Business Highlights


Few insurers cut rates for new electronic safety devices

DETROIT (AP) — Insurers aren’t yet ready to give a break to car owners who invest in automatic braking or other new electronic technologies such as lane departure warning or blind spot detection. Many companies are still compiling their own data to confirm that the devices stop crashes, while others say automakers don’t always make it clear which models have the new technologies.

The Associated Press found that of the 11 biggest U.S. auto insurers, only two offer discounts for the new electronic devices. But experts say that because they are so effective in reducing crashes, it’s just a matter of time before widespread rate cuts arrive.


US stocks rise as the dollar weakens and metals and machinery companies advance

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose for the third day in a row Wednesday as machinery and mining companies traded higher. Oil prices also continued their rise, and stocks and oil prices are at their highest in almost a year.

Metals prices jumped as the dollar got weaker. Also trading higher were makers of beverages and other consumer goods. That’s because a weaker dollar could mean better sales and bigger profits for U.S. companies that do a lot of business overseas.


US job openings rise, yet employers cut back on filling them

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised the most open jobs in nine months in April but pulled back on filling them, a sign of caution that may reflect concerns about tepid economic growth.

Job openings rose 2 per cent to 5.8 million, the Labor Department said Wednesday, matching a record high reached last July. Yet hiring slipped for the second straight month to just under 5.1 million.

The figures suggest that an annual economic growth rate of just 0.8 per cent in the first three months of the year has caused businesses to postpone hiring decisions.


Autopsy: Oklahoma energy magnate’s death accidental

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The fiery car crash in which energy industry magnate Aubrey McClendon died was an accident, the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office ruled Wednesday, also noting that he had traces of a drug in his system commonly used in sleep aids.

The report, which comes a day after police said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove whether the crash was intentional, lists multiple blunt force trauma as the cause of death.

The crash happened the day after the former Chesapeake Energy CEO and part-owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder was indicted by a federal grand jury for bid rigging, leading to speculation of a possible suicide.


Sweden bans M&Ms in chocolate trademark dispute

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A Swedish court has ordered candy maker Mars to stop selling M&Ms in the Scandinavian country, at least not with the customary lower-case letters it uses on the packaging and on the colorful chocolates.

The Svea Court of Appeal said Wednesday it ruled against Mars in a trademark dispute with Kraft Foods, which sells chocolate-covered peanuts under the Marabou brand with a single “m” on the packaging. It said Kraft has exclusive rights to the trademark in Sweden.

However, it added that using the upper-case M&Ms doesn’t constitute a trademark infringement in Sweden.


Yahoo puts more than 3,000 patents on auction block

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — Yahoo is hoping to auction off most of its technology patents as part of a purge that also could culminate in the sale of its internet operations.

More than 3,000 patents that have already been issued or are under approval review are on the sales block. Analysts have estimated that Yahoo Inc.’s patents are worth more than $1 billion.

Yahoo says it intends to retain more than 2,000 other patents that have been issued or awaiting approval in the U.S. and abroad.


South Africa edges toward recession with drop in mining

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa edged closer to a recession Wednesday on news that the economy had shrunk by 1.2 per cent in the first three months of 2016 amid a fall in production at the country’s mines.

Mining and quarrying, which contributes nearly 8 per cent to gross domestic product, fell 18.1 per cent in the first quarter as worldwide demand for commodities remained low, according to figures released by South Africa’s statistics agency.

Growth was also hit by a protracted drought, with agriculture, which makes up 2.2 per cent of GDP, shrinking for the fifth consecutive quarter.


Apple to start showing ads in App Store

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple says that it will start showing paid ads when people search for apps in its popular mobile store. It’s also encouraging app-makers to sell more apps on a subscription basis, by promising them a bigger cut of revenue when consumers maintain their subscriptions for at least a year.

Apple is hoping the changes starting this summer will bring in more money for itself as well as for independent software developers who make apps for the iPhone or iPad.

Consumers spent more than $20 billion in the App Store last year, but with more than 1.5 million apps available, developers say it’s getting more difficult to compete for attention.


Nike ‘will continue to partner’ with Sharapova despite ban

NEW YORK (AP) — Nike says it “will continue to partner” with Maria Sharapova, despite her two-year suspension for failing a drug test.

The sportswear giant said in a statement Wednesday: “We hope to see Maria back on court.”

Sharapova was punished by a three-person Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal appointed by the International Tennis Federation, which concluded she took meldonium “for the purpose of enhancing her performance.” She had been taking it since 2006.


The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 66.77 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 18,005.05. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 6.99 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,119.12. The Nasdaq composite gained 12.89 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,974.64.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 87 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $51.23 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, jumped $1.07, or 2.1 per cent, to $52.51 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $1.62 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 3 cents to $1.57 a gallon. Natural gas was unchanged at $2.47 per 1,000 cubic feet.