Many see cause for optimism despite slower US job growth
WASHINGTON (AP) — Consider looking past January’s so-so job growth.
At first glance, Friday’s government report on U.S. hiring was a downer — 151,000 added jobs, well below the pace of the previous few months.
Yet once you take a fuller view, a brighter picture of the job market emerges: A sub-5 per cent unemployment rate. Healthy pay raises. And a stream of people who grew confident enough in the job market to start looking for work.
Super Bowl ads go for the safety
NEW YORK (AP) — Talking animals, celebrity cameos and crowd-pleasing rock songs: This year’s Super Bowl advertisers are sticking to the classics in their efforts to win over Big Game viewers on Sunday.
Skittles will showcase Steven Tyler’s high range on “Dream On,” Budweiser is enlisting Helen Mirren to chide drunk drivers, and Audi will have an astronaut drive its luxury R8 sports car to the tune of David Bowie’s “Starman,” to note just a few of the ads that have garnered pre-game buzz. (Many advertisers release their spots online ahead of the game.)
The Super Bowl is advertising’s biggest stage, and each year brands battle to stand out among the 40-plus commercials that air during the game. The goal is to rivet the expected 114 million people expected to tune into the game, in which the Denver Broncos will take on the Carolina Panthers. Marketers also hope to dominate online chatter during the game and real-life talk in the office on Monday.
Twitter moves to actively seek out terrorist supporters
WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter is now using spam-fighting technology to seek out accounts that might be promoting terrorist activity and is examining other accounts related to those flagged for possible removal, the company announced Friday.
The effort signalled efforts by Twitter to automatically identify tweets supporting terrorism, reflecting increased pressure placed by the U.S. government for social media companies to respond to abuse more proactively. Child pornography has previously been the only abuse that was automatically flagged for human review on social media, using a different kind of technology that sources a database of known images.
Twitter also said Friday it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, mainly related to Islamic State militants, in the last eight months.
Congress unites in scorn for Shkreli, but gridlock remains
WASHINGTON (AP) — A smirking Martin Shkreli briefly united Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill this week, as lawmakers took turns blasting the price-hiking former CEO who has become the new poster child for corporate greed.
But the gridlocked state of Congress virtually assures federal efforts to lower drug prices will remain in limbo for years. And even then, experts warn that the options available to Congress would not stop companies like Turing Pharmaceuticals, where Shkreli engineered a 5000 per cent price increase of a critical anti-infection drug.
US exports fell in 2015 for first time since recession
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit rose in December as American exports fell for a third straight month, reflecting the pressures of a stronger dollar and spreading global weakness. Those factors contributed to the first annual drop in U.S. export sales since the Great Recession shrank global trade six years ago.
The December deficit increased 2.7 per cent to $43.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Exports fell by 0.3 per cent, driven by sales declines of civilian aircraft, autos and farm products. Imports increased 0.3 per cent as Americans bought more foreign-made cars and petroleum.
For all of 2015, the deficit rose 4.6 per cent to $531.5 billion. Exports fell 4.8 per cent, the first setback since 2009 when the world was in the grips of recession. Imports also retreated 3.1 per cent.
US consumer borrowing accelerated in December
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers in December increased their borrowing at the fastest pace in three months. The result suggests that consumer spending should remain strong in the coming months.
Borrowing expanded $21.3 billion in December, the strongest showing since an increase of $28.6 billion in September, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. That pushed total borrowing to a fresh record of $3.55 trillion.
Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards rose $5.8 billion, slightly below the November gain. Borrowing in the category that covers auto and student loans jumped $15.4 billion in December, notably higher than the November gain of $7.7 billion.
HSBC reaches $470 million deal with US, states over banking abuses
WASHINGTON (AP) — Banking giant HSBC has reached a $470 million settlement with the federal government and nearly all states over mortgage lending and foreclosure abuses that officials say helped intensify the country’s economic meltdown, the Justice Department announced Friday.
The agreement requires the bank to pay $100 million and to provide an additional $370 million in consumer relief to borrowers and homeowners, including by reducing mortgage interests rates as well as the principal on mortgages for homeowners who are at risk of default.
The deal also requires the bank to improve standards for how it services loans and handles foreclosures.
Chinese-led investors plan to buy Chicago Stock Exchange
NEW YORK (AP) — The Chicago Stock Exchange, founded more than a century ago, said it has agreed to be acquired by a Chinese-led investor group.
The buyers are considering opening a stock exchange in southwest China and also hope to list Chinese stocks in the U.S., Chicago Stock Exchange CEO John Kerin said in an interview Friday. The exchange needs the cash from the buyout to launch its new trading products and platforms, Kerin said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Apple now accepting your banged-up iPhone
NEW YORK (AP) — Apple for the first time is accepting banged up iPhones as a trade-in from those wanting to upgrade.
Until now, Apple offered credit to iPhone owners only if the device had an intact screen and working buttons. Apple hopes that with more leeway, applicable only to iPhone 5 and later models, more people will upgrade to new iPhones.
Apple Inc. has told investors that it may book its first revenue decline in 13 years when it reports quarterly earnings in April due in part to weakness in the global economy. But the smartphone market has matured as well after a yearslong streak of blistering hot demand.
Bridgestone-Firestone recalls over 36,000 truck tires
DETROIT (AP) — Bridgestone-Firestone North America is recalling more than 36,000 heavy truck tires in the U.S. and Canada because the tread can separate from the body and cause the tires to fail.
The recall covers 22.5-inch Firestone FS561 replacement tires made from January 25, 2015 to January 27, 2016. The company says in documents filed with the government that the recall covers tires used on trailers. Tread separation can cause sudden loss of air pressure and increase the risk of a crash.
Scandal-hit VW postpones earnings release, annual meeting
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen says it is postponing release of its full-year earnings as well as its annual shareholder meeting due to open questions about its diesel emissions scandal.
The German carmaker said Friday it would give new dates for the earnings release, formerly slated for March 10, and for its shareholder gathering originally set for April 21.
Toyota posts $5.4 billion quarterly profit, raises forecast
TOKYO (AP) — Toyota’s quarterly profit rose nearly 5 per cent as the weaker yen and cost reductions offset declining sales in some markets. The automaker raised its full-year earnings forecast.
Toyota Motor Corp., the No. 1 automaker in global vehicle sales, reported Friday a 627.9 billion yen ($5.4 billion) profit for the October-December fiscal third quarter, up from 600 billion yen a year earlier.
Quarterly sales rose 2 per cent to 7.34 trillion yen ($63 billion).
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 211.61 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 16,204.97. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 35.40 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 1,880.05 and the Nasdaq composite dropped 146.41 points, or 3.3 per cent, to 4,363.14.
U.S. crude fell 83 cents to $30.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 40 cents to $34.06 a barrel in London. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.059 a gallon, wholesale gasoline fell 3.6 cents to 99.27 cents and natural gas rose 9 cents to $2.063 per thousand cubic feet.