Business Briefs – August 4, 2016

U.K. Central Bank Tries to Soften Brexit Shock on Economy

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s central bank launched a range of stimulus measures Thursday meant to jolt confidence back into an economy shocked by the vote to leave the European Union. Analysts, however, say they may not be enough to halt a slide toward recession.

In a multipronged approach intended to grease the gears of the economy by making borrowing easier and cheaper, the Bank of England cut its key rate to 0.25 percent from a previous record low of 0.5 percent.

It also agreed to pump new money into the economy through the purchase of government bonds and will buy up corporate bonds to make it easier for companies to borrow.

Requests for U.S. Unemployment Aid Rise to Still-Low 269,000

WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the number of remained close to historic lows in a positive sign for the job market.

Applications for jobless aid rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,750 to 260,250.

The number of Americans collecting benefits has fallen 5.4 percent over the past year to 2.14 million.

Average U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Declines to 3.43 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week after rising for three straight weeks, continuing to lure prospective homebuyers.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.43 percent from 3.48 percent last week. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate dipped to 2.74 percent from 2.78 percent last week.

Newfoundland Death Triggers Air Bag Probes in U.S., Canada

DETROIT (AP) – Auto safety regulators in two countries are investigating another deadly air bag problem that could affect up to 8 million vehicles.

Investigators in the U.S. and Canada are looking into a crash in the Canadian province of Newfoundland in which a woman was killed by an exploding air bag inflator made by ARC Automotive Inc. of Knoxville, Tennessee.

As many as 8 million ARC inflators are under scrutiny in the U.S., mainly in older cars, although it hasn’t been determined how many of those are defective.

Ford Recalls 830K Vehicles To Fix Faulty Door Latches

DETROIT (AP) – Ford is recalling about 830,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Mexico because parts in the side door latches can break and the doors can open while the vehicles are moving.

The recall announced Thursday covers certain 2013 to 2015 Ford Escape SUVs and C-Max cars, and 2012 to 2015 Focus cars. Also included are 2014 to 2016 Ford Transit Connect vans, and Ford Mustang sports cars and Lincoln MKC SUVs from 2015.

Ford says a faulty spring part can break, stopping the doors from latching. The company says it knows of one crash and one injury that could have been caused by the problem.

Dollar Express Regrets Muslim Was Asked to Leave Over Veil

GARY, Ind. (AP) – A dollar store chain says it regrets that an employee told a woman to leave one of its Indiana stores because of her Muslim face veil.

Sarah Safi posted video on Monday showing her exchange with a clerk at a Gary, Indiana, store. In the video, a manager tells Safi that she has to remove the veil covering or leave. When Safi tells her it is a religious garment, the manager explains that it is in a high crime area and the store gets “robbed a lot.”

Dollar Express says it’s working “to ensure that no customer is ever treated this way again.”

Slumping Fast Food Sales in U.S., Canada Extend to Burger King

OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) – Restaurant Brands International said its profit jumped during the second quarter as Burger King’s sales weakness in the U.S. was offset by strength overseas.

The company said Burger King’s sales slipped 0.8 percent at established restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, following disappointing results from other restaurant chains.

Weakening consumer confidence amid political and global uncertainty has hampered sales in the industry. Analysts have also noted that the increasing competition over promotional deals, as well as the growth of smaller, independent players.

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