Business Highlights


Some Delta systems haven’t recovered fully from outage

DALLAS (AP) — Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that some computer systems are still working slowly more than a day after an outage crippled the airline and led to more than 1,500 cancelled flights. The system the airline uses to check in and board passengers and also dispatch its planes is still sluggish.

A critical piece of equipment failed at the airline’s Atlanta headquarters Monday, causing a loss of power, and key systems and equipment did not switch over to backups as designed.

Delta passengers endured hundreds more cancelled and delayed flights Tuesday as the carrier slogged through day two of its recovery from the meltdown.


US stocks eke out small gains; Nasdaq sets record close

U.S. stocks recovered from a late-afternoon slide to eke out small gains Tuesday, nudging the Nasdaq composite to its second record close in less than a week.

The three major stock indexes, all of which set new highs last Friday, rebounded from a slight decline on Monday.

Investors focused on the latest batch of company earnings, bidding up health care, telecommunications and consumer-focused companies most.

Energy was the biggest laggard, as crude oil prices closed lower, backtracking after an early rally. Traders also sold off shares in big department store chains after The Gap reported lower sales figures.


Survey: Americans remain gloomy about economy, Chinese sunny

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans, Japanese and many Europeans are glum about their national economies. By contrast, Chinese, Indians and Australians feel positive about theirs.

Those are among the findings from a survey released Tuesday of 20,132 people in 16 countries by the Pew Research Center. Just 44 per cent of Americans rated the U.S. economy as “good,” although that proportion has risen steadily from 18 per cent in 2011. Since that year, the U.S. unemployment rate has tumbled from 9 per cent to 4.9 per cent.


US worker productivity falls in 2Q, causing annual decline

WASHINGTON (AP) — American workers’ productivity slipped in the April-June quarter, feeding into a 12 month decline in how much people are producing for each hour worked.

Productivity fell at an annual rate of 0.5 per cent in the second quarter, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Over the past 12 months, productivity has dropped 0.4 per cent, as labour costs and the hours worked are rising faster than the output of workers’ goods and services. Unit labour costs rose 2 per cent in the second quarter, after decreasing 0.2 per cent in the first quarter.


US wholesale inventories rise 0.3 per cent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles slightly in June while sales rose at a faster pace.

The Commerce Department says inventories at the wholesale level increased 0.3 per cent in June, close to the 0.2 per cent gain in May. Sales increased for a fourth consecutive month, climbing 1.9 per cent in June.

Since late last year, businesses have been slowing the rebuilding of their stockpiles in the face of weaker domestic sales and a fall in export sales. The slowdown in inventory restocking dampened overall economic growth, but many economists believe inventories will enhance growth in the second half of 2016.


GM begins autonomous car tests in Scottsdale, Arizona

General Motors and its autonomous technology company Cruise Automation are testing self-driving cars on the streets of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Testing of self-driving electric Chevrolet Bolts began in Arizona about two weeks ago. It’s the second city for GM’s real-world tests. Autonomous Bolts with Cruise Automation software have been driving around San Francisco since May 20.

GM spokesman Kevin Kelly says the company is considering other cities for tests but wasn’t ready to announce locations.


Valeant’s rosy forecast and promised changes, fire up shares

Drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a Wall Street darling until its price-hiking business strategy made it a symbol of pharmaceutical company greed, said it’s undergoing a restructuring as its new CEO attempts to return the debt-laden company to growth and respectability — without big price increases.

The company said its turn-around plan includes boosting sales of its dermatology, eye care and gastrointestinal medicines; improving its pipeline of experimental drugs in those categories, and using its cash more efficiently. Meanwhile, the company reported a money-losing second-quarter with results far below Wall Street expectations.


Dallas-based AT&T to pay nearly $7.8M in ‘cramming’ cases

DALLAS (AP) — AT&T has agreed to pay nearly $7.8 million to settle government allegations of unauthorized third-party charges for directory assistance services not provided.

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced the settlement with the telecommunications giant. Billing for unauthorized charges is known as “cramming.”

AT&T will issue refunds, totalling $6.8 million, to current and former consumers who were charged the fee since 2012. AT&T also agreed to pay a $950,000 government fine.


EU sets new deficit deadlines for Spain, Portugal

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has set new deadlines for Spain and Portugal to bring their budget deficits into line after both countries escaped fines for failing to rein in spending.

EU headquarters said Tuesday that Portugal is now required to correct its deficit by 2016 and Spain by 2018 at the latest.

The two countries must submit a report by Oct. 15 on how they plan to bring their deficits under the EU ceiling of 3.0 per cent of gross domestic product.


Court again says New Jersey can’t legalize sports betting

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt another defeat to New Jersey’s yearslong attempt to legalize sports betting, setting aside the state’s challenge to a federal betting ban.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling invalidated a law passed by New Jersey in 2014 that would have allowed sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The court found New Jersey’s law repealing prohibitions against sports gambling violated the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which forbids state-authorized sports gambling.


The Dow Jones industrial average added 3.76 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 18,533.05. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.85 of a point, or 0.04 per cent, to 2,181.74. The Nasdaq composite index gained 12.34 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,225.48.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 25 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to close at $42.77 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 41 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to close at $44.98 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline slipped 2 cents to $1.35 a gallon, while heating oil lost a penny to $1.33 a gallon. Natural gas fell 13 cents, or 4.8 per cent, to $2.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.