Business Highlights


Forecast for stocks in the second half of year: Turbulence

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market has been on a frustrating, dizzying roller-coaster ride to nowhere the last couple of years. And it’s still not over.

Stock strategists and mutual-fund managers are predicting minimal gains and big swings in price for the second half of the year. T

hat’s because many of the same challenges that yanked investments up and down in the first half are still hanging over the market, including falling profits at companies and the stubbornly slow global economy.


Wal-Mart in China faces employee protests

BEIJING (AP) — Wal-Mart faces protests by employees in China over what they say is a drastic change in work schedules as the company overhauls its struggling business.

Its labour tensions reflect rising expectations among workers to share in China’s prosperity and a shift by the ruling Communist Party away from treating them only as a source of labour toward trying to create a consumer society.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has had slow and uneven growth since its first China outlet opened in 1996. It tried to expand into online retailing but sold its operation last month to China’s No. 2 e-commerce operator.


AAA auto club says not all gasoline is the same

Many motorists are clogging their car’s engine by not using gasoline with enough added detergents, a study released Thursday by the AAA auto club finds.

Federal rules in place since 1996 require all gasoline to have some engine-cleaning additives, but many major brands have extra detergents. AAA said tests it commissioned from an independent lab found that lesser gasolines left 19 times more deposits on engine intake valves than so-called top-tier fuels after the equivalent of 4,000 miles of driving.

AAA said carbon deposits reduce a car’s mileage, increase emissions and hurt performance, especially on newer cars.


Technology gives bracing immediacy to police shooting story

NEW YORK (AP) — A live, online piece of footage of a dying man brought a shocking new immediacy Thursday to the issue that gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The video — posted by a Minnesota woman from inside the car where her boyfriend lay bleeding from police gunfire — was seized on by some as sickening proof of what they have been saying all along: that police are too quick to use deadly force against minorities.

The newfound capability to essentially show these news events live online made the story especially powerful.


Wendy’s says more than 1,000 restaurants affected by hack

NEW YORK (AP) — Wendy’s said hackers were able to steal customers’ credit and debit card information at 1,025 of its U.S. restaurants, far more than it originally thought.

The hamburger chain said Thursday hackers were able to obtain card numbers, names, expiration dates and codes on the card, beginning in late fall. Some customers’ cards were used to make fraudulent purchases at other stores.

Wendy’s Co. urged customers to check their accounts for any fraudulent purchases.


PepsiCo touts items seen as ‘craft’ as profit tops forecasts

NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo Inc., the packaged food giant that makes Mountain Dew soda and Frito-Lay chips, posted a quarterly profit Thursday that topped Wall Street expectations and touted new products that it said respond to growing interest in “craft” and “premium” options.

That includes the introduction of 1893, a craft cola named for the year Pepsi was invented, as well as Mountain Dew Black Label, which is marketed as being made with “real sugar” and “herbal bitters.”

The company said it is now getting 9 per cent of its revenue from new products.


Danone agrees to buy US food maker WhiteWave for $10B

PARIS (AP) — Yogurt giant Danone says it reached a $10 billion deal to buy American organic food maker WhiteWave, expanding the French company’s foothold in health foods and the U.S. market.

Paris-based Danone said in a statement Thursday that it is paying $56.25 per share in the deal, 24 per cent above WhiteWave’s average stock value over the past month. Including debt and other liabilities, the value of the deal reaches $12.5 billion.

Danone hopes to finalize the deal by the end of the year, pending approval by shareholders and regulators.


US claims for jobless aid fall, sign of employer resilience

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign that U.S. workers still have job security despite recent tremors in the global economy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 254,000. The 4-week average, which is less volatile, dipped slightly to 264,750.

Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. The 70-week streak of claims staying below 300,000 is the longest since 1973.


Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to new 2016 lows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest level since May 2013, driven down by financial tumult in Europe.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.41 per cent from 3.48 per cent a week ago. The 15-year mortgage rate dropped to 2.74 per cent, down from 2.78 per cent last week.

The 30-year fixed rate is now close to its all-time low of 3.31 per cent in November 2012.


US gives tentative OK to flights to Cuba from 10 US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government on Thursday tentatively approved scheduled commercial airline service to Havana from 10 American cities, further bridging the gulf between countries as close as an hour flight but long kept at a greater distance by the Cold War.

It’s another step as President Barack Obama tries to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations.

Eight U.S. airlines are expected to begin round-trip service as early as this fall between the U.S. and the Cuban capital, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.


The Dow Jones industrial average lost 22.74 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 17,895.88. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 1.83 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,097.90. The Nasdaq composite added 17.65 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,876.81.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost $2.29, or 4.8 per cent, to $45.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost $2.40, or 4.9 per cent, to $46.40 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline lost 7 cents, or 4.9 per cent, to $1.36 a gallon. Heating oil fell 6 cents, or 4.1 per cent, to $1.41 a gallon. Natural gas lost 1 cent to $2.78 per 1,000 cubic feet.