Business Briefs – October 7, 2018

Mattress Firm Files for Bankruptcy, Closing Up to 700 Stores

HOUSTON (AP) – Mattress Firm, Inc., the nation’s largest mattress retailer, is filing for bankruptcy protection and plans to close up to 700 stores around the country. The Houston-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday in federal court in Delaware. According to court documents, Mattress Firm has more than $1 billion in liabilities and has more than 50,000 creditors. It owes its largest creditor, mattress maker Simmons Manufacturing Co., nearly $65 million.

Record Imports Push U.S. Trade Gap to $53.2 Billion in August

Record imports drove the U.S. trade deficit up for the third straight month in August. The deficits in the trade of goods with China and Mexico hit records. The Commerce Department says the trade gap — the difference between what America sells and what it buys abroad — rose to $53.2 billion in August from $50 billion in July.

Musk Takes Swipe at SEC on Heels of Fraud Settlement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Elon Musk is taunting the government regulators who threatened to oust him as CEO of electric carmaker Tesla just days after he settled a case alleging he duped investors. Musk used his Twitter account to jab the Securities and Exchange Commission, the same agency that went after him for declaring he had secured financing for a Tesla buyout. In a Thursday tweet, Musk sarcastically praised the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” for “doing incredible work.”

Toyota Recalls 2.4 Million Hybrids Due to Stalling Problems

TOKYO (AP) – Toyota Motor Corp. says it has issued a recall for 2.43 million hybrid vehicles in Japan and elsewhere for problems with stalling. The company said Friday that in rare cases the vehicles might fail to enter a “fail-safe” driving mode, lose power and stall. It said the recall applies to some Toyota Prius and Auris hybrids made from October 2008-November 2014.

China Orders More Lending to Entrepreneurs Amid Trade Spat

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese banks were told by the government Sunday to lend more to entrepreneurs to help shore up flagging economic growth amid an escalating trade dispute with Washington.

The central bank said it had released 750 billion yuan ($109 billion) for additional lending by reducing bank reserve requirements by 1 percent. It said the money was for small enterprises — the official term for private companies that generate China’s new jobs and wealth.

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