comscore Factory slumps heighten economy fears | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Briefs | Business

Factory slumps heighten economy fears

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

WASHINGTON >> Fears escalated Monday that the global economy could struggle more than expected this year — a prospect that contributed to a plunge in financial markets.

The anxiety was heightened by reports that manufacturers extended their slumps last month in the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. Factory activity contracted for a second straight month in the U.S. and for a 10th straight month in China.

Chinese stocks fell 7 percent before trading was halted. The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 1.6 percent, its biggest loss in two weeks. Markets in Asia and Europe were down more.

Sell-off does not slow rise in gun shares

With all major markets in a severe sell-off Monday, shares of companies that make guns surged as new data pointed to strong sales at the close of 2015, a year marked by mass shootings in Paris and California, and new political pressure to tighten regulations.

President Barack Obama is slated to finalize new executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence and unregulated sales. The president has taken nearly two dozen executive actions to tighten gun laws but has been unable to push measures like expanded background checks through Congress. Recently released numbers from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System show that background checks jumped about 38 percent last month compared with December 2014.

First-of-a-kind drug approvals rose in 2015

WASHINGTON >> Approvals for first-of-a-kind drugs climbed last year, pushing the annual tally of new U.S. drugs to its highest level in 19 years. The rising figures reflect an industrywide focus on drugs for rare and hard-to-treat diseases, which often come with streamlined reviews, extra patent protections and higher price tags.

The Food and Drug Administration approved 45 drugs with never-before-sold ingredients in 2015, edging past the previous year’s tally of 41, which had been the highest number since 1996. FDA drug approvals are considered a barometer of industry innovation and the government’s efficiency in reviewing new therapies.

Ferrari completes spinoff with stock listing

MILAN >> Sports car manufacturer Ferrari is following up its successful Wall Street listing with a stock market launch in Milan, as it begins a new era as a stand-alone company. The company famed for its Formula 1 racing machines and coveted red roadsters began trading Monday morning, the first business day of the year, at 43 euros ($47) under the RACE ticker. After a volatile day the shares closed at 43.24 euros. The listing, which comes after Ferrari made its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange in October, completes the company’s separation from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles SpA.

Natural-disaster losses lowest in 6 years

BERLIN >> Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009, a leading insurer said Monday. Insurer Munich Re said in an annual survey that both insured losses and overall costs resulting from disasters were the lowest since 2009. It said that there were some $27 billion in insured losses, while overall costs — including losses not covered by insurance — totaled $90 billion. Those figures were down from $31 billion and $110 billion respectively in 2014. The year’s most devastating disaster was the earthquake in Nepal, but only a fraction of the resulting losses was insured.

GM CEO adds chairman to her title

DETROIT >> General Motors CEO Mary Barra is taking on the added role of chairman at the nation’s largest automaker. The company’s directors Monday unanimously elected her to lead the board, effective immediately. She replaces former Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO Theodore Solso as GM’s chairman. He will stay on as the board’s lead independent director, the company said Monday in a statement. Barra’s appointment came shortly before GM became embroiled in a scandal over faulty small-car ignition switches.


Hawaiian Airlines has appointed Soojin Yu to the position of country director and chief representative for South Korea. She will oversee general management of Hawaiian’s commercial activities in South Korea. Yu brings to Hawaiian more than 25 years of experience in aviation, aeronautics, automobiles and broadcasting. She most recently served as China business manager in the Asia-Pacific region for Renault Samsung Motors in South Korea, where she led new vehicle development projects and new business platform initiatives.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union is now accepting applications for its 2016 Lowell Kalapa Scholarship Program. Fifteen recipients will receive a $2,000 scholarship to help pay for a university, college or trade/vocational school’s tuition. This will be the 21st year that Hawaii State FCU has provided scholarship opportunities to Hawaii’s youth; it has awarded more than $500,000 since 1996. Applications will be accepted through March 31. More information on this year’s Lowell Kalapa Scholarship Program and applications can be found at or at any Hawaii State FCU branch location.

Comments (4)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

  • “… a year marked by mass shootings in Paris and California, and new political pressure to tighten (gun) regulations.” The “mass shootings” in Paris and California were Islamic terrorist attacks and have nothing to do with gun regulations in the U.S. This is Obama-pandering media spin.

  • When Wall Street gets another titled added, they get a pay raise. When Main Street job’s are double duty after a lay off, it’s for the same pay.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up