Business Highlights


New way to bet on oil wipes out billions in investor savings

Brokers have been luring investors for years in drilling partnerships with the promise of fat payouts. But this once hot business is coming to a messy end.

Oil prices have plunged and in the past year, investors have lost $20 billion in publicly traded drilling partnerships, according to a report prepared for the Associated Press. That figure does not include losses from $37 billion of bonds sold by the partnerships in the five years since 2010, many down by half in last 12 months, or losses from bets on private partnerships that don’t trade publicly and are difficult to track.


No Fed rate hike likely yet as it monitors global pressures

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not long ago, it seemed a sure bet: The Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by year’s end. Fed Chair Janet Yellen herself said she expected it.

Now, doubts are rising that the Fed will start raising rates before next year from the record lows where they’ve stood since 2008. When its policymakers meet this week, the likelihood of a rate hike is widely seen as close to zero due to a global economic slowdown.


US stocks slip as earnings reports fail to impress

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged lower Monday as investors began another big week of company earnings and looked ahead to a policy meeting of the Federal Reserve.

Companies from Apple to Xerox are reporting earnings this week. About one-third the way through the quarterly earnings season, the results so far have been “nothing spectacular,” said one analyst. More troubling than the middling income reports, is the fact that many companies are failing to meet analysts’ forecasts for revenue.


US new home sales fall sharply in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes plunged sharply in September to the slowest pace in 10 months, as higher prices and slower overall economic growth weigh on the housing market.

The Commerce Department said Monday that new-home sales slumped 11.5 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, the lowest level since November of 2014. September’s drop ended a two-month streak of accelerating sales.

Americans’ zeal for newly built homes took off this year — yet now appears close to having topped out.


Chinese leaders drawing up new long-range growth plan

BEIJING (AP) — Facing pressure to pep up a cooling economy, Chinese leaders met Monday to craft a new long-range blueprint to guide development through the end of this decade.

The Communist Party’s five-year plan is a throwback to the era of central planning but still plays a key role, allowing the ruling party to highlight its goals and policy shifts.

Party leaders are expected to use the 2016-2020 plan to renew their commitment to a marathon effort to shift China from reliance on trade and investment to more self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption.

The urgency for change has increased following a deeper-than-expected decline in economic growth and this year’s boom and bust in stock prices.


Corporate deals set to rise despite global economy jitters

LONDON (AP) — There is no letup in executives’ appetite for corporate takeovers despite volatility in the stock market and mounting concerns over the global economy.

According to a survey released Monday by consulting firm EY, the recent wave of mergers and acquisitions is set to continue over the coming year. It found that 59 per cent of global companies are planning to secure at least one deal over the next 12 months, partly as a means of cushioning waning global growth.

The figure for October is up 40 per cent from last year. It represents the highest interest in acquisitions that the survey has found in its six-year history.


Promise of Mongolia mining boom lures consumer brands

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) — Burger King has opened its first store in sparsely populated Mongolia, joining companies from Pizza Hut to Porsche in anticipating an economic boom from the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine.

Mongolia has long been dependent on mining and animal herding and still has no McDonald’s or Starbucks. But it has begun to see an influx of foreign brands. KFC came in 2013, then Pizza Hut last year, and now the world’s second-largest burger chain.


FedEx predicts 12 per cent increase in holiday shipments

FedEx is bracing for a record volumes this holiday season as the popularity of online shopping continues to grow.

The delivery company predicted Monday that shipments from Black Friday through Christmas Eve will rise 12.4 per cent over last year to 317 million pieces. The company said that to handle the crush, it is hiring more than 55,000 seasonal workers and investing in automation and expansion.

Rival United Parcel Service Inc. will release its holiday forecast on Tuesday.


United Auto Workers, General Motors reach contract agreement

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union and General Motors Co. have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract, avoiding a strike for now.

The UAW said the agreement was reached Sunday night, just 16 minutes before the deadline it had set to either reach an agreement or call a strike at GM’s U.S. plants.

Details of the proposed contract weren’t immediately available. The UAW said local union leaders will meet Wednesday in Detroit to vote on the tentative agreement. If they approve it, GM’s U.S. hourly workers will vote on it.

The agreement covers 52,600 U.S. auto workers at 63 GM facilities in the U.S.


Bridgestone buying Pep Boys for about $835 million

NEW YORK (AP) — Tire and auto service company Bridgestone Corp. is buying auto parts and repair company Pep Boys in for $835 million in a deal that will help Bridgestone gain a more dominant position.

The offer was for $15 per share in cash, a premium of almost 23.5 per cent over Pep Boys’ closing price on Friday. The deal is expected to close in the beginning of 2016 and will add 800 locations to Bridgestone’s nationwide network of 2,200 tire and automotive service centres.


Nissan expands fuel leak recall to 59,000 sedans

DETROIT (AP) — A Nissan recall for possible fuel leaks in crashes has been expanded to include nearly 59,000 Altima and Maxima sedans worldwide.

The recall now covers certain 2013 to 2016 Altima midsize cars and some 2016 Maxima large cars. Also included are some 2014 to 2016 Teana sedans made in Russia. All have V6 engines.

Nissan says in documents posted by U.S. safety regulators that in a crash, fuel could leak from a seal between the gas tank and the fuel sending unit. That could cause a fire.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23.65 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 17,623.05. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 3.97 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,071.18. The Nasdaq composite rose 2.84 points, less than 0.1 per cent, to 5,034.70.

U.S. crude oil lost 62 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to close at $43.98 a barrel in New York. Brent Crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 45 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $47.54 a barrel in London. In other trading, wholesale gasoline fell 1.6 cents to close at $1.288 a gallon, heating oil fell 2.9 cents to close at $1.426 a gallon and natural gas sank 22 cents to close at $2.062 per 1,000 cubic feet.