Business Highlights

___US stock indexes end mostly higher after volatile dayNEW YORK (AP) — Investors rode out another turbulent day on Wall Street Thursday that kept stock indexes flipping between gains and losses until a late-day bounce gave the market a modest gain. Major U.S. indexes spent much of the day reacting to big moves in U.S. government bond yields, which fell sharply in the early going and then recovered some of their decline by mid-afternoon. Bonds have been among the loudest and earliest to cry out warnings about the economy.___Walmart delivers big in 2QNEW YORK (AP) — Walmart offered a dose of optimism amid growing concerns over weakening economic growth by raising its annual outlook after a strong second quarter. Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 2.8%, its 20th consecutive quarter in the right direction as the world’s largest retailer continues to expand its grocery delivery services___US retail sales rise strongly in sign of consumer optimismWASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers spent more at retail stores and restaurants in July, a sign that concerns about slower global growth that have roiled financial markets haven’t dampened consumer confidence. The Commerce Department says retail sales increased a healthy 0.7% last month, after a 0.3% gain in June.___China threatens retaliation if US tariff hikes go aheadBEIJING (AP) — China has threatened to retaliate if U.S. tariff hikes planned for Sept. 1 go ahead. The government says it will take “necessary countermeasures” but gave no details. President Donald Trump says he plans to impose 10% duties on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports in a fight over trade and technology. The Chinese announcement made no mention of Trump’s decision to postpone some of the penalties until Dec. 15.___US makes new push for graphic warning labels on cigarettesWASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is making a new push to add graphic images to cigarette packets. Regulators on Thursday proposed adding images of blackened lungs, cancerous tumors and other diseases to all cigarette pack to discourage Americans from lighting up. The FDA’s last attempt to require graphic warning labels was defeated in court by the tobacco companies.___Whistleblower accuses GE of fraud, misleading investorsNEW YORK (AP) — A whistleblower who warned regulators about Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is now accusing General Electric of misleading investors, sending the company’s stock on a downward spiral. Investigator Harry Markopolos accused GE of engaging in accounting fraud worth $38 billion. He says the company is hiding $29 billion in long-term care losses and heading for bankruptcy. GE stood behind its financial reporting Thursday, calling Markopolos’s claims unsubstantiated and meritless.___As bond yields fall, S&P 500 dividends could lure investorsNEW YORK (AP) — With bond yields plunging because of worries about the global economy, investors might turn their attention to companies in the S&P 500 paying some juicy dividends. The yield on the 10-year Treasury has been steadily falling all year and stood at 1.58% as of Wednesday. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 is offering a dividend yield of 2% overall.___US industrial output fell 0.2% in July as factories struggleWASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industrial production fell 0.2% in July, as factory activity slumped in a worrisome sign for the economy. The Federal Reserve says manufacturing production declined 0.4% last month. Output decreased for autos, fabricated metals, wood products, textiles and plastics and rubber products. Over the past 12 months, factory production has fallen 0.5%.___Venezuela’s Maduro battles for control of US-based refineryCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s government has nullified the newly named board of the country’s prized Citgo refineries in the U.S., saying opposition leaders had no right to appoint them. The opposition-run National Assembly appointed the 15-member Citgo board early this year after congress leader Juan Guaidó declared presidential powers, arguing that President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election was illegitimate.___JCPenney halves losses, will begin selling used clothingNEW YORK (AP) — Shares of J.C. Penney surged after the ailing department store cut its quarterly losses in half and announced that it would begin selling used clothing to staunch fading sales. Retailers have been searching for ways to get people back into its stores in the decade since the global economic downturn altered consumer behaviour, a period that has run parallel with the ascent of Amazon.com. The company said it will begin selling used clothing in 30 locations.___Tapestry offers downbeat outlook and its stock tumblesNEW YORK (AP) — Tapestry Inc.’s shares lost nearly a quarter of their value after the fashion company said that it would have an unexpected drop in profits and revenue in the current quarter. The New York-based company, which owns the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman labels, said it expects its revenue in the current quarter to be slightly below the prior year and its earnings to decline on a year-over-year basis. Its business is mainly being dragged down by the Kate Spade brand, which it bought in 2017.___The S&P 500 rose 7 points, or 0.2%, to 2,847.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 99.97 points, or 0.4%, to 25,579.39. The Nasdaq composite dropped 7.32 points, or 0.1%, to 7,766.62, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 5.87 points, or 0.4%, to 1,461.65.The Associated Press read more

UK manufacturers must show Foresight says report

Business operations must evolve to ensure manufacturing continues to play a powerful role in the UK economy, according to a government report published today.The Future of Manufacturing: A new era of opportunity in the UK, published by the Foresight Programme, part of the Government Office for Science, sets out the challenges that lie ahead for the manufacturing industry, driven by fast-changing technologies and new business methods. The report comes shortly after SMMT announced the highest UK car manufacturing output since 2008.Automotive manufacturing is crucial to the UK’s economy, generating more than £55 billion every year in turnover and employing more than 700,000 people. Figures released earlier this month show that the UK has produced over 1,125,000 cars so far in 2013, up almost 4% on last year’s output.According to the report, manufacturing in the UK will undergo significant changes between now and 2050, driven by faster production techniques such as 3D printing and more localised manufacturing. In addition, the growing importance of sustainability will encourage companies into an ever-more efficient use of materials.In order to fulfil the objectives, an emphasis on skills is required; there will be 800,000 manufacturing jobs to fill before 2020 – something the automotive industry is determined to tackle with initiatives such as See Inside Manufacturing.Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said, “Britain has a proud manufacturing tradition and the government wants to ensure the sector stays ahead of the curve, leading global innovation and developing, once again, a worldwide appetite for British-made goods. The manufacturing sector is crucial to building a stronger economy – supporting 2.5 million jobs, over half of our exports and about three quarters of research and development. I don’t share the fatalistic view that it will inevitably decline; rather the reverse.“The Manufacturing Advisory Service provides advice on financial support for businesses, including the government’s £245 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and the £3.2 billion Regional Growth Fund. These funds are creating thousands of jobs and leveraging billions of important private sector investment.“Through our industrial strategy we are giving businesses and investors the long-term security and confidence they need to invest in the UK and drive growth. Foresight’s strategic analysis is a valuable addition to the information available to government and the industry as we plan for the future.”Click through to view the full Future of Manufacturing report.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more