Update on the latest business


Stocks fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling in midday trading on Wall Street, weighed down by losses in technology and communications companies.

Makers of consumer products were bucking the downward trend. Coca-Cola rose 1.8% after turning in a solid quarterly earnings report.


The market is still on track for its second weekly gain after three straight losing weeks.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.74%.


Despair in Burgundy and beyond, as US tariffs hit EU goods

BEINE, France (AP) — French vintners are begging for government aid. Italian farmers are scrambling for new export markets. And American shoppers are about to face supermarket sticker shock on European products.

Some $7.5 billion in U.S. tariffs on European food, wine and other goods took effect Friday, in response to illegal EU subsidies to planemaker Airbus.

The U.S. is also accused of illegal subsidies — to Boeing — and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom threatened Friday to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. She urged negotiations instead of a trade war.

French wine exporters group FEVS asked for government aid to compensate for an expected drop in sales. The U.S. is the No. 1 market for French wine exports.

Italy’s main farm lobby forecast a 20% drop in sales of Italian agricultural products including Parmesan and Gorgonzola cheeses and cured meats.


Italian farm lobby calls for govt aid in face of US tariffs

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s main farm lobby is forecasting a 20% drop in sales of Italian agricultural products targeted by new U.S. tariffs.

The group, Coldiretti, says the 25% tariffs that take effect Friday will hurt sales in the United State of Italian Parmesan and Gorgonzola cheeses, as well as cured meats, citrus fruit and liquors.

The Italian products on the tariff list represent half a billion euros ($550 million) in export value.

Coldiretti President Ettore Prandini urged the Italian government to launch promotional programs for Italian agricultural products in other export markets and offer aid to producers.

He said they “risk suffering the effects of the perfect storm between U.S. tariffs and Brexit, after a loss of 1 billion euros over the last five years due to the Russia embargo.”


IMF, World Bank leaders appeal for an end to trade wars

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leaders of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank appealed to their 189 member countries on Friday to resolve widening disagreements on trade and other issues, warning that the divisions threatened to make the consequences of a global slowdown even worse.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said a variety of factors were taking a toll from a trade war that has engulfed the world’s two biggest economies, the United States and China, to spreading weakness in Europe linked to Brexit and rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

In her opening address to the finance officials meeting in Washington, she said “Trade tensions are now taking a toll on business confidence and investment.”

World Bank President David Malpass said the slowdown in global growth was hurting efforts to help the 700 million people around the globe mired in extreme poverty, especially in nations trying to cope with a flood of refugees from regional conflicts.


Huawei exec: Chinese tech giant wants to be ‘transparent’

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei (WAH’-way) says the company wants to be open and transparent in persuading the U.S. government that national security concerns about its technology are unfounded.

Paul Scanlan is a chief technology officer at Huawei. He told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that the company is looking to “demystify” itself to skeptical U.S. authorities and is prepared to invite American officials to review Huawei product themselves to address any concerns.

The Trump administration accuses Huawei of being a security risk. It imposed curbs in May on the company’s access to U.S. technology and components, including Google’s music, maps and other smartphone services. Huawei denies accusations that it facilitates Chinese spying or installs “backdoors” in its equipment for eavesdropping.


FAA confronts Boeing over undisclosed internal communication

UNDATED (AP) — Boeing was aware of troubling instant messages between two employees regarding their communications with federal regulators over its now-grounded 737 Max jet, but the company waited months to disclose them.

Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson demanded an explanation from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg in a letter Friday.

The content of the 2016 messages isn’t clear, but FAA says they deal with communication between Boeing and the FAA when Boeing was seeking approval for the Max.

FAA says it “finds the substance of the document concerning” and is disappointed that Boeing waited months before bringing them to the agency’s attention.

International regulators have criticized Boeing’s communication with FAA over a Max flight system implicated in crashes that killed 346 people.


US agency eyes fatal crash involving self-driving car

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board is moving to determine the probable cause of the first fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle.

Elaine Herzberg died in March 2018 when an Uber vehicle struck her as she walked across a darkened street in Tempe, Arizona.

The board will meet Nov. 19 as part of its efforts.

A preliminary report by the board said the Uber autonomous driving system spotted Herzberg before hitting her but a system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled.

Authorities say records show the backup driver was streaming a television show on her phone in the moments before the crash.

Prosecutors declined to file charges against Uber, as a corporation, in Herzberg’s death, but they’re still considering whether to charge the driver.


Google affiliate begins drone deliveries in Virginia town

UNDATED (AP) — A Google affiliate is using drones to deliver customers’ Walgreens purchases in a test being run in a Virginia town.

Wing, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, received federal approval earlier this year to make commercial deliveries by drone. It was the first drone company to receive the approval in the U.S., beating out Amazon’s Prime Air.

Wing partnered with Walgreens to perform the tests that began Friday in Christiansburg, Virginia. Walgreens customers in the town will be able to order from a list of more than 100 items and get them delivered to their doors by drones.

The drones will start with a flying radius of about 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) from Wing’s distribution facility in Christiansburg.

Wing has also launched tests in Australia and Helsinki, Finland.


Oracle CEO Mark Hurd dies at 62

UNDATED (AP) — Oracle CEO Mark Hurd has died. He was 62.

The company on Friday confirmed his death. Hurd was on medical leave, and the company did not disclose a cause of death.

Hurd led two high-profile Silicon Valley companies — Oracle and computer maker Hewlett-Packard.

He took a leave of absence from Oracle a month ago for health reasons. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s founder and chairman, said at the time that he and co-CEO Safra Catz would take over his responsibilities.

Ellison says he will miss his close and irreplaceable friend.

Hurd joined Oracle as co-president in 2010 a month after leaving HP. He resigned from HP after accusations of sexual harassment by a female contract worker and findings of inaccurate expense reports connected to outings with the contractor.


Johnson returns to London to drum up support for Brexit deal

LONDON (AP) — After winning the support of European Union leaders for his new Brexit deal , Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back in London to try to secure backing from the fractious British Parliament.

Johnson returned overnight for what is expected to be a busy Friday attempting to persuade lawmakers to vote for the divorce deal.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was up early drumming up support. He told the BBC: “We’ve got a real opportunity now to get Brexit delivered faithful to the referendum, move on as a Government, and I think as a country, and lift the clouds of Brexit.”

Raab says the government has not given up hope of winning the support of its Northern Ireland ally the Democratic Unionist Party, which has rejected the new deal.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar applied more pressure to British lawmakers to pass Johnson’s Brexit deal, saying there is no guarantee European Union leaders would grant a further extension to the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the bloc.

French president Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes that the divorce deal between the European Union and the British government will be adopted by the deadline.


EU leaders rubber stamp Lagarde’s ECB appointment

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders have approved the appointment of Christine Lagarde as the next president of the European Central Bank.

The former International Monetary Fund managing director will replace Mario Draghi, who has served as ECB president since 2011.

The European Council had already issued a formal recommendation for Lagarde, and Friday’s move was just a confirmation after the European Parliament and the ECB also supported her.

The ECB sets monetary policy for the 19 countries that use the euro currency.

Lagarde will take office on Nov. 1 and will serve a non-renewable term of eight years.


No-sugar drinks and innovations power Coke in 3Q

ATLANTA (AP) — Coca-Cola is reporting strong third quarter sales as it makes strides with new drinks like Coca-Cola Plus Coffee and no-sugar drinks.

Revenue jumped 8% to $9.51 billion, edging out Wall Street expectations for $9.48 billion, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

The Atlanta company continues to book double-digit volume growth with drinks like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.

Coke on Friday reported net income of $2.59 billion, or 60 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 56 cents per share, which is in line with projections from industry analysts.

Shares of Coca-Cola Co. are up 1.5% before the opening bell.


J&J recalls baby powder after trace asbestos found in bottle

UNDATED (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is recalling a single lot of its baby powder as a precaution after government testing found trace amounts of asbestos in one bottle bought online.

The recall comes as J&J fights thousands of lawsuits in which plaintiffs claim its iconic baby powder was contaminated with asbestos and that it caused ovarian cancer or another rare cancer. At multiple trials, J&J experts have testified asbestos hasn’t been detected in the talc in its baby powder in many tests over 40 years.

On Friday, J&J said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found minuscule amounts of asbestos in one bottle. The company is investigating whether the bottle is counterfeit and how the contamination occurred.

The recalled lot contained 33,000 bottles.

J&J shares dropped 4% to $130.86.


California unemployment rate falls to record low of 4%

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Officials say California’s unemployment rate fell to a new record low of 4% in September.

The state Employment Development Department said Friday that employers added 21,300 nonfarm payroll jobs. That extended California’s record job expansion to 115 months.

The unemployment rate in August was 4.1%, matching the previous record low first set in 2018.

The state’s current period of job expansion tied the 1960s’ expansion when it reached 113 months.

California has gained 3,348,900 jobs since the expansion began in February 2010.

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