Business Highlights

Do candy and soda makers belong at a dietitians’ conference?

BOSTON (AP) — The blinking game show wheel spins past logos for Triscuits, Wheat Thins and Honey Maid before the needle settles at Fig Newtons.

“Newtons are made with real fruit and whole grains. True or false?” a Nabisco representative asks onlookers, who are among 10,000 attendees at a conference where dietitians can earn credits for continuing education.

The answer, the Nabisco representative says, is true.

Among the hundreds of exhibits, many focused on items like beans, eggs, strawberries and leafy greens. But big packaged food makers and trade groups also had a presence, emblematic of the complex ties between the food industry and nutritionists and a push by critics to bring greater awareness to corporate influence on the profession.

Consumer spending rebounded in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers boosted their spending in September at the fastest pace in three months, while their incomes grew by a modest amount.

Consumer spending increased 0.5 percent, a significant rebound from August when spending fell 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday. The increase was led by a 1.3 percent surge in spending on autos and other durable goods. Incomes increased 0.3 percent in September, slightly faster than the 0.2 percent gain in August.

The overall economy grew at a 2.9 percent rate in the July-September quarter, more than double the 1.4 percent increase in the second quarter. That acceleration in activity came even though growth in consumer spending slowed after a burst in the spring. But the latest figure indicates that the quarter ended on a positive note, with solid spending momentum heading into the end of the year.

GE, Baker Hughes create powerful new player in energy sector

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric is taking advantage of a prolonged energy slump to become a bigger player in the oil and gas drilling business, a bet that could pay off big when prices recover.

GE and Baker Hughes Inc. will combine their oil and gas operations, creating a major player in the oilfield services industry with the energy sector bogged down now for years by weak and volatile commodity prices.

The new company will still be called Baker Hughes, but GE will own 62.5 percent of it.

CenturyLink to buy Level 3 for about $24 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — CenturyLink said Monday that it will pay about $24 billion to buy telecommunications company Level 3, in an effort to expand its services for businesses.

CenturyLink provides internet, TV and phone services to consumers, as well as data and IT services for businesses. Level 3, based in Broomfield, Colorado, provides data, video and other communication services to businesses and government agencies.

Level 3 shareholders will receive about $66.50 in cash and a portion of CenturyLink stock for each share of Level 3 they own. The companies valued the deal at $34 billion, when debt is included.

A rare feat: 100 percent of recalled trucks repaired

DETROIT (AP) — All 16,000 Volvo heavy trucks that were recalled earlier this year for a dangerous steering problem have been repaired.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s a rare 100 percent completion rate for a recall. Most only get to 70 percent completion 18 months after they start.

The truck recall began in February after Volvo determined that a steering shaft problem in some 2016 and 2017 trucks could cause drivers to suddenly lose the ability to steer.

Toyota to test car-sharing system that doesn’t use keys

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota will test a new car-sharing system next year that lets users unlock doors and start cars with their smartphones.

The Smart Key Box system eliminates the need for a physical key. Toyota will test the system in San Francisco with the Getaround car-sharing service starting in January. A Toyota investment fund put money into Getaround this month.

Toyota says a user’s phone will get codes to access the smart key box inside car-sharing vehicles. When the phone gets close to the vehicle, the codes are verified through the Bluetooth system.

Bank of England Governor Carney to stay through June 2019

LONDON (AP) — Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced Monday that he will extend his term in office by one year and stay in the position through June 2019, a decision that may help settle speculation about his future guiding Britain’s monetary policy.

In a letter to Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Carney said he was staying an extra year because he recognized “the importance to the country of continuity” during the U.K.’s negotiations to leave European Union.

Carney has played a key role in trying to manage the British economy and stave off a possible recession as the country prepares to exit the 28-nation bloc.