Business Briefs – May 12, 2019

New China Tariffs Likely To Hit U.S. Consumers

WASHINGTON (AP) – With the Trump administration more than doubling tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports, will Americans soon see higher prices on store shelves? Yes, but it will likely take a few weeks. The latest round of tariff hikes will hit a range of consumer goods, including furniture, luggage and seafood, as well as steel, lumber and other building materials. But the biggest categories of imports from China — clothes, shoes, toys, and electronics such as the iPhone — remain exempt.

Uber’s Hyped-Up IPO Hits a Few Potholes on Its First Day

NEW YORK (AP) – After much hype leading up to the largest initial public offering in five years, Uber hit a few potholes on its first day of trading. It closed down 8%, reflecting lingering doubts about its future prospects for profitability. The ride-hailing company began trading at $42 a share Friday, nearly 7% below its IPO price of $45 on an already volatile day for the markets. Its shares closed at $41.57.

More Than 800 Seek FEMA Aid After Deadly Alabama Tornado

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The government says hundreds of people have sought federal aid since a tornado killed nearly two dozen people in east Alabama this spring.

A statement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency says 817 homeowners and renters have applied for disaster assistance since the March 3 twister. More than $1.2 million has gone to Lee County residents for housing and other needs.

The Small Business Administration also has approved 54 low-interest disaster loans totaling almost $2.8 million.

Third-Biggest U.S. Coal Company Files for Bankruptcy

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) – The nation’s third-largest coal company by production volume filed for bankruptcy Friday as utility companies increasingly turn to gas-fired generation and renewable energy for electricity. Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The move was widely expected since at least March, when the company received the first of several extensions to make a $1.8 million loan payment.

Space-Tourism Dream Edges Toward Reality In New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – British billionaire Richard Branson is taking another concrete step toward offering rides into the close reaches of space for paying passengers. Branson announced Friday that his company Virgin Galactic will begin shifting operations from California to a spaceport and specialized runway in the New Mexico desert in final preparations for commercial flights. He says Virgin Galactic’s development and testing program has advanced enough to make the move from its current testing site in California.