Business Highlights


TD Ameritrade to buy Scottrade in $4B cash-and-stock deal

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Online brokerage TD Ameritrade is buying Scottrade in a $4 billion cash-and-stock deal that would significantly expand its branch network at a time when many financial firms are expanding automated adviser programs.

In the two-stage deal announced Monday, TD Bank Group will buy Scottrade Bank first from Scottrade Financial Services Inc. for $1.3 billion in cash, and Scottrade Bank will be folded into TD Bank Then, TD Ameritrade will buy Scottrade Financial Services for $2.7 billion in cash and stock. Part of that purchase will be financed by selling 11 million shares to TD Bank, which will continue to control 41 per cent of TD Ameritrade’s stock.


Lexus, Toyota and Buick top new auto reliability survey

DETROIT (AP) — Lexus, Toyota and Buick are the most reliable brands in Consumer Reports’ latest survey.

It’s the fourth straight year that Lexus came in first and Toyota came in second. Two of their hybrids — the Toyota Prius and the Lexus CT 200H — were named the most reliable vehicles. But Buick — General Motors Co.’s near-luxury marque — is the first domestic brand to crack the top three since the magazine began tracking vehicle reliability in the early 1980s.

The magazine released its annual reliability survey Monday. It’s closely watched by the industry, since many buyers look to the magazine for recommendations.


Another bid from China for US hotel; $6.5B for Hilton stake

NEW YORK (AP) — HNA Group is snapping up a 25 per cent ownership stake of the Hilton hotel chain for about $6.5 billion, the latest attempt by a Chinese interest to acquire real estate in the U.S.

HNA will appoint two directors at Hilton, expanding the board to 10 members, and will have partial ownership of Hilton’s planned spinoffs of Park Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations, expected to conclude by the end of the year.

HNA’s deal for Hilton is expected to close not long after that, in early 2017.


Wave of deals lead US stocks higher; tech companies jump

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose Monday as investors were cheered by a spate of corporate dealmaking over the weekend. Technology companies made the biggest gains. But investors were doubtful the biggest deal, AT&T’s agreement to buy Time Warner, will happen.

Companies announced almost $100 billion in deals over the last few days. Investors had mixed reactions to the moves, but they were pleased the companies were willing to spend.

Big-name technology companies including Apple and Alphabet, which owns Google, rose ahead of reporting their earnings this week. Amazon also rose, giving other consumer companies a boost. Energy companies slipped with the price of oil.


Burger King owner beats expectations, but sees US ‘softness’

NEW YORK (AP) — Restaurant Brands International reported a rise in third-quarter sales Monday at its Burger King and Tim Horton stores, but the growth was much lower than a year ago.

Burger King sales rose 1.7 per cent at established stores around the world. Burger King sales were hurt by softness at its U.S. and Canada locations. The weakness was partly due to cheaper groceries, which are keeping Americans at home and cooking rather than going out to eat, said Chief Financial Officer Joshua Kobza.

Last week, rival McDonald’s Corp. said falling prices at the supermarket may be changing its customers’ behaviour too.


Visa 4Q results rise 28 per cent, helped by Visa Europe

NEW YORK (AP) — Credit card processing giant Visa said its fiscal fourth-quarter results rose 28 per cent, as it processed more payments on its namesake network. The company’s results were also buoyed by the recent purchase of Visa Europe.

On Monday, Visa reported net income of $1.93 billion, compared with $1.51 billion in the same period a year earlier. On a per-share basis, Visa earned 79 cents per share compared with 62 cents per share in the same period a year earlier.

The results beat expectations, with analysts expecting earnings of 73 cents per share.


Genworth shares fall after agreeing to Chinese buyout offer

NEW YORK (AP) — A Chinese holding company has agreed to buy U.S. insurer Genworth Financial for about $2.7 billion, another example of China’s intense interest in American commerce.

The buyer, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., is based in Beijing and owns other financial services companies. It plans to keep Genworth operating separately out of its Richmond, Virginia, headquarters and doesn’t expect its day-to-day operations to change.


SpaceX’s Elon Musk elaborates on plan to colonize Mars

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has elaborated on plans to head to Mars. The Reddit session Sunday was a follow up to Musk’s comments at a space conference during which he unveiled his plan to send up to 1 million people to Mars within the next 40 to 100 years.

Musk envisions 1,000 passenger ships flying en masse to the red planet “Battlestar Galactica” style.

He said Sunday that an unmanned ship will be sent to Mars with equipment to build a plant to create refuelling propellant for return trips to Earth. He says the first manned crew would have the job of constructing the plant.


REI to close again for Black Friday

NEW YORK (AP) — Outdoor retailer REI says it will keep its stores closed on the day after Thanksgiving for the second straight year, even though it’s one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It will also again pay employees for the day off in a campaign that encourages people to spend time outdoors.

Online shoppers can put items in their cart, though no orders will be processed that day.

CEO Jerry Stritzke told The Associated Press that the company’s move last year, which it dubbed #OptOutside, gained momentum on social media from various outdoor groups.


Indian business giant Tata Sons removes chairman Mistry

NEW DELHI (AP) — The board of directors of Tata Sons on Monday removed Cyrus P. Mistry as chairman, four years after he took the reins of India’s largest conglomerate.

The board named former group chief Ratan Tata as interim chairman and set up a panel to choose a new chairman.

Tata Sons owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, as well as Tetley Tea. It is one of India’s oldest industrial houses and comprises over 100 companies, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power and the IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services.

The company did not give any reasons for Mistry’s surprise removal.


SEC seeks takedown of once-prominent Wall Street executive

NEW YORK (AP) — A government lawyer says prominent Wall Street executive Lynn Tilton cheated investors in failing companies of over $200 million and should be banned from the industry.

But her lawyer says the Securities and Exchange Commission has created a laughable fraud case built on revisionist history. The dispute is being aired before an administrative law judge in New York federal court.

SEC senior trial counsel Dugan Bliss says the SEC wants Tilton banned from the securities industry and forced to give up over $200 million.


The Dow Jones industrial average added 77.32 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 18,223.03. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 10.17 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,151.33. The Nasdaq composite jumped 52.42 points, or 1 per cent, to 5,309.83.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 33 cents to $50.52 a barrel in New York after falling more than 2 per cent earlier in the session. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 32 cents to $51.46 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline dipped 3 cents to $1.50 a gallon. Heating oil remained at $1.58 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 16 cents, or 5.4 per cent, to $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.