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Business Highlights

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Facebook defends policy allowing false political ads

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook is defending its policy of not fact checking political ads or comments of politicians after CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced withering criticism from Democratic members of Congress. Facebook said Thursday that private tech companies shouldn’t be in the position of censoring politicians — even in the case of advertisements that make false claims about a politician or their opponent. The policy is similar to those at other platforms that have also declined to remove false political ads.

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Amazon’s profit falls as faster shipping costs soar

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon’s push for faster delivery is hurting its profits. The online retailer reported third-quarter earnings Thursday that missed expectations. Its stock sunk 9% in after-hours trading. Amazon is moving to cut its delivery time in half to one day instead of two for Prime members, who pay $119 a year. The Seattle-based reported net income of $2.1 billion, or $4.23 per share, in the quarter ending Sept. 30. That’s 36 cents below what analysts expected, according to FactSet.

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Ad-tech problems, weak revenue eclipse Twitter user growth

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bugs in Twitter’s advertising technology led to disappointing third-quarter profit and revenue numbers, overshadowing surprisingly strong user growth and sending shares of the social media company plummeting 16% before the opening bell. The San Francisco company also lowered its outlook for the fourth-quarter and the year on Thursday.

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Grounded Boeing plane churns up more turbulence at airlines

DALLAS (AP) — American and Southwest say damage from the grounding of their Boeing 737 Max jets is piling up — nearly $1 billion already and going higher. The Southwest CEO says his company will study whether to end its exclusive use of Boeing jets. The company last considered that option in 2011. Meanwhile, both airlines reported higher third-quarter profit on strong traffic and cheaper fuel.

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UK’s Johnson seeks Dec. 12 election to break Brexit impasse

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally abandoned his promise of an October Brexit and pinned his hopes on a December election. Two days after lawmakers stymied Johnson’s latest attempt to pass his European Union divorce deal, he said Thursday that the only way to break Britain’s Brexit impasse was a general election. Johnson said he would ask lawmakers to vote Monday on a motion calling a national poll for Dec. 12.

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Iconic AmEx ‘Green Card’ turns 50, gets a needed revamp

NEW YORK (AP) — For 50 years, the American Express “Green Card” has been the card many people wouldn’t leave home without. Launched in 1969, the Green Card gave travellers a sense of importance they didn’t feel carrying travellers‘ cheques. For many people, it was their first AmEx card. Over time, however, the Green Card became neglected in favour of its fancier siblings, the Gold and Platinum Cards. Now, the Green Card is getting a much-needed revamp, with a new look and more travel benefits — and, yes, a higher annual fee.

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Outgoing ECB chief defends legacy against stimulus skeptics

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Mario Draghi ended his eight-year term as head of the European Central Bank by defending his most recent stimulus package and reminding that the eurozone is now in better shape than during the days when the Greek crisis threatened to break it apart. Draghi resisted extensive reminiscence about his term at his last news conference. He downplayed the recent and unusually public criticism from a minority of the 25-member governing council members after the bank decided Sept. 12 to re-start bond purchases with newly printed money.

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US new homes sales fell 0.7% in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. new home sales fell slightly in September with all regions of the country except the Midwest showing declines. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that sales of new homes fell 0.7% last month following a big 6.2% surge in sales in August. Homes were sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 701,000, 15.5% higher than a year ago.

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Visa 4Q profits up 6%, helped by more spending on network

NEW YORK (AP) — Visa’s fiscal fourth-quarter profits rose by 6% from a year ago, helped by the steady rise of payments being processed over the company’s namesake network. Consumers and businesses spent $2.267 trillion on Visa’s network last quarter, up roughly 9% from a year earlier. Visa earns a small fee for every transaction on its network.

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Solid earnings from tech companies lift US stocks higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Solid profits and forecasts from several technology companies helped lift U.S. stocks to modest gains Thursday, nudging the S&P 500 within striking distance of its all-time high. Traders have braced for weaker results this earnings season amid concerns about the costly trade war between the U.S. and China and increased signs of slowing economic growth worldwide. Many companies that have delivered better-than-expected third-quarter results have also issued disappointing profit outlooks.

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The S&P 500 added 5.77 points, or 0.2%, to 3,010.29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 28.42 points, or 0.1%, to 26,805.53. The Nasdaq climbed 66 points, or 0.8%, to 8,185.80. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks slipped 2.67 points, or 0.2%, to 1,550.18.

The Associated Press