Business Briefs – January 18, 2017

Commerce Pick Says NAFTA Will Be Early Target for Team Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) – Breaking with Republican orthodoxy, a new Trump administration will work quickly to re-do the North American Free Trade Agreement, a massive trade pact with Canada and Mexico that has boosted trade but still stings laid-off workers, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for commerce secretary told Congress on Wednesday.

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross told Congress that all free trade agreements should be systematically re-opened every few years to make sure they are working in the best interests of the U.S.

Goldman Sachs Results Beat Estimates, Helped By Trading

NEW YORK (AP) – Goldman Sachs reported fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat analysts’ forecasts as the bank recovered from a difficult quarter a year earlier. Results were particularly strong at Goldman’s trading desks in the last three months of the year.

The New York-based investment bank earned $2.35 billion, or $5.08 a share, compared with $765 million, or $1.27 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Last year’s results included a $5 billion legal settlement with the Department of Justice related to the bank’s dealings during the housing bubble and financial crisis.

The most recent results beat analysts’ expectations of $4.76 per share.

Citigroup’s Earnings Beat Analysts’ Forecasts

NEW YORK (AP) – Financial giant Citigroup on Wednesday reported a 7 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits, helped by a strong performance in the bank’s trading business, a theme that has repeated itself with all the major Wall Street banks this quarter.

The New York-based company said it earned $3.57 billion in the fourth quarter. The results were slightly above analysts’ estimates of $1.12 per share.

All the major Wall Street banks benefited from a broad market rally that occurred after the U.S. presidential election.

American Airlines to Sell Restricted ‘Basic Economy’ Ticket

DALLAS (AP) – American Airlines announced Wednesday that passengers will be able to buy “basic economy” tickets starting next month that will be similar to bare-bones fares already offered by Delta Air Lines and soon to be matched by United Airlines.

If you want to get the cheapest fare on American or United, you will have to leave that rolling carry-on bag at home. Passengers who pay basic-economy rates on those carriers will be limited to one item that fits under their seat — no wheeled bags that take up space in the overhead bins.