Business Highlights


3 charged in cyberattacks against US finance companies

NEW YORK (AP) — Two men held in Israel and one U.S. citizen believed to be living in Moscow have been charged with stealing the contact information of more than 100 million customers of U.S. financial institutions to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal profits, authorities said Tuesday.

The summer 2014 theft of data such as names, addresses, emails and phone numbers of more than 83 million customers of JPMorgan Chase & Co., the nation’s biggest bank by assets, was described at a news conference by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara as “the single largest theft of customer data from a U.S. financial institution ever.”


Fast food protesters set sights on presidential candidates

NEW YORK (AP) — Workers from McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other chain restaurants protested in cities around the country Tuesday to push fast food companies to pay them at least $15 an hour. The protesters also had a message for presidential candidates: Support the cause or lose their vote next year.

The fast food protests were planned by organizers at more than 270 cities nationwide, part of an ongoing campaign called “Fight for $15.” Janitors, nursing home workers and package delivery workers also joined some protests, organizers said.


Google Maps offers offline option when Internet is spotty

NEW YORK (AP) — Google Maps is getting disconnected.

With an update for Android phones Tuesday, you’ll be able to search nearby businesses and get driving directions, including turn-by-turn voice prompts, even if your Internet connection is spotty or non-existent. Google says a version for iPhones will come soon.


Banks, at odds with personal finance sites, disrupt service

NEW YORK (AP) — The uneasy relationship between banks and companies that use their data to provide personal finance services has shown signs of fraying in recent months, causing some frustrating disruptions in service to people trying to track their spending.

Who knew keeping tabs on your monthly coffee budget could be so contentious?

Personal finance websites and apps that can provide a way for users to monitor their finances across all of their banks and credit cards have become popular because they give users an almost real-time view of their financial lives in a way that was impossible a few years ago. Mint, a personal finance service owned by Intuit, has 2.5 million daily users. BillGuard, which monitors for fraudulent transactions, has 1.3 million users and was bought by the lending company Prosper earlier this year.

But these sites and apps depend on data from all of each user’s financial institutions, data that is extremely sensitive and extremely valuable for marketing financial products.


Toys have best year in a decade

NEW YORK (AP) — Toys are staging a comeback.

The U.S. toy industry is expected to have its strongest year in at least a decade after several years of kids choosing videogames and mobile apps over Barbie and stuffed bears.

Annual toy sales are projected to rise 6.2 per cent to $19.9 billion in 2015, according to The NPD Group Inc., a market research firm that tracks about 80 per cent of the U.S. toy market. That’s up from a 4 per cent increase last year, and the biggest increase in at least 10 years since the group has tracked toys using its current system.


War on Christmas? Starbucks cups cause social media outcry

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s as red as Santa’s suit, a poinsettia or your neighbour’s ugly Christmas sweater. Yet Starbucks’ stark new holiday coffee cup has set off complaints that the chain is making war on Christmas.

The outcry — which gained in intensity after Donald Trump suggested boycotting the coffee chain — illustrates the fine line companies must walk during the all-important holiday season: They want to stand out from their competitors, but not go so far as to offend or unsettle.


US wholesale stockpiles up 0.5 per cent in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in September by the largest amount in three months, responding to a robust rebound in sales.

Stockpiles at the wholesale level increased 0.5 per cent, the biggest increase since a 0.7 per cent rise in June, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Inventories had risen 0.3 per cent in August.


US sues over proposed deal between United, Delta at Newark

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government wants to block a deal that would increase United Airlines’ grip over Newark Liberty International Airport, saying that it would drive up fares.

Newark serves 35 million passengers a year, and its airfares are already among the highest in the nation.

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued to block a deal that would let United acquire 24 takeoff and landing slots at Newark from Delta Air Lines. Federal officials said the agreement would give United — already the dominant airline at the airport near Lower Manhattan — an even greater competitive advantage that would lead to higher fares and fewer choices for passengers.


Kashkari picked as new leader of Minneapolis Fed bank

WASHINGTON (AP) — Neel Kashkari, a prominent business executive and unsuccessful candidate for California governor, has been chosen as head of the Federal Reserve’s regional bank in Minneapolis.

Kashkari will succeed Narayana Kocherlakota, who will step down from the job of Minneapolis Fed president on Dec. 31. Kocherlakota has held the position since 2009 and announced last December that he would not seek re-appointment once his current term ends.

Kashkari was chosen by the regional bank’s board of directors. He most recently served as managing director of PIMCO. A Republican, he ran for governor of California in 2014, losing to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. During the height of the financial crisis in 2009, he was tapped by then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the $700 billion bailout program created by Congress.


Chipotle reopening Northwest restaurants after outbreak

SEATTLE (AP) — Chipotle said Tuesday that it is reopening the 43 Pacific Northwest restaurants it closed amid an E. coli outbreak after tests at the Mexican food chain came back negative for the bacteria.

Health officials have not found a cause of the outbreak that started last month but concluded there is no ongoing risk of contracting the illness that has sickened about 40 people.

Chipotle will reopen the restaurants in Washington state and Oregon in the coming days after giving them a deep cleaning and ordering a fresh supply of ingredients, the company said. It also said it is testing the new food prior to restocking and is instituting additional safety procedures and audits in all of its 2,000 restaurants to ensure robust food safety standards.


T-Mobile exempts streaming video from some data caps

NEW YORK (AP) — Streaming video from Netflix, HBO and other leading services will no longer count toward data limits under T-Mobile’s higher data plans.

Video is among the leading uses of data on phones. A few hours of video can quickly eat up an entire month’s allotment under some plans.

T-Mobile also said Tuesday that it will optimize video streams so that they maintain DVD-level quality on a phone without transmitting as much data. Although DVD quality is short of high definition, which many phones are capable of displaying, the company doesn’t believe most people will notice.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27.73 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 17,758.21. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 3.14 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,081.72. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gave up 12.06 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,083.24.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 34 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to close at $44.21 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, picked up 25 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to close at $47.44 a barrel in London. Heating oil rose 0.9 cents to $1.487 and wholesale gasoline slipped 0.9 cents to $1.362 a gallon. Natural gas rose 2 cents to $2.32 per 1,000 cubic feet.