Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks turn mixed

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks have been mixed in midday trading as investors digest the first significant round of fourth-quarter corporate earnings reports.

Major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, reported surprisingly good earnings, though Wells Fargo disappointed investors. The financial sector held up well overall.

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Technology stocks were the biggest losers.

Delta climbed on surprisingly good earnings and lifted its rivals.

CONSUMER PRICES

Energy costs bring consumer prices higher

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising energy costs drove U.S. consumer prices higher in December, and American workers’ earnings couldn’t keep up.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that its consumer price index rose 0.2% last month, lifted by a 2.8% increase in gasoline prices.

Inflation is running close to the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual target. The Fed cut short-term interest rates three times last year, partly to protect a record-breaking U.S. economic expansion from the effects of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.

WELLS FARGO RESULTS

Wells Fargo’s net income falls

UNDATED (AP) — Wells Fargo’s fourth-quarter net income slid, hampered by hefty costs and a lower interest rate environment.

The bank earned $2.87 billion, or 60 cents per share, in the quarter. The period included 33 cents per share of litigation accruals. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of $1.12 per share.

Net interest income declined to $11.2 billion, mostly hurt by lower interest rates.

The biggest U.S. mortgage lender’s revenue dropped 8% to $19.9 billion. Wall Street expected $20.12 billion.

CITIGROUP RESULTS

Citigroup profits up from a year earlier

NEW YORK (AP) — Citigroup’s fourth-quarter profits rose by 15% from a year earlier, as the bank benefited from a boost in trading similar to its competitor JPMorgan Chase.

Citi said Tuesday that bond trading revenues were up 49% from a year earlier, when a steep downfall in the last quarter of 2018 took its toll on all banks’ trading desks.

In Citi’s consumer group, profits rose 12% from a year earlier, helped by the bank’s large credit card division where more consumers borrowed and spent during the holiday season. 

JPMORGAN CHASE RESULTS

JPMorgan Chase says profit jumped 21%

NEW YORK (AP) — Banking giant JPMorgan Chase said profit jumped 21% in the final three months of 2019 as the bank’s trading desks had a blowout quarter.

A sharp increase in JPMorgan’s trading business made up for declining interest rates, which impacted other parts of the bank.

The New York-based bank said Tuesday that it earned a profit of $8.52 billion, or $2.57 per share in the fourth quarter. That’s up from $7.07 billion, or $1.98 a share, in the same period a year earlier.

The result beat the forecast of analysts who were looking for JPMorgan to earn $2.35 a share.

EARNS-DELTA AIR LINES

Delta earns $1.1 billion with more flights and more full seats

UNDATED (AP) — Delta Air Lines says it earned $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter by operating more flights and filling a higher percentage of seats.

That’s an 8% increase from Delta’s profit in the same quarter a year earlier.

Lower fuel prices helped Delta save more than $300 million, and unlike key rivals, Delta didn’t get caught up in the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max — it doesn’t own any of the planes. The financial results beat Wall Street expectations.

Airlines are enjoying a long boom period as travel outpaces many other sectors of the economy. 

BOEING PLANE-AMERICAN AIRLINES

American removing 737 Max from schedule for two more months

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines says it’s taking the Boeing 737 Max out of its schedule for two more months, until early June. That means American will cancel nearly 20,000 flights in the first five-plus months of 2020.

American’s decision is an acknowledgment of the uncertainty about just when the grounded Max will fly again. It has been grounded since two crashes killed 346 people. Boeing is working on changes to the plane.

Federal safety regulators say they have no timetable for letting it fly again.

CHINA-US TRADE

China welcomes US decision to drop it from list of currency manipulators

BEIJING (AP) — China has welcomed the Trump administration’s decision ahead of the signing of a trade deal with Beijing to drop it from a list of governments accused of manipulating the value of their currencies to gain an unfair advantage in trade.  

A Foreign Ministry spokesman also said China would continue to reform its currency to bring it in line with market trends.

Earlier, China said its global exports rose 0.5% in 2019 despite a tariff war with Washington.

The two governments are preparing to sign an interim trade agreement this week that investors hope will be a first step toward ending the costly standoff over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus.

BLACKROCK-CLIMATE CHANGE

BlackRock to make climate change a key part of investment moves

NEW YORK (AP) — BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, will make climate change central to its investment decisions.

Founder and CEO Laurence Fink, who oversees the management of about $7 trillion in funds, said in his influential annual letter to CEOs Tuesday that he believes we are “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance” because of a warming planet. He said climate change has become the top issue raised by clients.

Fink said global warming will affect everything from municipal bonds to long-term mortgages for homes.

BlackRock is taking immediate action, exiting investments in coal used to generate power and strengthening the firm’s commitment to sustainability. 

EUROPE-CLIMATE CHANGE

EU to shift money toward fight against climate change

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change. It has also set up a scheme to shift $1.1 trillion in investment towards making the economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.

The plan, which was unveiled Tuesday, will be funded by the EU budget and the private sector. It aims to deliver on European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal to make the bloc the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

The plan will include a mechanism to help regions most affected by the transition to cleaner industries.

VOLKSWAGEN SALES

VW announces record sales figures

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen has announced record sales figures for last year. The total of just under 11 million vehicles for 2019 will help determine whether Volkswagen keeps its title as the world’s largest automaker.

Last year the company beat out the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and Toyota as the globe’s largest vehicle maker. The alliance and Toyota report their figures in the coming weeks.

Volkswagen grew its sales despite shrinking global auto markets. That means its share of the market has grown as the company moves on from its 2015 diesel scandal. 

VOLKSWAGEN-DIESEL SCANDAL

More charges in VW emissions scandal

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — More charges have been filed in Germany over Volkswagen’s diesel scandal. Six people have been charged with fraud in connection with cars that were rigged to cheat on emission tests.

After the tests were done in labs, the cars emitted far more pollution during regular driving.

The charges announced Tuesday by prosecutors in Germany bring to 11 the number of people charged in Germany in the case.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn had earlier been charged. He resigned after the company was caught cheating on emissions in 2015. Winterkorn also faces charges in the U.S. but cannot be extradited. 

MGM RESORTS-REAL ESTATE

MGM Resorts selling assets of MGM Grand

LAS VEGAS (AP) — MGM Resorts International is selling the real estate assets of the MGM Grand to a joint venture for about $2.5 billion.

The joint venture includes private-equity and real estate company Blackstone Group and MGM Growth Properties LLC.

MGM Resorts anticipates cash proceeds of approximately $2.4 billion. The joint venture will be owned 50.1% by MGM Growth Properties and 49.9% by Blackstone. It will also acquire the real estate assets of Mandalay Bay from MGM Growth Properties and lease both properties to MGM Resorts for an initial rent of $292 million.

The total value of the two transactions is $4.6 billion.

LIMOUSINE SAFETY

Agreement reached on limousine safety measures

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Officials say political leaders in New York have reached an agreement to pass new limousine safety bills inspired by deadly crashes in 2015 and 2018.

Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the proposals target unsafe limos and lax regulations and will hold companies accountable.

The legislation also includes immobilization of defective limousines, GPS and customer service resource requirements, regular validation of vehicle and driver safety information, creation of a passenger task force, and drug and alcohol testing.

Another bill would require limo drivers carrying nine or more passengers to have a passenger-endorsed commercial driver’s license.

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