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Business Highlights

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Socialist Maduro seeks to raise dollars with appeal to greed

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s currency controls for years have made exchanging money a stressful ordeal of searching for illegal currency dealers, logging into banned websites, and sending wire transfers to foreign banks. But as President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government runs out of hard currency amid mounting international pressure and economic punishments, it has begun encouraging Venezuelans to sell their greenbacks to the official financial system by offering a better exchange rate than the black market.

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Tabloid CEO’s lawyer denies Enquirer tried to extort Bezos

WASHINGTON (AP) — An attorney for the head of the National Enquirer’s parent company denies the tabloid committed extortion or blackmail by threatening to publish Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ explicit photos. Elkan Abramowitz represents American Media Inc. chief executive David Pecker. He defended the tabloid’s practice as a negotiation in an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” The Enquirer published a story last month that included lurid texts between Bezos and former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.

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AP Explains: The promise of 5G wireless – speed, hype, risk

NEW YORK (AP) — A much-hyped network upgrade called “5G” means different things to different people. To industry proponents, it’s the next huge innovation in wireless internet. To the U.S. government, it’s the frontier of a future that America will wrestle with China to control. To many average people, it’s simply a mystery.

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What the FDA’s actions mean for dietary supplements

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it plans to step up its policing of the growing dietary supplements industry. The agency said Monday it has warned 17 companies for illegally making claims about the ability of their products to treat diseases. Dietary supplements are regulated more like foods than drugs. But experts say the FDA hasn’t done enough to enforce the existing law.

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PG&E to reshape board in aftermath of wildfires

Half of the board at PG&E is unlikely to stand for re-election at the besieged utility company that is reeling in the aftermath of last year’s deadly California wildfires. PG&E, the nation’s biggest utility, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last month as it faces the possibly of tens of billions of dollars in claims. PG&E said Monday that it doesn’t expect more than five of the current directors to seek another term.

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Toys R US plans second act under new name

NEW YORK (AP) — Toys R Us fans in the U.S. will see the iconic brand re-emerge in some form by this holiday season. Richard Barry, a former Toys R Us executive and now CEO of the new company called Tru Kids Inc., is exploring freestanding stores, shops within existing stores as well as e-commerce.

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US stock indexes end mixed ahead of US-China trade talks

Wall Street capped a day of mostly listless trading with a mixed finish Monday as gains in industrial companies, banks and energy stocks outweighed losses elsewhere. Small-company stocks fared better than the rest of the market as investors shifted focus away from the tail end of a relatively strong corporate earnings season and looked ahead to key trade talks between the U.S. and China later this week.

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UK’s May seeks compromise with Labour in EU divorce deal

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking a compromise with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn in hopes of securing a divorce deal with the European Union. Justice Minister Rory Stewart told the BBC on Monday that differences between the two aren’t as great as some suggest, but the government can’t accept a customs union that would prevent Britain from negotiating trade deals with other countries.

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UK, 3 non-EU nations ink ex-pat residency deal

LONDON (AP) — The British government has agreed to allow citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein already living in Britain to remain after Brexit even if the country leaves the European Union without a deal. The agreement finalized on Friday should remove the uncertainty a “hard” Brexit scenario posed for some 15,000 citizens of the three non-EU nations who live in Britain. The reciprocal deal also clarifies plans for some 17,000 British citizens who reside in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

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Trump to call for investment in artificial intelligence

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order directing federal agencies to prioritize research and development in the field of artificial intelligence. The plan, called the American AI Initiative, directs federal agencies to make data and computing resources more available to artificial intelligence experts while maintaining security and confidentiality. It also says federal agencies will establish guidance to ensure the new technologies are developed in a safe, trustworthy way.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 53.22 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 25,053.11. The S&P 500 index rose 1.92 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,709.80. The Nasdaq composite added 9.71 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,307.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 12.59 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,518.98. European markets finished higher.

U.S. benchmark crude fell 0.6 per cent to settle at $52.41 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, dropped 1 per cent to close at $61.51 per barrel in London.

The Associated Press