Schultz recruits 100 execs to eschew politics

Starbucks Corp. Chief Executive Howard Schultz said more than 100 business leaders have joined his pledge to boycott U.S. political campaign donations. AOL Inc. CEO Tim Armstrong, J.C. Penney Co. CEO Myron Ullman, Whole Foods Market Inc. Co-CEO Walter Robb and others have agreed to accelerate hiring and halt campaign giving to incumbents in Washington until Congress finds a solution to the nation's growing debt, Starbucks said in an e-mailed statement.

Durable-goods orders up more than expected

Orders for U.S. durable goods climbed more than forecast in July as a surge in demand for aircraft and autos eclipsed a decrease in business equipment, including computers and machinery. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years rose 4 percent, the most in four months, after falling a revised 1.3 percent in June, a Commerce Department report showed. The median projection of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 2 percent gain. Orders excluding the volatile transportation category, unexpectedly advanced 0.7 percent.

RIM said to plan Android apps on BlackBerry

Research In Motion Ltd., seeking to boost the appeal of its BlackBerrys and revive slowing sales, plans to enable models expected next year to run applications built for Google Inc.'s Android operating system, Bloomberg News reported. BlackBerrys that run on RIM's new QNX software will be Android-compatible, Bloomberg said, citing anonymous sources familiar with the plan. RIM has said it plans to introduce QNX phones in "early" 2012.

LightSquared would disrupt GPS, Deere says

Philip Falcone's LightSquared wireless service would disrupt farm equipment guided by the global-positioning system, costing the agriculture industry as much as $30 billion a year, Deere & Co. told U.S. regulators. A revised proposal from LightSquared aimed at lessening interference fails to ease disruption to GPS devices, Deere told the Federal Communications Commission during a meeting last week. The meeting was disclosed Monday in a filing with the FCC.

Japan sets aside $100B to aid overseas deals

Japan took steps to help its economy ride out a surge in the yen, which has battered the country's export-led economy. The government announced a $100 billion loan fund to spur Japanese spending on corporate acquisitions and resources overseas, according to a statement released by the Finance Ministry. The ministry also said it would step up monitoring of currency markets by asking financial institutions to report on positions held by their currency dealers.

New addition to Burger King menu: Oatmeal

Burger King, the world's second-largest hamburger chain, added oatmeal to its breakfast menu this week, joining a slew of other chains that have brought the hot cereal out of the cupboard and into restaurants and drive-thrus. Burger King says it is trying to offer customers a healthier breakfast option beyond its sausage croissant sandwiches and french toast dipping sticks. It's also an attempt by the struggling chain to catch up to competitors and boost sagging sales by appealing to customers beyond its base of burgers-and-fries fans.

After 10 years, car dealerships on rise again

In an encouraging sign of the auto industry's modest recovery, the number of car dealerships increased in the first half of 2011 by 0.4 percent, the first increase in 10 years, according to Urban Science, a Detroit-based retail consultant. This comes after a 4.4 percent drop in the number of dealerships from 2009 to 2010. But the number of franchises dropped 2.4 percent to 29,360, reflecting the phase-out of Mercury and the ongoing consolidation of Lincoln dealers.