Business Highlights


SEC opens door to startup investing for all

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new form of crowdfunding is coming soon that will allow startups to raise money by selling stock to Main Street investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday adopted rules implementing a 2012 law that opened the door to securities crowdfunding.

For years, artists, charities and entrepreneurs have used the power of the Internet to generate money for projects. Starting in mid-2016, businesses will be able to offer investors a piece of their company by legally selling stock online.


Valeant cutting ties with Philidor

NEW YORK (AP) — Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a company that has come under intense scrutiny for its drug prices, has cut ties with Philidor following accusations that it was a “phantom pharmacy” used solely to artificially boost sales.

Valeant said Friday that the mail-order pharmacy has informed the company that it will shut down as soon as possible.

The imminent end of Philidor comes just hours after the nation’s two largest pharmacy benefit providers, CVS Health and Express Scripts, said that they had ended all interactions with the company citing its business practices. UnitedHealth Group conducted an audit of Philidor in late 2014 and began cutting ties with the company “in the interests of our customers.”


Fed official: Central bank has made no decision on rate hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — A voting member of the Federal Reserve cautioned Friday that the Fed has yet to decide when to raise interest rates even though it issued a statement this week that said a rate hike was possible in December.

John Williams, president of the Fed’s San Francisco regional bank, said he wants to study more economic data in coming weeks before deciding whether the economy is strong enough for the Fed to raise its key short-term rate from a record low. Williams said the Fed decided to say it could decide at its next meeting to avoid surprising investors.


No tricks: Halloween all the rage in Japan as costume play

TOKYO (AP) — For the usually reserved Japanese, Halloween has become the perfect excuse to act wild in strange outfits.

The spooky celebration is consuming the energy, fashion sense and wallets of people for the entire month of October, not just kids but also adults on the prowl with colorful parades, costume parties and pumpkin-inspired desserts, dress-up and decor everywhere.

Halloween revelers are estimated at 20 million people, each spending on average between 1,000 yen ($8) and 1,500 yen ($12), which multiplies to 20 billion yen ($170 million) or 30 billion yen ($250 million) in economic impact.


China’s new baby policy lifts kid stocks, sinks condom maker

HONG KONG (AP) — Shares of companies that make diapers, baby strollers and infant formula got a boost Friday from China’s decision to scrap its one-child policy. But for the maker of a popular brand of condoms, it was not the brightest of days.

Investors are betting on a bump in sales for companies with child-related businesses after China’s Communist leaders announced that all married couples would be allowed to have two children. The economic waves travelled as far afield as New Zealand, where the currency of the dairy exporting country surged.

But shares of Japanese condom maker Okamoto Industries Inc., a favourite of Chinese visitors to Japan, slumped 10 per cent in Tokyo.


US stocks slip but finish month with biggest gain in 4 years

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market drifted lower Friday but finished October with its biggest monthly gain in four years.

U.S. government economic data released Friday and earlier this week suggests the economy is still sluggish, stuck in a pattern of gradual but uneven growth it has followed since the Great Recession. But the outlook for future growth improved and fears waned that a slowing Chinese economy would send the U.S. economy into a tailspin.

Strong corporate earnings in some sectors, like health care and telecommunications, also helped propel the market all the way back to positive for the year after a swoon in August and a rocky September.


US consumer spending records weakest gain in 8 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer spending in September posted the smallest gain in eight months, a sign that shoppers grew cautious at the end of the third quarter.

Americans increased their spending just 0.1 per cent, the Commerce Department said Friday, the weakest showing since they cut spending in January. Income growth inched up 0.1 per cent, which was the smallest amount in four months. Still, spending totals can be influenced by price changes, and falling gasoline costs last month were a big reason for the weaker spending figure. Adjusted for inflation, consumers spent 0.2 per cent more in September.


US paychecks rise at modest 0.6 per cent pace in 3rd quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. workers’ paychecks grew at a moderate rate over the summer, showing little sign of accelerating from the sluggish growth that has persisted since the recession ended.

The employment cost index, which tracks wages, salaries and benefits, rose 0.6 per cent in the July-September quarter from the April-June quarter, the Labor Department said Friday. That is stronger than the second quarter’s 0.2 per cent gain.

Yet in the past 12 months, pay and benefits have risen just 2 per cent. That’s below the 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent typical of a healthy economy.


Chevron cutting up to 7,000 jobs as oil profits shrink

DALLAS (AP) — Chevron is cutting up to 7,000 jobs, or 11 per cent of its workforce, the latest indication of the toll that low oil prices are taking on the industry.

The two biggest U.S. oil companies reported huge profits for the third quarter. Chevron Corp. said Friday that it earned $2 billion, and Exxon Mobil Corp. earned more than $4.2 billion. But those profits are down sharply from a year ago. Chevron’s profit was 64 per cent lower than last year’s third quarter; Exxon’s profit fell 47 per cent, its worst third quarter since 2003.


Fed looks at way to shift big-bank losses to investors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are proposing that the eight biggest U.S. banks build new cushions against losses that would shift the burden to investors.

The Federal Reserve’s proposal put forward Friday means the mega-banks would have to bulk up their capacity to absorb financial shocks by issuing equity or long-term debt equal to prescribed portions of total bank assets.

The idea is that the cost of a huge bank’s failure would fall on investors in the bank’s equity or debt, not on taxpayers.


HP, a Silicon Valley icon, is ready for its break-up

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One of the nation’s most storied tech companies will split in two this weekend, another casualty of seismic shifts in the way people use technology.

Hewlett-Packard was an early pioneer of what became the model for Silicon Valley startups: Founded in 1939 by two Stanford graduates in a garage, HP was long celebrated for its engineering know-how and laid-back corporate culture. It made hefty profits as it grew into a multinational giant.

But after struggling to keep pace with recent trends like the rise of smartphones and cloud computing, HP’s board decided to create two smaller companies, each with a narrower focus.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 92.26 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 17,633.54. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 10.05 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,079.36. The Nasdaq composite index gave up 20.53, or 0.4 per cent, to 5,053.75.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 53 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $46.59 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, advanced 76 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $49.56 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 5.5 cents, or 4.1 per cent, to $1.405 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 2.5 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $1.499 a gallon. Natural gas rose 6.4 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $2.321 per 1,000 cubic feet.