Business and labor at a glance

Local bank stocks hold steady Friday

Local bank stocks held steady Friday after a day off for Thanksgiving, ending the week the same way they ended last week.

First Niles Financial, which has seen no change for nearly two weeks, closed at $9 a share, while Cortland Bancorp closed at $16.50 a share.

Shoppers hunt for deals on Black Friday

NEW YORK — Shoppers were on the hunt for deals and were at the stores for entertainment Friday as malls opened for what is still one of the busiest days of the year, even as the start of the holiday season edges ever earlier.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, used to launch the holiday season, but the competition to grab customers first is keen. Stores like Macy’s, Walmart, Target and more were open Thursday evening in what they hope will be a new holiday tradition as they try to fight off competition from online juggernaut Amazon.

Retailers have also been spreading deals out more throughout the week.

For some in middle class, plan would mean tax hike

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals would modestly cut income taxes for most middle-class Americans. But for nearly 8 million families — including a majority of single-parent households — the opposite would occur: They’d pay more.

Most married couples with three or more children would also pay higher taxes, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found. And while middle-class families as a whole would receive tax cuts of about 2 percent, they’d be dwarfed by the windfalls averaging 13.5 percent for America’s richest 1 percent.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric had promoted the benefits of his proposals for middle-income Americans.

Johnson & Johnson in talks to buy drugmaker

NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson is in early talks to buy the Swiss drugmaker Actelion Pharmaceuticals.

Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. makes high blood pressure medicines that treat arteries in the lung and around the heart. Johnson & Johnson of New Brunswick, New Jersey, develops drugs and manufactures medical devices and other consumer products.

Self-driving truck will hit the road in Ohio

COLUMBUS — A self-driving truck will begin traveling on two Ohio roads next week after state officials announced details of new investments to support innovative transportation technology.

A vehicle from self-driving truck maker Otto will travel a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 on Monday in central Ohio between Dublin and East Liberty, home to the Transportation Research Center, an independent testing facility. It will travel in regular traffic, and a driver in the truck will be positioned to intervene should anything go awry, Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said.

Officials say that section of Route 33 — a four-lane divided road — is an important piece of autonomous vehicle research in the state and will become a corridor where new technologies can be safely tested in real-life traffic, aided by a fiber-optic cable network and sensor systems slated for installation next year.

Lufthansa strike means  more flights canceled

BERLIN — Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, canceled 830 short- and medium-haul flights Friday affecting 100,000 passengers after a pilots’ strike entered its third day in a long-running dispute over wages.

The carrier also announced the cancellation of another 137 long-haul flights scheduled for Saturday, affecting 30,000 more passengers.

Ukraine says it’s ready to resume gas from Russia

MOSCOW — Ukraine’s state-owned energy company says it’s ready to resume gas purchases from Russia.

The statement was released several hours after the Russian energy minister and the European Union’s energy chief met for talks in Moscow on Friday and said representatives of the EU, Russia and Ukraine could get together next month to discuss gas supplies for Ukraine.

Naftogaz stopped buying gas from Russia last November after it had used up a $500 million loan from the European Commission for the purchase of gas supplies that are vital to get through the cold Ukrainian winter.

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