Business Highlights


As fliers wait in security lines, gov’t asks for patience

WASHINGTON (AP) — Air travelers across the country have endured lengthy security lines, some snaking up and down escalators, or through food courts and into terminal lobbies. At some airports, lines during peak hours have topped 90 minutes.

Now, facing a potential backlash, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asked fliers “to be patient” as the government takes steps to get them onto planes more quickly.

Johnson said Friday that the government is working to ease the lines, although travelers should expect to wait as they travel this summer. Whatever steps TSA takes, Johnson said, it won’t neglect its duty to stop terrorists.


Anti-counterfeiting group suspends Alibaba

SHANGHAI (AP) — An anti-counterfeiting group said Friday it was suspending Alibaba’s membership following an uproar by some companies that view the Chinese e-commerce giant as the world’s largest marketplace for fakes.

The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition told members that it had failed to inform the board of directors about conflicts of interest involving the group’s president, Robert Barchiesi. Earlier Friday, The Associated Press reported that Barchiesi had stock in Alibaba, had close ties to an Alibaba executive and had used family members to help run the coalition.

The coalition said that is hiring an independent firm to review its corporate government policies.


Apple invests $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing company

BEIJING (AP) — Apple Inc. has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, the main competitor in China for Uber Technologies Ltd.

Apple will become a strategic investor alongside Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd., an online games and entertainment service, Didi Chuxing announced Friday.

China’s ride-hailing industry has grown rapidly, with competitors spending heavily to subsidize rides to capture market share.

The latest deal reflects Apple’s increased emphasis on services as growth in its iPhone business slows, said Jack Kent of IHS Technology in a report.


As online shopping intensifies, outlook dims for mall stores

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government report Friday suggested a modestly healthy consumer, with retail sales up 1.3 percent in April. Americans are eating out more at restaurants. They’re buying more cars. But the main beneficiaries of spending in the past year have been Amazon, eBay (click the up coming web page) and other internet behemoths.

Spending at these non-store retailers shot up 10.7 percent from a year ago as earnings reports showed disturbing drop-offs at Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney.

Shoppers who once crowded malls are now ordering online, siphoning sales from physical stores, which face growing pressure to reinvent their businesses.


JC Penney CEO says future will depend less on apparel

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney announced Friday that it is shifting its focus off clothing and onto those areas where shoppers are spending their money: services and other products like appliances.

The company is waking up to the overall seismic shift in consumer spending that is started to wreak havoc on mall-based retailers. It comes as Penney reported an unexpected drop in sales for the first quarter, joining a chorus of major department stores reporting weak first-quarter results.


GM stops sale of SUVS; mileage on window stickers was wrong

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. is telling dealers not to sell about 60,000 SUVs in the U.S. because the gas mileage listed on the window stickers was inadvertently overstated.

The company told dealers that the Environmental Protection Agency-estimated mileage on the stickers is one-to-two miles per gallon too high. GM says it reported the mistake to the EPA as soon as it was discovered.

The problem affects all 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave models, including ones that have already been sold.


Subaru tells some Legacy, Outback owners: Don’t drive them

DETROIT (AP) — Subaru is telling owners of some newer Legacy and Outback vehicles not to drive them because the steering can fail.

The company is recalling about 52,000 of the cars and SUVs from the 2016 and 2017 model years. It also has told dealers to stop selling them until they’re repaired.

Subaru said the steering columns may have been manufactured improperly by a parts supplier. The columns may not engage properly with the rest of the steering system, which could cause the driver to lose the ability to steer.

Subaru says there have been no crashes or injuries.


FDA: Cipro side effects outweigh benefit for some infections

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ratcheted up its warning about the potential side effects of a class of commonly-prescribed powerful antibiotic, including the drug known by the brand name Cipro.

The FDA said Thursday that the potential side effects of fluoroquinolone anti-bacterial drugs often outweigh their benefits when it comes to treating people with bronchitis or basic sinus or urinary tract infections. As a result, the FDA says doctors should use these types of drugs only if they have no alternatives.

Potential serious and disabling side effects related to the drugs can include tendon, muscle and joint pain, a “pins and needles” tingling sensation, confusion and hallucinations.


Russian media resignations follow increased pressure

MOSCOW (AP) — Once a rather stolid operation focused on business news, the RBC group in recent years had become a standout among Russia’s constricting field of independent news media. Then came stories that the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin may have found far too revealing.

Amid a flurry of probes and police raids that targeted RBC and its billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who also owns the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, three key editors resigned Friday. RBC said in a vague statement that the three had stepped down because they failed to agree with management “on a number of crucial issues.”

But that could indicate that management wanted to rein in the reporting, which has included accounts of corruption, the lucrative activities of a woman believed to be Putin’s daughter and a profile of a wealthy cello-player and Putin associate later identified in the Panama Papers as a conduit for Russian offshore money.


Hotels build buzz for eco-efforts with rooftop beehives

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — At the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, there are more than 370 rooms inside and hundreds of thousands of bees buzzing above in rooftop hives outside.

Yes, honeybees.

Aware of the well-publicized environmental threats to honeybees that have reduced numbers worldwide, seven San Francisco hotels have built hives on their rooftops. The sustainability effort also benefits the hotels as the bees produce honey for cocktails, food and spa treatments. It’s the latest in a series of environmental programs at hotels that includes low-flow toilets and aggressive recycling programs.


The Dow Jones industrial average sank 185.18 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,535.32. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 17.50 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,046.61. The Nasdaq composite index retreated 19.65 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,717.68.

Benchmark U.S. oil fell 49 cents, or 1 percent, to $46.21 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, lost 2 cents to $47.83 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline inched up to $1.59 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.40 a gallon. Natural gas lost 6 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $2.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.