Stocks rise…Wholesale prices inch up…More Takata recalls
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are rising in morning trading on Wall Street ahead of the signing of an initial trade deal between the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump and China’s chief negotiator are scheduled to sign the “Phase 1” deal that will ease some sanctions on China. Beijing will also step up its purchases of U.S. farm products and other goods. Technology companies are gaining. The sector is reliant on China for sales and supply chains and benefits from progress in trade relations. Health care stocks are climbing following a solid fourth-quarter earnings report from UnitedHealth Group. Banks are broadly lower after Bank of America and Goldman Sachs reported weaker profits.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Wholesale prices edged up 0.1% in December as a jump in the cost of energy was offset by falling food prices. The Labor Department says the slight increase in its producer price index followed no change in November. Energy prices were up 1.5%, with gasoline costs up 3.7% and heating oil up 7.7%, the biggest monthly gain in two years. Food costs were down 0.2%. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.1%. For the year, wholesale prices are up a modest 1.3%.
DETROIT (AP) – Nissan is recalling nearly 346,000 vehicles across the globe to replace dangerous Takata air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel. The front passenger inflators are among 10 million from 14 automakers that Takata is recalling. It’s the last recall that the bankrupt Takata agreed to in a 2015 settlement with U.S. safety regulators. The Nissan recall covers certain 2001 through 2003 Maximas, 2002 through 2006 Sentras, 2002 through 2004 Pathfinders, and 2007 through 2011 Versas. Also included are 2001 through 2004 Infiniti I30 and I35s, 2002 through 2003 QX4s, 2003 through 2008 FX35 and FX45s and 2006 through 2010 M35 and M45s. Dealers will replace the inflators starting Feb. 10.
UNDATED (AP) – Target is reporting comparable-store sales that are well below last year’s, joining a growing list of retailers with meager performances during the critical holiday shopping season. Target said Wednesday that it experienced weaker-than-expected sales of electronics, toys and home goods. Those sales climbed 1.4% in the November-December period, compared with a very strong 5.7% increase a year earlier. Digital sales rose 19%, also down from last year’s jump of 29%. Shares of Target fell almost 7% at the opening bell.
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) – A county in Northern California wine country is exploring plans to sue a utility over a massive wildfire last fall that combined with rolling power shutoffs caused losses of $725 million. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has voted to hire two law firms to pursue legal action against pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest utility. The 121-square-mile blaze destroyed 374 structures in the county in October 2019. A report by Moody Analytics found that the fire cost the county $620 million in losses and that four PG&E power shutoffs caused an additional $105 million in losses.