Update on the latest in business:
Stocks fall on trade, Qualcomm ruling
NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks are lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors eye developments in the U.S.-China trade dispute. Tech stocks declined. Efforts by the Trump administration to restrict technology sales to Chinese companies have caused volatility in shares of technology companies this week, particularly chipmakers. While, Qualcomm fell 9% after a federal judge ruled the company unlawfully stifled competition in the market for cellphone chips.
Judge rules Qualcomm violated antitrust law
UNDATED (AP) _ Qualcomm’s stock is tumbling after a federal judge ruled that the company unlawfully stifled cellphone chip market competition and charged excessive licensing fees. The judge ordered Qualcomm to negotiate or renegotiate licensing deals with customers.
The company must also license its patents to rival chip makers at fair prices and can’t sign exclusive supply agreements with smartphone makers like Apple that block competitors from access to that market.
Qualcomm also must submit to monitoring for the next seven years to make sure it follows the order.
Qualcomm says it will seek an immediate stay and appeal of the ruling.
Mnuchin says he was unaware of IRS memo on tax returns
WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) says he has no idea who wrote a confidential Internal Revenue Service legal memo that says that tax returns must be given to Congress unless the president asserts executive privilege. Appearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Mnuchin says he was not aware of the existence of the memo until reporters from The Washington Post made inquiries about it. Mnuchin notes that it was a draft document.
He told the committee he believed he was following the law by refusing to turn over six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, which had been requested by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass.
Mnuchin says he expected the dispute to ultimately be decided by the courts.
NY Senate again approves access to Trump’s tax returns
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s state Senate has voted again to allow President Donald Trump’s state tax returns to be released to Democrats in Congress.
The Democrat-led chamber approved the measure Wednesday. The Assembly is expected to approve the new language Wednesday afternoon.
The bills don’t target Trump by name, but they would allow the leaders of three congressional committees to request New York state tax returns filed by elected officials and top appointed officials.
The Senate initially approved a far broader bill this month that would have let Congress request the returns of any New York taxpayer. Lawmakers later agreed to narrow the focus to address worries raised by Republicans that the bill went too far.
The legislation comes amid a battle in Washington over Trump’s federal returns.
ELI LILLY-INSULIN PRICE CUT
Lilly selling half-price version of popular Humalog insulin
UNDATED (AP) _ A half-price version of Eli Lilly’s popular Humalog (HYOO’-muh-lahg) insulin is now available. The company promised in March to offer diabetics a more affordable option amid fierce criticism of soaring insulin prices.
As one of the three top insulin makers, Lilly said it’s begun selling its own generic version of Humalog under the name Insulin Lispro, for $137 per vial or $265 for five KwikPens.
Those figures are half the list price Lilly charges for Humalog. The fast-acting insulin, which diabetics inject shortly before each meal, is used by about 700,000 Americans.
Lilly said the biggest savings will go to patients who are uninsured, have high-deductible health insurance or have Medicare Part D plans.
Southwest Airlines mechanics approve contract, 20% raise
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines mechanics have approved a five-year contract that adds up to a 20% raise.
Dallas-based Southwest on Tuesday announced the tentative agreement with about 2,400 workers represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. Both sides in March announced they’d reached a tentative deal.
The agreement, which also calls for $160 million in bonuses, comes after six years of negotiations. Union officials say 94% of workers voted in favor of the proposal.
A Southwest statement says the new contract will become amendable in April 2024.
Target is dominating in the digital space
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ An aggressive campaign at Target to let customers do more online is paying off. The retailer exceeded first-quarter expectations on just about every level, saying the same day services it’s rolled out in recent years drove more than 25 percent of comparable sales growth.
Target reported profits of $795 million, or $1.53 per share, beating Wall Street expectations by a dime.
Revenue was $17.63 billion, also beating forecasts.
Bankruptcy judge to approve sale of Reading Eagle
READING, Pa. (AP) _ A federal judge says he intends to approval the sale of the Reading Eagle to a company known for taking over struggling newspapers and then cutting jobs. MediaNews Group, better known as Digital First Media, offered $5 million for the assets of the Reading Eagle Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in March.
Judge Richard E. Fehling said Wednesday he plans to sign off on the sale.
Digital First is controlled by a New York hedge fund and owns about 200 papers and other publications. It’s known for deep cost-cutting.
The family-owned Reading Eagle began publishing in 1868. The company’s other properties include news-talk radio station WEEU and a weekly newspaper. It has more than 200 employees.
Digital First says it plans to take WEEU off the air unless someone buys its FCC license.
UK mobile operators suspend launch of Huawei 5G phones
LONDON (AP) _ Two British mobile phone companies say they are putting on hold plans to sell new 5G mobile phones from China’s Huawei (WAH’-way). Vodafone and EE said they are holding off amid uncertainty about devices from the world’s No. 2 smartphone maker.
The U.S. government has said Huawei is a security risk and restricted technology sales to it and other Chinese telecom gear suppliers. Although, Washington then announced a 90-day grace period for telecom carriers to find other suppliers.
EE said sales would not resume until it gets the information, confidence and the long-term security that customers will be supported over the device’s lifetime.
Saudi Aramco to buy liquid natural gas from US company
UNDATED (AP) _ Saudi Aramco will begin buying liquid natural gas from a U.S. company under a 20 year agreement. Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company said Wednesday it would buy 5 million tons of liquid natural gas per year from Sempra Energy, based in San Diego.
Aramco will make a 25% equity investment in an LNG export facility under development in Port Arthur, Texas, as part of the deal.
Sempra Energy said that the company is pleased to partner with Saudi Aramco, the largest oil and gas company in the world, to help develop the natural gas liquefaction facility in Texas
Aramco CEO Amin Nasser says the agreement is a major step forward in the company’s long-term strategy to become a global LNG player.