Business Briefs – February 3, 2019

Nissan’s Second Thoughts on U.K.-Made SUV Add to Brexit Worry

LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy took another blow Sunday when Nissan canceled plans to make its new SUV in northern England amid continued uncertainty over the country’s future relations with the European Union.

Nissan said it decided not to build the X-Trail model at its existing U.K. plant, canceling plans announced two years ago after May’s government made undisclosed concessions designed to ensure the carmaker’s ability to compete after Brexit.

Fears Grow: 1/3 of UK Firms Consider Move Abroad Over Brexit

LONDON (AP) – Nearly a third of U.K. firms may shift their operations abroad because of Britain’s pending departure from the European Union, a survey of 1,200 company directors suggested Friday, as the political stalemate over a Brexit deal heightened jitters among businesses. The survey by the Institute of Directors, an employers’ group, found that 16 percent of businesses already had relocation plans while a further 13 percent were “actively considering” a move. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29.

A Robust Job Gain in January Shows U.S. Economy’s Durability

WASHINGTON (AP) – The healthy pace of hiring, the government reported Friday, illustrated the job market’s durability nearly a decade into the economic expansion. The U.S. has now added jobs for 100 straight months, the longest such period on record. The unemployment rate did rise in January to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, but mostly for a technical reason: Roughly 175,000 federal workers were counted as temporarily unemployed last month because of the shutdown.

Starbucks Faces Tricky Time as Ex-CEO Mulls Presidential Run

DETROIT (AP) – For Starbucks, former CEO Howard Schultz is a hero — and a headache. Schultz spent more than 30 years at Starbucks, growing a handful of coffee shops into a global brand. But as the billionaire mulls running for president as an independent, the company will have to tread carefully. Some Democrats fear Schultz could tip the 2020 election to President Donald Trump by splitting their vote.

Trump Plans to Meet Xi After U.S.-China Talks End With No Deal

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump expects to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to try to resolve a six-month trade standoff after U.S. and Chinese negotiators ended two days of talks Thursday without settling the toughest issues that divide the world’s two biggest economies. The White House says the two countries made progress but “much work remains to be done.”

14-Year-Old’s Bug Discovery Could Rattle Apple

(AP) – Fourteen-year-old Grant Thompson says he and his mom emailed, called, tweeted and even faxed Apple to report an eavesdropping bug. He says it took nine days for a response. The bug allows callers to activate another person’s microphone remotely even before the person has accepted or rejected the call. Some people question how long it took Apple to address the bug. Apple says it’s committed to improving the reporting process.

Foxconn Again Shifts Wisconsin Plan After Trump Intervenes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Foxconn Technology Group shifted its stated strategy again for a massive Wisconsin campus, crediting a conversation with President Donald Trump for cementing plans to proceed with building a factory to make high-tech liquid display screens. The news capped a week of confusion about Foxconn’s plans in Wisconsin. The company now says it will have a manufacturing plant after earlier saying it would be focused more on research.

U.S. Factories Grew at Faster Pace in January

WASHINGTON (AP) – American factories grew at a slightly faster pace in January than in the previous month when there had been a big slowdown in manufacturing activity. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Friday that its manufacturing index rose to 56.6 last month, up from a reading 54.3 in December. Anything above 50 signals growth in manufacturing.