Business News

Jul 21, 5:47 PM EDT

Business Highlights


Cops wage psychological warfare against online drug bazaars

HOUSTON (AP) - A global police operation took down two illicit online drug bazaars in an innovative plan designed to sow uncertainty among buyers and sellers. The strategy shuttered one "darknet" market, which had the effect of driving users to a second market that officials had earlier seized. The move, officials say, has yielded a trove of new intelligence about the drug merchants that operate in the hidden corners of the internet.


What drug-dealing 'darknet' sites have in common with eBay

NEW YORK (AP) - Authorities say the online marketplace AlphaBay operated much like any other e-commerce site, complete with dispute-resolution services and a public-relations manager to promote it. But instead of TVs and toilet paper, authorities say AlphaBay traded in illegal drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods. And the site went through hoops to hide the identities of its vendors and customers.


U.S. seeks dismissal of charges in 'London Whale' case

NEW YORK (AP) - The U.S. government says it seeks dismissal of charges against two ex-traders at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in a scandal that caused over $6 billion in losses after a trader known as the "London Whale" became an unreliable witness. Prosecutors made the request in the case against Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout. The government was unable to extradite the men and prosecutors said ex-JPMorgan trader Bruno Iksil made statements spoiling him as a witness.


Wells Fargo ordered to reinstate whistleblower, pay $577,500

NEW YORK (AP) - Wells Fargo is being ordered to reinstate a branch manager it fired in 2011. The employee had tried to blow the whistle on the bank's growing sales practices scandal. The Department of Labor ordered Wells Fargo to pay $577,500 in back wages as well.


Review: Amazon meal kits offer easy dinners - for a price

SEATTLE (AP) - Amazon's new ready-to-eat meal package is the perfect recipe for someone who lacks time to shop and cook, yet has a healthy appetite and a need for balanced meals. These meal kits come with everything you need to prepare dinner for two. There's no major commitment, the way rivals require you to order an entire week of meals at a time. But you pay dearly for the convenience and flexibility.


Police: Australian likely killed by Takata air bag inflator

DETROIT (AP) - Police in Australia say a man who died this month in a traffic crash near Sydney likely is the 18th person killed by a faulty Takata air bag inflator. Police say the man was struck in the neck by a small fragment and died at the crash scene. He was driving a 2007 Honda CR-V. If death by the air bag defect is confirmed, the man's death would be the first outside of the U.S. or Malaysia attributed to Takata.


US stocks inch lower on Europe worries; tech stocks sink

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks are down Friday as a winning streak for technology companies fades. European stocks fell after a report said the European Central Bank will make a decision about reducing its economic stimulus in October. General Electric slumped after the company issued a weak forecast.


UAW, Nissan pressing high-stakes campaign for worker votes

CANTON, Miss. (AP) - Nissan and the United Auto Workers union are pressing a high-stakes campaign for worker votes in Mississippi, two weeks before a vote on whether the union will represent as many as 4,000 production workers at the assembly plant. Nissan is showing videos to workers urging them to reject the union. Workers supporting the UAW say the union could help negotiate better wages, benefits and working conditions. The plant's top official says the union will make promises it can't keep.


Ford says it will fight latest Takata recall

DETROIT (AP) - Ford is fighting the latest expansion of the Takata air bag inflator recall. Earlier this month Takata filed documents with the U.S. government adding 2.7 million vehicles to the recall from Ford, Nissan and Mazda. But Ford says none of its inflators have shown signs of problems and a recall isn't necessary.


London blaze makes U.S. building owners mindful of fire threat

ATLANTA (AP) - Fire experts say U.S. building owners should review what materials are in their structures after a catastrophic fire in London showed how flames can quickly devour a high-rise building. Experts say concrete, steel or glass will generally merit few concerns. But potentially flammable material should be examined. Britain is investigating building materials to determine whether they helped spread a fire on Grenfell Tower that killed at least 80 people.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index shipped 0.91 of a point to 2,472.54. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 31.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,580.07. The Nasdaq composite lost 2.25 points to 6,387.75.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost $1.15 to $45.77 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, shed $1.24, or 2.5 percent, to $48.06 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to $1.56 a gallon. Heating oil lost 3 cents to $1.52 a gallon. Natural gas slid 7 cents to $2.97 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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