Business Highlights


In a sign of broader ambitions, Facebook opens hardware lab

Facebook is opening a new hardware lab as part of its broader ambitions to connect people through smart gadgets, virtual-reality headsets and high-flying drones that deliver internet signals.

Although the company built its fortune on the internet, it sees hardware as an important part of its future. Facebook’s new research facility demonstrates that in Silicon Valley, leading tech companies are rarely content to keep doing the same thing.


Time Warner invests in Hulu in win for cable cord-cutters

NEW YORK (AP) — Time Warner has become the latest media company to invest in streaming service Hulu.

The move could boost the viability of an online TV service that Hulu is expected to launch next year as an alternative to cable TV. Sony and Dish already operate online TV services, while Apple has expressed interest in one, according to published reports. None of those companies, however, have the networks themselves as full partners or owners, the way Hulu does.

Time Warner Inc. took a 10 per cent stake in Hulu for $583 million, in another step blurring the lines separating cable TV from Internet video services.


US stocks tick higher as energy prices jump

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged higher Wednesday as energy companies climbed with the price of oil. Banks also rose, and investors sold traditionally safe stocks.

Stocks opened lower but gradually recovered to finish at their highest levels of the day. The price of oil jumped after the U.S. government said gasoline stockpiles shrank last week. A survey showed private U.S. business payrolls grew by 179,000 in July. That suggests hiring is still healthy, but that wasn’t enough to excite investors.


US businesses add solid 179,000 jobs in July, survey finds

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies added 179,000 jobs in July, according to a private survey, a steady gain suggesting that hiring remains healthy after a sharp fall-off in the spring.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that last month’s job growth was driven by services companies — ranging from retailers to shipping firms — which added 185,000 positions. Construction companies, by contrast, cut jobs. And manufacturers added a meagre 4,000 positions.

The report showed that many businesses are still hiring even as economic growth has remained sluggish.


Fed fines Goldman $36.3M for use of confidential material

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve fined Goldman Sachs $36.3 million for what it called the use and disclosure of confidential materials that the U.S. uses in its supervision of banks.

The Fed ordered the big Wall Street bank on Wednesday to put in place a program to ensure that the alleged violation doesn’t happen again.

Regulators now want to ban Joseph Jiampietro, a former managing director at Goldman, from the banking industry and levy fines against him for the incident that took place more than two years ago. Jiampietro’s attorney said the allegations are false and his client will fight them.


Tesla loss grows as it falls short of sales goals

DETROIT (AP) — Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. ended its turbulent second quarter with a larger-than-expected loss, but said it remains on track to increase production in the second half of this year and introduce a new car in 2017.

Tesla’s second-quarter loss grew nearly 60 per cent to $293 million as it delivered fewer vehicles than planned. The 13-year-old company has only reported one profitable quarter, in 2013.

Revenue rose 33 per cent to $1.27 billion.


UK desperately short of trade experts to lead Brexit talks

LONDON (AP) — Britain is woefully short of one thing it desperately needs in its high-stakes divorce from the European Union: experienced trade negotiators.

Ever since Britain joined the bloc in 1973, the EU has handled its trade talks, so expertise in this area has migrated to Brussels. That means the government has only a few dozen skilled negotiators — against the 1,200 it will need, by one estimate — as it embarks on the complex talks that will determine the U.K.’s relationship with its most important trading partners.


Fly me to the moon: Feds OK private firm’s lunar flight plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government for the first time has given permission to a private Florida company to fly a spaceship beyond Earth’s orbit and land on the moon.

The Federal Aviation Administration gave clearance Wednesday to Moon Express to land a washing machine-sized vehicle on the moon that would take hops across the lunar surface using engine firings instead of roving on wheels.

Moon Express plans to launch late next year. The $10 million flight is the first of many planned missions where they hope to make money extracting lunar resources, like platinum, and selling moon dust and rock collectibles.


The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 41.23 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 18,355. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 6.76 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,163.79. The Nasdaq composite rose 22 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 5,159.74.

Benchmark U.S. crude added $1.32, or 3.3 per cent, to $40.83 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose $1.30, or 3.1 per cent, to $43.10 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $1.35 a gallon. Heating oil added 3 cents to $1.29 a gallon. Natural gas gained 11 cents to $2.84 per 1,000 cubic feet.