Business Highlights – SFGate

Business Highlights – SFGate

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US tariffs on China are illegal, says world trade body

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization has ruled that the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods worth more than $200 billion are illegal. Tuesday’s decision marks the first time the Geneva-based trade body has ruled against a series of tariffs that President Donald Trump’s administration has imposed on a number of countries, allies and rivals alike. The ruling could allow China to impose retaliatory tariffs. And the U.S. could appeal, though the appeals process has been blocked by Washington’s refusal to allow new members for the appeals board.


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Petalo, not Charmin: Virus brings Mexican toilet paper to US

NEW YORK (AP) — Toilet paper is back on store shelves. But you may not recognize some of the brands. Demand for toilet paper was so high during the pandemic, that to keep their shelves stocked, retailers across the country had to buy up foreign brands, mostly from Mexico. A CVS in New York was selling three Mexican toilet paper brands: Regio, Hoteles Elite and Daisy Soft. Mexico’s Petalo was on the shelves of a Piggly Wiggly in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.




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Apple debuts discount watch, but no new iPhones … yet

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Apple is introducing a cheaper version of its smartwatch, its latest attempt to broaden the appeal of its trend-setting products while more consumers are forced to scrimp during ongoing fallout from the pandemic. The scaled-down Apple Watch follows a budget iPhone that came out five months ago as the pandemic caused unemployment rates to soar. Apple took the wraps off the new discount watch in addition to a new high-end model, a next-generation iPad and a new subscription service during a virtual event held Tuesday. New iPhones are expected later this year.


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Japan begins trial of Nissan, ex-executive over Ghosn’s pay

TOKYO (AP) — The financial misconduct trial of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly has begun with Kelly saying he committed no crimes and was only trying to keep his star boss Carlos Ghosn from leaving. Japanese prosecutors on Tuesday outlined allegations of what they said was a complex and clandestine scheme to pay Ghosn. The charges being heard at Tokyo District Court center around Kelly’s alleged role in failing to report to Japanese authorities the future compensation of Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades. Ghosn was also arrested and charged two years ago but jumped bail and fled to Lebanon last year.


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US drops tax on Canada aluminum, heading off retaliation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration says it is dropping taxes on Canadian aluminum, easing tensions with a close ally and preempting Canada’s plans to impose retaliatory sanctions. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Tuesday that the U.S. is ending the 10% tariffs a month after it imposed them. Washington had charged last month that an influx of Canadian aluminum justified the tariffs. But in a statement, the office says shipments of Canadian aluminum are returning to normal levels. It said it could re-impose the tariffs if the imports surged again.

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Struggling Kraft Heinz sells dairy brands to Lactalis

Kraft Heinz says it is selling its natural cheese business — including its Cracker Barrel brand — to French dairy company Lactalis Group as part of a larger restructuring. The $3.2 billion sale includes Kraft Heinz production facilities in California, New York and Wisconsin that employ about 750 people. Kraft Heinz will retain the Philadelphia cream cheese brand, Kraft singles and the Velveeta and Cheez Whiz brands. The company has been struggling as consumers seek out fresh, less processed food. It says the sale will help it focus its resources on other brands. The sale is expected to close in the first half of next year.

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Stocks give up part of an early gain but still end higher

Stocks gave up part of their gains from earlier in the day but still closed higher on Wall Street Tuesday. Gains for big technology companies outweighed losses in banks and elsewhere in the market. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% after being up more than 1% earlier. It’s the second straight sizable gain for the benchmark index following its worst week since June. Big Tech stocks have been bouncing back this week after suddenly losing altitude earlier this month amid worries that their prices had climbed too high. Treasury yields held steady as the Federal Reserve began a two-day policy meeting.

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FedEx’s profit jumps as business deliveries improved

NEW YORK (AP) — FedEx’s profit jumped 67% in its latest quarter, as online shopping remained popular among customers avoiding stores and shipments between businesses improved. The delivery giant reported Tuesday that it earned $1.25 billion during the three months that ended Aug. 31, FedEx’s fiscal first quarter. That was up from $745 million a year earlier. Many people are shopping online during the pandemic, which is helping some delivery companies. FedEx’s stock jumped 8% in after-hours trading. The Memphis-based company did not provide an outlook for its full 2021 fiscal year, citing uncertainties created by the pandemic.

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The S&P 500 rose 17.66 points, or 0.5%, to 3,401.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 2.27 points, or less than 0.1%, to 27,995.60. The Nasdaq climbed 133.67 points, or 1.2%, to 11,190.32. The Russell 2000 index of small-caps picked up 1.18 points, or 0.1%, to 1,538.15.

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