Business Highlights

March 1, 2018


Trump to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’ll impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in response to what he calls decades of unfair trade policies. Trump summoned steel and aluminum executives to the White House and told them that next week he would levy penalties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports. Those tariffs, he says, will remain for “a long period of time.”


Stocks dive after Trump promises tariffs on steel

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks dove in another dizzying day of trading after President Donald Trump promised stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The move raised the threat of escalating retaliation by other countries and higher inflation. The drop erased nearly all of the S&P 500′s gain for the year.


Exxon Mobil withdraws from Russia deal citing sanctions

MOSCOW (AP) — Exxon Mobil will end a joint venture with Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft due to U.S. and European sanctions against Moscow. Exxon revealed in a regulatory filing that it decided to end the partnership late last year after the U.S. expanded sanctions against Russia.


Kroger joins other big retailers, tightens gun restrictions

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger said it will no longer sell guns to anyone under 21, becoming the third major retailer this week to put sale restrictions in place that are stronger than federal laws. The moves by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart — and retribution on Delta by lawmakers — emphasizes the pressure companies are facing to take a stand.


States seek to lure Delta as Georgia moves ahead on threat

ATLANTA (AP) — Pro-gun Georgia lawmakers scored a political victory Thursday over Delta Air Lines, making good on Republican threats to deny the company a hefty tax break after it cut ties with the National Rifle Association in the wake of the deadly shooting at a Florida high school. The state House and Senate within hours of each other passed a sweeping tax bill that Republicans had amended to strip out a sales tax exemption on jet fuel. Atlanta-based Delta would have been the prime beneficiary.


US mortgage rates up for 8th week; 30-year at 4.43 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates crept higher this week, marking the eighth straight week that it cost more to borrow to buy a home. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.43 percent this week from 4.40 percent last week. The new average for the benchmark rate is the highest since January 2014. The 30-year rate stood at 4.10 percent a year ago. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans advanced to 3.90 percent from 3.85 percent last week.


Powell says Fed still believes rates can go up gradually

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stressed on Thursday that the central bank still believes it has room to stay on a path of gradual rate hikes that will allow wage growth to accelerate. Powell had rattled markets earlier this week with comments that seemed to indicate that faster rate hikes could be coming.


US auto sales fell 2 percent in February

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. sales of new cars and trucks tailed off in February as automakers eased up on discounts. Sales fell 2 percent from last February to 1.3 million, according to Autodata Corp. Among major automakers, only Toyota, Subaru and Volkswagen reported sales gains over last February.


US factories expand at strongest rate in almost 14 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — American manufacturers say they expanded in February at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years. A jump in hiring helped to drive the gains. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reports that its manufacturing index climbed to 60.8 in February from 59.1 in January. This was the strongest reading since May 2014. Any score above 50 signals growth.


Uber starts offering rides to the doctor

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is driving deeper into health care by offering to take patients in every U.S. market where it operates to their next medical appointment. The ride-hailing service said Thursday its Uber Health business will handle rides set up by doctor’s offices or other health care providers. Uber will bill that business, not the patient, for the service.


The Standard & Poor’s 500 index tumbled 36.16 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,677.67. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 420.22 points, or 1.7 percent, to 24,608.98, and the Nasdaq composite fell 92.45, or 1.3 percent, to 7,180.56. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 5.06 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,507.39.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 65 cents to settle at $60.99 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 90 cents to $63.83 a barrel. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.70 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.89 per gallon and wholesale gasoline slipped 3 cents to $1.90 per gallon.

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