off at McDonalds
The Golden Arches are starting to lose some of their shine. McDonald's Corp.'s same-store sales were flat in July as diners pulled back amid a persistently weak economy. After years of outperforming rivals by emphasizing value and rolling out popular new items, the stall is a sign competition is intensifying for the world's biggest hamburger chain.
U.S. companies got slightly more out of their workers this spring after scaling back on hiring. The modest 1.6 percent annualized gain in workers productivity from April through June signals employers may need to hire more if demand picks up. The increase followed a 0.5 percent decline in the January-March quarter, less than first estimated.
Union Pacific adds
cars for builders
Union Pacific is pulling rail cars from storage for the first time in four years to haul lumber for home builders, a welcome sign of strength for an industry that's bucking the effects of a slowing economy. North American rail carloads of lumber and wood products so far this year are up 10 percent, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Macy's sees 2Q
Macy's reported a nearly 16 percent increase in net income for its second quarter, helped by cost-cutting and its strategy to tailor merchandise to local markets. Macy's said that its net income rose to $279 million, or 67 cents per share, for the three-month period ending July 28, up from $241 million, or 55 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Study: World beer
A new report says the world's appetite for beer hit a new high last year, with China leading the way. The report from a Japanese brewery said beer production reached 50.9 billion gallons, up 3 percent from 2010. It was the 27th consecutive year beer production increased.
China tightens rare earths controls
China's government has further tightened curbs on production of rare earths used in mobile phones and other high-tech products. The move could inflame trade tensions. The U.S., the EU and Japan have already filed a complaint accusing China of violating its free-trade commitments.
Citigroup will try something new to keep struggling homeowners out of foreclosure: turn them into renters. The company painted its new program as a way to help homeowners stuck in houses they can't afford. However, it won't manage the program. That will be done by an investment group that just bought a $158 million mortgage portfolio from Citigroup.