Business Briefs – February 5, 2018

U.S. Economy Still Fundamentally Strong Despite Falling Stocks

WASHINGTON (AP) – A wave of fear about inflation and higher interest rates has sent stock prices tumbling and raised concerns about corporate profits. Yet the rush of anxiety has obscured a fundamental fact about the U.S. economy: It’s healthy. Nearly nine year into the expansion that followed the Great Recession, the job market is strong. So is the housing market. Consumer confidence is solid, and manufacturing has made a comeback. And households and businesses are spending freely.

White House Says Economic Fundamentals ‘Strong’

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is responding to Monday’s stock market beating by saying President Donald Trump is focused on “long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong.”

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says those fundamentals include stronger U.S. economic growth, historically low unemployment and increasing wages for workers.

She adds that tax cuts Mr. Trump recently signed into law and his focus on eliminating regulations will further enhance the economy and continue to increase prosperity for the American people.

The following is the White House statement on markets: “The President’s focus is on our long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong, with strengthening U.S. economic growth, historically low unemployment and increasing wages for American workers. The President’s tax cuts and regulatory reforms will further enhance the U.S. economy and continue to increase prosperity for the American people.”

Google Spinoff and Uber Trade Jabs in Court

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Google’s self-driving car spin-off and ride-hailing service Uber opened a trial over an alleged high-tech heist with dueling arguments depicting each other as conniving companies willing to go to expensive extremes to gain a competitive advantage. Lawyers for Google-bred Waymo likened Uber to Rosie Ruiz, one of the most notorious cheaters in sports history, as they set out to prove accusations that the ride-hailing service tried to catch up in the race to build self-driving cars by using technology stolen by Anthony Levandowski, a former star engineer.

Lululemon’s CEO Resigns Over Issue of Conduct

NEW YORK (AP) – Lululemon Athletica Inc. says Laurent Potdevin has resigned as CEO and from the board, effective immediately, saying he fell short of standards of conduct. The Vancouver-based company didn’t give specific details but said it expects all employees to exemplify the “highest level of integrity and respect for one another.” It said it was starting a search for a new CEO.

Spacex Bucks Launch Tradition In 1st Flight of New Rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – SpaceX is bucking decades of launch tradition for the first test flight of its new megarocket. The Falcon Heavy is set to blast off Tuesday afternoon from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. But forget about your usual launch-debut ballast. The Heavy rocket will be hauling up a red sports convertible. It’s the inspiration of Elon Musk, the high-tech maverick who heads SpaceX and electric car maker Tesla.