Global Glance: Republican-led Senate takes first steps to repeal ACA; US seeks changes to coal program

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

Republican-led Senate takes first steps to repeal ‘Obamacare’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has passed a measure to take the first step forward on dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care law, responding to pressure to move quickly even as Republicans and President-elect Trump grapple with what to replace it with. The nearly party-line 51-48 vote early Thursday came on a nonbinding Republican-backed budget measure that eases the way for action on subsequent repeal legislation as soon as next month. The House is slated to vote on the measure on Friday, though some Republicans there have misgivings about setting the repeal effort in motion without a better idea of the replacement plan. Read more

US seeks changes to coal program, but Trump could alter path

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials said Wednesday that a yearlong review shows coal sales from public lands need to be modernized to deal with climate change and give taxpayers a fair return, but it’s uncertain whether the incoming Trump administration will follow through. The Interior Department imposed a moratorium on new coal sales last year following longstanding complaints from federal investigators and members of Congress that the program was shortchanging taxpayers. Read more

6 thing we learned at the Detroit Auto Show

DETROIT (AP) — This year’s North American International Auto Show reflects an industry that’s flush with cash but uncertain about the future. Multi-million-dollar displays show new versions of big sellers like the Toyota Camry, GMC Terrain and Honda Odyssey. New technology, from gesture controls in BMWs to further advances in self-driving cars, is everywhere. Auto companies are making big promises, like Chinese automaker GAC’s plan to sell a vehicle in the U.S. by the end of 2019 and Volvo’s goal of preventing all fatal crashes in its vehicles by 2020. Read more

China auto market has bumper year but 2017 outlook is weaker

HONG KONG (AP) — China’s auto market had a bumper year in 2016 as sales grew by 15 percent, with drivers rushing to buy cars before a tax break expired at the end of the year. The data released Thursday showed that automakers sold 24.4 million cars, minivans and sport-utility vehicles in China. Booming sales, driven by strong demand for SUVs, were helped by the Chinese government’s cut in the sales tax. However, the rebate ended on Dec. 31, and industry analysts predict sales growth will cool in 2017. Read more

No wiggle room: Many companies don’t keep enough cash

NEW YORK (AP) — “Cash is king” is an axiom business owners try to live by. If revenue isn’t coming in, and owners can’t get loans or investors, there’s no way to run day-to-day operations, buy inventory and equipment or hire workers. But many companies struggle to maintain a healthy cash flow and create a buffer for an event like a storm that keeps customers home. Companies with cash problems often have overestimated how much revenue they’d have and underestimated expenses, says George Solomon, a George Washington University management professor. It’s especially a problem for new owners. These owners may also not be adequately prepared for the seasonality of their business, or for the slow payment practices of their customers – particularly if the customer is a government. Read more

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