Business Highlights

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Boeing CEO resigns after two deadly 737 Max crashes

Boeing's CEO is stepping down with no end in sight for a crisis that has enveloped the manufacturer and its marquee aircraft, the 737 Max. The Chicago company said Monday that Dennis Muilenburg will depart immediately. The board's current chairman David Calhoun will become president and CEO on Jan. 13. Boeing's Max has been grounded worldwide after two crashes — one in October 2018 off the cost of Indonesia and another in March 2019 in Ethiopia — which killed a combined total of 346 people. The company said the change in leadership is needed to restore confidence in Boeing.

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Giuliani pals leveraged GOP access to seek Ukraine gas deal

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Soviet-born Florida businessmen made what sounded like a outrageous pitch: Replace the CEO of Ukraine's biggest energy company and remove the anti-corruption U.S. ambassador to Kyiv as part of a plan to make millions shipping natural gas from Texas to Eastern Europe. It didn't seem plausible Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman could pull it off. But then the Trump administration began making the moves they had predicted. Now their efforts to profit from contacts with GOP luminaries are part of a broad federal criminal investigation into the two men and their close associate, Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney.

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Saudi Arabia cuts loose with bevy of models and a rave

DIRIYAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A bevy of Instagram stars, former Victoria's Secret models and Hollywood actors were invited to Saudi Arabia over the weekend to promote a three-day-long, massive rave-like concert. It was the kingdom's most eye-popping effort yet at showcasing the dramatic changes taking hold in this country, where more than half of the 20 million citizens are below the age of 25. Supermodels and social media mavens, their makeup artists and hair stylists in tow, posed at a concert in leather pants, chunky sweaters and trendy black combat boots. It's all part of the kingdom's efforts at boosting the economy while polishing its image abroad and appealing to the young.

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Sports betting giant DraftKings plans merger, to go public

BOSTON (AP) — Sports betting giant DraftKings plans to merge with two other firms and go public. The Boston-based company said Monday that it will complete its merger with gambling tech firm SBTech and acquisition company Diamond Eagle Acquisition sometime in the first half of 2020. DraftKings said the combined company will be valued at $3.3 billion. The new company will retain the DraftKings moniker and company co-founder and CEO Jason Robins will continue to lead it. The three companies are merging through a special purpose acquisition, a method of taking a company public that differs from an initial public offering, or IPO.

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Most US workers still pay price of no paid parental leave

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal employees are the latest workers to benefit from paid parental leave. But millions have been left out of the trend, forcing them to make painful choices. About 80% of U.S. workers in the private sector have no access to paid family leave, and employers must decide for themselves whether to offer the benefit. Disproportionately, paid leave has gone to higher-paid white collar workers. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows just 9% of wage earners in the bottom 25% have access to paid family leave. That compares to 30% of wage earners in the top 25%.

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Businesses facing new overtime rules in new year

NEW YORK (AP) — The new year brings new overtime rules for employers including small businesses and in turn, a pay raise for an estimated 1.3 million workers. The Labor Department rules that go into effect Jan. 1 raise to $684 per week, or $35,568 a year, the threshold at which employees are exempt from being paid overtime. That's a 50.3% increase from the previous threshold. Jobs likely to be affected include shift supervisors or assistant managers at restaurants, retailers and manufacturers. Companies of all sizes will be affected, but the rules will likely have a greater impact on small companies without the revenue cushion larger businesses have.

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Champagne and shoes: Luxury stores adapt to changing shopper

NEW YORK (AP) — Luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue once ruled among the affluent set. Now, they're fighting a tough battle to lure younger shoppers faced with a lot more shopping choices, including second-hand retailers and fashion rental companies. The new entrants have disrupted the luxury sector by creating different channels to attain the seemingly unattainable. That has forced department stores to reimagine their approach. They now ply customers with new services as well as food and alcohol. They've even partnered up with companies like The RealReal and Fashionphile.

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Liz Weston: How to create a retirement 'paycheck'

Your expenses don't end when your paychecks do, but creating a reliable income stream in retirement can be tricky. The right choices can result in sustainable income for the rest of your life. The wrong choices could leave you uncomfortably short of cash. In fact, retirement includes so many important, potentially irreversible decisions that most people could benefit from a few sessions with a fee-only, fiduciary financial planner. These ideally would start about 10 years before retirement. Understanding some key concepts could make those discussions easier — or keep you from making serious mistakes if you take a do-it-yourself approach.

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China announces tariff cuts, more competition in markets

BEIJING (AP) — China plans to reduce tariffs Jan. 1 on more than 850 foreign products including frozen pork, asthma and diabetes medications and some high-tech components. That follows a preliminary agreement between Beijing and Washington on resolving a trade war that has rattled financial markets and weighed on global growth. The Cabinet said China also plans to open its oil, telecoms and power markets wider to private competitors as the ruling Communist Party tries to shore up growth in the slowing, state-dominated economy. The statement gave no indication whether the changes would apply equally to foreign companies.

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Holiday blues: French strikes hit Christmas shopping season

PARIS (AP) — France's protracted transportation strikes are hitting Paris retailers at the height of the holiday season. The chamber of commerce estimates that Paris merchants have lost 30 percent of business since the strike started 19 days ago against the government's plan to raise the retirement age. Shoppers and employees are struggling to get to stores because there are so few trains and subways. And traffic is much worse than usual for those who have cars. The government says the pension reform is necessary to save money, while unions say it threatens the welfare state. Union activists staged a new wildcat protest in Paris on Monday.

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The S&P 500 inched up 2.79 points, or 0.1%, to 3,224.01. The Dow gained 96.44 points, or 0.3%, to 28,551.53. The Nasdaq climbed 20.69 points, or 0.2%, to 8,945.65. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 2.24 points, or 0.1%, to 1,674.14.