Trump says he’s leaving businesses to avoid conflicts
NEW YORK (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump declared Wednesday he will leave his business empire behind to focus on his presidency. But the prospect that he could simply shift more control to three of his children looked too cozy to some business-ethics specialists.
Trump announced in a series of tweets that he would leave his “great business,” adding: “While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”
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Trump provided no details but has previously said he’d leave his business operations to his three eldest children.
Treasury nominee Mnuchin was Trump’s top fundraiser
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump’s has selected Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and head of Trump’s campaign finance operation, as his choice to be the nation’s 77th Treasury secretary.
Mnuchin, 53, led Trump’s finance operations during the presidential campaign and become close with the president-elect and his family. But he has no government experience, which could prove a hurdle in navigating the tricky politics of Washington.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mnuchin would play a central role in shaping Trump’s tax policies and infrastructure plans. He would also lead an agency tasked with implementing international economic sanctions.
Stocks end mostly lower, despite gains in banks, oil
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks moved mostly lower Wednesday as gains in blue-chip energy companies and banks were not enough to make up for losses in the broader market.
The bond market took heavy losses, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to its highest level in a year and a half. The higher yields sent bond substitutes like utilities, telecommunications and real estate stocks sharply lower.
Oil stocks climbed after OPEC nations, which collectively produce more than one-third of the world’s oil, agreed to trim production for the first time in eight years.
OPEC agrees to cut output in bid to push up oil price
VIENNA (AP) — OPEC agreed Wednesday to cut its oil output for the first time since 2008. The move bucks tradition and effectively scraps its strategy of squeezing U.S. competition through high supply that had backfired by lowering prices and draining the cartel’s own economies.
The reduction of 1.2 million barrels a day is significant, leaving OPEC’s daily output at 32.5 million barrels. And non-OPEC nations are expected to pare an additional 600,000 barrels a day off their production.
The combined cut will result, at least in the short term, in somewhat more pricey oil. In the longer term, it’s unlikely that oil will return to the highs last seen two years ago.
Survey: US businesses add 216,000 jobs, most in 5 months
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies added a solid 216,000 jobs in November, the most since June and evidence that the incoming Trump administration is inheriting a solid economy.
Payroll provider ADP said Wednesday that nearly all the gains occurred in service sectors such as retail, hotels and restaurants, as well as higher-paying professional services. Construction firms added 2,000 jobs, while manufacturing shed 10,000.
The figures add to other recent signs that the economy is expanding at a decent pace.
US consumer spending, incomes rose in October
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers boosted their spending again in October, while their incomes increased at the fastest clip in six months. A key gauge of inflation watched by the Federal Reserve posted the fastest 12-month gain in two years.
Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent in October after a revised 0.7 percent jump in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Incomes increased 0.6 percent, the best showing since April.
An inflation gauge closely followed by the Federal Reserve increased 1.4 percent compared to a year ago. That was the fastest 12-month advance since 2014.
Binge watching on Netflix no longer requires internet access
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix subscribers can now binge on many of their favorite shows and movies even when they don’t have an internet connection.
The long-awaited offline option announced Wednesday gives Netflix’s 87 million subscribers offline access to videos for the first time in the streaming service’s decade-long history.
Netflix is matching a downloading feature that one of its biggest rivals, Amazon.com, has been offering to its video subscribers for the past year.
Creator of McDonald’s flagship sandwich, the Big Mac, dies
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Michael James “Jim” Delligatti, the McDonald’s franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago, died Monday at home in Pittsburgh. Delligatti, who according to his son ate at least one 540-calorie Big Mac a week for decades, was 98.
Delligatti’s franchise was based in Uniontown, not far from Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain’s signature burger in 1967 after deciding customers wanted a bigger sandwich. Demand exploded as Delligatti’s sandwich spread to the rest of his 47 stores in Pennsylvania and was added to the chain’s national menu in 1968.
EPA to keep strict gas mileage standards in place
DETROIT (AP) — The Obama administration has decided not to change requirements that force automakers to increase the efficiency of new cars and trucks.
The decision follows a mandatory review of the standards established in 2012, when gas averaged $3.60 a gallon and small cars and hybrids were gaining favor.
The standards had required new cars to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. But there was a built-in reduction if buying habits changed — and they have. Now, as gas is averaging close to $2 a gallon, three of every five new vehicles sold in the U.S. are trucks and SUVs.
As a result, the 2025 fuel-economy number drops to 50.8 mph.
Pabst splits CEO, chairman roles as it picks new executive
NEW YORK (AP) — Pabst, the largest beer maker based in the U.S., says it’s hiring Simon Thorpe as its new CEO.
Thorpe is the former president and CEO of Duvel Moortgat USA, a unit of a Belgian company. He was also an executive for AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer and the maker of Budweiser and many other beers.
Eugene Kashper, who has been chairman and CEO of Pabst since he and a group of partners bought Pabst two years ago, will give up the CEO role but remain company chairman.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.98 points, or 0.01 percent, to 19,123.58. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 5.85 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,198.81. The Nasdaq composite fell 56.24 points, or 1.1 percent, to 5,323.68.
U.S. crude surged $4.21, or 9.3 percent, to close at $49.44 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained $4.09, or 8.8 percent, to $50.47 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, heating oil rose 11 cents to $1.57 a gallon, wholesale gasoline rose 11 cents to $1.49 a gallon and natural gas rose 3 cents to $3.35 per 1,000 cubic feet.