Business Highlights

Black former franchisees sue McDonald’s for discrimination

CHICAGO (AP) — More than 50 Black former McDonald’s franchise owners are suing the burger chain for discrimination. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chicago, the 52 plaintiffs say McDonald’s steered them to less-profitable restaurants and didn’t give them the same support and opportunities given white franchisees. The franchisees owned 200 U.S. stores before being forced to sell them over the last decade. They’re seeking compensation of $4 million to $5 million per store. McDonald’s Corp. denied the allegation and defended its history with Black franchisees.


Survey: US factories grow in August for third straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — American factories expanded at a faster pace last month, continuing a rebound from the coronavirus recession. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index climbed to 56 in August from 54.2 in July. Anything above 50 signals growth, and U.S. manufacturing has been growing for three straight months. As the pandemic and the measures meant to contain it paralyzed the American economy, the survey showed that manufacturing had contracted in March, April and May.


US construction spending edges up tiny 0.1% in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending edged up a tiny 0.1% in July, breaking a string of losses due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Commerce Department reported that the slight July gain followed a 0.5% decline in June. In July, spending on residential construction rose a solid 2.1% while nonresidential construction fell by 1%. Home sales have been strong after an initial hit from the pandemic and the hope is that those gains will help lift housing construction in the months ahead. The report showed that total government construction fell by 1.3% in July.


Facebook axes small Russian troll network ahead of election

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook said Tuesday that it removed a small network of accounts and pages linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the “troll factory” that has used social media accounts to sow political discord in the U.S. since the 2016 presidential election. The people behind the accounts recruited “unwitting” freelance journalists to post in English and Arabic, mainly targeting left-leaning audiences. Facebook said Tuesday the network’s activity focused on the U.S., U.K., Algeria and Egypt and other English-speaking countries and countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The company said it started investigating the network based on information from the FBI about its off-Facebook activities.


15 years later, Walmart to launch its answer to Amazon Prime

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is launching a new membership service for shoppers this month that it hopes can compete with Amazon Prime. Called Walmart+, it will cost $98 a year or $12.95 a month, and give members same-day delivery on 160,000 items, a fuel discount at certain gas stations and a chance to check out at Walmart stores without having to wait at a register. The company, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said Walmart+ will launch Sept. 15. Walmart has a long way to go to catch up with Amazon Prime. Launched in 2005, Prime has more than 150 million members.


Zoom stock surges, market value tops Boeing, Starbucks

NEW YORK (AP) — A Zoom call has become an integral part of daily life during the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Wall Street acknowledged as much by boosting the videoconferencing company’s market value above that of more established companies such as Citigroup, Boeing and Starbucks. Zoom shares rose 40.8% to $458.08, pushing its market value to more than $129 billion, after the company reported explosive growth during the second quarter as more people paid for subscriptions, giving them more control over virtual meetings. Zoom’s revenue more than quadrupled from the same time last year to $663.5 million and profits blew past Wall Street forecasts.


Tesla announces plans to sell up to $5B in new stock shares

DETROIT (AP) — A day after its 5-for-1 stock split took effect, Tesla is announcing plans to sell up to $5 billion worth of common shares. The electric car and solar panel maker says in a filing with securities regulators that it intends to sell up to 10.03 million shares and use the proceeds for unspecified general corporate purposes. The sales would be made “from time to time” and Tesla says the actual amount of the offering can’t be determined at present.


US stocks start September off with more gains, led by tech

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street kicked off September with another set of milestones Tuesday, as an afternoon rally carried the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite to all-time highs. The S&P 500 bounced back from a modest loss in the early going to finish 0.8% higher a day after the benchmark index wrapped up its fifth monthly gain in a row. More strength in technology stocks and solid gains in retailers and other companies that rely on consumers offset declines in health care companies and elsewhere in the market. Treasury yields fell.


The S&P 500 gained 26.34 points, or 0.8%, to 3,526.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 215.61 points, or 0.8%, to 28,645.66. The Nasdaq composite gained 164.21 points, or 1.4%, to 11,939.67. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 16.71 points, or 1.1%, to 1,578.58.