Stocks drop 4% to cap volatile week
NEW YORK — Wall Street capped a turbulent week of trading Friday with the biggest weekly loss since March as traders fret over rising trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and signals of slower economic growth.
The latest wave of selling erased more than 550 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, bringing its three-day loss to more than 1,400. For the week, major indexes are down more than 4 percent.
Worries that the testy U.S.-China trade dispute and higher interest rates will slow the economy has made investors uneasy, leading to volatile swings in the market from one day to the next.
The S&P 500 and the Dow are now in the red for the year again. The Nasdaq was holding on to a modest gain.
"We're in a market where investors just want to sell any upside that they see," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. "The volatility we've seen the last couple of weeks has been pretty extreme in both directions."
Oil prices rose after OPEC countries agreed to reduce global oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day for six months, beginning in January. The move would include a reduction of 800,000 barrels per day from OPEC countries and 400,000 barrels per day from Russia and other non-OPEC nation.
US hiring slows but is still steady
WASHINGTON — U.S. employers pulled back on hiring in November, adding just 155,000 jobs. That's below this year's average monthly gains but enough to suggest that the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp gyrations in the stock market.
The Labor Department says that the unemployment rate remained 3.7%, nearly a five-decade low, for the third straight month. Average hourly pay rose 3.1% from a year ago, matching the previous month's figure, which was the best since 2009.
Consumer borrowing up 7.7% in Oct.
WASHINGTON — Americans boosted their borrowing by 7.73% in October from a year ago, the largest increase in nearly a year as consumer spending has helped fuel U.S. economic growth.
The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose by a seasonally adjusted $25.3 billion in October to a total of $3.96 trillion. The October increase was more than double the gain in September.
Much of the increase was due a 10.75% jump in revolving credit, a category that includes credit cards. Non-revolving credit — which includes auto loans and student debt — rose 6.67%.
Economists and investors monitor consumer borrowing to judge the willingness of people to take on debt to finance their purchases. Higher debt can suggest that people are confident in their ability to repay their loans.
Boeing-Embraer deal delayed until '19
RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian federal court has at least temporarily blocked a $4.75 billion joint venture between Boeing and Embraer until the incoming government takes office.
The two aerospace companies announced their intentions in July to create a merger to run Embraer's commercial aviation business. The deal would result in Boeing holding 80 percent of the resulting company and Embraer the remaining 20 percent.
The left-leaning Workers' Party said Friday that Judge Victorio Giuzio Neto ruled this week to block the merger following a petition by of the party's congressmen. The lawmakers contend the deal will cost Brazil jobs and expertise.
Boeing declined to comment. Embraer sent a statement to The Associated Press saying it will appeal.
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes power Jan. 1.
Sonic sold to Arby's parent for $2.3B
OKLAHOMA CITY — Shareholders have approved the sale of Oklahoma-based drive-in burger chain Sonic to the parent company of Arby's in a $2.3 billion merger.
The Journal Record reported that Sonic shareholders approved the pending agreement with Inspire Brands Inc. Sonic will no longer be traded publicly.
The company's investors voted on two proposals. The first was to authorize the merger and the other was to compensate Sonic's executive officers in connection with the merger.
Sonic CEO Cliff Hudson says getting approached for the deal was unanticipated, but that he was proud of building a profitable company.
Marlboro maker bets on cannabis
NEW YORK — One of the world's biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $2.4 billion buy-in.
Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 percent stake in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said Friday.
Altria will pay another $1.4 billion for warrants that if exercised, would give the Altria a 55 percent ownership stake in the Toronto company.
That would mean Altria's investment would be in the same league as the $4 billion spent earlier this year by Constellation Brands to acquire shares of Canopy Growth Corp., another Canadian pot producer.
Whatever hesitation larger corporations in the U.S. had about entering the cannabis market appears to be fading if there is a financial justification.