To prep for Hurricane Florence, investors sell off insurers
NEW YORK (AP) — Hurricanes almost always set off an orchestrated dance on Wall Street, with shares of property insurance companies swapped out for stock in companies that sell construction supplies or portable generators.
That routine began a week ago, though Hurricane Florence appears to be turning up the volume this time.
The last time a hurricane of this size struck the middle of the East Coast, Texas Instruments had just introduced the first transistor radio.
Since then, the region has been developed heavily and the potential damages may be exponentially higher.
Karen Clark & Co., which produces models for catastrophe, said that if Hurricane Hugo would have hit roughly the same area in 2012, rather than in 1989 when it actually made landfall, insurance losses would have more than doubled, to $10 billion.
As job openings reach unprecedented levels, so does quitting
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised the most jobs on record in July, and the proportion of workers quitting their jobs also hit a new all-time high.
Americans are increasingly taking advantage of a tight labor market to find new, often higher-paying jobs.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that the number of job openings rose 1.7 percent to 6.9 million, the most on record dating back to late 2000. The number of people quitting jumped 3 percent to 3.58 million, or about 2.4 percent of the workforce.
With the unemployment rate near an 18-year low of 3.9 percent, businesses are increasingly desperate to find workers. Even as the number of available jobs rose, overall hiring was essentially flat, the report showed.
Chinese auto sales fall for second month in August
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese auto sales fell for a second month in August, adding to signs of economic malaise amid a worsening tariff battle with Washington.
An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said Tuesday sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in the biggest global auto market contracted by 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.8 million units. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, sank 2.1 percent to 2 million units.
Auto demand has cooled as economic growth slows after Beijing tightened controls on bank lending to cool surging debt.
Sales of SUVs, usually the industry’s brightest spot, shrank 4.7 percent to 737,000 units. Sedan sales were down 3.4 percent at 901,000.
Total auto sales for the first eight months of the year gained 2.6 percent to 15.2 million.
World trade body to hear China appeal for sanctions vs US
GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization says its dispute settlement body will take up China’s request to be allowed to impose sanctions against the United States for failing to abide by a WTO ruling on anti-dumping measures.
WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo said in a note Tuesday that a hearing is expected Sept. 21 into the case, which originated with a Chinese challenge in December 2013 of over 40 U.S. anti-dumping rulings against Chinese goods.
Next week’s session follows a May 2017 ruling largely in favor of China by the WTO’s appellate body, which China says the U.S. has failed to honor.
The case centers on U.S. trade limits on Chinese products that the U.S. says are sold below market value. They include steel, coated paper, off-road tires, solar cells and diamond saw blades.
China puts off licenses for US companies amid tariff battle
BEIJING (AP) — An official of a U.S. business group says Chinese regulators are putting off accepting license applications from American companies in financial services and other industries until the two countries resolve a worsening tariff dispute.
The disclosure Tuesday is the first confirmation of fears among U.S. companies that the battle over Beijing’s technology policy might disrupt access to China.
The vice president for China operations of the U.S.-China Business Council, Jacob Parker, said the delay applies to industries Beijing promised to open to foreign competitors.
Parker said officials told his group that applications from American companies won’t be accepted “until the trajectory of the U.S.-China relationship improves and stabilizes.”
Parker said the government doesn’t want to appear to give benefits to American companies in the midst of the dispute.
Bank of England’s Carney extends term at helm to Jan 2020
LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England’s Mark Carney has agreed to extend his period as governor until January 2020 in order to help oversee Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The announcement Tuesday from the government and the bank was widely expected after Carney told lawmakers last week that he was “willing” to extend his period at the helm beyond the June 2019 end-date.
Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019 but there is uncertainty as to how it will leave. The decision by Carney to agree to stay for longer helps reduce one of the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
Carney said that “during this critical period, it is important that everyone does everything they can to support a smooth and successful Brexit.”
AMAZON-REAL CHRISTMAS TREES
What’s in the Amazon box? Maybe a real 7-foot Christmas tree
NEW YORK (AP) — Watch out for the 7-foot box on the doorstep. Amazon plans to sell and ship fresh, full-size Christmas trees this year.
But a live tree is no paperback book. Amazon says the trees, including Douglas firs and Norfolk Island pines, will be bound and shipped without water in the usual sort of box. They’ll go on sale in November and be sent within 10 days of being cut. Amazon says they should survive the shipping fine.
But will people buy a Christmas tree sight unseen? Tim O’Connor, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association, said choosing trees and hauling them home is part of the fun. The association estimates that only about 1 to 2 percent of the 27 million real Christmas trees purchased last year were bought online.