Business Highlights

Powell edges toward loosening the Fed’s stance on inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — For decades, the Federal Reserve made clear its readiness to raise interest rates at the earliest signs of creeping inflation. That was then. In a sign of how vastly the U.S. economic landscape has changed, Chairman Jerome Powell may be on the verge of sending a wholly different message in a high-profile speech Thursday: That the Fed plans to leave its benchmark rate pinned near zero even after inflation has surpassed the central bank’s target level — at least for a while. Behind the Fed’s new thinking is an ailing economy in the grip of a viral pandemic and a stubbornly low inflation rate that has long defied the Fed’s efforts to raise it.


Orders for big-ticket US manufactured goods jumped 11.2%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods jumped 11.2% in July, the third consecutive monthly gain. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the July advance followed a 7.7% increase in June. The increase was led by a strong advance in the volatile transportation sector, which was up 35.6%. Excluding transportation, orders would have risen by a more modest 2.4%.


Facebook: Apple privacy changes will muck up online ads

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is pushing back on Apple’s new privacy rules for iOS users — and putting developers in the middle. Apple will soon require apps to ask users for permission to collect data on what devices they are using and to let ads follow them around on the internet. The social network said Wednesday that those rules could reduce what apps can earn by advertising through Facebook’s audience network. To a lesser extent, it may also hurt Facebook’s own advertising revenue, the company said . The changes will come when Apple rolls out the latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 14, later this fall.


Oil industry shuts platforms, rigs, refineries before storm

NEW YORK (AP) — The energy industry is bracing for catastrophic storm surges and winds as Hurricane Laura cuts a dangerous path toward the coastlines of Texas and Louisiana. Oil and gas producers have evacuated more than half of the platforms and nearly all the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Companies are shutting down refineries in the storm’s path. More than half of U.S. refining capacity is built along the Gulf Coast, where the storm is heading. Experts say hurricanes can attack the entire energy infrastructure, and the aggregate damage can be challenging to overcome.


More blowout profits from tech companies push S&P 500 higher

NEW YORK (AP) — More blowout profit reports from big tech companies pushed the S&P 500 to another record high on Wednesday. The benchmark index rose 1%, even though most of the stocks within it fell. Tech stocks accounted for the lion’s share of the gains. Salesforce.com soared after reporting results that far surpassed analysts’ estimates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which Salesforce.com will be joining next week, rose 0.3%. The Nasdaq rose 1.7%, but smaller stocks fell. Treasury yields rose ahead of a highly anticipated speech from the Federal Reserve’s chair, Jerome Powell, on Thursday. Powell will be speaking as part of the Fed’s annual economic symposium.


McDonald’s internal investigation extends beyond ousted CEO

CHICAGO (AP) — McDonald’s investigation into misconduct at the company isn’t stopping with its former CEO. The Chicago-based company has hired an outside law firm to investigate its human resources department, including whether former CEO Steve Easterbrook covered up for improprieties by others in the department. The company didn’t share details about the investigation. Easterbrook was fired last November after admitting to sending explicit text messages to an employee.


Sometime soon, your car will park itself in urban garages

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is teaming up with German auto parts maker Bosch and real estate company Bedrock to test technology that will let vehicles park by themselves in urban parking decks. The companies are testing the technology at a garage near downtown Detroit using floor-mounted sensors and computers that can control mainly existing features in Ford Escape small SUVs. They won’t say when it will be widely available. But they say the technology is likely to arrive before widespread use of fully autonomous vehicles because sensors and computers inside parking decks can be used.


No sweat: Dick’s crushes 2Q as consumers focus on fitness

NEW YORK (AP) — At home workouts and outdoor athletic activities are shaping up to be good business for Dick’s Sporting Goods. The retailer’s second-quarter results easily beat Wall Street’s expectations as consumers continue to focus on health and wellness while stuck at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. The chain benefited from its strong inventory of goods for boating, golfing, camping and climbing.


The S&P 500 gained 35.11 points,or 1%, to 3,478.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 83.48 points, or 0.3%, to 28,331.92. The Nasdaq composite climbed 198.59 points, or 1.7%, to 11,665.06, The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks fell 11.02 points, or 0.7%, to 1,560.19.