Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Dec 09, 2016 5:22 PM


Coca-Cola names Quincey as next CEO, Kent stays as chairman

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent will step down next year and be succeeded by the company's No. 2 executive, at a time when people are drinking less sugary soda.

Chief Operating Officer James Quincey, long expected to become the next CEO, will take over leadership of the world's largest beverage maker on May 1. Kent will stay on as chairman of the board.

Quincey, who's worked at Coca-Cola for about two decades, has led its drive to cut down the sugar in its drinks and said Friday that he'll continue to do that as CEO. He also said he'll keep pushing for more low-calorie beverages and for offering soda in smaller cans and bottles.


Michigan lets autonomous cars on roads without human driver

DETROIT (AP) — Companies can now test self-driving cars on Michigan public roads without a driver or steering wheel under new laws that could push the state to the forefront of autonomous vehicle development.

The package of bills signed into law Friday comes with few specific state regulations and leaves many decisions up to automakers and companies like Google and Uber.

It also allows automakers and tech companies to run autonomous taxi services and permits test parades of self-driving tractor-trailers as long as humans are in each truck. And they allow the sale of self-driving vehicles to the public once they are tested and certified, according to the state.


Record-setting stock streak hits sixth day on broad gains

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose for the sixth day in a row Friday as major indexes continued to set records. The biggest gains went to companies that have been mostly left out of the postelection rally, including health care companies and makers of household goods.

Stocks were solidly higher throughout the day and jumped an hour before the close of trading. Coca-Cola and Pfizer both gained 2.5 percent. Investors have mostly avoided consumer goods makers and health companies in recent weeks. Instead they've bought banks and machinery companies, which could benefit more from a faster-growing economy.


Trump expected to name a top Goldman exec to economic post

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Gary Cohn, the No. 2 executive at Goldman Sachs, to a prominent White House economic post, according to two people informed of the decision.

Cohn, 56, would lead the White House's National Economic Council, a posting that would require him to leave his $21-million-a-year job as president and chief operating officer at Goldman. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly vilified Goldman Sachs for the firm's outsize influence in the financial system. Yet with Cohn's selection, Trump will have named three current or former Goldman officials to key positions in his administration.


Gov't: Takata air bag recalls to cover 42M cars when done

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government says automakers will end up recalling 42 million vehicles with potentially deadly air bag inflators made by Takata Corp.

The National Highway Safety Administration released a schedule for further recalls on Friday as it tries to get automakers to move faster on the fixes.

Eventually, about 69 million inflators that can potentially explode with too much force and spew shrapnel into people will be recalled. As of last week, only 12.5 million, or about 18 percent, of the inflators had been replaced, and NHTSA said some automakers weren't doing enough to contact owners.

Eleven people have been killed by Takata inflators in the U.S. and many more injured.


Japan ratifies Pacific trade pact that Trump plans to dump

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won parliamentary approval Friday for ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from the 12-nation trade pact.

Upper house lawmakers approved the TPP on Friday, heeding Abe's calls to push ahead with it despite Trump's rejection of the free-trade initiative championed by President Barack Obama.

Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has an ample majority in both houses of parliament. Ratification of needed regulatory revisions by the Cabinet is expected soon.


US wholesalers cut stockpiles, clearing way for new orders

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale businesses cut back their stockpiles while sales rose in October. That's a trend that could boost demand for factory goods in the months ahead.

The Commerce Department says that wholesale inventories fell 0.4 percent, the largest drop in eight months. Sales rose 1.4 percent.

Higher sales and a drop in inventories are good signs that consumers and businesses are spending more, and that wholesalers are clearing out a backlog of goods. That suggests they will have to order more goods to meet future demand.


Washington state suing agrochemical giant over PCB pollution

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington has become the first U.S. state to sue the agrochemical giant Monsanto over pervasive pollution from PCBs, the toxic industrial chemicals that have accumulated in plants, fish and people around the globe for decades.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the lawsuit at a news conference in downtown Seattle Thursday, saying they expect to win hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars from the company. The company said the case "lacks merit."

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used in many industrial and commercial applications. Monsanto produced them from 1935 until Congress banned them in 1979.


Murdoch's 21st Century Fox agrees to buy Europe's Sky

NEW YORK (AP) — Rupert Murdoch may get all of European broadcaster Sky after all after the U.K. phone-hacking scandal scotched a previous effort.

Sky said Friday that Murdoch's entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox has reached a preliminary deal to buy the rest of Sky for 10.75 pounds ($13.60) per share, the equivalent of about 11.2 billion pounds ($14.1 billion).

Fox already owns just over 39 percent of Sky, and the deal price values the entire broadcaster at 18.5 billion pounds.


The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 142.04 points, or 0.7 percent, to 19,756.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 13.34 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,259.53. The Nasdaq composite finished up 27.14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,444.50.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil jumped 66 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $51.50 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 44 cents to $54.33 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.51 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 1 cent to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas gained 5 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $3.75.