Business Highlights – ABC News


US economic growth slowed to 2.3 percent pace in Q1

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy slowed to a moderate 2.3 percent annual growth rate in the first quarter as consumer spending turned in the weakest performance in nearly five years. Still, the January-March increase came in better than expected, supporting hopes for a solid rebound for the rest of the year. The Commerce Department reports that the gain in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, followed a 2.9 percent rise in the fourth quarter.


Sleep mode? Tech giants’ kids’ ‘fixes’ amount to baby steps

NEW YORK (AP) — Tech companies are making changes to services aimed at kids as critics question whether they should be targeting kids at all. Rather than kill the services completely, as some critics want, Facebook, Amazon and Google are mostly tinkering at the edges. Facebook, for instance, is merely letting parents limit when their kids can use Messenger Kids. That leaves open the underlying questions of whether the products are good for kids to begin with.


Wynn Resorts removing Steve Wynn’s name from new casino

BOSTON (AP) — Wynn Resorts is renaming a Massachusetts casino set to open next year to remove the name of company founder Steve Wynn, who resigned following sexual misconduct allegations. New CEO Matthew Maddox on Friday announced plans to change the casino from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor. That’s a moniker used on one of its Las Vegas casinos. Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO and sold his shares following the allegations, which he denies.


Theater subscription service MoviePass tightens plans

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — MoviePass, a startup that lets customers watch a movie a day at theaters for just $10 a month, is limiting new customers to just four movies a month. The move comes as the sustainability of MoviePass’ business model comes into question. Because MoviePass is paying most theaters the full price of the ticket, the service loses money with just one or two movies in a month. MoviePass regularly changes its promotions and rates, and it’s not clear whether the one-movie-a-day deal will return.


EU moves to full ban on pesticides that harm bees

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has made a key breakthrough to completely ban pesticides that harm bees and their crop pollination. The 28 member states got a large majority backing the ban on the three prevalent neonicotinoid pesticides which will take effect at the end of the year.


Exxon revenue takes off with oil prices, profit falls short

DALLAS (AP) — Motorists who are paying 40 cents a gallon more than last spring should have no trouble understanding why Exxon’s profit is up. Higher oil prices drove Exxon’s first-quarter profit up by 16 percent to $4.65 billion, the oil giant’s best first quarter in three years, despite falling production. The results that Exxon Mobil Corp. reported Friday fell slightly short of Wall Street expectations, however, and the company’s shares slid.


Distracted by technology? Microsoft tries to help

Technology companies whose devices and constantly scrolling online services have driven us to distraction are beginning to acknowledge that their products can be a waste of time. Some of them now say they’re trying to help. Microsoft is rolling out a free update to its Windows 10 computer operating system Monday that includes new features to keep people in a distraction-free zone.


Money from pot taxes doesn’t fix Colorado teachers’ problems

DENVER (AP) — Colorado teachers are protesting to call for higher salaries and increased funding for schools, prompting questions about why the state’s booming legal marijuana sales have not fixed the problems. The 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment permitting marijuana sales to adults got a boost from a commitment to send millions of dollars to Colorado schools. But those taxes are a small share of the multibillion-dollar education budget.


Tech woes cause early close for Toronto Stock Market

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Stock Exchange and Montreal Exchange have shut down early for the day as a result of technical problems that began at about 2 p.m. The Toronto-based company that owns the exchanges announced the unusual decision through Twitter. A spokeswoman for the Toronto-based TMX Group said the company is investigating the cause of the disruption.


Stocks inch higher as Amazon leads retail rally; Exxon sinks

NEW YORK (AP) — US stocks are slightly higher as Amazon jumps following a bigger-than-expected profit in the first quarter and other retailers rise as well. Technology companies give up an early gain as Apple, Alphabet and Intel fall, although Microsoft is climbing. Also lower are oil giant Exxon Mobil and cable provider Charter Communications. Asian stocks rose following the summit between the leaders of North and South Korea.


The S&P 500 index gained 2.97 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,669.91. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 11.15 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 24,311.19. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.12 points to 7,119.80. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 1.66 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,556.24.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 0.1 percent to $68.10 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.1 percent to $74.64 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 0.6 percent to $2.13 a gallon. Heating oil lost 0.4 percent to $2.15 a gallon. Natural gas lost 2.4 percent to $2.77 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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