Business Highlights


Trump’s path to boosting infrastructure is full of potholes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump has vowed to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and railways, but the path to delivering on that promise is full of potholes. When President Barack Obama tried to do it, a Republican Congress fought him at almost every turn, and Trump would have to contend with his party’s deep-seated dislike for government spending and higher taxes to meet the $1 trillion tab for his proposals.

But Trump has been vague what about he’d do and what it would cost. During the campaign he said he’d double the $275 billion boost in government infrastructure spending proposed by his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. A recent paper by Trump advisers calls for using federal tax credits to generate $1 trillion in private sector infrastructure investment over a decade. To offset the cost of the credits, U.S. corporations would be encouraged to bring home profits parked overseas to avoid taxes, in exchange for a low tax rate.


US stocks close mostly higher as Dow sets record high

It was perhaps the most surprising trade in a record-setting week on Wall Street: How quickly investors swapped presidential pre-election jitters for enthusiasm at Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.

That enthusiasm — call it the Trump rally — ultimately propelled the Dow Jones industrial average to consecutive all-time highs this week and gave the Standard and Poor’s 500 index its biggest weekly gain in two years. The rally lost some steam Friday, pulling the S&P 500 slightly lower.


After election, are shoppers ready to think about holidays?

NEW YORK (AP) — The uncertainty surrounding who will be the next U.S. president is over. But with people still bitterly divided, are they ready to think about a holiday shopping season that thrives on feelings of joy and peace?

Reports from retailers, including department stores like Kohl’s, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, showed that shoppers had been starting to step up their spending in the weeks leading up to the election won by Republican Donald Trump. And the companies are generally optimistic about a good holiday season, pointing to higher wages for workers and leaner inventories.


Chinese e-shoppers spend billions on Singles Day

In a bright spot for China’s cooling economy, online shoppers spent billions of dollars Friday on “Singles Day,” a quirky holiday that has grown into the world’s busiest day for e-commerce.

The country’s biggest e-commerce brand, Alibaba Group, said sales by the thousands of retailers on its platforms passed 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) after 19 hours of the event. That is four times the $3 billion research firm comScore says Americans spent in total last year on Cyber Monday, the country’s biggest online shopping day.

Rivals including, and Suning offered deep discounts on clothing, smartphones, travel packages and other goods to attract shoppers.


Zuckerberg: ‘Crazy’ to say Facebook influenced election

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the idea that fake news spread on Facebook influenced the outcome of the U.S. election is “crazy.”

Still, the majority of Americans (six in 10) say they get at least some news from social media, mostly Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. While a lot of this news comes from established outlets — whether CNN or BuzzFeed News, misinformation spreads on Facebook just as information does, shared by users, recommended by software and amplified by both.

Sources of spurious information has ranged from news articles produced by “content farms” for the sole purpose of getting clicks, to “hyperpartisan” sites from both sides of the political spectrum, churning out stories that are misleading at best.


Penney’s reports 3Q sales shortfall, cuts outlook

J.C. Penney cut its sales outlook for the year after reporting a surprise decline in a key sales figure for the third quarter as it wrestled with sluggish clothing sales.

The report is a setback for Penney, whose business has been volatile, bouncing back in the summer after a tough start to the year.

Like other department stores, J.C. Penney is trying to adjust to changing shopping patterns. Consumers are shifting their spending away from clothing and toward experiences like beauty treatments or toward furnishing their home. And when they do pick up clothing, it’s more often at off-price stores or online as Amazon moves more into apparel.

Given the environment, Penney wants to be less dependent on clothing, and is focusing its efforts on its home area and rolling out major appliances in it stores.


Senate GOP leader says he asked Trump to back Keystone

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Senate’s top Republican said Friday he asked President-elect Donald Trump to move swiftly in approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has drawn strong opposition from environmentalists.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters he made the request during his Capitol Hill meeting with Trump a day earlier.

Trump listed the stalled Keystone project among his top priorities for the first 100 days of his administration.

Obama rejected the proposed pipeline last November, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal at the centre of his environmental legacy. The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Houston area, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.


Computer outage briefly grounds flights on several airlines

DALLAS (AP) — Travelers on several airlines had trouble checking in for flights and waited out delays Friday after a computer outage at a company that runs airline technology systems.

American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines confirmed that a technology glitch briefly interrupted their operations.

The airlines blamed their difficulties on a breakdown in systems operated by Sabre Corp., a Texas company that provides software and other technology services to airlines and hotels.

A Sabre spokeswoman said the systems were running again by early Friday afternoon. She said she did not know the cause of the breakdown.


Facebook glitch made it appear some users had died

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Some Facebook users received an unsettling shock Friday.

Many of the social-media site’s users saw their Facebook profile page topped with a message that referred to the process for “memorializing” the page of someone who has passed away. The message said Facebook hoped the users’ loved ones would find comfort in seeing posts that others shared about them. Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s page had the death notice.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the problem. But it appears that the company may already have fixed the glitch.


Pfizer lowers cost of Prevnar vaccine for some charity use

Drugmaker Pfizer says it’s reducing what it charges humanitarian groups for its blockbuster vaccine against pneumonia, ear and blood infections.

Pfizer Inc.’s move to reduce Prevnar 13’s price to $3.10 per dose — but only for the groups’ use with refugees and in other emergency settings — follows pressure since 2009 by groups such as Doctors Without Borders.

The biggest U.S. drugmaker previously preferred tax-deductible donations, which don’t impact Prevnar’s much-higher price. Pfizer’s top-selling product, which requires three doses, brings it some $5 billion a year.


The Dow rose 39.78 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 18,847.66. The S&P 500 index fell 3.03 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,164.45. The Nasdaq composite index gained 28.32 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 5,237.11.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.25, or 2.8 per cent, to close at $43.41 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid $1.09, or 2.4 per cent, to close at $44.75 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 3 cents to $1.31 a gallon. Heating oil fell 4 cents to $1.40 a gallon. Natural gas lost a penny to $2.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.