Business Briefs – February 4, 2018

Wages Up by Most in 8 Years as U.S. Adds a Robust 200K Jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) – The solid pay gains reported for January show that employers are increasingly competing for a narrower pool of workers with the U.S. expansion now in its ninth year. Raises stemming from Republican tax cuts and minimum wage increases in 18 states also likely boosted pay last month. The figures point to an economy on strong footing, fueled by consumer spending and global growth.

Yellen Lands New Job at Brookings Institution

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, the first woman to head the nation’s central bank, got a boisterous send-off from Fed staff, but she isn’t taking any time off. After her last day at the Fed on Friday, she will start a new job Monday at the Brookings Institution.

Yellen was disappointed not to get a second term as Fed chair

On Sunday, Yellen said she was disappointed that President Donald Trump didn’t offer her a second term as Federal Reserve chair, but supports her central bank successor, Jerome Powell, who takes over on Monday.

Powell, a Fed board member since 2012, is “thoughtful, balanced, dedicated to public service. I’ve found him to be a very thoughtful policymaker,” Yellen said in an interview with CBS on Sunday.

She also said the stock market — the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 25,520 Friday after a 665-point drop — was “high,” and that the financial system was in stronger shape to handle a sharp sell-off than it was during the 2008 financial crisis.

Tax Overhaul Charge Hands Merck 4Q Loss Despite Higher Sales

NEW YORK (AP) – Drugmaker Merck posted a loss of $872 million in the fourth quarter, as a big charge related to the recent U.S. tax overhaul more than offset higher medicine sales. Its adjusted earnings still topped Wall Street’s expectations. The maker of Januvia diabetes pills and cancer drug Keytruda took a charge of $2.6 billion toward taxes for repatriating profits held overseas. It now plans to invest about $12 billion over five years on capital projects.

Sony Taps CFO Yoshida as New President, Replacing Hirai

TOKYO (AP) — Sony Corp. has named Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida as its new president and CEO, replacing Kazuo Hirai, who led a turnaround at the Japanese electronics and entertainment company and will stay on as chairman. Yoshida has experience in Sony’s U.S. operations, as well as its network, financial and investor relations businesses.

900 Trapped South Africa Miners Evacuated After Power Outage

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — At least 900 miners who were trapped in a South African gold mine for more than 24 hours after a power outage have been safely evacuated. The Sibanye-Stillwater company which manages the Beatrix mine in Free State province says the miners will have medical tests and counseling. It expects the mine to start operating again on Monday.