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BC-APFN-Business News Digest

November 15, 2018

Here are AP Business News’ latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

GENE-EDITED ANIMALS — “Castration-free” pigs and hornless dairy cows. They’re the farm animals being brought to life by a gene-editing company. Minnesota-based Recombinetics Inc. is betting its ability to add and subtract genes will prove valuable in livestock production, where dairy cows are already scored based on traits like milk production and udders shaped for milking machines. By Candice Choi. SENT: 1,100 words, photos, video.

EARNS-WALMART — Walmart is reporting surging online sales, strong performances at established stores, and it’s raising profit expectations for the year heading into the holiday shopping season. By Anne D’Innocenzio. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.

With:

WALMART-Q&A — Greg Foran, Walmart’s CEO of its U.S. business, is now moving from fixing to reimagining the store experience at its 4,700 stores. He’s also transforming them into more efficient distribution hubs. To do that, he is training workers for new roles while using robots and other automation to relieve them of menial tasks. The moves come as the world’s largest retailer is increasingly locked in a battle with online behemoth Amazon. SENT: 670 words, photos, video.

FDA-SMOKING FLAVORS — A top U.S. health official on Thursday pledged to try to ban menthol from regular cigarettes, outlaw flavors in all cigars, and tighten rules regarding the sale of most flavored versions of electronic cigarettes. By Mike Stobbe. SENT: 970 words, photos.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-UTILITY — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. asked federal energy regulators last month for permission to raise its customers’ power bills to pay for upgrades to its system, which they said faced a serious risk of wildfires, and to offer its shareholders a sizable increase in profits. In the October filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the company laid out a variety of dangers confronting its transmission lines running through Northern California, saying its system faced a higher risk of wildfires than any other utility. UPCOMING 700 words by 2 p.m.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

FINANCIAL MARKETS — U.S. stocks indexes were mixed in midday trading as losses among retailers, homebuilders and utilities outweighed gains in technology companies and banks. Energy stocks rose along with crude oil. European indexes finished mostly lower as the British pound slumped amid discord over a new deal for Britain’s exit from the European Union. By Alex Veiga. SENT: 930 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated through 5 p.m.

RETAIL SALES — U.S. retail sales rose at a healthy pace in October, though the gains were likely boosted by one-time factors such as hurricane recovery spending and higher gas prices. By Christopher Rugaber. SENT: 480 words, photos.

MORTGAGE RATES —U.S. long-term mortgage rates were steady to slightly up this week, at their highest levels in nearly eight years and dampening home sales. SENT: 370 words, photos.

CHINA-US-TRADE — Washington and Beijing have resumed talks over their spiraling trade dispute ahead of a meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday. SENT: 460 words, photos.

INDUSTRY:

SHORT-TERM RENTALS — The Washington city council has voted to impose tight limits on Airbnb and other short-term rental companies. SENT; 140 words.

SPORTS BETTING — New Jersey regulators reveal how much the state’s fast-growing sports betting market took in during October.

OWNERS MEETINGS — Baseball owners have extended the contract of Commissioner Rob Manfred and signed off a new television deal with Fox after two days of meetings in Atlanta. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 180 words, photos.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-JC PENNEY — Shares of J.C. Penney plunged before the opening bell after the company withdrew profit guidance and lowered its sales expectations for the year. SENT: 480 words, photos.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

AMAZON-HQ-TRANSIT — Commuters beware: New York and Washington’s clogged streets and creaky subway systems are about to feel more pain as 50,000 more people descend on the two metro areas where Amazon will open new headquarters. By Cathy Bussewitz. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

NERDWALLET-TEEN TALK-COLLEGE COSTS — Start discussing college costs with your children when they’re in high school so you all share realistic expectations about who will pay for what. By NerdWallet columnist Kevin Voigt. SENT: 990 words, photos.

INTERNATIONAL:

BREXIT — Two British Cabinet ministers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, resigned Thursday in opposition to the divorce deal struck by Prime Minister Theresa May with the EU — a major blow to her authority and her ability to get the deal through Parliament. By Jill Lawless, Raphael Satter and Raf Casert. SENT: 940 words, photos.

ITALY-LUXURY MARKET — Chinese consumers will remain the driving force for luxury goods market, according to a new study by Bain consultancy released Thursday that shows they will fuel nearly half of global high-end sales by 2025. By Colleen Barry. SENT: 310 words, photos.

CHINA-HOTEL SCANDAL — At least four major international hotel chains apologized Thursday after hidden camera video of their room cleaning practices in China was posted online. SENT: 180 words.

CUBA FASHION — Cuba’s first online fashion outlet and Google will present a new line of clothing for the coming year, a sign of the increasing influence of the internet on the island’s consumers.

VENEZUELA-IMF — The International Monetary Fund says its Executive Board will meet in the “coming weeks” to discuss the failure of the Venezuelan government to provide updated figures on its troubled economy. By Luis Alonso Lugo. SENT: 260 words.

ARGENTINA-BUDGET — Argentine lawmakers have approved an austerity budget for 2019 that cuts social spending and raises debt payments to meet conditions from the International Monetary Fund. SENT: 330 words, photos.

MONEY & MARKETS SUMMARY:

SPOTLIGHT

Bungled Brexit

Royal Bank of Scotland and other British bank stocks plunged after the country’s plans for leaving the European Union were thrown into turmoil, raising questions over London’s future as a financial center.

CENTERPIECE

Buffett’s buybacks

Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway dusted off its rarely-used buyback program this summer, repurchasing nearly a billion dollars of its own stock in a signal the famed investor couldn’t find a better use for Berkshire’s more than $100 billion cash reserves.

Business News Supervisor Richard Jacobsen (800-845-8450, ext. 1680). For photos (ext. 1900.) For graphics/interactives (ext. 7636.) For access to AP Newsroom and technical issues: customersupport@ap.org, or 877-836-9477. Questions about transmission of financial market listings, call 800-3AP-STOX.

The full digest for AP’s Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about M&M content, contact Greg Keller at (212) 621-7958

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