published Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Business briefs: Delta apologizes for soccer tweet

  • photo
    File photo by Gillian Bolsover
    Passengers disembark a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

Delta apologizes for soccer tweet

Delta Air Lines Inc. is apologizing for a tweet meant to congratulate the U.S. soccer team for its win over Ghana but which critics say was ignorant or offensive.

Delta gave the tweet the equivalent of a referee's red card: The airline pulled the post following criticism on social media.

Monday's tweet had the final score of the World Cup game, 2-1. It showed the Statue of Liberty to represent the U.S., and used a giraffe to symbolize Ghana.

But giraffes aren't native to Ghana.

Delta said Tuesday that the tweet was inaccurate and inappropriate.

Consumer prices rise in May

U.S. consumer prices increased in May by the largest amount in more than a year as the cost of food and gasoline showed big gains and airline fares jumped by the largest amount in 15 years.

The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in May, the biggest one-month jump since a 0.6 percent increase in February 2013, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

Over the past 12 months, consumer prices are up 2.1 percent. While that was the biggest 12-month price change since October 2012, it still left prices rising at a pace near the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target. But analysts said the May price jump, double what had been expected, would get the attention of Fed policymakers, who were starting a two-day meeting on Tuesday.

UPS to price by box size

UPS says it will consider box size when setting prices for ground shipment of parcels within the U.S. and Canada.

The move announced Tuesday follows a similar change by rival FedEx, and it could lead to price increases for shippers, analysts say.

United Parcel Service Inc. believes that the change will push customers to put lightweight items in smaller boxes that take up less space on its familiar brown trucks, reducing the company's costs.

The change takes effect Dec. 29, after the big holiday-season shipping period. Atlanta-based UPS already factors box size in rates for air shipments.

Packages have become lighter in relation to size over the past few years, which UPS says leads to higher costs and less efficient use of cargo space.

CEOs downgrade economic outlook

Top U.S. chief executives slightly downgraded their economic growth forecast, according to a survey released Tuesday, and fewer said they expected to increase investments in their businesses amid uncertainty over whether Congress will reinstate some key corporate tax provisions.

Despite those concerns, the second-quarter economic outlook index from the Business Roundtable rose to 95.4 from 92.1 in the first three months of the year, the trade group said.

The index rose because of improvement in CEO expectations for increased sales and hiring in the next six months.

But AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, who chairs the organization, said a drop in the percentage of business leaders expecting to increase their capital spending was a major concern.

Building starts drop 6.5 percent

The pace of U.S. home construction slipped in May with many Americans still struggling to afford new houses.

Builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate on 1.01 million homes last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down 6.5 percent from 1.07 million in April.

Construction firms began work on fewer single-family houses, condominiums and apartments last month.

The decline was driven by the Dec. 31 expiration of some temporary tax provisions, such as a 50 percent bonus on depreciation write-downs and a tax credit for research and development costs.

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