Update on the latest in business:
Stocks give up early gain
NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes are little changed on Wall Street after giving up an early gain.
Energy companies and banks are taking modest losses while health care and technology companies are slightly higher.
Noble Energy fell 1.2 percent and SVB Financial lost 1.6 percent.
Retailers including shoe store operator DSW and Tiffany are climbing after strong quarterly reports. DWS soared 20 percent.
Indexes are still near record highs after strong gains the past few days.
Google says its searches aren’t used for political agenda
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Responding to President Donald Trump, Google says its search is not used to set a political agenda and the results are not biased toward any political ideology.
Google said Tuesday that when users search for content, “our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds.”
The Mountain View, California-based tech company says it makes “hundreds of improvements” to its algorithms every year to ensure “high-quality content” is returned in response to users’ queries.
Adds Google: “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”
On Twitter on Tuesday, Trump accused Google — without evidence — of “suppressing” conservative voices and “hiding information” and good news.
US consumer confidence rises to 18-year high
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans’ consumer confidence rose in August to the highest level in nearly 18 years as their assessment of current conditions improved further and their expectations about the future rebounded.
The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose to 133.4 in August, up from a reading 127.9 in July. It was the highest reading since confidence stood at 135.8 in October 2000.
Consumers’ confidence in their ability to get a job and the overall economy are seen as important indicators of how freely they will spend, especially on big-ticket items such as cars, in coming months. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.
US home prices jumped 6.3 percent from a year ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S home prices climbed 6.3 percent in June from a year earlier, as affordability is becoming a greater obstacle for would-be buyers.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose at a slightly slower pace than the 6.5 percent annual gain in May from a year earlier. But home values are increasing at more than double the pace of average wage growth, weighing down property sales despite the robust job growth.
Mortgage rates are also higher than a year ago, creating another price pressure. The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes have declined for the past four months.
Home prices in three metro areas have increased by double digits in the past year: Las Vegas (13 percent), Seattle (12.8 percent) and San Francisco (10.7 percent).
Texan says he’s selling 3D-printed gun plans, despite ruling
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The owner of a Texas company that makes untraceable 3D-printed guns says he has begun selling the blueprints through his website to anyone who wants to make one, despite a federal court order barring him from posting the plans online.
Cody Wilson says he began selling the plans Tuesday morning and that he’ll sell them for any price. Wilson says he believes that selling them, instead of posting the plans for anyone to view or download for free, will not run afoul of the Seattle federal judge’s Monday order.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia had sought an injunction to stop a settlement that the federal government reached with Wilson’s Austin-based Defense Distributed.
The states argued that posting the plans online for how to make the untraceable plastic guns would pose a security risk.
BIOMETRIC DATA LAWSUIT
Judge tosses suit against Southwest Airlines on fingerprints
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago federal judge has tossed a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging Southwest Airlines violated the law by requiring that certain employees use fingerprints to sign into and out of work.
The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports that Judge Marvin Aspen concluded a courtroom wasn’t the proper venue to resolve what he deemed a relatively minor dispute between unionized workers and a company with a collective bargaining agreement. He said in a decision posted last week that the right place was arbitration.
Several Southwest agents filed the lawsuit in federal court this year. They argued that the use of fingerprints violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. It sought both an injunction halting the practice and an order forcing the airline to destroy any biometric data it gathered.
Despite strong economy, many Americans struggling to get by
UNDATED (AP) — Despite a strong economy, about 40 percent of American families struggled to meet at least one of their basic needs last year, including paying for food, health care, housing or utilities.
That’s according to an Urban Institute survey of nearly 7,600 adults. It found the difficulties were most prevalent among adults with lower incomes or health issues but also revealed people from all walks of like running into similar hardships.
The findings by the nonprofit research organization highlight the financial strains experienced by many Americans in an otherwise strong economy.