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Business Highlights

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:28:54 UT

TAORMINA, Sicily (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies are putting pressure on internet companies and social media sites to do more to stop the spread of "hateful ideology," appealing to their sense of social responsibility to more swiftly identify and remove terror propaganda. The measure, signed by the seven leaders including President Donald Trump, was a sign of solidarity with Britain following the attack on Manchester that killed 22 outside a pop music concert. TAORMINA, Sicily (AP) — President Trump's criticism of Germany's trade surplus with the United States is getting attention again as leaders of seven wealthy democracies gather for difficult talks on trade and climate change. TAORMINA, Italy (AP) — A top White House official says President Donald Trump's views on climate change are "evolving" following his discussions with European leaders who are pushing him to stay in the Paris climate accord. WASHINGTON (AP) — The president's chief economic adviser is casting doubt on the future of U.S. coal, saying it "doesn't really make that much sense anymore as a feedstock." Cohn says that by exporting more natural gas and investing in wind and solar energy, the U.S. "can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly." WASHINGTON (AP) — The gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of the economy — grew in the January-March quarter at a 1.2 percent annual rate, the government estimated Friday. COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — As enrollment in online charter schools explodes, states are struggling to keep up and to put in place regulations ensuring students get a real education and cyber schools get the right amount of funding. The future of virtual schools is part of the larger school-choice debate, seeing renewed attention since the installation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. DENVER (AP) — Colorado's governor says state and federal agencies are invest



GameStop and Zoe's fall; Deckers and Costco climb

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:19:04 UT

The beauty products company's profit and sales topped analysts' expectations. Shares in real estate investment trusts fell Friday, continuing their pattern of lagging the market this year. Household goods makers made some of the largest gains Friday in an overall lackluster trading day.



More records, barely, as stocks rise for 7th day

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:16:58 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks made the tiniest of gains Friday as media companies and sellers of beauty products and food ticked higher. Media companies including Comcast and Disney also advanced while video game and drug companies slipped. "Investors have been conditioned over multiple years to buy the dip any time there's a market pullback," said Jason Draho, the head of American tactical asset allocation for UBS Wealth Management. Costco Wholesale rose $3.13, or 1.8 percent, to $177.86 after the warehouse club had a strong quarter as sales and member payments both increased. GameStop's first-quarter results were stronger than analysts expected, but sales of new software and wireless devices were disappointing. Crude oil prices bounced back from a sharp drop the day before. On Thursday a group of 24 nations including the OPEC countries agreed to a nine-month extension of a cut in oil production. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline added 3 cents to $1.64 a gallon. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index shed 0.6 percent but the South Korean Kospi climbed 0.5 percent.



How major US stock market indexes fared on Friday

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:16:14 UT

How major US stock market indexes fared on Friday U.S. stocks made the tiniest of gains Friday as media companies and sellers of beauty products and food ticked higher. Major indexes added to their winning streak and record highs.



Markets Right Now: Tiny gains push S&P, Nasdaq to records

Fri, 26 May 2017 20:08:56 UT

Tiny gains push S&P, Nasdaq to records The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local): Major U.S. stock indexes ended the day pretty much where they started as trading was quiet ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. Meager gains by the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite were enough to leave both at record highs. U.S. stocks are edging lower in midday trading following a six-day winning streak. After a weak outlook from video game retailer GameStop, Activision Blizzard fell 1.3 percent and Electronic Arts lost 1.3 percent.



Trump's budget cuts West Coast quake warning system funding

Fri, 26 May 2017 20:04:47 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — President Donald Trump's budget proposal would cut federal funding for an earthquake early warning system for California, Oregon and Washington state, a development that seismology experts and some local leaders say would be the end of the project. The system would allow time for people to take cover and to slow or halt such things as critical industrial processes and transportation systems. Rep. Ken Calvert, a Republican who represents an inland Southern California district, is chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and the Environment and has supported funding of the earthquake warning system in the past.




US rig count rises 7 this week to 908; Colorado up 5

Fri, 26 May 2017 19:27:16 UT

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by seven this week to 908. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Friday that 722 rigs sought oil and 185 explored for natural gas this week.



The Latest: Merkel reminds Trump about German investment

Fri, 26 May 2017 18:39:20 UT

Group of Seven leaders are appealing to internet providers and social media companies to join the fight against terrorism. The leaders meeting in Taormina, Sicily signed a declaration pledging to intensify the fight against terror in the wake of "the brutal attack in Manchester" that killed 22 people outside a pop music concert. The declaration urges internet providers to "act urgently in developing and sharing new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection of content promoting incitement to violence." The leaders say they are targeting "propaganda supporting terrorism and violent extremism, online recruitment by extremists, radicalization and incitement to violence," and that they would work with youth and religious leaders, prisons and educational institutions toward that end. British Prime Minister Theresa May held up the declaration on fighting terror during a group photo with the other leaders after the document was signed. Residents of the hilltop Sicilian town of Taormina are cheering and waving as the leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies pass by — a rarity for global summits, where ordinary people are usually kept far away for security reasons. Crowds lined the route as Donald Trump and the other six G-7 leaders made their way from Taormina's famed ancient Greek theater, where they took the traditional G-7 photo, to the five-star San Domenico Palace, where meetings were taking place The leaders made a brief stop along the way to take in a breathtaking view of the sea. A German government spokesman says trade surpluses like the one that's provoking President Donald Trump's ire are the result of market factors and are "neither good nor bad." [...] speaking in Berlin, Streiter said Germany's current account surplus — the broadest measure of trade and investment flows — reflects economic factors that the German government can't directly do anything about. Oxfam activists



Stable gas prices expected to boost Memorial Day road trips

Fri, 26 May 2017 17:54:57 UT

Stable gasoline prices are expected to fuel a slight increase in long trips this Memorial Day weekend. Vehicle sales fell about 2 percent through April, but sales of SUVs and trucks held up better, which analysts attribute to stable gas prices.



Off-lease used cars are flooding market, pushing prices down

Fri, 26 May 2017 17:16:31 UT

Like many companies that juiced sales with sweet leases during the past few years, Nissan's luxury brand now faces a hefty supply of nice, low-mileage used cars at a time when most people want SUVs. For the U.S. auto industry, about 3.5 million vehicles will come off lease this year, after 3 million returned last year, according to Automotive Lease Guide. — Competition from used cars likely will push down the price of new ones. Since the lightly used cars are entering a market that favors trucks and SUVs, the prices will fall, says Jim Lentz, Toyota's CEO in North America. Cars were holding their values and automakers expected to sell them at a tidy profit when leases ended in two or three years. General Motors cut sales to rental car companies last year to control the used car supply, Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens says. [...] GM is reallocating incentive spending away from leases toward conventional financing, as new-car sales are expected to back off slightly from last year's record 17.5 million. Eric Lyman, lead analyst for Automotive Lease Guide, advises consumers now is a good time to lease a car, before leasing cuts become more widespread.



BMW recalls 7-Series cars because doors can fly open

Fri, 26 May 2017 17:11:36 UT

BMW says the doors may appear to be closed and latched but can inadvertently open due to road conditions or occupant contact with the door. The recall came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's road safety agency, asked BMW about owner complaints about doors opening unexpectedly.



French designer shows off DIY robot in public for 1st time

Fri, 26 May 2017 15:31:51 UT

French designer shows off DIY robot in public for 1st time The life-size plastic model responded to English-language commands Friday, picking up and dropping a small ball and swiveling its head to follow people. Designer Gael Langevin unveiled the robot at a technology fair in Romania this week.



Ford's ex-CEO leaves company with $51.1 million

Fri, 26 May 2017 15:27:45 UT

DETROIT (AP) — Ford's former CEO Mark Fields is leaving the company with an estimated $51.1 million in cash, stock awards and pension benefits. Ford made record profits during his tenure but its stock price dropped nearly 40 percent on investors' concerns about the company's future.



US growth in Jan.-March upgraded to still-slow 1.2 pct. rate

Fri, 26 May 2017 14:56:11 UT

The gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of the economy — expanded in the January-March quarter at a 1.2 percent annual rate, the government said Friday. The government's upgraded estimate of first-quarter growth reflected new-found strength in consumer spending, business investment and state and local government spending. Many experts have dismissed the notion that the economy can achieve a consistent annual growth rate of at least 3 percent at a time of sluggish worker productivity, an aging workforce and slower spending by consumers — on top of Trump's proposed spending cuts to education, research and social programs. Analysts generally say consumer spending is likely expanding in the current quarter at a much faster rate, lifted by modest income gains and by the tendency of consumers to spend more at a time of rising stock prices and home values.



US durable goods orders fell for first time in 5 months

Fri, 26 May 2017 12:51:29 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods dropped in April for the first time in five months, and a key category that tracks business investment went nowhere for the second straight month. Orders for capital goods, excluding aircraft and military equipment, were flat for the second straight month — potentially worrisome because that category offers clues about where business investment is headed. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported earlier this month that its manufacturing index showed U.S. factories expanding in April for the eighth straight month.



US orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in April for the first time in 5 months

Fri, 26 May 2017 12:30:40 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — US orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in April for the first time in 5 months.



US economy grew at modest 1.2 percent rate in Q1, better than first believed but well below Trump goal

Fri, 26 May 2017 12:29:59 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — US economy grew at modest 1.2 percent rate in Q1, better than first believed but well below Trump goal.



CEO pay by the numbers: How big were last year's raises?

Fri, 26 May 2017 11:40:43 UT

Boards of directors increasingly require that CEOs push their stock price higher to collect their maximum possible payout, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index returned 12 percent last year. Over the last five years, median CEO pay in the survey has jumped by 19.6 percent, not accounting for inflation. The media business is full of big paychecks, where actors and other employees far from the executive suites can make millions of dollars, and the industry's CEOs have traditionally pulled down some of the country's biggest packages. Compensation dropped for nine of the 10 companies scoring the lowest on "Say on Pay" votes, where shareholders give thumbs up or down on top executives' earnings. Auto supplier BorgWarner had last year's second-lowest passing rate in the survey on "Say on Pay," with 60 percent of voting shares saying no or abstaining. The typical health care CEO made $12.9 million, a touch below the $13.2 million made by their counterparts in industrial goods. To calculate CEO pay, Equilar adds salary, bonus, stock option awards and other pay components that include benefits and perks.



First to board or join the horde; is elite travel worth it?

Fri, 26 May 2017 11:20:03 UT

First to board or join the horde; is elite travel worth it? (AP) — Summer travelers may well find themselves stuck in long security lines and squeezed into cramped seats. For frequent travelers, or those who can and want to pay extra, perks are available including upgrades to first-class seats, airport lounges and free food. The Associated Press sent two journalists on a two-day visit to Orlando, Florida — one with perks, and one without. Scott Mayerowitz, who until recently covered the airline industry, has elite status with airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. Premium credit cards aimed at frequent travelers get him into airport lounges. There was also a delay after she forgot to remove a bottle of water from her purse, and found herself waiting shoeless for her belongings as a TSA agent searched her bag. On the return flight, Scott cleared security in about 3 minutes. Scott headed for the roomy airline lounge, and took advantage of the free Wi-Fi, newspapers and breakfast spread that included bagels, muffins, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt and coffee. A day pass costs more than $50, but credit cards aimed at frequent travelers often include lounge access as one benefit that comes with a hefty annual fee of $450 to $550. Scott's airline status means he boards early, and often gets upgraded for free to first class — where there are no middle seats and passengers still get hot meals. Scott was rousted from sleep at 6:45 a.m. the next morning, when an electrical fire meant an evacuation and a trek down 26 flights of stairs.



Japan inflation ticks up in April as oil prices rebound

Fri, 26 May 2017 03:11:25 UT

Energy inflation will likely peak in the July-September quarter and then weaken, Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary. Since wage growth remains weak, cost pressures are not strong enough to sustain stronger inflation.



Asian shares mixed as oil's fall counters Wall St gains

Fri, 26 May 2017 03:02:29 UT

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets are mixed Friday as investors weighed Wall Street's latest gains on strong earnings reports against the latest oil production cut, which dragged down crude prices and commodity shares. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.3 percent to 19,761.98 but South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.4 percent to 2,353.07. An alliance of oil-producing nations extended production cuts for nine months to shore up crude prices. QUOTEWORTHY: "The extent of oil's selloff demonstrates that, even with the extended production cuts now agreed, the U.S. oil price may struggle to get past the early to mid-$50's range for some time yet," said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets.



Utah law that could send online bullies to jail criticized

Fri, 26 May 2017 01:28:46 UT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers hope a new, unusual law cuts down on increasingly troubling forms of cyber harassment by giving authorities the ability to send online bullies to jail for a year. Law enforcement, school officials and support groups back the effort, but some lawyers and a libertarian-leaning group have balked at what they call vague language in the law. The regulation won unanimous approval in the Legislature and makes it a crime to post information online that can identify someone, including their name, photo and place of employment, to "intimidate, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another." An advocacy group says the measure might have helped a gay Utah State University student who was afraid to come forward in 2013 to report being sexually assaulted after someone started posting his photo and phone number on Craigslist along with details on the forms of sex he was interested in.