Business Briefs – January 29, 2017

AP-NORC Poll: Broad Worries About Potential Health-Care Loss

WASHINGTON (AP) – Though “Obamacare” still divides Americans, a majority worry that many will lose coverage if the 2010 law is repealed in the nation’s long-running political standoff over health care.

A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 56 percent of U.S. adults are “extremely” or “very” concerned that many will lose health insurance if the health overhaul is repealed. That includes more than 8 in 10 Democrats, nearly half of independents, and more than 1 in 5 Republicans. Another 45 percent of Republicans say they’re “somewhat” concerned.

U.S. Economic Growth Slowed
In Q4, But There’s Hope Ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy lost momentum in the final three months of 2016 as a downturn in exports temporarily depressed activity. But there were hopeful signs in housing and business investment that the economy will rebound in the coming months.

The gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 percent in the October-December period, a slowdown from 3.5 percent growth in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

GDP, the broadest measure of economic health, was held back by a swing in trade with exports of soybeans plunging in the fourth quarter after having surged in the third quarter.

U.S.-Mexico Trade War Could Hit Mexico Economy, Spur Migration

MEXICO CITY (AP) – If President Donald Trump makes good on threats to gut NAFTA and impose stiff tariffs on Mexican goods, economists say he risks a trade war that could lead to the thing he is hoping to avoid — a huge surge in Mexican migration to the U.S.

The result would be catastrophe for the Mexican economy: Recession. A dramatic weakening of the peso, even below the historic lows it has already set amid Trump’s bellicose rhetoric. Soaring inflation, interest rates and unemployment.

U.S. Business Spending Rises
For 3rd Month, Boosting Factories

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. businesses ramped up their investment in industrial machinery, semiconductors and other big-ticket items last month, boosting demand for factory goods.

A measure that tracks business spending plans climbed 0.8 percent in December, after jumping 1.5 percent the previous month, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Orders for all durable goods, which are meant to last longer than three years, slipped 0.4 percent, mostly because of a sharp fall in demand for defense aircraft, a volatile category. Excluding transportation-related goods, orders rose 0.5 percent, the sixth straight increase.

Toshiba to Spin Off Flash Memory Unit to Offset U.S. Nuke Loss

TOKYO (AP) – Toshiba Corp. says it will split its lucrative flash memory business to make up for losses from its troubled U.S. nuclear business, and is looking for a third-party capital injection.

The company said its board approved the plan Friday to sell an unspecified stake in its chip operation to make up for losses from its nuclear operations in the U.S.

Tokyo-based Toshiba is one of the major Japanese industrial conglomerates whose nuclear sectors have struggled since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.