Detroit had another good month in August
Detroit’s three carmakers all reported surprisingly robust August sales, powered by pickups and sport-utility vehicles, suggesting U.S. consumers are undeterred by the marked decline in global stock markets. Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported unexpected sales increases, while General Motors posted a small drop, after cutting back low-margin sales to rental fleets, and boosted its full-year outlook for the market by 300,000 vehicles. Declines for Nissan and Toyota were narrower than analysts’ estimates. GM’s 0.7 percent decline beat analysts’ estimates. Ford’s light-vehicle deliveries increased 5.6 percent and Fiat Chrysler’s rose 1.7 percent. The average of analysts’ estimates was for a 0.2 percent drop for Ford and a 1.2 percent decline for Fiat Chrysler.
Amazon to offer downloadable videos
Amazon.com Inc. is upping the ante in the streaming-video competition with downloadable videos. The e-commerce powerhouse will now let members of its $99 annual Prime loyalty program download some shows and movies on its streaming video service to watch offline, or when there is no Internet connection available, for free. To watch the content users can download the Amazon Video app for iOS or Android. Users will now be able to download shows like “Downton Abbey,” HBO shows including “Veep” and movies including “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Shows will be downloadable to Apple and Android phones and tablets, including Amazon’s Fire devices — but not desktops or laptops.
Construction spending climbs to 7-year high
U.S. construction spending in July climbed to its highest level in more than seven years, boosted by an increase in the building of houses, factories and power plants. The Commerce Department said construction spending rose 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.08 trillion, the highest level since May 2008. The report also revised up the June increase in construction spending to 0.7 percent from 0.1 percent previously. Groundbreakings for houses, apartment complexes and commercial centers have helped to improve overall economic growth. The government said last week that the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the April-June quarter.
Uber lawsuit certified as a class action
A federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit in California against Uber over the payment of its drivers, upping the stakes for the ride-hailing company in the case. The ruling increases the number of potential California plaintiffs in the suit that claims Uber drivers are incorrectly classified as independent contractors when they are actually employees. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco made his decision in the lawsuit filed by several current or former Uber drivers who say they are Uber employees and have been shortchanged on expenses and tips.
ConocoPhillips to cut 1,800 more jobs
Energy company ConocoPhillips, which has already cut 1,000 jobs this year, says it will eliminate about 1,800 more positions following a plunge that took oil prices to their lowest levels in years. The company said it is eliminating 10 percent of its workforce. The biggest proportion of the job cuts will be in North America. ConocoPhillips plans to eliminate more than 500 jobs in Houston, where it is based. In a statement, ConocoPhillips said it’s making the cuts because the energy industry is in a “dramatic downturn.”
Yahoo’s Mayer: She’s pregnant with twins
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is pregnant with identical twins. Mayer, 40, said on her blog that she and her husband are expecting twin girls in December. “I have some exciting news to share — I’m pregnant!” wrote on Tumblr. She says that she will take some limited time away as she did with her son’s birth three years ago. Three years ago, Mayer announced she was pregnant with her son a few hours after Yahoo hired her as its third full-time CEO in less than a year.