Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Nov 01, 2016 5:10 PM

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Newspaper deal falls apart as Gannett gives up on Tronc

NEW YORK (AP) — USA Today publisher Gannett walked away Tuesday from its attempted takeover of Tronc, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other major dailies.

Gannett's target was elusive from the beginning, with a publicly contentious back-and-forth between the two companies. Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, rejected at least two bids from Gannett since April because it said it preferred to go it alone and focus on tech-driven initiatives involving artificial intelligence and global expansion in entertainment news and video.

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Stocks fade as nervous investors watch 2016 election

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed broadly lower on Tuesday, as nervous investors continued to monitor the run-up to the 2016 election, which is turning out to be closer than previously expected.

Increasingly, investors' focus has been the presidential election, as polls between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appear to have tightened following last week's news that the FBI had opened a new investigation into Clinton's private email server. The narrowing in the race has introduced a new element of uncertainty into financial markets, something that analysts say is likely to keep trading in check.

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US factory activity picked up in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing expanded in the United States and China last month, good news for a sputtering global economy.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its manufacturing index came in at 51.9, up from 51.5 in September. Anything above 50 signals growth. Ten of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth last month.

Separately across the Pacific, private and official surveys showed Tuesday that China's factory activity rose in October to the highest level in two years, a sign the world's second-biggest economy may be stabilizing after years of decelerating growth.

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US construction spending slumped in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders cut their spending on construction projects in September, the second straight monthly decline. Much of the decrease came as government spending for schools, sewers and transportation projects tumbled — part of a broader yearlong decline in infrastructure funding.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that total construction spending fell 0.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.15 trillion. Publicly-funded construction dropped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of $270.3 billion. Over the past 12 months, government construction has slumped 7.8 percent — a decline equal to nearly $23 billion.

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Pfizer profit plunges 38 percent, misses market forecasts

Drugmaker Pfizer topped off a difficult third quarter with news that it's scrapping a closely watched experimental cholesterol drug, partly due to expectations insurers would limit access so much that it wouldn't make much money, a possible bad omen for the pharmaceutical industry.

The biggest U.S.-based drugmaker on Tuesday reported its quarterly profit plunged 38 percent as higher spending and a slew of acquisition-related charges more than offset higher sales. The mediocre results missed Wall Street expectations and Pfizer lowered the top end of its 2016 profit forecast.

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Freddie Mac income $2.3B in 3Q

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported net income of $2.3 billion for the third quarter, reversing a loss in the same period of 2015.

The government-controlled company said Tuesday its fees from lenders for backing mortgages increased and the impact of interest rates moderated in the July-September period.

Freddie will pay an equivalent dividend of $2.3 billion to the U.S. Treasury next month. Freddie will have paid $101.4 billion in dividends, exceeding its government bailout of $71 billion.

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October US sales fall as auto boom slows

DETROIT (AP) — It's a chilly autumn for U.S. auto sales.

Sales of new cars and trucks fell an estimated 4 percent in October as consumer demand waned, according to Autodata Corp.

Hyundai and Subaru both reported 4-percent sales increases from last October. But General Motors' sales fell 2 percent, Toyota's sales were down 9 percent and Fiat Chrysler's sales dropped 10 percent. Honda's sales fell 4 percent and Nissan's were down 2 percent. Volkswagen's sales fell 18.5 percent.

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KFC owner Yum Brands completes spinoff of China business

NEW YORK (AP) — The owner of KFC and Taco Bell completed the spinoff of its China division, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as a separate company Tuesday.

The Shanghai company, Yum China Holdings Inc., will run the KFC and Pizza Hut chains in mainland China and plans to open the first Taco Bell there before the end of this year. In all, Yum China has 7,300 restaurants in China.

Yum China is trading on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "YUMC."

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Gasoline pipeline blast could raise pump prices in Southeast

HELENA, Ala. (AP) — A fatal explosion has shut down a pipeline supplying gasoline to millions of people across the Southeast — the second accident and shutdown in two months — raising the specter of another round of gas shortages and price increases.

A dirt-moving track hoe struck the pipeline, ignited gasoline and sparked a blast Monday, killing one worker and injuring five others. Flames and thick black smoke continued to soar on Tuesday, and firefighters built an earthen berm to contain the burning fuel.

The pipeline provides nearly 40 percent of the region's gasoline and usually runs at or near full capacity.

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Starbucks rolls out 'unity' cup ahead of Election Day

SEATTLE (AP) — Starbucks has unveiled a new cup in the U.S. that it says is meant to be a "symbol of unity." The green cup features a mosaic of more than 100 people, including a coffee farmer and barista.

CEO Howard Schultz calls it a "divisive time in our country" and said in a statement that the coffee giant wanted to come up with a symbol to serve "as a reminder of our shared values."

The cup debuts Tuesday, a week ahead of the election and the same day Seattle-based Starbucks brings back its traditional holiday drinks.

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Angie's List may seek outside help, possible sale

Angie's List may be seeking a partner or a buyer after watching its sales slide for more than a year. The Indianapolis company is working with Allen & Co. LLC and BofA Merrill Lynch to explore "strategic alternatives."

Last year, the Indianapolis company rejected a $512 million takeover offer from internet company IAC/InterActiveCorp. It said the per-share offer of $8.75 was too low.

Angie's List Inc. reported a third-quarter loss of $16.8 million Tuesday, with per-share results and revenue missing Wall Street expectations.

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The Dow Jones industrial average lost 105.32 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,037.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 14.43 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,111.72 and the Nasdaq composite lost 35.56 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,153.58.

U.S. benchmark oil futures fell 19 cents to close at $46.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 47 cents to $48.14 a barrel. In other energy trading, heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.52 a gallon, wholesale gasoline rose 6 cents to $1.48 a gallon and natural gas fell 12 cents to $2.90 per 1,000 cubic feet.