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Business Digest: Ride-hailing service shutting down


TECHNOLOGY

Ride-hailing service shutting down

Central Texas ride-hailing service ScoopMe plans to shut down Wednesday, according to a message posted on the company’s Facebook page.

ScoopMe was one of several startups that raced to fill the void earlier this year when Uber and Lyft left Austin after losing a contentious election that centered on forcing drivers to be fingerprinted before they could hit the road and pick up fares.

“While we are grateful for all of the support, we do not feel that we can provide a good service to the passenger while providing enough rides for the drivers to make enough money,” the message said, in part.

ScoopMe said it will go dark at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

The company said it would continue with fundraising efforts and look at possible alternatives early next year.

While ScoopMe will soon leave, there are still several alternatives, including Fare, Fasten and RideAustin.

MEDIA

Texas Monthly names new editor

Tim Taliaferro, most recently editor of Alcalde magazine and vice president for communications and digital strategy for Texas Exes, has been named the new editor in chief of Texas Monthly magazine, where he once served as an intern.

The magazine’s also named Scott Brown chief creative officer, said Paul Hobby, Texas Monthly’s chairman and CEO. Brown was previously president and CEO of the Company and Others, a Houston marking and research firm.

“I am thrilled to announce the appointment of both Tim and Scott,” said Hobby, whose private equity firm, Genesis Park, purchased Texas Monthly, earlier this year for $25 million. “I believe they are the perfect individuals to lead our brand forward, particularly in the areas of digital journalism and live events.”

BANKING

Blanco National Bank gets new ownership

Harlingen-based Texas Regional Bank said Tuesday it has agreed to acquire Blanco-based Blanco National Bank.

Financial terms of the deal were not released. The deal still awaits regulatory approval.

Blanco National Bank’s four branches — in Blanco, Wimberley, Fredericksburg and Spring Branch — will become Texas Regional Bank branches, the company’s leadership said.

Texas Regional Bank currently has nine banking centers in the Rio Grande Valley, with assets in excess of $600 million. With the deal, the company will have assets of more than of $800 million, according to a news release.

WALL STREET

Stocks close higher, helped by health care companies

NEW YORK — Stocks closed slightly higher on Tuesday, boosted by health-care companies like UnitedHealth Group, which helped outweigh steep declines in energy companies.

Tiffany jumped after it reported better quarterly results than analysts expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.70 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,121.60. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.94 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,204.66 and the Nasdaq composite rose 11.11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,379.92.

Stocks started the day slightly lower but posted slight gains by late-morning and stayed higher throughout the afternoon.

Health care stocks were a primary driver of the market’s upward turn. UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer, backed its forecast for this year and said it expects its earnings to grow in 2017. That’s because of stable medical costs, less exposure to Affordable Care Act health care exchanges, and growth for Optum, a business that manages pharmacy benefits, runs clinics and doctors’ offices and provides technology services.

The Dow component closed up $5.48, or 3.6 percent, to $157.59.

Other health care stocks also rallied. Alexion Pharmaceuticals rose $6.21, or 5 percent, to $125.59, drugmaker AbbVie rose $2.13, or 3.6 percent, to $61.59. Other insurance companies also posted gains. Aetna rose $3.64, or 2.8 percent, to $132.03. Cigna, Humana and Anthem all closed up more than 1 percent.


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