Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Nov 08, 2016 6:00 PM


Thanksgiving Day shopping is here to stay — with some tweaks

NEW YORK (AP) — Thanksgiving Day shopping isn't going away, but some stores are rethinking their strategies on whether it makes sense to be open on the holiday itself.

Many of the nation's major mall operators and the big retailers that anchor them — Toys R Us, J.C. Penney, and Macy's — are still kicking off the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving Day. Others, including the nation's largest shopping mall, are closing for Thanksgiving after being open for the past several years.

Some retailers that are closing cite respect for the holiday, but in truth the cost of being open may be more than the return.


Thin peaks: Britons grumble as Toblerone chocolate shrinks

GENEVA (AP) — The maker of Toblerone Swiss chocolate has widened the spaces in some of its iconic, triangle-array bars, offering about 10 percent less product for the same price.

Mondelez International says the move was necessary to cope with higher prices for ingredients. But many consumers are livid at the perceived sleight of hand and the change to the traditional look of the treat.

For many, the Toblerone is a special treat linked to travel — a gift purchased at the airport before boarding a plane home — though it is increasingly available in supermarkets and shops.


US stocks close broadly higher as investors eye election

Investors remained in a buying mood on Election Day, sending U.S. stocks broadly higher and building on big gains from a day earlier.

The U.S. presidential election has rattled financial markets in recent weeks as polls between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tightened.

Wall Street has largely seen Clinton as more likely to maintain the status quo, while viewing Trump's polices as less clear. Tuesday's rally, coupled with Monday's market gains, suggest the market anticipated a Clinton win.


US job openings increase slightly in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted slightly more job openings in September, a likely sign that the steady job gains of recent months could continue.

The Labor Department said that job openings edged up to 5.49 million in September, a modest increase from 5.45 million in August.

The data affirms recent evidence that hiring has been more tempered after setting a robust pace of the prior two years. Still, the economy is generating enough jobs to reduce unemployment and boost incomes.


CVS Health's 3Q profit jumps, but revenue disappoints

CVS Health Corp. missed Wall Street's revenue expectations in the third quarter, despite sales jumping due to acquisitions. The company trimmed its profit forecast for this year, triggering a stock sell-off.

The drugstore chain and pharmacy benefits manager also noted significant headwinds that forced it to reduce its 2016 profit forecast by a nickel per share. Those include a soft seasonal business, slowing prescription growth in the overall market and recent pharmacy network changes expected to reduce the number of prescriptions filled at its pharmacies this year. Those network changes will have a bigger effect in 2017, CVS predicted.


Embattled Valeant Pharma reports 3Q loss, slashes guidance

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., once a Wall Street darling now vilified for its huge drug price hikes, posted dismal third-quarter results and sharply reduced its profit forecast for 2016.

The Canadian drugmaker, the target of multiple government probes over its pricing practices and questionable financial reporting, on Tuesday reported a third-quarter loss and missed the Street's profit expectations by a wide margin. That was mostly due to payer demands for bigger price rebates and a related $1.05 billion charge for writing down the value of assets, mainly its Salix stomach disorders business, which it plans to sell.


Tesla inks deal to buy German manufacturing engineering firm

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Tesla Motors says it has agreed to buy a German engineering company to help automate its electric car manufacturing.

The company is buying buy Grohmann Engineering, which Tesla says is a leader in highly automated manufacturing methods.

Tesla expects to start building the $35,000 Model 3 electric car next year, and it wants to build 500,000 cars per year in two years. More than 300,000 people have put down deposits to reserve a Model 3.


Dubai, Hyperloop One to study potential for Abu Dhabi line

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The futuristic city-state of Dubai announced a deal on Tuesday with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One to study the potential for building a line linking it to the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi.

The announcement of the deal took place atop the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, with a panoramic view of the skyline of this futuristic city-state serving as both a backdrop and a sign of Dubai's desire to be the first to rush toward the future.

However, no financial terms were immediately discussed and the technology itself remains under testing.


Iran signs preliminary $4.8B gas deal with Total

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Tuesday signed a preliminary $4.8 billion gas agreement with the French company Total, the first such deal after a nuclear accord with world powers removed international sanctions that had squeezed its fossil fuel-based economy.

The agreement, to be finalized next year, is for new development at the vast South Pars gas field, and aims to produce 1.8 billion cubic feet (56 million cubic meters) of gas per day for domestic consumption and export.

Total would have a 50.1 percent stake, the China National Petroleum Corporation would have 30 percent, and Petropars, a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company, will have 19.9 percent ownership.


Southwest Airlines pilots approve 4-year deal, higher pay

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines Co. pilots have ratified a new four-year contract that includes higher pay and bonuses.

The Dallas-based carrier on Monday announced approval of the deal. About 84 percent of Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association members who cast ballots voted in favor of the agreement.

The contract includes an immediate 15 percent pay raise.

Contract negotiations began in 2012. Mediated talks started in 2014. Pilots last November rejected another proposed contract.


The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 73.14 points, or 0.4 percent, to 18,332.74. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 8.04 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,139.56. The Nasdaq composite added 27.32 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,193.49.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 9 cents to close at $44.98 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 11 cents to close at $46.04 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.37 a gallon. Heating oil also held steady at $1.44 a gallon. Natural gas fell 18 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $2.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.