Update on the latest in business:

Posted 1:05 p.m. Monday


US stock indexes edge lower in midday trading

The major U.S. stock indexes are veering slightly lower in afternoon trading today, pulled down largely by energy companies as oil prices fall.

Consumer-focused stocks are also weighing on the market, while utilities and telecom companies buck the downward trend.

Investors have their eyes on the latest batch of company earnings and deal news.

At 12:50 p.m. Eastern Time, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 40 points, to 18,098.

The S&P 500 index slid 4 points, to 2,129.

And the Nasdaq composite index fell 5 points, to 5,209.


US factory production rebounded in September

U.S. manufacturers boosted output modestly last month, led by greater production of construction supplies, autos and petroleum products.

The Federal Reserve says factory production rose 0.2 percent in September, following a decline of 0.5 percent in the previous month. The broader industrial production category, which includes mining and utilities, ticked up 0.1 percent.

Even with the gain, manufacturing output has been flat in the past year. Factories have been hit by several factors: weak business spending on machinery and other equipment, a strong dollar that has made U.S. goods more expensive overseas, and sharp cutbacks in oil and gas drilling that has lowered demand for pipeline.

Mining output rose 0.4 percent last month, though it has fallen 9.4 percent in the past year. Utility production fell 1 percent.


Macy's to open an hour earlier on Thanksgiving

Macy's is staying committed to Thanksgiving Day shopping, saying it'll open an hour earlier this year.

The company plans to open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, close at 2 a.m., and reopen at 5 a.m. Friday.

The department store has been open on Thanksgiving evening since 2013, but remained open through the night.

Several other stores as well as the Mall of America and mall operator CBL & Associates have decided to close for Thanksgiving. They say they wanted to give back the day to employees. Many also say it doesn't make good business sense.


Germany wants Tesla to stop using term 'autopilot'

German authorities are telling electric automaker Tesla to stop using the term "autopilot" for its driver assistance system, saying it is misleading.

The transport ministry confirms in an email that a letter to that effect has been sent to the Palo Alto, California company.

Autopilot is Tesla's array of driver assistance features such as lane maintenance and traffic-aware cruise control.

One person was killed in Florida in May when a Tesla Model S with the system on hit the side of a truck.

Tesla says "Autopilot operates in conjunction with the human driver to make driving safer and less stressful" and that the company was clear with customers that they had to pay attention at all times.


Supervalu to sell Save-A-Lot chain for $1.37 billion

Supervalu says it is selling its Save-A-Lot supermarket chain for $1.37 billion to Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp.

The deal is expected to close before the end of January.

Supervalu, based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, distributes grocery items to supermarkets and provides other services to them. The company also owns the Shop 'N Save and Cub Foods chains. There are more than 1,300 Save-A-Lot grocery stores around the U.S.

Supervalu first announced plans to sell off Save-A-Lot last year to focus on growing its distribution business. Supervalu says it signed a five-year deal with Save-A-Lot to provide cloud technology, as well as payroll, finance and merchandising technology services.

Shares of Supervalu Inc. jumped 8 percent to $5.41 before the stock market opened today.


Iran offers 50 oil and gas fields to foreign bidders

Iran's national oil company says it's offered 50 oil and gas fields to international bidders, the first time it has done so since last year's landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

Also today, the country's deputy oil minister welcomed a preliminary agreement by OPEC nations to limit output to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day. The deal by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was reached in late September, with the aim reducing a global glut that has depressed oil prices for over two years.

The deputy minister, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, told reporters in Tehran that the agreement was "small step, but in the right direction."

Iran has been trying to restore its oil industry since emerging from international sanctions over its nuclear program earlier this year. The country, with an oil output of 3.85 million barrels per day, initially said it would only consider a ceiling after it reaches 4 million barrels per day, its pre-sanctions level.


EU, Belgium seeking solution to Canada trade deal stalemate

Talks to convince a small Belgian region to back a wide-ranging trade deal between the 28-nation European Union and Canada could spill over in this week's EU summit of leaders.

The fate of the deal hangs on the francophone region of Wallonia, which has a population of only 3.5 million people.

Under EU rules, trade deals require the support of all 28 members. The same applies for Belgium's six regional governments.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders says that a deal could emerge "tomorrow." If not, one could emerge at the summit, allowing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to go to Brussels on Oct. 27 to sign the agreement.

The main discussion points at this week's summit, which starts Thursday, is Britain's exit from the EU and relations with Russia.


Bank of America's profits rise 6 percent, beats estimates

Bank of America's third-quarter profits rose nearly 6 percent from a year earlier, helped by strong results in investment banking and trading, as well as lower expenses.

The consumer banking giant says it earned $4.45 billion after paying dividends to preferred shareholders in the three months ending in September, up from $4.178 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Bank of America's global markets division reported net income of $1.07 billion, up from $800 million a year earlier. BofA's bond trading desks had a strong quarter, up 39 percent from a year earlier. Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase had reported similar gains in bond trading last week.


Hasbro tops Street 3Q forecasts

Hasbro Inc. (HAS) is reporting third-quarter net income of $257.8 million.

On a per-share basis, the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based company says it had profit of $2.03.

The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.74 per share.

The toy maker posted revenue of $1.68 billion in the period, also exceeding Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.57 billion.

Hasbro shares have climbed 13 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed slightly more than 4 percent. The stock has increased 1 percent in the last 12 months.


Schwab beats Street 3Q forecasts

The Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) is reporting third-quarter profit of $503 million.

The company, based in San Francisco, says it had earnings of 35 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 34 cents per share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 33 cents per share.

The financial services firm posted revenue of $1.91 billion in the period, also topping Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.88 billion.

Schwab shares have decreased roughly 3 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen slightly more than 4 percent. The stock has risen 12 percent in the last 12 months.


Russian broadcaster RT says UK bank suspends its accounts

Russian broadcaster RT says Britain's NatWest bank has shut down its accounts without explanation.

The editor of the government-funded television channel, Margarita Simonyan, tweeted today: "They've closed our accounts in Britain. All our accounts. 'The decision is not subject to review.' Praise be to freedom of speech!"

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, published what appears to be a letter from NatWest informing the broadcaster that "we have recently undertaken a review of your banking arrangements with us and reached the conclusion that we will no longer provide these facilities."

Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which owns NatWest, had no immediate comment. Neither did Britain's Treasury.

On Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he wanted to increase pressure on Russia over its military campaign in Syria.


At booming Jim Beam, strikers complain of grueling workweeks

A union leader for striking Jim Beam workers in Kentucky says contract talks will resume tomorrow as whiskey workers continue picketing the world's biggest bourbon producer. Their main complaint is not money, but time — they say they're being overworked.

Workers voiced their grievances to management at a listening session on Sunday, saying the company needs to hire more full-time workers to keep up with booming demand. United Food and Commercial Workers Local president Janelle Mudd is hoping the next round of talks will settle the dispute. About 250 workers at Beam distilleries in Clermont and Boston in Kentucky walked off jobs Saturday.

The company has not yet commented today. The Jim Beam brand is owned by Suntory Holdings Ltd., a Japanese beverage company.


Germany appeals for deal to save jobs at supermarket chain

The German government is appealing to rival retailers to reach an agreement that would prevent job losses at a supermarket chain that faces being broken up.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who is also economy minister, in March overrode antitrust authorities' decision to block the takeover by Edeka — Germany's biggest groceries retailer — of more than 400 supermarkets belonging to smaller rival Kaiser's. A court later suspended his decision.

Kaiser's owner, Tengelmann, then tried but failed to reach a compromise with rivals that would enable the takeover. Today, it started listing individual stores for sale.

Kaiser's has some 15,000 employees. Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, says "the companies involved should leave nothing untried to reach an agreement, an amicable solution in the interest of the people affected."


Caterpillar CEO to retire next year

Caterpillar says CEO Doug Oberhelman will retire from the company next year and will be replaced with Jim Umpleby, an executive who has worked at the company for more than three decades.

The 63-year-old Oberhelman will leave the company at the end of March. He has been CEO since 2010 has been with Caterpillar Inc. for more than 41 years.

Umpleby, who is 58 years old, is currently the president of Caterpillar's energy and transportation group.

When he retires, Oberhelman will also step down from his position as chairman of the board and be replaced by board member Dave Calhoun as non-executive chairman. Calhoun is an executive of private equity firm The Blackstone Group LP.

Caterpillar Inc., based in Peoria, Illinois, makes and sells construction and mining equipment.


Omnicare to shell out another $28M on kickback litigation

Omnicare will pay more than $28 million to resolve allegations that the drug distributor accepted kickbacks for pushing an anti-seizure medication on doctors who were treating nursing home patients.

The Department of Justice says that the deal resolves allegations that Omnicare sought and received the kickbacks from drugmaker Abbott Laboratories several years ago for sales of the drug Depakote (DEH'-puh-koht). Omnicare runs the nation's largest nursing home pharmacy and was purchased last year by drugstore giant and pharmaceutical benefits manager CVS Health Corp.

Omnicare has spent hundreds of millions of dollars resolving kickback litigation in recent years.

Representatives of Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS Health did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press. But company officials have referred to the previous resolutions as legacy issues.

CVS paid more than $10 billion for Omnicare.


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