Business Highlights

Markets Associated Press

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Japan lines MOL, NYK, K Line to join shipping, terminal ops

TOKYO (AP) — Three major Japanese container shipping lines said Monday they plan to merge their shipping and overseas terminal operations as the industry struggles with overcapacity and mounting losses.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, or K Line, said in a statement that they are forming a joint venture to unite their shipping operations. They also are merging terminal management businesses outside Japan.

Slowing global trade combined with increased fleet sizes have caused freight rates to tank, prompting a wave a consolidation in the container industry.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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US approves 2 types of genetically engineered potatoes

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved commercial planting of two types of potatoes that are genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.

The approval announced Friday covers Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co.'s Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of the company's second generation of Innate potatoes.

The company says the potatoes will also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity, and a reduced amount of a chemical created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures that's a potential carcinogen.

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Forgot 2 defrost: Butterball gives Thanksgiving help by text

NEW YORK (AP) — "Forgot 2 defrost early. What 2 do now?" Butterball, which has been fielding phone calls from Thanksgiving cooks for three decades, is letting people text their turkey-related questions this year for the first time.

The company's regular phone help line begins Tuesday. Butterball will start to take text message questions on Nov. 17 and continue through Thanksgiving Day. Cooks can text questions to 844-877-3456 at any time of day, since experts — not bots — will be on call 24 hours. People can also still reach out to the company's experts through email or social media.

While the way people ask questions has changed over the years, Butterball says the most-asked question has remained the same: How long does it take to thaw the turkey?

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The Dow Jones industrial average lost 18.77 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,142.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.26 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,126.15 and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.97 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 5,189.13.

U.S. benchmark oil futures extended their losses after falling last week to their lowest price this month. Crude fell $1.84 to $46.86 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, fell $1.41 to $48.30 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.45 a gallon and heating oil fell 5 cents to $1.496 a gallon. Natural gas fell 8 cents to $3.026 per thousand cubic feet.