Business Highlights

April 13, 2018


How Facebook ads target you

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook’s business depends almost entirely on selling ads targeted at people with particular interests and demographics. Targeting ads, it turns out, is almost infinitely customizable — sometimes in surprising ways. The ads you might see can be tailored to you down to the most granular details — not just where you live and what websites you visited recently, but whether you’ve gotten engaged in the past six months, are interested in organic food or share characteristics with people who have recently bought a BMW, even if you’ve never expressed interest in doing so yourself.


Trump convenes task force to study US Postal Service

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order establishing a task force to study the United States Postal Service. The order does not specifically mention online shopping giant Amazon or owner Jeff Bezos. But Trump has been railing against the company, tweeting wrongly that, “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon” and that, “this will be changed.”


Bovines online: Farmers are using AI to help monitor cows

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Is the world ready for cows armed with artificial intelligence? No time to ruminate on that because the moment has arrived, thanks to a Dutch company that has married two technologies — motion sensors and AI — with the aim of bringing the barnyard into the 21st century. Its technology can then indicate whether a particular cow is ill, has become less productive, or is ready to breed — alerting the farmer to changes in behavior that might otherwise be easily missed.


US banks post higher profits with huge assist from tax law

NEW YORK (AP) — Three of America’s biggest banks reported higher profits Friday, with a huge assist from the tax law passed late last year. JPMorgan reported a record quarterly profit, while Citigroup and Wells Fargo topped analyst expectations. Banks are expected to be major beneficiaries of the tax overhaul, which sharply lowered corporate tax rates.


Asia cautious about possible Trump rethink on trade deal

TOKYO (AP) — Japan, Australia and New Zealand are reacting cautiously after President Donald Trump signaled he might reopen talks on a Pacific Rim trade deal that he pulled the U.S. out of shortly after taking office. Japanese officials say they welcome the move if it means that Trump is recognizing the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Australian trade minister says there’s little appetite among the remaining partners for any renegotiation of the pact.


Trump administration spares China ‘currency manipulator’ tag

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is again declining to name China as a currency manipulator but it did target that country and four other nations for special monitoring of practices that the administration said was making America’s trade deficit worse. In a report the administration must issue every six months, it said that no country met the criteria to be branded as a currency manipulator.


French riot police oust Sorbonne protesters; trains halt

PARIS (AP) — Paris riot police ousted students seeking to occupy Sorbonne university and strikes shut down the Eiffel Tower and two-thirds of French trains — all part of a season of simmering national discontent. Much of the anger centers on President Emmanuel Macron, but he went on national TV on Thursday to declare that strikes and protests won’t prevent him from overhauling France’s economy so it can better compete. Rail workers resumed a strike Friday that will disrupt travel through June.


Canadian pharmacy fined $34 million for illegal imports

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Canadian online pharmacy has been fined $34 million for importing counterfeit cancer drugs and other unapproved pharmaceuticals into the United States. Canada Drugs calls itself that nation’s largest internet drugstore. The company and founder Kris Thorkelson were sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to felony charges in the U.S. state of Montana. Prosecutors say the company has made at least $78 million importing mislabeled and unapproved drugs since 2001.


With new CEO, VW shifts focus from scandal to future tech

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagens new CEO says the automaker must “significantly step up the pace” as it pushes into electric and self-driving vehicle technologies. Herbert Diess said Friday that a newly announced management structure bundling the company’s dozen brands in just three divisions would mean faster decisions. And it will help make decisions more transparent to avoid a repeat of the disastrous cheating on diesel emissions.


Tumbling banks hold back S&P 500 as earnings season launches

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank stocks buckled, even after several reported fatter profits than analysts expected, and the sharp declines overshadowed gains elsewhere in the market to drag the S&P 500 lower.


The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 7.69 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,656.30. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 122.91, or 0.5 percent, to 24,360.14, and the Nasdaq composite lost 33.60, or 0.5 percent, to 7,106.65.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 32 cents to $67.39, its highest settlement price since 2014. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 56 cents to $72.58. Natural gas rose 5 cents to $2.74 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil gained 2 cents to $2.10 per gallon and wholesale gasoline added 1 cent to $2.07 per gallon.

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