Business Highlights


Emails reveal Coke’s role in anti-obesity group

NEW YORK (AP) — A non-profit founded to combat obesity says the $1.5 million it received from Coke has no influence on its work.

But emails obtained by The Associated Press show the world’s largest beverage maker was instrumental in shaping the Global Energy Balance Network, which is led by a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The company helped pick the group’s leaders, edited its mission statement and suggested articles and videos for its website.

Coke has long maintained that the academics and other experts it works with espouse their own views. But the collaborations can be fraught and blur the lines between advertisements and genuine advice.


19 people in 7 states ill in E. coli outbreak tied to Costco

SEATTLE (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 19 people in seven states have contracted E. coli in an outbreak linked to Costco chicken salad.

The strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can be life-threatening. No deaths have been reported, but the CDC says five people have been hospitalized and two have developed a type of kidney failure.

The CDC and state health officials are investigating. They don’t know what ingredient in the rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores is the likely source of the outbreak.


US economy grew at 2.1 per cent rate in third quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster rate in the summer than previously reported, mainly because businesses restocked their goods at a stronger pace than first thought.

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent in the July-September period, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. It previously estimated growth of 1.5 per cent.


US home prices jump in September by most in more than a year

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in September from a year earlier at the fastest pace in 13 months as a lack of houses for sale has forced buyers to bid up available properties.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, increased 5.5 per cent in September compared with a year ago, the largest annual gain since August 2014.

Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have propelled a solid rebound in home sales, which are on track to reach the highest level since 2007.


US consumer confidence falls hard in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — Confidence in the economy eroded this month as Americans became more worried about the job market.

A business research group said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 90.4 in November, down from 99.1 in October. The index is at its lowest level since September 2014.

The share of Americans surveyed by the Conference Board anticipating more jobs in the coming months fell. Fewer people also expect to see their incomes increase. The percentage describing jobs as “plentiful” declined to 19.9 per cent from 22.7 per cent.


Why government and tech can’t agree about encryption

NEW YORK (AP) — Your phone is getting better and better at protecting your privacy. But Uncle Sam isn’t totally comfortable with that, because it’s also complicating the work of tracking criminals and potential national-security threats.

For decades, tech companies have steadily expanded the use of encryption — a data-scrambling technology that shields information from prying eyes, whether it’s sent over the Internet or stored on phones and computers. For almost as long, police and intelligence agencies have sought to poke holes in the security technology, which can thwart investigators even when they have a legal warrant for, say, possibly incriminating text messages stored on a phone.

The authorities haven’t fared well; strong encryption now keeps strangers out of everything from your iMessages to app data stored on the latest Android phones. But in the wake of the Paris attacks, U.S. officials are again pushing for limits on encryption, even though there’s still no evidence the extremists used it to safeguard their communications.


Regulators move on high-speed trader

NEW YORK (AP) — Regulators are proposing new procedures to monitor high-speed trading more closely in response to wild market swings brought on by a series of technical breakdowns.

More than 70 per cent of all trading today is automated, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Tuesday as it voted unanimously in favour of new registration standards for high-speed traders.

The systems use algorithms to spot variances in market data, allowing trading firms to deliver buy and sell orders in milliseconds. That technology has led to a number of high-profile glitches, including one this summer that shut down the New York Stock Exchange for almost half a day.

The proposed rules would require some traders involved in such trading to register with the commission in an effort to foster greater transparency.


US bank earnings rose 5.1 per cent in July-September quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. banks’ earnings rose 5.1 per cent in the July-September quarter from a year earlier, largely because of a drop in legal expenses for the largest financial services companies.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says that profits reached $40.4 billion, up from $38.4 billion in the third quarter of 2014.

The data illustrates the steady improvement in bank’s health since the financial crisis in 2008.


German investigation of VW expands to include tax evasion

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors said Tuesday they have widened their investigation of Volkswagen to include suspicion of tax evasion after revelations that some of its cars were emitting more carbon dioxide than officially reported.

Braunschweig prosecutor Birgit Seel told The Associated Press that the investigation was focused on five Volkswagen employees but would not release their names.

The focus of the investigation is on tax breaks Volkswagen received for producing low-polluting cars that it might not have qualified for if the emissions had been correctly reported.


Thanksgiving getaway 2015: Cheap gas but fears of terrorism

LOS ANGELES (AP) — That other Thanksgiving tradition — congested highways and jammed airports — is getting underway with gas prices low and terrorism fears high.

An estimated 46.9 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus or train at least 50 miles from home over the long holiday weekend, according to the motoring organization AAA. That would be an increase of more than 300,000 people over last year, and the most travellers since 2007.

Among the reasons given for the increase: an improving economy and the cheapest gasoline for this time of year since 2008.


Feds revising wary stance on self-driving cars

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal transportation officials are rethinking their position on self-driving cars with an eye toward getting the emerging technology into the public’s hands.

Just two years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation said cars should be limited to testing and not “authorized for use by members of the public for general driving purposes.” But with technology’s rapid development, federal policy will be updated.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has ordered the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to revise the policy “to reflect today’s technology and his sense of urgency to bring innovation to our roads that will make them safer.”


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 19.51 points, or 0.1 per cent, to close at 17,812.19. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 2.55 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,089.14. The Nasdaq composite index inched up 0.33 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 5,102.81.

Crude oil rose $1.12, or 2.7 per cent, to $42.87 a barrel in New York. Brent crude rose $1.29, or 2.9 per cent, to $46.12 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline climbed 7.7 cents, or 5.8 per cent, to $1.39 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2.5 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $1.40 a gallon. Natural gas missed out on the rally and lost 1 cent to $2.20 per 1,000 cubic feet.