Business Highlights


$15 billion Volkswagen emissions deal clears 1st hurdle

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A nearly $15 billion settlement over Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal cleared a key hurdle Tuesday, with a federal judge giving preliminary approval to the deal.

The German carmaker has agreed to spend up to $10 billion buying back or repairing about 475,000 Volkswagens and Audi vehicles with 2-litre diesel engines and paying their owners an additional $5,100 to $10,000 each. It also includes $2.7 billion for unspecified environmental mitigation and an additional $2 billion to promote zero-emissions vehicles.

The judge’s decision allows attorneys to notify vehicle owners of the terms and consumers to use a settlement website to determine how much compensation they would get.


As iPhone sale sag, Apple touts apps and services instead

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — You can expect to hear a lot more from Apple about the virtues of mobile apps and online services in coming months. And for good reason: They’re just about the only part of Apple’s business that’s growing right now.

Apps and services have always been key to the appeal of Apple products. But with iPhone sales down for the second quarter in a row — and speculation that a major redesign won’t arrive until late next year — Apple is talking up its online business, promoting it with new kinds of ads and even sponsoring an upcoming reality TV show called “Planet of the Apps.”

The giant tech company sold 40.4 million iPhones in the last quarter — 15 per cent fewer than a year ago, according to its earnings report Tuesday. Analysts say consumers just aren’t as excited about the newest iPhone models. As a result, Apple’s overall revenue fell 15 per cent to $42.4 billion for the three months ending June 30.


Twitter still struggling to grow as rivals race ahead

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter’s growth remains at a crawl as CEO Jack Dorsey struggles to come up with a strategy to attract people to the messaging service.

According to the company’s second-quarter earnings report Tuesday, Twitter had 313 million monthly users. That’s a gain of just 3 million since March. Even more telling, Twitter has added just 9 million monthly users since it brought back Dorsey a year ago to orchestrate a turnaround.

Twitter lost $107 million in the second quarter to extend the company’s 10-year history without a profit. Revenue increased 20 per cent to $602 million.


Historic solar flight marks first round-the-world journey

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The world’s first round-the-world flight to be powered solely by the sun’s energy made history on Tuesday as it landed in Abu Dhabi, where it first took off on an epic 25,000-mile (40,000-kilometre) journey that began more than a year ago.

Since its March 2015 take off, the Swiss-engineered Solar Impulse 2 has made 16 stops around the world without using a drop of fuel to demonstrate that using the plane’s clean technologies on the ground can halve the world’s energy consumption, save natural resources and improve quality of life.


Survey: American consumers’ confidence remains steady

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers are feeling confident about current economic conditions but are a bit warier about the future.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index was essentially unchanged in July, dipping to 97.3 from a revised 97.4 in June.

The survey was the first to measure consumers’ mood since Britain voted June 23 to leave the European Union. That so-called Brexit vote rattled financial markets but doesn’t appear to have bothered American consumers much.


Stocks close flat as investors monitor company earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks had a muddled session on Tuesday, as investors worked through a large batch of corporate earnings from a range of companies including Gilead Sciences, McDonald’s and Texas Instruments.

Wall Street is in the midst of its busiest week for corporate earnings, with 203 members of the S&P 500 reporting their results. So far, earnings have been better than what analysts had anticipated. Roughly 68 per cent of all companies who have reported their results have beaten expectations, according to FactSet.


McDonald’s sales disappoint in US despite all-day breakfast

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s is again looking for ways to win back customers, less than a year after launching a widely touted all-day breakfast menu.

The world’s biggest burger chain said sales rose a disappointing 1.8 per cent at established U.S. locations for the three months ended June 30. That’s even with the benefits from all-day breakfast, which began in October.

CEO Steve Easterbrook, who is fighting to reverse three years of declining customer visits to U.S. outlets, promised “even more news” soon related to McDonald’s push to improve the image of its food.


Verizon 2Q profit hurt by strike; revenue disappoints

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon Communications said Tuesday that a strike by 40,000 employees hurt its results in the second quarter, and the company’s revenue fell short of analyst projections.

The strike by around 40,000 employees lasted seven weeks and was one of the larger strikes by U.S. workers in recent years.

Verizon said that its net income after paying dividends on preferred stock fell to $702 million, or 17 cents per share. Excluding one-time costs related to the strike, charges related to the early redemption of debt, and other items, Verizon said it earned 94 cents per share. Revenue fell 5 per cent to $30.53 billion.


Caterpillar 2Q results top Street, cuts 2016 profit outlook

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar’s second-quarter performance beat Wall Street’s expectations, but the company lowered its full-year guidance again, saying global economic growth remains isn’t sufficient to drive improvement in most of the industries and markets it serves.

The mining and construction equipment company earned $550 million, or 93 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. Removing restructuring costs, earnings were $1.09 per share. This handily beat the 96 cents per share analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Revenue declined to $10.34 billion from $12.32 billion, but topped the $9.99 billion that analysts were looking for.


Qualcomm to pay $19.5M to settle gender discrimination suit

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Qualcomm has agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle a gender discrimination class action lawsuit involving 3,300 women who alleged they were denied equal pay and job opportunities to their male counterparts.

The settlement reached Tuesday also stipulates that the San Diego-based chip maker implement policy changes and programs to better promote female employees working in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM.

Qualcomm Technologies Inc. said in a statement that it “has strong defences” to the claims but agreed to make improvements.


US new-home sales climbed in June to more than 8-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought new homes in June at the fastest pace in more than eight years, a sign that a solid job market and low mortgage rates are bolstering the U.S. housing market.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new-home sales rose 3.5 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 592,000.

Low mortgage rates and a healthy job market have lifted residential real estate, which continues to recover from the depths of the housing bust that began nearly a decade ago. Greater demand and tight inventories have led to rising prices but affordability remains a problem.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.31 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 18,473.75. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.7 of a point, or 0.03 per cent, to 2,169.18. The Nasdaq composite added 12.42 points, or 0.2 per cent, to end at 5,110.05.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 21 cents to close at $42.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 15 cents to close at $44.87 a barrel in London. In other energy commodities, heating oil rose less than 1 cent to $1.33 a gallon, wholesale gasoline futures rose 1 cent to $1.35 a gallon and natural gas fell 4 cents to $2.71 per 1,000 cubic feet.