Business Highlights


US hiring grinds to a near-halt; many stop looking for work

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. hiring slowed to a near-standstill in May, sowing doubts about the economy’s health and complicating the Federal Reserve’s efforts to raise interest rates.

While unemployment slid from 5 per cent to 4.7 per cent, the lowest since November 2007, the rate fell for a troubling reason: Nearly a half-million jobless Americans stopped looking for work and so were no longer counted as unemployed.

Employers added just 38,000 jobs in May, the fewest in over five years.


US stocks, dollar slide after weak jobs report

Banks and other financial companies led a modest decline in U.S. stocks Friday after a report indicating that hiring slowed sharply in May put investors in a selling mood.

The market slide snapped a two-day winning streak and sent bond prices surging as investors sought safety in U.S. government-backed debt. The dollar also fell sharply against several major currencies.

The downbeat jobs data appeared to convince traders that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low longer than previously expected. It also stirred concerns that the economy is slowing.


Wal-Mart’s CEO urges employees to reimagine company’s future

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart’s CEO Doug McMillon urged employees at the company’s annual shareholders meeting to reimagine its future in a fast-shifting retail landscape.

The company is at a crossroads, as its long-held dominance in pricing has been chipped away at by Amazon and dollar stores. But it’s fighting back on multiple fronts, growing more aggressive with prices and going after Amazon by expanding delivery services.

The event was packed with 14,000 people including nearly 6,000 Wal-Mart workers as well as shareholders, analysts and others. Part business meeting, part pep rally, the meeting was hosted by comedian James Corden and featured musicians including Nick Jonas, Maxwell and Andy Grammer.


US trade deficit increases 5.3 per cent to $37.4 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit, after falling to the lowest point in more than two years, increased in April as a surge in imported goods outpaced a rebound in exports.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the deficit increased 5.3 per cent in April to $37.4 billion, up from an imbalance of $35.5 billion in March. Exports increased 1.5 per cent to $182.8 billion but imports rose faster, increasing 2.1 per cent to $220.2 billion.

The politically sensitive deficit with China surged 16.3 per cent to $24.3 billion, a development certain to heighten trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.


Nest CEO flies coop 2 years after $3.2B sale to Google

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nest Labs CEO Tony Fadell is flying the coop two years after selling the smart-thermostat maker to Google for $3.2 billion.

Fadell, best known for helping to invent Apple’s iPod, announced he was leaving Nest in a Friday blog post. His departure comes after reports published earlier this year detailed intensifying friction within Nest and delays in delivering new products.

Both Fadell and Alphabet, the parent company of Google and Nest, depicted the shake-up as a mutual decision.

Fadell will now serve as an adviser to Alphabet CEO Larry Page.


Valeant defaults on some of its debt

NEW YORK (AP) — Valeant has defaulted on some of its debt because it has yet to file its first-quarter report.

The embattled Canadian drug company said Friday that it now has 60 days to file the report with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Canadian Securities Regulators for the quarter that ended March 31.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said that it received a notice of default on Thursday from the trustee under two of its senior note indentures.

The company said last month that it plans to file the first-quarter report by June 10.


In advance of Yellen speech, Brainard urges caution on rates

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a possible preview of a speech Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will give Monday, a close ally said Friday that the Fed should be in no hurry to raise interest rates, especially after a bleak U.S. jobs report.

The official, Lael Brainard, a Fed board member, said recent economic developments have muddied the picture of the U.S. economy.

Brainard argued for a delay in what would be the Fed’s second rate hike after an initial increase in December. She suggested that the risk of raising rates too soon and depressing growth were higher than the risk of waiting longer.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 31.50 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 17,807.06. The S&P 500 index slid 6.13 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,099.13. The Nasdaq gave up 28.85 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4,942.52.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 55 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to close at $48.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, slid 40 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to close at $49.64 a barrel in London. In other energy futures trading, natural gas dropped 1 cent to close at $2.398 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline slid 3 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to close at $1.61 a gallon. Heating oil shed 2 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to close at $1.49 a gallon.