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Update on the latest business

January 19, 2018


Stocks mixed

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are mixed in midday trading on Wall Street as gains by retailers and consumer goods companies outweighed losses in other sectors, especially technology.

Lowe’s rose 2.7 percent after naming three new directors. American Express sank 2.6 percent after the company suspended its share buy-back program for six months.

Energy companies fell along with the price of crude oil.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.64 percent, the highest level in more than three years.


US oil output is booming and seen outpacing Saudis, Russia

PARIS (AP) — A global energy agency says that U.S. oil production is booming and is forecast to top that of heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Russia this year.

The International Energy Agency said in its monthly market report released Friday that U.S. oil production, which has already risen to its highest level in nearly 50 years, will push past 10 million barrels a day as higher prices entice more producers to start pumping.

It says that “this year promises to be a record-setting one for the U.S.”

Meanwhile, global growth in demand for oil is forecast to remain unchanged at 1.3 million barrels a day. That’s mainly due to the impact of higher oil prices and as consumers switch to other types of energy, like natural gas.


Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is boosting the price of its monthly Prime membership fees for new and existing members by nearly 20 percent.

The online retailer says its annual membership fee of $99 will not change.

Starting Friday, new members will pay $12.99 a month, up from $10.99. Qualifying college students will pay $6.49 a month, up from $5.49.

Amazon.com Inc. says existing monthly members will start paying the higher fees next month.


Producers Guild unveils anti-sexual harassment guidelines

NEW YORK (AP) — The Producers Guild of America has ratified guidelines for combating sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, requesting that every film and TV production offer in-person harassment training and provide multiple ways for alleged victims to complain.

The guidelines come from a task force asked to research and propose solutions to sexual misconduct following a flood of accusations that started with revelations about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The guild’s board of directors unanimously ratified its Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines on Wednesday. The Los Angeles-based guild has over 8,000 members and represents those in film, television and new media.

Other guidelines include asking each production to be vigilant to prevent harassment, protect any whistle-blowers and assume whoever complains “is being sincere until further inquiry can be undertaken.”


Seeing global “packaging problem” Coke vows to cut waste

ATLANTA (AP) — Recognizing a global waste problem, Coca-Cola will attempt to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one that it sells within 12 years.

CEO James Quincey says The Coca-Cola Co. has a responsibility to help solve the problem.

A report issued last summer showed that global industry has produced 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950, and there is enough still in circulation to bury Manhattan under more than two miles of trash.

Coca-Cola said Friday that it’s creating bottles with more recycled content by developing plant-based resins, attempting to scale back plastic used in containers, and will attempt to produce bottles with an average of 50 percent recycled material by 2030.

Other consumer goods companies like PepsiCo and Danone have also vowed to improve packaging.


Arkansas lawmakers OK ban on disputed herbicide

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers have approved banning an herbicide that farmers say has drifted onto crops where it wasn’t applied and caused damage, but the prohibition still faces a legal challenge from a maker of the weed killer.

The Legislative Council on Friday without discussion approved the Plant Board’s plan to ban dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31. A subcommittee earlier this week recommended the council, the Legislature’s main governing body when lawmakers aren’t in session, approve the proposal.

The board proposed the ban after receiving nearly 1,000 complaints last year about dicamba. Monsanto, a maker of dicamba, has asked a state judge to prevent the restriction from taking effect.

Arkansas is one of several states where farmers have complained about dicamba drifting.


US government proposes new rules for hog slaughter

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government wants to change the rules on how most hogs slaughtered for meat in the U.S. are processed.

Some of the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposals released Friday are similar to those enacted in 2014 for poultry processors.

One rule allows pork processors to voluntarily enact a new inspection system placing plant employees in charge of removing animals unfit for slaughter, and allows companies to set their own processing line speeds.

The USDA says the proposed rules would streamline production without compromising food safety.

Critics say similar poultry industry changes gave companies too much control over food safety.

Another proposed rule would require processing plants to implement new procedures for preventing bacterial contamination of meat.

The USDA is taking comments and has no date set for implementation.


Delta wants to know if your dog can behave before it flies

DALLAS (AP) — Delta Air Lines will soon require owners of service and support animals to provide more information before the animal is permitted to fly in the passenger cabin, including an assurance that it’s trained to behave itself.

John Laughter, the airline’s senior vice president of safety and security, says there are insufficient rules in place to screen animals for health and behavior issues.

Starting March 1, Delta will require owners to show proof of their animal’s health or vaccinations at least 48 hours before a flight.

Owners of psychiatric service animals and so-called emotional-support animals will need to sign a statement vouching that their animal can behave.

The new requirements don’t apply to pets that stay in under-seat kennels during flights.

Delta’s policy change arrives with the number of animals in the cabin increasing. The airline says complaints about animals biting or soiling plane cabins have nearly doubled since 2016.

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