Profit down again at Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics suffered a fifth straight drop in quarterly earnings as the Galaxy S6 failed to reverse its declining fortunes in global smartphone sales. The company's overall earnings drop during the April-June quarter was 8 percent but it reported a much bigger decline of 38 percent in the mobile division's income. The sharp profit drop in the mobile business came despite its ambitious start to the quarter with the launch of two flagship smartphones: the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge featuring a curved side display. The decline in the mobile profit was smaller than the previous quarter's nearly 60 percent plunge, but it extended the mobile division's losing streak.
Initial jobless claims rise but remain low
More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, though the increase was from a very low level and the figures still point to a healthy job market. Applications for jobless aid rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000, the Labor Department said. The four-week average, a less volatile figure that is a better measure of underlying trends, dropped 3,750 to 274,750. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, and two weeks ago they plummeted to the lowest level in almost 42 years. That suggests that Americans are enjoying a nearly unprecedented level of job security.
30-year mortgage rates slip below 4 percent
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for a second straight week, with the key 30-year rate slipping below 4 percent. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.98 percent this week from 4.04 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages eased to 3.17 percent from 3.21 percent. As in recent weeks, mortgage rates followed the yield on the key 10-year Treasury note, which fell. Bond yields for Treasurys were pushed lower by a rise in bond prices, as investors sought safety in U.S. Treasury bonds amid steep declines in global stock markets. The yield on the 10-year note declined to 2.29 percent Wednesday from 2.33 percent a week earlier. It held steady in trading Thursday morning at 2.29 percent.
CVS accused of overcharging for generics
CVS Health Corp. deliberately overcharged some pharmacy customers for generic drugs by submitting claims to their insurance companies at inflated prices, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco. The suit says those inflated prices led to higher copays for customers that exceeded what they would have paid for the drugs if they had no insurance and participated in a CVS discount program. The lawsuit seeks class-action status. CVS Health spokesman Michael DeAngelis said the Rhode Island-based company had not been served with the lawsuit, so it couldn't comment on it. He said copays are determined by a patient's prescription coverage plan and added that a similar suit in Massachusetts was dismissed.
Windows 10 now running on 14 million PCs
Microsoft says its new Windows 10 operating system is now running on more than 14 million computers, two days after the software was released as a free download. That's a far cry from the company's goal of getting Windows 10 onto a billion devices within three years. Microsoft says it's releasing the software in waves to make sure downloads go smoothly. In a blog post late Thursday, Microsoft said it has not yet delivered Windows 10 to everyone who requested a free upgrade for computers running older Windows versions. Microsoft says the 14 million includes some copies installed on new computers sold in stores.