Business Highlights

Twitter cuts staff, kills off Vine app amid pressure to grow

NEW YORK  — Twitter, seemingly unable to find a buyer and losing money, is cutting about 9 percent of its employees worldwide.

It is also killing off Vine, a mobile video app where people share short video clips that play in a loop. While beloved by users, it never took off with the masses and has lost its luster as of late.

Twitter has failed to keep pace with rivals Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and in recent months, rumors abounded that it would be acquired. CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday quickly brushed aside what he called “recent market speculation.”

Rising star: YouTube playing key role in Google’s success

SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube has emerged as a break-out star for Google.

The popularity of the service has shifted a bigger chunk of advertising budgets from traditional network television programming to the eclectic mix of clips found on YouTube. And that is making the already hugely profitable Google even more prosperous.

In a third-quarter report released Thursday, Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., said it earned $5.1 billion, or $7.25 per share, a 27 percent increase from the same time last year. After subtracting advertising commissions, revenue climbed 21 percent to $18.3 billion. Both figures topped analyst projections.

Amazon misses 3Q profit forecasts

SEATTLE — Inc. shares fell in after-market trading on Thursday after the online retailer reported third-quarter net income that missed analyst expectations.

The company said net income tripled to $252 million, or 52 cents per share, from $79 million, or 17 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter. That missed analyst expectations of 85 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue jumped 29 percent to $32.71 billion in the period, which topped Street forecasts.

Amazon has begun to balance spending with revenue more prudently and has reported a profit in each of the past five quarters.

Apple adds keyboard touch functions to Mac in major refresh

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple unveiled long-awaited updates to its Mac computers Thursday, aiming to spark consumer interest in a product line often overshadowed by its other gadgets like the iPad and iPhone.

The company is adding a new touch-sensitive panel on the MacBook Pro, Apple’s top-of-the-line laptop. The Pro will also come with a fingerprint sensor, similar to one in the iPhone, to unlock the device. It can recognize different users and offer quick switching based on the fingerprint.

The new Macs will also offer a dedicated key for the Siri voice assistant, a feature added with the MacOS Sierra update last month.

Ford’s 3Q profit falls on recall, truck launch

DEARBORN, Mich. — Troubles in Ford Motor Co.’s home market — including slowing U.S. sales, a massive recall and the difficult launch of new heavy-duty pickups — are hurting the company’s bottom line.

Ford said Thursday its net income plunged 56 percent to $957 million in the third quarter. Its adjusted results beat market expectations but that didn’t do much to offset concerns that Ford is headed for a rough patch. The company has already announced temporary plant shutdowns in North America this month to curb production, and plans more actions in the fourth quarter.

Altria to close 2 tobacco facilities affecting 580 workers

RICHMOND, Va.– Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, said Thursday that it will close manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Illinois by early 2018, affecting about 580 workers.

The company said about 200 jobs in different states will be available for those workers, if they choose to transfer. Altria did not say how many workers it expects to lay off. Full-time workers that do not transfer will be given a minimum of six months of severance, in addition to benefits and free job training, a spokesman said.

Average U.S. 30-year mortgage rate eases to 3.47 percent

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week, moving closer to historically low levels.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage eased to 3.47 percent from 3.52 percent last week. The benchmark rate is down from 3.76 percent a year ago and close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, ticked down to 2.78 percent from 2.79 percent.

American and Southwest raises base fares by $5 each way

DALLAS — American and Southwest are raising fares by $5 each way, the latest move by airlines to reverse a price slump that has lasted nearly two years.

American Airlines Group Inc. raised prices first and Southwest Airlines Co. followed suit on Thursday, according to J.P. Morgan Securities and FareCompare. Both airlines confirmed the price increase.

Fares have been falling since airlines began adding flights and seats faster than the growth in travel demand.