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Update on the latest in business:

May 3, 2019

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks climb

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are moving broadly higher on Wall Street as investors find plenty to like in a robust jobs report and more solid earnings from U.S. companies.

Technology and consumer-focused companies led the gainers in midday trading. Microsoft rose 1.7% and McDonald’s rose 1.4%.

Amazon rose 2.8% after CNBC reported that Warren Buffett’s company was buying the stock.

The government reported that U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs last month, a strong number. The unemployment rate fell to a five-decade low.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10 year Treasury fell to 2.54%.

ECONOMY-JOBS REPORT

Unemployment hits 49-year low as US employers step up hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a robust 263,000 jobs in April, suggesting that businesses have shrugged off earlier concerns that the economy might slow this year and are expecting strong customer demand. The unemployment rate fell to a five-decade low of 3.6% and average hourly pay rose a healthy 3.2% from 12 months earlier.

Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department showed that solid economic growth is still encouraging strong hiring nearly a decade into the economy’s recovery from the Great Recession. The economic expansion is set to become the longest in history in July.

Many businesses say they’re struggling to find workers, yet each month they seem to add a substantial number. Some have taken a range of steps to fill jobs, including training more entry-level workers, loosening educational requirements and raising pay sharply.

US-ECONOMY-SERVICES

US service companies grew at a slower pace in April

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. service companies grew at a slower pace in April, as business activity generally showed a leveling off. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reports that its service index fell to 55.5% last month, down from 56.1% in March. Any reading above 50 signals growth.

The ISM says companies surveyed for the index were mostly optimistic about overall business conditions but expressed continuing concern about finding qualified employees.

The service sector, which is where most Americans work, has been expanding for 111 straight months according to the survey.

AMAZON-BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY

Amazon.com shares boosted by Warren Buffett’s comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares in Amazon are moving higher after billionaire investor Warren Buffett said his firm has been buying the online retailer.

Buffett told CNBC Thursday that one of the money managers at Berkshire Hathaway has been buying Amazon stock.

Buffett said the transactions would show up in a future regulatory filing, but stressed that he himself did not direct the purchases.

Shares in the Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. rose 3% in morning trading Friday to $1,959.84, its high for the year. The stock is up 30% so far in 2019.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., based in Omaha, Nebraska, owns a range of businesses including insurance, railroads, jewelry stores as well as major investments in American Express, IBM and Wells Fargo & Co. Its annual shareholder meeting is Saturday.

GENERAL MOTORS-TRUCK RECALL

GM recalls trucks due to engine block heater cord fires

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is recalling over 368,000 pickups and other trucks worldwide after getting 19 reports of fires caused by engine block heater cords. The recall covers certain 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 4500, 5500 and 6500 trucks, as well as the 2017 through 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500, and the GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500.

All have GM’s 6.6-Liter diesel engines and an optional engine block heater used in colder climates.

The company said Friday that the electric heater cord or the terminals connecting the cord to the heater could short-circuit and fail. That can cause fires. No injuries have been reported.

GM is still trying to find the cause of the problem and develop a fix. It’s asking customers not to use engine block heaters until further notice.

FACEBOOK-CRYPTOCURRENCY

Report: Facebook considering its own bitcoin for payments

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook plans a cryptocurrency-based payment system for its billions of users worldwide. The system would use a digital coin similar to bitcoin, but different in that Facebook would aim to keep the coin’s value stable. Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies have been susceptible to wild fluctuations in value.

The move could reportedly undermine credit cards by sidestepping the processing fees that generate much of their revenue.

The Journal report cited unidentified people familiar with the matter but said Facebook is recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to launch the network. Facebook’s plans may include ways to financially reward users who interact with ads or other features.

Facebook says only that it is exploring many different applications for cryptocurrency technology.

AMERICAN AIRLINES-DFW EXPANSION

American expands at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines is expanding at its most profitable airport, opening 15 new gates at Dallas-Fort Worth International. American said the gates that opened Friday in Terminal E will let it add more than 100 daily flights on its American Eagle affiliate.

By early June, Fort Worth-based American plans to operate more than 900 daily flights from DFW, up from 800 last Summer. It is adding 23 new destinations and increasing flights to existing ones.

The move is freeing up room for six gates for larger American Airlines planes at Terminal B.

Company President Robert Isom said last week that DFW will account for most of American’s growth this year.

Isom says early bookings and revenue for the new flights are higher than American’s systemwide average.

CHINA-TYCOON ALLEGED RAPE

Supporters of Chinese billionaire’s accuser claim censorship

BEIJING (AP) — Six Chinese social media accounts have been shut down after they advocated support for a woman who has accused the founder of online shopping giant JD.com, Richard Liu, of rape.

Chen Chun, a writer in southern China, said WeChat informed him this week that his public account was permanently closed because a petition he shared in defense of Jingyao Liu “violated regulations.” Another five accounts were also disabled.

University of Minnesota student Liu sued billionaire Richard Liu last month, claiming he raped her inside her Minneapolis apartment. He denies it.

The lawsuit says Jingyao Liu was 21 at the time. She has come forward publicly with her identity and accusation.

She and the 46-year-old Internet tycoon are not related.

The case has stirred intense debate, as China’s #MeToo movement grapples with the first accusation against a high-profile businessperson.