its plan to close most of its showrooms worldwide. The company said today that it’s still shifting to online sales, but it won’t close as many stores as originally thought. Tesla announced last month that it would shutter most of its stores to cut costs so it could make money on the $35,000 Model 3 electric car.

The $35,000 base Model 3 will still be available but the company will raise prices 3 percent on all other models.

Tesla now says it closed 10 percent of its stores, but a few of those will be reopened. Another 20 percent are being evaluated and some could stay open.

The company gave no numbers. It had 378 stores and service centers worldwide and about 100 U.S. stores.


Levi Strauss plans to raise up to $587M in IPO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Levi Strauss plans to raise up to $587 million in an initial public offering of company shares. The San Francisco company says it is offering approximately 9.5 million shares, while selling stockholders are offering about 27.2 million shares. The stock is expected to be priced between $14 and $16 each.

The underwriters will have a 30-day option to buy an additional 5.5 million shares from the company at the IPO price, minus underwriting discounts and commissions.

The shares are expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the “LEVI” symbol.

Levi Strauss & Co. made its first pair of jeans in 1873. The company did go public before, on 1971, but was taken private again in a 1985 leveraged buyout.


UK prime minister fights to save Brexit deal

LONDON (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that the European Union’s executive Commission has made an “important offer” to Britain to unblock an impasse over the U.K.’s withdrawal agreement.

British lawmakers’ opposition to the deal centers on concerns over arrangements for the Irish border. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has been seeking changes, but the EU refuses to reopen the agreement after long negotiations.

May is fighting to save her European Union divorce deal with the negotiations deadlocked a day before Parliament is scheduled to vote on the plan.

May promised lawmakers two weeks ago they would get a second vote on the deal by March 12, but hard-line Brexit supporters are warning she should postpone the vote rather than risk another crushing defeat.

The House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected the deal in January, primarily because of concerns over arrangements for the Irish border. “Technical” talks aimed at securing concessions from the EU failed to secure a breakthrough over the weekend.

Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell told the Times of London that “anything that avoids what looks like a massive defeat on Tuesday is worth considering.


Barrick Gold drops takeover bid for Newmont Mining

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — Barrick Gold is dropping its takeover bid for Newmont Mining, as the gold companies instead form a joint venture to combine their Nevada mining operations.

Last month Barrick Gold Corp. offered to acquire Newmont Mining Corp. for about $18 billion in stock.

The joint venture will include the companies’ assets and reserves in Nevada. It doesn’t include Barrick’s Fourmile project and Newmont’s Fiberline and Mike deposits, pending the determination of their commercial feasibility.

The companies estimate they’ll achieve $500 million in average pretax savings a year in the first five full years of the combination.

The venture, which is expected to be completed in the coming months, still needs regulatory approval.

Shares of Barrick Gold rose more than 2 percent in Monday premarket trading, while Newmont’s stock was flat.


Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank higher after merger talks report

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shares in Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have risen after news reports that Deutsche Bank’s top management has agreed to hold preliminary talks about a possible merger.

Shares in Deutsche Bank traded up 2.2 percent in midday trading Monday while Commerzbank was up 3.9 percent.

The share moves follow a report in a German newspaper that informal contacts had taken place but not reached the level where security laws require informing investors.

Merger speculation takes place against the background of statements by German government officials favoring bigger companies that can compete globally.

Merger talk over recent weeks has been greeted with skepticism since both banks are busy overhauling their own businesses, raising the question of how they would integrate a new partner.

Neither bank would comment on the reports.