Business Briefs – March 11, 2019

U.S. Retail Sales Up Just 0.2 Pct. As Consumers Stay Cautious

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. retail sales rose slightly in January after a sharp drop in December, reflecting caution taken by consumers amid a government shutdown and volatile stock market. The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales increased just 0.2 percent, after a sharp fall of 1.6 percent in December, the biggest drop in 9 years.

UAW Chief Raises Strike Pay, Issues Warning to Automakers

DETROIT (AP) – The president of the United Auto Workers union warned automakers that the union is prepared to strike if it doesn’t get its way in upcoming contract talks. Gary Jones told delegates to the union’s bargaining convention that it would raise weekly strike pay from $200 to $250 per week and $275 in January of next year. The new union president says no one expects a strike but the UAW is prepared to walk out. He said raising the payments is a symbol to members that the union has their backs.

Barrick Gold Drops Takeover Bid for Newmont Mining

ELKO, Nev. (AP) – Barrick Gold is dropping its takeover bid for Newmont Mining as the two companies agree to form a joint venture to combine their Nevada mining operations. The joint venture is expected to be completed in the coming months.

Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank Higher After Merger Talks Report

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shares in Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have risen after news reports that Deutsche Bank’s top management has agreed to hold preliminary talks about a possible merger.

The share moves follow a report in Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper that informal contacts had taken place but not reached the level where security laws require informing investors. Merger speculation takes place against the background of statements by German government officials favoring bigger companies that can compete globally.

Merger talk over recent weeks has been greeted by skepticism since both banks are busy overhauling their own businesses, raising the question of how they would integrate a new partner.

Neither bank would comment on the reports.