Business Briefs – May 11, 2016

Pew Study Sees a Shrinking Middle Class in Major U.S. Cities

WASHINGTON (AP) – A widening wealth gap is moving more households into either higher or lower-income groups in major metro areas, with fewer remaining in the middle, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.

In nearly one-quarter of metro areas, middle-class adults no longer make up a majority, the Pew analysis found. That’s up from fewer than 10 percent of metro areas in 2000.

Panama Files Show Russian Crackdown on Offshoring Is Failing

MOSCOW (AP) – The thousands of Russian names on a list of offshore companies suggests President Vladimir Putin’s effort to crack down on such entities is ineffective, experts say, and highlights how keeping wealth abroad remains one of the few ways to keep it safe from corrupt local officials.

A database published by investigative journalists on Monday showed over 6,000 Russian citizens and legal entities own or manage offshore companies through Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The data spans over two decades.

Toyota Projects 35 Percent Profit Plunge

TOKYO (AP) – Toyota Motor Corp. is projecting a 35 percent plunge in profit for the fiscal year through March 2017, as the perks of a favorable exchange rate fade, and it reported a 4 percent drop in profit for January-March on-year at 426.6 billion yen ($3.9 billion).

The Japanese automaker is expecting 1.5 trillion yen ($13.8 billion) in annual profit, a retreat after three straight years of record profits. That number could be worse as it doesn’t account for recent production stops over supply shortages caused by a major earthquake in southwestern Japan.

Mitsubishi Motors Says Mileage Cheating May Be on All Models

TOKYO (AP) – Mitsubishi Motors Corp., the Japanese automaker under investigation for lying about fuel economy data for some models, said Wednesday that such tampering is suspected in all of its vehicles sold in Japan.

The company has said it carried out false tests and gave inflated mileage on minicars known as “kei,” whose production began in 2013, called eK wagon and eK Space light passenger cars under its own brand and Dayz and Dayz Roox that it produced for Nissan Motor Co.

Congress Putting Daily Fantasy Sports Games Under Scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress on Wednesday launched a fact-finding mission into the loosely regulated world of fantasy sports games — a multibillion-dollar business that seemingly advertised everywhere during the pro football season.

Lawmakers at a House hearing were generally supportive of the industry as they explored whether federal safeguards are needed to protect players in daily fantasy leagues. Most players ending up losing at the hands of better-informed players who often have a technological edge.

States are beginning to enact a patchwork of laws regulating the industry and its dominant companies, DraftKings and FanDuel.