Business Highlights

February 7, 2020 GMT


Healthy US job market: How big a political edge for Trump?

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. hiring jumped last month, and many people began looking for work, showing that the economy remains robust despite threats from China’s viral outbreak, an ongoing trade war and struggles at Boeing. The strong job growth gives President Donald Trump more evidence for his assertion that the economy is flourishing under his watch. It may also complicate the argument his Democratic presidential rivals are making that the economy isn’t benefiting everyday Americans.


Flow of Chinese tourists becomes a worrying trickle for Asia

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian nations have profited handsomely from the impressive growth in tourists from China over the past decade, but the specter of a rapidly spreading virus has raised concerns over prospects for future growth. China sent 150 million tourists abroad in 2018, a stunning jump from its 10.5 million international travelers in 2000. Tourism revenues are a major source of national income for many countries, and Chinese visitors now generally top the charts in terms of numbers and spending. But as the flow of Chinese visitors becomes a trickle. a downturn could hit many people hard.


Ford top automotive executive retires in management shake-up

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is shaking up its management after a poor fourth-quarter financial performance and the botched launch of the Explorer SUV. The company says that automotive President Joe Hinrichs will retire. Jim Farley, president of new business and strategy, will become chief operating officer in charge of global markets and automotive operations. In addition, product development chief Hau Thai-Tang will take on an expanded role for products, services and customer experiences. Ford’s full-year profit plunged by more than $3.6 billion last year, and it lost $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter. Quarterly revenue fell 5% to $39.7 billion.


Credit Suisse says CEO Thiam resigns amid spying scandal

GENEVA (AP) — The CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is resigning after nearly five years on the job, saying that a spying scandal caused “anxiety and hurt” and tarnished the firm’s reputation. The bank said Friday that its board had accepted the resignation of Tidjane Thiam. It will take effect on Feb. 14. He will be replaced by Thomas Gottstein, the CEO of the bank’s Swiss operations. The spying scandal erupted last year after it emerged that two former executives had been spied on. An external investigation found that the chief operation officer had ordered the spying but cleared Thiam of involvement.


Fed signals steady interest rates as economic risks lessen

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve believes that downside risks to the U.S. economy have lessened with the easing of trade tensions and better prospects for global growth. But officials note a concern that possible spillovers from a deadly virus in China represent a new threat. In its semi-annual monetary policy report, the Fed did not signal any imminent changes in its benchmark interest rate, which it cut three times last year to the current historically low range of 1.5% to 1.75%.


Holiday on plastic: US credit card debt surged in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans gave their credit cards a real workout this past holiday season. The Federal Reserve says that borrowing on credit cards rose by the largest amount in more than two decades in December. Total U.S. consumer borrowing rose $22.1 billion in December. The overall December surge was led by a $12.6 billion increase in the category that includes credit cards. It was the biggest one-month gain in credit card debt since a $19.5 billion increase in April 1998.


Hyundai recalls cars for problem that can cause engine fires

DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai is recalling nearly 430,000 small cars because water can get into the antilock brake computer, cause an electrical short and possibly an engine fire. The recall is another in a series of problems that the South Korean automaker and its related company Kia have had with engine fires during the past few years. Past problems have triggered an investigation by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The latest recall covers certain 2006 through 2011 Elantra and 2007 through 2011 Elantra Touring vehicles.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — FedEx will tweak its operations by having its ground-delivery unit take over some deliveries from the company’s separate and more costly express business. The move announced Friday is designed to make FedEx more efficient in handling residential deliveries, which are booming due to the growth in online shopping. Shares of the Memphis, Tennessee-based company jumped 4.7% to close at $155.66. It was the stock’s best day since Nov. 4.


S&P 500 slips for first time this week as momentum stalls

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed lower for the first time this week but still had their best weekly gain since June. Technology companies did worse than the rest of the market. Stocks are coming off a four-day rally as traders tempered their worries about economic fallout from the virus outbreak that originated in China.


The S&P 500 fell 18.07 points, or 0.5%, to 3,327.71. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 277.26 points, or 0.9%, to 29,102.51. The Nasdaq slid 51.64 points, or 0.5%, to 9,520.51. The Russell 2000 index lost 20.68 points, or 1.2%, to 1,656.78.