Business Briefs – June 23, 2016

Boeing’s Historic Deal With Iran Rests on Shaky Foundations

WASHINGTON (AP) – Boeing Co.’s historic $25 billion deal with Iran Air potentially rides on hopes that Tehran would stop its past practice of using the airline’s planes to ferry fighters and weapons across the Middle East.

Exactly five years ago, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on the Iranian company for a number of infractions. Iran Air used passenger and cargo planes to transport rockets and missiles to places such as Syria, sometimes disguised as medicine or spare parts, the Treasury Department said at the time. Although U.S. officials never have said such conduct ended, the administration used a technicality to drop those penalties as part of last year’s seven-nation nuclear deal.

The changes enable Boeing to sell up to 100 aircraft to Iran Air, by far the most lucrative business transaction between the U.S. and Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and U.S. Embassy hostage crisis.

Applications for U.S. Jobless Aid Fall, a Sign of Low Layoffs

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, evidence that employers are holding onto their staffs and may even step up hiring.

Weekly applications dropped 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 259,000, the lowest in two months. The less volatile four-week average declined to 267,000. Applications are a proxy for layoffs and have remained below 300,000 for 68 straight weeks, the longest such streak since 1973.

The data suggests that a recent slowdown in hiring will be temporary.

Nation’s Largest Banks All Pass Fed’s ‘Stress Tests’

NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S.’s largest financial institutions have enough armor to withstand the turmoil of a major and prolonged U.S. and global recession, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

The annual “stress tests” show that the 33 largest financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, all hold more capital than they did the year before. They also hold enough capital that, even if faced with billions of dollars in losses from loans as a result of an economic crisis, they would continue to function.

The stress tests were created in the wake of the financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession.