big peach.jpg (copy)

Peaches are big business in South Carolina. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Stocks end modestly higher, oil surges

NEW YORK — US stocks finished broadly higher Wednesday, giving the S&P 500 its third gain in as many days.

Energy companies rose more than the rest of the market, riding a big upturn in crude oil prices. Solid gains in industrial stocks and retailers outweighed losses among food and beverage companies, technology stocks and banks.

Investors continued to bid up companies that reported positive earnings or outlooks. Not all companies delivered welcome results. IBM slumped 7.5 percent, single-handedly pulling the Dow Jones industrial average into the red.

"Earnings are the principal thing this week," said Paul Christopher, head of global market strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. "The market wants to see more consistent evidence of strong earnings."

The major stock indexes are all on track to finish the week higher.

Peach forecast good for South Carolina

SPARTANBURG — It looks like this will be a good year for peach farmers in South Carolina.

Clemson University agent Andy Rollins told The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg that 2018 might be peach farmers' best harvest in a decade.

Rollins says a cold snap or hail could still strike the Upstate, but this looks to be a very good year. He notes that last year was not a good one for peach growers.

Chesnee grower James Cooley checked on his trees Tuesday morning after the National Weather Service said the temperature dropped to 32 degrees for about two hours.

Cooley says the brief duration of the freezing temperature should mean no significant damage.

The state Agriculture Department says the state's peach crop is usually valued at $90 million annually.

GM replaces head of Cadillac brand

DETROIT — General Motors has replaced the head of its Cadillac luxury brand, which has struggled for years to compete against German and Japanese luxury automakers in the U.S.

The company says Steve Carlisle will replace Johan de Nysschen, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Carlisle had been managing director of GM's Canadian operations.

De Nysschen was hired away from Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand and named president of Cadillac in August 2014. He moved the brand's headquarters to New York in an effort to give Cadillac more sophistication.

But although sales grew globally, they fell in the U.S., GM's most lucrative market. Sales fell 8 percent last year and dropped another 4.6 percent through March.

Fed reports worries about tariffs

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve's latest survey of economic conditions around the country finds growing concern among businesses about the adverse impact higher tariffs could have on their firms and the overall economy.

The Fed reports that the economic outlook remains positive with growth continuing at a moderate pace in the central bank's 12 regions. But the report also says various industries from manufacturing to farming and transportation are worried about possible penalty tariffs on China and also on imports of steel and aluminum.

The report says there were widespread reports that steel prices were already rising, "sometimces dramatically."

The report, known as the "Beige Book," will be considered by Fed officials when they next meet on May 1-2 to discuss interest rates. The Fed last boosted rates in March.

Nike workplace probe claims 3 execs

NEW YORK — Three more Nike executives are leaving amid the company's efforts to overhaul workplace culture.

They are Vikrant Singh, a senior brand director for the Nike basketball brand in North America; Daniel Tawiah, vice president of global brand digital marketing innovation; and Antoine Andrews, vice president of diversity and inclusion.

Nike spokesman Greg Rossiter confirmed the departures but declined to say why they were leaving.

They come a month after Nike's CEO Mark Parker reportedly sent a memo to employees regarding inappropriate workplace behavior and plans to overhaul its leadership. That included the resignation of Trevor Edwards, seen as Parker's successor, and the exit of another executive, Jayme Martin.

Amazon deal broadens global reach

SEATTLE — Amazon is expanding its dominance globally by giving overseas customers access to more than 45 million items via its app. Inc.'s "International Shopping" will be available through a mobile browser or app and goods will be shipped globally from the United States. There's five languages to choose from and Amazon is accepting 25 currencies. Customers can also choose from different shipping options and delivery speeds.

Amazon operates largely in North America, Western Europe, parts of Asia, and Australia. The app allows people living outside of regions where Amazon operates to order goods.

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

Morgan Stanley has record 1Q profit

NEW YORK — Morgan Stanley's first-quarter profit jumped 38 percent to a record high, helped by a lower tax bill and a boost in revenue from last quarter's volatile markets.

The investment bank reported net income Wednesday of $2.67 billion, or $1.45 a share. Analysts expected $1.26 a share, according to FactSet.

Like its major competitors, Morgan Stanley saw its tax bill drop sharply in the quarter. While pre-tax profits rose 22 percent from a year earlier, its tax bill fell by 12 percent.

Total net revenues at Morgan Stanley were $11.1 billion, also a record, up from $9.7 billion a year ago.

Target offering drive-up service in Florida, Texas

MIAMI — Target stores in Florida and Texas are now offering drive-up service.

The retail chain announced Tuesday customers can buy items without leaving their car.

The service began last fall in Minneapolis, where the company is headquartered. Target hopes to expand the service to nearly 1,000 stores across the U.S. by the end of the year.

Orders can be placed with the Target mobile app and should be ready in less than two hours. Customers then park in designated spots outside the store and employees bring out the orders.

Other states with Target's drive-up service are Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Walmart officers a similar drive-up service for groceries at some locations, but Target's service applies to any in-stock items at the store.

Bon-Ton Stores to be liquidated

MILWAUKEE — The Bon-Ton Stores, which operates 260 department stores in the U.S., is expected to go out of businesses after two liquidation firms became the highest bidders at an auction for the bankrupt company's assets Tuesday.

The 160-year-old company has survived economic recessions and depressions, but like several other brick-and-mortar retailers in recent years it couldn't survive the shift toward e-commerce, led by Inc.

Liquidation firms Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group were the highest bidders for the company's assets. No one else was willing to outbid them to continue store operations.

The Bon-Ton Stores was operating 260 stores in 24 states, largely in the Northeast and Midwest, when it filed for bankruptcy in January. The stores operate under different names, including Younkers, Boston Store and Carson's.

Wire reports