Business Briefs – November 15, 2016

U.S. Retail Sales Jump 0.8 Pct. In Sign of Consumer Health

WASHINGTON (AP) – American consumers ramped up their spending last month in a sign of robust health heading into the crucial end-of-year shopping season.

Retail sales rose 0.8 percent in October, after an upwardly-revised 1 percent gain in September, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The two-month increase was the largest since the spring of 2014.

The numbers suggest that the economy may grow more quickly in the final three months of the year than many economists had expected. Retail sales are closely watched as a sign of consumer health. Consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of the economy.

Mazda Recalls Nearly 70K Cars; Fuel Leaks May Cause Fire

DETROIT (AP) – Mazda is recalling almost 70,000 RX-8 sports cars in the U.S. to fix possible fuel leaks that can cause fires. The recall covers RX-8s from the 2004 through 2008 model years.

Mazda says the cars have fuel pump sealing rings that can crack when exposed to engine or exhaust heat. That can allow gasoline to escape, increasing the risk of a fire. Company documents filed with the government did not mention any fires or injuries.

Boeing to Cut Some Jobs, Move Others, in Efficiency Effort

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Boeing Co. plans to move about 2,500 positions to other sites, cut 500 jobs, and close two facilities by the end of 2020 as part of an effort to operate its Defense, Space & Security business more efficiently, the company said Tuesday.

The company said it also will align Boeing Defence Australia, Boeing Defense Saudi Arabia, and Boeing Defence United Kingdom into a new global operations group.

Home Depot Raises Outlook as Americans Spend on Homes

ATLANTA (AP) – Home Depot, benefiting from falling unemployment, still-low mortgage rates and rising home prices, raised its outlook for the year on Tuesday as sales surged in the third quarter and customers spent more with each visit.

The home improvement retailer extended its streak of strong earnings while some other retailers have struggled. But Home Depot and its rival Lowe’s have stood out, thanks in part to low mortgage rates that have led to a warming housing market and an increase in refinancing.

Cholesterol Drug Shows Promise To Help Reverse Heart Disease

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – For the first time, a new drug given along with a cholesterol-lowering statin medicine has proved able to shrink plaque that is clogging arteries, potentially giving a way to undo some of the damage of heart disease.

The difference was very small but doctors hope it will grow with longer treatment, and any reversal or stabilization of disease would be a win for patients and a long-sought goal.

The drug, Amgen Inc.’s Repatha, also drove LDL, or bad cholesterol, down to levels rarely if ever seen in people before.