Business Highlights


Los Angeles sues Wells Fargo, alleging fraud by employees

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wells Fargo Bank employees driven by strict sales pressure issued unwanted credit cards and opened unauthorized accounts that charged customers fees and damaged their credit, according to a lawsuit filed by the city of Los Angeles.

The civil complaint filed Monday contends the largest California-based bank violated state and federal laws by misusing confidential information and failing to notify customers when personal information was breached, City Attorney Mike Feuer said at a Tuesday news conference.


‘Avengers’ + ‘Star Wars’ = big year for Disney

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Who would win if Captain America fought Luke Skywalker? Why Disney, of course, which stands to bring in astronomical amounts of money this year from two big installments of two of the most popular film franchises ever.

With its Marvel movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron” just having notched the second-biggest domestic opening weekend of all time and a new “Star Wars” movie coming this winter, analysts expect the company to post not only great movie studio results but a big uptick in merchandise revenue and profits this year. Everything from Captain America mugs to doggy Darth Vader Halloween costumes will likely get a lift.


Googling on mobile devices surpasses PCs in US for 1st time

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s influential search engine has hit a tipping point in technology’s shift to smartphones. More search requests are now being made on mobile devices than on personal computers in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.

The milestone announced at a digital advertising conference Tuesday serves as another reminder of how dramatically online behaviour has changed since 2007. That’s when Apple released the first iPhone, leading to a wave of similar devices that have made it easier for people to stay connected to the Internet wherever they go.


Growth in US services firms picked up speed last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. service firms’ growth accelerated in April, fueled by more orders, rising sales and an uptick in hiring. The figures provide solid evidence that the economy is recovering from its first-quarter stumble.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its services index rose to 57.8 in April from 56.5 in March. The April reading is its highest level in five months. Any reading over 50 indicates that service providers are expanding.


Freddie Mac posts $524M profit in 1Q; paying $746M dividend

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported net income of $524 million for the first quarter, down sharply from the same period of 2014, as it sustained losses on the investments it uses to hedge against swings in interest rates.

The January-through-March results posted Tuesday marked the government-controlled company’s 14th straight profitable quarter. Freddie said that although earnings show volatility, its business fundamentals are strong and continued to improve during the quarter.


Tech industry figures gather to mourn popular executive

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Tech industry luminaries and friends gathered Tuesday for a memorial service honouring David Goldberg, a popular business leader whose marriage to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg made them one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent couples.

Mourners emerged from the ceremony held in an auditorium at Stanford University teary-eyed and wearing Minnesota Vikings paraphernalia to commemorate the favourite NFL team of the Minneapolis native.

The 47-year-old Goldberg died Friday while on a family vacation at a villa near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He slipped while exercising on a treadmill in the villa’s gym and struck his head, Mexican officials said.


Aetna curtails coverage of surgical tool tied to cancer risk

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The health insurer Aetna is ending most coverage of hysterectomies performed with a once-popular device that has drawn warnings from federal regulators over a risk for spreading cancer.

The nation’s third-largest health insurer said Tuesday that, as of May 15, it will curb coverage of power morcellation in hysterectomies or for removing uterine fibroids because its safety hasn’t been demonstrated.


Macy’s to open first 4 off-price stores in NYC area

NEW YORK (AP) — The outlet wars are heating up.

Macy’s Inc. has named its new discount stores Macy’s Backstage, and says the first four test stores will open this fall in New York City and the surrounding area.


Amazon Prime members will be able to stream free on JetBlue

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon wants to give JetBlue passengers a new option for tuning out that crying baby or talkative seat neighbour.

The e-commerce company will let members of Amazon’s $99 annual loyalty program Prime stream its instant video service for free on their Wi-Fi enabled devices via JetBlue’s inflight Wi-Fi service. JetBlue is one of the only U.S. airlines to offer free Wi-Fi on its planes; Southwest offers free Wi-Fi-enabled entertainment like TV shows and TV stations.


Comcast launches voice-controlled remote for some customers

NEW YORK (AP) — Fights over the remote are about to get a lot louder.

Cable company Comcast launched a voice-controlled TV remote for some of its Xfinity customers Tuesday. Users can search for shows, channels, movies, their TV recordings and on demand programing with their voice.

Searching for shows or movies with a traditional remote can be difficult, and cable providers and streaming companies believe voice search will make it easier. Inc., for example, offers a voice search with its Fire TV streaming device. Roku, another streaming device seller, began offering voice search last month.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 142.20 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 17,928.20. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 25.03 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 2,089.46. The Nasdaq composite fell 77.60 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 4,939.33.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.47 to close at $60.40 a barrel in New York. Brent crude rose $1.07 to close at $67.52 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 2.9 cents to close at $2.063 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3.6 cents to close at $2.015 a gallon. Natural gas fell 4.1 cents to close at $2.780 per 1,000 cubic feet.