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Update on the latest in business:

November 9, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stock markets sink after Wall Street rally fades

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets fell Friday after a post-election Wall Street rally faded and the U.S. Federal Reserve suggested it will keep raising interest rates.

Coming off the previous day’s surge, stocks slipped Thursday as a ninth straight decline in oil prices hurt energy companies. Banks gained after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged. The Standard & Poor’s 500 shed 0.3 percent to 2,806.83 after it jumped 2.1 percent Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 10.92 points to 26,191.22. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.5 percent to 7,530.88.

FED WATCH: The U.S. central bank left interest rates unchanged but suggested it plans to keep raising them in response to the strong economy. The Fed has raised its key rate eight times since late 2015 and is expected to do so again in December, with several more increases to follow.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $60.50

The dollar declined against the yen and gained against the euro.

KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Federal judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge in Montana has blocked construction of the $8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline to allow more time to study the project’s potential environmental impact.

The Great Falls Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday came as Calgary-based TransCanada was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana. Environmental groups had sued TransCanada and The U.S. Department of State in federal court in Great Falls.

Morris says the government’s analysis didn’t fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline’s viability or include updated modeling of potential oil spills.

The 1,184-mile (1,900-kilometer) pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta, Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska.

GOOGLE-SEXUAL MISCONDUCT SHAKEUP

Google bows to worker pressure on sexual misconduct policy

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is promising to be more forceful and open about its handling of sexual misconduct cases, a week after thousands of high-paid engineers and others walked out in protest over its male-dominated culture.

Google bowed to one of the protesters’ main demands by dropping mandatory arbitration of all sexual misconduct cases. That will now be optional, so workers can choose to sue in court and present their case in front of a jury. It mirrors a change made by ride-hailing service Uber after complaints from its female employees prompted an internal investigation. The probe concluded that its rank had been poisoned by rampant sexual harassment.

Last week, the tech giant’s workers left their cubicles in dozens of offices around the world to protest what they consider management’s lax treatment of top executives and other male workers accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct. The protest’s organizers estimated that about 20,000 workers participated.

The reforms are the latest fallout from a broader societal backlash against men’s exploitation of their female subordinates in business, entertainment and politics — a movement that has spawned the “MeToo” hashtag as a sign of unity and a call for change.

Google will provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees. The breakdowns will include the number of cases that were substantiated within various company departments and list the types of punishment imposed, including firings, pay cuts and mandated counseling.

EARNS-YELP

Yelp’s shares take a beating after revenue miss

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Shares of Yelp Inc. took a beating Thursday after the online-reviews site reported soft third-quarter sales and indicated the current period would also be weak.

Yelp’s stock was down $12.50, or 29 percent, to $31 in after-hours trading.

CEO Jeremy Stoppleman blamed the revenue miss on the company’s new non-term advertising, intended to encourage advertisers to try the site without being tied to longer-term contracts.

He said the company expected revenue would also take a hit in the fourth quarter.

The San Francisco-based company reported revenue of $241.1 million in third quarter, up from $223 million during the same period a year ago. That was below Wall Street expectations of $245.4 million, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Yelp posted profits of $15 million, or 17 cents a share. Earnings, adjusted for stock option expense, came to 43 cents per share. That was above the 35 cents per share expected by analysts.

EARNS-WALT DISNEY

Disney results jump on strong movie slate

NEW YORK (AP) — Walt Disney Co.’s earnings for the latest quarter sailed passed expectations, boosted by a strong slate of movies such as “Incredibles 2” as the company moves toward closing its $71.3 billion deal to buy 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets.

Disney and other media companies are facing a shifting landscape as more TV watchers switch to streaming rather than traditional cable bundles.

But Disney’s diversified entertainment portfolio, which runs from films and cable channels to theme parks, helped buoy its results. Studio entertainment revenue, which includes theater box office and streaming, jumped 50 percent to $2.15 billion on the strength of films such as “Avengers: Infinity War” and the latest “Ant-Man” movie.

Net income for the quarter ended Sept. 29 rose 33 percent to $2.32 billion, or $1.55 per share, from $1.75 billion, or $1.14 per share last year. Excluding one-time items, net income totaled $1.48 per share. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.31 per share.

The Burbank, California-based company’s revenue rose 12 percent to $14.31 billion from $12.78 billion last year. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $13.81 billion.

A reduced tax rate also boosted results by $1.2 billion.

Disney is building its streaming service offerings. It launched $5-a-month ESPN Plus streaming service with sports in April. And a Disney-branded streaming service is expected to launch later next year.

CHINA-STOCK MARKET BLUES

Chinese leaders struggle to dispel stock market gloom

BEIJING (AP) — China’s leaders are trying to dispel stock market gloom and talk prices back up with promises of tax cuts and a media campaign led by its economic czar.

The market benchmark plummeted 30 percent from January to mid-October. It has rebounded 5 percent but is the world’s worst performer this year.

That’s a blow to communist leaders who are trying to shore up economic growth and carry on a tariff war with U.S. President Donald Trump over Beijing’s technology policy.

President Xi Jinping’s government is struggling to talk stock prices back up with promises of tax cuts, more bank lending and a media campaign led by its economy czar.

China’s markets were created to raise money for state industry and prices react more to policy changes than to economic performance.

CANADA-BOMBARDIER LAYOFFS

Canada’s Bombardier says it will cut 5,000 jobs

MONTREAL (AP) — Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier says it will shed 5,000 jobs and sell off two units as part of a five-year plan to rein in costs, focus on rail and business jets, and reduce debt.

About 2,500 Bombardier workers will be laid off in Quebec and 500 in Ontario while about 2,000 cuts will be overseas.

The Montreal-based company said will sell its Q400 turboprop aircraft program to a subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital Corp. for about US$300 million. It also announced the sale of its flight training business to CAE Inc. for about $645 million.

The announcement comes after mass layoffs over the past three years, with about 14,500 positions cut around the world in the aerospace and railway divisions.

STEVE WYNN-LAWSUIT

Ex-casino mogul Wynn sues to stop sexual misconduct report

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former casino mogul Steve Wynn has filed a lawsuit to stop the public release of an investigative report involving alleged sexual misconduct.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Thursday that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s probe began in January.

It was spurred by media reports that Wynn allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with female employees when he was a company executive.

Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts in February and the company renamed its casino from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him.

Wynn has denied the allegations.

NEW YORK-E-CIGARETTES

New York governor says he plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes as soon as next year, possibly making his state the first to prohibit such vaping products often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.

A spokesman for the Democratic governor told The Wall Street Journal his administration would soon republish regulations banning the sale or possession of flavored e-cigarettes. The regulations could then be adopted after a 60-day period of public comment.

Vaping is illegal for minors in many states, but students say they can buy them online or from adults.

UBER-PASSENGERS RECORDED

Uber guideline now prohibits broadcasting passenger images

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The ride-hailing company Uber has instituted a new guideline prohibiting drivers from broadcasting passengers’ images amid privacy concerns after a St. Louis-area driver posted hundreds of videos.

An Uber spokesman said Thursday that the new guideline was put in place at the end of September. It allows drivers to record passengers for safety purposes, but says broadcasting them may result in the loss of account access.

Uber says the guideline was in place when a Phoenix driver posted video of Ottawa Senators players insulting the team and an assistant coach. The driver’s access was removed.

In July, both Uber and its rival, Lyft, cut ties with the driver -- Jason Gargac -- who recorded about 700 St. Louis-area passengers without their permission and livestreamed it. That prompted Uber to review its policy.

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