Business Highlights


Netflix facing tougher times as subscriber growth slows

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is running into trouble as the internet video service wrestles with slowing U.S. subscriber growth and an ambitious international expansion amid stiffening competition.

The challenge came into sharper focus Monday with the release of Netflix’s second-quarter earnings.

Netflix only added 160,000 U.S. subscribers from April through June. That’s the lowest U.S. customer gain that the company has posted during that three-month period since splitting up its video-streaming and DVD-by-mail services five years ago.

Management blamed the disappointing performance on cancellations by subscribers facing price increases of as much as $2 per month with the expiration of a two-year rate freeze.


Sprint owner SoftBank to buy ARM in big post-Brexit deal

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. is buying Britain’s ARM Holdings for 24.3 billion pounds ($32 billion), in a deal the British government hailed as a vote of confidence in the country following last month’s vote to leave the European Union.

The recommended cash deal underlines the desire of SoftBank, which also owns struggling U.S. telecommunications company Sprint, to expand in the so-called “Internet of Things” — how home devices can connect online and work in sync.

ARM is renowned as an innovator in this field; its technology is used in the vast majority of smartphones, for example.


McDonald’s, Starbucks agree to filter Wi-Fi porn

CHICAGO (AP) — McDonald’s and Starbucks are implementing filtering technology that blocks customers using Wi-Fi from accessing pornography sites.

The move follows a campaign from anti-pornography groups Enough is Enough and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation to demand the chains filter out pornography.

McDonald’s says that Wi-Fi filtering has been activated in the majority of its nearly 14,000 restaurants nationwide. Starbucks says it is implementing filtering once it can find a system that “also doesn’t involuntarily block unintended content.”

The National Center for Sexual Exploitation says chains such as Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread already block porn on Wi-Fi.


Yahoo reports another big loss, writes down Tumblr value

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo’s latest earnings report confirms that the internet company is stuck in a downward spiral.

The company beat market expectations for revenue in its most recent quarter. But after subtracting commissions paid to its partners, its revenue fell 19 per cent, while its loss widened to $440 million.

Investors are waiting to hear about the company’s plans, after Yahoo’s began soliciting bids from prospective buyers earlier this year. Monday was the deadline for final offers.

Yahoo also said it’s writing down $482 million in charges related to the declining value of Tumblr, which it acquired in 2013.


US says fuel economy likely won’t meet 2025 targets

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government says the nation’s cars and trucks are well on their way to meeting fuel economy and emissions standards set for 2025, but cheaper gas prices could ultimately lower those targets by encouraging consumers to buy less-efficient vehicles.

A report on the standards was issued Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the California Air Resources Board. The report kicks off a two-year review that will determine whether to keep the 2025 fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions targets in place or change them.

Under standards set in 2012, automakers’ fleets were expected to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That’s not the real-world mileage vehicles will get; it includes credits for things like more efficient air conditioning systems. The real-world mileage is closer to 40 miles per gallon.


123,000 Venezuelans cross border shopping for scarce food

SAN ANTONIO DEL TACHIRA, Venezuela (AP) — More than 100,000 Venezuelans, some of whom drove through the night in caravans, crossed into Colombia over the weekend to hunt for food and medicine that are in short supply at home.

It was the second weekend in a row that Venezuela’s socialist government opened the long-closed border with Colombia.

Venezuela’s government closed all crossings a year ago to crack down on smuggling. But shortages have continued to mount in Venezuela amid an economic collapse there.


Stocks inch higher, send S&P 500 to another record

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ticked higher Monday as investors looked past this weekend’s failed coup attempt in Turkey and nudged the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to another record.

The S&P 500 rose 5.15 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,166.89. It was the fifth time in the last six days that the index set a closing high. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 16.50, or 0.1 per cent, to 18,533.05. The Nasdaq composite rose 26.19, or 0.5 per cent, to 5,055.78.

The stock market has been on a mostly upward swing since February, notwithstanding a few setbacks, after shrugging off worries about fragile economies overseas, weaker profits at home and sundry other challenges. Add one more to the list: Friday’s military uprising in Turkey.


Feds probe Fiat Chrysler over alleged false sales reports

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that Fiat Chrysler violated securities laws by getting dealers to falsely report sales of new cars in order to inflate the company’s numbers.

The company confirmed Monday that it is co-operating with investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The probe apparently stems from a lawsuit filed in January by the Illinois-based Napleton dealership group alleging that competing dealers were given thousands of dollars to report false sales.


Bank of America profits fall 20 per cent, hurt by low rates

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America’s earnings fell 20 per cent in the second quarter as historically low interest rates dented the bank’s profitability.

The banking giant earned $3.87 billion, or 36 cents per share, before dividends to preferred shareholders. That’s down from $4.8 billion, or 43 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.The results still beat analysts’ expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet expected the bank to earn 33 cents per share.

Revenue at the nation’s second-largest bank by assets fell to $20.4 billion from $21.96 billion.


Fracking may worsen asthma for nearby residents, study says

CHICAGO (AP) — Fracking may worsen asthma in children and adults who live near sites where the oil and gas drilling method is used, according to an 8-year study in Pennsylvania.

The study found that asthma treatments were as much as four times more common in patients living closer to areas with more or bigger active wells than those living far away.

But the study did not establish that fracking directly caused or worsened asthma. There’s also no way to tell from the study whether asthma patients exposed to fracking fare worse than those exposed to more traditional gas drilling methods.


The Dow Jones industrial average rose 16.50 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 18,533.05. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 5.15 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,166.89. The Nasdaq composite added 26.19 points, or 0.5 per cent, to end at 5,055.78.

The price of crude oil fell 71 cents to settle at $45.24 per barrel. Brent fell 65 cents to $46.96 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $1.39 a barrel, heating oil lost 2 cents to $1.38 a gallon and natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.72 per 1,000 cubic feet.