Business Briefs – October 30, 2016

Companies Set Monthly Record For Mergers, Acquisitions

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. companies are cutting merger deals at a record pace even though antitrust regulators have moved to oppose several recent high-profile combinations.

So far this month, companies have agreed to mergers and acquisitions valued at $249 billion, according to financial information provider Dealogic. That surpasses the previous record of $240 billion in July 2015.

Last week alone the merger mania racked up $177 billion, a new mark for a single week.

New York Comptroller Projects Higher Wall Street Profits in 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Wall Street is on track to post higher profits this year and end three straight years of declines, according to a report issued Friday by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

New York City’s securities industry earned pretax profits of $9.3 billion in the first half of 2016.

The industry saw $11.3 billion in profits in the first half of 2015, but experienced an unusual fourth-quarter loss, ending the year with $14.3 billion in profits overall.

U.S. Wages, Benefits Rise 0.6 Percent in Third Quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) – Wages and benefits paid to U.S. civilian workers grew at a steady pace in the third quarter.

The Labor Department says total compensation rose 0.6 percent from July through September, same as it did from April through June. Wages and salaries increased 0.5 percent, benefits 0.7 percent.

In the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, compensation increased 2.3 percent, up from an annual gain of 2 percent a year earlier.

Exxon 3Q Profit Falls 38 Percent on Lower Oil Prices

DALLAS (AP) – Exxon’s profit keeps shrinking because of lower oil prices, and the company is responding by sharply cutting investment in future production.

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Friday that its third-quarter income fell 38 percent from a year ago to $2.65 billion.

It marked the eighth straight quarter in which Exxon’s profit fell compared with a year earlier.

BMW Recalls Over 154,000 Vehicles Because Engines Could Stall

DETROIT (AP) – BMW is recalling more than 154,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. and Canada to fix a wiring problem that can cause engines to stall.

The recall covers certain 5-Series and X5 models and some 6-Series and X6 vehicles from the 2007 to 2012 model years.

The company says in documents filed with U.S. safety regulators that wiring to fuel pumps inside the gas tank may not have been properly crimped. That can cause the wires to come loose and melt a connector, causing a gas leak. That can stop the fuel pump from working and make engines stall.

Patagonia Joins Companies Giving Staff Day Off for Election

NEW YORK (AP) – Patagonia is joining other companies that are giving workers a day off on Election Day, saying it wants to encourage its employees to have the time to elect candidates up and down the ballot who will protect the environment.

There’s been a movement called “Take Off Election Day” that has enlisted hundreds of tech companies, mainly smaller ones, to give people Nov. 8 off.

But the move by a company like Patagonia may give other big brands more to think about. The Ventura, California-based retailer says it’s closing its corporate office, customer service and distribution center and all 29 U.S. stores on Election Day for the first time and giving its 1,800 workers a paid holiday.

China’s Overseas Takeover Spree Meets Growing Resistance

HONG KONG (AP) – Corporate China’s global shopping binge barreled on this week with more multibillion dollar deals, but Beijing is starting to discover that there are limits to what its money can buy.

In recent days German and European Union officials have moved to tighten up scrutiny or even block high-profile acquisitions in the latest sign of growing opposition to Chinese purchases of companies in key industries due to national security or competition concerns.

Swiss chemical giant Syngenta said Tuesday that EU regulators examining its proposed $43 billion takeover by state-owned ChemChina have “recently requested a large amount of additional information,” which will drag the approval process out into the first quarter of next year.