Stephen King testifies for government in books merger trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bestselling author Stephen King has testified in a federal antitrust trial in Washington. Tracing his own history beginning as an unknown author in the 1970s, King laid out a portrait of a publishing industry that has become increasingly concentrated over the years. He testified as a witness for the U.S. Justice Department. The government is trying to convince a federal judge that the...
Stephen King testifies for government in books merger trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bestselling author Stephen King has testified in a federal antitrust trial in Washington. Tracing his own history beginning as an unknown author in the 1970s, King laid out a portrait of a publishing industry that has become increasingly concentrated over the years. He testified as a witness for the U.S. Justice Department. The government is trying to convince a federal judge that the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and rival Simon & Schuster, two of the world’s biggest publishers, would thwart competition. In his testimony Tuesday, King described himself as “a freelance writer.” He said publisher consolidation “is bad for competition.”
House panel subpoenas gunmaker for data on rifle sales
WASHINGTON (AP) — The gunmaker Smith & Wesson is facing new scrutiny from Congress. The House Oversight panel subpoenaed the company Tuesday for documents related to the manufacture and sale of AR-15-style guns. The move came after Smith & Wesson’s CEO refused to appear for a hearing on the firearms frequently used in mass shootings. The committee said the Massachusetts company’s CEO Mark P. Smith originally agreed to testify along with the heads of two other companies, but abruptly canceled. Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York says the company also hasn’t provided all the information the committee needs for its investigation into gunmaker profits from AR-15-style weapons.
Stocks slip on Wall Street after another meandering day
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks slipped Tuesday as Wall Street’s modest August retreat continued another day. Stocks wavered over the day as investors are unsure whether the market’s strong run in July is the start of a turnaround or a temporary blip. The S&P 500 finished down 0.7% and the Nasdaq and Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell. Analysts cited comments from Federal Reserve officials that suggested continued hikes to interest rates are coming in order to knock down inflation. Caterpillar took a hit after reporting weaker sales than expected. Uber shares took off following its own strong quarterly report. Treasury yields climbed.
Number of uninsured Americans drops to record low
Washington (AP) — The number of people living in America without health insurance coverage hit an all-time low of 8 percent this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday. The findings come days after Democrats hammered out a 725-page climate, health care and tax deal that would extend generous federal subsidies for people who buy private health insurance that are credited with driving down the number of uninsured Americans. Democrats have proposed spending $64 billion to extend those price breaks for three more years.
Rent-A-Center settles alleged California overpricing dispute
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Officials say one of the nation’s largest rent-to-own companies will pay $15.5 million to settle California’s allegations that it misled and overcharged tens of thousands of customers. Attorney General Rob Bonta said Tuesday that an investigation of the Rent-A-Center’s kiosk business in retail stores found that since 2014 it used an inflated cash price for products that was 15% higher than the true retail price, among other alleged violations. The company will return $13.5 million in the form of restitution to California consumers under the settlement. Rent-A-Center did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment. The company did not admit any violations.
U.S. job openings slid to 10.7 million in June
WASHINGTON (AP) — American employers posted fewer job openings in June as the economy contends with raging inflation and rising interest rates. The Labor Department said Tuesday job openings fell to a still-high 10.7 million in June from 11.3 million in May. In its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the Labor Department said that the number of Americans quitting their jobs fell slightly in June while layoffs fell. The job market has been resilient so far this year: Employers have added an average of 457,000 a jobs a month in 2022; and unemployment is near a 50-year low.
Elon Musk’s tech allies miffed about Twitter subpoenas
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk’s wealthy high tech allies don’t seem too happy about receiving subpoenas from Twitter as part of the company’s legal battle with the Tesla CEO. San Francisco-based Twitter is suing Musk in Delaware in an attempt to get him to complete his $44 billion acquisition of the social media company, a deal Musk is trying to get out of. According to a report from The Washington Post, Twitter’s legal team has asked for information about a host of tech investors and entrepreneurs connected to Musk in a wide-ranging subpoena. Twitter declined to comment. One of those receiving the subpoena posted in response a picture of a Mad Magazine cover of a hand raising a middle finger.
Robinhood cuts 23% of its workforce as fewer users trade
NEW YORK (AP) — Robinhood Markets is cutting about 23% of its workforce because fewer users are trading on its app amid the tumult hammering stock and cryptocurrency markets. The layoffs follow another round of cuts announced earlier this year, which culled 9% of its workforce. Robinhood made the announcement as it said its number of average monthly users fell in June. It also reported a net loss of $295 million for its latest quarter, though its revenue came in better than analysts expected.
Starbucks reports record revenue on frothy US demand
Starbucks reported record revenue in the April-June period, as strong U.S. demand made up for COVID shutdowns in China. The Seattle-based coffee giant said its revenue rose 9% to $8.2 billion, a quarterly record. That surpassed Wall Street’s forecast. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, rose 9% in the U.S., where customers are spending more on customizable cold beverages. Morning traffic also picked up as more people returned to offices. Starbucks said its net income fell 21% as the company spent more on labor, worker training and supply chain costs.
Airbnb posts 2Q profit of $379 million on record bookings
Airbnb is reporting a profit of $379 million for the second quarter, and it says bookings were a record. The company also said Tuesday it will spend up to $2 billion to buy its own stock, something that usually drives up the price of shares. The results were a reversal from losses in the second quarter of both last year and 2019. Airbnb is benefitting from the increase in travel and the exodus of workers from offices, which frees them to work from just about anywhere they can get Internet access. Airbnb says bookings in the second quarter were about one-fourth higher than last year and the second quarter of 2019.