Business Highlights

Business Highlights

Associated Press

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Global tensions don't dent enthusiasm for stocks

A war breaks out between Israel and Hamas. An airliner is shot out of the sky in Ukraine. A Portuguese bank's finances look shaky.

And the U.S. stock market's response? After dipping briefly on the bad news, it climbs higher.

The market's resilience this year — which has pushed it to a series of records and extended its five-year bull run — is driven by investors' optimism over the growth of the U.S. economy and record corporate earnings. That helped the market overcome its latest dip, on July 17th, when a passenger jet was shot down in eastern Ukraine and Israel invaded the Gaza Strip, raising investor worries that conflicts around the world could escalate and destabilize financial markets.

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Russian execs fear lasting damage from plane crash

MOSCOW (AP) -- Having for months dismissed Western sanctions on Russia as toothless, business leaders here are now afraid that the downing of the Malaysian jetliner will bring about an international isolation that will cause serious and lasting economic damage.

Throughout the Ukrainian crisis, U.S. and European sanctions had mainly targeted a handful of individuals, sparing economic ties. Then last week the U.S. imposed penalties on some of Russia's largest corporations. And when the airliner was shot down just a day later in Ukraine, allegedly by separatists with Moscow's support, concern grew in Russia that the sanctions would only get worse as President Vladimir Putin shows little sign of cooperation.

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Family feud sparks revolt at grocery store chain

WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. (AP) -- It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures. They're grocery store owners.

A workers' revolt at the Market Basket supermarket chain has led to empty shelves, angry customers and support for a boycott from more than 100 state legislators and mayors.

Industry analysts say worker revolts at non-union companies are rare, but what's happening at Market Basket is particularly unusual because the workers are not asking for higher pay or better benefits. They are demanding the reinstatement of beloved former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, who workers credit with keeping prices low, treating employees well and guiding the company's success.

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Towering worry: Small holes cause big jitters

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- For the developers of the world's sixth tallest building near Seoul, a mysteriously shrinking lake and the appearance of small sinkholes in residential neighborhoods couldn't have come at a more inopportune time.

Plans for the super-high tower first surfaced in 1995 and it took another 15 years to get a green light after the Air Force objected to it as a risk to a nearby military airport used for VIP flights.

Now it faces new doubts as South Korea reels from the Sewol ferry sinking in April that killed hundreds of teenagers. The disaster provoked a scathing reassessment of an ethos of economic progress first, safety last that was largely unquestioned over several decades as the country rapidly industrialized.

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Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

CHICAGO (AP) -- Fast food workers say they're prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers will discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

About 1,300 workers are scheduled to attend sessions Friday and Saturday at an expo center in Villa Park, Illinois, where they'll be asked to do "whatever it takes" to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, said Kendall Fells, organizing director of the national effort and a representative of the Service Employees International Union.

The union has been providing financial and organizational support to the fast-food protests that began in late 2012.

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US to evaluate Impala air bag performance

DETROIT (AP) -- The U.S. government's highway safety agency has decided to seek further information from General Motors about air bag failures in some Chevrolet Impala full-size cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an inquiry into the issue after receiving a petition from Donald Friedman of Xprts LLC, a Santa Barbara, California, company that examines crashes.

Friedman examined an April 2011 car crash in Hidalgo County, Texas, that severely injured an elderly man named Roberto Martinez. His wife, Aurora, was driving their 2008 Impala when it was hit on the passenger side by an SUV and forced into a concrete highway divider. The passenger air bags didn't deploy, and Roberto suffered permanent brain injuries, according to a lawsuit filed by the couple against GM. He died about 10 months later.

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BSkyB to create multinational European TV network

LONDON (AP) -- London-based pay TV network BSkyB has agreed to take control of its sister companies in Italy and Germany, creating a multinational European broadcaster. The deal could have a wider impact on the media industry, giving Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox a cash boost to potentially revive its attempt to buy Time Warner.

BSkyB said Friday it will buy Sky Italia and 57 percent of Sky Deutschland for 5.35 billion pounds ($9.1 billion) from media giant 21st Century Fox. Besides being chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox, Murdoch is also BSkyB's largest shareholder with a stake of just over 39 percent.

BSkyB said the deal would create a pay TV provider with 20 million customers across three of Europe's four biggest markets.

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McNuggets pulled from sale in HK after meat scare

HONG KONG (AP) -- McDonald's restaurants in Hong Kong have taken chicken nuggets and chicken filet burgers off the menu after a U.S.-owned supplier in mainland China was accused of selling expired meat.

The fast food chain said late Thursday that it "suspended relevant food ingredients" at Hong Kong outlets in light of the scandal surrounding Shanghai Husi Food Co.

Chinese authorities detained five Husi employees after a TV station reported last weekend that the company repackaged and sold meat past its use-by date. Investigators have seized hundreds of tons of material but haven't yet confirmed finding expired meat.

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Orders for US durable goods up 0.7 percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in June after a May decline, helped by a recovery in demand in a key category that signals business investment plans.

Orders for durable goods increased 0.7 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis following a 1 percent decline in May, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

A category viewed as a proxy for business investment plans rose a solid 1.4 percent, recovering after a revised 1.2 percent drop in May. It was the best showing since orders in this core capital goods category rose 4.7 percent in March.

The strength last month came from solid gains in demand for commercial aircraft and machinery. Analysts expect economic activity will strengthen in the second half of the year, helped by stronger factory production.

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By The Associated Press=

On Friday:

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 123.23 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 16,960.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 9.64 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,978.34. The Nasdaq composite fell 22.54 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,449.56.

Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery rose 2 cents to $102.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $1.32 to $108.39 on the ICE Futures exchange in London Friday. Wholesale gasoline rose 2.9 cents to $2.87 a gallon. Natural gas lost fell 6.6 cents to $3.78 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil added 4.5 cents to $2.92 a gallon.

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