ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A car rental company is offering a fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in Orlando — and drivers won't have to pay for gas under the program that was announced Thursday.
In the new program, called Drive Electric Orlando, tourists who rent one of the 15 available Nissan Leaf cars from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Orlando can charge the fully electric vehicles at hotels, near theme parks and even outside of city hall — all for free.
There are about 300 charging stations in the greater Orlando area — and under the program, AAA will charge the car for free if it runs out of juice.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the program is a great way to introduce the cars to potential new buyers — whether tourists or city residents.
For setting records for the debt markets, it appears that telecommunications companies can't be beat.
Sprint Nextel this week sold $6.5 billion worth of high-yield bonds, breaking the record for the single biggest noninvestment-grade offering ever sold directly to investors. The sale comes only days after Verizon Communications announced that it has taken out $61 billion in financing to support its mammoth deal to buy full control of its wireless unit.
The sale shows that despite concerns about the Federal Reserve raising rates at some point in the near future, debt investors remain interested in buying up new issuances.
“We didn't wake up thinking we would do the biggest high-yield offering ever,” Joseph J. Euteneuer, Sprint's chief financial officer, said, adding praise for the performance of its adviser, JPMorgan Chase. – The New York Times
NEW YORK (AP) — Chobani says it's recalling some of its Greek yogurt cups that were affected by mold, a move prompted by reports of illnesses by some customers.
The recall comes about a week after the company first started asking retailers to pull the products from shelves, saying some cups were “swelling and bloating.” Chobani had previously said it wasn't issuing a formal recall.
But the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it was in talks with the company about the matter.
Chobani said that most of the affected products have already been pulled from shelves. The company, based in New Berlin, N.Y., said the affected products came from its Idaho facility and represent less than 5 percent of its total production.
The containers are marked with the code 16-012 and expiration dates Sept. 11 to Oct. 7.
Chobani CEO Hamid Ulukaya said it was the company's decision to move to a recall, not the FDA's. He said the problem was caused by a type of mold that is commonly found in dairy environments. The issue has been “totally fixed,” he said.
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans’ cautious spending on clothing extended into August, capping a weak back-to-school selling season for retailers.
Several retailers, including clothiers Cato Corp. and L Brands Inc., on Thursday posted disappointing revenue during the month, which falls in the middle of the second-biggest shopping period of the year.
“Overall, the month was mediocre for sales,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers. “The back-to-school season started late and it never had momentum.”
Revenue at stores opened at least a year — a measure of a retailer’s health — rose 3.7 percent in August, according to a preliminary tally of eight retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers. That’s up slightly from July’s 3.5 percent gain, but below the 6 percent gain in August last year.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, near the lowest level since June 2008.
The figure shows employers are laying off fewer and fewer workers, an encouraging sign one day before the government will issue its August jobs report. Weekly applications are just 1,000 above a five-year low reached last month, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 3,000 to 328,500. That's the lowest point since 2007.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell in July by the sharpest amount in four months, held back by weaker demand for commercial aircraft and heavy machinery.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that factory orders dropped 2.4 percent in July compared with June.
Orders for core capital goods, viewed as a proxy for business investment spending, fell 4 percent, the biggest setback since February.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. workers were more productive from April through June than previously estimated, while labor costs were unchanged.
Productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the April-June quarter, up from an initial estimate of 0.9 percent growth, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Unit labor costs were flat in the second quarter, less than the 1.4 percent rise the government had initially estimated.
The combination of stronger productivity and less of an increase in wages should provide assurances to the Federal Reserve that inflation is not a threat.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies in the U.S. service sector expanded at their fastest pace in nearly eight years last month as sales and orders grew and employers ramped up hiring.
The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its service-sector index rose to 58.6 in August from 56 in July. It's the highest point since December 2005. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
A measure of hiring rose to 57, the most in six months. That's an encouraging sign for the job market because the service sector employs 90 percent of the U.S. workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services.
WASHINGTON (AP) — American businesses added 176,000 jobs in August, a private survey showed Thursday. That was fewer than in June and July but roughly in line with the monthly average for the year.
The payroll company ADP said professional and business services firms added 50,000 jobs. Manufacturers created 5,000, reversing a drop in July, and construction firms 4,000. Companies in all industries and of all sizes hired in August, ADP said.
Mortgage rates near high for year
Average fixed rates on U.S. long-term mortgages neared their highs for the year this week amid signs of further strength in the economy. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan was 4.57 percent this week. That's up from 4.51 percent last week and close to its high this year of 4.58 percent reached Aug. 22. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose from 3.54 percent to 3.59 percent. That's near the year's high of 3.6 percent.