Business Briefs – May 18, 2016

Poll: Americans More Upbeat About Own Finances Than Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) – A new poll finds that Americans feel a whole lot better about their own situations than the economy as a whole in this election year.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds just 42 percent of adults consider the U.S. economy to be good while two-thirds say their own households are faring well.

But the anxiety shows on an individual basis too, with only one-third saying they’d be very confident of finding another job if they were laid-off. And despite their own financial gains, many people worry about risks beyond their control — from a volatile stock market to another economic downturn.

Mitsubishi Motors President to Resign Over Mileage Scandal

TOKYO (AP) – Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President Tetsuro Aikawa said Wednesday that he will step down to take responsibility for the mileage cheating scandal unfolding at the Japanese automaker.

Aikawa has denied personal involvement in wrongdoing, but it is common for executives at major Japanese companies to resign to show remorse. His resignation is expected to become final on June 24, upon shareholders’ approval. A successor was not announced.

Mitsubishi reiterated as part of its latest findings that top management had not ordered the mileage scam, but employees had been under tremendous pressure to get better mileage.

Lowe’s Like Home Depot, Puts Up Big Numbers as Housing Booms

NEW YORK (AP) – Lowe’s on Wednesday reported surging first-quarter profits as key sales metrics jumped in the midst of a strong recovery in the U.S. housing market.

The company boosted its outlook for the year, as did its rival, Home Depot, on Tuesday. Home improvement stores continue to distance themselves from a retail sector that can’t seem to get shoppers through the door, or to spend much money when they do.

Lowe’s profit jumped 31.4 percent to $884 million, or 98 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were 87 cents per share, topping market forecasts. Revenue rose 7.8 percent to $15.23 billion, also beating analyst expectations.

Raymond James Fined $17M for Anti-Money Laundering Lapses

WASHINGTON (AP) – Industry regulators have fined Raymond James $17 million, accusing the financial services firm of widespread failures in its controls against money laundering.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Wednesday it was the biggest fine it has imposed related to deficiencies in anti-money laundering programs. FINRA said that Raymond James failed over several years to detect suspicious activity in client investment accounts and to report it to government authorities.

The brokerage industry’s self-policing organization said the firm’s failure was especially serious because it already had been censured and fined in 2012 for the same problems.

Study Finds High Rate of Repossessions in Auto Title Loans

NEW YORK (AP) – People who put their cars up as collateral for what are supposed to be short-term emergency loans are being hit with interest rates of 300 percent, a high rate of repossession and long repayment periods.

That’s according to a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released Wednesday. The report is the first by federal regulators to look at the auto title lending industry, which has grown significantly since the recession but remains banned in half the country. The results could lead to additional regulations on the industry.

LinkedIn Confirms 2012 Hack Exposed 117M User Passwords

NEW YORK (AP) – LinkedIn says a 2012 breach resulted in more than 100 million of its users’ passwords being compromised — vastly more than previously thought.

The business social network confirmed Wednesday a purported hacker’s claim that 117 million passwords were stolen in the breach. It previously said 6.5 million user passwords were compromised.

LinkedIn says it’s working to determine just how many of the passwords in question are still being used three years after the breach and is in the process of resetting them.