Global Glance: Walmart, Dick’s expand rift with gun lobby; Hope Hicks announces resignation

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

Walmart, Dick’s expand corporate rift with gun lobby

NEW YORK (AP) — The rift between major U.S. companies and the gun lobby is growing. And Americans are taking note, lighting up social media boards with vows to back up the companies with their wallet, or to boycott them. Retail heavyweights Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods have taken steps to restrict gun sales. That follows moves by several other major corporations, including MetLife, Hertz and Delta Air Lines, that have cut ties with National Rifle Association following last month’s school massacre in Florida. Read more

Hope Hicks leaving as Trump’s communication director

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House communications director Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, abruptly announced her resignation, leaving a void around a president who values loyalty and affirmation. The departure of Hicks, who worked as a one-woman communications shop during his campaign, came as a surprise Wednesday to most in the White House — and cast a pall over the West Wing at a trying time for the president. It leaves Trump increasingly without support of the familiar aides who surrounded him during his campaign, and marks the latest in a string of high-level departures in the administration’s second year. Read more

US consumer spending ticked up in January as incomes soared

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans lifted their spending just 0.2 percent in January, while their incomes jumped because of last year’s tax cuts. The Commerce Department said Thursday that the modest spending increase followed gains of 0.4 percent in December and 0.8 percent in November. Incomes rose 0.4 percent, boosted by $30 billion in tax cut-related bonuses the government estimates were paid out in January. After-tax income jumped 0.9 percent, the most in a year, lifted by the Trump administration’s tax cuts. With consumers holding back on spending, the savings rate rose. Savings had fallen to a 12-year low in December. Read more

Eurozone unemployment edges down to lowest in over 9 years

LONDON (AP) — Unemployment across the 19-country eurozone has fallen to its lowest level in a little more than nine years on the back of strong economic growth, official figures showed Thursday. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, said the unemployment rate in January was 8.6 percent, unchanged from the previous month’s rate, which was revised down from the previous estimate of 8.7 percent. The rate now is the lowest since December 2008, when unemployment was mushrooming in the wake of the global financial crisis and ensuing recession. Read more

Exxon Mobil withdraws from Russia deal due to sanctions

MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil says it will withdraw from its joint venture with Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft due to U.S. and European sanctions against the country. Exxon Mobil had signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil producer, in 2011 that aimed to drill in difficult terrain, like Russia’s Arctic waters. It combined Exxon’s high level of technology with Rosneft’s access to the area. The deal came under strain, however, after the U.S. sanctioned Russia in 2014 over the invasion of Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. Read more

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