Business Briefs – August 15, 2019

Walmart Delivers Big in 2Q

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart offered a dose of optimism amid growing concerns over weakening economic growth by raising its annual outlook after a strong second quarter. Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 2.8%, its 20th consecutive quarter in the right direction as the world’s largest retailer continues to expand its grocery delivery services

U.S. Retail Sales Rise Strongly in Sign of Consumer Optimism

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumers spent more at retail stores and restaurants in July, a sign that concerns about slower global growth that have roiled financial markets haven’t dampened consumer confidence. The Commerce Department says retail sales increased a healthy 0.7% last month, after a 0.3% gain in June.

Whistleblower Accuses GE of Fraud, Misleading Investors

NEW YORK (AP) – A whistleblower who warned regulators about Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is now accusing General Electric of misleading investors, sending the company’s stock on a downward spiral. Investigator Harry Markopolos accused GE of engaging in accounting fraud worth $38 billion. He says the company is hiding $29 billion in long-term care losses and heading for bankruptcy. GE stood behind its financial reporting Thursday, calling Markopolos’s claims unsubstantiated and meritless.

U.S. Industrial Output Fell 0.2% in July as Factories Struggle

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. industrial production fell 0.2% in July, as factory activity slumped in a worrisome sign for the economy. The Federal Reserve says manufacturing production declined 0.4% last month. Output decreased for autos, fabricated metals, wood products, textiles and plastics and rubber products. Over the past 12 months, factory production has fallen 0.5%.

Venezuela’s Maduro Battles for Control of U.S.-based Refinery

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela’s government has nullified the newly named board of the country’s prized Citgo refineries in the U.S., saying opposition leaders had no right to appoint them. The opposition-run National Assembly appointed the 15-member Citgo board early this year after congress leader Juan Guaidó declared presidential powers, arguing that President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election was illegitimate.

JCPenney Halves Losses, Will Begin Selling Used Clothing

NEW YORK (AP) – Shares of J.C. Penney surged after the ailing department store cut its quarterly losses in half and announced that it would begin selling used clothing to staunch fading sales. Retailers have been searching for ways to get people back into its stores in the decade since the global economic downturn altered consumer behavior, a period that has run parallel with the ascent of Amazon.com. The company said it will begin selling used clothing in 30 locations.

Tapestry Offers Downbeat Outlook and Its Stock Tumbles

NEW YORK (AP) – Tapestry Inc.’s shares lost nearly a quarter of their value after the fashion company said that it would have an unexpected drop in profits and revenue in the current quarter. The New York-based company, which owns the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman labels, said it expects its revenue in the current quarter to be slightly below the prior year and its earnings to decline on a year-over-year basis. Its business is mainly being dragged down by the Kate Spade brand, which it bought in 2017.