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Update on the latest in business:

December 4, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks sharply lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are sharply lower on Wall Street as trading turns jittery again, erasing 500 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Banks led the market lower as bond yields fell sharply, which makes it harder for banks to make money from lending.

Bank of America fell 5.1 percent.

Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market.

Stock and bond trading will be closed in the U.S. Wednesday in observance of a national day of mourning for former President George H.W. Bush.

CHINA-US TRADE

Mnuchin says China will buy additional exports

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says that China has made a commitment to purchase an additional $1.2 trillion in U.S. exports in coming years and, “if that’s real,” it will be enough to close America’s huge trade deficit with China.

Mnuchin says that China has made “very big commitments” for increased purchases of agricultural products, liquefied natural gas, industrial products and autos.

In an interview Tuesday on the Fox Business Network, Mnuchin says that the commitments to increase agricultural purchases “will be the first thing that gets addressed in the next few weeks.”

He added that, “we have to have a negotiated agreement and have this on paper but if that’s real that will close the trade deficit.”

The administration said over the weekend that it would postpone for 90 days the imposition of more tariffs on China to give both countries time to negotiate a long-term trade deal.

FRANCE-PROTESTS

France’s prime minister suspends fuel tax and utility hikes

PARIS (AP) — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced a suspension of fuel tax and utility hikes in an effort to appease a protest movement that plunged Paris into chaos last weekend.

Philippe said the planned increase, which has provoked violent riots and was set to be introduced in January, will be suspended for six months.

Philippe said “no tax is worth putting the nation’s unity in danger.”

More than 100 people were injured in the French capital and 412 arrested over the weekend during France’s worst urban riot in years, with dozens of cars torched.

BREXIT

Bank of England governor warns of higher prices

LONDON (AP) — Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says British consumers could see their weekly shopping bills at the supermarket go up by 10 percent in a worst-case Brexit scenario.

Addressing lawmakers, Carney said food prices could rise markedly if the country crashes out of the EU next March with no deal and no transition period thereafter to smooth the process.

Carney said in the “most extreme scenario” involving a 25 percent drop in the pound, “the cost of your shopping bill goes up by 10 percent.”

A lower currency will raise the price of imported goods, which was clearly evidenced in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in June 2016. Britain imports around half of its food.

ALTRIA-MARIJUANA

Shares of Canadian pot company higher on Altria interest

TORONTO (AP) — The potential entry of one of the world’s largest tobacco companies into the marijuana business is sending the shares of a Canadian cannabis company higher.

Cronos Group confirmed talks late Monday with Marlboro maker Altria about a possible investment. Altria Group Inc., based in Richmond, Virginia, owns Philip Morris USA, the largest cigarette maker in the United States.

Canada legalized recreational marijuana use this year and in the U.S., the trend is moving in that direction on the state level.

Tilray Inc., a medical marijuana company in British Columbia, became the first cannabis business to begin trading publicly this year on a major U.S. stock exchange.

BEEF RECALL

More US beef being recalled over salmonella fears

NEW YORK (AP) — More U.S. beef is being recalled because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a unit of Brazil’s JBS is now recalling a total of more than 12 million pounds of raw beef that was shipped around the country. JBS Tolleson in Arizona already recalled about 7 million pounds of beef in October.

Health officials say their investigation identified additional products with the USDA inspection number “EST. 267.” The products were packaged between late July and September. The USDA says any products still in people’s freezers should be thrown away. It says 246 illnesses have been reported.

The USDA says salmonella is prevalent in raw poultry and meat and is reminding people of to properly cook and handle meat. It says cooking kills salmonella.

DOG FOOD-RECALL

Elm Pet Foods, others recall dog food over vitamin D

NEW YORK (AP) — Elm Pet Foods is the latest maker of dog food to issue a recall over elevated levels of vitamin D, which can cause kidney failure at high enough levels.

Similar recalls have been issued by ANF Inc., Sunshine Mills Inc., Natural Life Pet Products, and Nutrisca over the last month.

Elm and others urge consumers to either dispose of or return several types of chicken and chickpea recipe dog food. They also urge dog owners to contact their veterinarian if the food was eaten.

Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include vomiting, weight loss, increased urination and excessive thirst.

Specific details on individual brands can be found at https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/default.htm

LEFT AT AIRPORT

Airline disputes family’s account of woman left at O’Hare

CHICAGO (AP) — American Airlines says closed-circuit television footage at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport shows a 67-year-old woman in a wheelchair wasn’t left alone nearly as long as her family claims.

American released a timeline that shows Olimpia Warsaw was alone 1 ¼ hours after her flight was canceled late Friday — during which time Warsaw twice used a walker to go outside to smoke.

Relatives have said they didn’t know Warsaw was stranded until she failed to arrive in Detroit. American says the porter assigned to stay with her made a six-minute telephone call to Warsaw’s son less than an hour after the flight was canceled.

Warsaw’s son, Claude Coltea, says American can “condense the timeline all they want,” but that there’s no disputing the porter left Warsaw alone.

CHICAGO-CHARTER SCHOOLS STRIKE

Union: Chicago teachers stage 1st US charter school strike

CHICAGO (AP) — Union leaders say teachers employed by a Chicago charter school network are staging the first strike at any of the privately run, taxpayer-funded schools in the U.S.

The strike at Acero’s 15 charter schools in Chicago began Tuesday morning after disappointing negotiations with management. Classes have been canceled for about 7,500 students.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents the approximately 500 teachers at the predominantly Latino schools. Union leaders say the teachers want smaller classes, an increase in special education staff, higher salaries and guaranteed protections for students and families living in the country without legal permission.

Acero CEO Richard Rodriguez blames the strike on an “anti-charter political agenda.” He says students and parents are being forced to suffer a strike for “no good reason.”

EGYPT-UBER

Uber announces new minibus service in traffic-mad Egypt

GIZA, Egypt (AP) — Uber is launching a new minibus service in traffic-mad Cairo, Egypt’s capital and the ride-sharing U.S. giant’s fastest-growing market.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was to hold a news conference on Tuesday with the famed Giza pyramids in the background to elaborate on the plans.

Microbuses — such as the ones Uber plans to use — are notorious in Cairo. Often over-packed, speeding and veering across traffic lanes with little concern for traffic safety and other drivers, the vehicles are the only affordable method of travel for millions of people in Egypt, where public transport is chronically overloaded.

Uber drivers have come into conflict with taxis in Egypt, as in other countries.

But many in the country of 100 million people say the service provides cleaner vehicles and driver accountability.

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