Business Highlights


More Thanksgiving travellers; don’t get stuck at the airport

NEW YORK (AP) — A stronger economy and lower gas prices mean Thanksgiving travellers can expect more congested highways this year.

During the long holiday weekend, 46.9 million Americans are expected to go 50 miles or more from home, the highest number since 2007, according to travel agency and car lobbying group AAA. That would be a 0.6 per cent increase over last year and the seventh straight year of growth.

While promising for the travel industry, the figure is still 7.3 per cent short of the 50.6 million high point reached in 2007, just before the recession.


Mark Zuckerberg on philanthropy: Move slow and build things

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After making their fortunes from new software or social networks, some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have vowed to apply their skills to “hacking” philanthropy and “disrupting” old models for funding charity.

Not so Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who isn’t afraid to take a more conventional approach to giving.

Local officials will gather in San Francisco this weekend to dedicate a new public hospital building, furnished and equipped in part by a $75 million gift from Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician who did medical training at the old San Francisco General Hospital — now to be known as the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.


AP Exclusive: Big Texas welcome for Google self-driving cars

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is offering a fast lane to Google’s self-driving cars, which are slowed in a gridlock of California regulation.

Unlike California, where regulators have been drafting regulatory rules to give the public safe access to the cars, Texas has no obvious restrictions on self-driving vehicles. And Google wants to keep it that way.

The tech titan believes vehicles with just a button to start and stop — and no other way for passengers to manoeuvr them — would be legal without any change to Texas law.


Yellen opposes GOP proposal to boost Fed oversight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Tuesday that legislation supported by House Republicans to make the Federal Reserve more transparent and accountable would be a “grave mistake” that could harm the U.S. economy.

Yellen said the proposal which could be voted on by the House this week is “significantly flawed” because it would require the Fed to use a mathematical rule in determining where to set interest rates. She said that approach is unworkable and would lead to “poor economic outcomes.”

The measure is supported by Republicans who want to increase congressional oversight of the Fed but is strongly opposed by Democrats.


Gain in consumer prices could keep a Fed rate hike on track

WASHINGTON (AP) — The costs of food, gasoline, shelter and medical care rose last month, a sign that consumer inflation may be moving up toward the Federal Reserve’s target level and keeping the Fed on track to raise short-term interest rates from record lows next month.

The consumer price index rose 0.2 per cent in October after falling the prior two months, the Labor Department said Tuesday. The average retail gas price rose 0.4 per cent, though it remains 28 per cent below last year’s level.


An early gain fades, leaving stock indexes little changed

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks ended little changed on Tuesday after a late-afternoon slump wiped out much of the market’s gains from earlier in the day.

Investors weighed mixed results from Wal-Mart stores, Home Depot and other big U.S. retailers, as well as new data on inflation. Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners as oil prices closed lower.

U.S. stocks ended little changed on Tuesday after a late-afternoon slump wiped out much of the market’s gains from earlier in the day.


Iran to boost oil exports after sanctions are lifted

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran said Tuesday it will export an additional 500,000 barrels of oil a day after sanctions are lifted under a landmark nuclear deal in a bid to reclaim its market share despite low prices.

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters Iran plans to double its crude oil exports as sanctions are lifted, which officials expect to happen in early 2016. Iran plans to begin exporting an additional 500,000 barrels of oil a day six months later.

OPEC member Iran currently exports 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day and hopes to get back to its pre-sanctions level of 2.2 million, last reached in 2012.


Wal-Mart tops 3Q profit forecasts, narrows full-year outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart reported improved customer traffic and an uptick in a key sales figure for the third quarter, even as a stronger dollar pressured its performance overseas.

The world’s largest retailer also issued a forecast for the holiday shopping season that largely topped Wall Street expectations, and narrowed its full-year outlook after cutting it in August. For the fourth quarter, which includes the key holiday shopping season, Wal-Mart said it expects sales at established locations to rise 1 per cent.


Home Depot beats Street 3Q forecasts on sales boost

NEW YORK (AP) — The Home Depot Inc. reported its profit rose 12.2 per cent in its fiscal third-quarter as sales gained ground, fueled partly by a continued housing market recovery.

The home-improvement retailer reported net income of $1.73 billion, or $1.35 per share. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations of $1.32 per share. Revenue rose 6.4 per cent to $21.82 billion in the period, also topping Street forecasts.


Greece and creditors in deal to release more bailout cash

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece struck a deal with European creditors Tuesday on economic measures it needs to make to get its next batch of bailout money, including a 10 billion-euro ($10.7 billion) cash injection for its crippled banks.

Though the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had already made many of the reforms required by its third international bailout, it has balked at a few.

Those included introducing a law that would have scrapped mortgage protections — and raised the prospect of mass evictions and property selloffs. Instead, a compromise appears to have been reached that will protect many in arrears on their mortgages.


Air Liquide offers to buy Airgas in deal worth about $10.3B

French industrial gas producer Air Liquide will buy U.S. counterpart Airgas in deal valued at about $10.3 billion.

The companies say Air Liquide will pay $143 in cash for each share of Airgas in a deal that has already been approved by the boards of both companies. Including debt, the deal is worth 12.5 billion euros ($13.4 billion).

The per-share price represents a 35 per cent premium to the closing price of Airgas shares on Monday, and the Radnor, Pennsylvania, company’s stock soared Tuesday after the deal was announced.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.49 points, or 0.04 per cent, to close at 17,489.50. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2.75 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,050.44. The Nasdaq composite index added 1.40 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 4,986.01.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped $1.07 to close at $40.67 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 99 cents to close at $43.57 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.238 a gallon, heating oil lost 1.7 cents to $1.368 a gallon and natural gas fell 1.4 cents to $2.371 per 1,000 cubic feet.