Business Highlights

December 4, 2018


Renewed jitters over trade send stocks, bond yields lower

Stocks plunged Tuesday as the goodwill generated by a truce between the U.S. and China over trade evaporated over confusion about what the two sides had actually agreed to. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 800 points. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note declined to its lowest level in three months, a signal that the bond market is worried about long-term economic growth.


White House intensifies confusion and fear on US-China deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration raised doubts Tuesday about the substance a U.S.-China trade cease-fire, contributing to a stock market plunge and intensifying fears of a global economic slowdown. Investors initially welcomed the agreement reached in Buenos Aires over the weekend between President Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jingping by bidding stocks higher Monday.


Marlboro maker Altria the latest big company to explore pot

TORONTO (AP) — Marijuana is going corporate. Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is the latest big company to explore the cannabis market, joining beverage makers Molson Coors, Constellation Brands and Heineken.


2 attorneys general to subpoena Trump Organization, IRS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland plan to file subpoenas seeking records from the Trump Organization, the IRS and other entities in their lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of profiting off the presidency. The Maryland attorney general’s office confirmed the subpoena details to the AP as they were being prepared Tuesday. Their case alleges that government spending at Trump’s hotel amounts to gifts to the president in violation of the U Constitution’s emoluments clause.


NYC taxi board sets minimum pay for app-based drivers

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City taxi regulators have approved new pay standards for app-based car services that they say will raise drivers’ annual earnings by $10,000 a year. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission voted Tuesday on new rules that will establish a per-minute and per-mile payment formula for Uber, Lyft, Via and Gett. The formula is supposed to result in drivers earning $17.22 an hour. The move makes New York the first U.S. city to set minimum pay standards for app-based drivers.


Moms start companies to fill demand for Spanish books

NEW YORK (AP) — The market for Spanish books is growing but the traditional publishing industry has addressed demand in fits and starts. Three small companies have stepped in to fill the void, launched by three different pairs of Hispanic mothers frustrated by the dearth of Spanish-language books to read to their children. They swiftly found demand from major retailers like Target and schools across the U.S.


Macron caves in to French protesters — too late, they say

PARIS (AP) — The French government caved in after the worst riots in decades and delayed an increase in energy taxes, but it was seen as “too little, too late” by many protesters whose anger seems increasingly focused on President Emmanuel Macron. Demonstrators were back in the streets in their signature yellow vests. They blocked several fuel depots and commandeered a toll booth on a southern highway, letting motorists pass for free near a sign reading “Macron dictator.”


Economic chill dulls Chinese appetite for some luxury brands

BEIJING (AP) — The designer boutiques of Manhattan and Paris are feeling the chill of a Chinese economic slowdown that has hammered automakers and other industries. That is jolting brands such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry that increasingly rely on Chinese customers who spend $90 billion a year on jewelry, clothes and other high-end goods. The industry already is facing pressure to keep up as China’s big spenders shift to buying more at the spreading networks of luxury outlets in their own country.


Congress seeks 2-week extension to avert government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders have introduced a two-week funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s border wall as business in the Capitol came to a standstill for ceremonies honoring former President George H.W. Bush. The stopgap measure would keep the government funded through Dec. 21, two weeks after a deadline when funding for a portion of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, is set to expire.


Portugal fetes China, risking tension with Western allies

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — While some powerful European Union governments are uneasy about China possibly taking more control of the bloc’s critical energy and transport infrastructure, one of western Europe’s smallest economies is grabbing the opportunity with both hands. Chinese President Xi Jinping began a state visit to Portugal on Tuesday, receiving full military honors on his arrival.


The S&P 500 index slid 90.31 points, or 3.2 percent, to 2,700.06. The Dow plunged 799.36 points, or 3.1 percent, to 25,027.07, more than erasing its 488-point gain over the previous two trading days. It was down as much as 818 points earlier. The Nasdaq composite lost 283.09 points, or 3.8 percent, to 7,158.43.

Small-company stocks, which investors see as more risky than large multinationals, fell more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index gave up 68.20 points, or 4.4 percent, to 1,480.76.

Oil prices rose ahead of an OPEC meeting on Thursday, where members are expected to agree to cut output in 2019. Benchmark U.S. crude gained 0.6 percent to settle at $53.25 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 0.6 percent to close at $62.08 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline gained 0.8 percent to $1.44 a gallon. Heating oil climbed 0.7 percent to $1.90 a gallon. Natural gas picked up 2.7 percent to $4.46 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Update hourly