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Pinnacle Financial Partners doubles profits

Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. on Tuesday reported second-quarter earnings of $131.8 million, or $1.69 per share, compared to net income in the same period a year ago of 83 cents per share.

Results for the bank, based in Nashville with offices in Chattanooga, exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.44 per share.

"Second quarter was another outstanding quarter for our firm," said M. Terry Turner, Pinnacle's president and chief executive officer. "We continued to exploit opportunities to hire leading revenue producers from many of the larger institutions in our markets as we added 36 revenue producers during the quarter. This brings our total revenue producers onboarded in the last two and a half years to 216 associates."

Pinnacle posted revenues of $357.4 million in the period. Its revenue net of interest expense was $331.4 million, also surpassing Street forecasts.

Pinnacle Financial shares have increased 36% since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, shares hit $87.29, more than doubling in the last 12 months.

 

Biden picks Big Tech critic to enforce antitrust laws

The White House said Tuesday that would nominate Jonathan Kanter to be the top antitrust official at the Justice Department, a move that would add another longtime critic of Big Tech and corporate concentration to a powerful regulatory position.

Biden's plan to appoint Kanter, an antitrust lawyer who has made a career out of representing smaller rivals of the U.S. tech giants, signals how strongly the administration is siding with the growing field of lawmakers, researchers and regulators who say that Silicon Valley has obtained outsize power over the way Americans speak with one another, buy products online and consume news.

Biden has named other critics of Big Tech to prominent roles, such as appointing Lina Khan, a critic of Amazon, to lead the Federal Trade Commission. Tim Wu, another legal scholar who says regulators need to crack down on the tech giants, serves in an economic policy role at the White House. And this month, Biden signed a sweeping executive order aimed at increasing competition across the economy and limiting corporate dominance.

Kanter, 47, is the founder of Kanter Law Group, which bills itself online as an "antitrust advocacy boutique." He previously worked at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

 

NHTSA probes semi brake fires

U.S. highway safety regulators have opened an investigation into about a half-million semis with brakes that can catch fire.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted on its website Tuesday that it has 11 complaints about brakes made by Haldex Commercial Vehicle Systems, including seven fires. No injuries were reported.

The complaints say problems occurred mostly on Kenworth and Peterbilt semis. The agency is investigating brakes from the 2015 through 2020 model years.

NHTSA says the investigation covers certain Haldex Gold Seal brake chambers, which convert compressed air into a mechanical force that stops the trucks. It says a spring can fracture, puncturing a diaphragm and causing air loss. That can make the brakes drag without warning to the driver and eventually cause fires.

The fires caused extensive damage to the trucks and in some cases the cargo, the agency says. NHTSA says it has learned that multiple truck fleets were having issues with the brake chambers. It says Haldex has replaced brake chambers on some vehicles in the fleets.

NHTSA says it will determine how often the problem happens and what models it affects. An investigation can lead to a recall.

 

United Airlines cuts quarterly loss

United Airlines reduced its quarterly loss to $434 million and posted surprisingly strong revenue as U.S. vacation travel picked up.

In reporting its second-quarter results Tuesday, the Chicago-based airline said it expects to earn a pretax profit in the remaining two quarters of the year. That would break a string of six-straight money-losing quarters since the pandemic began to crush air travel.

"Our airline has reached a meaningful turning point: We're expecting to be back to making a profit once again," CEO Scott Kirby said in a prepared statement.

However, United is trailing key rivals as the airlines claw to get back to profitability. In April, Southwest was the first U.S. airline to report a profit since the pandemic hit, and Delta followed last week — in both cases, profits were possible only because of money from taxpayers.

United's shares rose 6.6% in regular trading Tuesday as travel stocks rebounded from large losses on Monday. In extended trading after the results were released, the shares slipped less than 1%.

More than 2 million people a day have boarded planes in the U.S. this month, nearly the double the number that were flying back in March.

 

Stocks rebound from Monday's loss

Stocks jumped on Wall Street on Tuesday, making up much of the ground they lost a day earlier when worries flared about spreading cases of the more contagious variant of COVID-19.

It was the latest rebound following a pullback as investors continue to try and assess how badly rising infections will hurt the economic recovery. The S&P 500 rose 1.5%, a day after its biggest drop since May. Airlines and other stocks that sank a day earlier were back in the winning column.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.21% but remains well below where it was last week, a sign investors remain cautious.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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