Business Highlights


June hiring surge of 287,000 suggests rebounding US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers shook off two months of weak hiring by adding 287,000 jobs in June, a robust pace that suggests a resilient U.S. economy recovering from a slump early in the year.

The strong report shows that the U.S. job market was improving before the United Kingdom voted late last month to leave the European Union, raising fears of a global recession. Friday’s Labor Department figures suggest that the U.S. economy, which has defied overseas weakness before, might be able to do so again.

The June hiring increase was the largest since October 2015.


Warnings of British economic downturn piling up

LONDON (AP) — The warnings are piling up. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union appears to be already hitting the economy.

Following the initial market jolts that have, among other things, seen the pound slide to 31-year lows against the dollar, the wider economy seems to be feeling the shockwaves from the vote to leave the 28-country bloc.

On Friday, market research firm GfK found that consumer confidence took a dive in the wake of the June 23 decision to leave the EU. Analysts are warning that further declines in consumer confidence are likely and that the British economy may be heading toward an outright recession.


Feds ban Theranos CEO Holmes from running lab for 2 years

Federal regulators dealt a major blow to troubled blood-testing startup Theranos, banning its founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes from owning or running a medical laboratory for two years.

The sanctions, announced late Thursday by the company, follow months of investigation by government testing regulators at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Theranos, which was reportedly worth $9 billion two years ago, is the latest hyped Silicon Valley firm to stumble while trying to enter the health care field.


Harley-Davidson motorcycles investigated for brake failure

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government is investigating complaints from Harley-Davidson riders who say their motorcycle brakes failed without warning.

The investigation covers 430,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles with model years between 2008 and 2011 that have an anti-lock braking system, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday.

Riders reported that the brakes on the hand lever and foot pedal did not work, causing one driver to crash into a garage door. NHTSA said it received 43 complaints, three reports of crashes and two reports of injuries.


The killer robot used by Dallas police appears to be a first

NEW YORK (AP) — Robots have apparently chalked up a new first — a deadly one.

Police rigged a bomb-disposal robot to kill an armed suspect in the Dallas police shooting, what appears to be the first time U.S. police have used a robot for lethal purposes.

As such, it may represent the latest escalation in the use of remote and semi-autonomous devices by law enforcement.


Study of promising cancer therapy halted due to deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — A study of an experimental treatment for leukemia was abruptly halted this week following two patient deaths, raising questions about a closely watched approach to cancer that involves reprogramming cells to seek and destroy the disease.

The Food and Drug Administration suspended the Juno Therapeutics trial Wednesday, after the company reported that two patients on its most advanced treatment died from swelling of the brain. A similar death was reported in May though both the FDA and Juno concluded there were “compounding factors.”

Juno blamed the two recent deaths on the addition of a second chemotherapy drug to its pre-treatment regimen.


Facebook testing encrypted chats in Messenger

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is adding to its Messenger app an option for encrypted chats that can only be read on devices where they are sent or received.

Users also will be able to set a timer to control how long the message remains visible to anyone, the company said Friday.

The encrypted chats are now being tested with a limited number of people, Facebook said, but the option will be more widely available later this summer.


68 companies join legal fight against N. Carolina LGBT law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Sixty-eight companies have signed onto a legal brief opposing a North Carolina law that limits protections for LGBT people.

It is part of a legal challenge brought by the Department of Justice. The federal government has asked a judge to block a provision of the law that requires transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.

The brief says many of the companies operate in North Carolina, and the law is hurting the ability to recruit while adding hurdles that are impacting their bottom line. The roster includes General Electric Co., Microsoft Corp. and United Airlines Inc.


Consumer borrowing increases jumped again in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers increased their borrowing in May with use of credit cards and the category that covers student and auto loans both showing gains.

The Federal Reserve reported Friday that total borrowing increased by $18.6 billion in May, up from a gain of $13.4 billion in April. It was the largest since a surge of $29.4 billion in March, which had been the biggest monthly increase on record.

Borrowing in the auto and student loan category climbed $16.2 billion. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards rose $2.4 billion.

The May gain pushed total consumer credit to a record of $3.62 trillion.


Old Navy helps boost Gap key sales figure; stock soars

NEW YORK (AP) — After months of declines, Gap said a key sales figure rose 2 per cent in June, the retailer’s first monthly increase in more than a year.

Gap Inc., which operates its namesake stores as well as Banana Republic and Old Navy, has been struggling with falling sales. The last time the company reported an increase in sales at stores open at least a year was March 2015.

The June increase was mainly due to its Old Navy brand.


The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 250.86 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 18,146.74. The S&P 500 added 32 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 2,129.90. The Nasdaq composite jumped 79.95 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 4,956.76.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 27 cents to $45.41 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, picked up 36 cents to 46.76 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.37 a gallon. Heating oil remained at $1.41 a gallon. Natural gas added 2 cents to $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.