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Business Highlights

October 9, 2018


Google expands Pixel phone screens, undercuts Apple on price

NEW YORK (AP) — Google’s new Pixel phones mirror the industry trend moving the devices toward lusher, bigger screens, and add new twists on the camera for taking better selfies and other pictures. The Pixels have barely made a dent in the market so far, but Google is hoping to change that with the latest models unveiled Tuesday at an event in New York.


Japanese tycoon going on SpaceX rocket says he trusts Musk

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese online retail tycoon who plans to travel to the moon on the SpaceX rocket says he respects and trusts Elon Musk as a fellow entrepreneur, despite his recent troubles. Zozo Chief Executive Yusaku Maezawa told reporters Tuesday that he was impressed by Musk’s relationship with employees of Tesla, but people need to be careful what they tweet. A tweet by Musk in August saying he had secured financing for a Tesla buyout got him in trouble with U.S. regulators.


China promises not to weaken yuan, criticizes US concern

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government has promised not to weaken its currency to boost exports and said a U.S. expression of concern about the sagging yuan is irresponsible. A foreign ministry spokesman said Beijing has no intention to use ‘competitive depreciation’ to support exports during its tariff fight with Washington. A U.S. official said earlier Washington is concerned about the weakening currency.


In boon for farmers, Trump lifting restrictions on ethanol

WASHINGTON (AP) — Farm states are looking to benefit from a Trump administration plan to allow year-round sales of gasoline with a higher blend of ethanol. President Donald Trump is expected to announce he’s lifting a federal ban on summer sales of high-ethanol blends while in Iowa for a rally Tuesday night in Council Bluffs. Advocates for the ethanol industry say claims that the high-ethanol blend contributes to smog on hot days is unfounded.


Officials: Power lines ignited fatal blaze in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California fire officials say sagging Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines that made contact ignited a blaze last year in California that killed four people and injured a firefighter. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday that strong winds caused the lines to come into contact and send molten material onto dry vegetation in Yuba County. It was one of several wildfires that swept through Northern California that month, killing 44 people


Objections blunt momentum for foreign lobbying law overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — Organizations that include the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have raised objections to legislation that would sharpen the teeth of the law that monitors foreign lobbying in the United States. The bills would give the Justice Department more power to enforce the 80-year-old Foreign Agents Registration Act. But pro-business groups, nonprofits and privacy advocates say the proposed changes could backfire by sweeping in a host of unintended targets.


One of oldest coal companies in US files for bankruptcy

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — One of the oldest coal companies in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy to deal with its steep debt amid declining world demand. Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. Westmoreland was incorporated in 1854 in Pennsylvania. It has coal mines in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Ohio, North Dakota and Texas, and a coal-fired power plant in North Carolina.


Sears names restructuring expert to board as debt is due

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears Holdings is adding a restructuring expert to its board, suggesting the ailing retailer may be preparing to take significant actions to survive or to protect its remaining assets. The parent of Sears and Kmart stores said Alan Carr has significant experience leading complex financial restructurings.


US stock indexes mixed as interest rates take a pause

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes ended Tuesday nearly where they began, as interest rates let off the accelerator following their sharp rise last week. But the modest moves for indexes masked some roiling underneath. Raw-material producers plunged on worries that inflation and weaker demand are eating into their profits. On the opposite end were technology stocks and other sectors, which recovered some of the sharp losses caused by last week’s rapid rise in interest rates.


The S&P 500 slipped 4.09 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,880.34. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 56.21, or 0.2 percent, to 26,430.57, and the Nasdaq composite added 2.07, or less than 0.1 percent, to 7,738.02. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 7.65 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,621.87.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.9 percent to $74.96 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 1.3 percent to $85 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline lost 0.8 percent to $2.08 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1.2 percent to $2.42 a gallon. Natural gas remained at $3.27 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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