Business Highlights


Businesses try to keep calm amid uncertainty of Brexit vote

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is already taking a toll on some small U.S. businesses, with cancelled tour bookings in New York and U.K. retailers cutting back their orders from American suppliers.

The plunge in the pound against the U.S. dollar after the vote three weeks ago makes goods and services more expensive for those in the U.K., and means British tourists get less for their money while travelling elsewhere.

Many of the companies are trying to plot a course without clarity on exactly when or how a split may occur.


Stocks eke out late gains to hit more records

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks inched up to another record on Wednesday after spending much of the day flitting between gains and losses.

Investors nudged stocks higher at the open, then sent them down, then back up in indecisive trading that set the tone for the rest of the day. Still, it ended on another high, and a winning streak that began with a strong U.S. jobs report on Friday stretched into a fourth day.

Investors are hoping the strengthening economy combined with low interest rates will help lift corporate profits and the appetite for stocks.


Amazon’s 2nd Prime Day orders breezed past first-year totals

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon’s big sales day is here to stay.

Amazon says Prime Day orders rose 60 per cent globally this year versus last year’s inaugural showing. It says sales of Amazon’s own electronic devices were particularly strong. And the company says that this won’t be the last “Prime Day.”

The e-commerce powerhouse launched the event last July to promote its $99 annual Prime loyalty program, which offers free two-day shipping and other perks. The loyalty program is a key platform for Amazon because Prime members shop more frequently and spend more money.


Court ruling opens door to more GM ignition switch lawsuits

DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court has decided that people injured in crashes caused by faulty General Motors Co. ignition switches can sue the company even if they were hurt before GM’s 2009 bankruptcy filing.

Under terms of the bankruptcy, the company that emerged, referred to as New GM, was indemnified against most claims against the pre-bankruptcy company. A ruling Wednesday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturns most of an earlier decision and allows hundreds of pre-bankruptcy claims to proceed, including some lawsuits alleging that GM’s actions caused the value of its cars to drop.


CSX 2Q profit down 20 per cent as rail volume slows 9 per cent

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — CSX Corp. reported a nearly 20 per cent drop in second-quarter profit as freight volume slowed, but the railroad beat expectations by cutting expenses and raises rates where it could.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad said Wednesday it earned $445 million, or 47 cents per share, in the quarter. Revenue declined 12 per cent from last year because of the volume decline. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected CSX to earn 44 cents per share on $2.68 billion in revenue.

CSX reiterated that the railroad expects its earnings and total volume to decline in 2016.


Chinese government suspected of hacking into FDIC computers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chinese government is believed to have hacked into computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2010, 2011 and 2013, including the workstation of then-FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, a congressional report says.

The report issued Wednesday cites a May 2013 memo from the FDIC inspector general to agency Chairman Martin Gruenberg. The memo described an “advanced persistent threat,” said to have come from the Chinese government, which compromised 12 computer workstations and 10 servers at the FDIC.


Fed survey finds modest growth across most of the US

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve says the economy and hiring continued to expand modestly across most of the United States from mid-May through June, leaving some firms struggling to find skilled workers.

The Fed’s latest survey of business conditions found modest growth in 11 of 12 regions.

The report, known as the Beige Book, will be discussed at the Fed’s upcoming meeting on July 26-27 as policymakers weigh whether and when to raise short-term U.S. interest rates.


Investors tap mobile message craze as trading begins on Line

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors looking to ride the mobile messaging craze — get in line.

The Japanese messaging app Line is set to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday and in Tokyo on Friday. Though little known in the U.S., Line has enjoyed a quick surge to popularity in Japan.

Since its founding five years ago, Line has surged to 218 million active users, even though it’s available only in a handful of countries.

On Monday, Line’s initial public offering raised more than $1.1 billion, making it the biggest IPO in the U.S. so far this year, according to Renaissance Capital.


Juno being sued over leukemia drug study

NEW YORK (AP) — Juno Therapeutics and its CEO have been named in a lawsuit over whether the biotechnology company misled investors about the death of a patient in a key study involving its drug intended to treat leukemia.

The lawsuit arrives just as the company gained permission by the Food and Drug Administration to restart its study for the leukemia drug candidate.

Juno suspended the study earlier this month following two patient deaths from swelling of the brain. Juno said the problem stemmed not from its treatment, but from a chemotherapy drug used to prepare for participation in the drug trial. The study is continuing without that chemotherapy drug.


US brings WTO case against Chinese taxes on raw materials

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is bringing a case against China to the World Trade Organization, arguing that taxes the Chinese impose on raw materials exports put U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage.

China imposes duties of 5 per cent to 20 per cent on exports of nine raw materials, including cobalt, copper and graphite, used in industries ranging from aerospace to chemicals.

According to the U.S., China was supposed to eliminate the duties after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 but didn’t. The duties raise the costs for U.S. manufacturers and give them an incentive to relocate to China to avoid paying them.


The S&P 500 edged up 0.29 points to 2,152.43. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.45 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 18,372.12. The Nasdaq composite lost 17.09 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 5,005.73.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell $2.05, or 4.4 per cent, to close at $44.75 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, lost $2.21, or 4.6 per cent, to close at $46.26 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline lost 5 cents, or 3.6 per cent, to close at $1.38 a barrel, heating oil fell 8 cents, or 5.6 per cent, to $1.38 a barrel and natural gas was flat at $2.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.