Business Briefs – November 20, 2018

Darkening Clouds Start to Overhang Global Economic Expansion

WASHINGTON (AP) — After galloping along for the past two years, the global economy is showing signs of weakening.

Few economists foresee an outright global recession within the next year. But the synchronized growth that powered most major economies since 2017 appears to be fading. The risks have been magnified by the trade war raging between the U.S. and China, the strife dividing Britain over an exit from the EU and the Federal Reserve’s continuing interest rate hikes.

It’s all been enough to contribute to a broad retreat in global stock markets. Counting Tuesday’s deep losses, U.S. stock indexes, once up around 10 percent for the year, have surrendered all their 2018 gains.

Thanksgiving Air-Travel Rush Gets Off to a Good Start

(AP) – Favorable weather is helping get the Thanksgiving air-travel rush off to a relatively smooth start, but that could change in the next day or two.

By Tuesday afternoon, fewer than 100 flights had been canceled around the U.S. — a low number — but nearly 1,800 flights were delayed, according to tracking service FlightAware.

The largest number of delays — about 240 — was at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where dense fog was slowing the pace of departures and arrivals. Flights going to Boston and Newark on Tuesday were also likely to be delayed, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Driving was challenging in parts of New England. A recent snowstorm left messy road conditions across much of the region, and the forecast called for more snow on Wednesday followed by blustery winds and high temperatures in the teens on Thanksgiving Day in northern New England.

Shoppers Spend Freely Heading Into the Shopping Season

NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers are spending freely heading into the holidays, but heavy investments and incentives like free shipping by retailers are giving Wall Street pause.

Target Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Best Buy Co. and TJX Cos. all reported strong sales at stores open at least a year. That’s a key measure of health for a retailer. Online sales also surged. Target reported a 49 percent increase in online sales, which was better than expected.

But shares of Target and the parent of TJ Maxx took a hit after reporting that their third-quarter profit results were squeezed by higher e-commerce costs. Kohl’s delivered strong third-quarter results, but it issued a cautious annual profit forecast. Best Buy, which has been on a winning streak, couldn’t win over investors even as it boosted its annual earnings guidance.

Amazon HQ Expansion Means Tough Fight for Talent

NEW YORK (AP) — When tech giants like Amazon expand, other companies don’t just worry about losing business. They also fret about hanging on to their employees.

Some of the industries that have defined New York City and the Washington, D.C., area will face competition for talent when Amazon sets up shop in their territory, with plans to hire 50,000 new workers amid the tightest job market in decades.

The expansion comes at time of fierce demand for computer programmers, mobile app developers, data scientists and cybersecurity experts. Salaries keep rising as companies from banks to retailers seek new technology professionals to expand their online presence and automate operations. Particularly in demand are software developers, with many switching jobs each year. Even some banks have eased up on their dress codes to project a hipper image.