Wells Fargo fined $185 million for improper account openings
NEW YORK (AP) — California and federal regulators fined Wells Fargo a combined $185 million on Thursday, alleging the bank's employees illegally opened millions of unauthorized accounts for their customers in order to meet aggressive sales goals.
The San Francisco-based bank will pay $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and $50 million to the City and County of Los Angeles. It will also pay restitution to affected customers.
It is the largest fine the CFPB has levied against a financial institution and the largest fine in the history of the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.
European Central Bank: Governments must do more for economy
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank left its stimulus measures on hold Thursday and warned governments in the 19 country euro currency union that they need to do more to help the economy grow and push up inflation to healthier levels.
The bank kept its key interest rates unchanged and decided against extending the duration of its existing bond-buying stimulus program.
Bank President Mario Draghi seemed relatively confident about the economy and less inclined to hint at more stimulus than some analysts had expected.
Applications for unemployment benefits slipped last week
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, another sign the U.S. job market remains healthy despite a downshift in hiring last month.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of applications for jobless aid slid by 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 259,000, lowest since mid-July. Weekly claims have come in below 300,000 for 79 straight weeks, longest streak since 1970. The less volatile four-week average slipped by 1,750 last week to 261,250.
The number of people collecting unemployment checks has fallen more than 5 percent from a year ago to 2.14 million.
Consumer borrowing grows by $17.7 billion in July
WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers increased their borrowing in July, though the category that includes credit cards grew at the slowest pace since February.
The Federal Reserve said Thursday that consumer borrowing rose by $17.7 billion in July, up from a $14.5 billion increase in June.
Revolving credit, which covers credit cards, rose by $2.8 billion, down from $9.2 billion in June and least since February's $2.2 billion. The category that includes auto and student loans increased by $14.9 billion, up sharply from June's $5.4 billion gain.
US average 30-year mortgage rate declines to 3.44 percent
WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week. As rates remain at historically low levels, homeowners taking advantage of the chance to refinance their mortgages have pushed up refinancing activity.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.44 percent from 3.46 percent last week. The average rate is down from 3.90 percent a year ago, and is close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012.
The 15-year fixed mortgage rate eased to 2.76 percent from 2.77 percent.
Credit card sensation: The hottest new plastic is metal
NEW YORK (AP) — Demand has been so overwhelming that the manufacturer ran out of raw material in just a few days. Enthusiasts extol its virtues all over the internet. Millennials are clamoring for it.
It's not a new video game, or some fancy food craze, or even Apple's latest iPhone, but a credit card.
Calling it plastic wouldn't do it justice. It is a high-end, high-fee, high-reward card made of a metallic alloy.
JPMorgan Chase spent nothing on advertising the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card but demand has been so high that Chase ran out of the alloy, whose composition is a trade secret. Customers are being issued temporary plastic cards.
As US puts breaks on megadeals, Walgreens prepares to unload
Walgreens believes that it will probably have to unload more stores than expected to ease antitrust concerns over its pending, $9.41 billion acquisition of Rite Aid, a deal that would make the nation's largest drugstore chain even larger.
While it still expects to complete the acquisition this year, the Deerfield, Illinois, company said Thursday that it will probably have to divest more than 500 stores. The company previously said that it expected to divest 500 or fewer.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. says it remains "actively engaged" with the Federal Trade Commission as it reviews the deal.
Mazda recalls 2.2M vehicles worldwide; rear hatches can fall
DETROIT (AP) — Mazda is recalling 2.2 million cars and SUVs worldwide because the rear hatches can fall on people and injure them.
The recall covers certain 2010 through 2013 Mazda 3 compact cars, as well as 2012 through 2015 Mazda 5 vans. Also included are certain 2013 to 2016 CX-5 and 2016 CX-3 SUVs.
Mazda says it has no reports of accidents or injuries caused by the problem.
Door latch recall to cost Ford, cut into full-year profits
DETROIT (AP) — Ford will spend $640 million to replace door latches on nearly 2.4 million cars, trucks and vans this year because the doors can pop open while the vehicles are moving.
On Thursday, the company announced it would add 1.5 million vehicles to the pesky and growing recall, which has become so costly Ford had to cut its estimated full-year pretax profit to $10.2 billion from at least $10.8 billion.
Customers have been complaining about the problem, which has affected much of Ford's North American model lineup, since 2014. At least 3 million vehicles have been recalled due to the problem.
Amazon slashes price, adds Alexa to new Fire tablet
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon wants to be under the Christmas tree this year. It's cut the price of its new Fire tablet almost in half and added its popular voice assistant, Alexa, in hopes of making it a hot holiday item, despite a slump in overall tablet sales.
The new Fire HD8 tablet will cost $90, down from $150. Mixed-use battery life is up to 12 hours from 8, and the base storage is doubled to 16 gigabytes.
The biggest change is that the tablet will have Alexa functionality. That means that when users tap and hold the tablet's home button, they can ask the assistant for anything from weather reports to news queries, and also get the device do things like adjusting the lights or temperature on compatible smart-home devices.
Wal-Mart: Coke display stacked like twin towers removed
NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart says a display of Coke cans stacked to look like the World Trade Center has been removed from a Florida store, and was not meant to be disrespectful near the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
The display was mocked online after a photo was posted on Twitter, and Buzzfeed wrote about it.
The photo showed the World Trade Center towers built of Coke Zero packages. A backdrop of the American flag was made with red regular Coke, silver Diet Coke and blue Sprite. A banner above the display said: "We will never forget."
Walmart said the display was removed Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 46.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,479.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 4.86 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,181.30. The Nasdaq composite index fell 24.44 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,259.48.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose $2.12, or 4.7 percent, to close at $47.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $2.01, or 4.2 percent, to $49.99 in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 7 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $1.42 a gallon. Heating oil added 6 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $1.48 a gallon. Natural gas rose 13 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $2.81 per 1,000 cubic feet.