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Update on the latest in business:

November 28, 2017

FINANCIAL MARKETS

US stocks higher

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are higher in trading today as investors weigh the latest batch of company earnings and deal news. Banks and industrial stocks posted solid gains. Energy companies also rose despite a slide in crude oil. Real estate companies lagged.

At 12:46 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index was up 15 points, to 2,617.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 154 points, to 23,735.

And the Nasdaq was up 16 points, to 6,894.

TRUMP-CONGRESS

Republicans will still meet Trump at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Republicans in Congress say they’re heading to the White House this afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump even though top Democrats have backed out of the meeting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say in a joint statement that Democrats are “putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics.”

Ryan and McConnell say that if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will attend the White House meeting.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pulled out of the meeting hours after Trump attacked them on Twitter, accusing them of being soft on crime and declaring “I don’t see a deal!” Schumer and Pelosi said they didn’t want to waste time.

FED-POWELL CONFIRMATION

Fed chair nominee Powell’s confirmation hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jerome Powell has strongly signaled at his confirmation hearing that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its meeting next month.

Asked specifically whether he expected a rate hike at the December meeting, Powell says, “I think the case for raising interest rates at our next meeting is coming together.”

Pressed to say specifically whether there would be a rate hike, Powell says that he did not want to go further in his comment. He cites a Fed communication rule that states officials are not supposed to say what they will do at upcoming meetings before they hold the meeting and listen to the views of all colleagues.

HOME PRICES

US home prices leapt in September by the most in 3 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose at the fastest pace in more than three years in September, lifted by a record-low supply of houses for sale.

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index rose 6.2 percent in September from a year earlier, the largest gain since June 2014. In 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index, yearly price gains in September were faster than in August.

Home buyers are desperately bidding up prices because so few properties are available. The number of homes for sale in September was the fewest for that month on records dating back to 2001. And home builders aren’t yet putting up enough new homes to reduce the supply crunch.

Seattle, Las Vegas and San Diego reported the highest year-over-year gains.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

US consumer confidence rises, hits highest level since 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers are feeling confident as the holiday season approaches.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index hit 129.5 this month, up from 126.2 in October and highest since November 2000.

The business research group’s index measures consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the next six months. Both improved this month.

“Consumers are entering the holiday season in very high spirits and foresee the economy expanding at a healthy pace into the early months of 2018,” says Lynn Franco, the Conference Board’s director of economic indicators.

Economists closely monitor the report because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic output.

The U.S. economy expanded at a healthy 3 percent annual pace from July through September; unemployment has dropped to a 17-year low.

WAYMO-UBER

Uber trial on trade secrets delayed as federal probe emerges

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal criminal investigation into alleged espionage at Uber has indefinitely delayed a trial over whether the beleaguered ride-hailing service stole self-driving car technology from Waymo, a spinoff from Google.

A former security manager for Uber testified in San Francisco today that he believed the ride-hailing service had set up a secret unit to steal trade secrets from its rivals overseas. He didn’t specify which competitors that Uber had been targeting.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup described the allegations that surfaced in a Justice Department investigation as “scandalous.”

It’s the latest bit of intrigue surrounding Uber during the past year.

Waymo’s lawsuit accusing Uber of stealing the technology had been scheduled to begin next Monday. On Tuesday, Alsup delayed it so Waymo can have more time to gather evidence.

FAKE MEDICINES

UN: About 11 percent of drugs in poor countries are fake

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization says about 11 percent of medicines in developing countries are counterfeit and likely responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children from diseases like malaria and pneumonia.

It’s the first attempt by the U.N. health agency to assess the problem.

Experts reviewed 100 studies involving more than 48,000 medicines. Drugs for treating malaria and bacterial infections accounted for nearly 65 percent of fake medicines.

Scientists commissioned by WHO at the University of Edinburgh estimate the number of children dying from pneumonia after receiving bad drugs to be between about 72,000 and 169,000.

WHO says the cases of fake medicines it found are only “a small fraction” and problems may be going unreported.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE-NEBRASKA

Backers, foes of Keystone XL seek clarification in ruling

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline and the project’s opponents are asking Nebraska regulators to clarify their recent decision to approve an alternative pipeline route through the state.

Attorneys for pipeline developer TransCanada and landowners who want to stop it both filed motions for the Nebraska Public Service Commission to reconsider its decision.

The commission approved a pathway but didn’t pick TransCanada’s preferred route, which has undergone numerous local, state and federal reviews.

A TransCanada spokesman says the company filed its motion in hopes that commissioners will answer lingering questions about the decision. The company intends to file an amended application with the commission.

An attorney for the landowners is asking the commission to make clear that commissioners expressly denied TransCanada’s preferred route for the project.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES-WEBSITE PROBLEMS

Southwest customers face more problems on airline website

DALLAS (AP) — For a second straight day customers of Southwest Airlines are running into problems when trying to manage reservations on the airline’s website.

Southwest posted an apology today to customers who’ve been having difficulty on the website or the carrier’s mobile app.

Some customers say on Twitter that they’re unable to check in online for flights.

On Monday, a Southwest spokeswoman blamed difficulties in making or changing reservations on a problem with the airline’s new reservation system, which uses information technology from Madrid-based Amadeus IT Group.

ARBY’S

Arby’s buying Buffalo Wild Wings in deal valued at $2.4B

ATLANTA (AP) — Arby’s is buying casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings in a deal worth about $2.4 billion.

Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. says it will pay $157 per share. That’s a 7 percent premium to Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.’s Monday closing price of $146.40.

The companies put the transaction’s value at $2.9 billion, including debt. Once the deal closes Buffalo Wild Wing will become a privately held subsidiary of Arby’s and will continue to operate as an independent brand.

The deal is expected to close in 2018′s first quarter. It still needs the approval of Buffalo Wild Wings shareholders.

Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings jumped more than 6 percent in premarket trading.

CHOBANI-REBRANDING

Chobani gets new look and hints at going beyond yogurt

NEW YORK (AP) — Chobani, the company that helped kick-start the Greek yogurt craze, is shrinking those words on its label as it may expand beyond that food in an increasingly crowded yogurt market.

The new look, which will show up in supermarkets this week, removes “Greek Yogurt” from underneath the Chobani name. The yogurt inside will stay the same. Its packaging will be more muted than the current bright white, use a new font and style, and feature watercolor paintings of fruits rather than photographs of strawberries and peaches.

Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing and commercial officer, says, “What this new identity enables us to do is start to seed, if you will, us going into other areas beyond yogurt.”

Market research firm Euromonitor says last year Chobani overtook General Mills Inc.’s Yoplait as the best-selling yogurt brand in the U.S.

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