Global Glance: Government shutdown at stake in Congress; ECB unlikely to signal stimulus end, despite French optimism

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

Government shutdown, health bill rescue at stake in Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bipartisan bargainers are making progress toward a budget deal to prevent a partial federal shutdown this weekend, a major hurdle overcome when President Donald Trump signaled he would put off his demand that the measure include money to build his border wall with Mexico. Republicans are also vetting proposed changes to their beleaguered health care bill that they hope will attract enough votes to finally push it through the House. Read more

ECB unlikely to signal stimulus end, despite French optimism

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Europe’s strengthening economy dodged a banana peel when a pro-EU candidate won the first round of the French presidential election. That won’t be enough, however, to make the European Central Bank signal an end to monetary stimulus program on Thursday. Nor will Sunday’s result by itself fix the long-term flaws that have plagued the continent’s shared currency, the euro. Analysts think that ECB President Mario Draghi will give no sign that the bank is ready to start withdrawing its stimulus support after Thursday’s meeting of the 25-member governing council. They say Draghi won’t want to create any uncertainty for markets before the second round in France is over. Read more

FCA, Google begin offering rides in self-driving cars

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler and Google for the first time will offer rides to the public in the self-driving automobiles they are building under an expanding partnership. The companies announced in the spring of last year that they would build 100 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrids minivans. Those vehicles have been tested in Arizona, California and Michigan. Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, said Tuesday that it will allow hundreds of people in Phoenix to take rides in the vehicles so that it can get feedback on the experience. People can apply on Waymo’s website. Read more

Cost cuts at Coca-Cola go deeper

ATLANTA (AP) — Coca-Cola’s sales declined in the first quarter as it restructured its business and the company said Tuesday that it will cut costs further. The maker of Fanta, Sprite and Smartwater says it plans to cut another $800 million in annualized savings in addition to the $3 billion it’s already trimming. Most those savings are expected to be realized in 2018 and 2019, the company said. Coca-Cola Co. has also been reshaping its business by selling back its bottling and distribution operations to independent bottlers. That means Coke is becoming more focused on selling concentrates and marketing for its brands. Read more

Wells Fargo to face irritated shareholders at annual meeting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Wells Fargo’s top management and board of directors will face irritated investors Tuesday for the first big shareholder meeting since the scandal over the bank’s sales practices led to an executive shake-up, fines and a dented reputation. The bank has changed the way it pays branch employees, reclaimed promised compensation to several executives and apologized to customers after regulators imposed $185 million in fines last September. Authorities said Wells Fargo workers opened up to 2 million accounts without customer permission as employees tried to meet aggressive sales goals. Read more

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