Business Highlights
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Business Highlights

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Misguided virus fears hitting Asian American businesses

NEW YORK (AP) — Asian-American businesses in major U.S. cities are seeing a remarkable decline in customers amid fears about the viral outbreak that originated in China. City and health officials are trying to stanch the financial bleeding through information campaigns and personal visits to shops and restaurants. They emphasize that with just 15 cases diagnosed in the entire country there is no reason to avoid them. Some business owners have seen their customer traffic cut by more than half and are anxiously waiting for things to return to normal.

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China virus outbreak chilling recovery for Asian economies

BANGKOK (AP) — South Korea’s president says the coronavirus crisis has put the economy into an “emergency situation,” Japan is on the brink of recession and big manufacturers are forecasting a whole world of woe. As many Chinese finally go back to work after their longest Lunar New Year holiday ever, the economic fallout from the outbreak that began in Wuhan may be just beginning. Companies are warning their bottom lines will take a hit, and governments are ramping up stimulus measures for economies that just weeks ago were hoping to see recoveries after months of uncertainty due to trade tensions and slowing global growth.

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Trump opposes possible ban on sale of jet engines to China

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signalled that he opposes efforts to block the sale of jet engines to China. Trump’s tweets appeared intended to thwart a proposal from within his own administration to limit exports of engines jointly produced by General Electric and a French company. Trump’s tweets followed a report in The Wall Street Journal that his administration was weighing a ban on shipments to China of a jet engine produced jointly by GE and the French company Safran SA. The Commerce Department declined to comment. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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A rare miss for Walmart to end the year

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart reported disappointing fourth-quarter profits after a sluggish and shortened holiday shopping season. Overseas, violent social protests in Chile cut into international sales. Walmart also delivered a weak profit forecast for the year. It was a rare miss for the discounter, which has distanced itself from rivals through strong online grocery sales while holding its own against Amazon. Walmart is the first major retailer to report quarterly results, and the numbers underscore a multitude of challenges that retailers faced over the holidays. It was the shortest holiday shopping season since 2013, leaving retailers scrambling to figure out how to get people thinking about spending sooner.

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HSBC cuts headcount by 35,000 in deep overhaul

LONDON (AP) — HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, will cut some 35,000 jobs. The move is one of the biggest changes in years for the bank, which is based in London but makes most of its money in Asia. Interim chief executive Noel Quinn said the number of people employed by the bank would fall from 235,000 to 200,000 in the next three years. The bank said its net profit fell 53% in 2019 to $6 billion. HSBC said it plans to revamp its U.S. and European business and shed $100 billion in assets. The bank said the virus outbreak that began in China has caused a “significant disruption” for its staff, suppliers and customers.

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Franklin Resources buying Legg Mason for $4.5 billion

SAN MATEO, Calif. (AP) — Franklin Resources is buying rival investment manager Legg Mason for $4.5 billion. It’s the latest shakeup in an industry grappling with customers who keep clamouring for lower fees. Franklin Resources will pay $50 for each Legg Mason share, and it will assume about $2 billion in debt. The combined company will operate as Franklin Templeton, and the deal is expected to close no later than the third quarter of this year. Analysts called it a “win-win” deal because it gives the combined company more size and diversification. Shares of both companies jumped in morning trading.

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PG&E banking on big profits after utility leaves bankruptcy

SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric says it expects to become more profitable than ever. But that won’t come until after the nation’s largest utility emerges from bankruptcy and pays off more than $25 billion in losses it sustained in catastrophic wildfires ignited by its outdated equipment. The rosy outlook came Tuesday with PG&E’s results for 2019. The San Francisco company lost $7.6 billion last year, widening from its previous record loss of $6.8 billion in 2018. PG&E sees much better times ahead if it can get out of bankruptcy by a June 30 deadline. It expects to post a profit of nearly $2.4 billion in 2024.

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes closed with mostly modest losses Tuesday as the market gave up some of its solid gains from the past two weeks. Banks and technology stocks accounted for most of the decline. The Nasdaq eked out a tiny gain that was good enough to nudge it to another record high.

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The S&P 500 index fell 9.87 points, or 0.3%, to 3,370.29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 165.89 points, or 0.6%, to 29,232.19. The Nasdaq inched up 1.57 points, or less than 0.1%, to 9,732.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 4.06 points, or 0.2%, to 1,683.52.

The Associated Press

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