Update on the latest in business:


Banks lead midday gains for US stocks

NEW YORK (AP) _ Banks were leading stocks higher in midday trading on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve gave many of them permission to raise dividends and buy back more stock. The Federal Reserve late yesterday approved the plans by the country’s 18 biggest banks to return more money to shareholders.

The approval was part of the Fed’s annual checkup of the banking system.


Progress Software jumped after reporting earnings that easily beat analysts’ forecasts. Bond yields held steady.


US consumers increase spending a modest 0.4% in May

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumer spending increased 0.4% in May, a modest gain that suggests Americans remain cautious about their finances. The Commerce Department said that incomes rose 0.5% and inflation remained tame, increasing just 1.5% in the past year. That’s far below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%.

The report comes after a measure of consumer confidence slipped Tuesday. Spending grew last month at its slowest pace since February, a trend that could hold back the broader economy.

The tame inflation reading may make it more likely that the Fed will lift short-term interest rates in the coming months. Fed officials have cited the pace of inflation as a key gauge they are watching as they consider changes to their interest rate policies.


Honda to recall 1.6M vehicles, finish Takata recalls early

DETROIT (AP) — Honda is recalling 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators, completing its required recalls six months ahead of schedule.

When the latest recall is done, Honda says it will have recalled 22.6 million inflators in almost 13 million vehicles.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force and blow apart a metal canister, spewing shrapnel. Twenty-four people have been killed and hundreds injured by the inflators worldwide. Honda was Takata’s largest customer.

The recalls include many Honda and Acura models from 2003 through 2015. All received replacement inflators made by Takata early in the recall process.

The recalls do not include inflators that have a moisture-absorbing chemical. The government will decide by the end of this year whether those should be recalled.


Apple to shift assembly of Mac Pro from US to China

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A newspaper is reporting that Apple will manufacture its new Mac Pro computer in China, shifting away from a U.S. assembly line it had been using for that product in recent years.

The Wall Street Journal reported the plan Friday, citing unidentified people familiar with the move. Apple issued a statement saying the new Mac Pro will be designed and engineered in California, but wouldn’t say where it will be assembled.

Apple has been assembling Mac Pros in Austin, Texas, since 2013 as part of a $100 million commitment that CEO Tim Cook highlighted in a national television interview. The Journal says the new $6,000 Mac Pro will be assembled in a factory near Shanghai.

The company already makes the iPhone and most other devices in China.


Court hears appeal on ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli’s fraud case

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court in New York City is considering whether the securities fraud conviction against the former drug company executive known as “Pharma Bro” should be thrown out.

An attorney for Martin Shkreli (SHKREL’-ee) urged the court to overturn a 2017 guilty verdict for Shkreli, claiming the trial judge gave confusing instructions to the jury about the law. A prosecutor insisted the instructions were proper.

The court is expected to issue a written decision at a later date.

Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison last year. Prosecutors accused him of concealing losses from his investors.

Before his conviction, Shkreli was best known for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug and trolling his critics on social media.


Lowe’s announces Charlotte, North Carolina global tech hub

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Lowe’s has selected Charlotte, North Carolina, to house a 2,000-employee global tech hub. Lowe’s is putting $153 million toward the project, while the state’s is giving a $54 million incentives grant to be paid over 12 years if Lowe’s meets job creation and investment targets.

Lowe’s CEO says they selected Charlotte for its density of young tech professionals, and its location near Lowe’s headquarters in Mooresville.

Lowe says it will begin hiring for about 1,600 new jobs immediately, with average annual pay at more than $115,000.

The governor’s office says the 23-story tower will open in Charlotte’s South End in 2021.


Secondhand fashion site RealReal set to go public

NEW YORK (AP) — RealReal, the secondhand-fashion online retailer, is going public today, testing investors’ appetite for an online marketplace for pre-owned, discounted Gucci handbags and other luxury goods. The San Francisco company, founded in 2011, will debut on the Nasdaq under the ticker “REAL.” Yesterday, the offering of 15 million shares was priced at $20 each. That would raise $300 million before expenses.

RealReal Incorporated says it’s the world’s largest online marketplace for authenticated, consigned luxury goods. Total revenue was $207.4 million last year, up 55% from the previous year.

The move comes as online marketplaces that sell used clothing and other items are flourishing with a new generation of younger shoppers who don’t want to pay full price.


Tesla says Shanghai car fire caused by failed battery module

BEIJING (AP) _ Tesla says a fire in one of its cars in Shanghai was caused by the failure of a single battery module and investigators found no defects in the car’s systems. Tesla said that a joint team examined the battery, software, manufacturing information and the vehicle’s history following the April fire in an underground garage.

The team found no system defects and so far has determined that the fire was caused by the failure of a battery module in the front of the vehicle.

Modules are groups of battery cells joined together. Panasonic supplies Tesla’s cells.

Back in May, Tesla said they were issuing a battery-related software update.


Italy’s privacy watchdog fines Facebook 1 million euros

ROME (AP) _ Italy’s privacy watchdog says it has fined Facebook $1.13 million over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The government agency said in a statement Friday that it had determined that 57 Italians had downloaded the thisisyourdigitallife app through a Facebook login, and as a result, the app acquired data of nearly 215,000 Italian users.

But the privacy watchdog said that no data was actually transmitted to Cambridge Analytica, a now defunct political consulting and data mining firm.

Britain’s data protection watchdog concluded that Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested Facebook data to aid Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign.

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