UPS stock falls over rising costs during pandemic

Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg


UPS stock falls over rising costs during pandemic

United Parcel Service shares tumbled more than 8 percent as investors looked past surging sales to focus on rising costs. Profit margins will be pressured this quarter as the company accelerates investment to speed deliveries and absorbs increasedexpenses to handle peak-season volume, UPS said as it reported third-quarter results. Benefits, incentive pay, and other items will create additional drag of $300 million or more. UPS’s sales have soared as consumers turn to online shopping rather than risk going to stores during the pandemic. But, the package courier’s costs have climbed from efforts to protect workers and because of the jump in residential deliveries. The Atlanta-based company earns more from commercial customers because more packages are left at each stop. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Mastercard shares dragged down by halt in foreign travel

Mastercard Inc. shares dropped after the company reported profit and revenue that fell short of analysts' estimates, pinched by a persistent slump in foreign travel. Many consumers continue to avoid travel and spending overseas, transactions that are among the most lucrative on Mastercard’s network, even as overall spending on the firm’s cards has been improving as regions re-open from lockdowns. Cross-border fees slid 48 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, a bigger drop than the 44 percent decline analysts expected. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Anthem income plummets in third quarter

Anthem delivered a better-than-expected third quarter even though a jump in benefit expenses and other costs contributed to an 81 percent drop in the health insurer’s net income. The Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage provider also said Wednesday that it was leaving its 2020 earnings forecast unchanged, as insurers continue to deal with uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Anthem saw its profit double earlier during the second quarter, as the pandemic forced patients to stay home and away from doctor’s offices and surgery centers. But Anthem and its competitors say health care use is starting to rebound, and now it includes the cost of caring for COVID-19 patients. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Norfolk Southern profit falls on fewer shipments

Norfolk Southern’s third-quarter profit fell more than 13 percent as the railroad delivered fewer shipments and the results were weighed down by a one-time charge. The railroad said it hauled 7 percent less freight during the quarter. That hurt its earnings, but it represents a significant improvement from the second quarter when volume was down 26 percent at the height of the virus-related shutdowns. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Amazon launches website in Sweden

Online retailer Amazon has launched a website in Sweden as the first leg of a long-anticipated expansion into the tech-savvy Nordic region that is expected to have a major long-term impact on brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce. The company said Wednesday that Swedish customers can shop for more than 150 million products in 30 categories on amazon.se. Customers from Sweden and other Nordic countries have until now shopped on Amazon using the company’s German and UK sites. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Iconic London department store rents out space for offices

One of London’s most famous department stores is making room for a future beyond shopping. John Lewis Partnership has gained permission to convert the upper floors of its West End flagship store on Oxford Street into offices, a spokeswoman said by email. The decision by Westminster City Council comes as the government responds to the second wave of the coronavirus by imposing tighter restrictions on stores and restaurants in much of the UK. The company has been shuttering stores and building up its online operation to reach stuck-at-home shoppers. It foresees online retail sales accounting for as much as 70 percent of its total, compared with 40 percent before COVID-19 struck. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Toyota recalling 1.52 million more vehicles over fuel pumps

Toyota added 1.52 million vehicles to a recall due to potentially defective fuel pumps that may cause stalling, bringing the total number of recalled Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles sold in the United States to 3.34 million. The company said Wednesday the recall is part of a broader action it first announced in January and expanded in March involving 1.82 million vehicles. The fuel pumps, which Toyota said could increase the risk of a crash on highways, were manufactured by affiliated supplier Denso Corp., according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filing. The recalls affect a range of certain Toyota and Lexus brand cars, sport-utility vehicles, and trucks for model years as far back as 2013 and as recently as 2020, including the best-selling RAV4 crossover and Lexus RX SUV. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Volkswagen recalling more than 218,000 Jettas over fuel leak problem

Volkswagen is recalling more than 218,000 Jetta sedans in the United States to fix a fuel leak problem that can cause fires. The recall covers certain cars from the 2016 through 2018 model years. Volkswagen says in documents posted Wednesday by US safety regulators that bolts holding some high-pressure tubing can come loose over time, allowing fuel to leak and increasing the risk of a fire. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Bed Bath & Beyond to update stores, improve technology

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is laying out its next round of plans to overhaul the business, from store updates and technology improvements to a new share repurchase program. After struggling with falling sales and activist pressure a year ago, Bed Bath & Beyond is now trying to regain its footing during a global pandemic that has overhauled how people use their money. Growing portions of consumer budgets are being diverted into the home, instead of travel and entertainment, which helped the retailer post a surprise gain in comparable sales — a key metric for the industry — in its most recent quarter. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Italian regulators to probe Google over its dominance of online ad market

Italian regulators opened an investigation Wednesday into Google over alleged abuse of its dominant role in the country’s online ad market, adding to the global scrutiny that the Silicon Valley company is facing. The Italian Competition Authority said it suspects the US tech giant of using the vast amounts of data it collects through its various services to prevent rivals in the digital advertising market from competing effectively. The watchdog said it carried out a joint inspection of Google’s offices with Italian tax police on Tuesday. — ASSOCIATED PRESS