Business Highlights


Beer merger will not bring Budweiser, Miller under same roof

LONDON (AP) — The world’s two biggest beer makers will join forces to create a company that produces almost a third of the world’s beer. But in the U.S., the deal will not bring arch rivals Budweiser and Miller under the same roof.

Budweiser maker AB InBev announced Wednesday a final agreement to buy SABMiller for 71 billion pounds ($107 billion).

To ease concerns the brewing behemoth might get a stranglehold of the U.S. market, SABMiller will sell its 58 per cent stake in a venture with fellow brewer Molson Coors for $12 billion. The deal includes rights to the Miller brand name and gives Molson Coors full control of operations.


No empty nest: Young women living with family like it’s 1940

Young women are living with their parents or relatives at a rate not seen since 1940 as more millennial women put off marriage, attend college and face high living expenses.

A Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data found that 36.4 per cent of women between the ages 18 and 34 lived with parents or relatives in 2014, the most since at least 1940, when 36.2 per cent lived with family.

It is a very different world for women now, though, despite the “return to the past, statistically speaking,” says Richard Fry, a senior economist at Pew.


GM, government actions questioned in car fire recalls

DETROIT (AP) — Despite already getting repairs for an earlier recall to prevent a fire, 1,345 General Motors car owners across the U.S. had cars that caught fire. GM has acknowledged the fix didn’t work and issued a new recall involving 1.4 million older cars, some for a second time.

GM advised drivers to park the cars outside until the repairs are done, for fear of flames spreading to nearby structures.

The post-recall fires raise questions about whether GM should have acted sooner, whether the government should have taken notice and stepped in, and whether the ineffective fix should have been approved in the first place.


Weakness in retailers and energy companies pull stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes ended lower Wednesday after a day of wavering between small gains and losses. A weak report from Macy’s pushed retail stocks lower, and energy stocks retreated as the price of oil fell.

October’s big rally is fading into the distance, but most of the market’s recent losses have been small. Stocks have lost ground for five of the last six trading days, leaving the market with a meagre gain for the year to date.


China’s factory growth weakens, retail sales stay strong

BEIJING (AP) — China’s factory output and investment weakened in October while retail sales growth edged up, suggesting economic growth has stabilized but has yet to revive despite repeated interest rate cuts and other stimulus.

The data reported Wednesday reflected the two-speed nature of the economy as communist leaders try to encourage growth based on consumer spending instead of trade, investment and heavy industry.

Economic growth decelerated to a six-year low of 6.9 per cent in the latest quarter. Communist leaders insist they are comfortable with slower growth after the last decade’s explosive double-digit expansion but face pressure to avoid a politically dangerous spike in job losses.


Macy’s 3Q, a glimpse of what’s to come this holiday season?

CINCINNATI (AP) — Macy’s cut its profit forecast for the year Wednesday and said markdowns are expected to clear out excess inventory.

Macy’s set an ominous start to the retail earnings season. The retail sector was by far the biggest loser on the Standard & Poor’s index for the day.

Sales for the Cincinnati company fell 3.6 per cent at established locations for the most recent quarter. And for the current quarter, which includes the critical holiday shopping season, Macy’s expects sales to fall between 2 per cent and 3 per cent from a year ago.


Chipotle locations start to reopen after Northwest outbreak

SEATTLE (AP) — Chipotle started reopening its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday after an E. coli outbreak sickened about 45 people, a high-profile example of foodborne illnesses that are more common than the public realizes, health experts say.

Forty-three outposts of the Mexican food chain in Washington state and the Portland, Oregon, area were closed at the end of October because of the outbreak that hospitalized more than a dozen people. The first restaurants opened for lunch Wednesday.


German airline refines the art of coping with strikes

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — An airline strike with hundreds of cancelled flights conjures up fears of long lines and chaos, but German carrier Lufthansa appears to be coping, having managed over a dozen walkouts in a matter of months.

On Wednesday, the airline re-booked and re-routed thousands of passengers as a walkout by flight attendants led to the cancellation of more than 900 flights on the stoppage’s fifth day.

Travellers may have been frustrated or inconvenienced, and the strikes cost the airline millions of euros. But little of that was in evidence at the airport, where there were no lines at the usually bustling Lufthansa counters at Frankfurt’s international airport, the airlines’ main hub.


Kroger to buy Roundy’s for $178M to expand in Midwest

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger said Wednesday that it plans to buy fellow grocer Roundy’s for about $178 million to expand in the Midwest.

Roundy’s Inc. owns about 150 stores in Wisconsin and Illinois. Its shops include Copps, Mariano’s, Metro Market and Pick ‘n Save.

Kroger said the deal will give it a presence in new areas. Kroger Co. operates more than 2,600 stores in 34 states. It owns several supermarket chains, including City Market, Ralphs and Harris Teeter.


German transport agency is testing emissions on 23 brands

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority says it’s testing the emissions of vehicles made by 23 foreign and domestic brands following revelations that Volkswagen installed software on some 11 million vehicles allowing them to fake emissions results.

The agency said Wednesday since late September it’s been examining about 50 diesel-powered vehicles, based on German test statistics and tips about heightened emissions. It says about two-thirds of the tests have been carried out and the raw data shows “in some cases” elevated emissions of the pollutant nitrogen oxide.


Greece gears up for 1st general strike under new government

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece is bracing for the first general strike since the left-wing government first came to power in January, with workers across the country to walk off the job to protest against yet more spending cuts and tax hikes.

In a first, the governing Syriza party itself is backing the walkout against the measures, which leader Alexis Tsipras has said he had no choice but to implement as part of a bailout deal and avoid economic disaster.

Thursday’s 24-hour strike is to shut down all public services, museums, schools and pharmacies, while public transport will be disrupted, ferries will remain tied up in port and hospitals will function with emergency staff.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 55.99 points, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 17,702.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 6.72 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,075. The Nasdaq composite declined 16.22 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5,067.02.

U.S. crude slid $1.28 to $42.93 a barrel in New York and Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost $1.63 to $45.81 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, heating oil fell 3.9 cents to $1.448 a gallon and wholesale gasoline shed 3.2 cents to $1.329 a gallon. Natural gas declined 5.7 cents to $2.263 per 1,000 cubic feet.