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China Becomes Germany’s Largest Trading Partner

In 2016, China for just the first time became the biggest trading partner of Germany. China overtook both the United States and France with the U.S. dropping to third place and France remaining in second indicated new data released on Friday. German exports to and imports from China increased in 2016 to over €170 billion equal to $180 billion, showed figures from the Federal Statistics Office. This development is likely welcomed by the government of Germany, which has put a goal of safeguarding global free trade following the threat by U.S. President... 
 

Home Depot Increases Dividend Establishes New Buyback Program

On Tuesday, Home Depot posted growth in sales for its fourth quarter, increased its dividend as well as buyback program. The housing market across the U.S. continues growing and Home Depot is reaping the rewards. Shares at Home Depot have increased by 12% during the last three months and increased by 1.8% on Tuesday before the opening bell. The company increased its dividend from 69 cents to 89 cents and authorized a share buyback program of $15 billion. The new program for buyback replaced a previous one. Two years ago, Home Depot authorized a... 
 

CEO at Uber Orders Sexual Harassment Investigation

Uber, the ride-hailing startup, has announced that it will open an investigation after one of its former employees made allegations to the public of sexism as well as harassment at the company. A former engineer, Susan Fowler, who on Sunday published a blog post that detailed her experiences while at Uber, has claimed that the business would not do anything more than issue warnings to her superior after Fowler and other female employees had complained about the alleged sexual harassment. Fowler wrote she had been blamed after she made several reports... 
 

Household Debt Closing in on Levels of 2008

American households around the country are taking on more debt every day. Total debut for households increased at the end of last year to over $12.58 trillion. That represented an increase of more than $266 billion from the 2016 third quarter. This data came from a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. For the full year, debt in American households increased by more than $460 billion, its largest increase in nearly a decade. The current figures for debt load in American households are closing in on levels of 2008 when total debt... 
 

Pharmaceuticals Shunning Push by Trump for FDA Shift

President Donald Trump has vowed to roll back regulations imposed by the government by 75% or more and that has caused great anxiety amongst some executives with pharmaceutical companies. The worry is a less strict Food and Drug Administration would make it more difficult to gain insurance coverage for their latest expensive medicines. The possibility of change at the federal regulatory agency has come as drug makers are being criticized for their high prices. That includes Marathon Pharmaceuticals that announced on Monday it would delay it launch... 
 

Top Official in Italy Says Facebook Must Act on Hate Speech

On Monday, the president of the lower house of parliament in Italy said Facebook needs to do more to end hate speech on the social media site. She warned that increasing abuse on a number of social media sites was driven by the increase of fake news. The Italian lawmaker, Laura Boldrini, is herself the focus often times of online threats and sexist insults. She complained last November to managers at Facebook about the hate speech on the site and pressured them to handle the problem. In parliament on Monday, she told lawmakers that two months following... 
 

Reckitt Benckiser Paying $16.6 Billion for Mead Johnson

Reckitt Benckiser agreed to acquire Mead Johnson Nutrition, the maker of baby formula, based in the U.S. That takes the Britain-based consumer goods business into new territory and expands its presence across developing markets. Reckitt, which makes Durex condoms, Mucinex cold medicine and Lysol cleaners, said Friday it would pay $90 per share in cash for Mead Johnson. That represents a premium of 30% to the closing price of Mead on the day prior to Rickett announcing it was holding advanced talks with the Enfamil baby formula maker. Including the... 
 

Yum China Beats Expectations in First Earnings Report

Chinese fast-food company Yum China Holdings, which was spun off by its parent in the U.S. last October, topped expectations for earnings in its first quarterly results thanks to help from its expanding chain of KFC restaurants. The company’s profit was 17 cents per share, which excluded certain items in comparison to analyst expectations of 10 cents per share. Growth in sales at same stores for KFC gave results a boost, while its division of Pizza Hut did not perform as well as expected. The results indicate that Yum China has had a solid start... 
 

U.S. Company Leading Race to Buy Airbag Maker Takata

Takata is narrowing down a buyer from the United States to help it get through its huge recall crisis with airbags. The troubled firm, based in Japan, established an independent committee that recommended the takeover bid of Key Safety Systems based in Detroit, Takata said via a prepared statement. However, the airbag maker said that a final decision had not been made. Autoliv was another top bidder based in Sweden, but its bid was rejected because of concerns over antitrust problems. Key Safety Systems did not respond immediately to requests for... 
 

U.S. Adds 227,000 New Jobs During January

The United States economy added over 227,000 new jobs during February, which was ahead of the gain in December of 157,000. The rate of unemployment moved up just slightly to 4.8%, as more people in the U.S. began looking for work, a good sign that explains the slight unemployment rate increase. It is the first jobs report released under the new Trump administration. Nevertheless, the Department of Labor conducted the survey for jobs during the second week in January when the office of the president was still occupied by President Barack Obama. One... 
 

Amazon Will Spend Nearly $1.5 Billion on Air Cargo Hub

Amazon’s new investment, which could help to create over 2,000 new jobs, is just example of the company’s ambition to grow in logistics and shipping. The largest e-retailer in the world is planning to build its first air cargo hub in Hebron, Kentucky at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport for $1.49 billion, said company officials on Tuesday. The hub is scheduled to create as many as 2,700 jobs in the area. Amazon’s project will span 900 acres and would be the single largest investment ever by any business in northern Kentucky, said state... 
 

Uber Fights Trump Immigration Order with Driver’s Legal Fund

Just hours after the co-founders of Lyft announced a donation of $1 billion to defend the Constitution to the American Civil Liberties Union, CEO Travis Kalanick at Uber opened his wallet as well. The Uber CEO promised via a post on Facebook that the ride-hailing company was going to create a legal defense fund of $3 million to help those drivers that were affected by the White House’s move to restrict refugees and immigrants from seven countries that are majority Muslim. The legal fund will be established to help drivers with translation and... 
 

Microsoft Posts Higher Profit on Cloud Service Demand

On Thursday, Microsoft Corp posted a rise of 3.6% in profit for its fiscal second quarter, helped from growth in its rapidly growing business of cloud computing. However, the company experienced a small decline in its margins for its unit that includes Azure the company’s flagship cloud platform. Shares at the biggest software business in the world were 1.1% higher in trading afterhours on Thursday. Since he took charge of the company in 2014, CEO Satya Nadella has been able to steer it toward mobile applications and cloud services and away... 
 

PepsiCo Plans for Super Bowl All About Water and No Calories

PepsiCo will water down its Super Bowl advertising. The beverage maker announced late Tuesday that its 30-second ad for Super Bowl LI will be for Lifewtr its new brand of premium bottle water. The spot is called Inspiration Drops and features a version of Love Me Now the song by John Legend. The use of the song was tailored to reflect the art direction of the ad and bring its imagery to life, said a prepared statement from PepsiCo. As announced previously, PepsiCo will use its sponsorship of the Super Bowl halftime show to plug its Pepsi Zero Sugar... 
 

Hugo Barra Leaving Xiaomi for Silicon Valley

Hugo Barra is returning to Silicon Valley. The international chief at Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi stepped down following a turbulent run of four years that saw the company rise to the top of its China phone market prior to local rivals mimicking its model and surging past it. Barra is a former executive with Google and will return to Silicon Valley after being hired away buy Xiaomi during 2013 to represent the company at a global level. On Monday, in a post on his Facebook, Barra announced that it was the right time for him to return home and... 
 

Uber Reaches Settlement with FTC for $20 Million Over Pay for Drivers

This week Uber Technologies agreed it would pay $20 million as a settlement for a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission do to driver compensation claims as well as its program of auto leasing. The FTC filed suit against the ride-hailing company on Thursday saying that Uber had made false, unsubstantiated or misleading claims about the amount drivers could earn from the startup’s service. The regulatory agency alleged that Uber made misrepresentations of a similar nature about the program it has related to vehicle financing. In the complaint,... 
 

United Earnings Meet Expectations, But Fall 52%

On Tuesday, United Airlines posted a drop of 52% in its net earnings for its fourth quarter, but the air carrier met expectations on Wall Street thanks to better than had been expected bookings during both November and December. The airline, based in Chicago, posted net income of $397 million for its October through December quarter. That was down from one year ago during the same quarter when income was $823 million, but at that time fuel prices were even lower than now, which helped to spike profits. Earnings were $1.26 per diluted share, which... 
 

Philip Morris Rocked by Proposal in India to Ban Tobacco Investment by Foreigners.

Philip Morris International has a fight on its hands as it attempts to keep its hold on the $11 billion India tobacco market, while the government takes into consideration making the rules tougher for foreign investments in the industry. In letters to the India trade minister and a government think tank from Philip Morris, the company, based in the U.S. said the protectionist and discriminatory proposals would represent a big blow it the plans it has of launching new products and making further investments in the country. The two previously not... 
 

Cigna Changes to Generic EpiPen, CVS Cuts Prices

Health insurance behemoth Cigna announced earlier this week it was dropping its coverage for brand name EpiPens that cost $600, while drugstore chain CVS has close to halved the price of epinephrine auto injector Adrenaclick to just $109. A Cigna spokesperson said the news was positive for customers, as the generic version is now available in pharmacies, has the same formulation of drugs and functions in the same manner as the branded device, but at substantial savings. At the same time, CVS said it recognized an urgent need for an ephinephrine... 
 

St. Jude Medical to Release Update Fixing Hacking Vulnerability

This week St. Jude Medical said it has starting deploying updates to its system of Merlin.net Patients Care Network. The security updates followed reports that during the latter part of 2016 the [email protected] transmitter that is used to monitor specific implanted devices of St. Jude Medical could be hacked and used potentially to kill the patient. The implants involved span pacemakers – Endurity and Assurity – and Implantable Defibrillators – Fortify Assura and Ellipse. Reports of vulnerability prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration... 
 

McDonald’s Sells Majority of Hong Kong and China Business

McDonald’s Corp agreed on Monday to sell the bulk of its Hong Kong and China business to CITIC Ltd, a conglomerate that is state supported and Carlyle Group LP for $2.1 billion, as it seeks to expand quickly without using that much of its capital. The deal for 20 years caps a negotiation of months between private equity companies such as Carlyle and TPG Capital Management, McDonald’s and a number of other suitors in China. The fast food giant based in the U.S. said its local partners would help increase the speed of its growth in the No. 2 economy... 
 

J.C. Penney Sees Drop in Holiday Sales

The attack on retailers continued last this week when J.C. Penney Co posted a decline in sales at same-stores during the months of November and December, just the latest chain of department stores adding to the malaise in the retail sector as shoppers increasingly shun brick and mortar locations to shop online. Shares at J.C. Penney fell by 5.9% in early Friday trading, hitting the lowest price in the past seven months at $7.40 per share. The report by J.C. Penney came only one day after its biggest rivals Macy’s and Kohl’s said their sales... 
 

Weak Sales During Holiday Season Hit Macy’s and Kohl’s

More than 10,000 jobs will be cut by Macy’s and the department store chain detailed plans to shuttered dozens of its stores, following another poor holiday season for sales, providing additional evidence that the department store is no longer an integral part of American retailing. As with its rival Kohl’s, which warned on Wednesday of poor holiday sales as well, Macy’s has not solved the shift by the consumers to shopping online. Macy’s will shutter stores from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, California and use its savings to increase efforts... 
 

Twitter Chief in China Steps Down

Twitter Inc’s announced that is controversial chief for its operations in China departed the company after just eight months. This is the latest executive that has left the micro-blogging company amidst its reorganization across the globe. A number of Twitter executives have left the business since October when it announced layoffs amidst continued red numbers. Profitability has been a constant challenge for the social network and its growth in revenue has now slowed. In a group of tweets December 31, Kathy Chen the Managing Director in China... 
 

Pfizer and OPKO Drug for Growth Hormone Deficiency Fails Study

OPKO Health announced that its experimental drug designed to help fight GHD or growth hormone deficiency in adults has failed to produce statistically significant benefits versus a placebo in a study that was “late-stage.” The news helped to send its shares plunging 14% in trading. GHD is a very rare disorder that is characterized by less than adequate secretion of the body’s growth hormone from its pituitary gland. The pituitary is the organ responsible for producing a number of different hormones. GHD can be hereditary and can be acquired... 
 

Toshiba Has $6.6 Billion of Market Value Wiped Away by Investors

Toshiba has dreamed of becoming a leader in the nuclear energy industry. Those dreams are now only big nightmare’s for the Japanese based company. Jittery investors have wiped off more than $6.6 billion of the market value of the company after it released a warning of extremely large losses linked to its acquisition during 2015 of a nuclear construction business in the United States. Shares of the Japanese company plunged 17% more during Thursday trading. Losses during the last three trading days now have reached 42%, driven by the most part by... 
 

Panasonic and Tesla to Begin Solar Cells Production in New York

Panasonic Corp together with Tesla Motors announced on December 27 that they have reached an agreement to begin production of photovoltaic cells and modules in a Buffalo, New York factory. The two companies released a joint statement that said the two were planning to begin production of the PV modules in 2017 during the summer and by 2019 increase to a gigawatt of module production. These PV cells and modules are high-efficiency and will be used for producing solar panels for non-solar roof products said the joint statement released by both. When... 
 

Ebola Vaccine Shown to Work in New Study

An experimental vaccine against Ebola completely protected recipients from the deadly virus near the end of the recent epidemic in West Africa reported researchers. The same strategy was used that was also used for the eradication in the 1970s of smallpox. Known as ring vaccination, it vaccinates people who have had contact with patients and the contacts of contacts. It worked, said the team the World Health Organization led. The efficacy of the vaccine was 100%, wrote the researchers in their report that was published Friday in Lancet Medical Journal. It... 
 

Hershey Names Michele Buck As New CEO

Hershey announced that Michele Buck an 11-year veteran with the company would be the next CEO and president of the chocolate maker, an appointment during a time when large food manufacturers are being challenged by startups that are much smaller. Buck is currently the company’s COO and will officially start as the top executive of the company March 1. She will succeed John Bilbrey who announced in October that he intended to retire in 2017 from the company. The maker of its namesake chocolate, Twizzlers and Reese’s said that the compensation... 
 

Retailers Stopping On-Call Scheduling

Six retailers in the U.S. will not require their hourly employees to check if they are needed for work and risk seeing shifts in their schedules cancelled at the last minute. On Tuesday, the announcement will be made by Eric Schneiderman the Attorney General of New York. The New York AG and his counterparts across seven states, including those in Illinois and California, have sent out letters to many companies over the past year requesting data about how they schedule. However, in those letters, officials said that workers could be harmed by schedules... 
 

Mylan Releasing Generic, Half Price EpiPen

Mylan will release a new generic version of its EpiPen the emergency treatment for allergies at half the price that the original branded version costs. The price of the original has drawn much scorn from parents across the country and spawned inquiries by Congress members. The potential savings in cost will depend upon the insurance coverage of the patients and the qualification for assistance and discount programs that will be provided by the drug maker. For the company, the benefit from the long anticipated generic version is more specific: It... 
 

Two Charged By Feds in Probe Over Price Fixing

Two former executives with a company that make generic drugs were charged this week for alleged roles they played in a bid-rigging and price-fixing scheme that involved a diabetes medication and an antibiotic. Former CEO of Heritage Pharmaceuticals Jeffery Glazer and the former president of the company Jason Malek were named in two separate felony cases that are related to the alleged scheme that involved glyburide a diabetes medication and doxycycline hyclate an antibiotic that treats bacterial infections. The scheme, outlined in the court documents,... 
 

Walmart Preparing for Last Minute Frenzy of Christmas Shoppers

Hoping for a smooth ride as the Christmas shopping seasonal rush comes to an end, Walmart is attempting to move more last minute shoppers over to its service of in-store pick up for orders online and push them to plan ahead. The world’s largest retailer on Tuesday said that shoppers could order an item through walmart.com up to 6 p.m. December 23 and would be able to pick it up at their choice of Walmart Supercenters anytime Christmas Eve the 24th. While Walmart has offered pick up in stores for a number of years, this marks the first year the... 
 

Children in U.S. Less Likely to Surpass Earnings of Parents

The gap is widening between the rich and poor in the U.S. and that has pushed the chances of kids to out earn their parents down to 50%, said economic researchers. That is a sharp drop from back in 1940 when 90% of the children were expected to pass their parents in earnings over their lifetime. Now it has come down to nothing more than a flip of the coin, as 50% will and 50% will not exceed the earnings of their parents, said an economics professor at Stanford. The trend that is headed downward was true across all of the U.S. with the steepest... 
 

Michael Jordan Gains Ground on Getting His Name Back

Michael Jordan had gained ground in his long battle with a sportswear company in China over his name being used in the most populous country in the world. The former basketball superstar has been tied up in a legal battle for years with sports apparel maker Qiaodan Sports. Qiaodan is the name for Jordan in Chinese and the firm’s main logo is strikingly similar to the iconic image Air Jordan that Nike products use. The top court in China ruled Thursday that the sportswear maker based in China stop their use of two Chinese characters in Qiaodan.... 
 

McDonald’s Keeping As Much As 25% in Hong Kong and China Stores

McDonald’s Corp is trying to raise between $1 billion and $2 billion through the sale of its Hong Kong and China stores after the fast food giant based in the U.S. decided it would keep as much as a 25% minority stake, said a person who has knowledge of company plans. The company chose a consortium that is led by Carlyle Group LP a private equity business and CITIC Group Corp a conglomerate based in China to buy its stores and the decision to keep as much as 25% lowered the sale price from as much as $3 billion that was originally expected, said... 
 

President Obama Take Steps to Block Chip Maker Acquisition by Chinese Company

On Friday, President Barrack Obama moved to block a deal by a Chinese company to acquire a German based high-tech business due to national security grounds. This is an unusual step that might make for more tensions between Donald Trump, his successor, and the government of China that is determined to make its capabilities in technology better. The intervention in the bid by the Chinese company to acquire Aixtron a semiconductor company in Germany comes after companies in China have dished out billions of dollars to buy technology both in the U.S.... 
 

GoPro Planning to Cut 200 Jobs

GoPro, the maker of action cameras made to be worn on the body that have become the favorites of thrill-seekers, athletes and anyone who wants to take a video of almost anything, has said that it would eliminate up to 200 jobs in order to keep its costs down. The CFO at GoPro Brian McGee announced during a webcast that the company would cut its overall workforce by approximately 15% or close to 200 of its full time workers and would also reduce the number of contractors it uses. GoPro will eliminate the entertainment unit it has as well. McGee said... 
 

Early Data from Cyber Monday Shows Sales Increasing Over 9%

While a steady stream of customers have been keeping retailers busy for a number of days thanks to discounts from holiday promotions, shoppers still took to Internet in large numbers for Cyber Monday. Early data shows that sales online for Monday November 28 were more than 9% higher than for Cyber Monday of last year. As of early Monday, over $540 million already had been spent for purchases online, according to tracking firm Adobe, whose software operates under many websites of retailers. While this special shopping day had reigned supreme for... 
 

Retailers Anticipating Strong Support for Small Business Saturday

The better known of the two may be Black Friday due to its huge deals but Small Business Saturday is a shopping day that puts its emphasis on community. Sponsored by American Express, Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and focuses on supporting the small, local businesses in communities around the country. Small businesses that have been regular participants in the event said they have seen sales as well as foot traffic increase every year. Many small retailers around the country expect between 40% and 50%... 
 

Eli Lilly Alzheimer’s Drug Does Not Pass the Test

A large clinical trial for a drug that treats dementia that is caused by Alzheimer’s ended for Eli Lilly in failure after the people receiving the drug did not show significant improvements compared to those who took a placebo. The failure of this drug, which showed great promise in results from earlier studies, is looked at as a big setback, but not an end of the hopes for fighting the disabling disease. U.S. pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly said on Wednesday that its Phase 3 trial of solzanezumab had not progressed as was planned. The company... 
 

Disney to Build Larger Hong Kong Kingdom

Walt Disney Co. will turn to The Avengers and Frozen to revive its theme park – Hong Kong Disneyland. On Tuesday, the U.S. company unveiled its plans for an expansion worth $1.4 billion for the park, which currently is its smallest theme park. New attractions will open almost every year starting in 2018 and through 2023, including areas with Marvel Comics themes, Frozen, a new venue for entertainment and a larger castle. Overall attractions at the park will increase from 110 to over 130 once the complete upgrade has been finished. Disney is... 
 

DraftKings and FanDuel Finally Will Merge

The two giants of daily fantasy sports DraftKings and FanDuel agreed to a merger following a tumultuous year where both saw their market value plunge as a number of attorneys general brought up questions about the legality of the games they promote in their individual states. The merger needs approval of regulators and is one that will take some time. Both companies said they were expecting the deal to close during the second six months of 2017. While waiting for the closing, the two companies will remain operating under their prior brands. This... 
 

European Union Car Sales in October Ended Flat

The new car market across the European Union was flat during October as demand dropped in the two largest countries of the bloc reported the Automobile Manufacturers Association or ACEA on Thursday. Total sales in the EU slightly exceeded 1.1 million, showed a statement released by the trade group that is based in Brussels, Belgium. That figure represented a slight drop of 0.02% in comparison to sales during October of 2015. In Germany, which is the largest car market in all of the EU, sales were down by over 5.6% finishing the month of October... 
 

Vodafone Takes Charge of $5 Billion Due to India Price War

Vodafone the telecoms group posted a net loss for the first six months of 2016 of €5 billion equal to $5.5 billion Tuesday after it wrote down its Indian business by $5 billion because of a price war starting due to a powerful rival entering the market. CEO Vittorio Colao announced that an improvement in markets across Europe was slightly ahead of company expectations with Germany and Italy leading the way, but competition intensified in India and would affect its cash flow there. The three largest telecoms in India’s mobile market are led by... 
 

Regulator in U.S. Opens Audi Investigation

A government regulator in the U.S. started an investigation of Audi, owned by Volkswagen, over the reported discovery of new software designed to cheat emissions, without saying who the source was of their information. A week ago, a weekly paper in Germany said that CARB or the California Air Resources Board had discovered this past summer software designed to cheat in an Audi automatic transmission, which is not related to the software device that triggered a diesel emission scandal last year at Audi parent VW. It was reported that the software... 
 

Disney Net Income Increases 10%, Revenue Falls Due to ESPN

On Thursday, Walt Disney Co posted fourth quarter fiscal net income that increased by 10%, as its gains in the movie business and fewer taxes offset dropping revenue at its consumer products and cable networks units. Net income during the quarter reached $1.8 billion, which was up from one year ago of $1.6 billion. Per share earnings, after making adjustments for certain items reached $1.10, which came up short of the estimated $1.16 by Wall Street analysts. Revenue was down 3% ending the quarter at just over $13.1 billion. Fiscal 2016 resulted... 
 

CVS Says Prescriptions Shifting, Shares Plummet on Warning

The largest drugstore chain in the U.S. warned it could lose over 40 million prescriptions in 2017 as deals have been signed by Walgreens Boot Alliance with other participants that have shut CVS pharmacies out of the drug supply chain. CVS, which pioneered a new business model putting insurance and close to 9,700 pharmacies under one roof, lowered its outlook for profit for the remainder of 2016 and all of 2017. CVS shares plunged 13% in early trading on Tuesday. CEO Larry Merlo announced that two partnerships recently signed by Walgreens with health... 
 

Google Capital Has Stake in Snapchat

Google’s parent Alphabet Inc now has a share of Snapchat. Google Capital, one of two venture capital companies of Alphabet quietly added a stake in Snapchat to its investments on Friday. There were few details provided by the company in the way of timing, reasoning or the size of the investment in Snapchat that was made by Google Capital. A spokesperson at Google confirmed Snapchat was one of the companies in the portfolio of Google Capital, but would not comment any further than confirming the stake. A Snapchat spokesperson said the company... 
 

Air France to Launch No-Frills Airline For U.S. and Asia

Air France-KLM the Franco-Dutch carrier operator is planning to launch a medium- and long-haul airline, which could tap into a lucrative market that serves cities across the U.S. as well as Asia to regain market share that was lost to growing low cost competition and carriers in the Middle East. The new low cost airline will begin flying routes into Asia during the winter of 2017 and will take some of the less profitable service of Air France and operate them with lower salaried staff, said the company Thursday. The new business would transfer pilots... 
 
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