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Update on the latest business

January 25, 2019

FINANCIAL-MARKETS

Stocks climb

NEW YORK (AP) —

Stocks are climbing in midday trading on Wall Street, led by gains in technology and consumer-focused companies.

Optimism over economic growth is sending industrial and energy companies higher Friday, along with banks and makers of basic materials.

Starbucks jumped 3.7 percent after reporting strong sales over the holiday period.

Western Digital rose 5.1 percent after issuing a positive forecast. Rival hard drive maker Seagate climbed 5.7 percent.

The S&P 500 index rose 26 points, or 1 percent, to 2,668.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 238 points, or 1 percent, to 24,790. The Nasdaq added 93 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,166.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.74 percent.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-AIRPORT DELAYS

FAA: Increase in “sick leave” causing flight delays

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting delays in air travel because of a “slight increase in sick leave” at two East Coast air traffic control facilities.

FAA spokesman Gregory Martin said Friday that it had augmented staffing, rerouted traffic and increased spacing between planes as needed.

The staffing problems were at air traffic centers in Jacksonville, Florida and a Washington D.C. center that controls high-altitude air traffic over seven states.

Martin says safety is being maintained during a period of “minimal impacts” on travel.

LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were both experiencing delays in takeoffs.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-WAIT TIMES

High wait times at Atlanta airport 9 days before Super Bowl

ATLANTA (AP) — The world’s busiest airport is experiencing long wait times to get through security just nine days before it expects 150,000 out-of-town visitors for the Super Bowl.

The Transportation Security Administration said in a statement Friday that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had maximum wait times Thursday of 42 minutes, the highest of the nation’s top 42 airports.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport had the second-longest wait time, of 19 minutes.

Transportation Security Administration workers are screening passengers without pay, and absence rates have soared.

In recent days, TSA has closed security checkpoints at Baltimore/Washington International; Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport; and Miami International Airport.

Atlanta tourism officials say TSA workers from other cities are expected to volunteer at Atlanta’s airport for Super Bowl-related traffic. The Super Bowl is on Feb. 3.

BLOOMBERG-SHUTDOWN

Potential White House candidate calls shutdown ‘failure of presidential leadership’

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg is calling President Donald Trump “reckless” and “dangerous,” and says the partial government shutdown is “a complete failure of presidential leadership.”

Bloomberg — a potential Democratic candidate for the White House in 2020 — also says in a speech to business leaders that he thinks “it’s clear that this president at this point cannot be helped.”

Bloomberg’s remarks are among his most aggressive against Trump since Bloomberg’s speech at the Democratic National Convention more than two years ago.

Back then, Bloomberg warned of the prospect of a Trump presidency: “God help us.”

Bloomberg is a former Republican mayor of New York City who registered as a Democrat only last fall.

TRUMP-SALARY DONATION

Trump donates $100,000 from salary to alcoholism research

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has donated his salary from the third-quarter of 2018 to the federal agency that researches alcoholism and alcohol-related problems.

The White House says Trump donated $100,000 to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcoholism is a personal issue for the president. His older brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 after struggling with alcoholism, and the president has said he learned from his brother’s experience.

Trump pledged as a candidate in 2016 to not accept the $400,000 annual presidential salary he would be due if elected.

By law, he must be paid so Trump has donated the quarterly payments to various federal departments and agencies. The departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, among others, have accepted Trump’s donations.

GENERAL MOTORS-BOYCOTT

Canada auto workers seek boycott of GM vehicles from Mexico

DETROIT (AP) — The Canadian auto workers union is asking people in Canada and the U.S. to stop buying General Motors vehicles made in Mexico.

The Unifor union wants people to boycott vehicles with identification numbers that start with the number three. Unifor says it will publicize the boycott with television, newspaper and billboard ads. So far the United Auto Workers union in the U.S. is not joining the campaign.

In November GM announced plans to close a car factory near Toronto, costing 2,600 union jobs. It also has plans to close four U.S. factories but will negotiate those with the UAW.

GM says it has too many plants that make cars as the markets have shifted toward trucks and SUVs. It says the boycott could cause damage to the wider Ontario economy.

OPIOID KICKBACK SCHEME

Families hoping for justice from prescription bribes trial

BOSTON (AP) — The trial of a drug company founder accused of scheming to bribe doctors into prescribing a powerful painkiller is putting a spotlight on the deadly opioid crisis.

Insys Therapeutics Inc. founder John Kapoor has said he committed no crimes and believes he will be vindicated at trial, which begins Monday in Boston’s federal court.

Kapoor and other former Insys employees are accused of conspiring to pay doctors bribes and kickbacks that were disguised as fees for speaking events.

Prosecutors have touted the case against Kapoor and other Insys executives as illustrative of their work to fight the drug epidemic.

Kapoor’s lawyers have blasted prosecutors for trying to tie the company to the drug abuse crisis. They note that the fentanyl spray makes up a small fraction of the prescription opioid market.

DAVOS-AGING SOCIETIES

Aging societies seen posing risks to economy

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The head of Japan’s central bank has told the World Economic Forum that aging populations threaten to slow economic growth in advanced economies and destabilize the banking system.

But Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said there are benefits, too: Faced with labor shortages as workers age and retire, employers are increasingly willing to hire women and to invest in labor-saving technology.

Thanks to a low birth rate, Japan’s population peaked in 2010. Kuroda said the shortage of workers hobbles economic growth. Slow growth pushes interest rates down and tempts banks to make riskier loans in a search for higher returns, “potentially making the financial system less stable.”

BREXIT

Queen urges common ground in remarks seen as Brexit nod

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has urged people to seek “common ground,” in remarks being seen as a veiled reference to the toxic debate surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Though her remarks were similar to her Christmas Day address, the timing of her decision to revisit them Thursday is important.

British lawmakers last week threw out the divorce deal Prime Minister Theresa May had struck with the EU, and attempts to find a replacement have been gridlocked.

In her speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Sandringham Women’s Institute, the monarch urged people to respect other points of view and suggested “coming together to seek out the common ground and never losing sight of the bigger picture.”

The queen remains publicly neutral and does not express her views.

BRITAIN-JAPAN-BEER

Asahi buys Fuller’s beer business for $327 million

LONDON (AP) — Japanese brewer Asahi is buying the beer business of Britain’s Fuller Smith & Turner’s for 250 million pounds ($327 million), in a deal that includes its flagship London Pride.

The deal announced Friday includes the Griffin Brewery in the London neighborhood of Chiswick, where the company was founded in 1845, and will allow Fuller’s to focus on its pub and hotel holdings.

CEO Simon Emeny says protecting the heritage of the site was “particularly important” to the deal, since brewing was an integral part of the company’s history and identity.

Fuller’s will retain ultimate ownership of its brand name, while Asahi will hold the global license to use the trademark.

Asahi CEO Akiyoshi Koji says there was “untapped international potential” in the London Pride brand which can now be unlocked.

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