Retail sales fall 0.3 % in June

Americans held back from shopping in June, pushing down retail sales and raising doubts about consumer confidence. Retail sales dropped 0.3 percent in June from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday. May retail sales were revised downward to 1 percent, from a previous estimate of 1.2 percent. Analysts said that shoppers continued to show restraint despite an improving economy and labor market. The report showed that motor vehicle and parts dealers, which suffered a 1.1 percent decline, helped drag down sales.

Patent owners flock to U.S. courts

Patent owners are filing a record number of U.S. lawsuits as Congress considers rules designed to curb litigation. Some 1,656 patent-infringement suits were filed in the second quarter, the highest of any period recorded, according to figures issued Tuesday by Lex Machina, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based legal analysis firm. The report backs up an earlier study by Unified Patents predicting the number of suits will exceed 6,000 this year. In 2014, the total was 5,010, down 18 percent from the previous year.

AMC buying Starplex Cinemas for $172M

AMC Theatres said that it will buy Starplex Cinemas for $172 million, adding 33 theaters with 346 screens in 12 states. AMC, the nation's second-largest movie theater chain, said the purchase will allow it to expand into new small and midsize markets where there is "little geographic overlap" with its existing business. The all-cash transaction, which requires regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the end of this year. AMC is based in Leawood, Kan. Starplex, based in Dallas, is privately held.

Ford sales in Europe up 16% in June

Ford saw its sales in Europe increase 16 percent in June, a sign of recovery in a region affected by the financial crisis in Greece. The automaker sold 126,800 vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets last month. Through the first six months, sales of 668,800 vehicles represent an increase of nearly 11 percent while the overall industry was up 9 percent. Sales of a new Mondeo (Fusion), Kuga (Escape), EcoSport small crossover and its line of Transit commercial vehicles helped Ford increase its market share slightly to 8.1 percent.

FedEx in talks to buy 25 767s from Boeing

FedEx Corp., the only current commercial customer for Boeing's 767 cargo jet, is in talks to acquire at least 25 more of the twin-engine freighters, two people familiar with the matter said. The shipping company's directors met in the Seattle area over the weekend, where the deal was on the agenda, Bloomberg News reported. The planes' list value would be about $5 billion, before the customary discounts.

Reddit's chief engineer quits

In another blow to the online message board Reddit, the San Francisco company's chief engineer, Bethanye Blount, has quit after less than two months on the job and just days after the high-profile departure of Reddit's interim chief executive, Ellen Pao. Pao stepped down last Friday, citing an inability to deliver on the board's high user growth expectations "while maintaining Reddit's core principles." Blount told tech news site Re-Code her departure was unrelated to Pao's resignation.

Honda settles racial discrimination claims

Honda reached a settlement Tuesday to resolve allegations that it discriminated against minority car buyers by marking up interest rates on loans, a practice industry experts describe as common because of the discretion given to individual dealerships. Honda's settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, is subject to court approval. The Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accused Honda dealers of charging higher interest rates to thousands of black, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander customers than white car buyers.

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