Business Highlights

Updated at: 12/05/2016 5:54 PM
By The Associated Press

___

Bank stocks help Dow to another record; tech stocks recover

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks resumed their climb Monday as investors bought stocks that stand to benefit from economic growth, like banks, as well as technology companies, which have been mostly left out of a post-election rally. The Dow Jones industrial set another record high.

Energy companies rose as the price of oil reached its highest level since July 2015. Small-company stocks continued to outpace the rest of the market. Technology companies have fallen since the election as big names like Facebook and Alphabet have lost ground. But that changed Monday.

___

US services firms grow at fastest pace since October 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services companies expanded last month at their fastest pace in more than a year, an encouraging sign for the economy.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade organization of purchasing managers, said Monday that its services index reached 57.2 in November, up from 54.8 in October and the highest level since October 2015. Anything above 50 signals growth.

The services industry has now grown for 82 straight months.

___

Get used to it: Economists see "new normal" of slow growth

Americans should get used to a "new normal" of slow economic growth, business economists say.

A National Association for Business Economics survey estimates the American economy to grow 2.2 percent in 2017, up from a forecast 1.6 percent this year and unchanged from the previous survey in September. But the improved number is still lackluster by historical standards.

U.S. economic growth averaged 3.1 percent a year from 1948 to 2015, according to the Congressional Research Service. Business economists say Americans need to get used to slow growth as most of those surveyed believe the American economy will remain at 2.5 percent or lower over the next five years.

___

Italy faces political, economic uncertainty after referendum

MILAN (AP) — Italian voters dealt Premier Matteo Renzi a resounding rebuke by rejecting his proposed constitutional reforms, plunging Europe's fourth-largest economy into political and economic uncertainty Monday.

Renzi announced he would quit following Sunday's referendum vote, in which 60 percent of voters rejected his proposals and signaled they wanted a change in political direction.

The unexpectedly large margin of defeat with a robust voter turnout appeared to rule out any chance that Renzi would be offered another shot at forming a government.

___

Cereal maker General Mills to cut as many as 600 jobs

NEW YORK (AP) — General Mills plans to cut between 400 and 600 jobs around the world as it restructures its business.

The company, like other processed food makers, has been hurt by American's changing tastes. Sales of some of its core products, like yogurt and cereal, have suffered.

General Mills Inc. had about 39,000 employees as of May.

___

New VW firm to focus on mobility services like ride sharing

LONDON (AP) — Volkswagen is launching a new company dedicated to car sharing and other "mobility services" in which people may need a ride but don't necessarily want to own the car.

The German auto giant has set up a stand-alone enterprise, MOIA, which will be headquartered in Berlin and will "connect the car with the new mobility world." It intends to challenge traditional notions of how to get around, particularly in cities.

The company has already invested in a ride-sharing app and is also focusing on the pooling business.

___

Air Berlin sells stake in Austria's NIKI to Etihad for $319M

BERLIN (AP) — German airline Air Berlin says it is selling its stake in Austrian carrier NIKI to Etihad for 300 million euros ($319 million).

Air Berlin says the sale marks "an important milestone in the implementation of the company's restructuring plan announced in September."

The struggling German airline said at the time that it planned to cut its 144-strong fleet nearly in half and eliminate some 1,200 jobs, while focusing on its most profitable routes.

Air Berlin said Monday that it would concentrate on business travel in Germany, Italy, the Nordics and Eastern Europe.

___

Amazon Go store is checkout free

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is testing a grocery store model in Seattle that works without checkout lines.

Called Amazon Go, shoppers scan their Amazon app when they enter the store, and then sensors register items that shoppers pick up and automatically charge them to the Amazon app. If a shopper puts the item back they aren't charged.

The store is open to Amazon employees on a trial run. It is expected to open to the public in early 2017.

___

Tyson announces plans for $150 million venture fund

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — Tyson Foods Inc. announced plans Monday to create a venture fund aimed at developing innovations in food production.

The meat company said it will make $150 million available for Tyson New Ventures LLC, which it said would complement Tyson's continued investment in fresh meat, poultry and prepared foods.

The venture fund's first investment is a 5 percent ownership stake in Beyond Meat, a California-based company that makes "plant-based protein." Tyson says the venture fund will concentrate on alternative proteins, as well as other startups aimed at eliminating food waste and finding other innovations.

___

New cross-border stock link widens access to China's Nasdaq

HONG KONG (AP) — Trading began Monday on a new cross-border stock link between Hong Kong and the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen, widening access to China's markets for global investors.

The long-awaited Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect link allows international investors to buy and sell 880 high-growth small and midcap stocks traded on the exchange in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen via the Hong Kong exchange.

A similar link between Hong Kong and China's main exchange in Shanghai was launched two years ago but has shown only a mediocre performance, with investors rarely hitting daily limits on trading volume.

___

In bid to fight art fraud, Sotheby's acquires forensic lab

NEW YORK (AP) — In bid to fight art fraud, Sotheby's announced Monday that it had purchased a forensics firm whose founder once helped the auction house belatedly identify a $10 million painting as a fake.

Sotheby's said that Orion Analytical, based in Williamstown, Massachusetts, will be folded into the company and its founder, the artist, conservator and forensic scientist James Martin, will lead a new scientific research department charged with making sure the works the auction house deals with are authentic.

The purchase comes amid a number of recent art forgeries in the art world.

___

The Dow Jones industrial average added 45.82 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,216.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 12.76 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,204.71. The Nasdaq composite jumped 53.24 points, or 1 percent, to 5,308.89.

Benchmark U.S. oil rose 11 cents to $51.79 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 48 cents to $54.94 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline remained at $1.56 a gallon and heating oil was unchanged at $1.66 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 22 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $3.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)