Business Highlights


Price worries remain after judge OKs T-Mobile's Sprint deal

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has cleared a major path for T-Mobile to buy Sprint for $26.5 billion. He cites T-Mobile's track record in promoting competition, even as legal scholars and consumer advocates warn about higher phone bills. T-Mobile says the deal would benefit consumers as it becomes a fiercer competitor to Verizon and AT&T. But a group of state attorneys general tried to block the deal, saying that one fewer phone company will mean higher prices. New York's attorney general says an appeal is possible. Though the deal still needs a few more approvals, T-Mobile expects to close it as early as April 1.


Powell: Economy looks resilient despite risk of China virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the U.S. economy appears durable, with steady growth and low unemployment, but faces risks from China’s viral outbreak. Powell also says the Fed is content with where interest rates are, suggesting no further cuts would be contemplated unless conditions were to change significantly. The Fed is monitoring developments involving the coronavirus, which Powell cautioned “could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy.”


NTSB releases details in 2 crashes involving Tesla Autopilot

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An Apple engineer who died when his Tesla Model X slammed into a concrete barrier had previously complained about the SUV malfunctioning on that same stretch of Silicon Valley freeway. His complaints were detailed in a trove of documents released Tuesday by federal investigators in two Tesla crashes involving Autopilot, one in California and the other in Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the March 2018 crash that killed driver Walter Huang near Mountain View, California. It's also probing a crash in Delray Beach, Florida, that happened about a year later and killed driver Jeremy Banner. Tesla says that drivers must be ready to intervene even when Autopilot is engaged.


Lyft annual loss more than doubles, but revenue keeps rising

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ride-hailing service Lyft's annual loss more than doubled last year to over $2.6 billion, but the company claimed progress as revenue jumped 68% and ridership grew. The San Francisco company is predicting another big revenue gain for this year, with a narrower pretax loss of $450 million to $490 million. But in results released after the markets closed Tuesday, Lyft isn't predicting a fourth-quarter profit this year like Uber, its main rival. Lyft's annual revenue was $3.62 billion, up from $2.16 billion in 2018, the company said. For the fourth quarter, Lyft lost $356 million compared with a $248.9 million loss a year earlier.


US regulators probing 5 tech companies' acquisitions to 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are ramping up their investigation of the market dominance of giant tech companies. The Federal Trade Commission is demanding detailed information from Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google's parent Alphabet Inc., on acquisitions of smaller companies back to 2010. The head of the agency says that as a result of the review, the government might require tech giants to unwind earlier acquisitions. The FTC and the Justice Department have been investigating the conduct of big tech companies and whether they aggressively bought smaller potential rivals to suppress competition and hurt consumers. Some critics have pointed to Facebook's acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, for example, as deals that should be questioned.


Samsung's new foldable phone: Cheaper, but still a novelty

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Samsung on Tuesday unveiled a new foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip. It is the company's second attempt to sell consumers on phones with bending screens and clamshell designs. The company unveiled the phone at the start of a product announcement event in San Francisco. The new phone can unfold from a small square upward into a traditional smartphone. The foldable phones represent manufacturers' attempt to energize a market where sales have slowed, although they are likely to appeal for now mostly to tech enthusiasts. Samsung is also updating refreshing its flagship phones with better cameras.


Virus fears play out ahead of shrinking global tech event

LONDON (AP) — The impact on travel and commerce from the viral outbreak in China is playing out ahead of one of the world's biggest technology fairs. Facebook, U.S. tech giants Cisco Systems and Intel, the U.S. wireless companies AT&T and Sprint and the Chinese smartphone maker Vivo said Tuesday that they have pulled out of the Mobile World Congress. It's to take place Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain. Already, Ericsson, Amazon, Sony and LG have scrapped plans. It was expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors, including 5,000 to 6,000 from China, the source of the viral outbreak.


NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Tuesday, led by health care companies, retailers and banks. The modest gains nudged the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to all-time highs for the second straight day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished essentially flat.


The S&P 500 index rose 5.66 points, or 0.2%, to 3,357.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.48 points, or less than 0.1%, to 29,276.34. The Nasdaq composite gained 10.55 points, or 0.1%, to 9,638.94. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 9.85 points, or 0.6%, to 1,677.51.