Twitter revenue up 61 percent
Twitter exceeded investor expectations on Tuesday, reporting a 61 percent increase in revenue and a narrower loss than a year ago. But company executives warned that the social network was still too difficult for the majority of potential users and turning that around would take considerable time. “You should expect Twitter to be easy to use as looking out your window,” said Jack Dorsey, the company’s interim chief executive. The grim outlook sent the company’s shares down more than 5 percent in after-hours trading, after they rose initially on the results. Twitter said that the number of people using its social network rose by only 2 million over the past three months, to 304 million. The user growth numbers are closely watched by Wall Street.
Homeownership rate drops to 48-year-low
The nation’s homeownership rate continued its decline in the second quarter, dropping to a 48-year low, the Census Bureau reported. The rate slid to 63.4 percent, down from 63.7 percent in the first quarter and 64.7 percent in 2014’s second quarter. The last time homeownership was so low was in the first quarter of 1967, when the rate was 63.3 percent. With some of those former homeowners becoming renters, the rental vacancy rate took a deeper slide in the second quarter, down to 6.8 percent, from 7.5 percent a year earlier. Rental vacancy rates aren’t as low in the Midwest and Northeast as they are in the South and West, according to the Census Bureau.
Volkswagen is No. 1 in sales worldwide
Volkswagen AG clinched the top spot in global auto sales for the first half of 2015 by selling 5.04 million vehicles, enough to overtake longtime standout Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota sold 5.02 million vehicles, a decrease of 1.5 percent, in the first six months of the year. In a statement Tuesday, the company said production in Japan decreased, and sales in the automaker’s home country were down for the first time in two years. Exports to Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East also decreased. General Motors Co. came in third with 4.86 million vehicles sold, down 1.2 percent from the same period a year ago.
Consumer confidence lowest since Sept.
U.S. consumer confidence fell this month to the lowest level since September. Consumers are worried about the job market and rattled by events in Greece and China. The Conference Board said that its index of consumer confidence fell to 90.9 in July from a revised 99.8 in June. That’s the lowest since September’s reading of 89. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions fell slightly to a still-healthy 107.4 from 110.3 in June; but their outlook for the next six months dropped sharply to 79.9 this month, the lowest since February 2014 and down from 92.8 in June.
Coal again top fuel for power plants
Coal reclaimed its ranking as the top fuel for generating electricity at U.S. power plants in May, beating natural gas, which took the No. 1 spot for the first time in April. Coal accounted for 33 percent of net electricity generation with gas’s 31 percent, the Energy Information Administration said in its Electric Power Monthly report. Still, coal-fired power generation was down 12 percent from a year ago, while gas was up 14 percent.
Judge cuts damages Jeep must pay by $110M
A Georgia judge has cut the damages that Fiat Chrysler must pay the family of a child who died in a Jeep SUV fire from $150 million to $40 million. Judge J. Kevin Chason also denied Fiat Chrysler’s motion for a new trial, dismissing arguments that jurors acted irrationally in the case. In a ruling issued Friday and made public Tuesday, Chason decided that the family of 4-year-old Remington Walden should get $30 million for his death and $10 million for pain and suffering. The ruling opens a path for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to appeal.