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Update on the latest in business:

April 9, 2019


Stocks move broadly lower on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are moving broadly lower, putting the S&P 500 index on track to end an eight-day winning streak.

Banks and industrial companies are leading the way lower.

Energy companies were also falling as the price of crude oil turned lower.

Markets also got some disappointing news on the global economy. The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for economic growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan and points to heightened trade tensions as a key reason.

The IMF expects the world economy to grow 3.3% this year, down from 3.6% in 2018. That would match 2016 for the weakest year since 2009.

For the United States, IMF economists downgraded their growth forecast for this year to 2.3% from 2.9% in 2018.


US businesses’ job openings fell sharply in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of available jobs in the U.S. fell sharply in February after reaching a record level the previous month, a sign that businesses may pull back a bit on hiring.

The Labor Department says job openings fell 7.1% to 7.1 million, the lowest level in nearly a year. The number of people quitting their jobs was nearly unchanged.

The figures suggest the job market is still solid but also echo the mild slowdown in hiring that has occurred so far this year. Employers have added an average of 180,000 jobs a month in the first three months this year, down from nearly 225,000 last year. Still, that level of hiring is enough to lower the unemployment rate, currently 3.8%, over time.


Trump says he’ll put tariffs on $11B in EU goods

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’ll slap tariffs on $11 billion worth of European Union cheese, wine and other goods to retaliate for what Washington says are improper subsidies to Airbus.

Trump tweeted today that the EU has “taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years,” and that it “will soon stop!” Yesterday, the U.S. trade representative said the WTO has repeatedly found that EU subsidies to the European aircraft maker have caused “adverse effects” to the U.S.

The list was released for public comment, subject to arbitration at the WTO. Results are expected this summer.


Macron and May meeting over Brexit delay request

UNDATED (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May has met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss the possibility of a further delay to Brexit.

The French presidency said all decisions on Brexit will be made on Wednesday at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

German and French officials insist that any extension to the deadline must come with strings attached and assurances from London.

Talks between the British government and its political opponents have failed to reach a Brexit compromise before the European Union decides whether to grant the U.K. a delay to its departure from the bloc.

But the Conservative government and the Labour Party say they will resume negotiations after Wednesday’s EU summit.

A delay requires the unanimous support of the EU’s other 27 members. If they refuse, Britain faces a sudden departure on Friday.


Energy agency predicts lower gasoline prices this summer

UNDATED (AP) — It looks like motorists will pay less to fill the tank this summer.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted Tuesday that the national average price from April through September will be $2.76 a gallon, down from $2.85 last summer.

For the entire year, the agency says the average household will spend about $100 less on fuel than last year, a savings of 4 percent.

Oil prices are up since December but still down from a year ago.

The Energy agency says the U.S. produced 12.1 million barrels of oil per day in March.

It forecasts that production will hit 12.4 million barrels a day this year and 13.1 million next year mostly due to higher output in Texas and New Mexico.


Bank of America raising hourly minimum wage to $20

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bank of America is raising its starting pay to $20 an hour over a two-year period, starting with a hike next month.

The company said it is raising its minimum hourly wage to $17 on May 1 and will continue to increase pay until it hits $20 an hour in 2021. Bank of America raised its hourly minimum wage to $15 in 2017. It says wages have increased since then, though it didn’t release details of those increases.

In a Tuesday interview on MSNBC, Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan said, ”″If you get a job at Bank of America, you’ll make $41,000 per year.”

Bank of America Corp., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has more than 205,000 workers.


American trims revenue estimate citing grounded Boeing jet

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is cutting a key revenue estimate partly because of canceled flights due to the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max jets.

American said Tuesday that it canceled 1,200 flights during the quarter that ended March 31 because regulators grounded its 24 Max planes.

Over the weekend, the airline removed the plane from its schedule through June 5 — six weeks longer than before — underlining that airlines think the Max will be parked longer than previously expected after deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

American says revenue for each seat flown one mile will be flat to up to 1 percent, down from its initial forecast of flat to up to 2 percent.

It also blames the government shutdown and 940 cancellations due to work on other Boeing planes.


Feds say $1.2B Medicare back brace scam busted

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities say they’ve broken up a $1.2 billion Medicare scam that peddled unneeded orthopedic braces to hundreds of thousands of seniors via foreign call centers.

The Justice Department announced charges Tuesday against 24 people in the U.S., including doctors accused of writing bogus prescriptions for unneeded back, shoulder, wrist and knee braces. Others charged include owners of telemedicine firms and medical equipment companies.

The Health and Human Services inspector general’s office says the fast-moving scam morphed into multiple related schemes. Officials say it’s one of the biggest frauds the office has investigated.

Charges were being brought against defendants in California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

The fraudulent call centers were based in the Philippines and throughout Latin America.


Wynn Resorts removes security head after he admits to spying

BOSTON (AP) — Wynn Resorts has removed its security chief after he acknowledged spying on employees following allegations of sexual misconduct against company founder Steve Wynn came to light.

CEO Matthew Maddox disclosed Saturday’s firing of executive vice president of corporate security James Stern in a legal brief to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission released Tuesday.

Stern told the commission last week he’d surveilled company co-founder Elaine Wynn and four employees, including one named in The Wall Street Journal’s 2018 report about the misconduct allegations. Maddox maintains he had only “minimal” and “partial” knowledge of the spying.

Steve Wynn has denied the sexual misconduct allegations but resigned as CEO last year.

The commission is deliberating whether Wynn Resorts is still suitable to hold a casino license as it plans to open Encore Boston Harbor in June.


Gun-maker to ask Supreme Court to hear Sandy Hook appeal

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a Connecticut court ruling that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that had been filed by victims’ relatives.

Court documents filed Friday show that Remington notified the Connecticut Supreme Court of its plans to pursue an appeal with the nation’s highest court.

The gunman used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown in 2012. A survivor and relatives of nine victims sued the Madison, North Carolina, gun-maker.

While a lower Connecticut court dismissed the lawsuit, the state Supreme Court ruled last month that Remington can be sued over how it marketed the rifle to the public.


Facebook tweaks tools for remembering dead friends and changed fine print in Europe on data terms of service

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook says it will use artificial intelligence to help it find profiles of people who have died, so their friends and family members won’t get, for instance, painful reminders about their birthday. The social network said on Tuesday that it is also adding a “tributes” section to accounts that have been memorialized, that is, designated as belonging to someone who has died. Facebook is also tightening its rules around who can memorialize an account. Until now, anyone could do this by sending the company proof that someone had died, such an obituary. Now, it will have to be a friend or family member.

In Europe, The European Commission says Facebook has changed the fine print in its terms of service to clearly explain to users that it makes money by using their data. The social media giant modified its terms and conditions to better inform users what they are signing up for according to the Commission.