On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

clear-day
61°
Clear
H 69° L 49°
  • clear-day
    61°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 69° L 49°
  • clear-night
    50°
    Morning
    Clear. H 69° L 49°
  • cloudy-day
    71°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 74° L 58°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

The Latest Business Headlines

    It was a happy holiday at Starbucks, but the company's sales momentum could start to slow due to the coronavirus outbreak in China. Starbucks said it had intended to raise its full-year earnings guidance Tuesday, but uncertainty about China put that on pause. Starbucks said it has already closed more than half of its stores in China due to coronavirus. China's 4,292 Starbucks stores brought in 10% of the company's revenue during the October-December period, so the closure will affect earnings, the company said. But it's not yet clear how much of an impact there will be. Starbucks had expected full-year revenue growth in the 6% to 8% range and same-store sales growth of 3% to 4%. “We remain optimistic and committed to the long term growth potential in China,' Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson said in a conference call Tuesday with analysts. Starbucks shares fell 1.6% to $87.20 in extended trading following the earnings report. Johnson said the holiday season was one of the best in the company's history. New drinks like the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew were a hit with customers. Starbucks' new four-story Reserve Roastery in Chicago — which opened in November — is serving an average of 10,000 visitors each day, he said. A combination of new stores and solid foot traffic helped the Seattle-based coffee giant handily beat Wall Street's forecasts in the October-December period. The company opened 539 net new stores in its fiscal first quarter. It now has nearly 32,000 stores worldwide. Starbucks' earnings rose 16% to $886 million in the fiscal first quarter. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring items like restructuring charges, were 79 cents per share. That beat Wall Street's forecast of 76 cents. Starbucks said same-store sales — or sales at stores open at least 13 months — jumped 5% worldwide in the October-December period, ahead of analysts' forecast of 4.4%. Revenue was up 7% to $7.1 billion, in line with analysts' forecasts. Starbucks Chief Operating Officer Roz Brewer said she's confident the company can sustain that momentum because of new products and technology in the pipeline. Starbucks is adding new equipment to stores to improve its cold brew process, she said. The company also plans to introduce a plant-based sausage sandwich at breakfast and more non-dairy milks based on customer requests, she said. Starbucks also plans more mobile order and pickup locations in the U.S. after the successful opening of a small-format store in New York during the quarter. Mobile ordering and payment represented 17% of U.S. sales in the first quarter.
  • Apple is still reaping huge profits from the iPhone while mining more moneymaking opportunities from the growing popularity of its smartwatch, digital services and wireless earbuds. That combination produced a banner holiday season for a company whose fortunes appeared to be sliding just a year ago amid declining sales for the iPhone, its marquee product for the past decade. Apple’s fiscal first-quarter results, released Tuesday, provided the latest proof that the fears hanging over the consumer electronics icon might have been unfounded. Apple’s profit and revenue for the October-December period topped analysts’ projections, providing another boost to a stock that has more than doubled in less than 13 months. The shares surged more than 1% to $322.14 in extended trading after the numbers came out. That’s up from $142 in January 2019 after Apple warned that consumers weren’t buying as many new iPhones as they once were, especially in China, the company’s biggest market outside the U.S. and Europe. China is also where Apple makes most of its iPhones and several other products. If the shares move similarly in Wednesday's regular trading session, they will flirt with a new all-time high for the stock and further cement Apple's position as the most valuable company in the U.S., with a market value of $1.4 trillion. A deadly viral outbreak in China, which has curtailed travel and threatens the world economy, looms as a potential concern for Apple. But investors for now are focusing on what looks like an even more prosperous road ahead for a company that turned a $55 billion profit in its past fiscal year. In a conference call Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook said the coronavirus outbreak has already caused some of Apple's suppliers in China to delay reopening their factories closed for the Lunar New Year holiday from the end of this month until Feb. 10. And some stores in China selling Apple products already have temporarily closed or reduced their operating hours because fewer customers are shopping as virus worries escalate. “The situation is emerging and we're still gathering lots of data points and monitoring it very closely,' Cook said. Apple got off to a fast start for fiscal 2020, with a first-quarter profit of $22.2 billion, or $4.99 per share, on revenue of $91.8 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of $4.54 per share on revenue of $88.5 billion. As usual, the iPhone remained Apple’s marquee attraction. Boosted by the release of the iPhone 11 heading into the holiday season, the product generated sales of $56 billion, an 8% increase from the previous year’s disappointing showing. Besides rolling out high-end phones with more cameras and a starting price of $1,000, Apple sold a more basic model starting at $700 — a $50 drop from a comparable version released in 2018. Apple’s division that includes its app store, product warranties, music streaming and a new Netflix-like video service delivered revenue of $12.7 billion, up 17% from the previous year. Apple is hoping its service division will produce revenue of at least $50 billion this year, doubling its output in just four years. The services division is feeding into all iPhones, iPads, Macs and other Apple products already being used, which the company said Tuesday now totals 1.5 billion devices, up by 100 million from the previous year. “We see this as a powerful testament to the satisfaction, engagement and loyalty of our customers — and a great driver of our growth across the board,' Cook said. The Apple TV Plus video streaming service, which Apple launched amid great fanfare in October, is supposed to help that cause, but it may not be a huge contributor this year. That’s because Apple is initially selling it for just $5 per month to help drum up interest. That's less than half the price of Netflix’s most popular plan. What’s more, Apple is giving away a free year of Apple TV Plus to anyone who buys a new iPhone or several other devices, a promotion that means tens of millions of people aren’t paying anything for the service yet. Apple hasn't released subscription numbers for the video service. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch, which the company began selling nearly five years ago, continued to gain new converts, and the latest version of its wireless earbuds, AirPods, emerged as a hot commodity during the holiday season. Apple introduced the AirPods after removing the headphone jack from the iPhone in 2016, but the product picked up more momentum in October with a next-generation set designed to fit better in people’s ears. That version, called AirPods Pro, proved so popular that Apple had trouble keeping it in stock. The AirPods Pro also cost more at $250, compared with $160 to $200 for the previous models. All those factors helped Apple’s “wearables, home and accessories” category garner sales totaling $10 billion in the past quarter, a 37% increase from the previous year. That prompted Cook to hail it as a “blowout” quarter for the wearables and accessories division, which is now Apple's fastest growing category.
  • Ford is recalling its popular F-150 pickup truck in Canada to fix a problem with electric tailgate latches, but identical trucks aren't being recalled in the U.S. Ford's F-Series pickups are the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. An auto safety advocate says the company is avoiding a U.S. recall to save money. The recall covers nearly 90,000 trucks in Canada that were built at two U.S. factories. Water can get into the electrical wiring and cause a short-circuit in the electric latch release switch. That can activate the switch and cause the tailgates to open unexpectedly, possibly allowing unsecured cargo to fall out. The trucks are from the 2015 through 2018 model years. Ford said in statement that it has received far fewer reports of the problem in the U.S. than in Canada. It said the problem occurs mainly in areas of Canada that are cold and wet and far from the U.S. border. Ford says it will notify U.S. owners that they can get a free repair if they have the problem. But Jason Levine, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said the problem is just as likely to happen in the U.S. as it is in Canada. “This isn’t about weather and it isn’t about safety,' he said in an e-mail. 'It’s about the money Ford doesn’t want to pay for a recall of its most popular vehicle in America.” The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's vehicle safety agency, said it is reviewing F-150 data to determine if further action is needed. “So far, NHTSA has not seen the frequency of complaints in the United States as Canada has on this issue,” the agency said. In December, Ford recalled nearly 262,000 heavy-duty pickup trucks in both Canada and the U.S. for a similar electric tailgate problem. The recall covers F-250, F-350 and F-450 trucks from the 2017 through 2019 model years. Trucks with manual tailgates are not affected. A Ford spokeswoman said the heavy-duty trucks have different electrical systems and a higher rate of problems than the F-150s. In both the light-duty and heavy-duty recalls, dealers will change the tailgate frame wiring and install a new tailgate handle release switch, Ford said. Ford sold just over 3.4 million F-Series pickups in the U.S. from 2015 through 2018, and about two-thirds of those were F-150s. Ford only reports a combined number for the F-Series and does not break out numbers for the lighter-duty F-150s.
  • This should be peak season for a 12-room hotel near the train station in the Chinese industrial hub of Wuhan. The Chinese New Year usually brings in plenty of travelers and delivers profits of around $3,000 a month. But the place is empty. Wuhan, the center of a deadly viral outbreak, is on lockdown. “There is not a single customer,’’ said the hotel’s owner, who gave only his surname, Cui. He still has to pay rent and his utility bills. Instead of counting his earnings, he’s expecting to lose $1,500 a month. The outbreak arrives at a bad time for Wuhan, China and the world economy. China, with the world’s No. 2 economy, was decelerating even before the coronavirus hit. And the world economy is coping with an unexpectedly sharp slowdown in No. 7 India, which prompted the International Monetary Fund last week to downgrade its outlook for global growth this year. The coronavirus is drawing comparisons to the SARS outbreak, which paralyzed the economies of China and Hong Kong for weeks in 2003. But what happens in China carries a lot more weight these days: In 2003, China accounted for 4% of global output. Now its share is 16%, according to the World Bank. “A growth slowdown in China could have sizable ripple effects across Asia and the rest of the world, given the size of China’s economy and its role as the key driver of global growth in recent years,” said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist and former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division. No one knows exactly how the outbreak will play out or what its economic impact will be. Authorities are still trying to better understand the new virus. It is from the coronavirus family, which also can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS. So far, China has confirmed more than 4,500 coronavirus cases and more than 100 deaths. The Chinese government has locked down Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province, isolating more than 50 million people. The United States and other countries prepared Tuesday to airlift their citizens out of Wuhan. The outbreak has brought every day business to a standstill and closed down such popular tourist attractions as Beijing's former imperial palace, Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and the city's Ocean Park. The significant decline in travel has already caused United Airlines to suspend some flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, the airline said in a statement. “It’s still too soon to measure what the impact is going to be from an economic perspective,’’ said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors. The SARS experience offers some reason for economic optimism. That outbreak, centered in southern China, initially clobbered the Chinese economy. In the April-June quarter of 2003, China’s economic growth dropped to an annual rate of 9.1% from 11.1% the previous quarter, noted economists Tommy Wu and Priyanka Kishore of Oxford Economics. But as the health crisis subsided, growth picked back up, recovering to a 10% annual rate in the second half of the year. “From what we know, it’s likely to be similar this time,’’ said Andy Rothman, investment strategist at Matthews Asia. “People shouldn’t get panicked that growth is going to slow sharply’’ over a sustained period. Still, the Chinese economy isn’t the dynamo it was in the early and mid-2000s when growth routinely hit double digits. The IMF expects China’s growth to drop from 6.1% in 2019, already the slowest since 1990, to 6% this year and 5.8% next. The slowdown reflects China’s difficult transition from fast but unsustainable growth built around often-wasteful investments to steadier but less striking growth built on consumer spending by the country’s growing middle class. The Chinese economy has also been buffeted by a trade war with the United States. The two countries signed a truce earlier this month that was expected to provide some economic relief. Then the viral outbreak hit. As part of the so-called Phase 1 deal, China agreed to increase purchases of U.S. products by $200 billion over this year and next. That goal sounded ambitious even before the viral outbreak isolated tens of millions of Chinese consumers and delivered a wallop to consumer and business confidence. Rothman suspects the United States might give the Chinese a little leeway. “Both governments really want the deal to work,’’ he said. “Ïf it is clear that (Chinese purchases) are off to a slow start not because the Chinese government is not trying its best but because of the virus, the Trump administration is likely to be sympathetic.’’ There has been no immediate impact on China’s vast manufacturing industries because factories already were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday and weren’t due to reopen until this week or later. “I think the first quarter looks like it will take quite a significant hit,” said Rajiv Biswas, chief Asia economist for IHS Markit. “This still is escalating, so it’s hard to talk about when this will be contained.” Further delays in restarting production could send shock waves through Asian suppliers of components and exporters of iron ore, copper and other commodities as far away as Australia, Brazil and Africa. Foreign suppliers usually see a surge in Chinese orders as factories restock after shutting down for 10 days or more during the holiday. “The loss of economic output could be quite substantial, and that has consequences for the Asian manufacturing supply chain, because orders won’t come in the way people expect,” Biswas said. The impact in other developing Asian countries might reduce their 2020 economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points, according to a forecast by Edward Glossop of Capital Economics. Growth in Asian emerging markets “will slow sharply in the first quarter of the year,” Glossop said in a report. Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters Tuesday that Japanese exports, production and corporate profits could be pinched by the new virus, stressing that he was closely monitoring the situation. A more direct hit is already coming from the decline in tourist traffic from China. Nishimura said Chinese travelers usually account for about a third of tourists from abroad. Chinese tourists to Japan tend to be relatively big spenders. The virus has hit right at the time when Chinese travel for the lunar new year. Japan’s economy suffered from the SARS outbreak in 2003, but the damage was limited to several months. The big difference is that Japan has far more Chinese tourists these days. Now “the impact on the Japanese economy would be far greater,” said Takahide Kiuchi, executive economist at Nomura Research Institute, while adding that much depends on how widespread the outbreak proves to be. “There is hardly anything good that can be hoped for economically because of the new virus,” he said. Increased sales of masks and other protective gear, he noted, will hardly pick up the slack. ___ Wiseman reported from Washington, McDonald from Beijing and Kageyama from Tokyo. AP researcher Yu Bing in Beijing and AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.
  • An annual congressional report says the U.S. budget deficit is likely to burst through the symbolic $1 trillion barrier this year despite a healthy economy. Tuesday's Congressional Budget Office report follows a burst of new spending last year and the repeal in December of several taxes used to help finance the Affordable Care Act. Those have combined to deepen the government's deficit spiral well on into the future, with trillion-dollar deficits likely for as far as the eye can see. The annual CBO update of the government's economic and fiscal health estimates a $1 trillion deficit for the ongoing fiscal year, which would bring the red ink above $1 trillion for the first time since 2012, when former President Barack Obama capped four consecutive years of $1 trillion-plus budget deficits. The government, slated to spend $4.6 trillion this year, would have to borrow 22 cents of every dollar it spends. Most economists say the most relevant way to look at the deficit is to measure it against the size of the economy, with deficits at 3 percent or so of gross domestic product seen as sustainable. The latest report shows deficits averaging 4.8 percent of GDP over the course of the coming decade. “As a result of those deficits, federal debt would rise each year, reaching a percentage of the nation's output that is unprecedented in U.S. history,' the CBO report says. Obama's deficits came as the U.S. economy recovered from the deep recession of 2007-2009. The return of trillion-dollar deficit now comes as the economy is humming on all cylinders, with the CBO predicting that the jobless rate nationwide will average below 4 percent through at least 2022. The growth rate is predicted to hit average 2.2 percent this year. “The economy's performance makes the large and growing deficit all the more noteworthy,” said CBO Director Phillip Swagel. “Changes in fiscal policy must be made to address the budget situation, because our debt is growing on an unsustainable path.” The government reported a $984 billion deficit for the 2019 budget year. Cumulative deficits over the coming decade are expected to total $13 trillion — a total that would have gone higher save for CBO's belief that yields on Treasury notes will remain unusually low as the government refinances its $23 trillion debt. The recent surge in the deficit has followed passage of the 2017 Trump tax bill, which has failed to pay for itself with additional economic growth and revenues as promised by administration figures like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The surge in deficits also follows a final rewrite last summer of a failed 2011 budget deal to increase spending of both defense and domestic programs. Divided government isn't helping the deficit picture as the Democratic-controlled House led the way in repealing $377 billion worth of “Obamacare' tax hikes, including a so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was also a driving force in last summer's budget accord, which is scored at adding $1.7 trillion to the deficit over the coming decade. CBO holds a traditional view of economists that debt that's too high has a “crowding out” effect on private sector investment in the economy and can lead to higher interest rates and maybe even a European-style debt crisis. But interest rates have remained low despite CBO's alarms and more liberal economists hold a much more dovish view of the effects of higher deficits on the economy. The CBO report landed amid an intensifying presidential campaign in which concerns about the deficit are not really an issue. President Donald Trump has promised to leave Social Security pensions and Medicare benefits off the table as his administration seeks ways to blunt the political impact of the eye-popping deficit figures. The administration's budget is being released next month but is likely to be largely ignored, especially as election-year politics take over.
  • During a trip to Mexico to visit family, writer Myriam Gurba took “American Dirt,” a novel about immigration and cartel violence that was being touted as one of the biggest U.S. releases of 2020. The writer was of mostly white descent, and Gurba felt the book didn't ring true. “I was reading the book in Parque Revolución in Guadalajara. I'd look up and see real Mexico,” said Gurba, of Long Beach, California. “I'd look down back at the book and see fake Mexico.” Since before its publication, ``American Dirt,'' by Jeanine Cummins, garnered suspicion and criticism from many Latino writers and activists at the same time — and partly because — it was being heralded by many in the book community as a vital new work on the Southern border crisis. It was praised by novelist Don Winslow as a modern “Grapes of Wrath.' The novel has become a flashpoint in debates over who gets published, how reputations are formed, and who can tell which stories in an industry — from publishers and editors to booksellers and agents — that is predominantly white. Nicolas Kanellos, founder and publisher of Houston-based Arte Publico Press, the largest publisher of Hispanic literature in the U.S., said a lot of the anger stems from the exclusion of Latino writers by major publishers. “This has been going on for decades and these New York publishers don't get it,” said Kanellos. Cummins, author of three previous books, has faced criticism for previously identifying as white but mentioning her Puerto Rican grandparent as the novel got closer to publication. “You don't get to bring out your Puerto Rican abuela when it's convenient,” said Daisy Hernández, a Colombia American writer who teaches writing at Miami University of Ohio and wrote a 2014 memoir, “A Cup of Water Under My Bed.” In the past, some white writers have received acclaim for their portrayal of Latinos in the U.S. Edna Ferber, a Michigan-born Jewish novelist, was widely admired by some Latinos for her portrayal of Mexican Americans in her 1952 novel “Giant.' She interviewed civil rights leaders Dr. Hector P. Garcia and John J. Herrera in her research into discrimination in Texas. John Steinbeck enjoyed a following among Mexican Americans for his stories set in Northern California. And in 1974, California-born John Nichols was praised for his novel “The Milagro Beanfield War,” which explored the complicated relationship between Hispanics and whites in northern New Mexico and the battle over water rights. Others, like T. C. Boyle and D.H. Lawrence, faced criticism for stereotypical portrayal of Latinos. Bernadine Hernández, an English professor at the University of New Mexico, said that since those earlier books, colleges have introduced Chicano Studies and created a more critical Latino reading audience. “It's also coming at a time when Latinos are more sensitive and critical readers,” she said. “We can go to social media and express it.” Gurba accused the big publishers of “librotrafficking,” comparing them to a cartel that controls who gets to tell Latino stories. Her scathing review of “American Dirt,” in which she accuses Cummins of appropriating works by Latinos, went viral. “American Dirt,” published last week, tells the story of a Mexican woman and her 8-year-old son fleeing to the U.S. border after a drug cartel kills the rest of their family. It has been in the top 10 on Amazon.com for the past week, and has been praised by authors ranging from John Grisham and Stephen King to noted Latina authors Erika Sanchez and Sandra Cisneros. Then Oprah Winfrey offered one of publishing's most cherished honors: endorsement for her book club. Some Latino celebrities posted selfies with the book; Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek later apologized for promoting “American Dirt” without having read it after she was attacked on social media. In a video posted last weekend on Instagram, Winfrey said she now realizes the book struck “an emotional chord” with Latinos and created a need for deeper conversation. Winfrey wants to hold a discussion on the politics of publishing for an Apple TV special in March. In a statement, Sanchez, author of “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter,” said Monday that she blurbed the book only after she saw that Cummins identified as Puerto Rican. “What's resulted is not at all what I expected, obviously,” Sanchez said, adding that she was taking a break from social media. Latino critics say ``American Dirt'' contains stereotypes, incorrect regional slang, and cultural inaccuracies. Cummins confided in the book's afterword that she didn't know if she was the right person to write the book. She has told The Associated Press she spent extensive time in Mexico and met with many people on both sides of the border. “So many of the stories center on violent men and macho violent stories about people who commit atrocities,” she said. “My hope was to reframe the narrative and show it from the point of view of the people on the flip side of violence.” Still, Latino anger hit a crescendo on social media after Gurba posted an image of a release party from last year that featured barbed wire centerpieces. Cummins, referencing the blue and white barbed wire art on the book's cover, posted an image of it painted on fingernails. Some Latinos are organizing gatherings to challenge Cummins at planned readings. So far, at least three events have been canceled, in part over security concerns. Tony Diaz, a Mexican American novelist in Houston, is organizing a protest outside the Blue Willow Bookshop, which is hosting Cummins on Monday. “We will never set foot in that bookstore again,” he said. Blue Willow owner Valerie Koehler said the store is discussing options with the publisher over the event. “We believe in free speech and the power of story,” Koehler said in a statement. Matt Sedillo, a Los Angeles-based poet and author of “Mowing Leaves of Grass,” said publishers need to make room for Latinos today or risk going out of business tomorrow. “Until then, we are going to have to build our own networks outside of the big publishers,” Sedillo said. “And then they will come begging for us.” ___ This story corrects the name of Parque Revolución Guadalajara. ___ Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press' race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras
  • A profound slump in manufacturing and a trade war that has slowed economic growth in China has led to a second round of layoffs at 3M, the Minnesota company that makes Post-it notes as well as industrial coatings and ceramics. The 1,500 job cuts come on top of the 2,000 jobs the company trimmed less than a year ago. The latest round represents about 1.5% of 3M's global workforce, and CEO Michael Roman said the cuts will occur across all business groups and geographies. “We continued to face softness in certain end markets, namely China, automotive, and electronics, which impacted overall growth,” Roman said in a conference call discussing 3M's fourth-quarter results with analysts. Earlier this month, the Institute for Supply Management reported that U.S. manufacturing activity fell to the lowest level in more than a decade. A survey by the association of purchasing managers found that companies are uncertain about trade and are seeing weak demand from abroad. The manufacturing sector last year was rocked by slower global growth and the escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China. President Donald Trump signed an initial agreement with China this month that may ease some of the drag caused by tariffs and threats of additional import taxes. However, the spread of a new virus in China threatens to hammer the nation's economy, and possibly others. 3M, a component in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, is also wrestling with the environmental clean-up associated with some of its products, including PFAS. Those chemicals are used in firefighting foam, nonstick pots and pans, water-repellent clothing and many other household and personal items. They are nicknamed 'forever chemicals' because they persist in the environment. Studies have associated certain PFAS chemicals with increased risk of cancer and damage to organs such as the liver and thyroid. 3M booked a pre-tax charge of $214 million in the fourth quarter related to those environmental efforts. 3M Inc., which is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, earned $969 million, or $1.66 per share, in the fourth quarter. Its adjusted profit was $1.95 per share, far from the per-share earnings of $2.10 that industry analysts had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research expected. Revenue totaled $8.11 billion, just shy of Wall Street forecasts. 3M also makes virus masks and in response to the spreading coronavirus in China, which has now killed at least 106 people, 3M is rapidly increasing production. The U.S. government chartered a plane to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, where the outbreak started, and other Americans. China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. “We're seeing increased demand for our respiratory protection products and we're ramping up our production worldwide in China, around the world, to meet that demand, Roman said. 'At the same time, we're seeing what everybody else is seeing, that there's -- businesses are shutting down, extending their shutdown beyond Lunar New Year so we're really watching day-to-day what that's going to mean for our outlook for China. Shares of 3M, which have fallen 14% over the past year, ended Tuesday down $10.05, or 5.7%, at $165.58. _____ Portions of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MMM at https://www.zacks.com/ap/MMM
  • President Donald Trump has nominated a former Tennessee House speaker to serve on the board of directors of the nation's largest public utility. In a news release Tuesday, Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander praised the nomination of Beth Harwell to the Tennessee Valley Authority board. Harwell, a longtime Nashville Republican lawmaker, was elected speaker in 2011. She left the role and the Legislature in her unsuccessful 2018 bid for governor. Since leaving office, Harwell also has been hired as a visiting professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University. Alexander also praised the nomination of East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland to the federal utility's board. He took over as the university's president in January 2012 after serving six years as chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education System. The Tennessee Valley Authority serves almost 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. Nominations to the utility's board are subject to U.S. Senate approval.
  • U.S. consumer confidence showed a strong gain in January, bolstered by continued strength in the job market. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to a reading of 131.6 this month, up from 128.2 in December. Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said that the increase, which followed a more moderate advance in December, reflected a more positive assessment of the current job market and increased optimism about future job prospects. ''Optimism about the labor market should continue to support confidence in the short-term and, as a result, consumers will continue driving growth and prevent the economy slowing slowing in early 2020,” Franco said. The Conference Board’s present situation index and its expectation index both showed gains in January. Consumer confidence surveys are closely followed for clues about whether households are in a buying mood. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity. The economy slowed in 2019 and is expected to slow further in 2020 but solid consumer spending is expected to keep the country out of a recession.
  • Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Tuesday, reversing a big slice of the market’s losses from a sharp sell-off the day before. The rebound ended a five-day losing streak for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fueled largely by fears that the spread of a new virus in China could hamper global economic growth. The outbreak has killed more than 100 people, putting a chill on travel and tourism in China. Investors placed their concerns about the virus’ potential economic impact on the back burner and snapped up stocks beaten down earlier in the week, particularly chipmakers and other technology companies. The sector notched the biggest gain Tuesday and powered much of the rally. 'There are always a few bargain hunters out there who will step in and start buying almost immediately,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. “But I'm quite surprised that it's been this quickly and that it has rebounded as much as it has.” The S&P 500 index rose 32.61 points, or 1%, to 3,276.24. The Dow gained 187.05 points, or 0.7%, to 28,722.85. The Nasdaq climbed 130.37 points, or 1.4%, to 9,269.68. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 14.18 points, or 0.9%, to 1,658.31. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher following a significant drop a day earlier. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 1.65% from 1.60% late Monday. Despite the rebound, the major U.S. indexes are still down for the week. The losses have hit smaller company stocks hardest, erasing the Russell 2000’s gains for the year. U.S. stocks were running at all-time highs at the start of the month. An index measuring volatility in the market was running at 12- month lows and the benchmark S&P 500 had climbed around 13% since early October after Washington and Beijing announced they would sign a preliminary trade deal. That set the market up for a pullback, and investors’ jitters over the virus outbreak fit the bill. “It may be symptomatic about how bullish overall people have been and how much money still sits on the sidelines,” Frederick said. “People are just looking for any opportunity to get a bargain right now, but it could ultimately end up being a little bit risky to do that.” More than 4,500 people have been confirmed ill with the virus and 106 have died in the outbreak of a new coronavirus centered in the Chinese city of Wuhan, an industrial hub along the Yangtze river. The virus has now spread to more than a dozen countries. Hong Kong has joined much of China in seriously restricting travel by cutting all rail links to the mainland. China's containment efforts began with the suspension of plane, train and bus links to Wuhan and has now expanded to 17 cities with more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease-control measures ever imposed. The United States and several other nations were taking steps to airlift citizens out of a Chinese city at the center of the outbreak. Still, U.S. health officials said Tuesday that, for now, the risks to Americans is very low. Apple was one of the big gainers in the technology sector Tuesday. The iPhone maker rose 2.8% and continued to climb in extended trading after it released quarterly results following the closing bell that topped analysts’ estimates. Chipmakers also made solid gains. Intel added 2.5% and Nvidia rose 3.2%. Many of those companies are affected by China’s economy because they rely heavily on that nation for sales and supply chains. Banks and other financial companies also climbed, along with communications stocks. Utilities, real estate companies and household goods makers notched the smallest gains as investors shifted less money into safe-play sectors. Shares in casino operators, hotel chains, cruise lines and other travel-related companies recouped some of their losses over the past few days as worries about the virus outbreak's impact on tourism hammered the stocks. Wynn Resorts rose 0.9% and Las Vegas Sands gained 1.8%. Delta Air Lines added 1.1% and Carnival gained 2.7%. Investors continued to assess company earnings reports. Pfizer slid 5% after the biggest U.S. drugmaker reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings. Harley-Davidson dropped 3% after the storied motorcycle maker reported weak fourth-quarter earnings and revenue. The company had a tough quarter for U.S. sales, which led the overall worldwide drop. Wall Street is in the midst of a heavy week for corporate earnings. Boeing, McDonald’s, Facebook and Microsoft will all report results on Wednesday. Other big names reporting this week include Coca-Cola, Amazon, Caterpillar and Exxon Mobil. The Federal Reserve is also set to deliver its latest interest rate and economic policy update Wednesday. The central bank lowered its key interest rate three times last year in a bid to shield the economy from slowing global growth and the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war. Benchmark crude oil rose 34 cents settle at $53.48 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 19 cents to close at $59.51 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.50 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 2 cents to $1.72 per gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $1.93 per 1,000 cubic feet. Gold fell $7.60 to $1,569.80 per ounce, silver fell 60 cents to $17.46 per ounce and copper fell 2 cents to $2.58 per pound. The dollar rose to 109.14 Japanese yen from 108.93 yen on Monday. The euro was unchanged at $1.1017. Markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China were closed Tuesday for Lunar New Year holidays. Indexes fell elsewhere, including a 3.1% tumble for South Korea’s benchmark. European markets closed broadly higher. ___ AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A strong earthquake was reported Tuesday afternoon in the Caribbean Sea between Cuba and Jamaica, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake was reported around 2:10 p.m. EST, according to officials. It was centered about 78 miles south-southeast of Lucea, Jamaica and 87 miles east-northeast of Niquero, Cuba. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage caused by the temblor. Reports to USGS showed the earthquake was felt as far away as South Florida. In Miami, fire officials ordered a precautionary evacuation of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, where some reported feeling the quake, according to the Miami Herald. Officials with the National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the earthquake posed no tsunami threat. Tuesday’s temblor is the fourth magnitude 7 or above quake felt in the Caribbean since 2000, USA Today reported. Officials with the USGS initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3.
  • A California sex offender already in prison on unrelated charges has been accused of torturing and killing five of his own infant children over a nine-year span between 1992 and 2001, authorities said. Paul Allen Perez, 57, was arrested on five counts of premeditated murder Monday, days before he was due to be paroled from prison. According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records, Perez has been in Kern Valley State Prison in Delano since August 2010. He was arrested on the murder charges at Kern Valley, Yolo County Sheriff Tom Lopez said during a news conference Monday morning. “The fact that he was not allowed to walk out of that prison a free man cannot be overlooked,” Lopez said. Perez is accused in the deaths of Nikko Lee Perez, Kato Allen Perez, Mika Alena Perez, Kato Krow Perez and another infant named Nikko Lee Perez, who was born the year after the brother who shared his name. His murder charges include the special circumstances of lying in wait, torture and multiple victims. According to The Associated Press, he also faces charges of assault on a child under 8 and criminal enhancements due to his prior convictions. Lopez described the alleged slayings as acts of “unspeakable evil” that “ignited a resolve in the hearts of all involved to bring justice to the vulnerable and innocent victims of this case.” Perez, a convicted sex offender, became a murder suspect after investigators took a look at the cold case of a slain infant found March 29, 2007, in an irrigation slough just east of Woodland. According to the AP, the baby boy was wrapped in a Winnie the Pooh blanket and a layer of plastic before being placed in a metal cooler. The cooler was weighed down with heavy objects and submerged in the slough, located about 15 miles northwest of Sacramento. The infant, who was about 3 months old when he died, suffered a fractured skull and other blunt force trauma, the AP reported. He also had healing fractures, including broken ribs, that showed a pattern of abuse. Lopez said having the unsolved case on the books haunted investigators in the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. The case remained unsolved until October, when DNA testing identified the boy as Nikko Lee Perez, who was born Nov. 8, 1996, in Fresno. The sheriff did not go into details of how Nikko’s DNA led to his identification. Fresno is about 190 miles from where the infant’s body was found. It was not immediately clear if his body was in the slough the entire nine years before it was found or if he was hidden elsewhere and dumped there more recently. Watch the news conference with Yolo County law enforcement officials below.  “His identification is the result of extraordinary work done by the Yolo County Coroner’s Office and the California Department of Justice (Bureau of) Forensic Services’ Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory in Richmond,” Lopez said. “What began as a single unsolved homicide has become so much more. “Sadly, we learned during this investigation that Nikko was not an only child.” Detectives discovered that Nikko had at least four siblings, including Kato Allen Perez, who was born in 1992 in Merced and was known to have died. Kato’s cause and manner of death were not detailed Monday morning. The whereabouts of the other three siblings -- Mika, who was born in 1995; the second Nikko, who was born in 1997; and Kato Krow, born in 2001 -- are unknown, but investigators believe they, too, are dead. “All are now believed to have been murdered as infants,” Lopez said. The fisherman who discovered Nikko’s remains in 2007 told the AP he has never forgotten what he saw that day. “When I opened that box, I was 99 percent sure it was a human body, but I wanted to hold onto the belief that maybe it wasn’t,” Brian Roller said. “When I saw one of the officers (at the scene) start to cry, I knew right then that what I was thinking was true.” Roller told the news agency he was relieved to learn the long-ago mystery had been solved. Lopez said while DNA testing provided the break in the case, it was the “human element” that ultimately led to Perez’s arrest. He said a team of investigators “determined to learn the truth” spent countless hours on the case. “While I am proud of the efforts of my investigators and coroner’s office, this is not a day that will bring joy to any one of us,” Lopez said in a written statement. “In my 40 years in law enforcement, I cannot think of a case more disturbing than this one. There can be no victim more vulnerable and innocent than an infant, and unfortunately this case involves five.” Lopez told reporters he could not answer questions Monday about the case, which is still extremely active. In particular, he said he could not discuss anything regarding additional family members of either Perez or the slain children. Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, who also spoke at Monday’s news conference, said Perez is eligible for the death penalty. His office is still reviewing the case to determine if it will seek it. The AP reported that Perez was first sent to prison in 1990, sentenced to two years for assault with the intent to commit a sex offense. He was released the following year, according to California’s sex offender registry. He has also served time for vehicle theft, possession of a deadly weapon by an inmate and fleeing while on parole, according to the AP. Anyone with information on Perez or the slain infants is urged to contact the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office at 530-668-5280 or 530-666-8282. Anonymous tips can be called in at 530-668-5248.
  • Butler County and Miami University officials are investigating two possible cases of coronavirus at Miami. Miami officials informed the Butler County General Health District about the possible cases on Tuesday. The people had recently traveled to and returned from China, officials said. They are in isolation and “not severely ill,” officials said in a news release. Samples from their tests were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday. Officials said that, unless someone has recently traveled from China or been near someone ill with the new virus, their risk is low. In an email to the Miami community, officials said a student went to the Student Health Services with “very mild symptoms” on Monday after recently traveling to China. The student “met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing,” and officials expect results from the CDC “in the coming days.” The student and his traveling companion are being isolated in their residence that is away from campus awaiting the test results, the email said. About a dozen Miami University Regional campus students in Hamilton and Middletown list their residence near the area in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where the outbreak began in December, according to school officials. It’s unclear how many of those students returned home for winter break and how many remained in the U.S. Officials are asking those who traveled to China and are experiencing symptoms to contact their doctor before traveling to the doctor’s office. The Butler County General Health District has produced a fact sheet about the virus. “This is what public health does and why we train,” Jennifer Bailer, health commissioner for the Butler County General Health District, said in a news release. “Our staff, officials at Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health are taking every precaution to keep the community safe. “The same precautions that protect against catching and spreading the flu are likely to be helpful for this respiratory virus: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your nose and eyes, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and don’t go to work if ill. Displaying compassion to all people will be vital as the situation evolves.”
  • Authorities in Pennsylvania have filed charges against a 21-year-old man accused of pouring hot sauce into a 7-month-old girl’s mouth and attacking her mother Monday, according to multiple reports. Johnstown police arrested David Jones, 21, on charges of aggravated assault on a person under 6, strangulation, simple assault and harassment, WNEP reported. In a criminal complaint obtained by The Tribune-Democrat, authorities said they were called around 3 a.m. Monday to a home on the 200 block of Ohio Street. A woman told police Jones hit her child, poured hot sauce into the infant’s mouth and sat on the girl, the newspaper reported. The woman said that when she tried to intervene, Jones grabbed her by the neck, threw her against a wall and choked her for about 30 seconds, The Tribune-Democrat and WTAJ reported. Authorities said the woman managed to flee to a neighbor’s home, where she called 911, according to WNEP. “(Police) found the baby responsive with a very clear red rectangular line on her stomach consistent with the foot of the bassinet,” The Tribune-Democrat reported. The child was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for evaluation of her injuries, according to WTAJ. A judge ordered Jones held in Cambria County Prison on a $10,000 bond, according to The Tribune-Democrat. Records from Cambria County showed he remained jailed Tuesday.
  • Lots of people associate dip with he Super Bowl, so it's appropriate that Bush's has created a 70-layer bean dip, weighing 1,087 pounds in honor of the upcoming Super Bowl. They say the dip has '10 unique 7-layer bean dip recipes' stacked on top of one another, and was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records last week. (More)

Washington Insider

  • With Republican Senators facing uncertainty over whether to call witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, President Donald Trump's legal team wrapped up its opening arguments in the President's impeachment trial on Tuesday by calling on the Senate to reject the case from House Democrats. 'It is time for this end end here now,' said White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. 'We urge the Senate to reject these articles of impeachment.' After almost completely ignoring the question of whether Bolton could tell a story about the President's actions regarding Ukraine, the Trump legal team took on Bolton directly on Tuesday afternoon. 'Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true - even if true - would rise to the level of abuse of power or an impeachable offense,' said the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'You cannot impeach a President on an unsourced allegation,' Sekulow concluded, as he said the President's defense was 'compelling.' Originally, the White House legal team seemed to be ready to go until close to dinner - but instead used less than two hours of arguments in their third and final day before the Senate. Bubbling underneath the surface of the final summary by the White House legal team was the question of whether GOP Senators would agree to call Bolton - and others as witnesses. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said there would not be a scenario where just one witness would be called by the Senate in this impeachment trial. 'If people want witnesses, we're going to get a lot of witnesses,' Graham told reporters before Tuesday's impeachment session began, as he said the GOP would be interested in calling Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, the whistleblower and more. Democrats felt like the White House wrap up was lacking. 'It's clear that they are still reeling from the revelations of John Bolton's book,” said lead House manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).