Business Briefs – May 2, 2016

Halliburton, Baker Hughes Eye Future After Merger Scuttled

DALLAS (AP) – Halliburton and Baker Hughes, whose planned merger is the latest big deal to be shot down by antitrust regulators, now must pick up the pieces and shore up their companies during a severe slump in oil and gas drilling.

The two Houston companies are key components of the U.S. energy-exploration business. So big and so important, the Justice Department decided, that letting Halliburton buy Baker Hughes would have hurt competition and driven up prices.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the companies’ decision Sunday to abandon the deal was a victory for the economy and all Americans.

Buffett Praises Federal Reserve But Warns of Unintended Consequences

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Investor Warren Buffett said the Federal Reserve and other policymakers are generally doing a good job, but it’s difficult to predict all the effects of interest rates remaining low for this long.

Buffett said on CNBC Monday that no one can predict the effects of prolonged low rates because it has never happened before, but the U.S. economy has substantially recovered from the depths of the recession in 2008.

International Paper to Buy 7 Pulp Mills from Weyerhaeuser

NEW YORK (AP) — International Paper said it is paying $2.2 billion to buy seven mills from Weyerhaeuser that make pulp used in diapers, tissues and other consumer products.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

International Paper said Monday the mills employ about 1,900 people.

Georgia and Mississippi have two mills each. The others are in North Carolina, Canada and Poland.

U.S. Construction Spending Up 0.3 Percent, Led By Home Building

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. construction spending advanced in March to its highest level in more than eight years. Gains in home building and nonresidential construction offset a drop in government projects.

Construction spending rose 0.3 percent in March after a 1 percent gain in February, the Commerce Department said Monday. The back-to-back increases raised total spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.14 trillion, the highest level since October 2007.

The February increase represented an upward revision by the government from its initial estimate that spending had fallen 0.5 percent that month.

But the estimate for January was revised down by the government to show a drop of 0.3 percent, from a previously reported increase of 2.1 percent.

Ferrari Names Fiat Chrysler Chief Marchionne As CEO

MILAN (AP) — Sergio Marchionne took full control of super sports carmaker Ferrari NV, adding the CEO title on Monday to that of chairman as he positions the carmaker in the luxury goods space and seeks to regain Formula 1 glory.

Marchionne’s replacement of CEO Amedeo Felisa came as Ferrari posted its best first-quarter earnings ever, a 19-percent increase in net profit to 78 million euros ($89.5 million).

That compares with 65 million euros in the same period last year.

Marchionne engineered the luxury carmaker’s spin off from mass carmaker Fiat Chrysler, after longtime chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo stepped down over differences in strategy.

He also launched public offerings in New York and Milan.