Business Highlights


Why airlines keep pushing biofuels: They have no choice

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of global fliers is expected to more than double in the next two decades. In order to carry all those extra passengers, airlines are turning to a technology very few can make work on a large scale: converting trash into fuel.

They have no other choice.

As people in countries such as China, India and Indonesia get wealthier they are increasingly turning to air travel for vacation or business, creating an enormous financial opportunity for the airlines. The number of passengers worldwide could more than double, to 7.3 billion a year, in the next two decades, according to the International Air Transport Association.


CEO of Japan’s Toshiba resigns over doctored books

TOKYO (AP) — Toshiba’s CEO and eight other executives resigned Tuesday to take responsibility for doctored books that inflated profits at the Japanese technology manufacturer by 152 billion yen ($1.2 billion) over several years.

Toshiba Corp. acknowledged a systematic coverup, which began in 2008. Various parts of the Japanese company’s sprawling business including computer chips and personal computers were struggling financially, but top managers set unrealistic earnings targets under the banner of “challenge,” and subordinates faked results.


Citi to refund $700 million for deceptive card practices

NEW YORK (AP) — Citigroup will refund $700 million to consumers and will pay $70 million in fines for illegal and deceptive credit card practices, the bank and federal regulators said Tuesday.

The order, coming from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is the latest multimillion dollar settlement against the largest credit card issuers for their role in selling “add-on” products to customers, such as credit score monitoring or “rush” processing of payments. Bank of America reached a similar, slightly larger settlement with regulators in 2014 and JPMorgan Chase was fined in 2013.


Strong iPhone sales; Apple stock down with few Watch details

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple’s stock slid sharply on Tuesday after the company reported strong iPhone sales but remained coy about the performance of its new smartwatch.

While not releasing specific figures for the Apple Watch, Apple reported total results for several products, including the watch, that suggest sales were lower than many Wall Street analysts expected. The company also issued a revenue forecast for the current quarter that suggested sales could fall below analysts’ prior estimates.


Unemployment rates fell in 21 US states in June, rose in 12

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell last month in 21 U.S. states and were unchanged in 17, as widespread job growth and a shrinking workforce reduce the ranks of those out of work.

The figures point to widespread improvement in the nation’s job market. There is also evidence that the falling unemployment rates in many states could be boosting wage growth, according to an analyst note, a trend that could emerge at the national level.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates rose in 12 states. Employers added jobs in 31 states and cut them in 17, with little change in the remaining two states.


Report suggest US children left behind in economic recovery

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A new report on child welfare that found more U.S. children living in poverty than before the Great Recession belies the fanfare of the nation’s economic turnaround.

Twenty-two per cent of American children were living in poverty in 2013 compared with 18 per cent in 2008, according to the latest Kids Count Data Book, with poverty rates nearly double among African-Americans and American Indians and problems most severe in South and Southwest.


Dozens of expired tax breaks would get renewed under bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses big and small would get to keep claiming dozens of tax breaks that expired at the start of the year under a bill that overwhelmingly passed the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday.

Struggling homeowners and people who live in states without a state income tax would get to keep their tax breaks, too.

The bill would extend more than 50 tax credits, exemptions and deductions through 2016, beyond the upcoming presidential election. It would add $95 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which provides official estimates for Congress.


Microsoft books $8.4 billion write-down on phones in 4Q

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Microsoft booked an $8.4 billion charge in the fourth quarter, swallowing a bitter pill by writing off the Nokia phone business it bought just over a year ago. It narrowly beat analysts’ depressed expectations for a quarter that also saw a steep decline in personal computer sales even as it prepares to launch its latest operating system, Windows 10.

The Redmond, Washington-based software giant posted a net loss of $3.20 billion, or 40 cents per share, reversing a profit of $4.61 billion, or 55 cents per share, a year ago.


Yahoo suffers 2Q loss as revenue growth eludes company

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo is still limping along as the Internet company prepares to shed the financial crutch that has been propping up its stock during the three-year reign of CEO Marissa Mayer.

The latest evidence of the challenges facing Mayer emerged Tuesday with the release of Yahoo’s second-quarter earnings report. Yahoo’s posted a loss of nearly $22 million, while its net revenue remained unchanged from the previous year at $1.04 billion.

If not for the costs of employee stock compensation and one-time accounting items, Yahoo said it would have earned 16 cents per share — 2 cents per share below the average estimate among analysts polled by Zacks.


Europe approves Amgen’s first-in-class cholesterol drug

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amgen on Tuesday received European approval for its first-of-a-kind cholesterol drug that lowers levels of the artery-clogging substance more than older drugs that have been prescribed for decades.

The highly-anticipated decision introduces a new option for patients at risk for heart disease. But questions remain about the drug’s price — estimated by one analyst at about $3,750 per year outside the U.S. — and its ability to reduce heart attack and death in the long term.


Pfizer is expanding its vaccine portfolio, developing others

Pfizer has expanded its research on vaccines to eventually safeguard people from cradle to grave, from shots for pregnant women to protect their babies from the moment of birth to vaccines for senior citizens with waning immune systems, company officials said Tuesday during a media briefing.

The biggest U.S. drugmaker sells the world’s top-selling vaccine, Prevnar 13 against pneumonia and other infections. The shot had sales of nearly $4.5 billion last year.

New York-based Pfizer Inc. has long talked of building its portfolio in vaccines, one of its core research areas, but until last year Pfizer had no others.


Feds say ID protector LifeLock violated $12M settlement

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government says identity theft protection company LifeLock spent years violating a $12 million settlement for misrepresenting the protection it provides for customers.

Four years after LifeLock paid the eight-figure settlement related to false claims in its advertising, the Federal Trade Commission said LifeLock still had not set up a comprehensive program to protect sensitive data like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and bank account numbers.


Facebook loses in clash with prosecutors over users’ data

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook can’t block nearly 400 search warrants seeking users’ postings for a criminal fraud investigation, an appeals court said Tuesday, but the judges said they understand the social networking site’s unease about prosecutors’ extensive request.

The state Supreme Court Appellate Division ruling won’t put any new information in prosecutors’ hands. Facebook had lost earlier rulings and already turned the data over. But the case has been closely watched by social media companies, civil libertarians and prosecutors.

Facebook said it was weighing its options for continuing the fight.


Germanwings crash families accuse airline of ignoring them

BERLIN (AP) — A group of parents whose children were killed in the Germanwings plane crash in March on Tuesday released a scathing letter to Lufthansa’s CEO, accusing him of ignoring their needs and feelings and insulting them with his company’s compensation offer.

The parents of 16 students from the town of Haltern accused Carsten Spohr of never having spoken with relatives to apologize — a claim disputed by the airline.

The letter comes amid negotiations with Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent airline, over compensation for the March 24 crash.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 181.12 points, or 1 per cent, to 17,919.29. The S&P 500 index lost 9.07 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,119.21. The Nasdaq composite slid 10.74 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,208.12.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 21 cents to close at $50.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 39 cents to close at $57.04 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 0.9 cent to close at $1.921 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to close at $1.678 a gallon. Natural gas rose 5.9 cents to close at $2.882 per 1,000 cubic feet.