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Wall Road drifts as one other bumpy week of buying and selling closes


Shares are drifting in blended buying and selling on Wall Road Friday, as one other zig-zag week for markets closes out following their abrupt lack of momentum this month

NEW YORK — Shares are drifting in blended buying and selling on Wall Road Friday, as one other zig-zag week for markets closes out following their abrupt lack of momentum this month.

The S&P 500 was down 0.2% after giving up a small acquire within the first jiffy of buying and selling. It’s nonetheless on tempo for a acquire of 0.2% this week after a two-day stoop adopted up on a two-day acquire.

The Dow Jones Industrial Common was down 118 factors, or 0.4%, at 27,783, as of 9:54 a.m. Jap time, and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.1%. Each drifted from small positive aspects to losses shortly after buying and selling started. Smaller shares have been nonetheless larger, with the Russell 2000 index of small caps up 0.3%.

Analysts warned that the day’s buying and selling might be even bumpier than ordinary. Futures and choices on shares and indexes are set to run out in an occasion generally known as “quadruple witching,” which may drive swings in costs.

Shares have already swirled this week regardless of the Federal Reserve’s saying it expects to maintain short-term rates of interest at report lows by means of 2023. Low charges sometimes turbocharge the market by encouraging buyers to pay larger costs for shares, however some buyers could have been in search of the Fed to be much more aggressive.

Progress in some areas of the financial system has additionally slowed after unemployment advantages and different support from the federal authorities expired, and partisan disagreements in Congress are holding up a renewal of assist. Buyers say it’s important that such support arrives.

Rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies are additionally persevering with to maintain markets on edge. The US stated on Friday that it’ll ban downloads of Chinese language apps WeChat and TikTok on Sunday.

President Donald Trump’s concentrating on of the Chinese language tech trade has precipitated intermittent worries out there a couple of potential retaliation in opposition to the U.S. trade.

Massive Tech shares already stumbled sharply this month on worries that their costs have grown too costly following their virtuosic efficiency by means of the pandemic. Surging shares of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and others helped carry Wall Road again to report heights, even because the pandemic walloped a lot of the financial system, because the coronavirus accelerated work-from-home and different tendencies that profit them.

However they instantly misplaced momentum two weeks in the past, inflicting the market to swing with them. As a result of these corporations have grown so large, their inventory actions have large sway over broad market indexes, such because the S&P 500.

On Friday, a number of Massive Tech shares have been swinging from positive aspects to losses. Apple was down 0.8%, and Microsoft was down 0.5%, however Fb was up 0.5%.

Additionally on the lengthy listing of considerations for markets is how the pandemic progresses, whether or not a vaccine for COVID-19 might certainly be accessible in early 2021 as many buyers anticipate and what November’s U.S. presidential election will do to the financial system.

Treasury yields stay very low, exhibiting the highly effective energy of the Federal Reserve and continued expectations by bond buyers for less than modest financial progress and inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 0.67% from 0.69% late Thursday.

In Europe, the German DAX misplaced 0.1%, and the French CAC 40 sank 0.9%. The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.5%.

Asian markets rose. Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.2%, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Cling Seng climbed 0.5%. Shares in Shanghai rose 2.1%.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 0.2% to $41.04 to per barrel. Brent crude, the worldwide normal, dropped 0.1% to $43.24 per barrel.


AP Enterprise Author Yuri Kageyama contributed.


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Australia to amend legislation making Fb, Google pay for information


The creator of proposed Australian legal guidelines that may make Fb and Google pay for journalism says his draft laws might be altered to allay a few of the digital giants’ considerations, however would stay essentially unchanged

Fb has warned it would block Australian information content material reasonably than pay for it.

Google has mentioned the proposed legal guidelines would lead to “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free providers in danger and will result in customers’ information “being handed over to large information companies.”

Sims mentioned he’s discussing the draft of his invoice with the U.S. social media platforms. It might be launched into Parliament in late October.

“Google has received considerations about it, a few of it’s that they only don’t prefer it, others are issues that we’re fortunately going to interact with them on,” Sims advised a webinar hosted by The Australia Institute, an unbiased think-tank.

“We’ll make modifications to deal with a few of these points — not all, however some,” Sims mentioned.

Among the many considerations is a concern that underneath the so-called Information Media Bargaining Code, information companies “will be capable to someway management their algorithms,” Sims mentioned.

“We’ll have interaction with them and make clear that in order that there’s no means that the information media companies can intervene with the algorithms of Google or Fb,” Sims mentioned.

He mentioned he would additionally make clear that the platforms wouldn’t need to disclose extra information about customers than they already share.

“There’s nothing within the code that forces Google or Fb to share the information from people,” Sims mentioned.

Sims was not ready to barter the “core” of the code, which he described because the “bits of glue that maintain the code collectively, that make it workable.”

These included an arbitrator to deal with the bargaining imbalance between the tech giants and information companies. If a platform and a information outlet can’t attain an settlement on worth, an arbitrator could be appointed to make a binding choice.

One other core side was a non-discrimination clause to forestall the platforms from prioritizing Australia’s state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Particular Broadcasting Service, whose information content material will stay free.

Sims mentioned he didn’t know whether or not Fb would act on its risk and block Australian information, however he suspected that to take action would “weaken” the platform.

Spain and France and have each didn’t make Fb and Google pay for information by means of copyright legislation. Sims mentioned he has spoken about Australia’s method by means of truthful buying and selling legal guidelines to regulators in america and Europe.

“They’re all wrestling with the identical drawback,” Sims mentioned.


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Singapore Airways to chop 4,300 jobs attributable to pandemic


Singapore Airways Group says it should get rid of 4,300 jobs as a result of “lengthy street to restoration” for the worldwide aviation business battered by the coronavirus pandemic

SINGAPORE — Singapore Airways Group mentioned Thursday it should get rid of 4,300 jobs as a result of “lengthy street to restoration” for the worldwide aviation business battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The group mentioned in a press release it should lower the positions throughout Singapore Airways, regional arm SilkAir and finances unit Scoot.

After considering a recruitment freeze, pure attrition and the take up of voluntary departure schemes, it mentioned the precise variety of laid off employees will probably be solely about 2,400 in Singapore and abroad.

The group mentioned it’s in a weak place in comparison with different airways because it doesn’t have a home market that will be the primary to see a restoration. To stay viable, it mentioned its airways will function a smaller fleet on a decreased community within the coming years.

“This determination was taken in gentle of the lengthy street to restoration for the worldwide airline business as a result of debilitating impression of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pressing want for the group’s airways to adapt to an unsure future,” it added. The corporate mentioned it has begun talks with Singapore-based unions to finalize the association.

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung mentioned in a Fb submit that the retrenchment was inevitable with air journey decimated by the pandemic, and that the overwhelming majority of affected employees are foreigners. He pledged the federal government will work with commerce unions and business companions to assist the affected employees discover new jobs or transit to different industries.

The Singapore Airways group in July reported a 1.12 billion Singapore greenback ($820 million) internet loss for the three months to June, its largest quarterly loss. It has mentioned it expects to function at underneath half its capability till subsequent yr.


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Federal Reserve sees charges close to zero not less than by way of 2023


The Federal Reserve expects to maintain its benchmark rate of interest pegged close to zero not less than by way of 2023 because it strives to speed up financial progress and drive down the unemployment fee

The Federal Reserve expects to maintain its benchmark rate of interest pegged close to zero not less than by way of 2023 because it strives to speed up financial progress and drive down the unemployment fee.

The central financial institution additionally mentioned Wednesday that it’s going to search to push inflation above 2% yearly. The Fed left its benchmark short-term fee unchanged at almost zero, the place it has been for the reason that pandemic intensified in March.

The Fed’s benchmark rate of interest influences borrowing prices for homebuyers, bank card customers, and companies. Fed policymakers hope an prolonged interval of low rates of interest will encourage extra borrowing and spending, although their new coverage additionally carries dangers of inflating inventory or inflicting different monetary market bubbles.

The Fed’s strikes are occurring towards the backdrop of an enhancing but nonetheless weak financial system, with hiring slowing and the unemployment fee at 8.4%. The central financial institution did be aware some enchancment within the financial system, nonetheless, forecasting that GDP would fall by 3.7% in comparison with a June forecast of a 6.5% drop. On employment, the Fed projected an unemployment fee on the finish of the yr of seven.6% as an alternative of the 9.3% it projected in June.

At a digital convention with reporters following the assertion, Powell mentioned the financial outlook nonetheless stays extremely unsure and relies upon closely on the power of the U.S. to get management of the pandemic.

“A full financial restoration is unlikely till persons are assured that it’s secure to re-engage in all kinds of actions,” Powell mentioned.

The Fed’s assertion formalized a change in its coverage towards inflation. Fed chair Jerome Powell first mentioned final month that the Fed would search inflation above 2% over time, relatively than simply preserving it as a static aim.

The Fed mentioned that that as a result of inflation has principally fallen under its goal of two% in recent times, Fed policymakers now “will goal to realize inflation reasonably above 2 p.c for a while.” It additionally says it’ll maintain charges at almost zero till “inflation has risen to 2% and is on monitor to reasonably exceed 2% for a while.”

The change displays a rising concern on the Fed that in recessions, inflation usually falls far under 2%, nevertheless it doesn’t essentially attain 2% when the financial system is increasing. Over time, meaning inflation on common falls farther from the goal. As companies and customers come to count on more and more decrease inflation, they act in ways in which entrench slower worth beneficial properties.

The Fed prefers somewhat inflation as a result of that provides the central financial institution extra room to chop or elevate short-term rates of interest.

The Fed final month made two different key adjustments to its technique framework after its first-ever public evaluate of its insurance policies and instruments, which it launched in November 2018.

Powell mentioned final month that the Fed will place better weight on pushing unemployment decrease and can not elevate rates of interest preemptively when the unemployment fee is low to forestall larger inflation. As an alternative, it’ll now look forward to proof that costs are rising.

Fed officers have acknowledged that financial fashions that predict larger inflation when unemployment could be very low have been unsuitable, significantly for the reason that 2008-2009 recession.

The Fed additionally mentioned final month that its goal to maximise employment is “a broad and inclusive aim.” That language means that Fed officers will think about the unemployment charges of Blacks and Hispanics and different deprived teams in addition to the general jobless fee when considering rate of interest adjustments, one thing the Fed has by no means thought of earlier than. Democrats in Congress have launched laws that will require the Fed to contemplate racial inequities because it makes coverage selections.

The Fed additionally mentioned Wednesday that it’s going to proceed buying about $120 billion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities a month, in an effort to maintain longer-term rates of interest low. Since March, the Fed has flooded monetary markets with money by making such purchases and its steadiness sheet has ballooned by about $Three trillion. However with the yield on the 10-year Treasury already at simply 0.67%, economists fear that the Fed’s bond purchases could have a restricted influence going ahead.

“A greater financial system and a dovish Fed, that could be a good combo,” mentioned Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Monetary.

The Fed is trying to increase an financial system all of the sudden thrown into recession by the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the Commerce Division mentioned retail gross sales rose 0.6% in August, the fourth straight achieve however the slowest since gross sales began rising once more in Could. The determine means that the top of a $600 supplemental weekly unemployment cost weighed on spending.

The worldwide financial system remains to be anticipated to shrink this yr, however by lower than beforehand estimated, in line with a report Wednesday from the Group for Financial Improvement, a global assume tank. The OECD now expects the world financial system to shrink by 4.5%, up from an earlier estimate of a 6% contraction, principally due to better-than-expected recoveries in america and China.


Martin Crutsinger in Washington and Alex Veiga in Los Angeles contributed.


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Oil value dives as OPEC, Russia fail to agree on output reduce


OPEC and key ally Russia have didn’t agree to chop oil manufacturing to comprise the drop within the value of crude

OPEC and key ally Russia didn’t agree Friday on a reduce to grease manufacturing that might have contained the plunge within the value of crude brought on by the brand new coronavirus outbreak’s huge disruption to world enterprise.

The value of oil fell sharply in worldwide markets consequently, with the worldwide benchmark plunging 9.4%, down by a 3rd because the begin of the 12 months.

Whereas cheaper oil will translate into extra reasonably priced vitality for customers and companies, it hurts producing nations and corporations, 1000’s of employees have already been laid off within the U.S. oil patch.

The unraveling of the talks in Vienna additionally underscores the restricted energy of the cartel to affect world vitality markets, in contrast to its heyday within the 1970s. The US just lately turned the world’s greatest oil producer and retains on pumping at full capability.

The 14 OPEC nations had wished to chop output by 1.5 million barrels a day, or about 1.5% of world manufacturing. OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran say they want non-member allies like Russia to take 500,000 barrels of that reduce on themselves.

Russia, nevertheless, proved reluctant and OPEC Secretary Basic Mohammed Barkindo of Nigeria stated Friday that the assembly had been adjourned.

“On the finish of the day, there was the overall painful resolution of the joint convention to adjourn the assembly,” Barkindo stated. He stated casual talks would proceed as a result of the state of affairs was pressing.

“The numbers are clear: the demand destruction is actual,” he stated.

Barkindo stated “one or two” non-OPEC nations on the talks Friday had been reluctant to comply with the proposed cuts.

Russia and different non-OPEC nations have been working with the cartel lately and agreed on earlier cuts. Nonetheless, Russia can tolerate low oil costs higher than Saudi Arabia can and seems reluctant to slash output of its essential revenue-making export.

Whereas Saudi Arabia can produce oil cheaply, it wants $83.60 per barrel to stability its state funds, in response to the Worldwide Financial Fund, as it’s nearly solely depending on oil income. Russia wants solely $42.40 a barrel.

Analysts say OPEC might wrestle to maintain oil costs from falling additional, notably as the total impression of the virus outbreak on the worldwide economic system has but to be understood.

“There’s nonetheless an excessive amount of uncertainty concerning the quantity of demand destruction,” analysts at analysis agency Petromatrix stated in a observe to traders.

The unfold of the coronavirus has sharply lowered air journey and thus the demand for gasoline, whereas trade in China, the world’s second largest economic system, has been severely disrupted by means of shutdowns and journey restrictions. German airline Lufthansa stated Friday it and its subsidiaries will scale back their capability over the approaching weeks to as little as 50% of the extent earlier than the coronavirus disaster began.

Some economists assume the worldwide economic system might shrink within the first quarter for the primary time because the monetary disaster, sapping demand for vitality.

The worldwide benchmark for crude oil fell $4.72 to settle at $45.27 a barrel on Friday. It had been buying and selling over $50 in latest days, and is down from $69 as just lately as early January, earlier than the outbreak.

The U.S. benchmark WTI plunged $4.62, or 10.1%, to settle at $41.28 a barrel. With oil beneath $50 a barrel, U.S. producers, together with oil giants resembling Exxon, are scaling again drilling as their earnings get hit. The oil patch has already been shedding hundreds of jobs and struggling by means of a surge of bankruptcies, and decrease costs will exacerbate these issues.

Barkindo stated OPEC was decided to keep away from a repeat of the large market droop that started in 2014, when the cartel held off manufacturing cuts with a purpose to not lose market share to a resurgent U.S. oil trade. That led to a fall within the value of oil from over $100 a barrel to beneath $40 by 2015.

Even when OPEC and its allies agree on a manufacturing reduce within the coming days or even weeks, analysts say costs are unlikely to rise a lot. That is as a result of the worldwide economic system is slowing quickly. But in addition as a result of the the U.S., which isn’t a part of OPEC and in contrast to Russia doesn’t cooperate in its output choices, has ramped up lately, flooding the market and maintaining costs down.


McHugh reported from Frankfurt, Germany. AP Enterprise Author Cathy Bussewitz contributed from New York.


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British MP who leads Kashmir group denied entry to India


Indian officials have denied a British lawmaker entry after she landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport

Indian officials denied a British lawmaker entry on Monday after she landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, according to an accompanying aide.

Debbie Abrahams, a Labour Party Member of Parliament who chairs a parliamentary group focused on the disputed region of Kashmir, was unable to clear customs after the Indian visa she presented was rejected, the aide, Harpreet Upal, told The Associated Press.

Abrahams and Upal arrived at the airport on an Emirates flight from Dubai at 9 a.m. Abrahams said immigration officials did not cite any reason for denying her entry, but continued to shout that she didn’t have a visa.

The visa she showed at customs, a copy of which was shared with the AP, permitted her to “attend technical/business meetings,” and expired in October 2020.

A government official who requested anonymity because it was an immigration matter said the lawmaker wasn’t allowed to enter India because her visa wasn’t valid, information the official said she had already received “in another communication sent to her.”

Abrahams , 59, has been a member of Parliament since 2011 and was on a two-day personal trip to India, to be followed by a three-day trip to the portion of Kashmir that Pakistan controls.

After India won independence from British rule in 1947, the Himalayan region of Kashmir was split between India and the newly formed country of Pakistan. The archrivals have fought two wars over the territory, both claiming it in its entirety.

In a phone interview with AP while awaiting her return flight to the U.K., Abrahams said that she’d be trying to organize a visit to India-controlled Kashmir with the India High Commission in London since October, but had been unsuccessful. She had, however, received permission to visit Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and was planning to fly to Islamabad later this week.

“It was implied to me that it was linked to that,” Abrahams said, referring to a conversation with officials at the U.K. High Commission in New Delhi.

“They were also aware of the trip to Pakistan. It looks as though politics is playing a part in this action,” she said.

Abrahams has been an outspoken critic of the Indian government’s move last August stripping Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and demoting it from a state to a federal territory.

Shortly after the changes to Kashmir’s status were passed by India’s Parliament, Abrahams wrote a letter to India’s High Commissioner to the U.K., saying the action “betrays the trust of the people” of Kashmir.

India took more than 20 foreign diplomats on a visit to Kashmir last week, the second such trip Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has organized in six months.

Access to the region remains tight, with no foreign journalists allowed.

In a statement, Abrahams related her ordeal in Delhi.

“I tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if I could get a ‘visa on arrival’ but no one seemed to know,” she said. “Even the person who seemed to be in charge said he didn’t know and was really sorry about what had happened. So now I am just waiting to be deported … unless the Indian Government has a change of heart. I’m prepared to let the fact that I’ve been treated like a criminal go, and I hope they will let me visit my family and friends.”


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Stocks mostly rise but Japan skids on stark economic data


Global stocks mostly rose on Monday

Global stocks mostly rose Monday, with Shanghai’s benchmark jumping over 2% after the central bank rolled out support for the economy amid a virus outbreak that has infected over 71,000 people globally. Japan’s market slumped, however, on weak economic growth figures.

Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3% to close at 7,433.25, while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.3% to 6085.95. Germany’s DAX added 0.3% as well to end the day at 13,783.89. Wall Street remained closed for Presidents’ Day. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.2% higher in electronic trading.

The Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.3% to 2,983.62 after the central bank and government announced a slew of measures to support the economy as the country battles an outbreak of a new virus that has killed 1,774 people.

The People’s Bank of China cut its one-year medium-term lending rate to 3.15% from 3.25%. It also injected some 300 billion yuan ($43 billion) into the markets through short-term purchases of securities and other injections of cash.

Such moves will likely be followed by more, said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics, given that many of the companies worst affected by the virus outbreak are smaller ones that lack access to loans from major state-run banks.

The government has also announced plans for tax cuts and other measures to help companies struggling with shut-downs of cities and plunging consumer spending and travel.

“We think the People’s Bank of China will need to expand its re-lending quotas and relax constraints on shadow banking in order to direct more credit to struggling (small- and medium-sized companies),” Evans-Pritchard said in a commentary.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo skidded 0.7%, to 23,523.24 after the government reported the economy contracted 6.3% in annual terms in the last quarter.

Analysts said the contraction in the Japanese economy, the world’s third-largest, reflected the impact of typhoons, trade tensions and crimped consumer spending after the sales tax rose to 10% from 8% as of Oct. 1. The seasonally adjusted economic data was announced as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces pressure over spreading cases of the new viral illness COVID-19 and markets around the region see a mounting toll from its impact on travel and tourism as authorities strive to contain it.

“Consumer spending, which slumped following the tax hike in the fourth quarter of 2019, will now struggle to do anything except contract further in the first quarter as the impact of Covid-19 weighs on consumer sentiment, weighing in particular on the consumer services sector,” analysts at ING bank wrote in a report to investors.

“Some further government spending may help to curb any further contraction in GDP beyond (the first quarter of 2020). But that will not stop what started off as a technical downturn from evolving into a full-blown recession,” they said.

Elsewhere in the region, Sydney’s S&P ASX/200 edged 1% lower to 7,125.10. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1% to 2,242.17, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.5% to 27,959.60. India’s Sensex shed 0.4% to 41,082.82.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil picked up 7 cents to $52.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed 1.2% higher on Friday, notching its first weekly gain in six weeks. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 2 cents to $57.34 a barrel.

The slide in oil prices has weighed on energy stocks. The sector is the biggest loser in the S&P 500, down 10.2% so far this year.

More than three quarters of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings and the results so far show solid growth. Companies are expected to report overall profit growth of just under 1% when all the reports are in, according to estimates from FactSet.

In currency markets, the dollar rose to 109.91 Japanese yen from 109.77 yen on Friday. The euro edged down to $1.0836 from $1.0839.


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FDA crackdown on vaping flavors has blind spot: disposables


The U.S. government on Thursday began enforcing restrictions on flavored electronic cigarettes aimed at curbing underage vaping. But some teenagers may be one step ahead of the rules.

Parents, researchers and students warn that some young people have already moved on to a newer kind of vape that isn’t covered by the flavor ban.

These disposable e-cigarettes are sold under brands like Puff Bar, Stig and Fogg in flavors such as pink lemonade, blueberry ice and tropical mango.

The Food and Drug Administration’s crackdown narrowly targets reusable vaping devices like Juul, the blockbuster brand that helped trigger the teen vaping craze in the U.S. Under the new policy, only menthol and tobacco flavors are allowed for those devices.

Critics of the FDA policy fear teens will simply switch to the cheaper disposables, which are widely available at convenience stores and gas stations.

“They are very accessible and seem to be the new buzzy product,” said Dr. Karen Wilson, a tobacco researcher and pediatrician at Mount Sinai’s medical school in New York.

The FDA confirmed that the flavor restriction won’t apply to “self-contained, disposable products,” but only to rechargeable ones that use pods or cartridges prefilled with a nicotine solution.

The agency’s rationale: Reusable vaping devices are far and away the most popular with underage users, preferred by more than 60% of high schoolers who vape, according to survey data collected last year.

The FDA’s top tobacco regulator said it can still go after any vaping product that appeals to teenagers.

“If we see a product that is targeted to kids, we will take action,” Mitch Zeller, who heads the agency’s tobacco center, said in a statement.

Thursday was the deadline for makers of reusable e-cigarettes to stop selling fruity and candy flavors. Juul was already in compliance. It dropped its best selling mint and most other flavors before the ban was announced in early January and only sells tobacco and menthol.

At a congressional hearing Wednesday, the CEO of Fontem U.S., which makes blu vapes, was pressed to drop its vivid vanilla and cherry crush disposable e-cigarettes.

Fontem chief Antoine Blonde countered that its customers are adults, not children. Less than 3% of high school students who vape reported blu as their preferred brand, according to 2019 government data.

“We’re not aware of any issue caused by our disposable flavors,” Blonde said.

Sales of disposable e-cigarettes and all other tobacco and vaping products are prohibited to teenagers under the government’s new age limit, which went from 18 to 21 late last year.

High school student Philip Fuhrman says most of his New York classmates who vape have ditched Juul for disposables like Stig, a tiny e-cigarette sold in flavors like mighty mint and mango bomb.

They’re easier to hide because “they’re smaller and when you’re done you can just throw it away,” said the 16-year-old Fuhrman, who says he no longer vapes. He’s now an anti-vaping activist and his mother is one of the founders of a parents’ group opposed to youth vaping.

At $20 for a three-pack, Stig may not seem cheap. But Fuhrman and other teens say it’s a smaller investment than the $40 or $50 needed to buy a Juul device and a four-pack of pods. Furhman says teens will instead buy a pack of Stigs “for the weekend and then just be done with it.”

The makers of Stig, Puff Bar and Fogg disposables did not respond to requests for comment.

Analysts report that disposables are still just 5% of the nearly $15 billion global vaping market, according to the firm ECigIntelligence.

Researchers who study e-cigarette trash around high schools say they have noticed a shift in what teens are vaping. Jeremiah Mock, of the University of California, San Francisco, has been finding discarded Puff Bars in local school parking lots over the last three months.

Vape shop owners also say the market is changing.

Since the FDA announcement, distributors and manufacturers have ramped up their disposable offerings, according to Vapewerks owner Jeremy Gardner in Cumberland, Maryland.

“How do disposables get a free pass when they’re essentially the same thing as a Juul or anything else that comes with a prefilled pod?” he asked.

Gardner doesn’t stock his most requested brand, Puff Bar, but sells a rival disposable. Most of his business comes from larger, tank-based vapes, which are more popular with adults and allow users to customize flavors and nicotine concentrations. Those products are exempt from government flavor restrictions.

E-cigarettes, which heat a nicotine solution into a vapor, are often promoted as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes but the FDA has not approved any vaping product to help smokers quit. The makers of all vaping products face a May deadline to submit applications for government health and safety review.

Mike Chang, owner of Master Piece Smoke Shop in New York City, says most of his customers who buy disposables switched from Juul after the company pulled its mint, mango and dessert flavors last fall. The company took that voluntary step under pressure from multiple federal investigations and lawsuits from state and local authorities.

The San Francisco company’s retail sales have fallen 35% since their peak last July, driven by the loss of flavors, according to Wall Street research firm Piper Sandler. Juul does not sell disposable e-cigarettes.

In a government survey last year, more than 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the prior month. The next federal study begins this spring.


AP videojournalist Marshall Ritzel in New York contributed to this report.


Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP—FDAwriter


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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Ford full-year profit plunges on slower sales, pension costs


Ford Motor Co.’s profit last year plunged by more than $3.6 billion, weighed down by slowing U.S. sales, the cost of a botched SUV launch and some big pension expenses

Ford Motor Co.’s profit last year plunged by more than $3.6 billion, weighed down by slowing U.S. sales, the cost of a botched SUV launch and some big pension expenses.

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker said Tuesday it made $47 million in 2019, down from a $3.68 billion profit a year earlier. For the fourth quarter the company lost $1.7 billion, or 42 cents per share, hit by $2.2 billion in one-time pension costs.

Excluding one-time items, Ford made 12 cents per share for the quarter, falling short of Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet predicted 17 cents per share.

Quarterly revenue fell 5% to $39.7 billion, about even with Wall Street estimates.

Shares of Ford, which released results after the markets closed Tuesday, tumbled 9% to $8.35 i n extended trading.

Ford had said earlier that it expected to deliver better results in 2019 than in 2018.

CEO Jim Hackett said on a conference call with analysts that the company fell short of expectations for the year, and he blamed the drop primarily on the flubbed launch of the new Ford Explorer SUV at its factory in Chicago.

New Explorers came off the assembly line with multiple problems and had to be shipped to a Detroit-area factory for repairs, delaying deliveries to customers.

Hackett also referred to higher warranty costs during the year, especially for a flawed six-speed automatic transmission in the Ford Focus compact car.

He said the Explorer production is now fixed and the SUVs are selling well.

“Our leadership team is determined to return to world class levels of operational execution,” he said. “I have zero question that we have identified what was at risk there, what bad decisions we made, things we have to change.”

He said 2019 was a year of restructuring for the company as it downsized its white-collar workforce and shifted its products to higher-growth, higher-margin SUV and truck segments while exiting lower-growth sedans. Ford, he said, made cuts in Europe, restructured in South America, installed new leaders in China and cut its white-collar work force globally to trim bureaucracy.

Hackett, who replaced ousted CEO Mark Fields in May of 2017, seemed apologetic when he said the change is taking hold. “It’s just not material enough to move the needle,” he said. “It will move the needle and it will have impact.”

Last year at this time, Hackett acknowledged frustration with the speed of Ford’s $11 billion restructuring effort.

Ford said it made a pretax profit of $6.4 billion for 2019, and its guidance for this year didn’t show much improvement, if any. The company said it would make $5.6 billion to $6.6 billion before taxes in 2020, not including any impact from the coronavirus outbreak in China, which could crimp the parts supply.

“Were still assessing the magnitude and duration of potential impacts” from the virus, Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone said.

The company also announced that about 55,000 blue-collar workers represented by the United Auto Workers union will get profit-sharing checks of $6,600, based on North American pretax profits of just over $6.6 billion. Last year the checks were $7,600.

Ford’s U.S. sales fell 3.2% last year to just over 2.4 million vehicles.


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Market for small businesses rebounds after 4 quarterly drops


The market for small businesses rebounded in the last three months of 2019 after four straight quarterly declines caused in part by uncertainty about U.S. trade policy and rising employee pay

The market for small businesses rebounded in the last three months of 2019 after four straight quarterly declines caused in part by uncertainty about U.S. trade policy.

That’s the finding of a report analyzing business sales released by BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for companies. BizBuySell.com counted 2,340 small businesses sold during October-December, up nearly 2.3% from 2,288 sold in the same period of 2018. For all of 2019, sales fell 5.5% to 9,746 from 10,312 the previous year. BizBuySell.com counts sales reported by brokers.

BizBuySell.com noted that sales activity is at high levels, but the Trump administration’s tariffs on goods imported from China and Europe have driven up companies’ overhead and lowered the number of transactions. Buyers are wary about the impact the tariffs can have on a company’s earnings, especially since it’s unclear how long the tariffs may remain in effect. Meanwhile, prospective sellers are concerned about how much the tariffs can affect their selling prices.

Owners have had to price companies conservatively to make a sale although their businesses are financially healthy. The median revenue of businesses sold in 2019 was up 7% at $567,000, compared to $531,653 in 2018, the report said. Yet the median sales price of a company rose a slim $1,000 to $250,000. Asking prices were flat at $275,000.

Besides tariffs, sales have also been affected by rising minimum wages and uncertainty about the November elections. But Bob House, BizBuySell.com’s president, expects strong sales this year “even if levels plateau a bit due to economic and political concerns.”

Nearly 40% of the reported sales were of service businesses, while retailers comprised nearly 24% and restaurants, 23%. Four percent of sales were of manufacturers, with other companies comprising the remaining 11%.


Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg. Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com


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