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Update on the latest in business:

October 1, 2018


Stocks post solid gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are solidly higher after the U.S. reached a trade deal with Canada.

General Electric jumped 10 percent after ousting chief executive John Flannery, who was on the job about a year. GE is still down by about half over the past year.

Tesla soared 15.3 percent after Elon Musk reached a settlement with regulators that will cost him the chairman’s title but will let him remain as CEO. On Friday, shares had plunged 13.9 percent.

The settlement announced Saturday will also put two new, independent members on the board. Legal experts and many investors believe that could provide more oversight, an important move for a company of Tesla’s size.


Trump celebrates new trade deal, called USMCA

TORONTO (AP) — President Donald Trump is celebrating his latest revamped trade agreement with America’s two neighbors and is calling the pact for the United States, Mexico and Canada the USMCA.

At a Rose Garden news conference today, Trump said, the deal has a “good ring to it,” repeating U-S-M-C-A several times.

The agreement was reached late Sunday and gives U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps the former North American Free Trade Agreement dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison. It offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported into the United States.

Trump says the pact is the “most important deal we’ve ever made by far.”


Flannery ousted at GE after less than 2 years

BOSTON (AP) — After less than two years and a precipitous decline in the share price at General Electric, John Flannery is being ousted as chairman and CEO.

Flannery took over for longtime CEO Jeff Immelt in June 2017 with the company trying to re-establish its industrial roots, albeit a high-tech version of itself.

However, as Flannery has restructured the multinational conglomerate, its value has dipped below $100 billion and shares are down more than 35 percent this year.

GE warned today that it will miss its profit forecasts this year and it’s taking a $23 billion charge.

The company says that H. Lawrence Culp Jr. will take over as chairman and CEO immediately.


US construction spending up slightly 0.1 percent in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects edged up a slight 0.1 percent in August as a strong gain in government spending offset weakness in home building and nonresidential construction.

The Commerce Department says that the rise, which followed a 0.2 percent July increase, put total construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.32 trillion. That was down 0.4 percent from a record high set in May.

Residential construction fell 0.7 percent while nonresidential construction edged down 0.2 percent. Those declines were offset by a strong 2 percent rise in public construction, which increased to the highest level since July 2009. Spending for federal and state and local projects increased.

Construction activity is contributing to solid overall growth although home building has faced a number of challenges this year.


Fiat Chrysler’s new CEO announces new management structure

MILAN (AP) — The new CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced management changes two months after taking over following the unexpected death of long-time Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne.

Mike Manley says the head of the Alfa Romeo brand, Tim Kuniskis, replaces him at the head of FCA’s biggest-earner, Jeep, while Reid Bigland becomes head of the Ram brand.

In Europe, Chief Technology Officer Harald Wester takes on responsibility for the premium brand Maserati, while Pietro Gorlier is now in charge of Europe, replacing Alfredo Altavilla, who resigned after Manley got the top job. Ermanno Ferrari was named CEO of components maker Magnetti Marelli, which is due to be spun off.

Manley says the new management structure will help ensure the achievement of five-year targets laid out in June.


Drugmaker Pfizer’s CEO Read to leave in January

UNDATED (AP) — The drugmaker Pfizer will replace CEO Ian Read with Chief Operating Officer Albert Bourla in January.

Pfizer says that Read will then become executive chairman of the company’s board of directors.

The 56-year-old Bourla just became chief operating officer in January. Before that, he served as the head of the company’s Innovative Health business. He also has run the drugmaker’s vaccines, oncology and consumer health care business.

Read became CEO at the end of 2010 and has served as board chairman since 2011.

New York-based Pfizer Inc.’s products include the cholesterol pill Lipitor and the pain medication Lyrica.

Shares of the drugmaker slipped in early-morning trading.


For DeVos’ critics, sale of the DeVry chain raises red flags

WASHINGTON (AP) — A little-known venture capitalist is on the verge of acquiring one of the largest for-profit colleges in the country.

The deal, once complete, would put him in control of a national chain that’s beset by thousands of student complaints and is vastly larger than the tiny California college he currently owns.

The business-friendly Trump administration has given a tentative green light to the sale of DeVry University to Cogswell Education LLC. The holding company is run by Bradley Palmer, chairman of Palm Ventures in Connecticut.

Critics say the deal raises red flags. Chief among them is the challenge of taking over such a large institution. DeVry has roughly 46,000 students.

A Cogswell spokeswoman disputes the criticism. She says DeVry would be operated by its own independent board of trustees.


Ryanair warns earnings hurt by strikes, rising fuel cost

LONDON (AP) — Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline by passengers, has issued a profit warning for the year amid strikes and rising fuel prices.

The low-cost carrier says it has lowered its guidance by 12 percent to between 1.1 billion euros ($1.28 billion) and 1.2 billion euros for the full year.

Pilot and cabin crew strikes in September hit passenger numbers and resulted in passenger compensation costs.

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary says that while the strikes have been successfully managed “customer confidence, forward bookings and Q3 fares has been affected, most notably over the October school mid-terms and Christmas.” Second and third-quarter traffic and airfares will be “somewhat lower than expected” as a result.

The airline says more staff strikes could force the company to issue further profit warnings.


Italy tries to reassure European partners over spending plan

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Italy is trying to reassure its eurozone partners over its plans to ramp up government spending, which have had financial markets and other governments worrying about the country’s public finances.

Italy’s finance minister said his counterparts in the 19 nations that use the euro should “remain calm” and await his explanations of the budget proposal. He spoke ahead of a monthly meeting of the finance ministers.

Italy’s stock market fell sharply on Friday after the populist, euroskeptic government announced a sharp public spending increase that will push the budget deficit to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product next year. The move risks a confrontation with the European Union.

Mario Centeno, who heads the finance meetings, said: “We all have questions about it and so we are expecting answers.”

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