Business Briefs – September 9, 2019

States Led by Texas Target Google in New Antitrust Probe

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fifty U.S. states and territories, led by Texas, announced an investigation into Google’s “potential monopolistic behavior.”

The Monday announcement closely followed one from a separate group of states Friday that disclosed an investigation into Facebook’s market dominance. The two probes widen the antitrust scrutiny of big tech companies beyond sweeping federal and congressional investigations and enforcement action by European regulators.

Nebraska attorney general Doug Peterson, a Republican, said at a press conference held in Washington that 50 attorneys general joining together sends a “strong message to Google.”

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Posts Biggest Gain Since Late 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumer borrowing surged in July at its fastest pace since late 2017, driven by a big jump credit card use.

Consumer borrowing increased by $23.3 billion in July after a $13.8 billion advance in June, the Federal Reserve reported Monday. It was the biggest monthly gain since a $29.9 billion jump in November 2017.

The large July gain was led by a sizable increase in borrowing in the category covering credit cards, which rose by $10 billion in July after having fallen by $186 million in June.

Volkswagen Bets Big on Electric. Will Consumers Buy in?

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Volkswagen is rolling out what it bills as the breakthrough electric car for the masses, the leading edge of a wave of new battery-powered vehicles about to hit the European auto market.

The cars are the result of big investments in battery technology and new factories driven by environmental regulation and concerns about global warming.

But it’s not at all clear whether consumers are ready to buy them. Electric cars remain a niche product, with less than 2% of the market, due to higher prices and worries about a lack of places to charge. It adds up to a risky undertaking for the companies.