Business Briefs – November 21, 2019

UAW President Steps Down as GM Sues Rival Over Union Bribery

DETROIT (AP) — United Auto Workers President Gary Jones has abruptly resigned, capping a tumultuous day that saw union leaders move to oust him, and General Motors accusing rival Fiat Chrysler in a lawsuit of bribing union officials to get more favorable contract terms from the UAW. Jones notified the union Wednesday that he would retire, his attorney, Bruce Maffeo of New York, said in an email.

WeWork Cuts Nearly 20% Of Workforce in Restructuring Effort

NEW YORK (AP) – WeWork is slashing nearly 20% of its workforce in the wake of its failed stock market debut. The shared office space company said it has laid off 2,400 of its approximately 12,500 employees to “create a more efficient organization.” WeWork said the job cuts began weeks ago in regions around the world and continued this week in the U.S.

Macy’s Weak Earnings Reflect More Trouble at Malls

NEW YORK (AP) – There’s more trouble for the nation’s malls heading into the crucial year-end shopping season. A slew of mall-based clothing retailers reported weak third-quarter earnings reports, the latest indication of shoppers’ increasing shift online and away from traditional shopping meccas. Macy’s on Thursday cut its profit and sales expectations for the year after posting a steeper-than-expected 3.5% drop in sales at stores opened at least a year.

Massachusetts OKs Ban on Flavored Vaping, Tobacco Products

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers have passed a groundbreaking ban on the sale of flavored vaping products and tobacco, including menthol cigarettes. The ban was passed by the Senate early Thursday before the legislature broke for a holiday recess. It had earlier been passed by the state House of Representatives. The legislation now goes to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

Senate Passes Stopgap Spending Bill, Averting Shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-held Senate has passed a temporary government-wide spending bill that would keep federal agencies up and running through Dec. 20 and avert a government shutdown after midnight Thursday. The spending bill would keep federal the government open for another month in hopes the additional time will help negotiators wrap up more than $1.4 trillion in unfinished appropriations bills.

Vape Debate: Are E-Cigarettes Wiping Out Teen Smoking?

WASHINGTON (AP) – In almost any other year it would be hailed as a public health victory: The smoking rate among U.S. high schoolers took its biggest hit ever, federal figures show, falling to a new low. Instead the milestone was relegated to a lone figure at the bottom of a government news release and went unheralded by anti-tobacco groups. That’s because it’s a new era in the tobacco wars — one in which the alarming rise of underage vaping has virtually eclipsed a parallel drop in traditional smoking.

Records Pile Up for S&P 500, Nasdaq in Milestone Run

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Wall Street is enjoying its third record-setting run of this year, with the major stock indexes delivering a string of all-time highs in recent weeks. The gains have been concentrated among the market’s biggest companies, including Apple, Microsoft, AT&T and Google parent Alphabet. All hit all-time highs this month. Technology stocks have led the way as the market racked up milestones this month. As of Tuesday, the sector was up more than 41% so far this year.

U.S. Home Sales Rose 1.9% Last Month, Lifted by Lower Rates

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans took advantage of lower mortgage rates and purchased more homes in October, though sales were held back by a shortage of available properties.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of existing homes rose 1.9% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million — 4.6% higher than a year ago, suggesting that lower borrowing costs are bolstering the housing market.