AP NEWS

Business Highlights

November 5, 2019

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As McDonald’s CEO learned, workplace romance can be perilous

NEW YORK (AP) — Workplace couples are often romanticized — think Bill and Melinda Gates or Michelle and Barack Obama. But the relationships can also be fraught with peril, especially in the #MeToo era. McDonald’s Steve Easterbrook is only the latest chief executive to be ousted over a consensual relationship with an employee. And companies are increasingly adopting policies addressing workplace romances.

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US woos Asia with plan to rival China’s ‘Belt and Road’

BANGKOK (AP) — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the U.S. is investing and trading more in Asia as it rolls out an American plan to support “sustainable” projects in Asia. The plan announced at a U.S. business conference in Bangkok is meant to rival China’s own multibillion dollar “Belt and Road” infrastructure program. As Ross talked up U.S. trade with Asia on Tuesday, China opened a lavish import expo in Shanghai where President Xi Jinping clinked wine glasses with French President Emmanuel Macron.

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EU hopes US will rethink choice to pull out of climate pact

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has voiced regret at the U.S. government’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement and expressed hopes that one of the world’s biggest CO2 emitters will backpedal on its decision and rejoin. European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva says that the global deal signed in 2015 remains “the most important international agreement on climate change” and insisted that the EU will continue to “fight global climate change under this legal framework.”

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EU’s Barnier warns of tough times ahead on UK trade deal

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says the talks on a free trade deal with the U.K. once the country has left the bloc might well be as tough as the Brexit talks over the past years. Barnier told the Web Summit in Lisbon that already by next summer it will be clear if the transition period to agree on future relations will have to be extended. There are fears that Britain will transform into a low-regulation economy that would undercut stringent EU environmental and other standards.

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‘I was appalled’: Black customers say host told them to move

AURORA, Ill. (AP) — An attorney representing a group of black customers who say they were asked to move to another table at a Chicago-area Buffalo Wild Wings because of their skin color says a lawsuit won’t be necessary if the restaurant chain changes the way it hires and trains employees. Two adults who attended last month’s children’s birthday party in Naperville spoke during an emotional news conference Tuesday. They said a host had told the group a regular customer didn’t want to sit around black people.

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At trade show, Xi pledges steps to open Chinese markets

SHANGHAI (AP) — President Xi Jinping has promised gradual steps to open Chinese markets but offered no new initiatives to ease trade tensions with Washington and Europe. He spoke at the opening of an import expo meant to showcase the Chinese market. Beijing has cut tariffs and eased other import restrictions but none of the steps directly addresses complaints by the U.S., Europe and others about technology policies and other irritants that sparked a tariff war with Washington.

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US trade deficit falls to $52.5 billion in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in September to the lowest level in five months as imports dropped more sharply than exports and America ran a rare surplus in petroleum. The Commerce Department says the September gap between what America buys from abroad and what it sells shrank by 4.7% to $52.5 billion.

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Justice Dept forms group to combat contracting fraud

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is forming a special group of prosecutors and watchdogs from several agencies to fight bid-rigging, price fixing and other fraud that hurts competition in federal government contracting. Officials say the new effort against collusion in government procurement aims to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in contracting. They noted that last year the federal government spent more than $550 billion, or about 40% of all non-mandated spending, on contracts for goods and services.

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Stocks have been rallying this fall after a weak summer

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq closed at record highs yet again on Tuesday, and the S&P 500 closed barely below the all-time high it reached a day earlier. The gains in recent weeks have been driven by company earnings that haven’t been nearly as terrible as Wall Street was expecting, interest rate cuts, hopes for a trade truce and a steadily growing economy. The upbeat mood marks a pivot from the summer, when worries about trade and the economy loomed over the market.

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The S&P 500 fell 3.65 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,074.62, the Dow climbed 30.52 points, or 0.1%, to 27,492.63, and the Nasdaq composite rose 1.48 points, or less than 0.1%, to 8,434.68. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 2.22 points, or 0.1%, to 1,599.61.