Business Highlights


Air bag inflator recall to grow by 35 million to 40 million

WASHINGTON (AP) — Takata will recall another 35 million to 40 million air bag inflators, a stunning increase that will more than double what is already the largest automotive recall in American history, the federal government announced Wednesday.

The recall expansion would bring to as many as 69 million the total number of inflators to be replaced, a gargantuan task that the government predicts will take until the end of 2019 to complete.

The car and truck models included in the expanded recall and the number of additional vehicles affected were not immediately released but will be posted on NHTSA’s website in the coming weeks.


Weak US hiring report sends stocks lower on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. and global stock indexes moved lower a second day Wednesday following a dismal report on job creation that gave investors concern over the state of the economy. The data followed a round of economic news out of China and Europe a day earlier that also suggested sluggish growth.

Stocks started lower and remained there throughout the day, following a survey by payroll processor ADP which showed U.S. companies hired workers at the slowest pace in three years last month.


Survey: US businesses add jobs at slowest pace in 3 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies added jobs at the slowest pace in three years in April, a private survey found, a sign that slower growth and volatile financial markets could be weighing on hiring.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 156,000 jobs in April, down from 194,000 in March. Manufacturers shed 11,000 jobs, after losing 3,000 the previous month. Services firms added 166,000, down from 189,000.

The figures suggest that businesses tapped the brakes on hiring last month after the economy barely expanded in the first quarter.


Brazil turmoil costs AB Inbev in quarterly results

BRUSSELS (AP) — The world’s biggest brewer, AB Inbev, says economic and political turmoil in Brazil hit its quarterly earnings, with sales volumes declining by 10 per cent in the huge Latin American nation.

The company said “our business in Brazil experienced one of its most challenging quarters in many years,” and added that “we expect the economy to remain challenging” for the rest of the year.

Sales volumes overall declined by 1.4 per cent. Revenue dropped to $9.40 billion in the first quarter from $10.45 billion in the same period of last year.


Whole Foods sees key sales figure decline again

NEW YORK (AP) — Whole Foods says sales declined 3 per cent at established locations during its fiscal second quarter as it prepares to launch an offshoot chain intended to expand its customer base.

It marks the third straight quarterly decline for the Austin, Texas-based company, which is facing intensifying competition from traditional grocers and big box retailers that have expanded their organic and natural food selections.

For the current quarter through May 1, the company said sales were down 2.6 per cent at established locations.


Tesla Motors 1Q net loss widens on Model X woes

DETROIT (AP) — Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. racked up a big loss in the first quarter because of production problems with its new SUV, but investors cheered the news that it’s on target to meet its delivery goals this year and bring its new, low-cost car to market by 2017.

Tesla’s loss rose 84 per cent to $282 million in the first quarter as it struggled with parts delays for the Model X SUV. Also, the company’s stock-based compensation costs more than doubled during the quarter to nearly $90 million.

The loss, of $2.13 per share, far exceeded Wall Street’s forecasts. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 87 cents per share.


Aeropostale, one-time mall king, seeks bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK (AP) — Aeropostale, once the vibrant epicenter of the U.S. mall scene, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closing 20 per cent of its stores in North America.

Aeropostale expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection within six months as a smaller company after renegotiating contracts and resolving an ongoing dispute with the investment firm Sycamore Partners, a major shareholder that pushed through changes in company leadership.

In the filing, CEO Julian Geiger lashed out at Sycamore, which he accused of hampering the company’s turnaround plans.


New federal rule would permit thousands of eagle deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is revising a federal rule that allows wind-energy companies to operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years, even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles.

Under the plan announced Wednesday, wind companies and other power providers could kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty — nearly four times the current limit. Golden eagles could only be killed if companies take steps to minimize the losses, for instance, by retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution.


Hulu to sell Internet TV package with live programming

NEW YORK (AP) — Hulu is expanding its Internet TV programming with a subscription service offering a mix of live cable and broadcast options that will include news and sports.

The move will pit 8-year-old Hulu against similar cable-like bundles already being offered by Dish’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins confirmed his service’s foray into live programming at a Wednesday presentation in New York. But he didn’t providing many specifics, including how much a monthly subscription will cost or how many channels will be available.


Tribune Publishing rejects Gannett offer

The Tribune Publishing Co. has rejected Gannett’s more than $388 million bid to buy the business.

Last month, Gannett offered to buy the Chicago company — which owns The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers. But it said at the time that Tribune Publishing refused to have meaningful discussions about a deal.

Tribune said Wednesday that “after thorough consideration” its board decided the proposal understates the company’s true value and is not in the best interests of its shareholders.


GM to resume production at 4 plants idled by Japan quakes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — General Motors is on track to resume full operations at four North American plants where vehicle assembly has been halted because of supply chain interruptions caused by earthquakes in Japan.

GM said manufacturing that was put on hold on April 25 is expected to resume on May 9 at plants in Tennessee, Ohio, Kansas and Canada.

The powerful earthquakes that struck southwestern Japan last month killed 49 people and disrupted manufacturing and logistics.


The Dow Jones industrial average lost 99.65 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 17,651.26. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 12.25 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 2,051.12. The Nasdaq composite index lost 37.58 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,725.64.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 13 cents to close at $43.78 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 35 cents to close at $44.62 a barrel in London. In other energy trading in New York, wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.49 a barrel, heating oil fell half a penny to $1.33 a gallon and natural gas rose 6 cents to $2.14 per 1,000 cubic feet.