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Business Highlights

October 3, 2018

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GM, Honda team up to produce self-driving vehicle

General Motors and Honda are teaming up on self-driving vehicle technology as big automakers and tech giants race to develop the next generation of personal transportation. Japan’s Honda Motor Co. will invest $2.75 billion in the autonomous vehicle unit run by General Motors Co., called GM Cruise, which is considered a leader in the nascent industry. The goal, the companies said Wednesday, is to develop an autonomous vehicle that can be produced at a high volume and deployed globally. They will also explore commercial ways to use the Cruise network around the world.

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California law on company boards spotlights deep challenges

NEW YORK (AP) — California’s new law requiring companies to include women on their boards of directors has already spotlighted the entrenched practices and barriers that have helped keep women out of boardrooms. Some of the country’s best-known companies, along with many smaller ones, will have to overcome such obstacles to comply with the new measure. Facebook, Apple and Google’s parent company Alphabet are among the companies that would have to add women to their boards by 2021 to comply.

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Barnes & Noble reviewing offers to buy company

NEW YORK (AP) — Barnes and Noble is weighing its options after several parties expressed interest in buying the struggling bookseller. The company said Wednesday that its board appointed a special committee to review the offers, including one from its founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, who is credited with turning Barnes & Noble into a bookselling giant. Barnes & Noble’s stock shot up 23 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement. It had closed Wednesday down 30 percent for the past year.

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7-year-old toy reviewer on YouTube becomes a toy himself

NEW YORK (AP) — Seven-year-old Ryan gained millions of views reviewing toys on YouTube. Now, he’s a toy himself. Walmart is selling figurines in his likeness, putty with his face on the packaging and other toys under the Ryan’s World brand. It’s a bet that kids, who are spending more time on tablets, will recognize Ryan from YouTube and want the toys he’s hawking. The new line is also part of Walmart’s plot to lure former Toys R Us shoppers to its toy aisles.

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Here today, ghosting tomorrow — workers just disappear

NEW YORK (AP) — While most people give notice before quitting a job, ghosting is becoming more common. Staffers don’t show up for work, don’t call, email or text. Small business owners and human resources professionals say it happens most often among younger employees whose dependence on texts and chats can make them less experienced with confrontation. HR pros recommend that rather than dismiss ghosting as the result of bad manners or social awkwardness, owners improve communication with their employees.

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Teachers union sues student loan servicer Navient

NEW YORK (AP) — The American Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Navient, one of the country’s largest student loan servicing companies, alleging that it failed to guide eligible borrowers through a critical student loan forgiveness program. At the center of the lawsuit, brought by nine teachers by the AFT, is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Signed into law in 2007, the program allows borrowers who work 10 years in an eligible public service job and make 120 on-time loan payments toward their balances to have the rest of their loan balances forgiven.

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Irish regulator opens Facebook data breach investigation

LONDON (AP) — Ireland’s data regulator has launched an investigation of Facebook over a recent data breach that allowed hackers access to 50 million accounts. The probe could potentially cost Facebook more than $1.6 billion in fines. The Irish Data Protection Commission says that it will look into whether the U.S. social media company complied with European regulations that went into effect earlier this year covering data protection. Facebook didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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Italian government pleases markets with softer deficits

MILAN (AP) — The Italian government has softened budget deficit targets that have alarmed investors and eurozone partners, saying they would be gradually lowered after 2019. Economy Minister Giovanni Tria has confirmed that the deficit to gross domestic product ratio next year will be higher than agreed by the previous government with the European Commission.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging signs on hiring and growth in the service sector send companies, banks and technology stocks higher and bond prices sharply lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note spikes to its highest level in more than seven years. GM climbed after Honda said it would invest in the company’s self-driving vehicle business. European stocks rose after Italy said it will reduce its future deficits.

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The S&P 500 index added 2.08 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,925.51. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 54.45 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,828.39, another all-time high. The Nasdaq composite picked up 25.54 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,025.09. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks climbed 15.25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,671.29.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 1.6 percent to settle at $76.41 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1.8 percent at $86.29 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline edged up 0.5 percent to $2.14 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1.2 percent to $2.44 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 2 percent to $3.23 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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