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Business Highlights

Business Highlights

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China hopes for change if Biden wins, but little likely

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leaders hope Washington will tone down conflicts over trade, technology and security if Joe Biden wins the Nov. 3 presidential election. But any shift is likely to be limited as frustration with Beijing grows across the American political spectrum. President Donald Trump’s Republicans and Biden’s Democrats agree on criticism of Beijing’s trade record and stance toward Hong Kong, Taiwan and religious and ethnic minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang, where the ruling Communist Party has detained Muslims in political re-education camps. Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank, said Biden “would be savaged” if he tried to downplay complaints against Beijing.

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Veggie burgers are still burgers, at least in Europe

BRUSSELS (AP) — European lawmakers say that plant-based products that do not contain meat can continue to be labeled “sausages” or “burgers.” The EU parliament on Friday rejected proposals backed by meat industry lobbyists that could have led to a ban on the terms. The decision means veggie burgers, soy steaks and vegan sausages can continue to be sold as such in restaurants and shops. Europe’s largest farmers’ association wanted to ban the terms, arguing that labelling vegetarian substitutes with words that bring meat to mind was misleading consumers. Those against banning the terms say they help promote environmental policies by improving the vegetarian products’ marketing.

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AmEx profits plunge as travel spending comes to a standstill

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — American Express’ fourth-quarter profits dropped by 39% as the pandemic’s deep impacts on travel, entertainment and dining dramatically impacted results of the credit card giant. The New York-based company earned $1.07 billion, or $1.30 a share, down from $1.76 billion, or $2.08 per share. While AmEx has not been as negatively impacted by defaults and delinquencies like other credit card companies, the company’s bottom line has been hit hard by its business model tied into the well-to-do traveling and dining out. AmEx’s discount revenue, or the money it makes off of each swipe or tap of an American Express card, was roughly $4.99 billion in the quarter. That’s down from $6.83 billion in the same period a year earlier.

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Japan, Britain sign free trade deal for post-Brexit era

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and Britain have signed a free trade deal, the first such major post-Brexit agreement. It reduces tariffs on goods like Yorkshire lamb sold in Japan and on auto parts for Japan’s Nissan plant. A British trade official and Japan’s foreign minister appeared at the signing ceremony in Tokyo. The deal is expected to boost British trade with Japan by 15 billion pounds, or $19.5 billion. For Britain, however, the boost is far less than the drop in trade it will suffer with the rest of the EU due to Brexit. British-made coats and shoes, Stilton cheese and British biscuits will become cheaper in Japan.

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Automaker Daimler rebounds after lockdowns, raises outlook

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Daimler has seen third-quarter profit rebound as the company clamped down on costs and as auto sales surged following the coronavirus lockdowns. The company said it is raising its outlook for earnings for the year. The maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars and Freightliner trucks now expects full-year operating earnings to equal those from 2019, before the virus. Third-quarter net profit rose to 2.16 billion euros, up 19% from 1.81 billion euros in the same quarter a year ago — and improving on a net loss of 1.9 billion euros from the second quarter. Sales revenue fell 7% to 40.28 billion euros.

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US stocks shake off a wobbly start and end mostly higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shrugged off a sluggish start and ended mostly higher on Wall Street Friday. The S&P 500 managed a gain of 0.3%, but still posted its first weekly loss in four weeks. Facebook led gains in communications stocks. Intel fell sharply after reporting weakness in its data center business. Intel’s drop pulled the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a small loss. Stocks have been mostly pushing higher this month after giving back some of their big gains this year in a sudden September swoon. Treasury yields remained near their highest level since June, and crude oil prices fell.

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Walmart sues US in pre-emptive strike in opioid abuse battle

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is suing the U.S. government in a pre-emptive strike in the battle over its responsibility in the opioid abuse crisis. The government is expected to take civil action against the world’s largest retailer, seeking big financial penalties, for the role its pharmacies may have played in the crisis by filling opioid prescriptions. But Walmart filed a lawsuit saying that the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration are blaming the company for the government’s own lack of regulatory and enforcement policies to stem the opioid crisis. The lawsuit names the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr as defendants. It also names the DEA and its acting administrator, Timothy Shea.

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The S&P 500 rose 11.90 points, or 0.3%, to 3,465.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 28.09 points, or 0.1%, to 28,335.57. The Nasdaq composite gained 42.28 points, or 0.4%, to 11,548.28. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 10.25 points, or 0.6%, to 1,640.50.