Business Highlights


Markets reel as world absorbs shock of UK vote for Brexit

LONDON (AP) — Britain has jumped. Now it is wildly searching for the parachute.

The U.K.’s unprecedented decision to leave the European Union sent shockwaves through the country and around the world Friday, rocking financial markets, toppling Prime Minister David Cameron and even threatening the ties that bind the United Kingdom.

Britons absorbed the overwhelming realization that their anti-establishment vote has pushed the British economy into treacherous and uncertain territory and sparked a profound crisis for a bloc founded to unify Europe after the devastation of World War II.


Global stocks tumble after Britain votes to leave the EU

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks plunged in the U.S. and worldwide Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union. The result stunned investors, who reacted by rushing to the safety of gold and U.S. government bonds as they wondered what will come next for Britain, Europe and the global economy.

U.S. stocks gave up all their gains from earlier in the year. The Nasdaq composite suffered its biggest loss since mid-2011, down 4.1 per cent. Indexes in Europe and Asia took even larger losses.

The British vote brought a massive dose of uncertainty to financial markets, something investors loathe. Traders responded by dumping riskier assets that appeared to have the most to lose from disruptions in financial flows and trade: banks, technology companies and makers of basic materials. More shares were traded than on any day since August 2011, when Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit of the United States during the debt ceiling crisis.


Crisis or speed bump? What UK vote means for world economy

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Britain’s vote to leave the European Union adds a heavy dose of uncertainty to a world economy that is still struggling to reach full speed years after the global financial crisis.

The most immediate pain will be felt in Britain. But economists say the ripples could be felt much farther afield.

Companies will wonder whether to invest or locate in Britain during the yearslong negotiations to define new trade conditions with the EU, its biggest business partner. Across Europe, trade and immigration may lose ground to nationalism and protectionism. The EU itself, minus market-oriented Britain, may turn to more government intervention and regulation. Other countries may eventually seek to leave the bloc.


Health insurer’s limit on insulin pumps worries patients

Stephanie Rodenberg-Lewis wasn’t happy with her insulin pump and finally switched two years ago to another brand. Now her health insurer is pushing her to go back.

Health insurers, big employers and other bill payers have been trying for years to rein in costs and improve care by steering clients to certain doctors and hospitals. They’ve also restricted options for some prescriptions and lined up deals for smaller-ticket items like diabetes test strips or items patients don’t chose, like heart stents.

Limiting choice for medical equipment that a patient usually selects is uncharted territory. UnitedHealth rivals Aetna and the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem say they haven’t done this. But experts say it could become more common.


No TSA PreCheck on your boarding pass? This might be why

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of fliers enrolled in trusted traveller programs such as PreCheck aren’t getting the expedited screening they paid for because of clerical errors with their reservations.

The most common problem is that their date of birth or government “known traveller number” has been entered incorrectly into a reservation. Other times, the name on the itinerary doesn’t match the name used to enrol in PreCheck, Global Entry or one of the other government programs. This is particularly a problem when bookings are made through travel agents who might transpose information, airlines say.

There have always been issues matching passenger data, but with recent long lines at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints leading to a spike in PreCheck enrollments, there are now more data problems, too.


US durable goods orders slid 2.2 per cent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods dropped in May, reversing two months of gains and delivering more bad news for American manufacturers.

The Commerce Department said Friday that demand for durable goods slid 2.2 per cent last month after rising 3.3 per cent in April and 2 per cent in March.


Senator renews scrutiny of pharma ties on federal panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — A high-ranking Senate Democrat is pushing for more answers on why doctors and patient advocates with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry came to serve on a panel that advises the federal government on pain issues.

Sen. Ron Wyden says he is “even more concerned” about these apparent conflicts of interest after receiving a response from the National Institutes of Health, which vetted and selected the panel members.

The panel attracted attention late last year when several members bashed a federal plan to recommend doctors reduce prescribing of painkillers used to treat chronic pain, such as OxyContin and Percocet. The guidelines were ultimately issued in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite the panel’s objections.


United Airlines, flight attendants’ union agree on contract

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines has tentatively negotiated a new contract for its 25,000 flight attendants, who will hold a ratification vote.

If approved, the agreement between United and the Association of Flight Attendants would let the airline mix cabin crews from United and Continental Airlines, which merged in 2010.


Use of drones for disaster missions put to the test

CAPE MAY, N.J. (AP) — How to distribute lifesaving supplies quickly and safely after a natural disaster has long been a puzzle for responders. Now, drones might be the lifesaver.

That idea was put to the test this week in New Jersey as a drone delivery service conducted test flights to help determine whether drones can be used to carry human medical samples to and from areas that cannot be accessed or communicated with during major storms, earthquakes or other disasters.

Experts say drones are becoming a more valuable tool in many humanitarian operations, where the unmanned aircraft can be quickly launched and used to collect data and images and help locate people who might be injured or trapped. But others warn that biological samples can be fragile.


Finance minister says India wants more manufacturers

BEIJING (AP) — India wants to attract manufacturing investment following its latest market-opening initiatives, the country’s finance minister said Friday, despite business concerns about access to land, taxes and other issues.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened more industries to foreign ownership and streamlined official procedures, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He was in Beijing for the first meeting of the Chinese-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Changes announced Monday by Modi’s 2 1/2-year-old government included allowing complete foreign ownership of airlines and military industries. They also eased investment in pharmaceuticals, food and retailing.


The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 610.32 points, or 3.4 per cent, to 17,400.75. The Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 75.91 points, or 3.6 per cent, to 2,037.41. Both indexes took their biggest loss since August. The Nasdaq composite suffered its biggest loss since mid-2011, down 202.06 points, or 4.1 per cent, to 4,707.98.

Benchmark U.S. crude declined $2.47, or 4.9 per cent, to close at $47.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell $2.50, or 4.9 per cent, to $48.41 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline sank 8 cents to $1.53 a gallon. Heating oil fell 7 cents to $1.46 a gallon. Natural gas lost 4 cents to $2.66 per 1,000 cubic feet.