Business Highlights


U.S. employers add 178K jobs as unemployment sinks to 4.6 per cent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a solid 178,000 jobs in November, reflecting the steady economy President-elect Donald Trump will inherit. And the unemployment rate hit a nine-year low of 4.6 per cent, though mainly because many people stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed.

Even so, Friday’s report from the Labor Department reflected a resilient job market that is helping drive the U.S. economy. The economy this year has added an average of 180,000 jobs a month — more than enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.

The pace of hiring is keeping the Federal Reserve on track to raise short-term interest rates at its next meeting in less than two weeks.


How a Trump administration could shape the internet

Under a President Donald Trump, cable and phone companies could gain new power to influence what you do and what you watch online — not to mention how much privacy you have while you’re at it.

Many experts say that Republicans who generally oppose regulation are likely to take charge at the Federal Communications Commission, the government’s primary telecom regulator. That alone could mean the end of rules designed to protect privacy and individual choice on the internet. Those rules were enacted over the past several years under the Obama administration.


Job deals like Carrier’s often fall short of political hype

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — When President-elect Donald Trump announced a deal to save hundreds of jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana, it came with a cost to state taxpayers of about $7 million in tax breaks and grants.

Similar jobs-for-subsidies deals are struck nearly every day around the country by governors, mayors and other officials. But it’s debatable whether the economic impact ultimately lives up to the political hype.

Some projects fall short of their promises. Economists say other business deals likely would have occurred even without the incentives. And in some places, it’s hard for the public to track the exact amount of state and local subsidies that get provided.


Ford recalls 680,000 cars, seat belt may not hold in crash

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling more than 680,000 midsize sedans mainly in North America because the front seat belts may not hold people in a crash.

The recall covers certain 2013 to 2016 Ford Fusion, 2013 to 2015 Lincoln MKZ and 2015 and 2016 Ford Mondeo cars.


Singapore fines banks for 1MDB links

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore regulators announced Friday fines amounting to over $5.3 million for two banks that were found to have breached money laundering rules in dealings with an indebted Malaysian state fund.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore fined the local branch of Standard Chartered Bank, which is headquartered in London, 5.2 million Singapore dollars ($3.6 million) for “significant lapses” in customer due diligence measures and controls.


In Macedonia’s fake news hub, teen shows AP how it’s done

VELES, Macedonia (AP) — On the second floor of a noisy sports centre in the Macedonian town of Veles, a teenage purveyor of fake news cracked open his laptop and laid out his case for why lying is more lucrative than the truth.

Real news gets reported everywhere, he argued. Made-up stories are unique.

“The fake news is the good news,” the 18-year-old said, pointing to a graph showing his audience figures, which reached into the hundreds of thousands, a bling watch clasped firmly around his wrist. “A fake news article is way more opened than any other.”


China to US: Avoid politics in purchase of Germany’s Aixtron

BEIJING (AP) — China appealed to Washington and Berlin to avoid injecting politics into the proposed takeover of a German maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment following a report President Obama plans to oppose it as a security risk.

The proposed 670 million euro ($740 million) acquisition of Aixtron SE by Fujian Grand Chip, a semiconductor maker, is “normal business activity,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.


House passes $611 billion policy defence bill by wide vote margin

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led House on Friday overwhelmingly backed a $611 billion defence policy bill that rejects a number of President Barack Obama’s key proposals for managing the nation’s vast military enterprise.

Lawmakers passed the legislative package, 375-34. The bill now goes to the Senate where a vote is expected early next week.

The bill, crafted after weeks of talks between House and Senate negotiators, prohibits Obama from following through on his longstanding campaign pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill also bars the Pentagon from reducing the number of military bases even though senior U.S. defence officials said there is excess capacity, and it awards U.S. troops their largest pay raise in six years. Obama had recommended a smaller pay increase.


No more ‘Melania Trump’ underwear or honey for Slovenians

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — No more Melania Trump honey, cakes, shoes and underwear for Slovenians.

The future U.S. first lady has hired a law firm in her native country to protect her name and image from being used on numerous products that have sprung up since her husband, Donald Trump, was elected president.

Natasa Pirc Musar, director of the Pirc Musar&Partnerji law firm, said Friday that the use of the name “Melania Trump” for commercial purposes without approval of her client would be against the law in the small Alpine state and would represent a violation of personal rights.


Next test for pipeline protesters: the North Dakota winter

CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — So far, the hundreds of protesters fighting the Dakota Access pipeline have shrugged off the heavy snow, icy winds and frigid temperatures that have swirled around their large encampment on the North Dakota grasslands.

But if they defy next week’s government deadline to abandon the camp, demonstrators know the real deep freeze lies ahead, when the full weight of the Great Plains winter descends on their community of nylon tents and teepees. Life-threatening wind chills and towering snow drifts could mean the greatest challenge is simple survival


The Dow lost 21.51 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 19,170.42. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.87 points to 2,191.95. The Nasdaq composite added 4.55 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 5,255.65.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 62 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $51.68 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, picked up 52 cents, or 1 per cent, to $54.46 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline picked up 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to $1.66 a gallon. Natural gas lost 7 cents, or 2 per cent, to $3.44 per 1,000 cubic feet.