Update on the latest in business:
Stocks seek direction
NEW YORK (AP) _ U.S. stocks have been swinging between gains and losses as investors wait for key trade talks between the U.S. and China to start this week.
Stocks brushed off early losses and were moving higher in afternoon trading as gains in industrial companies were offset by losses elsewhere in the market.
Investors have been on edge since President Donald Trump threatened to impose higher tariffs on Chinese goods.
TripAdvisor shares dropped after the vacation ratings company reported revenue that fell short of what analysts were expecting.
US files plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%, to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday.
A Chinese delegation is coming to Washington Thursday and Friday to salvage negotiations, but the tariff hike would escalate the year-long trade dispute. The world’s two biggest economies are fighting over U.S. allegations that Beijing steals American technology, forces U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets and subsidizes Chinese tech companies in a drive to supplant American technological dominance.
The Trump administration decided to hike the tariffs after accusing China of reneging on commitments it made in earlier talks.
DRUG PRICES-TV ADS
Drug makers will have to reveal prices in TV ads
WASHINGTON (AP) — TV ads for prescription drugs will soon be required to carry information on prices. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (AY’-zahr) says the Trump administration has finalized regulations that will require drug companies to disclose list prices of medications costing more than $35 for a month’s supply.
The pricing details are expected to appear in text towards the end of commercials, when potential side effects are being disclosed.
Azar tells The Associated Press if drug makers are scared to put their prices in ads, that means they should be lowering those prices. Drug companies have said they would rather report prices on their websites.
Walmart joins Walgreens in raising minimum age to buy tobacco to 21
NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart said Wednesday that it will raise the minimum age for tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21 in an effort to combat tobacco sales to minors.
The world’s largest retailer says the new rules will take effect in July, and will also include its Sam’s Club warehouse stores.
Previously, its minimum purchase age was 18, unless at state’s law required that someone be 21 to purchase the products.
Walgreens announced last month that is was increasing the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21.
GM in talks to sell shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is negotiating the sale of its shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio, to a company that builds electric trucks.
The company confirmed Wednesday that it’s in talks with Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group to sell the huge facility, and also announced plans to invest $700 million in three Ohio factories to create 450 additional jobs.
The potential sale, first announced on Twitter by President Donald Trump, could preserve some jobs at the sprawling plant 60 miles east of Cleveland. But it also dashes any hope that GM would reopen the factory where, until March, it had built cars for more than five decades.
Tim O’Hara, vice president of the United Auto Workers union local at the plant, said workers were hoping the union could negotiate a new product for Lordstown, allowing them to stay in the area and continue careers with GM. Many will be forced to transfer in order to preserve seniority and pension eligibility.
A GM statement said Workhorse Group, led by Workhorse founder Steve Burns, would acquire the facility and would hold a minority stake in a new venture. But it was unclear who would own the rest.
THREE MILE ISLAND
Three Mile Island nuclear plant to proceed with closure
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The owner of Three Mile Island says it now appears certain it won’t get a financial rescue from the state of Pennsylvania, so it will go ahead with a planned shutdown starting June 1st.
Exelon Corp.’s announcement comes two years after the Chicago-based energy giant said it would close the money-losing plant without what critics have called a bailout. It’s licensed to operate through the year 2034.
A roughly $500 million package for the Three Mile Island facility and Pennsylvania’s four other nuclear power plants has stalled in the state Legislature. Exelon has won rescues in three other states, but in Pennsylvania it faced opposition from the state’s natural gas industry.
To make matters more difficult for the plant, Three Mile Island was the site of the United States’ worst commercial nuclear power accident back in 1979 that left it with just one working reactor.
Saab plans Air Force jet facility near Purdue campus
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) _ Swedish manufacturer Saab says it will open an Indiana manufacturing site as part of its production of a new Air Force training jet.
Company officials have announced plans to spend $37 million on the facility at Purdue University’s Discovery Park District Aerospace in West Lafayette.
Saab and Boeing won a $9.2 billion contract last year to build at least 351 T-X training jets.
The facility could employ up to 300 workers.
Marathon Petroleum combines midstream operations for $9B
FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — Marathon Petroleum Corp. is merging two of its oil and gas pipeline, transportation and storage operations for $9 billion. MPLX and Andeavor Logistics are both master limited partnerships and the company raised the possibility that it might combine the two late last year. The deal is targeted to close in the second half of the year with the enterprise value of the deal listed at $14 billion.
Andeavor, formerly known as Tesoro, has refineries in California, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Alaska.
Shares of Andeavor Logistics LP rose 2.5 percent in premarket trading while Marathon’s stock edged up slightly.
Maine’s first eel season with new controls goes swimmingly
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s baby eel fishermen are enjoying a steady harvest and strong prices during the first season in which regulators are using new controls to stop poaching.
Baby eels, called elvers, are one of the most lucrative marine resources in the U.S. on a per-pound basis, but the fishery has had problems with poaching. This year, packing and shipping of the fish is subject to more scrutiny.
The fishermen are nearing the end of their quota for the year, which is slightly less than 10,000 pounds, but, according to the state, the average price is more than $2,000 per pound.
Maine is the only state with a significant fishery for elvers, which are then sold to Asian aquaculture companies so they can be raised to maturity and used as food.
UK and Ireland agree on residency for citizens post-Brexit
LONDON (AP) _ Britain and Ireland have agreed that their citizens will still be able to live and work freely in both countries after Brexit. The governments signed a deal Wednesday to continue the U.K.-Ireland common travel area, no matter what the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union.
The common travel area has been in existence since the Republic of Ireland won independence from Britain almost a century ago and predates either country’s EU membership.
The agreement means citizens can live, work, study, receive health care and vote in either country.
UK has first week without burning coal for electricity
LONDON (AP) _ Britain has gone a week without burning coal for electricity for the first time since the 19th century. Power operator National Grid says coal hasn’t contributed to the U.K. electricity mix since the afternoon of May 1st.
The landmark has been reached two years after Britain had its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution. Coal-free power could become the “new normal” as Britain generates more power from wind, solar and other renewable sources.
The U.K. also relies heavily on natural gas and nuclear energy.
The government says Britain will eliminate coal from its power supply by 2025. It has set a deadline of 2050 to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions altogether.