Business Highlights


Twitter cuts staff, kills off Vine app amid pressure to grow

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter, seemingly unable to find a buyer and losing money, is cutting about 9 per cent of its employees worldwide.

It is also killing off Vine, a mobile video app where people share short video clips that play in a loop. While beloved by users, it never took off with the masses and has lost its lustre as of late.

Twitter has failed to keep pace with rivals Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and in recent months, rumours abounded that it would be acquired. CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday quickly brushed aside what he called “recent market speculation.”


Rising star: YouTube playing key role in Google’s success

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — YouTube has emerged as a break-out star for Google.

The popularity of the service has shifted a bigger chunk of advertising budgets from traditional network television programming to the eclectic mix of clips found on YouTube. And that is making the already hugely profitable Google even more prosperous.

In a third-quarter report released Thursday, Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., said it earned $5.1 billion, or $7.25 per share, a 27 per cent increase from the same time last year. After subtracting advertising commissions, revenue climbed 21 per cent to $18.3 billion. Both figures topped analyst projections.


Amazon misses 3Q profit forecasts

SEATTLE (AP) — Inc. shares fell in after-market trading on Thursday after the online retailer reported third-quarter net income that missed analyst expectations.

The company said net income tripled to $252 million, or 52 cents per share, from $79 million, or 17 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter. That missed analyst expectations of 85 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue jumped 29 per cent to $32.71 billion in the period, which topped Street forecasts.

Amazon has begun to balance spending with revenue more prudently and has reported a profit in each of the past five quarters.


Apple adds keyboard touch functions to Mac in major refresh

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple unveiled long-awaited updates to its Mac computers Thursday, aiming to spark consumer interest in a product line often overshadowed by its other gadgets like the iPad and iPhone.

The company is adding a new touch-sensitive panel on the MacBook Pro, Apple’s top-of-the-line laptop. The Pro will also come with a fingerprint sensor, similar to one in the iPhone, to unlock the device. It can recognize different users and offer quick switching based on the fingerprint.

The new Macs will also offer a dedicated key for the Siri voice assistant, a feature added with the MacOS Sierra update last month.


US stock indexes slip further, but bond yields surge

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks slipped for the third consecutive day Thursday as media and defence companies skidded. Bond yields climbed to their highest levels since May, which helped banks and hurt stocks that pay big dividends.

Cable and TV companies and publishers sank, and industrial companies like Raytheon and L-3 Communications fell after reporting weak results.


Ford’s 3Q profit falls on recall, truck launch

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Troubles in Ford Motor Co.’s home market — including slowing U.S. sales, a massive recall and the difficult launch of new heavy-duty pickups — are hurting the company’s bottom line.

Ford said Thursday its net income plunged 56 per cent to $957 million in the third quarter. Its adjusted results beat market expectations but that didn’t do much to offset concerns that Ford is headed for a rough patch. The company has already announced temporary plant shutdowns in North America this month to curb production, and plans more actions in the fourth quarter.


Aetna tops Street 3Q expectations, narrows 2016 forecast

Aetna’s third-quarter earnings rose nearly 8 per cent to top Wall Street forecasts, as growing government business and cost cutting countered higher costs from the health insurer’s Affordable Care Act coverage.

But the nation’s third-largest insurer narrowed its 2016 forecast just below analyst expectations heading into the year’s final months, and its stock edged lower.

Aetna’s enrolment in government programs like Medicaid and Medicare grew 11 per cent, to nearly 4.5 million people, and the insurer said Thursday that segment now contributes about half of its total health care premiums.


Altria to close 2 tobacco facilities affecting 580 workers

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, said Thursday that it will close manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Illinois by early 2018, affecting about 580 workers.

The company said about 200 jobs in different states will be available for those workers, if they choose to transfer. Altria did not say how many workers it expects to lay off. Full-time workers that do not transfer will be given a minimum of six months of severance, in addition to benefits and free job training, a spokesman said.


UPS 3Q profit up 1 per cent as US revenue increases

DALLAS (AP) — UPS said Thursday that its third-quarter profit inched higher on growing revenue in the U.S. and a more profitable international delivery business.

The package-delivery giant is heading into biggest test of the year, the holiday season. UPS expects to deliver more than 700 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, about 100 million more than last year.

The third-quarter profit was roughly in line with Wall Street expectations but revenue beat the forecasts.


Average US 30-year mortgage rate eases to 3.47 per cent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week, moving closer to historically low levels.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage eased to 3.47 per cent from 3.52 per cent last week. The benchmark rate is down from 3.76 per cent a year ago and close to its all-time low of 3.31 per cent in November 2012.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, ticked down to 2.78 per cent from 2.79 per cent.


American and Southwest raises base fares by $5 each way

DALLAS (AP) — American and Southwest are raising fares by $5 each way, the latest move by airlines to reverse a price slump that has lasted nearly two years.

American Airlines Group Inc. raised prices first and Southwest Airlines Co. followed suit on Thursday, according to J.P. Morgan Securities and FareCompare. Both airlines confirmed the price increase.

Fares have been falling since airlines began adding flights and seats faster than the growth in travel demand.


The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 29.65 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 18,169.68. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 6.39 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,133.04. The Nasdaq composite sank 34.29 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 5,215.97.

U.S. benchmark crude rose 54 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $49.72 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 49 cents, or 1 per cent, to $50.47 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline remained at $1.49 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.57 a gallon. Natural gas added 3 cents to $2.76 per 1,000 cubic feet.