Business Highlights

Drug prices don’t budge even after pressure from Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress’s routine of publicly shaming drug company executives over high prices works no better than a placebo: It may make some people feel better, but it doesn’t treat the problem.

In the last two years, House and Senate committees issued more than a dozen subpoenas to price-hiking drugmakers, collecting hundreds of thousands of documents and berating executives for more than 16 hours of public hearings.

But a review by The Associated Press of the list prices of nearly 30 brand-name medications and generic versions targeted by congressional investigators shows most haven’t budged since coming under federal scrutiny, according to figures from Truven Health Analytics.

Bank rally fades and stocks fall; dollar hits 13-year high

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks finished barely lower Wednesday as banks return some of the huge gains they’ve made since the presidential election last week, but technology and consumer stocks climbed. The dollar continued to appreciate against other currencies and reached its highest mark in 13 years.

Banks took the biggest losses as a seven-day rally in that sector petered out. Industrial companies, also big gainers since the election, traded lower as well. The price of oil gave back some of its enormous gain from the day before. Graphics processor maker Nvidia and household names like Apple and Microsoft led technology companies higher. Rising stocks outnumbered decliners.

Target, after solid 3Q, gets cheery about the holidays

NEW YORK (AP) — Target breezed past Wall Street expectations for the third quarter, with help from a solid back-to-school season, and raised a key sales outlook for the critical holiday season.

The cheap-chic retailer still saw declines in store traffic and in its central sales measure, but they were less than expected and Target raised its annual profit outlook.

Target has been trying to get back on track and address the issues that dragged down its business this summer.

Lowe’s results miss Street expectation; cuts annual outlook

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe’s was beset by hefty charges and meager traffic in its stores for most of the third quarter, and its profit suffered for it.

A day after rival Home Depot posted banner results and boosted its outlook for the year, Lowe’s fell drastically short of Wall Street expectations and cut its annual outlook, again.

Chairman and CEO Robert Niblock said sales, after beginning slowly, had begun to recover by October.

Facebook apologizes for latest metrics errors

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it will work with independent companies like Nielsen and comScore to review more of its metrics after it uncovered new problems with the data it provides to advertisers and publishers that use its network.

Facebook had apologized to advertisers in September for errors that led to overstating how long users watched videos.

On Wednesday, the company said in a post that it miscalculated four metrics, including undercounting how many people watched all of a video and overcounting how much time people spent reading “Instant Articles.”

Facebook and Google together account for the majority of digital ad dollars spent in the U.S.

Twitter suspends several alt-right accounts

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter has suspended the accounts of several prominent members of the so-called “alt-right” in an apparent crackdown on accounts tied to hate speech or threats of violence.

Twitter declined comment, but noted that its policies forbid violent threats, hate speech or harassment and promise to take action against violators. The company also announced Tuesday that it was expanding ways for users to report harassment and curb the amount of abuse they see.

The alt-right, short for “alternative right,” is a loose group espousing a provocative and reactionary strain of conservatism.

Congress urged to bar US acquisitions by China state firms

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Chinese investment in the United States keeps setting records, congressional advisers suggest changing U.S. law so Chinese state-owned companies can be barred from buying or gaining control of American businesses.

The concern is that such enterprises could use technology, intelligence and market power “in the service of the Chinese state,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said Wednesday in its annual report.

The recommendation, stemming from the security implications about foreign investment by the world’s No. 2 economy, was one of several proposals in the report, which examines a range of issues in the relationship between the powers.