Business Highlights

9 years after recession began, some states still unrecovered

MERIDIAN, Miss.– Nine years after the recession began, some states still haven’t fully recovered. That’s true in Mississippi, where job numbers and the overall size of the economy remain below 2008 levels. It’s also true in states including Alabama, Michigan, New Mexico, and West Virginia, which remain below pre-recession job levels by multiple measures. That contrasts with states where employment numbers have sprinted ahead. Mississippi suffers from a cluster of ills that make it an economic laggard.

Wal-Mart sees online sales surge, more shoppers at stores

BENTONVILLE, Ark.– Wal-Mart saw online sales surge and more shoppers at its stores as well, as retail overall is more competitive. The world’s largest retailer beat Wall Street estimates and delivered another solid gain in sales at established stores. Wal-Mart also saw higher customer traffic, while major retailers like Macy’s and Target had declines.

Many women think men are the better investors; they’re not

NEW YORK — Many men and women think men are the better investors. They’re wrong. After checking how 8 million of its customers did during 2016, Fidelity Investments found that women did better than men by an average of 0.4 percentage points. The difference in performance is small, and it’s always dangerous to make big generalizations out of small slices of data. But it slots in with other research that suggests women tend to take a longer-term view of investing.

FCC vote kicks off a battle over regulation of the internet

NEW YORK — A federal agency has voted to kick off the repeal of “net neutrality” rules designed to keep broadband providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from interfering with the internet. It’s the latest change that the Federal Communications Commission has made to ease regulation of the phone, broadcast or cable industries.

Trump administration announces plans to renegotiate NAFTA

WASHINGTON — Making good on a campaign promise, the Trump administration is informing Congress that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to congressional leaders Thursday, starting 90 days of consultations with lawmakers over how to revamp the 23-year-old pact.

Asian funerals go green, high-tech at Hong Kong trade fair

HONG KONG — Caskets made of paper and coffins made of wicker on display at a recent Hong Kong funeral industry trade show reflect a trend toward “green burials.” The expo highlights growing potential for Asia’s funeral market as the region’s population rapidly ages.

Canada warns it may cancel U.S. jet buy over Bombardier probe

TORONTO — Canada’s government is warning it could cancel a planned purchase of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing Co. because of U.S. Department of Commerce anti-dumping investigations against Canadian plane maker Bombardier. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland issued the threat in a statement Thursday, saying the government is “reviewing current military procurement that relates to Boeing.”

Toyota, 3 other automakers settle suit over Takata air bags

DETROIT –Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW have reached a proposed settlement that would compensate owners of 15.8 million vehicles for money they lost due to the massive recall of Takata air bags. The automakers agreed to pay $553 million to compensate owners and widen their efforts to make sure vehicles are being repaired.

EU fines Facebook over misleading information

BRUSSELS — The EU’s competition watchdog has fined Facebook 110 million euros ($122 million) for providing misleading information over its buyout of mobile messaging service WhatsApp. The European Commission says that when Facebook informed the Commission of the 2014 buyout it said it would be unable to link Facebook and WhatsApp user accounts. Two years later, this was made possible.

Fox News founder Roger Ailes died of complications from fall

NEW YORK — Roger Ailes, the communications maestro who transformed television news and America’s political conversation by creating and ruling Fox News Channel for two decades before being ousted last year for alleged sexual harassment, died Thursday, according to his wife, Elizabeth Ailes. He was 77.

Ailes died after a fall at his Palm Beach home on May 10 caused bleeding on the brain, the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office said. Ailes fell in his bathroom, hit his head and was bleeding profusely. He was taken to a hospital by attending paramedics, the Palm Beach (Florida) Police Department said.