Business Highlights


AP Exclusive: How candy makers shape nutrition science

NEW YORK (AP) — It was a startling scientific finding: Children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who don’t. Less startling was how it came about. The paper was funded by a trade association representing the makers of Butterfingers, Hershey and Skittles.

An Associated Press investigation found that one of the food industry’s most powerful tactics is the funding of nutrition research. It carries the weight of academic authority, becomes a part of scientific literature and generates headlines.

Funders say they follow guidelines to ensure scientific integrity but critics fear that companies use science for marketing and hype the findings.


United CEO aims to win back high-paying business travellers

NEW YORK (AP) — United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz knows that his airline has alienated some of its most loyal fliers. His effort to win them back starts with a new business class product that he unveiled Thursday.

United is giving its business class seats their first upgrade in a decade — and removing middle seats from those planes still have them in the premium cabin. Passengers will also get do not disturb signs and more storage space. There will be dedicated lounges in key airports just for business class fliers.


Federal regulators look to severely curb payday lending

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators proposed a significant clampdown on payday lenders and other high interest loans on Thursday, the first nationwide attempt to address an industry widely thought of as taking advantage of the poor and desperate.

The proposals, if enacted intact, are likely to cause a nationwide contraction and restructuring of the $38 billion payday loan industry.

Roughly 12 million Americans take out a payday loan each year, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts, who has done extensive research on the industry. The average borrower takes out eight loans of $375 each per year, spending $520 on interest.


OPEC states fail to reach deal on production

VIENNA (AP) — OPEC countries failed Thursday to agree on measures to influence crude supplies and prices — a missed opportunity to show the resolve that for decades let them set how much consumers and industries worldwide would pay for gas, heating and related necessities.

At the same time, OPEC officials argued that the cartel was alive and well, scoffing at suggestions that its authority was eroding to the point where it will soon be negligible. But the decision to make no decision appeared more an illustration of lack of unity, particularly between OPEC rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose deepening struggle for Mideast supremacy has for years been mirrored at oil meetings.


Applications for US unemployment benefits dipped last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for jobless aid last week, the third straight drop in a sign that the job market remains healthy despite a recent slowdown in hiring.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid dipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 276,750.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the decline in jobless aid suggests that companies are confident enough to hold onto their workers. When layoffs are low, hiring is usually steady.


Survey: US companies add a solid 173,000 jobs in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses added 173,000 jobs last month, lifted by strong gains in services industries, according to a private survey.

Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that construction firms also hired more workers, while manufacturers shed jobs. Large job gains occurred in retail, shipping, and utilities companies, as well as in professional services such as accounting and engineering.

The figures nearly matched a gain of 166,000 in April. That suggests hiring has slowed a bit from an average of about 210,000 a month over the previous six months, according to ADP. Still, last month’s job gains, if sustained, are enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.


Bank of England’s new 5-pound note features Churchill

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s new five-pound note features the image of World War II leader Winston Churchill — and comes with a promise that it can stand up to all his favourite things.

That means the new polymer notes can survive a splash of Claret, a flick of cigar ash and the nip of a bulldog.

The new design was unveiled Thursday at Churchill’s birthplace in Oxfordshire. The new fiver will be printed on polymer, a thin flexible plastic film.

The current note features prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.


GM says its Takata inflators are safe; government disagrees

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors announced its largest recall of Takata air bag inflators yet, but the nation’s biggest automaker says the parts are unique to its trucks and SUVs and don’t pose a safety risk.

The government’s highway safety agency disagrees.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says GM must proceed with two recalls adding up to 1.9 million trucks from the 2007 through 2011 model years.

The recalls were unveiled Thursday along with those from six other automakers totalling 4.4 million vehicles. A total of 17 automakers are adding 35 million-to-40 million inflators to what already was the largest auto recall in U.S. history.


Johnson & Johnson buying Vogue Int’l for about $3.3B

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is buying hair care products maker Vogue International for about $3.3 billion.

Privately held Vogue also sells other personal care products.

The acquisition will give Johnson & Johnson the OGX collection of shampoos, conditioners, treatments, styling products, body care and bath products, the FX hair styling product line and the Proganix and Maui Moisture hair care lines. Vogue’s hair care products are sold in the U.S. and 38 other countries.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.


Dutch investigators raid companies linked to global fraud

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch prosecutors raided a string of locations and seized cash and hundreds of thousands of fraudulent letters in an investigation into worldwide mail scams that U.S. law enforcement authorities said Thursday defrauded “elderly and vulnerable” Americans out of tens of millions of dollars.

The scams involved sending letters to people around the world, including thousands of Americans, telling them they had won or could win lottery or other prizes and could get their winnings by sending a processing fee or by buying goods or services.

Ringleaders of the fraud are suspected of mailing millions of letters to people in countries including the U.S., Britain, France and Japan.


The Dow Jones industrial average added 48.89 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 17,838.56. The S&P 500 index rose 5.93 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,105.26. The Nasdaq gained 19.11 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,971.36.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 16 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to close at $49.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, added 32 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to close at $50.04 a barrel in London. In other energy futures trading, natural gas rose 2 cents, or 1 per cent, to close at $2.405 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents, or 1.2 per cent, at $1.63 a gallon, and heating oil gained a penny to close at $1.51 a gallon.