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  • Higher rates, tax benefits and steady business fueled by economic growth helped FedEx Corp. boost its fourth-quarter profit 10 percent to $1.13 billion. Chairman and CEO Fred Smith said Tuesday that he is optimistic that the package-delivery company will increase its earnings and profit margins. On a conference call with analysts, however, he warned against a looming trade war. 'History has shown repeatedly that protectionism is counterproductive to economic growth,' Smith said. He said governments should encourage open markets and reduced barriers to trade. Shares of FedEx slipped 2 percent Tuesday, as industrial and technology stocks skidded in reaction to rising tension over trade between the U.S. and China. FedEx closed at $258.39, then dipped another $1.39 in after-hours trading, to $257. In the most recent quarter, FedEx saw higher profit at both its express and ground-delivery businesses. The ground division did particularly well, with operating income up 18 percent. The company cited higher base rates and a boost in shipping volume, partly offset by wage increases for some employees. Officials said their TNT Express acquisition has recovered fully from a cyberattack last year, although not all business has returned. 'The volume story remains on track, and the TNT story is doing well,' Logan Purk, an analyst with Edward Jones, said in an interview. 'The (fiscal 2019) outlook was a little shy of where I wanted them to be, but I wouldn't call it a stumble.' The Memphis, Tennessee-based company said earnings in the fiscal year that started this month would range between $17 and $17.60 per share, roughly in line with analysts' forecast of $17.48 per share. The outlook assumes that moderate economic growth will boost FedEx revenue by 9 percent — more than analysts foresee. FedEx said that excluding certain write-downs and costs of folding Dutch delivery firm TNT Express into its own express business, it would have earned $5.91 per share. Analysts were expecting $5.72 per share, according to a survey of 10 analysts by Zacks Investment Research. Revenue rose 10 percent to $17.31 billion, also topping analysts' forecasts. Nine analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $17.19 billion. The results included $388 million in tax benefit from corporate restructuring and foreign tax credits. For the year that ended May 31, the company reported income of $4.57 billion, up from $3.00 billion because of a $1.6 billion gain from the corporate-tax-cut law that Trump signed in December.
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made a trade betting that the stock in a shipping company with Russian-government ties would fall, a transaction coming just days after he learned of a possible negative news story about his investment in the company. Ross reported on a government form released Monday, as required by federal ethics rules, that he shorted stock in Navigator Holdings in October. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the transaction came three business days after a Times reporter submitted questions to Ross about Navigator. The transaction, listed as worth between $100,000 and $250,000, was first reported Monday by Forbes. Ross rebuffed any suggestions that he shorted the Navigator stock based on confidential information to make a profit. He said the transaction was part of his effort to divest from Navigator and that he did not stand to gain if the stock fell, or lose if it rose, at the time. In short selling, a person borrows shares of a stock and sells them. The aim is to then replace the borrowed shares with others bought later at a lower price, reaping a profit from the difference. Navigator counts a Russian gas producer with ties to the Kremlin among its major customers. President Donald Trump tapped Ross, a billionaire investor in distressed companies, to be his administration's point man on trade and manufacturing as Commerce chief. His spokesmen said in November that Ross planned to completely divest from Navigator, although he wasn't required to do so under his ethics agreement as an incoming Cabinet member, because he wanted to avoid any possible perception of a conflict of interest. Ross says now that he has completely divested his Navigator holdings. In a statement Tuesday, Ross said it would be 'completely false' to imply that the transactions involved insider trading using nonpublic information. The Times reporter 'contacted me to write about my personal financial holdings and not about Navigator Holdings or its prospects,' he said. 'I did not receive any nonpublic information due to my government position, nor did I receive any nonpublic information from a government employee. Securities laws presume that information known to or provided by a news organization is by definition public information,' Ross' statement said. Ross said he had been in the process of selling off his holdings in the company when he learned in late October that there were additional shares belonging to him in an account opened by the company. Because the shares were 'in electronic form' and he didn't have physical access to them to deliver them to the broker on time, he said he 'technically sold them short.' When he received the physical shares on Nov. 16, Ross said he delivered them to the broker to close the transaction. 'Therefore, it made no economic difference to me whether the shares went up or down between the sale date and the date I delivered them,' he said. The owners of Sibur, the Russian gas producer that is a major customer of Navigator, have included two Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin and a businessman believed to be Putin's son-in-law. Navigator ships products from Sibur. Navigator is one of a few companies in the world that can transport liquefied petroleum gas in cold and icy conditions. Russia is known for its brutal winters as well as its giant, state-controlled oil and gas producers.
  • Topics: Potential changes to the way pre-exisisting conditions are covered; Payday loan mogul receives prison sentence; Security alert for your router Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Watch the video
  • General Electric will be dropped from the Dow Jones industrial average next week, ending the conglomerate's more than 100-year run in the 30-company blue chip index. S&P Dow Jones Indices said Tuesday that GE will be removed from the index before the open of trading next Tuesday. Its slot will go to drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance. Boston-based GE was an original member of the Dow Jones industrials dating back to 1896. It had been a continuous member of the Dow since 1907. Its place among the most stable publicly traded U.S. companies has been shaky in recent years, however. GE has shrunken dramatically since it became entangled in the financial crisis a decade ago. It shed most of its financial-service businesses to focus on its high-tech industrial operations. In January, GE revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating the company over a $15 billion hit taken to cover miscalculations made within an insurance unit. The company's woes have hammered its stock in recent years. GE shares closed at $12.95 Tuesday, down 78 percent from their high of $60 a share in August 2000. The decline has also been steep more recently. The shares are down more than 60 percent from their most recent peak in July 2016. The stock is down 26 percent so far this year. The stock-price slide is a key factor in GE's exit from the Dow, which is calculated using the prices of 30 large, or 'blue chip' stocks from various U.S. industries. The low price of GE shares means the company has a weight in the index of less than one-half of one percentage point, S&P Dow Jones Indices said. Walgreens Boots Alliance's share price is higher, and it will contribute more meaningfully to the index. The move to drop General Electric Co. from the Dow also reflects how industrial companies are playing a less prominent role in the U.S. economy than technology, finance, health care and consumer companies, such as Walgreens. 'Today's change to the DJIA will make the index a better measure of the economy and the stock market,' said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Tuesday's announcement added to GE's stock woes. It came after the close of trading on Wall Street, but in after-market dealings, GE's shares fell 1.4 percent. Those of Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., meanwhile, jumped 3.2 percent.
  • Some business leaders are condemning the Trump administration's decision to separate children from parents who are accused of crossing the border illegally, but it's unclear what impact — if any — they will have. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was donating money to groups that help immigrant families get legal advice and translation services at the border. He asked others to do the same. Around 2,300 minors have been separated from their parents at the border between May 5 and June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security. 'We need to stop this policy right now,' Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted that the stories and images about family separation were 'gut-wrenching.' In an interview with The Irish Times, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the policy 'is inhumane. It needs to stop.' And in a joint statement, the three founders of Airbnb said separating kids from their families is 'heartless, cruel, immoral and counter to the American values of belonging.' Conservative-leaning business lobbying groups also weighed in. The Business Roundtable, which represents the CEOs of Walmart, General Motors, Boeing, JPMorgan Chase, Mastercard and others, urged immediate end to the policy. So did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3 million small and large businesses. 'Surely a nation as big, generous and compassionate as the United States can find a way to prevent separating children from their parents at the border. If we can't agree on that, then we can't agree on anything,' U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. The flurry of corporate statements might soothe CEO consciences and rally their employees and customers, but they're unlikely to lead to policy changes, said Erik Gordon, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. When business leaders weigh in on issues in which they have expertise — like trade, taxes or regulations — it does influence policy, he said. But on issues that involve them less directly, like immigration or gun control, they tend to have less impact. 'They have a bigger voice, but I'm not sure they have a bigger influence,' Gordon said. In some cases, the rallying appeared to make a difference. Former Facebook employees started a fundraising page over the weekend that began with a goal of $1,500 —the minimum bond to get a parent out of detention— to send to a nonprofit group in Texas. By Tuesday afternoon, the page had raised more than $5.9 million on its way to a new goal of $8 million. Some companies spoke up because they feared being connected to the Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' policy. Microsoft, which has a cloud computing contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, insisted on Tuesday that it's not working with the government on any projects related to separating children from their parents. But some of its own employees protested the deal. The New York Times reported Tuesday that more than 100 Microsoft employees have sent a letter to CEO Satya Nadella on an internal message board urging him to 'take an ethical stand' and stop working with ICE. Microsoft said in a statement it was 'dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border,' but didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the employee letter. General Dynamics Information Technology, a government contractor, said it has no role in the family separation policy or in the construction or operation of detention facilities. Its work supports unaccompanied minors, helping them receive medical care and reuniting them with families, the company said.

News

  • Two brothers accused of at least seven robberies across metro Atlanta in May are no ordinary criminals: they’re identical twins. Marquavious and Juntavious Burton, 20, were arrested in early June. According to Fulton County jail records, the twins have been arrested multiple times since 2015 on charges such as aggravated assault and theft by receiving stolen property. The latest charges include seven counts of armed robbery and a charge of participating in criminal street gang activity. Police believe they may be responsible for even more recent robberies. The Burton twins have also been accused of shooting at some of the robbery victims, Channel 2 Action News reported.  In other news:
  • Two Cobb County siblings were killed after their 17-year-old sister allegedly lost control of the family’s SUV on a South Carolina interstate, police said Monday.  Jessica Wolwark was driving a Chevrolet northbound on I-85 in Anderson County when she ran off the highway and the SUV overturned Saturday morning, according to police.  Wolwark and her mother, Natalia Anggraeni, were both wearing seat belts and were seriously injured in the crash. Two other family members died from their injuries after being ejected, police said.  Kirana “Kiki” Wolwark, 15, and 12-year-old Nate Wolwark were both killed, a family friend posted on a Go Fund Me page. The family was traveling from their Kennesaw home to Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where the girls were to attend a religious retreat, according to Chrissy Concepcion, who set up the fundraising page for the family. The family does not have medical insurance, she said. The South Carolina medical examiner was unable to confirm the identities of those killed, but family friends confirmed the names and ages of the Wolwark siblings.  “Kiki was a joy to be around, and spread her love for animals to everyone she knew,” Concepcion posted. “Nate was the perfect boy; always helpful, caring, and accepting of everyone around him.” The driver and her mother were both taken by helicopter to a Greenville hospital, where both remained Monday. Anggraeni has a broken neck and several broken ribs, Concepcion said. Jessica Wolwark has torn ligaments in her arm, but is expected to be released from the hospital this week.  The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.  In other news: 
  • President Donald Trump took a dig at Rep. Mark Sanford, a South Carolina Republican who has been critical of the president, during a meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday night. Trump told the lawmakers in a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting that he wanted to 'congratulate Mark on a great race,' according to two attendees. Another attendee said Trump's remarks elicited some boos from members of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group in the House. The three attendees spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting focused on immigration. Sanford, a Freedom Caucus member, said he was unable to attend because his flight was delayed at the Charleston, South Carolina, airport. 'The president has his own style. You gotta give him credit. He's an equal opportunity insulter. He gets just about everybody,' said Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas. Sanford lost his primary bid last week to South Carolina state Rep. Katie Arrington and blamed his defeat on Trump, who urged Republicans to dump the former South Carolina governor. Trump tweeted on the day of the primary that the congressman had been unhelpful to him, adding, 'He is better off in Argentina.' That was a reference to Sanford's surprise disappearance from the state when he was governor, which he later revealed was to continue his affair with an Argentine woman. Sanford had called Trump untrustworthy and culturally intolerant, prompting Arrington's primary challenge. The congressman later said support for Trump had become a litmus test in GOP primaries. __ Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Matthew Daly contributed.
  • Three months after a tornado rumbled through a South Fulton County neighborhood and destroyed people’s homes and lives, several neighbors told Channel 2 Action News they’re still recovering.  We’ve learned they’re on their own because the storm didn’t fit the criteria to be considered for state or federal disaster relief funds, on the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11.    TRENDING STORIES: Sole witness to deadly shooting says Tex McIver 'needs to be in hell' 2 dead, others injured in I-285 crash in South Fulton County Man arrested after beating, stabbing 15-year-old sister to death, police say  
  • Nearly eight decades ago, Ray Emory, then a young sailor, watched in disbelief as Japanese torpedoes tore into American ships in Pearl Harbor. Emory survived the devastating attack but didn't forget his fellow sailors and Marines who died and were buried in Hawaii without anyone knowing their names. His relentless efforts in the years that followed led to nearly 150 of those servicemen finally being identified so their families could find closure. Now frail with white-hair, the 97-year-old Emory arrived Tuesday in a golf cart at the pier where his ship, the USS Honolulu, was moored on Dec. 7, 1941. He came to say what could be his final goodbye to the storied naval base. More than 500 sailors were there to greet him. They lined the rails and formed an honor cordon, shouting cheers of 'Hip, Hip, Hooray!' Emory saluted them. 'I'm glad I came and I'll never forget it,' Emory told reporters after a ceremony in his honor. Emory wanted to visit the pier before leaving his Hawaii home for Boise, Idaho. His wife died about a month ago and he plans to live with his son and go fishing. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Emory managed to fire a few rounds at the airplanes that dropped the torpedoes. He still has an empty bullet casing that fell to his ship deck. In 2012, the Navy and National Park Service recognized Emory for his work with the military and Department of Veterans Affairs to honor and remember Pearl Harbor's dead. Bureaucrats didn't welcome his efforts, at least not initially. Emory says they politely told him to ''go you-know-where.'' It didn't deter him. First, thanks to legislation sponsored by the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, he managed to get gravestones for unknowns from the USS Arizona marked with name of their battleship. In 2003, the military agreed to dig up a casket that Emory was convinced, after meticulously studying records, included the remains of multiple USS Oklahoma servicemen. Emory was right, and five sailors were identified. It helped lay the foundation for the Pentagon's decision more than a decade later to exhume and attempt to identify all 388 sailors and Marines from the Oklahoma who had been buried as unknowns in a national cemetery in Honolulu. Since those 2015 exhumations, 138 sailors from the Oklahoma have been identified. About 77 have been reburied, many in their hometowns, bringing closure to families across the country. 'Ray, you're the man that did it. There's nobody else. If it wasn't for you, it would have never been done,' Jim Taylor, the Navy's liaison to Pearl Harbor survivors, told Emory during the brief ceremony Tuesday at the USS Honolulu's old pier. Taylor presented Emory with a black, folded POW/MIA flag printed with the words: 'You are not forgotten.' Some of the remains, especially those burned to ash, will never be identified. But the military aims to put names with 80 percent of the Oklahoma servicemen who were dug up in 2015. Altogether, the Pearl Harbor attack killed nearly 2,400 U.S. servicemen. The Oklahoma lost 429 men after being hit by at least nine torpedoes. It was the second-largest number of dead from one vessel. The USS Arizona lost 1,177 sailors and Marines. Most of those killed on the Arizona remain entombed in the sunken hull of the battleship. The Pentagon has also exhumed the remains of 35 servicemen from the USS West Virginia from Honolulu's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. None have been identified so far.