Business news in brief

Posted: April 20, 2017 at 2:14 a.m.

Wal-Mart opens 100th training academy

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. opened its 100th training academy -- in Edmond, Okla. -- earlier this week, reaching the halfway point in its goal to open 200 by the end of 2017.

The training academies are part of the Bentonville-based retailer's initiative to train and develop its U.S. employees. The first academy opened in Dallas in early 2016. Each academy is designed to serve employees from about 25 stores in nearby geographic markets.

Classes in the training program, which can span two to six weeks, hold between 15 and 30 employees and are led by a teaching staff. Wal-Mart said more than 225,000 front-line hourly supervisors, department managers and assistant managers will graduate from the training academies this year.

-- Robbie Neiswanger

Home BancShares to report on 1Q today

Home BancShares will release its first-quarter earnings today before the market opens, the Conway-based owner of Centennial Bank said.

A conference call will be held at 1 p.m. todayto discuss the earnings report. To hear the discussion, dial (877) 508-9586 and ask for the Home BancShares call.

-- David Smith

Emirates cuts U.S. flights, cites Trump

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Emirates, the Middle East's biggest airline, said on Wednesday that it is cutting flights to the United States because of a drop in demand caused by heightened U.S. security measures and Trump administration attempts to ban travelers from Muslim-majority nations.

The decision by the Dubai government-owned carrier is the strongest sign yet that tougher measures imposed on U.S.-bound travelers from the Mideast are taking a financial toll on fast-growing Persian Gulf carriers that have expanded rapidly in the United States in recent years.

Dubai was one of 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries affected by a ban on laptops and other personal electronics in carry-on luggage aboard U.S.-bound flights.

Emirates said the reductions will affect five of its 12 U.S. destinations, starting next month. It called the move "a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand" in the three months since Trump took office.

The cuts will reduce the number of U.S.-bound flights from the carrier's Dubai hub to 101, down from 126.

Twice daily Emirates flights to Boston, Los Angles and Seattle will be reduced to once a day. Daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be pared down to five per week.

-- The Associated Press

Oshkosh lands $258M order from Army

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- Oshkosh Corp. has secured $258 million in orders to rebuild trucks and manufacture trailers for the Army.

Oshkosh will rebuild 670 heavy tactical vehicles. The Army says it saves about 25 percent when a truck is rebuilt rather than replaced. It refurbishes trucks with bullet holes, bent frames and mangled wheels to become like-new vehicles.

Oshkosh will also produce 356 vehicle trailers in the latest round of Army orders.

The military contracts support several thousand jobs at Oshkosh.

-- The Associated Press

1.6% raise OK'd for airline's attendants

FORT WORTH -- American Airlines flight attendants will receive a 1.6 percent raise after the union sought a more than 8 percent wage increase.

An arbitration panel Tuesday agreed on the lower figure for American's more than 25,000 workers represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

Fort Worth-based American and the union disagreed over the wage increase as part of a pay adjustment negotiated in the 2014 collective bargaining agreement. The matter involved contract negotiations related to the US Airways merger with American.

Union President Bob Ross calls the 1.6 percent pay raise as "insulting."

American says flight attendants, since last April, have seen a 9.6 percent increase in pay, including Tuesday's arbitration ruling. Figures show American flight attendants in 2015 earned an average annual income of nearly $49,000.

-- The Associated Press

Chinese carmaker puts off its U.S. plan

SAIC Motor Corp., China's biggest carmaker by sales, has halted a plan to export its own branded vehicles to the U.S. until it gets more clarity on China-U.S. trade policy under President Donald Trump.

SAIC Motor, which has joint ventures with General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG in China, has been exporting Buick Envision sport utility vehicles to North America since May last year. The Shanghai-based company, which owns the MG and Roewe brands, has said it's making preparations to enter the U.S. -- the world's second-biggest auto market -- on its own.

"Eventually we aim to have all, but at the moment we are focusing on" China and then Europe, Michael Yang, executive director of SAIC Motor's international department, said at a briefing at the Shanghai motor show on Wednesday. "The reason is the 'climate change' after the new presidency."

SAIC Motor had set an internal target to enter both the U.S. and Europe market by 2019, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the plan isn't public.

-- Bloomberg News

U.S. beef forecast to take lead in Japan

The U.S. is expected to regain its status as the largest beef supplier to Japan as early as this year, surpassing Australia for the first time since mad-cow disease halted shipments of American beef in 2003, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Even though Australia enjoys the advantage of lower tariffs on beef than the U.S. under a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, low U.S. grain and soybean prices have made American beef producers more competitive, Meat Export Federation Chief Executive Officer Philip Seng said Tuesday.

"We will still be quite competitive with Australia even though they have the duty situation," Seng said in an interview in Tokyo.

-- Bloomberg News

Business on 04/20/2017