Earnings reports, auto recalls and a spreading meat safety scandal top our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
Apple 3rd Quarter Earnings Top Analyst Projections
Apple has polished up its growth prospects with its fiscal third-quarter report that topped analysts’ projections for the period. Apple Inc. reported selling 35.2 million iPhones, a 13 percent increase from the same period last year. Apple earned $7.7 billion for the three months ending June 28, a 12 percent increase over the same time last year and the biggest gain in two years, The Associated Press reports. Anticipation is building for the fall release of the iPhone 6, which is said to boast a screen of at least 4.7 inches compared to the current 4-inch display. Apple is enjoying a resurgence of investor confidence. Just 15 months ago, Apple's stock had dropped by 45 percent from its peak reached in September 2012 around the same time that the company last increased the iPhone's screen size. The company’s stock has surged by 18 percent this year.
Microsoft Profits Hung Up by Struggling Nokia
Microsoft’s 17 percent jump in revenue topped Wall Street estimates, but its profits took a 7 percent hit, a casualty of Nokia's struggling cell phone business, USA TODAY reports. Microsoft bought Nokia in April to challenge Apple and Samsung in the smartphone arena. While Nokia added nearly $2 billion to Microsoft’s quarterly revenue, it also posted an operating loss of $692 million. Shares of Microsoft hit 14-year highs this week. Microsoft’s announcement of its fourth-quarter earnings came less than a week after making public plans to cut 18,000 employees, or about 14 percent of its work force. Most of the layoffs, the largest in the company’s history, are coming from Nokia.
Ignition Switch Issue Forces Chrysler SUV Recalls
Chrysler Group is recalling 792,300 SUVs for a faulty ignition switch in the 2006 to 2007 Jeep Commander and the 2005 to 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Reuters reports. General Motors, the world’s second largest automaker, has had a similar issue with its ignition switches
Inadvertently shifting out of the “on” position, resulting in a record number of 29 million vehicles recalled so far this year. If the ignition switch is switched from the "on" position, the engine may stall, reducing braking power and making steering more difficult. Safety features such as frontal air bags may be disabled as well. This is Chrysler’s third ignition-switch related recall and it affects vehicles that are still in production, excluding the Jeep Commander. Affected Chrysler owners are advised to remove all items from their key rings except the ignition key.
New Target App is a Snap
Target is introducing an app that lets users purchase items after scanning magazine ads with their smartphones. The app, a year in development, is called “In a Snap” and is latest offering from retailers looking to boost sales with the use of improving image-recognition technology, The Associated Press reports. Starting this month, the app will recognize images for Target's Room Essentials products in 10 home decor magazines including Architecture and Real Simple. A user can simply scan an image and when it is recognized by the app, the item gets added to a shopping cart for potential purchase. Target's app is limited to recognizing products in ads. It is free to download but still in test mode, and it offers users the ability to send feedback to the Minneapolis retailer.
Starbucks, Burger King, Japan Caught in Meat Scandal
Chinese authorities are expanding their investigation of Shanghai meat supplier Husi Food Co. after a suspect meat scandal engulfed Starbucks and Burger King and spread to Japan where McDonald's earlier said the company had provided 20 percent of the meat for its chicken nuggets. Husi, which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, IL, is accused of selling expired beef and chicken. A day after Husi's food processing plant in Shanghai was sealed by the China Food and Drug Administration, the agency said Tuesday that inspectors also will look at its facilities and meat sources in five provinces in central, eastern and southern China, The Associated Press reports. Starbucks Corp. on Tuesday said it removed from its shelves sandwiches made with chicken that originated at Husi. Burger King Corp. said it stopped using hamburger it received from a supplier that used product from Husi. Pizza restaurant chain Papa John's International Inc. announced it stopped using meat from Husi.
Goodwill Investigates Possible Data Breach
Goodwill Industries International said Tuesday that an investigation is underway over an unconfirmed theft of customer credit card numbers, The Chicago Tribune reports. The Rockville, MD, nonprofit organization said federal authorities and a payment card industry fraud investigative unit told Goodwill last Friday that “select” U.S. stores could have been hit by a data breach. Goodwill has more than 2,900 retail stores. If a data breach is uncovered, the organization said, it would work with local branches to take “appropriate actions.”