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Tribune News Service

Business Budget for Thursday, October 11, 2018

Updated at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 UTC)



This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^In California, a sign of rent control fights to come?<

CALIF-HOUSING-PROP10:LA _ A fight over rent control has raged for three years in the Silicon Valley suburb of Mountain View with no end in sight.

It began in October 2015, when Mountain View City Council members rejected pleas from tenant activists to limit rent increases. Tenant groups responded with a November 2016 ballot initiative to restrict rent hikes, and council members countered by putting a less stringent proposal before voters.

The tenants' plan passed, and landlords in Mountain View sued to overturn it _ the lawsuit failed. Now signature gatherers are again congregating outside Mountain View supermarkets, this time for a landlord-sponsored rent control initiative to turn the rules in their favor.

Similar battles could be coming to the rest of California. In November, voters across the state will decide on Proposition 10, an initiative to repeal a 1995 state law that keeps local governments from implementing most forms of rent control.

1650 (with trims) by Liam Dillon in Mountain View, Calif. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED


^Michael Hiltzik: The plummeting Dow teaches Trump about the folly of bragging on a stock market rise<


For Trump, that spot is his amour-propre. On Wednesday, the stock market took dead aim on that spot and took out a healthy chunk. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 831.83 points, or 3.15 percent, for its worst day since Feb. 8. The other two major indexes were right down there with it: The S&P 500 index fell 3.29 percent and the Nasdaq fell 4.08 percent.

700 by Michael Hiltzik. MOVED


^Analysis: Trump's hardball tactics may win trade battles while losing the loyalty of allies<


The consequences of declining goodwill may not be immediately apparent, stretching beyond Trump's tenure in the White House. But they could potentially end up overshadowing whatever immediate profits his hardball negotiating style yield.

"The U.S. has been a global leader for 70 years, but the cost of going to a narrow balance-sheet definition of relationship is that it is no longer seen as a leader," Eric Miller, a global fellow at the Wilson Center's Canada Institute in Washington, said.

"Leadership is about inspiring followers," he said. "What's happening over time with America First is it's becoming America alone."

1500 (with trims) by Don Lee in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^Health care exchange premiums dip, finally<


The decline is a significant departure from steep increases in 2017 and 2018. Premiums for HealthCare.gov plans grew by an average of 37 percent for plans this year, after rising by 25 percent the year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

850 by Mary Ellen McIntire. MOVED


^Analysis: Trump blames Fed for stock slide; analysts say his criticism is just plain crazy<

TRUMP-FED-1ST-LEDE:LA _ The stock market tumbled Thursday for a second straight session _ a combined loss of nearly 1,400 points by the Dow Jones industrial average _ and President Donald Trump has been quick to finger the culprit:

The Federal Reserve, headed by his handpicked chairman, Jerome H. Powell.

"I think the Fed is out of control. I think what they're doing is wrong," Trump said.

But Fed officials have been doing exactly what they've publicly signaled for months: slowly raising a key interest rate in the face of stronger economic growth.

So blaming the Fed for the market dive is just plain nuts, analysts said.

1450 (with trims) by Jim Puzzanghera in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^A Sears bankruptcy could cause one of the biggest pension defaults ever, but the government would protect 90,000 retirees<


The company's long-term pension obligations, which have been underfunded by more than $1 billion for years, would be covered by the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp., which has footed the bill for nearly 5,000 failed employer pension plans since its founding in 1974.

750 by Robert Channick. MOVED



^Microsoft partners with professional cricketer to make smart bat technology<


Kumble on Thursday announced the Power Bat, a bat equipped with an internet-connected sensor that communicates with a receiver buried in the cricket pitch and analyzes data instantly.

The lightweight sticker affixed on a bat is designed to be unobtrusive for players but still powerful enough to capture data.

300 by Rachel Lerman. MOVED


^University of Michigan researchers to use algae to make diesel fuel<

CPT-ALGAE-DIESEL:DE _ The vial of fuel that Andre Boehman and Bradley Cardinale are trying to fill would fit four times into a two-liter bottle of Faygo Redpop.

The University of Michigan professors and their team will try to do this for $2.5 million, most of it from a U.S. Department of Energy grant.

When they've finished the project in three years, Boehman, Cardinale and the rest of the team, including researchers from Penn State and the University of Delaware, hope to provide one possible solution to the challenges of climate change and pollution.

And the root of their efforts is a living organism algae.

700 by Eric D. Lawrence in Ann Arbor, Mich. MOVED


^Amazon to raise some workers' pay again after outcry on $15 minimum-wage plan<

AMAZON-WAGES:SE _ Amazon says it is making adjustments to its wage plan to ensure warehouse workers receive the pay bump they were told was coming when the company promised a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

The company won plaudits from politicians and labor groups when it said it would set a higher starting wage for hourly logistics and customer-service employees beginning Nov. 1. But in the week since the surprise announcement, the company faced a backlash from some longtime workers who said that, because Amazon also eliminated stock grants and bonuses, their total compensation would shrink.

400 by Matt Day in Seattle. MOVED


^Sears reportedly eyeing bankruptcy just after reopening scaled-down store in Chicago suburb<


Now, with a $134 million debt payment due Monday, it's unclear whether Sears Holdings Corp. will be able to avoid a trip to bankruptcy court.

Citing people familiar with the situation, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night that employees of M-III Partners, a New York-based advisory firm, have spent weeks working on a potential bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this week, though Sears is considering other options and could decide not to seek bankruptcy protection. Earlier Tuesday, Sears, which has lost $11 billion since 2011, announced it has added a restructuring expert to its board. Sears and M-III Partners did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment.

1250 by Lauren Zumbach. MOVED



^In a rarity, Los Angeles strips building from rent control, leaving tenants facing big increases<

REAL-RENTCONTROL:LA _ In November, Californians will go to the polls to decide whether to give cities the option of sharply expanding protections against steep rent increases. But as tenants at a 38-unit Tarzana apartment complex recently discovered, it's also possible to have existing rent controls revoked.

The property on Reseda Boulevard fell under the city of Los Angeles' rent control ordinance, which also provides tenants assurance they can't simply be kicked out as long as they follow the rules. Then last year, the protections disappeared.

Now the tenants face large rent hikes.

1300 by Andrew Khouri in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Turn schools into teacher housing? Unique idea sparks backlash in Bay Area community<

REAL-TEACHERS:SJ _ A local school district's unique idea to turn schools into teacher housing _ an attempt to tackle the region's dire housing shortage and retain fleeing instructors _ is colliding with a massive backlash from neighborhood residents.

The San Jose Unified School District has identified nine district-owned properties where it is considering building several hundred new units of affordable housing for teachers and other school employees.

The district's proposal calls for schools _ including beloved Leland High School and Bret Harte Middle School in wealthy Almaden Valley _ to be uprooted and relocated to make way for housing, a prospect that has some community members up in arms.

950 by Marisa Kendall in San Jose, Calif. MOVED


^Seattle construction boom means lots of empty apartments, even some cheaper rents<

REAL-SEATTLE-RENT:SE _ It's getting easier to find an apartment to rent, and in some neighborhoods it's even getting cheaper.

Seattle-area renters are enjoying the least competitive market since the recession as more and more apartments sit empty and rents have flatlined _ a trend that is likely to continue as the ongoing apartment-construction spree delivers an even higher number of new units in 2019.

Rents across the city of Seattle ticked up a mere 1.1 percent in the third quarter compared with a year ago, the smallest bump since the housing bust was in full swing in 2010, according to a new quarterly landlord survey from RealData/Apartment Insights.

1200 by Mike Rosenberg in Seattle. MOVED


^Mortgage rates rise to a seven-year high<


The sharp increase in mortgage rates _ to 4.9 percent this week, from 4.71 percent last week and 3.91 percent a year ago _ stems from the same rise in the overall cost of borrowing that on Wednesday and Thursday sent stocks tumbling. The additional expense threatens to cause more would-be home buyers to hold off on a purchase.

The rise in mortgage rates from last year adds $251 a month to what previously would've been a $2,685 monthly mortgage payment on a $535,000 house.

650 by Andrew Khouri. MOVED



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The 1-column x 4-inch graphic, Wall Street, will be posted by 6:30 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday.

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^Bankrate.com: 4 signs you're not ready to be a homeowner _ and what to do about it<


For many, particularly millennials, homeownership represents much more than a financial investment. In a recent Homes.com survey on millennial attitudes toward homebuying, 74 percent of millennials equate home ownership with stability. Although it will likely take them longer to meet their goal, 68 percent of millennial respondents said they're likely to buy a home at some point in the future, the survey found.

1150 by Deborah Kearns. MOVED


^Real estate Q&A: Can I sell my half of property if brother won't sell?<


500 by Gary M. Singer. MOVED


^The Mortgage Professor: Many mortgage lenders give preferential terms to physicians<


One important concession made to physicians is the reduction or elimination of a down payment requirement, without a mortgage insurance requirement. Of some 10 lenders I checked, seven required no down payments on loans up to $650,000 to $750,000 or thereabouts. The other three offered "flexible" requirements.

650 by Jack Guttentag. MOVED



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