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Update on the latest in business:

April 15, 2019

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks led lower by banks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street as corporate earnings season picks up the pace this week.

Goldman Sachs and Citigroup each reported profit that beat analysts’ expectations, while saying their stock trading business struggled.

Goldman fell 3.2% while Citi shares dropped 0.8%.

Gainers include Advanced Disposal which jumped 19% after accepting a $3 billion buyout offer from Waste Management.

EUROPE-US-TRADE

EU agrees terms for limited trade talks with US

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union countries have approved the conditions for negotiating a new and strictly limited trade deal with the United Sates, paving the way for talks to begin.

EU headquarters said Monday that the agreement will focus on eliminating tariffs on industrial goods only, and would not include agricultural products despite U.S. demands they be on the table.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (zhahn-KLOHD’ YUN’-kur) met President Donald Trump last July to head off a looming trans-Atlantic trade war after Trump slapped tariffs on imports of EU steel and aluminum.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says this is separate from a previous trade negotiation, known as TTIP, which she says is officially “in the freezer.”

TRUMP-BOEING

Trump says Boeing should fix, then re-brand Max jets

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Trump is offering some unsolicited advice to Boeing about the 737 Max jet. He tweets that if he were in charge of the company, he would “FIX” the plane, “add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name” because “No product has suffered like this one.”

Airlines and countries around the world have grounded the Boeing 737 Max or banned it from airspace after an Ethiopian Airlines crash last month. A crash involving the same model happened off Indonesia in October.

Trump once owned a short-lived airline: Trump Shuttle.

LYFT-ELECTRIC BIKES PULLED

Lyft pulls electric bikes off the road after brake problems

NEW YORK (AP) — Lyft has pulled 3,000 electric bikes from the streets of New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., after customers complained the bikes were braking too hard.

A spokeswoman with the ride-hailing company said Monday they are aware of reports of injuries, but wouldn’t specify the number of complaints it has received. On Twitter, riders complained of being thrown over the handlebars.

Lyft removed the majority of its electric bikes, which can go up to 18 miles per hour, from the three cities on Sunday. Lyft is working with an engineering firm to determine the cause and did not estimate when the electric bikes would be back on the road.

The electric bikes were designed by Motivate, which Lyft bought in November.

Rival Uber acquired bike sharing company Jump Bikes last year.

KENTUCKY PROJECT-RUSSIA

Russian company to invest in Kentucky aluminum mill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An aluminum company planning to build a $1.7 billion plant in Appalachia is forming a partnership with a Russian company that until recently faced U.S. sanctions.

Russian aluminum giant Rusal wants to invest $200 million in an aluminum rolling mill that Braidy Industries intends to build near Ashland, Kentucky.

Rusal says it would assume a 40 percent ownership share in the mill in return for the investment. Braidy Industries would hold the other 60 percent share.

Braidy announced plans for the mill two years ago, but the project stalled as it worked to complete financing. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who is seeking re-election this year, touts the project as evidence of his leadership in bringing jobs to Appalachia.

The U.S. Treasury Department removed Rusal from its sanctions list in January.

METRO-RAIL CAR MANUFACTURER

Senators threaten Metro funding over Chinese manufacturer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal lawmakers say they’ll approve badly needed funding for Washington’s transit system, but only if it avoids buying new rail cars from China.

U.S. senators from Virginia and Maryland proposed the idea in new legislation. It reflects growing concerns that China’s state-owned rail company could hurt American manufacturers and make the system vulnerable to cyberespionage.

A spokesman for the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. dismissed the espionage concerns. The company also said the U.S. should be promoting competition.

The company has won four major U.S. rail car contracts. It is pursuing a Metro contract worth more than $1 billion to build up to 800 of the new rail cars.

There are no U.S. transit rail car manufacturers. The bidding deadline is May 31.

BEST BUY-CEO

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly steps down

NEW YORK (AP) — The CEO credited with reviving a struggling Best Buy is stepping aside and will become executive chairman of the board.

Hubert Joly (HYOO’-behr joh-LEE’) is handing leadership of the reinvigorated electronics retailer to longtime executive Corie Barry as part of the company’s succession plan.

Joly took the helm in 2012 and focused on driving online revenue and the in-store experience as traditional retailers faced dwindling foot traffic and sales. Online sales now account for about 22 percent of its business.

It also expanded services while adding same-day delivery service in certain areas.

Barry becomes CEO on June 11. She’s been with the company in various executive jobs since 1999. The board is expanding to 13 members and will include Barry as well.

EU-GERMANY-VOLKSWAGEN

Former Volkswagen CEO charged with fraud in Germany

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German prosecutors have indicted former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn (VIHN’-tehr-korn) and four others on charges of fraud and unfair competition, saying he failed to prevent manipulation of engine software that let Volkswagen cars cheat on diesel emission tests.

Prosecutors in Braunschweig said Monday that Winterkorn knew about the deceptive software since 2014.

They face from six months to 10 years imprisonment if convicted, and bonuses earned on sales based on the deception could be forfeited.

SUPREME COURT-SCANDALOUS TRADEMARKS

In ‘FUCT’ fashion brand case, justices avoid saying word

WASHINGTON (AP) — They managed not to say it.

The Supreme Court’s nine justices discussed a trademark case Monday involving a Los Angeles-based fashion brand spelled F-U-C-T. But the justices got through about an hour of arguments without saying the brand’s name.

The case has to do with a portion of federal law that says officials should not register trademarks that are “scandalous” or “immoral.” Officials have refused to register the brand’s name as a result.

A lawyer for the brand argued that portion of law should be struck down as an unconstitutional restriction on speech.

Justices had to use creative ways of not saying the name.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS-BRIBERY

Loughlin, Giannulli plead not guilty in college scam

BOSTON (AP) — Actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli and other prominent parents are pleading not guilty in the college admissions bribery scam. Loughlin and Giannulli said in court documents filed Monday that they are waiving their right to appear in court for an arraignment and plead not guilty.

The couple and more than a dozen other parents were indicted last week on charges of mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy

Loughlin and Giannulli are charged with paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, even though neither is a rower. They have not publicly addressed the allegations against them.