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L.A. Times - Business

National and international business news. Find stock updates, the latest trends in technology, real estate news and the latest on the economy.

Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:35:38 -0800

Copyright: ©2018 Los Angeles Times

SpaceX launch brings Elon Musk's broadband-internet satellite plan closer to reality

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:25:00 PST

SpaceX is one step closer to providing low-cost broadband internet access after launching the first two demonstration satellites for its planned satellite constellation Thursday morning.

The two demonstration satellites, known as Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, were the secondary payload on Thursday’s...


The future of electric vehicles relies on a metal that is often mined by children and is soaring in price

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:00:00 PST

The road to an imminent electric vehicle future has hit a speed bump — one made of cobalt.

An essential ingredient in lithium-ion batteries that power millions of smartphones as well as plug-in electric cars, cobalt is in heavy demand.

But just as the silverish-gray metal has established itself...


Stocks move broadly higher, led by tech firms and banks

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:25:00 PST

Technology companies and banks helped drive U.S. stocks broadly higher in early trading Thursday. Bond yields declined after spiking the day before amid rekindled fears of higher interest rates. Investors were sizing up the latest company earnings news. Crude oil prices headed higher.



Investment firm TCW, top executive deny sexual harassment allegations by former fund manager

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:50:00 PST

Los Angeles-based investment firm TCW and one of its top executives have denied allegations of sexual harassment and coercion made in a recent lawsuit filed by a former fund manager.

Last month, Sara Tirschwell sued TCW and managing director Jess Ravich, accusing Ravich of using his position to...


Rule letting U.S. dismantle giant banks in crisis should stay, Treasury Department advises

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:50:00 PST

U.S. bank watchdogs should retain the ability to dismantle massive, complex financial firms after a collapse, but they should ensure the power is reserved “as an emergency tool for use under only extraordinary circumstances,” the Treasury Department said in a report released Wednesday.

The Trump...


Applebee's and IHOP's new recipe for success: technology, takeout and takeovers

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:45:00 PST

With free birthday meals and all-you-can-eat riblets, t​​​​he IHOP and Applebee’s restaurant chains became a traditional stop for millions of American families seeking a feast.

But casual dining restaurants began to lose their appeal for millennial-generation foodies, and in 2016, Applebee’s tried...


Ford's North America chief exits after company finds 'inappropriate behavior'

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:30:00 PST

Ford Motor Co.’s head of North American operations is leaving the automaker immediately following an investigation into reports of “inappropriate behavior.”

An internal probe by the U.S. automaker found that Raj Nair, an executive vice president, engaged in behavior that “was inconsistent with...


Bond yields jump, upending stocks' rally

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:20:00 PST

U.S. stocks closed broadly lower Wednesday, erasing a gain, as investors reacted to a surge in bond yields late in the session.

Bond yields climbed to their highest level in four years after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest policy meeting. The minutes showed bullish sentiment...


Some Fed officials raised concerns about higher inflation as tax cuts took effect

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:00:00 PST

Some Federal Reserve policymakers raised concerns last month about the potential for higher inflation and financial instability because of stronger economic growth triggered by the recently enacted tax cuts, according to an account of the meeting released on Wednesday.

Early signs that the effects...


Home sales fall as supply hits record low and prices rise, Realtors group says

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:55:00 PST

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell in January from a year earlier by the most in more than three years. Would-be buyers were stymied by rising prices and a shortage of homes for sale.

The National Assn. of Realtors said Wednesday that sales dropped 3.2% from December to January, the second...


Bank loans signed in the hospital leave patients vulnerable

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:10:00 PST

Laura Cameron, three months pregnant, tripped and fell in a parking lot and landed in the emergency room in May. She was flat on her back — scared, in pain and attached to a saline drip — when a hospital representative came by to discuss how she would pay her bill.

Although both Cameron and her...


Get ready for the era of hypersonic flight — at five times the speed of sound

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:00 PST

The sleek aircraft, really more rocket than plane, dropped from the wing of a B-52 before shooting through the sky above Point Mugu Sea Range off the California coast, leaving a long, white contrail in its wake.

The unmanned X-51A hit Mach 4.8, almost five times the speed of sound, with help from...


Trump 'gets what you're saying': Agriculture secretary talks immigration, water and food stamps on California tour

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 05:00:00 PST

“You might already know this …,” Central Valley farmer Sarah Woolf offered politely, before launching on a primer on California’s convoluted water system.

“No, I don’t,” Sonny Perdue, Trump’s secretary of Agriculture, interrupted. “I need all the education I can get.”

Nervous laughter filled the...


Surgeon offers free weight-loss operation for 500-pound man rejected by insurer

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 03:00:00 PST

My column last week on a nearly 500-pound Norwalk man whose health insurer won’t cover doctor-ordered weight-loss surgery stirred quite a response from readers.

Many sympathized with 53-year-old Shawn Alvarado’s situation, acknowledging that, in his case, a gastric bypass operation couldn’t be...


Disney unions file complaint to get $1,000 bonus promised after corporate tax cut

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:45:00 PST

Unions at several Walt Disney Co. theme parks are accusing the company of using promised $1,000 employee bonuses as bargaining chips in ongoing contract negotiations.

Last month, Walt Disney Co. announced it was giving $1,000 each to more than 125,000 employees. The Burbank media giant, similar...


Albertsons, which owns grocers Vons and Safeway, is buying Rite Aid

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:20:00 PST

Grocery operator Albertsons Cos. plans to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp. — a move it announced Tuesday as major retailers continue to bulk up and diversify in the face of shifting consumer shopping trends and stiff competition from retail giants Inc. and Walmart Inc.

The deal also...


Stocks fall as Walmart shares plunge the most in 30 years

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:50:00 PST

The biggest drop in Walmart's stock in 30 years and losses in other sectors pulled U.S. indexes lower Tuesday, snapping a six-day winning streak.

The losses deepened in the last hour of trading into a broad sell-off that erased early gains led by technology companies.

Walmart plunged more than...


Paul Marciano giving up daily duties at Guess following sexual harassment accusations

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:25:00 PST

Guess Inc. Chairman Paul Marciano is relinquishing his day-to-day duties at the company in the wake of sexual harassment accusations by model Kate Upton and other women.

The board and Marciano agreed that he should step away from the business — without drawing a salary — until the completion of...


Peanut allergy treatment succeeds in study

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:15:00 PST

The first treatment to help prevent serious allergic reactions to peanuts may be on the way. A California company said Tuesday that its daily capsules of peanut flour helped children build tolerance to the nuts in a major study.

Millions of children have peanut allergies, and some have life-threatening...


Inflation-stricken Venezuela launches a digital currency, the petro

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:45:00 PST

Venezuela on Tuesday is becoming the first country to launch its own version of bitcoin, a move it hopes will provide a much-needed boost to its credit-stricken economy.

Officials say the so-called petro is backed by Venezuela's crude oil reserves, the largest in the world.

Socialist President...


Under Trump, consumer agency promises to do the bare minimum, and nothing more

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 03:00:00 PST

Let’s say there was a federal agency charged solely with protecting consumers from financial abuse. And let’s say that agency was so good at its job, it succeeded in returning $12 billion to consumers who had been ripped off by greedy banks and lenders.

How would you reward that agency?

If you’re...


More companies invest in training to prevent sexual harassment — but it might not be doing much good

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 03:00:00 PST

The recent high-profile reports of sexual harassment in the workplace have prompted a surge in training courses, which experts are updating to reflect the latest examples making front-page news.

Inquiries about sexual harassment training provided by TrainUp have skyrocketed, said Jeremy Tillman,...


International markets start the week mixed as investors catch breath after big rally

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 15:40:00 PST

European stocks drifted lower Monday as investors paused for breath after a sizable rally last week. Despite the move lower, there are few signs of the turmoil that gripped stock markets earlier this month.

U.S. stock markets closed for Presidents Day while those in Hong Kong and China closed for...


For this start-up, the secret to selling wine online is making it yourself

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 08:05:00 PST

In 2012, a Los Angeles start-up named Club W set out to help millennials find and buy decent wine on the internet. With bottles from a few boutique vintners, a slick web platform and a simple recommendation algorithm, the company had a propitious plan.

It didn’t work quite as hoped. So when the...


California Inc.: Will the stock market's roller coaster ride continue?

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 05:00:00 PST

Welcome to California Inc., the weekly newsletter of the L.A. Times Business Section.

I'm Business columnist David Lazarus, and here's a rundown of upcoming stories this week and the highlights of last week.

Markets are closed Monday for Presidents Day. We’ll see after that if volatility remains...