Business Highlights

Stocks end mostly lower, despite gains in banks, oil

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks moved mostly lower Wednesday as gains in blue-chip energy companies and banks were not enough to make up for losses in the broader market.

The bond market took heavy losses, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to its highest level in a year and a half. The higher yields sent bond substitutes like utilities, telecommunications and real estate stocks sharply lower.

Oil stocks climbed after OPEC nations, which collectively produce more than one-third of the world’s oil, agreed to trim production for the first time in eight years.

OPEC agrees to cut output in bid to push up oil price

VIENNA (AP) — OPEC agreed Wednesday to cut its oil output for the first time since 2008. The move bucks tradition and effectively scraps its strategy of squeezing U.S. competition through high supply that had backfired by lowering prices and draining the cartel’s own economies.

The reduction of 1.2 million barrels a day is significant, leaving OPEC’s daily output at 32.5 million barrels. And non-OPEC nations are expected to pare an additional 600,000 barrels a day off their production.

The combined cut will result, at least in the short term, in somewhat more pricey oil. In the longer term, it’s unlikely that oil will return to the highs last seen two years ago.

Survey: US businesses add 216,000 jobs, most in 5 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies added a solid 216,000 jobs in November, the most since June and evidence that the incoming Trump administration is inheriting a solid economy.

Payroll provider ADP said Wednesday that nearly all the gains occurred in service sectors such as retail, hotels and restaurants, as well as higher-paying professional services. Construction firms added 2,000 jobs, while manufacturing shed 10,000.

The figures add to other recent signs that the economy is expanding at a decent pace.

US consumer spending, incomes rose in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers boosted their spending again in October, while their incomes increased at the fastest clip in six months. A key gauge of inflation watched by the Federal Reserve posted the fastest 12-month gain in two years.

Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent in October after a revised 0.7 percent jump in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Incomes increased 0.6 percent, the best showing since April.

An inflation gauge closely followed by the Federal Reserve increased 1.4 percent compared to a year ago. That was the fastest 12-month advance since 2014.

EPA to keep strict gas mileage standards in place

DETROIT (AP) — The Obama administration has decided not to change requirements that force automakers to increase the efficiency of new cars and trucks.

The decision follows a mandatory review of the standards established in 2012, when gas averaged $3.60 a gallon and small cars and hybrids were gaining favor.

The standards had required new cars to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.  But there was a built-in reduction if buying habits changed — and they have. Now, as gas is averaging close to $2 a gallon, three of every five new vehicles sold in the U.S. are trucks and SUVs.

As a result, the 2025 fuel-economy number drops to 50.8 mph.

Pabst splits CEO, chairman roles as it picks new executive

NEW YORK (AP) — Pabst, the largest beer maker based in the U.S., says it’s hiring Simon Thorpe as its new CEO.

Thorpe is the former president and CEO of Duvel Moortgat USA, a unit of a Belgian company. He was also an executive for AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer and the maker of Budweiser and many other beers.

Eugene Kashper, who has been chairman and CEO of Pabst since he and a group of partners bought Pabst two years ago, will give up the CEO role but remain company chairman.