U.S. housing seesaws to recovery
Through all its ups and downs, the U.S. homebuilding industry is making slow progress. While housing starts declined 11.1 percent in May to a 1.04 million annualized rate, it followed a revised 1.17 million pace the prior month to cap the best back-to-back readings since late 2007, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday in Washington. Permits for future projects climbed to the highest level in nearly eight years. The stop-and-go nature of the rebound, which has been exacerbated by the inclement weather that brought construction to a near standstill at the start of the year, masks a steady recovery in the industry at the center of the past recession.
Toyota adds 1.4M vehicles to air bag recall
Toyota is adding nearly 1.4 million cars, trucks and SUVs to a growing recall for air bags that can explode with too much force. The company says it's expanding a previous recall after Takata Corp. of Japan agreed to double the size of its air bag inflater recall to 33.8 million. Vehicles added to a passenger air bag inflater recall include the 2003 to 2007 Corolla and Matrix, 2005 and 2006 Tundra pickup, 2005 to 2007 Sequoia SUV and the 2003 to 2007 Lexus SC430 convertible. The propellant in some Takata inflaters can burn too quickly, blowing apart a metal canister and sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment. Seven deaths and more than 100 injuries have been attributed to the problem.
Bunnies recalls about 800 plush toys
Safety regulators say a New Jersey company is recalling about 800 plush toys intended for children because their wheels could come off, creating a choking hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the recall covers two Bunnies by the Bay wheeled pull-along toys: a brown dog named Bud and a cream-colored bunny named Skipit. Both are about eight inches high and they cost around $30 each. The toys feature Bud or Skipit on four wheels and they come with a pull cord. No choking incidents have been reported.
Murdoch turns over more power to sons
Twenty-First Century Fox said Tuesday that Rupert Murdoch will turn over more power to his sons James and Lachlan on July 1. James Murdoch, 42, will become CEO and Lachlan Murdoch, 43, will become executive co-chairman of the company that day. News of the Murdoch brothers' promotions at Fox emerged last week but the timing had not been confirmed. Twenty-First Century Fox's holdings include Fox News Channel, Fox broadcast network and the 20th Century Fox movie studio. Corporate functions as well as TV and film operations will jointly report to the Murdoch brothers, the company said. Rupert Murdoch, 84, has been CEO of the company since 1979 and chairman since 1991.
3,400 Starbucks to get mobile ordering
Starbucks is launching its mobile order program in more than half of the stores it owns in the United States. The move follows an initial pilot launched last December in Portland, Ore., and expanded three months later to some 600 locations across the Pacific Northwest. The latest expansion means that an additional 3,400 stores in 21 states, from Texas to Wyoming and Arizona to South Carolina, now have it. So do stores in South and central California. Mobile ordering and pay is a key initiative for Starbucks, which seeks to lure more customers into using its app and joining its reward program, whose members tend to spend more at its cafes and visit more often.
European Central Bank can buy bonds
The European Central Bank on Tuesday got a vote of confidence from Europe's highest appeals court, which ruled that the bank has the authority to buy quantities of bonds from eurozone countries. The bond-buying program, known as Outright Monetary Transactions, was introduced in September 2012 but has never actually been used.