Business Highlights


Record-low US Treasury yield points to rising economic fears

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fear and uncertainty about the global economy are leading investors to embrace U.S. government debt and slashing yields to record lows.

Interest paid on the 10-year Treasury note reached 1.34 per cent early Wednesday, just below the previous record set in 2012. Historically, when concerns have flared about a potential recession, investors have shifted money into havens such as U.S. Treasurys and sent yields falling.


Verizon hikes prices, but new options could save you money

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon is hiking prices on its cellphone plans, though the new rates come with changes that might actually save you money.

If you do nothing, your prices won’t automatically go up. But new benefits announced Wednesday — including better options when travelling in Canada and Mexico — require you to switch to the new rates.

While people still make plenty of calls, plain old data — much of it for streaming video and playing games — is emerging as the most important part of your cellphone plan. Verizon’s changes reflect that. Even if you’re happy with your current plan, it’s still a good time to review it.


Shaky Italian banks suddenly in focus after British EU vote

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shaky banks, this time in Italy, are again threatening to disrupt Europe’s economy, as shock waves from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union send their shares plunging.

Premier Matteo Renzi is looking for a way to rescue banks from a pile of bad loans that aren’t being repaid. A rescue attempt using public money could run into resistance from the EU, which has worked hard to agree on new rules aimed at protecting taxpayers from such bailouts.


US stocks rise as drugmakers gain; gold keeps climbing

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks changed course and turned higher Wednesday, with drug and consumer companies leading the way. Investors were willing to take a few more risks than the day before, but they remained cautious, and demand for bonds and precious metals stayed high.

Stocks opened lower, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 127 points early on. Indexes started moving higher at noon and finished at their highest levels of the day. Bond prices were little changed after Tuesday’s surge, which pulled the yields on long-term U.S. bonds to their lowest levels ever recorded.


More than 500,000 hoverboards recalled after fires, burns

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 500,000 hoverboards are being recalled after some of the motorized scooters overheated, burned riders and damaged property.

There have been 99 reports to the Consumer Product Safety Commission of hoverboard battery packs that exploded or caught fire, the U.S. regulator said Wednesday. At least 18 injuries were reported, such as burns to the neck, legs or arms, according to the CPSC. Property damages were also reported.

The CPSC warned hoverboard makers and retailers earlier this year that they had to follow newly-created safety requirements or face recalls. Many airlines, railroads and college campuses have already banned hoverboards, citing safety risks.


US services firms grew in June at fastest pace in 7 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services firms expanded last month at the fastest pace since November, good news for the U.S. economy.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its non-manufacturing index rose to 56.5 in June from 52.9 in May. Any reading above 50 signals growth. Production, new orders and export orders grew faster in June. Employment grew last month after contracting in May.

Services have been a source of strength for the American economy. The ISM services index has shown growth for 77 straight months.


Dhaka attacks casts long shadow over business in Bangladesh

NEW DELHI (AP) — The bloody weekend attack by Bangladeshi militants that left more than two dozen dead was also an attack on the country’s vital garment industry.

Clothing manufacturing, the Southeast Asian nation’s top export industry, had been recovering after a disastrous factory collapse three years ago. Now, the industry is in turmoil again after Friday’s attack, in which armed extremists took dozens of diners in a restaurant hostage and later killing 20 in an attack that targeted foreigners.


Chinese imports push up US trade deficit in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit climbed in May as a surge in imports of Chinese-made cellphones and computers pushed the imbalance with China to the highest level in six months.

The trade deficit rose to $41.1 billion in May, the Commerce Department reported. It was the largest imbalance since February. The trade deficit is the gap between the value of goods and services the United States imports from other countries and the value of U.S. exports.

Exports, which have struggled because of a strong dollar and weak growth in overseas markets, edged down 0.2 per cent to $182.4 billion. Imports jumped 1.6 per cent to $223.5 billion.


The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 78 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 17,918.62. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 11.18 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,099.73. The Nasdaq composite climbed 36.26 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,859.16.

Benchmark U.S. crude closed up 83 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $47.43 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 84 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $48.80 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, heating oil gained 3 cents to $1.47 a gallon. Natural gas rose 2 cents to $2.79 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline remained at $1.43 a gallon.