Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


US hiring surge raises likelihood of Fed rate hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. hiring swelled in October by the largest amount all year, and unemployment dropped another notch to 5 percent, making a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase next month a near certainty.

With Americans spending more on everything from restaurant meals and clothing to new cars, employers added an impressive 271,000 jobs last month. That was a strong rebound from August and September, when turmoil in China and other economies overseas proved a drag on the U.S. job market.


Obama quashes Keystone XL in bid to boost climate leverage

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal at the center of his environmental legacy.

Obama's decision marked an unambiguous victory for environmental activists who spent years denouncing the pipeline, lobbying the administration and even chaining themselves to tractors to make their point about the threat posed by dirty fossil fuels.

"This pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others," he said.


Toyota invests $1 billion in artificial intelligence in US

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota is investing $1 billion in a research company it's setting up in Silicon Valley to develop artificial intelligence and robotics, underlining the Japanese automaker's determination to lead in futuristic cars that drive themselves and apply the technology to other areas of daily life.

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said Friday the company will start operating from January 2016, with 200 employees at a Silicon Valley facility near Stanford University. A second facility will be established near Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

The investment, which will be spread over five years, comes on top of $50 million Toyota announced earlier for artificial intelligence research at Stanford and MIT.


Think you want a tiny house? Businesses offer a tryout first

CROYDON, N.H. (AP) — Some people may be intrigued by the idea of a tiny house, but not sure the reality would be so appealing.

A business that started at Harvard University is helping people test out the tiny house lifestyle before they commit. The company, Getaway, rents out tiny houses for $99 a night and has drawn visitors from afar who come to sample life in a 160-square-foot house before they dive in.

Definitions vary, but some say a tiny house is anything smaller than 400 square feet. Advocates tout the environmental and financial perks of tiny living.


Stocks end mixed as market factors interest rate hike

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks had a mixed reaction Friday to the surprisingly strong October jobs report as investors adjusted to the prospect of higher interest rates as early as next month.

While the major indexes, on the surface, had a muted reaction to the jobs numbers, a look at the individual parts of the market showed investors were actively reshuffling their portfolios.

Wall Street has been in a months-long guessing game about the Federal Reserve, trying to figure out when the policymakers at the nation's central bank will finally raise interest rates. Policymakers decided to wait yet again at their October meeting to see more signs the U.S. economy was on sure footing.


US consumer credit up a record $28.9 billion in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer borrowing jumped by a record amount in September, driven higher by big gains in borrowing for auto and student loans.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumer borrowing increased $28.9 billion, the largest one-month increase on record going back to 1941. That reflects a $22.2 billion increase in the category that covers auto loans and student loans and a $6.7 billion increase in credit card borrowing.

Economists believe consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, will remain strong in coming months. A healthy labor market is helping give consumers confidence to spend and finance part of their purchases by taking on more debt.


China to resume IPOs as it winds down emergency measures

BEIJING (AP) — China is resuming initial public stock offerings as it winds down emergency measures imposed to stop a market plunge, a government spokesman was quoted by state media as saying Friday.

Regulators suspended IPOs in July after China's main market index plunged 30 percent from its June 12 peak. That disrupted fundraising plans for dozens of companies.

The end of the moratorium was announced by a spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Deng Ge, according to the Xinhua News Agency and financial news outlets.


Japan air bag maker Takata reports $46 million loss

TOKYO (AP) — Embattled Takata Corp. reported a half-year loss of 5.6 billion yen ($45.8 million) on Friday due to recall costs tied to the air bag inflators at the center of its massive product safety scandal.

Takata cut its profit forecast for the full fiscal year by 75 percent, reflecting the expense of recalls for defective air bags that have caused multiple injuries and deaths.

Takata's financial report capped a week of bad news for the company after at least three major customers said they would stop purchasing the types of air bags involved in the recalls.


UAW reaches contract agreement with Ford as GM workers vote

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative contract agreement with Ford, a sign that union leaders expect General Motors workers to approve a similar four-year deal.

The UAW said it reached an agreement with Ford on Friday morning. The contract covers 53,000 workers at 22 U.S. plants.

No details were released, but Ford's agreement is expected to be similar to the contract GM workers are expected to approve this weekend. Voting at GM plants was scheduled to end Friday evening.


AstraZeneca acquires ZS Pharma in $2.7 billion deal

LONDON (AP) — Anglo-Swedish drug firm AstraZeneca has acquired U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company ZS Pharma in a deal worth $2.7 billion.

The deal will give AstraZeneca access to ZS Pharma's treatment for hyperkalemia, a condition of elevated potassium in the bloodstream that is associated with chronic kidney disease and chronic heart failure. The treatment, potassium-binding compound ZS-9, is under regulatory review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The deal values the San Mateo, California-based company at $90 a share.


Square boosts expected IPO value by 47 pct in rocky market

NEW YORK (AP) — Square, the six-year-old company known for its white, cube-shaped credit and debit card readers that plug into smartphones, is boosting its planned initial public offering value by 47 percent in what has become a tough market for new companies trying to raise cash.

The San Francisco financial-services startup was founded and is led by Jack Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter and recently returned to lead that company again. Dorsey, 38, who owns 24.4 percent of Square, did not give up the CEO job at Square when he returned to his former company.


The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 17,910.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.73 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,099.20. The Nasdaq composite index rose 19.38 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,127.12.

Benchmark crude oil fell 91 cents, or 2 percent, to $44.29 a barrel and Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 56 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $47.42 a barrel. In other trading, heating oil rose less than a cent to $1.49 a gallon, wholesale gasoline futures rose a penny to $1.37 a gallon and natural gas rose 0.7 cent to $2.371 per 1,000 cubic feet.