Business Briefs – July 10, 2016

Warnings of British Economic Downturn Piling Up

LONDON (AP) – The warnings are piling up. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union appears to be already hitting the economy.

Following the initial market jolts that have, among other things, seen the pound slide to 31-year lows against the dollar, the economy seems to be feeling the shockwaves from the vote to leave the 28-country bloc.

On Friday, market research firm GfK found that consumer confidence took a dive in the wake of the June 23 decision to leave the EU. Analysts are warning that further declines in consumer confidence are likely and that the British economy may be heading toward an outright recession.

Feds Ban Theranos CEO Holmes From Running Lab for 2 Years

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal regulators dealt a major blow to troubled blood-testing startup Theranos, banning its founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes from owning or running a medical laboratory for two years.

The sanctions, announced late Thursday by the company, follow months of investigation by government testing regulators at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Theranos, which was reportedly worth $9 billion two years ago, is the latest hyped Silicon Valley firm to stumble while trying to enter the health-care field.

Consumer Borrowing Increases Jumped Again in May

WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumers increased their borrowing in May with use of credit cards and the category that covers student and auto loans both showing gains.

The Federal Reserve reported Friday that total borrowing increased by $18.6 billion in May, up from a gain of $13.4 billion in April. It was the largest since a surge of $29.4 billion in March, which had been the biggest monthly increase on record.

Borrowing in the auto and student loan category climbed $16.2 billion. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards rose $2.4 billion.

The May gain pushed total consumer credit to a record of $3.62 trillion.

Old Navy Helps Boost Gap Key Sales Figure; Stock Soars

NEW YORK (AP) – After months of declines, Gap said a key sales figure rose 2 percent in June, the retailer’s first monthly increase in more than a year.

Gap Inc., which operates its namesake stores as well as Banana Republic and Old Navy, has been struggling with falling sales. The last time the company reported an increase in sales at stores open at least a year was March 2015.

The June increase was mainly due to its Old Navy brand.

Company Plans Wisconsin Rail Terminal to Ship Fracking Sand

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) – A mining company plans to construct a $10 million railroad loading terminal near Tomah to ship fracking sand to new markets.

Texas-based Smart Sand Inc.’s plans call for nearly 7 miles of looped track that could accommodate four trains longer than 1.5 miles, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

The facility would handle sand from the company’s 1,118-acre mine in nearby Oakdale. The mine sits along Canadian Pacific tracks, which provide a connection to North Dakota oil wells. The company says the new terminal would open up access to Union Pacific lines, creating a connection to customers in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.