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Update on the latest in business:

September 28, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares rebound on strong US economic data

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets rebounded on Friday as strong U.S. economic data supported the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates.

Broad gains by Apple and Amazon helped most U.S. indexes bounce back from four days of modest losses. Apple rose 2.1 percent to $224.95 on Thursday after JPMorgan Chase analyst Samik Chatterjee said the stock could climb another 20 percent by the end of next year. Amazon gained 1.9 percent to $2,012.98 after another analyst forecast more revenue for its retail, advertising and web services units. The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,914.00. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 percent to 26,439.93. The Nasdaq composite was 0.6 percent higher at 8,041.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 0.1 percent to 1,690.53.

The U.S. economy grew at a robust annual rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter, its best performance in nearly four years, the government reported Thursday. But economists believe growth has slowed in the current quarter partly because of a drag from trade. On Wednesday, the Fed signaled its confidence in the U.S. economy by raising a key interest rate for a third time this year. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said another hike was likely before the year’s end.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose to remain above $72 per barrel.

The dollar rose against the yen and the euro.

GOOGLE CEO-CONGRESS

Google CEO to meet with US lawmakers after previous snub

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google CEO Sundar Pichai is scheduled to meet privately with members of Congress Friday after he and his boss, Google co-founder Larry Page, stood up lawmakers at a public hearing earlier this month.

The closed-door gathering is expected to include discussions about President Donald Trump’s recent allegations that Google has been rigging the results of its influential search engine to suppress conservative viewpoints. Google has denied any political bias.

Recent reports that Google is poised to re-enter China with a search engine generating censored search results to comply with the demands of that country’s Communist government are also expected to be on the agenda. Also potential new regulations that would define how much personal information that internet companies can collect about people using their services.

Both Trump and some U.S. lawmakers also have been raising the possibility of asking government regulators to investigate whether Google has abused its power to thwart competition through its dominant search engine and other widely used services that include Gmail, YouTube, the Chrome web browser and its Android software that runs most of the world’s smartphones.

JAPAN-HONDA RECALL

Honda recalls Accord, Insight vehicles for software problem

TOKYO (AP) — Honda is recalling about 232,000 2018 Accord vehicles and 2019 Insight hybrid cars in the U.S. for malfunctioning software for the rear camera display.

There have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem, Honda Motor Co. spokeswoman Tomoko Takemori said Friday.

The Tokyo-based automaker said that apart from the U.S. recall, Honda is recalling 14,000 vehicles in Canada, more than 6,000 vehicles in Germany and nearly 3,000 in South Korea for the same problem.

The software will be updated free of charge, the company said.

It said the rear camera display does not show the images properly when the driver shifts into rear in the affected vehicles, a problem that can be dangerous and does not comply with U.S. requirements.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic reports scheduled for today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department releases its August personal income and spending report today.

FEDERAL RESERVE-POWELL

Powell: Fed rate increases are intended to prolong recovery

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the economy is healthy and that the Fed’s steady interest rate increases are intended to prolong its expansion.

Powell says he and his colleagues believe the Fed’s approach to gradually raising rates from ultra-lows to historically normal levels “is helping to sustain this strong economy for the longer-run benefit of all Americans.”

The Fed chairman says the benefits of the strong economy have helped boost employment but notes that those benefits haven’t reached all Americans.

Powell spoke to a group of Rhode Island business executives on Thursday. His remarks come one day after the Fed raised its key policy rate for a third time this year and signaled that it plans to tighten credit once more this year and three times in 2019.

SHIPYARD CONTRACTS

Navy awards $3.9 billion contract to Bath Iron Works

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The U.S. Navy says it’s awarded a ship’s $3.9 billion contract to Bath Iron Works to build four new destroyers.

The Navy announced Friday that it awarded the contract to the Bath shipyard as part of a plan to build 10 new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Competitor Huntington Ingalls of Mississippi will build six destroyers.

The contracts contain options for additional ships if Congress appropriates more money.

The Bath shipyard will build the destroyers over four years.

The shipyard this year successfully fought to receive $45 million in non-refundable state tax credits over 15 years, down from $60 million over 20 years as originally proposed.

The shipyard employs 5,500 workers and says it wants to stay competitive with the Mississippi shipyard as it bids to build the Navy’s new frigate.

WOOD PRODUCTS-EXPANSION

Federal grant aims to expand market for wood products

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The U.S. Commerce Department is spending $3 million to explore expanding the market for wood products in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and New York.

The grant will bring together the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Northern Forest Center and the Northern Border Regional Commission to assess the supply and demand for wood products, create a strategy for expanding markets and pay for projects that support the industry’s growth.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the project will boost jobs and expand a critical industry across the Northeast.

SEC-ELON MUSK

Tesla, directors indicate they stand behind Musk

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla and its board of directors are indicating their support for CEO Elon Musk, who federal regulators are seeking to oust over allegations he committed securities fraud.

In a brief joint statement, the electric car maker and its board say they are “fully confident” in Musk, his integrity and his leadership of the company. It says their focus remains on ramping up production of Tesla’s Model 3 and “delivering for our customers, shareholders and employees.”

Earlier Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission asked a federal court to oust Musk as Tesla’s chairman and CEO, alleging in a complaint that he committed securities fraud with false statements in August about plans to take the company private.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Musk was close to settling with U.S. securities regulators over the allegations, but backed out at the last moment.

ELECTION SECURITY-VULNERABLE SCANNER

Researchers: 11-year-old flaw in vote scanner still unfixed

UNDATED (AP) — Security researchers say an uncorrected flaw in a vote-counting machine used in 23 U.S states leaves it vulnerable to hacking 11 years after the manufacturer was alerted to it.

The finding was highlighted in a Thursday report summarizing attention-grabbing voting technology research at the September DefCon hacker convention in Las Vegas, which highlighted numerous security problems with election equipment.

The M650 high-speed ballot scanner at issue is made by Election Systems & Software, the nation’s leading elections equipment vendor.

Researchers say an infected scanner could potentially swing an election.

But the Nebraska-based manufacturer said it would be extraordinarily difficult to hack the M650 in a real-world environment.

SAN FRANCISCO-$2 BILLION TERMINAL

Crews prep to shore up cracked San Francisco terminal beams

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco transit officials say crews began work to shore up two cracked beams that shuttered a new $2 billion terminal.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority said Thursday that crews removed ceiling panels and light fixtures at the Salesforce Transit Center ahead of installing a system to support the beams that could begin this weekend.

The authority, which operates the transit center, closed the center Tuesday evening.

Workers that morning had discovered a crack 2½ feet (less than 1 meter) long and 4 inches (10 centimeters) deep on a steel beam holding up the transit center’s rooftop park.

They found a smaller crack on a parallel beam later that day.

The beams need to be braced before the transit center can reopen. The support system is being designed.

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