Update on the latest in business:
MADISON, Wis. (AP) —
Stocks fall broadly in midday trading
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling broadly in afternoon trading on Wall Street as technology and industrial companies turn lower. Fluor, a multinational engineering and construction company, plunged after reporting a big loss in the most recent quarter.
Health care and energy companies were also lower. Marathon Oil sank after reporting revenue that fell short of estimates.
Elsewhere, Disney and cable TV and media company Comcast both fell.
Bond prices fell, sending yields higher.
US productivity grows at solid 3.6% rate in first quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity grew at a solid 3.6% rate in the first three months of this year, the strongest quarterly gain in more than four years and a hopeful sign that a long stretch of weak productivity gains may be coming to an end.
The Labor Department says the first quarter increase in productivity was more than double the 1.3% rate of gain in the fourth quarter. Labor costs actually fell in the first quarter indicating that the tight labor market is not creating unwanted wage and inflation pressures.
If it continues, an uptick in productivity would be good news for President Donald Trump and his goal of achieving sustained economic growth above 3%. Productivity is a key factor in determining an economy’s growth potential.
Trump Fed choice Stephen Moore withdraws amid controversy
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his pick for the Federal Reserve board, conservative commentator Stephen Moore, has decided to withdraw from contention.
The decision comes amid controversy over his past writings about women. Moore had lost Republican support in the Senate, which would have to vote on a potential nomination.
Moore was an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign and helped design the 2017 tax cuts.
Trump’s other Fed board pick, Herman Cain, withdrew over past allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity
Hearing set in Trump fight over bank subpoenas
NEW YORK (AP) — Congress has agreed to postpone a deadline until after a hearing set for May 22 for two banks to respond to subpoenas seeking President Donald Trump’s financial records.
Trump filed a lawsuit Monday in New York seeking to block Deutsche (DOY’-chuh) Bank and Capital One from responding to subpoenas issued as part of a Democrat-led investigation into the Republican’s business dealings.
The lawsuit by Trump, sons Donald Jr. and Eric and daughter Ivanka asks the judge to declare the subpoenas unlawful and unenforceable.
Deutsche Bank has said it will cooperate with any “authorized investigations.”
No. 2 House GOP leader says $2T infrastructure cost too high
WASHINGTON (AP) — The No. 2 House Republican leader is suggesting that Congress won’t agree to the full $2 trillion price tag that the White House and congressional leaders have discussed for a compromise infrastructure deal.
Rep. Steve Scalise told reporters Thursday that the price tag will be “a lot lower” than the $2 trillion Democrats say President Donald Trump supports. Scalise said raising taxes to pay for public works improvements is “a non-starter” for Republicans.
In a rare moment of bipartisanship in polarized Washington, Democratic congressional leaders and President Trump reported progress at a Tuesday meeting on infrastructure. They plan to meet again in three weeks to discuss financing.
House approves measure to keep US in Paris climate agreement
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House has approved legislation that would prevent President Donald Trump from following through on his pledge to withdraw the U.S. from a landmark global climate agreement.
The bill also would ensure the U.S. honors its commitments under the deal signed by former President Barack Obama.
The bill falls short of the Green New Deal pushed by many Democrats, but it’s the first significant climate legislation passed by the House is nearly a decade.
The measure was approved 231-190 but it’s unlikely to move forward in the GOP-run Senate. And Trump says he’ll veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Trump pledged in 2017 to pull the U.S. from the 2015 Paris agreement, but the U.S. remains in the accord until at least 2020.
OPIOID LAWSUIT-WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia settles opioid lawsuit with McKesson for $37M
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has settled its lawsuit with the opioid distributor McKesson for $37 million.
A news release from Gov. Jim Justice and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Thursday says it’s thought to be the country’s largest state settlement against a single pharmaceutical distributor.
The suit was filed in 2016 and alleged that McKesson shipped millions of suspicious orders for painkillers to West Virginia without efforts to prevent illegal diversion of the drugs.
West Virginia has the nation’s highest opioid overdose rate. About 2,000 lawsuits have been filed nationwide targeting the drug industry amid the opioid crisis.
OPIOID LAWSUITS-DRUG DATA
News attorneys: Opioid distribution data should be public
CINCINNATI (AP) — Attorneys for news organizations have argued that the U.S. public should see federal data about how prescription opioids were distributed.
They urged a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday to overturn a lower court judge’s denial of access to the information. The judges will rule later.
The data is a key piece of evidence in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments against companies that make and distribute the drugs. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration database details the flow of prescription painkillers to pharmacies, showing the number and doses of pills.
US STEEL INVESTMENT
US Steel plows $1B into western Pennsylvania operations
PITTSBURGH (AP) — U.S. Steel will invest more than $1 billion on state-of-the-art facilities in western Pennsylvania that it says will improve its steelmaking efficiency and reduce emissions at its Mon Valley Works operations that includes four separate facilities.
The company says new casting and rolling technology at its Edgar Thompson Plant will allow it to combine thin slab casting and hot rolled band production into one process, the first of its kind in the U.S.
The steelmaker also said that a new cogeneration facility at its Clairton Plant will feature an emissions control system that can convert some of the coke oven gas generated there into electricity to power other parts of the plant.
U.S. Steel Corp. expects the first coil production from the new facility in 2022.