U.S. industrial output slips amid mining drop

U.S. industrial production fell in March, pulled down by a drop in mining output. Factory output remained weak amid a slowing global economy and trade tensions with China.

The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that industrial output — combining production at factories, utilities and mines — slipped 0.1 percent in March from the previous month.

Mining output declined 0.8 percent but was up 10.5 percent from March 2018.

Manufacturing production was flat after dropping in January and February. In the first three months of the year, factory output fell at an annual rate of 1.1 percent.

Utility production rose 0.2 percent after a sharp 3.7 percent increase in February.

— Associated Press

Zinke joins corporate board of U.S. Gold

Former U.S. interior secretary Ryan Zinke, who stepped down in December amid ethics investigations, has joined the board of junior mining exploration company U.S. Gold, the firm said Tuesday.

Zinke, who ran the Interior Department, which oversees America’s vast public lands, aggressively pursued President Trump’s agenda to promote oil drilling and coal mining by expanding federal leasing, cutting royalty rates and easing land protections despite environmental protests.

“We think his credibility and gravitas will give us visibility, which we need to advance the company and benefit our shareholders,” U.S. Gold chief executive Edward Karr said.

In a statement, Zinke said his work at Interior “can add tremendous value to the company.”

— Reuters

Also in Business

Lower sales overseas and higher costs for research and litigation pushed Johnson & Johnson's first-quarter profit down 14 percent. Still, the health-care giant beat profit and revenue expectations. The maker of Tylenol and psoriasis drug Stelara on Tuesday said unfavorable currency exchange rates reduced revenue by nearly 4 percent, leaving total sales flat at $20.03 billion. Sales of prescription medicines were the bright spot as usual, rising 4 percent and accounting for over half of the company's total revenue.

Starbucks is planning to expand its investment in solar farms and use the energy to power hundreds of its coffee-serving stores in Texas. Seattle-based Starbucks on Monday announced the deal with Cypress Creek Renewables and U.S. Bank. A statement says the companies are combining forces on solar farm operations throughout Texas. Terms weren't released. Two solar farms built and operated by Cypress Creek provide enough energy for the equivalent of 360 Starbucks in Texas. Company officials say Starbucks is separately investing in six Cypress Creek-owned solar farms in Texas.

Caesars Entertainment is appointing a gambling industry veteran as its chief executive. The casino giant named Tony Rodio as CEO Tuesday. He'll replace Mark Frissora, who guided the company through bankruptcy reorganization. The change in leadership comes two months after billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed a large stake in the casino and began pushing for fundamental changes. Caesars, which operates more than 35 U.S. casinos, emerged from bankruptcy protection in late 2017, but it's been struggling since. A committee is being put into place to consider a sale, among other things.

— From news services

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases international trade data for February.

2 p.m.: Federal Reserve releases the "beige book."