Business Highlights


Netflix tests limits of price increases for original shows

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is testing the financial limits of its streaming video service as the rising cost of producing original programming pushes up subscription prices.

The latest reminder came Monday with the company’s third-quarter earnings report, which revealed that Netflix added 370,000 U.S. subscribers. That marks its second consecutive quarter of slowing U.S. growth since lifting a two-year rate freeze and increasing prices by as much as 20 per cent for more than 20 million existing subscribers.

While the latest quarterly subscriber gain exceeded management’s modest projections, it fell far below the 880,000 U.S. customers that Netflix picked up at the same time last year.


Zombie banks are stalking Europe’s economy

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The walking dead are gnawing at Europe’s weak economy — zombie banks and zombie companies.

Almost a decade after the financial crisis that ravaged the global economy, analysts and top officials are warning that too many banks in Europe are struggling financially, keeping them from lending to companies and fostering growth.

The International Monetary Fund, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi say something has to be done if Europe’s economy is to gain more traction and bring down unemployment.


US stock indexes close modestly lower as energy prices fall

Major U.S. stock indexes closed modestly lower Monday, with some of the biggest declines coming in oil and gas companies as energy prices turned lower.

Companies that rely on consumer spending also lost ground. Utilities and telecom stocks, which pay large dividends, bucked the downward trend as bond yields fell.

Investors had their eye on corporate earnings. Some 80 of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are scheduled to report their quarterly results this week.


Visa CEO steps down, former AmEx exec is named successor

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Visa says CEO Charlie Scharf is resigning in December after four years leading the company. He says that running a company based in San Francisco is difficult for his personal life. He and his family are based on the East Coast.

Visa Inc. on Monday named current board member Alfred Kelly Jr. as its president and CEO. He is the former president of American Express Co.

Kelly will join Visa on Oct. 31, and Scharf will advise him for several months.


US factory production rebounded in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturers boosted output modestly last month, led by greater production of construction supplies, autos and petroleum products.

Factory production rose 0.2 per cent in September, the Federal Reserve said Monday. The broader industrial production category, which includes mining and utilities, ticked up 0.1 per cent. Even with the gain, manufacturing output has been flat in the past year.


Bank of America’s profits rise 6 per cent, beats estimates

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America’s third-quarter profits rose nearly 6 per cent, helped by strong results in investment banking and trading as well as lower expenses. The profit growth came from all four of the bank’s businesses and despite continuing low interest rates.

The consumer banking giant said Monday it earned $4.45 billion in the three months ending in September after paying dividends to preferred shareholders, up from $4.178 billion in the same period a year earlier. The per-share figure rose to 41 cents versus 38 cents a year ago, easily beating the 34 cents per share analysts were expecting.


Game growth, movie tie-ins help Hasbro to record revenue

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) — Hasbro Inc. reported record third-quarter revenue and strong earnings Monday on strong growth in its games division, while getting a bigger boost from sales to girls through tie-ins with Disney and DreamWorks movies.

With less than 70 days until Christmas and the shopping season around the corner, the toymaker maintained its recent momentum, reporting net income for the quarter of $257.8 million, topping last year’s $207.6 million for the same period.


United beats Street 3Q forecasts

CHICAGO (AP) — United Continental Holdings Inc. on Monday reported third-quarter earnings of $965 million.

The Chicago-based company said it had profit of $3.01 per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to $3.11 per share, beating market expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research anticipated earnings of $3.05 per share.

The airline posted revenue of $9.91 billion in the period, also topping market forecasts.


Supervalu to sell Save-A-Lot chain for $1.37 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Supervalu said Monday that it is selling its Save-A-Lot supermarket chain for $1.37 billion to Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp.

The deal is expected to close before the end of January.

Supervalu, based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, distributes grocery items to supermarkets and provides other services to them. The company also owns the Shop ‘N Save and Cub Foods chains. There are more than 1,300 Save-A-Lot grocery stores.


Caterpillar CEO to retire next year

NEW YORK (AP) — Caterpillar said Monday that CEO and Chairman Doug Oberhelman will retire from the company next year and will be replaced by Jim Umpleby, an executive who has worked at the construction and mining equipment company for more than three decades.

Umpleby, who is 58 years old, will become CEO on Jan. 1.

Oberhelman, 63, will step down as CEO at the end of the year and leave the chairman position at the end of March. He has been CEO since 2010 and has been with the company for more than 41 years.


At booming Jim Beam, strikers complain of grueling workweeks

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Striking Jim Beam workers kept picketing the world’s largest bourbon producer on Monday, ahead of another round of talks that a union leader hopes will resolve their complaints about being overworked.

Contract talks are scheduled to resume Tuesday after workers voiced grievances at a management listening session on Sunday. Their main complaint is not money, but time — the union wants to see more full-time workers hired, rather than temporary employees.

A company spokesman said Monday that the session helped to “clarify points of disagreement.”


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 51.98 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 18,086.40. The Standard & Poor’s 500 slid 6.48 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,126.50. The Nasdaq composite lost 14.34 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5,199.82.

U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 41 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to close at $49.94 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 43 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to close at $51.52 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.49 a gallon. Heating oil lost 1 cent to $1.57 a gallon. Natural gas fell 4 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $3.24 per 1,000 cubic feet.