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Three U.S. senators are pushing Amazon to remove unsafe products from its online store, spurred by a Wall Street Journal investigation that found that more than 4,000 products on the site were mislabeled, declared unsafe or banned by regulators.

In a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the senators asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to respond to a list of questions, including how the company will insure that it doesn't sell products that have been recalled. The letter was signed by Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts.

Amazon said last week it had invested $400 million to make sure its products are "safe, complaint, and authentic."

In its investigation, the Journal found for sale on Amazon.com items including motorcycle helmets that failed federal safety tests, a toy xylophone that contained lead levels that exceeded federal limits, and eyelash-growth serum whose sellers falsely claimed was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

 

Best Buy warns of sales slowdown

Best Buy Co. reported a sales shortfall for the fiscal second quarter and trimmed its annual sales forecast, blaming uncertainty surrounding an escalating trade war with China heading into the holiday shopping season.

"It is difficult to factor in the uncertainty related to overall customer buying behavior," said Best Buy's newly appointed CEO Corie Barry during a call with analysts on Thursday. "It is hard to predict how at the macro level consumers will react to higher prices resulting from tariffs."

Best Buy has succeeded in holding off increasing competition from Amazon and other players by expanding its online business, speeding up deliveries and adding more services to enhance its relationship with its customers.

Barry said TVs, smart watches and headphones would be slapped with higher tariffs implemented Sept. 1. Computing, mobile phones and game consoles will be hit by higher tariffs starting Dec. 15, she said.

Best Buy said it earned net income of $238 million, or 89 cents per share, in the second quarter. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs and amortization costs, were $1.08 per share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 99 cents per share.

The consumer electronics retailer posted revenue of $9.54 billion in the period, falling short of the average Street forecast of $9.57 billion.

 

Mortgage rates rise, but near historic low

U.S. long-term mortgage rates ticked up slightly this week, yet they remain near historic lows.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan rose to 3.58% from 3.55% last week. Mortgage rates have fallen sharply as a slowing global economy and tensions from the trade war between the United States and China have caused the interest rates on government bonds to tumble, prompting the average rate for a 30-year home loan to decline from 4.52% a year ago.

Lower mortgage rates should help homebuyers, but low inventories and high prices that have consistently eclipsed wage growth have restrained sales growth.

The average mortgage rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans rose to 3.06%, up from 3.03% last week.

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