Stocks end week with gains…Medicare drug bill tweaked

NEW YORK (AP) — Major stock indexes closed out a choppy week Friday with solid gains after the government reported that hiring in the U.S. jumped last month to the highest level since January. Companies that stand to benefit the most from a growing economy rose the most. Technology and industrial companies climbed, as did banks. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher, as investors moved money out of safe-haven assets and became more bullish on the economy. For the week, the S&P rose 0.2%. The Dow fell 0.1%. The Nasdaq lost 0.1% The Russell 2000 rose 0.6%.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan Senate bill to curb prescription drug costs for Medicare enrollees is getting a makeover that would lower copays and make it easier for seniors to budget. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden unveiled their updated legislation on Friday. President Donald Trump is backing the bill but it’s unclear if any significant drug pricing legislation can pass in a Congress polarized over impeachment. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to bring her own, more ambitious bill to a floor vote next week. Pelosi’s bill would empower Medicare to negotiate prices and plow the savings back into expanded dental, vision and hearing benefits for seniors.

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) — A coal producer that purchased multiple Kentucky mines and hired workers from a now-bankrupt company has laid some of the miners off. State Rep. Angie Hatton said miners told her Friday that Kopper Glo, the company that purchased mines from Blackjewel LLC., has idled its mines until at least Dec. 26. The company told around 100 non-salaried employees that they would likely be re-hired after Christmas if the company could find a buyer for large coal reserves it’s trying to sell. The miners previously worked for Blackjewell, which laid workers off with little notice, issued them bad checks and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors in New York say Sweden-based telecommunications company Ericsson will pay over $1 billion as part of a deal to resolve bribery conspiracy charges. Prosecutors announced Friday that Ericsson and the company’s subsidiary Ericsson Egypt Limited were charged with conspiring to bribe government officials, falsifying books and records and failing to implement reasonable accounting controls. They said the charges pertained to criminal conduct that occurred in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait from 2000 to 2016.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles jury has found Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer when he called him “pedo guy” in an angry tweet. Vernon Unsworth, who participated in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a Thailand cave last year, had angered the Tesla CEO by belittling his effort to help with the rescue as a “PR stunt.” Musk said the attack was unprovoked, he only meant the term as an insult for “creepy old man,” and he wasn’t literally calling Unsworth a pedophile. Jurors deliberated less than an hour.

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