Markets rise even as US gov’t shutdown begins

NEW YORK — Investors stayed calm on the first day of a partial shutdown of the U.S. government Tuesday and sent stocks modestly higher.

That suggests that, at least for now, they aren’t anticipating that the stalemate will cause enough disruption in the economy to threaten a gradual recovery and a four-year bull run.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62.03 to 15,191.70. The S&P 500 index gained 13.45 to 1,695.00. The Nasdaq rose 46.50 to 3,817.98.

Merck cuts 8,500 more jobs, changes HQ plan

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — The drugmaker Merck said Tuesday it plans to cut another 8,500 jobs as part of a plan to reduce its annual costs by about $2.5 billion by the end of 2015.

The reductions come on top of about 7,500 in previously announced job cuts. The two rounds of cuts means it is slashing about 20 percent of its workforce, currently at about 81,000.

In addition, Merck will move its headquarters from Whitehouse Station, N.J., to Kenilworth, N.J. The company had previously planned to move its headquarters to Summit, N.J., but it determined it could save more money by closing both the Summit and Whitehouse Station locations

Amazon to hire 70,000 workers for holidays

SEATTLE — Amazon.com says it is hiring 70,000 full-time seasonal workers around the U.S. to fill orders during the holiday season.

The world’s largest online retailer says the hires are an increase of 40 percent over last year’. Seasonal employees at Amazon.com order fulfillment centers are eligible for health care benefits and, on average, earn 94 percent of the wages of regular employees.

Amazon says it plans to convert “thousands” of the temporary jobs into full-time roles.

Sept. sales decline, but carmakers see rebound

DETROIT — Automakers expect little impact from the federal government shutdown, and they predict a fourth-quarter rebound after a rare sales decline in September.

Auto sales dropped 4 percent from a year ago to just over 1.1 million, mainly due to a calendar quirk that pulled Labor Day weekend transactions into August’s numbers. The drop ended a 27-month streak of gains for the industry.

General Motors, Honda and Volkswagen reported double-digit declines for last month. Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai posted smaller decreases. Only Ford and Chrysler reported gains among the bigger automakers.

DOJ seeking to delay American-US Air trial

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked for a delay in the trial over the merger of American Airlines and US Airways because of the shutdown of the government.

The merger was weeks away from closing when the government sued to block it on antitrust grounds. The trial is to begin Nov. 25.

On Tuesday the government asked for a delay. Its court papers argue that the government shutdown prevents it from getting ready for the trial.

Mt. Pleasant runway to close for safety repairs

The runway at Mount Pleasant Regional Airport will close for five days starting around Oct. 14 for safety improvements required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The improvement project will include grading and reseeding the grassy shoulder at the end of the runway.

In the event of bad weather, work may be delayed or rescheduled.

Staff and wire reports