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Business Highlights

January 2, 2019


The stock market starts off 2019 with more turbulence

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks finish the first trading day of 2019 with small gains as a roller-coaster ride continues for the market. Indexes fell sharply in early trading following more disappointing economic news from China, then recovered in the afternoon. The market is coming off its worst annual drop in a decade as investors worry about slowing global economic growth and a trade fight between the U.S. and China. Energy companies rose as oil prices climbed, but health care companies fell.


Why slowing economies could prod US and China to reach deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration and China are facing growing pressure to blink in their six-month stare-down over trade because of jittery markets and portents of economic weakness. The import taxes the two sides have imposed on hundreds of billions of each other’s goods — and the threat of more to come — have heightened anxiety on each side of the Pacific. The longer their trade war lasts, the longer companies and consumers will feel the pain of higher-priced imports and exports.


Apple sees further weakness in iPhone sales

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple warns that disappointing iPhone sales will cause a significant drop in its revenue over the crucial holiday season compared to earlier projections. CEO Tim Cook made the announcement after the market closed Wednesday. Investors have been dumping Apple shares amid signs that the latest iPhone models weren’t living up to expectations. Apple now expects revenue of $84 billion for its past quarter, down from its projected range of $89 billion to $93 billion.


Tesla cuts prices as 4Q deliveries miss analysts’ estimates

DETROIT (AP) — Shares of electric car and solar panel maker Tesla Inc. tumbled Wednesday after the company cut vehicle prices by $2,000 and announced fourth-quarter sales figures that fell short of Wall Street estimates. The company delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined. But fourth-quarter deliveries of 90,700 were below analyst estimates.


Netflix’s ‘Bird Box’ success gets Hollywood clucking

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix has provided the movie industry with an unprecedented peek at how a newly released film is faring on its service as competition for creative talent intensifies and its once-soaring stock sinks. The company lifted the tightly sealed lid on its viewership numbers in a recent tweet that disclosed 45 million subscriber accounts had watched the thriller “Bird Box” during its first seven days on the service. That is Netflix’s biggest first-week success in movies.


Expect 2019 to be quiet in Congress — for small business

NEW YORK (AP) — Small business issues often win bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, but given the divisions in the incoming 116th Congress, advocates for companies have low expectations. A newly Democratic House, a Senate that remains in Republican hands and ongoing investigations of the Trump White House and campaign are expected to be obstacles to much small business-related work getting done. Some advocates say business owners will see more activity on their behalf in their state governments.


Plunge in oil prices threatens Iraq’s postwar recovery

BAGHDAD (AP) — The latest plunge in oil prices has dealt a heavy blow to Iraq’s stagnating economy, threatening the new government’s ability to rebuild after the devastating war with the Islamic State group and provide basic services to areas roiled by recent protests. Brent crude oil briefly rose above $85 a barrel in October but has since plummeted to less than $55 a barrel — a nightmare for a country like Iraq that derives 95 percent of its revenue from oil exports.


Netflix criticized for yanking comedian’s episode in Saudi

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix is facing criticism for pulling an episode from viewing in Saudi Arabia of American comedian Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” that criticized the kingdom’s crown prince. Minhaj used his second episode to lambast the prince over the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led war in Yemen. But Netflix says the episode was removed from the kingdom as a result of a legal request from authorities and not due to its content.


Department store executive Blake Nordstrom dies at 58

NEW YORK (AP) — Blake Nordstrom, who led the upscale department store chain Nordstrom as co-president with his brothers Erik and Peter, has died. He was 58. The Seattle-based company did not disclose the cause of death, saying Nordstrom passed away early Wednesday unexpectedly. Last month, Nordstrom said that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, but that his cancer was treatable.


The S&P 500 index finished with a gain of 3.18 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,510.03, while the Dow industrials rose 18.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,346.24. The Nasdaq composite climbed 30.66 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,665.94. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 7.35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,355.91.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 2.5 percent to $46.54 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 2.1 percent to $54.91 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.8 percent to $1.33 a gallon. Heating oil gained 1.3 percent to $1.70 a gallon. Natural gas rose 0.6 percent to $2.96 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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