Stocks rise…Home construction falls…GM strike pushes down factory output
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are making modest gains in early trading on Wall Street after several large companies delivered surprisingly good results. Netflix rose after handily beating Wall Street’s third-quarter profit forecasts. Bank stocks made strong gains as bond yields rose. Morgan Stanley climbed 3.5% after reporting solid third-quarter profit and revenue. A breakthrough in negotiations over Britain’s exit from the European Union also injected confidence into markets and prompted investors to move money into riskier holdings.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Home building fell last month, driven by a sharp decline in the construction of new apartments. The Commerce Department says housing starts dropped 9.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million. The construction of new apartments plunged 28.3% to an annual pace of 327,000. On a brighter note, single-family home building ticked up 0.3% to an annual rate of 918,000. Single-family construction typically creates more jobs than apartment units. Building permits, a measure of future construction, slipped 2.7% in September to 1.39 million.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. factory output slumped 0.5% in September, as a strike at General Motors caused a steep decline in auto production amid broader struggles for manufacturers. The Federal Reserve says manufacturing production has fallen 0.9% over the past 12 months, a reflection of the disruptions and uncertainties caused by the U.S.-China trade war. The GM strike led to a 4.2% decline last month in the making of autos. Excluding autos, factory output slipped a more modest 0.1% in September. Total industrial production, which includes mining and utilities as well as manufacturing, slipped 0.4% in September.
DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines has again pushed back the return of its Boeing 737 Max jets as Boeing tries to fix the aircraft following two deadly crashes. Southwest now says it will keep its Max out of its schedule until Feb. 8, about a month longer than previously planned. The airline says it’s monitoring information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration about software improvements and pilot-training requirements that will be part of returning the plane to flight. Without the planes, Southwest says it will cancel about 175 flights each weekday. Southwest had 34 MAX planes when they were grounded in March and had expected more to be delivered this year.
LEWISBURG, W.Va. (AP) – A family business of West Virginia’s billionaire governor has maxed out a taxpayer-funded subsidy program meant to help farmers through the U.S. trade war with China. Records reviewed by The Associated Press show Justice Farms of North Carolina took in $125,000 from the program earlier this year. The business is owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. The Republican governor owns a business empire of coal and agricultural companies that are perennially mired in litigation over unpaid bills. The farming company is named in a lawsuit accusing the businesses of transferring assets to avoid paying debt.