Business Highlights


Fed leaves key rate unchanged but hints at upcoming hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Wednesday, six days before Americans choose a new president, but hinted again that it would likely raise rates soon.

The Fed said that the case for a rate hike has “continued to strengthen” but that it had decided to await more evidence of progress toward its objectives. Most Fed watchers expect a rate increase at the central bank’s next meeting in mid-December.


Facebook beats Street 3Q forecasts

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook Inc. on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings of $2.37 billion.

The social media company said it had profit of 82 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to $1.09 per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 97 cents per share.

The social media company posted revenue of $7.01 billion in the period, also surpassing market forecasts.


Stocks struggle again as investors eye 2016 election

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks retreated for a seventh consecutive day on Wednesday, the market’s longest decline in five years, as investor worries about the U.S. presidential election continued to weigh on the market.

A steep decline in oil prices also shook investor confidence. The last time the S&P 500 fell for seven straight days was November 2011, during a flare-up of the European sovereign debt crisis.


Survey: US businesses add just 147,000 jobs in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies added the fewest jobs in four months in October, as construction and manufacturing firms continued to shed workers, a private survey says.

Payroll provider ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 147,000 jobs, down from 202,000 in September, a figure that was revised strongly higher.

October’s hiring, while below last year’s healthy pace, is enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. With the U.S. population aging, not as many jobs are required as in the past to keep up with population growth.


Anthem misses 3Q Street profit forecast, medical costs rise

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Anthem’s third-quarter earnings slid nearly 6 per cent and missed Wall Street expectations, as rising medical costs countered revenue growth and some cost cutting for the nation’s second-largest health insurer.

The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer also updated on Wednesday a 2016 forecast that falls short of analyst forecasts.

Overall, the insurer earned $617.8 million in the quarter, down from $654.8 million last year. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, totalled $2.45 per share in this year’s quarter.


Time Warner 3Q results top Street; raises outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Time Warner’s third-quarter performance beat analysts’ estimates, thanks partly to revenue growth spurred by the success of films such as “Suicide Squad” and “Sully.”

The media company — which is in the midst of a proposed $85 billion tie-up with AT&T — also boosted its full-year adjusted profit forecast again.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Time Warner earned $1.47 billion, or $1.86 per share. That compares with $1.04 billion, or $1.26 per share, a year earlier. Stripping out certain items, earnings were $1.83 per share.


Alibaba posts strong results as shopping, cloud units grow

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba reported better-than-expected third-quarter results, as revenue soared at its shopping sites, cloud computing unit and its video streaming services.

The company reported net income of $1.14 billion, or 45 cents per share, the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and stock option expense, came to 79 cents per share, beating the 70 cents per share that analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.


Whole Foods to drop 1 of 2 co-CEOs as sales fall again

NEW YORK (AP) — Whole Foods, which has been run by two CEOs for six years, says it is dropping one of them.

Co-founder John Mackey will become the sole CEO at the end of the year. The other co-CEO, Walter Robb, will remain on the company’s board and be a senior adviser to the company.

The grocer also said sales fell 2.6 per cent at established stores in the fourth quarter, worse than the 2 per cent drop analysts expected, according to FactSet.


Broadcom buying Brocade Communications in $5.5B deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Chipmaker Broadcom is buying Brocade in a deal valued at approximately $5.5 billion.

Brocade shareholders will receive $12.75 per share, a 13 per cent premium to the Tuesday closing prices of the computer networking company. The deal also includes $400 million in debt.

Broadcom Ltd. plans to sell Brocade’s IP Networking business, which includes wireless and campus networking, data centre switching and routing and software networking solutions. Brocade CEO Lloyd Carney said the company will work with Broadcom to try to find a buyer for the IP Networking business.


Safety chief: Honda must do more to fix dangerous air bags

DETROIT (AP) — Honda must do more to track down owners of 300,000 cars with highly dangerous Takata air bag inflators and make sure they are repaired, the nation’s top auto safety regulator said Wednesday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has talked to Honda about hiring private investigators to track down owners, sending notices in different languages, or even taking service trucks into neighbourhoods to repair cars on the spot.

The air bag inflators in 313,000 older Hondas and Acuras have up to a 50 per cent chance of rupturing in a crash. Despite an urgent warning in June, only 13,000 of the cars have been fixed.


The Dow Jones industrial average lost 77.46 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 17,959.64. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 13.78 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 2,097.94 and the Nasdaq composite fell 48.01 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 5,105.57.

Benchmark crude oil sank $1.33 to $45.34 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, fell $1.28 at $46.86 a barrel. In other energy trading, heating oil fell 5 cents to $1.47 a gallon, wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to $1.45 a gallon and natural gas fell 11 cents to $2.792 per 1,000 cubic feet.