Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Jul 15, 2016 5:07 PM

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US economy looks resilient as retailers, industry surge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans spent more money at retailers and factories revved up production in June, offering encouraging signs of the U.S. economy's resilience in the face of global headwinds.

Industrial production shot up 0.6 percent, fueled by a big rebound in auto output. It was the best showing since last August. Meanwhile, retail sales also rose 0.6 percent last month, three times the gain in May. And inflation pressures remained modest, with consumer prices climbing 0.2 percent in June.

The new reports Friday came a week after the government's blockbuster jobs report, which showed the economy created 287,000 jobs in June.

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Are stocks the new bonds? Why investors are buying now

NEW YORK (AP) — As bond yields plunge to record lows and investors look for income, they're pouring money into stocks, sending the market to its own record highs.

Once upon a time, if you were an investor who wanted a steady stream of income, you would probably think of U.S. Treasury bonds. Backed by the solid credit of the U.S. government, those bonds were considered ultra-dependable forms of income that wouldn't lose value.

You couldn't count on stocks to pay you a return like that. Now that stocks, broadly speaking, actually pay more than many bonds do, investors' thinking has changed.

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Pokemon Go underscores Nintendo's rich characters, vision

TOKYO (AP) — Nintendo suffered as a latecomer to smartphone games but is seeing the deep wealth of its franchise characters pay off with the success of "Pokemon Go," even without a launch yet in Japan.

The Japanese game maker was starting to look like a casualty of history until the game was launched in the U.S. earlier this month. Not anymore.

The windfall of what one financial analyst dubs "Pokenomics" could help reverse Nintendo's fortunes, although some think its impact on the company's revenues will be limited because the game is free apart from certain revenue-earning features.

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Stocks end little changed after mixed day

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended more or less where they started on Friday as a five-day rally ran out of steam.

The market was down most of the day after disappointing bank earnings weighed on financial company shares. Investors also sold retailers and other consumer-focused stocks. But by the close, the Dow Jones industrial average managed to squeeze out a gain to set another record high.

U.S. government bonds fell, sending their yields higher.

"The market is taking a breather," said Anna Rathbun, research director at CBIZ Retirement Plan Services. "Investors are taking gains."

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Herbalife dodges most serious charges from US

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators closed an investigation of the nutritional supplements company Herbalife, which has for years been dogged by accusations that it is an elaborate pyramid scheme.

Though Herbalife was ordered to restructure its U.S. operations and pay a $200 million settlement Friday, it avoided being classified by the U.S. as a pyramid scheme.

A business model that rewards participants for bringing in others to take part in an enterprise is essentially the base model of a pyramid scheme.

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Buffett delivers annual gifts worth $2.86B to 5 charities

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Investor Warren Buffett has delivered his annual donation of Berkshire Hathaway stock to five charities as part of his plan to gradually give away his fortune.

The gifts of Class B Berkshire stock that Buffett disclosed Thursday were worth roughly $2.86 billion. The biggest share went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Buffett has been giving away blocks of Berkshire stock since 2006. This year's donation was slightly more than last year's $2.8 billion giveaway. Fewer shares were involved but Berkshire's stock price has increased.

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Samsung in talks to invest in Chinese electric car maker BYD

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics said Friday it is in talks to buy shares of Chinese electric car maker BYD in the latest tech-auto collaboration.

The South Korean company said that the move is aimed at strengthening its burgeoning semiconductor business for vehicles.

Samsung said it will disclose the size of the investment after finalizing the deal.

The move is the latest partnership between tech companies and auto firms as vehicles are revamped with connectivity and technology.

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Olympics marketers go for the gold

NEW YORK (AP) — Prepare to be inspired. After all, it's Olympic ad time.

Olympics marketers from Coca-Cola to Samsung are pulling out all the stops this summer, stuffing scores of athletes into ads and telling tearjerker stories.

The rah-rah campaigns mask an unsettling truth: It's tough out there for an Olympic marketer.

The games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, face problems ranging from the Zika virus to political upheaval. And a new rule allows non-sponsors — that is, companies who haven't paid the International Olympic Committee for the privilege of using Olympic trademarks — to make greater use of Olympic athletes in ads.

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Citigroup's profit falls 17 percent, still beats forecasts

NEW YORK (AP) — Citigroup's earnings fell 17 percent in the second quarter, hurt by weak results in consumer banking as interest rates remain extremely low, making lending less profitable. The results still beat analysts' forecasts, however.

The New York-based financial conglomerate said it earned net income of $4 billion on Friday, or $1.25 per share, compared with $4.85 billion, or $1.51 per share, in the same period the year earlier. The results beat the $1.10 per share analysts had expected, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $17.54 billion, beating the $17.52 billion analysts expected.

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Wells Fargo earnings slip, but mostly meet expectations

NEW YORK (AP) — Consumer banking giant Wells Fargo said its second-quarter earnings fell 3 percent from a year ago as the bank continues to feel pressure from low interest rates.

Wells Fargo on Friday reported second-quarter earnings of $5.56 billion, down from $5.72 billion in the same period a year earlier. On a per share basis, the San Francisco-based bank earned $1.01 per share, down from $1.03 per share a year earlier.

The results mostly met analysts' expectations. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected $1.01 per share, while 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were looking for $1.02 per share.

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Settlement reached with air bag maker in Florida case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The family of a Florida woman who became a quadriplegic after the deployment of an air bag in her car has reached an out-of-court settlement with the air bag's manufacturer.

The attorney for Patricia Mincey's family says the terms of the settlement are confidential. Mincey died in April at age 77.

Takata has recalled defective inflators that can explode with too much force, sending shrapnel spewing.

The recalls, as of the latest count, are likely to tally more than 100 million inflators globally. Faulty air bags are responsible for 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide.

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The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 10.14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,516.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 2.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,161.74. The Nasdaq composite lost 4.47 points, or 0.1 percent, to end at 5,029.59.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 27 cents to close at $45.95 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, climbed 24 cents to $47.61 a barrel. In other energy trading in New York, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.42 a gallon, heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.40 a gallon and natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.76 per 1,000 cubic feet.