Stocks closed lower on Wall Street on Wednesday, weighed down by a mixed batch of corporate earnings from big retailers and lingering uncertainty over the trade spat between the U.S. and China. The S&P 500 index fell 8.09 points, or 0.3%, to 2,856.27. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 100.72 points, or 0.4%, to 25,776.61. The Nasdaq composite slid 34.88 points, or 0.5%, to 7,750.84. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks gave up 13.62 points, or 0.9%, to 1,531.63. Bond prices rose, dragging the yield on the 10-year Treasury to 2.38% from 2.42% late Tuesday. Benchmark U.S. crude fell after the U.S. Energy Department reported a large increase in crude supplies for last week. It dropped 2.7%, settling at $61.42 per barrel.
Southwest mechanics OK five-year deal
Southwest Airlines mechanics have approved a five-year contract that adds up to a 20% raise. Dallas-based Southwest on Tuesday announced the tentative agreement with about 2,400 workers represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. Both sides in March announced they had reached a tentative deal. The agreement, which also calls for $160 million in bonuses, comes after six years of negotiations. Union officials said 94% of workers voted in favor of the proposal. A Southwest statement said the new contract will become amendable in April 2024.
UAW files for new vote at Tennessee plant
The United Auto Workers union filed a new petition Wednesday seeking to conduct a vote on its representation of workers at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant, the same day the National Labor Relations Board dismissed a previous petition on a technicality. Volkswagen has said it is neutral on the issue of unionization, but it has steadfastly refused to bargain with UAW since the union won representation of maintenance workers at the Chattanooga plant in 2015. After years of back and forth, the union in April asked the NLRB to allow a vote for a new bargaining unit, this time including all hourly workers, about 1,700 people. On Wednesday, the board dismissed the petition based on a technicality: UAW was still representing the smaller unit when it sought to represent the new, larger unit. The union has since ceased representing the smaller unit.
Mexico will support Pemex until 2021
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday his government will support the state-owned oil company with all the budget it needs and tax relief until 2021. By then, Petroleos Mexicanos will have recovered its footing, increased production and be able to finance the country’s development during the remainder of his term, López Obrador said. Years of neglect during which governments funded themselves on Pemex’s profits rather than reinvesting in the company left it heavily indebted and facing declining production.
Reading Eagle newspaper sale to be approved
A federal bankruptcy judge said Wednesday he intends to approve the sale of the Reading Eagle in Pennsylvania to a large newspaper chain known for taking over struggling papers and then making deep newsroom cuts. MediaNews Group, better known as Digital First Media, offered $5 million for the assets of the family-owned Reading Eagle Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in March. Chief Judge Richard E. Fehling said Wednesday he plans to sign off on the sale. Digital First owns the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Denver Post and the Boston Herald. Its biggest shareholder is Alden Global Capital.