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    Foxconn Technology Group said Monday that its manufacturing facility in Wisconsin will be producing flat-screen panels by the end of 2020, with construction starting later this year. The news came after the worldwide electronics manufacturing leader sent mixed signals earlier this year about whether it planned to suspend work in Wisconsin. After a meeting with President Donald Trump, Foxconn's leader recommitted to building a smaller manufacturing facility in Wisconsin than what was originally promised. The Taiwan-based Foxconn is building what is known as a Generation 6 factory, which typically makes smaller liquid crystal display screens for cellphones, tablets, televisions and other devices. It first said it was going to build a larger Generation 10 plant, which would have used glass more than three-times as large as what the smaller facility will use. Even with the changes, Foxconn has remained committed to investing up to $10 billion in Wisconsin and hiring 13,000 people. If it does that, the company would qualify for about $4 billion in state and local tax credits. The project, and the promise of taxpayer-funded tax credits, has drawn considerable backlash in Wisconsin and became fodder in the governor's race last year. Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker made the deal with Foxconn. Current Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has been critical of the project, calling for more transparency, while also working with the company on its plans. Evers talked with Foxconn company officials last week. Foxconn on Monday announced dates for moving ahead with that project, including awarding bids for roads, utilities and storm drainage work by April 1 and issue construction bids in May. Construction will begin by the summer, with the first panels produced in the last three months of 2020, Foxconn said. 'Our commitment from day one has been to establish a winning formula for Foxconn and for Wisconsin,' Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou, said in a statement. 'We continue to expand our presence around the state, create jobs, and deepen our partnerships while innovating and adapting to meet changing market needs.' The factory will be a part of a massive Foxconn campus located near Racine, close to the Wisconsin border with Illinois. ___ Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP
  • The French civil aviation investigation bureau BEA has concluded there were 'clear similarities' between this month's crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX plane and a Lion Air plane crash last October. The French bureau said Monday that black box data from the Ethiopian Airlines flight showed the links and will be used for further study. Ethiopian authorities asked BEA for help in extracting and interpreting the crashed plane's black boxes because Ethiopia does not have the necessary expertise and technology. The Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau intends to release a preliminary report within 30 days.
  • A former vice president at the United Auto Workers has been charged with conspiracy in a scheme with Fiat Chrysler to buy meals, golf and other perks with money from the automaker. It's the latest development in the government's investigation of how officials at Fiat Chrysler and the UAW enriched themselves by using money set aside for a job-training center. At least seven people have pleaded guilty. The conspiracy charge against Norwood Jewell was filed Monday as a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is likely. Defense attorney Michael Manley tells The Detroit News that Jewell and prosecutors are working toward a 'fair and just resolution.' Jewell was the highest-ranking UAW official dealing with Fiat Chrysler, from 2014 through 2016. Former Fiat Chrysler executive Al Iacobelli is serving a 5 ½-year prison sentence.
  • Patience. A focus on incoming economic data. And no interest rate hikes likely soon. The message the Federal Reserve is poised to send when its latest policy meeting ends this week is a soothing one. It reflects an abrupt shift in tone since the start of the year in the face of a slowdown in the United States and abroad, persistently tame inflation and a nervous stock market. The shift toward a more hands-off Fed has pleased investors and encouraged the view that the central bank is done raising rates for now and might even act this year to support rather than restrain the economy. In a statement Wednesday, in updated economic forecasts and in a news conference by Chairman Jerome Powell, the Fed will likely note that while the economy is on firm footing, it faces risks from slowing growth and trade conflicts. Against that backdrop, the thinking goes, it would be unwise to keep raising rates, as the Fed did four times in 2018. The Fed is instead set this week to keep its key short-term rate in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. And most analysts think the policymakers will scale back their projection of rate hikes this year from two to one or perhaps even none. There is also anticipation that the Fed will specify when this year it expects to stop shrinking its huge portfolio of bonds, part of its balance sheet. Doing so would help keep a lid on loan rates. All of which suggests that the Fed may recognize that it went too far after it met in December. After that meeting, the policymakers forecast two additional rate increases in 2019, and Powell said he thought the balance sheet reduction would be on 'automatic pilot.' That observation, in particular, seemed to spook investors with the prospect of steadily higher borrowing rates for consumers and businesses and perhaps a further economic slowdown. Stock prices tumbled for days afterward. President Donald Trump, injecting himself not for the first time into the Fed's ostensibly independent deliberations, made clear he wasn't happy, calling the December rate hike wrong-headed. Reports emerged that Trump was even contemplating trying to fire Powell, who had been his hand-picked choice to lead the Fed. But after the December turmoil, the Fed in January began sending a more comforting message. At an economic conference soon after New Year's, Powell stressed that the Fed would be 'flexible' and 'patient' in raising rates — a word he and other policymakers have invoked repeatedly since — and 'wouldn't hesitate' to change course if necessary. In the subsequent weeks, the Fed has gone still further, with Powell signaling that the central bank is close to announcing a plan to end its bond reduction program. This has helped cheer investors because it would likely mean that bond rates would remain contained and some investors would shift money into stocks. Powell, appearing last week on CBS's '60 Minutes,' denied that pressure from Trump had influenced the Fed's policy shift. Private economists generally agree that a slowing economy and a sinking stock market, which eased Fed worries about any possible stock bubble, were more decisive factors. 'Conditions changed dramatically in December with the stock market collapsing and global growth slowing ' said David Jones, an economist and author of several books on the Fed. 'Everything came together, and 'patient' became the Fed's new watchword.' Because the change in Fed policy happened so fast, some analysts say the chairman may use his news conference Wednesday to explain the changed outlook. 'I believe Powell will want to provide a justification of why the Fed has done a 180-degree turn in the last few months,' said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at SS Economics. Economists also expect the Fed's updated forecasts to downgrade its estimate of growth in light of a slowdown in manufacturing and retail, sluggish housing and construction activity and global pressures, including an ongoing trade war. Still, some analysts say, the Fed will want to avoid escalating public concerns about the health of the economic expansion, the second-longest on record. 'They don't want to be too alarming,' said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. 'Much of this weakness is likely to be transitory.' After sharply falling in December, stocks have rallied and recouped most of their late-year losses in trading since the start of 2019, a rebound credited larger to the Fed's easier monetary stance. Some analysts say they think the Fed won't raise rates at all this year if the outlook becomes as dim as they are forecasting. The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew 2.9 percent last year, the fastest pace since 2015. The budget plan the Trump administration proposed last week forecasts that growth will reach 3.2 percent this year and stay around 3 percent for the next decade. That is far more optimistic than outside economists foresee. Most of them expect growth to weaken to just above 2 percent this year. For the Fed, the key question is whether the slowdown represents a soft landing for the economy, with inflation contained and growth modest but steady, or something more alarming. Swonk and most other economists have said the economy is likely to avoid a recession this year. 'I think we will be able to achieve 2.3 percent growth,' she said. 'It's a big slowdown from 2018, but it is still fast enough that the unemployment rate will go down further and we will get broader wage gains.
  • The Latest on negotiations over Britain's departure from the EU (all times local): 3:50 p.m. The speaker of Britain's House of Commons says the government can't ask lawmakers to vote again on its twice-rejected Brexit deal unless it is substantially changed. John Bercow says parliamentary rules prevent a motion being brought back repeatedly for votes in the same session of Parliament. He says the government can't 'resubmit to the House the same proposition or substantially the same proposition' that has already been rejected. Bercow's statement complicates Prime Minister Theresa May's attempts to get her deal approved. Lawmakers rejected the deal in January and again last week. May has been holding talks with opponents in a bid to persuade them to back the bill at a third attempt this week. Amid the gridlock, lawmakers voted last week to delay Brexit by at least three months. ___ 1:10 p.m. British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman says there has been no breakthrough in talks on winning Parliament's support for the government's EU divorce deal — and there is just a day to shift opinion before Britain will have to seek a long delay to Brexit. Spokesman James Slack says talks are continuing between the government and the Democratic Unionist Party, whose support is crucial. May hopes to bring her twice-rejected Brexit deal back to Parliament this week for a third vote. But Slack says the government will only do that if there is 'a realistic prospect of success.' May will have to make that judgment by the end of Tuesday. Wednesday is the last day a vote can be held before May heads to an EU summit where she will ask the bloc to delay Brexit. If the deal has been approved, May will ask for a short 'technical extension.' If it is not, she will seek a much longer delay. ___ 9:10 a.m. European Union foreign ministers are urging Prime Minister Theresa May to make clear Britain's position on leaving the bloc, as the Europeans weigh whether to approve an extension to the Brexit process. Ahead of a Brexit-focused summit of EU leaders this week, the ministers implored May once again to set out clearly what she wants from her European partners, less than two weeks before the Brexit date. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday: 'We have to know what the British want: How long, what is the reason supposed to be, how it should go, what is actually the aim of the extension?' Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said: 'We are not against an extension in Belgium, but the problem is, to do what?' ___ 9:05 a.m. British Prime Minister Theresa May is making a last-minute push to win support for her European Union divorce deal, with attention focused on wooing Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP's 10 lawmakers are pivotal to May's effort to overturn two overwhelming defeats in Parliament, because their support could influence hard-line members of May's Conservative Party. Opposition has focused on the so-called backstop, designed to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. But May suffered a setback Monday when former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refused to support her deal. Johnson used his column in the Daily Telegraph to say that further changes are needed to the backstop, claiming it left the U.K. vulnerable to 'an indefinite means of blackmail' by Brussels.
  • Although small businesses vary widely in terms of size, industry and issues, they do appear to be generally united by a growing uneasiness about the economy. Several surveys and economic reports released in recent weeks show that company owners have more trust in their businesses than the national or local economy, and that they're running their businesses more conservatively in response to uncertainty about overall business conditions. In a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife taken in January, 53 percent of the 1,001 randomly selected small business owners questioned said they believe the national economy is in good shape, down from 58 percent in a survey taken in the last quarter of 2018. Fifty-three percent said their local economy is in good health, down from 56 percent. A small business index that accompanied the survey fell to 65.6 from 69.3 in the fourth quarter. 'The change is largely due to a decline in economic outlook and expectations (both national and local), but small business owners report their fundamental operations remain strong,' the chamber and MetLife said. The monthly report on manufacturing by the Institute for Supply Management, whose members include small businesses, showed that companies' production slowed in February, as did new orders, a sign that output may continue to slow in the months ahead. Hiring has also slowed, according to the ISM and to a report from payroll provider ADP, which said its small business customers added just 12,000 jobs in February, down from 107,000 in January. Owners may be responding to forecasts from many economists that growth will weaken in the first quarter because of a slowing global economy, a trade war with China and consumers' increasing caution. There are also forecasts of a slower economy for the rest of the year — the Congressional Budget Office has forecast that the gross domestic product will increase by 2.3 percent in 2019, down from 3.1 percent last year. One reason: The bump up that the economy got from the new tax law in 2018 won't be repeated in the coming year. Owners may not be worried about the economy; they may just be cautious after having been hurt, or seeing other companies hurt, during the Great Recession. Small business owners have said in previous surveys they'll hold off on hiring and other big investments if they don't have revenue to justify the expansion. _____ For more small business news, insights and inspiration, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here: http://discover.ap.org/ssb _____ Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed bills restricting online media and making a criminal of anyone who insults the state — laws that critics see as part of Kremlin efforts to stifle criticism and tighten media control. A bill passed by the Russian parliament earlier this month introduces fines for publishing materials showing disrespect to the state, its symbols or government organs. Repeat offenders could face a 15-day jail sentence. Another bill envisages blocking anyone who publishes 'fake news' online that is perceived to threaten public health and security. It gives those who publish such information a day to correct or remove it. If they fail to do so, prosecutors will move to block them. Putin has signed both bills, according to information posted Monday on the government portal of legal information.
  • U.S. stock indexes drifted sideways Monday, giving up gains from earlier in the morning, at the start of a busy week for markets. Energy companies and banks had strong gains, but losses for internet companies and high-dividend stocks weighed on the market. The S&P 500 was close to flat after being up as much as 0.5 percent earlier in the day, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank under the weight of another loss for Boeing. Other indexes were mixed. Stocks are coming off a strong week, when the S&P 500 resumed its torrid start to the year following a brief, five-day stumble. The index is back to within 3.7 percent of its record high, set in September, after clawing back all of its terrifying drop from December. One key to the recent rally has been the belief that the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of increases for interest rates. The worry in December was that the central bank would raise rates too fast in the face of a slowing global economy and choke off growth. The Fed will meet to discuss interest-rate policy this week, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday, but economists expect it to announce no change to rates. Politicians in London, meanwhile, continue to haggle about the United Kingdom's pending departure from the European Union, which could have harmful effects for global trade. The Bank of England will announce its decision on interest rates later this week as well. KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 0.1 percent as of noon Eastern time. It's already up 12.7 percent for 2019 so far, which is a bigger gain than it's had in four of the last five full years. The Nasdaq composite was virtually flat, and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 0.1 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 47 points, or 0.2 percent, at 25,800. SPURTING HIGHER: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose and may settle above $59 per barrel for the first time since November, and the price of natural gas strengthened, which helped lift shares across the energy sector. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 rose 1 percent for the largest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the index. National Oilwell Varco jumped 5.3 percent, Halliburton gained 3.2 percent and Marathon Petroleum rose 2 percent. PAY ME NOW: As more transactions move online, the payment processing industry continues to consolidate. Fidelity National Information Services said Monday it will buy Worldpay for about $35 billion in stock and cash. Including Worldpay's debt, Fidelity National Information Services valued the dal at $43 billion. Worldpay's U.S.-listed shares jumped 8.8 percent. Fidelity National Information Services, also called FIS, slipped 1.7 percent. HEALTHY GAINS: Edwards Lifesciences jumped 6.8 percent for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it said patients in a trial using an expandable valve had better results than those who had standard open-heart surgery. STILL GROUNDED: Boeing fell further as the investigation continues into two recent deadly crashes of its 737 Max 8 plane model. Preliminary information shows clear similarities between the two. Boeing fell 2.3 percent, following its 10.3 percent loss last week. FED WATCH: The Fed begins a two-day meeting on rates Tuesday, and most investors are expecting very little to come out of it. Stocks plunged late last year as investors worried about slowing economic growth around the world and feared that future rate increases by the Fed would only worsen it. Investors were relieved when the central bank pledged early this year to take a patient approach. Some economists say the Fed could release documents Wednesday that would suggest one rate increase in 2019, or possibly zero, after the Fed raised rates four times in 2018 and three times in 2017. Perhaps more important is what the Fed says about its vast trove of Treasurys. The central bank bought trillions of dollars of Treasurys after the 2008 financial crisis to keep interest rates low and support markets, but it's been slowly letting some roll off as they mature. Investors want to know how much in Treasurys the Fed will ultimately hold onto, and how long it will take to get there. SEARCHING FOR SINO SIGNS: Investors are still waiting for more progress in the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. China's congress on Friday endorsed an investment law that aims to address complaints, particularly from the U.S., that China's system is rigged against foreign companies. The U.S. claims China forces companies to share technology in order to do business in the country. Chinese indexes rose Monday, with stocks in Shanghai up 2.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.4 percent. In a sign of how fluid the U.S.-China trade talks remain, however, news reports said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to formalize a deal might be pushed back to June. ___ AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contributed from Tokyo.
  • The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case that could make it more difficult for states to prosecute identity theft and other crimes. The high court agreed Monday to take a case out of Kansas that involves the state's prosecution of people who were using others' Social Security numbers on employment and other forms. Kansas' highest court ruled in 2017 that the state couldn't prosecute those crimes by relying on information that is on a required federal work authorization form, the I-9. Kansas argued it can prosecute because the same information also appears on state work forms. Ten states had urged the Supreme Court to take the case.
  • Apple has unveiled a new iPad that's thinner and slightly larger than its current entry-level tablet. The new iPad Air will cost $499 and sport a screen that measures 10.5 inches diagonally. That compares with the standard, 9.7-inch iPad at $329. Apple has a higher-end Pro model starting at $999. The new iPad Air has several features found in older Pro models, but not the latest. For instance, the iPad Air has a home button with a fingerprint sensor, while the latest Pro ditches that to make more room for the screen. Apple is also refreshing its 7.9-inch iPad Mini.