Update on the latest in business:



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FINANCIAL MARKETS

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose today on optimism that China's latest actions may help curtail some of the expected economic damage from the virus outbreak.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.1% in afternoon trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4%. South Korea's Kospi was up nearly 0.2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up nearly 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.9%.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index rose 48.67 points, or 1.5%, to 3,297.59. It was the index’s biggest single-day gain since early August. The Dow climbed 407.82 points, or 1.4%, to 28,807.63.

The Nasdaq gained 194.57 points, or 2.1%, to 9,467.97, a record high. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 24.56 points, or 1.5%, to 1,656.77.

FORD RESULTS

Ford full-year profit plunges on slower sales, pension costs

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co.'s profit last year plunged by more than $3.6 billion, weighed down by slowing U.S. sales, the cost of a botched SUV launch and some big pension expenses.

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker said it made $47 million in 2019, down from a $3.68 billion profit a year earlier. For the fourth quarter the company lost $1.7 billion, or 42 cents per share, weighed down by $2.2 billion in one-time pension costs.

Excluding one-time items, Ford made 12 cents per share for the quarter, falling short of Wall Street's expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet predicted 17 cents per share. Quarterly revenue fell 5% to $39.7 billion, about even with Wall Street estimates.

MACY’S-STORE CLOSURES

Macy's to close 125 stores, shed 2,000 corporate jobs

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy's says it is closing 125 of its least productive stores and cutting 2,000 corporate jobs as the struggling department store tries to reinvent itself in the age of online shopping.

The store closures represent about one fifth of Macy's current total. They include about 30 that are in the process of closing and account for $1.4 billion in annual sales. Macy's didn't specify how many jobs would be lost at the shuttered stores.

The corporate jobs will be shed as Macy's closes its offices in Cincinnati and San Francisco, leaving New York as its sole corporate headquarters. Macy's said that the 2,000 jobs to be lost account for about 9% of its corporate workforce.

Overall, Macy's currently employs about 130,000 people.

BEST BUY-CEO

Best Buy CEO will stay in role after investigation

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy said Tuesday that CEO Corie Barry will continue to lead the company after its board completed an investigation into allegations against her in an anonymous letter.

The company did not disclose what the investigation found but said that Barry “fully cooperated” with the probe.

Best Buy hasn't revealed what allegations were made in the anonymous letter, but The Wall Street Journal reported last month that it referenced Barry having an inappropriate romantic relationship with Karl Sanft, a former vice president at Best Buy.

Sanft told the The Star Tribune last week that he did not have an affair with Barry.

Best Buy said it hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations and declined to comment further.

AUSTRALIA-ECONOMY

Australian bank official says virus is an economic unknown

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The head of Australia's central bank says the nation's deadly wildfires will have no impact on economic growth this year but it was too early to know the impact of a new virus.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe says the wildfires will slow growth slightly for the six months through March but government reconstruction efforts and insurance payouts will leave annual economic growth largely unaffected.

He says the new virus outbreak in China is a "new uncertainty." China is Australia's biggest trading partner.

EMIRATES-DUBAI AIRPORT

Dubai airport remains world's No. 1 for international travel

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai International Airport says it’s maintained its title as the world's busiest for international travel, despite closing one of its runways for repairs last year and the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.

The airport, home to long-haul carrier Emirates, saw 86.4 million passengers in 2019, 6 million more than second-place Heathrow Airport in London. That's down 3% from 2018, which saw 89.1 million passengers at the massive airport.

The airport blamed the weaker numbers in part on a 45-day closure of its southern runway, the bankruptcy of India's Jet Airways and the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. Government-owned Emirates' low-cost sister carrier, FlyDubai, had been flying a number of the Maxs in its fleet.

EBAY-ICE

Report: New York Stock Exchange owner bids to buy eBay

NEW YORK (AP) — The owner of the New York Stock Exchange has made an offer to buy online marketplace eBay Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The Journal said International Exchange Inc. is valuing eBay at more than $30 billion, compared to eBay's value of around $28 billion before the report.

The newspaper cited people familiar with the matter who were not named.

Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, better known as ICE, declined to comment on the report. Activist shareholders have been pushing eBay to make some significant strategic changes, including selling off its ownership of online ticket resale site StubHub.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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