Talking Points


Tennessee Valley Authority votes to close coal-fired plant, despite Trump’s entreaties


TVA votes to close coal-fired power plant, despite Trump’s entreaties

A federal utility board has voted to close a coal-fired power plant in Kentucky over the objections of President Trump and some state GOP leaders. The Tennessee Valley Authority voted Thursday to retire the remaining coal-fired unit at its Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County, Ky., by December 2020. The decision could put 131 people out of work. Also, the coal the TVA buys from nearby mines supports 135 jobs. Trump tweeted his support for the plant on Monday after state GOP leaders, including Republican Governor Matt Bevin, urged the board to delay its vote. TVA chief executive Bill Johnson said the decision is about finances. TVA officials say costs to its more than 10 million customers will be $320 million less if they close the plant. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Coca-Cola stock plunges

A weak annual outlook from Coca-Cola overshadowed solid quarterly results Thursday, wiping out its stock gains for the year and setting off the worst sell-off of company shares in more than a decade. The stock fell more than 8 percent. The company has energized sales with new drinks like Fuze tea and Smartwater. But sales of sparkling soft drinks fell 1 percent, partly due to softness in North America after Coke raised prices over the summer. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Trump Organization scraps plans
for new chains

In the early months of the Trump administration, with the president no longer running his family business, his eldest sons embarked on a plan to roll out two new hotel lines in dozens of American cities. It reflected the ambitions of “the next generation of the company,” Trump’s son Eric said at the time. Now, the Trump Organization is no longer pursuing the signature initiative, according to company officials. Plans for the two hotel chains, Scion and American Idea, are to be shelved indefinitely, most likely for the remainder of the presidency, a decision that partly reflects a fundamental business problem: a lack of deals. Despite stating publicly that it had built a pipeline of about 30 potential deals, the Trump Organization was able to announce only one partner, and on Thursday the company announced that the agreement had been called off. — NEW YORK TIMES


Airbus to halt double-decker’s production as orders shrink


European plane maker Airbus said Thursday that it will stop making its superjumbo A380 in 2021 for lack of customers, abandoning the world’s biggest passenger jet and one of the aviation industry’s most ambitious and most troubled endeavors. Barely a decade after the double-deck, 500-plus-seat plane started carrying passengers, Airbus said that a key client, Emirates, was cutting back its orders, and as a result, ‘‘we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production.’’ The decision could affect up to 3,500 jobs and has already cost the plane maker about $523 million in losses in 2018, Airbus said.


Maker of ‘Angry Birds’ reports falling profits

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Shares in Rovio Entertainment, maker of the “Angry Birds” mobile games, fell after it reported declining profitability, and warned investors of lower profits for the first half of the year. The company is prepared to cede control of subsidiary Hatch Entertainment, the cloud-based gaming service it currently owns 80 percent of, to less than 50 percent. Without Hatch, the Finnish company’s profitability would improve to as much as 14 percent this year, it said in a statement Thursday. While last year saw no new game launches, a casual puzzle game, “Angry Birds Dream Blast,” had its debut in January, and the company’s pipeline includes 13 games in development for 2019 to 2021. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Facebook may remove
anti-vaccine information

Facebook Inc., under pressure to reduce harmful, misleading, and fake content, said it is exploring removing anti-vaccine information from software systems that recommend other things to read on its social network. Information discouraging people from getting vaccines for their children, which has gone viral on Facebook, especially in its Groups product, may have contributed to an increase in outbreaks of measles. The crisis drew attention on Thursday from US Representative Adam Schiff, who sent a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Google boss Sundar Pichai, asking them to address the problem. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates fall to 12-month low

Long-term mortgage rates fell this week to a 12-month low, an enticement for prospective home buyers in the upcoming season. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.37 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The key 30-year home borrowing rate averaged 4.38 percent a year ago. The average rate this week for 15-year, fixed-rate loans eased to 3.81 percent from 3.84 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


It wasn’t a happy holiday for US retailers, after all

Retail sales fell in December, posting the biggest drop since September 2009 and delivering more evidence that last year’s holiday season sales fizzled unexpectedly. Even e-commerce suffered a big setback. The Commerce Department said Thursday that December retail sales fell 1.2 percent from November. They were up 2.3 percent from December 2017. Total retail sales for 2018 rose 5 percent from the previous year. The stock market recorded big drops in December. And a partial shutdown of the federal government began Dec. 22 at the end of the holiday shopping season. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Jobless claims rose last week


The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week but remained at levels low enough to show that most workers enjoy job security. The Labor Department said claims for unemployment checks increased by 4,000 to 239,000. The four-week average, which does not bounce around as much, rose 6,750 to 231,750. That was the highest level since late January 2018. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Apple resumes selling older iPhones in Germany after patent dispute

Apple is resuming sales of older iPhone models in Germany after losing a patent dispute against chip maker Qualcomm last year. The company said Thursday that it will sell iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models with Qualcomm rather than Intel chips inside to circumvent the injunction. It had pulled them off shelves in December. In a statement, Apple accused Qualcomm of making ‘‘extortionist demands,’’ but added that ‘‘to ensure all iPhone models can again be available to customers in Germany, we have no choice but to stop using Intel chips and ship our phones with Qualcomm chips in Germany.’’ The Dec. 20 ruling by a Munich court also required Apple to stop selling the iPhone X, which the company said has since been replaced with newer models. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Los Angeles scraps plan to rebuild three natural
gas plants

Los Angeles will ditch a plan to spend billions rebuilding three natural gas-fired power plants as the city moves toward getting all of its electricity from renewable energy. The city will phase out three units that together represent 38 percent of the city’s natural gas portfolio by 2029, according to a statement Tuesday by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The move reverses an earlier decision by the city’s utility to extend the life of the coastal gas generators and marks another step in California’s march toward weening itself from fossil fuels.