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Update on the latest business

June 12, 2018


Stocks trading higher on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mostly higher if afternoon trading as technology companies and retailers rise. The S&P 500 index is on pace for a three-month high.

Twitter climbed 6 percent and Dollar Tree gained 3.1 per cent.

A federal judge is expected to rule later today on whether AT&T can buy Time Warner in a major antitrust trial. AT&T rose 0.4 percent and Time Warner fell 0.3 percent.

Restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s soared 13.9 percent after strong quarterly earnings.

Stocks had little reaction to the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.


Fate of massive AT&T-Time Warner merger in US judge’s hands

(Eds: Court session scheduled for 4 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fate of the AT&T-Time Warner merger, a massive media deal opposed by the government that could shape how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies, rests in the hands of a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon is expected to announce in court today his decision in the biggest antitrust trial in years. The Trump Justice Department sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing that it would hurt competition in pay TV and cost consumers more to stream TV and movies.

The mega-merger is a high-stakes bet by AT&T Inc. on the synergy between companies that produce news and entertainment and those that funnel it to consumers — who spend more time watching video on phones and tablets and less time on traditional live TV on a big screen.


US consumer prices up 0.2 pct. in May, 2.8 pct. annually

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in May, with surging gasoline costs driving much of the increase.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index climbed 2.8 percent in May from a year earlier, putting inflation on its fastest annual pace since February 2012. But core prices — which exclude the volatile food and energy categories — have risen a milder 2.2 percent over the past 12 months.

Inflation remains relatively tame, although it has picked up this year. Gasoline prices climbed 1.7 percent in May and surged 21.8 percent from a year ago.

But the slower growth in core prices likely means that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates only gradually. Fed officials are expected to raise rates on Wednesday for the second time this year.


Charitable giving in US tops $400 billion for first time

NEW YORK (AP) — Fueled by a surging stock market and huge gifts from billionaires, charitable giving in the United States in 2017 topped the $400 billion mark for the first time, according to the latest comprehensive report on Americans’ giving patterns.

The Giving USA report says giving from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reached an estimated $410 billion in 2017 — more than the gross domestic product of countries such as Israel and Ireland. That’s up 5.2 percent from an estimated $389.64 billion for 2016.

The biggest increase was in giving to foundations — up 15.5 percent. That surge was driven by large gifts from major philanthropists to their own foundations.

Other sectors with increases of more than 6 percent included education, arts and culture, environment and animal welfare, and public-society benefit organizations.


Senate panel approves nominations for 2 Fed board seats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Banking Committee has approved President Donald Trump’s nomination of Columbia University professor Richard Clarida to be the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. The panel also approved the nomination of Kansas bank commissioner Michelle Bowman to fill another vacancy on the Fed’s seven-member board.

If the nominations win approval as expected from the full Senate, they will fill two of the current four vacancies on the Fed board. Trump has the opportunity to remake the Fed board in his first two years in office by filling six of seven positions.

Clarida, an expert on monetary policy, would succeed Stanley Fischer in the Fed’s No. 2 job. Bowman, the first woman to be the top banking regulator in Kansas, would take the board seat reserved for a community banker.


UK govt wins Brexit skirmish — with concessions

LONDON (AP) — The British government has narrowly defeated a bid to give lawmakers more power over how the U.K. leaves the European Union — but only after offering concessions to a rebellious House of Commons.

By 324 to 298, the House of Commons rejected giving legislators power to send the government back to the negotiating table with Brussels if they don’t like the terms of the Brexit deal struck with the EU.

To avoid defeat, the government promised to make its own changes to the bill to strengthen Parliament’s powers.

The vote was one of the most important in two days of votes that began Tuesday on the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill. The government is seeking to overturn changes made by the House of Lords that soften the terms of the U.K.’s departure from the bloc.


Massachusetts sues opioid maker, executives over drug crisis

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has sued the maker of OxyContin over the deadly opioid crisis and has become the first state to also target the company’s executives.

Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday announced the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and 16 current and former executives and board members, including CEO Craig Landau and members of the Sackler family, which owns the company.

The suit alleges Purdue misled doctors and patients about the risks of opioids and “peddled falsehoods” to sell more drugs and boost profits.

Healey says the Connecticut-based company’s “illegal business model” has left a “path of devastation and destruction.”

Several other states and localities have sued Purdue Pharma, but Healey says the Massachusetts lawsuit is the first to also name its executives.

Purdue Pharma didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


Uber CEO backs surcharge to aid struggling NYC taxi owners

NEW YORK (AP) — The CEO of Uber says New York City should impose a fee on app-hailed rides to help taxi medallion owners who are struggling with debt.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (DAHR’-uh kohzh-roh-SHAH’-hee) told the New York Post on Monday that the city should put the surcharge into a fund to help taxi owners who bought their medallions at sky-high prices. He did not say how much the fee should be.

The value of a taxi medallion has fallen from as much as $1 million to $200,000 since Uber and other ride-hailing companies disrupted the industry.

A group representing Uber drivers blasted the proposal. The Independent Drivers Guild said Khosrowshahi should address “the widespread hardship” faced by drivers in his company.


Chemours ex-worker pleads guilty in China trade secrets case

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A former employee of a chemical company spun off from the DuPont Co. has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets and sell them to Chinese investors.

Former Chemours Co. worker Jerry Jindong Xu, a Canadian citizen, was arrested in New York last August and entered the guilty plea Friday. He faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing on June 27.

Prosecutors say the conspiracy involved the theft of trade secrets related to sodium cyanide, a chemical most often used to mine gold, silver, and other precious metals. Chemours is the world’s largest producer of sodium cyanide.

Authorities have said Xu was aided by an unnamed co-conspirator, a longtime DuPont employee who left the company in 2014 to open a mining consulting business.


Designer Louboutin wins case on red soled high-heels

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — The European Union’s top court has defended French fashion designer Christian Louboutin’s claim to trademark red soled high-heel shoes.

The European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that Van Haren, a Dutch company that sold similar shoes, had infringed the trade mark.

The court said that it did not matter that its shoes were different in shape. It said the registration of the trademark “sought solely to protect that application of a colour to a specific part of that product.”

Louboutin said in a statement that it “warmly welcomes this judgment.”

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