WALL STREET

Wall Street posts gains

as trade tensions ease

Stocks notched broad gains Wednesday on Wall Street as investors drew encouragement from China's move to exempt some U.S. products from a recent round of tariffs.

Technology, health care and communication services stocks powered much of the rally. The benchmark S&P 500 index, which had been essentially flat since Friday, is on track for its third straight weekly gain.

Bond yields continued to climb. Oil prices fell, and investors also continued to favor smaller-company stocks.

Wednesday's push into technology companies marked a reversal from the first couple of days of the week, when traders bid up energy, financials and other sectors that had sold off in recent weeks. The tech sector is particularly sensitive to fallout from the trade war between Washington and Beijing because many big companies, such as Apple, manufacture products in China.

 

FOOD INDUSTRY

Judge fines StarKist

for fixing tuna prices

A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered StarKist Co. to pay a $100 million fine in a canned tuna price-fixing conspiracy involving three companies.

The Pittsburgh company had asked U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen to reduce the fine to $50 million, arguing a $100 million penalty could bankrupt it because it still faces millions more in potential civil damages.

Chen on Wednesday said the court found the company has the assets and the ability to borrow money to pay the fine.

Chen ordered the company to pay $5 million within 30 days and $11 million next year. Starting in 2021, the company will have to make payments of $21 million each year for four years.

StarKist last year pleaded guilty to a felony price fixing charge as part of a broad collusion investigation.

 

STREAMING SERVICES

Apple takes on Netflix

with $5-a-month price

Apple is finally taking on Netflix with its own streaming television service and, uncharacteristically for the company, offering it at a bargain price — $5 a month beginning Nov. 1.

Walt Disney Co. is launching its own assault on Netflix the same month, for just $7.

It may be sheer coincidence that the cost of paying for both Apple and Disney subscriptions will still be a dollar less than Netflix's main plan, priced at $13 a month. But the intent to disrupt Netflix's huge lead in the streaming business couldn't be clearer.

Apple delivered the news Tuesday while also unveiling three new iPhones that won't look much different than last year's models.

The aggressive pricing is unusual for Apple, which typically charges a premium for products and services to burnish its brand. Most analysts expected Apple to charge $8 to $10 per month for the service, which will be called Apple TV Plus.