California bill banning forced arbitration heads to governor – Daily News

on Sep6
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When companies in California tell job candidates they have to give up their right to sue them for most disputes, a bill headed to the governor’s desk would let people say “no” without fear of losing their job offer.

The bill is the latest effort by state governments to limit private companies from imposing forced arbitration agreements, whose surge in popularity has contributed to the difficulty of workers suing their bosses for sexual harassment in the era of #metoo.

Federal law and some U.S. Supreme Court decisions do not let state governments ban these arbitration agreements. Supporters argue the bill in California does not ban arbitration agreements, but it makes them optional. Employees could still sign them. They just could not be punished for not signing them. The bill would not affect existing arbitration agreements and would only apply to people hired after Jan. 1, 2020.

Still, Republicans and the state’s business groups warned the bill is illegal and would likely be challenged in court.

The state Senate voted Thursday to approve the bill.

Plans for new trade talks boost indexes

Investors powered U.S. stocks to broad gains Thursday, cheering plans for another round of trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing, and drawing encouragement from a batch of positive economic data.

The S&P 500 gained 38.22 points, or 1.3%, to 2,976. The benchmark index is now 1.7% shy of its most recent all-time high set in late July.

The Dow rose 372.68 points, or 1.4%, to 26,728.15. The average was briefly up by 480 points.

The Nasdaq climbed 139.95 points, or 1.8%, to 8,116.83. Traders also favored smaller company stocks. The Russell 2000 index picked up 25.99 points, or 1.8%, to 1,510.75.

Thursday’s rally took its cue from overseas markets, which also reacted positively to the news that negotiators from the U.S. and China have agreed to meet in early October.

Stocks were also bolstered Thursday by positive economic data showing that companies are still hiring at a solid pace and that productivity rose at a healthy rate last quarter.

Payroll processor ADP reported that U.S. businesses added 195,000 jobs in August, well above economists’ expectations. The private report frequently diverges from the government’s own employment report, which is scheduled to be released Friday. Economists expect that report will show 160,000 jobs were added.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that overall productivity rose 2.3% during the second quarter, also beating economists’ growth forecasts.

Benchmark crude oil rose 4 cents to settle at $56.30 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, added 25 cents to close at $60.95 a barrel.

Long-term mortgage rates at 3-year low of 3.49%

U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the average on the key 30-year loan reaching its lowest point in nearly three years.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year mortgage declined to 3.49% from 3.58% last week. The average rate hasn’t been that low since October 2016. A year ago, it stood at 4.54%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans slipped to 3% from 3.06% last week.

Mortgage rates have fallen sharply as a slowing global economy and tensions from the trade war between the US and China have caused interest rates on government bonds to tumble. The yields on government bonds influence long-term mortgage rates.

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