Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

___

Continue Reading Below

McDonald's makes supersized effort to turn fading popularity

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Americans are eating at McDonald's less often, a trend the fast-food chain is fighting to reverse when people have more eating options than ever before. But CEO Steve Easterbrook thinks he has a plan that can help turn the tide over the longer term. A big part of the plan: Making it easier to get McDonald's, whether through delivery or mobile ordering.

___

New Senate GOP health care bill teeters on the brink

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders unveiled a new health care bill Thursday in their increasingly desperate effort to deliver on seven years of promises to repeal and replace "Obamacare." They immediately lost two key votes, leaving none to spare as the party's own divisions put its top campaign pledge in serious jeopardy.

Continue Reading Below

___

Banks, tech lead US stocks to modest gains, new Dow record

Banks and technology companies led U.S. stocks to modest gains Thursday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average to its second record close in two days. Big retail chains and other consumer-focused stocks were among the gainers. Energy companies rose as the price of crude oil increased. Phone companies and utilities lagged the market.

___

From Target, some encouraging sales news

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is boosting its outlook for the second quarter after its campaign to revitalize the brand pushed sales higher and lifted customer traffic. It's an encouraging sign that efforts to increase the range of exclusive brands under its roof and an everyday, low-price message are working.

___

Trustees project biggest Social Security increase in years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The trustees who oversee Social Security say the millions of people who rely on the program can expect to receive their biggest payment increase in years come January. But they shouldn't get too excited. The increase is projected to be just 2.2 percent, or about $28 a month for the average recipient. Social Security recipients have gone years with tiny increases in benefits. This year they received an increase of 0.3 percent, after getting nothing last year.

___

Banks, tech lead US stocks to modest gains, new Dow record

Banks and technology companies led U.S. stocks to modest gains Thursday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average to its second record close in two days. Big retail chains and other consumer-focused stocks were among the gainers. Energy companies rose as the price of crude oil increased. Phone companies and utilities lagged the market.

___

Panel calls on FDA to review safety of opioid painkillers

An expert panel of scientists says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should review the safety and effectiveness of all opioids. The group says the FDA should also consider the real-world impacts the powerful painkillers have, not only on patients, but also on families, crime and the demand for heroin. A sweeping report Thursday pushes the FDA to bolster a public health approach that already has resulted in one opioid painkiller being pulled from the market.

___

Investors: 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli was shady — and profitable

NEW YORK (AP) — A parade of government witnesses who say they were burned by "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli have also had to admit they made hefty profits. Prosecutors at a federal securities fraud trial that resumes Thursday say that doesn't matter because Shkreli lied repeatedly about what he was doing with their money. They say he drove his hedge fund into the ground before digging himself out by starting a drug company that he raided to pay back investors.

___

Group led by ex-alderman, unions acquires Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO (AP) — An investment group led by a former Chicago alderman and labor unions are the new owners of the Chicago Sun-Times. Former City Council member Edwin Eisendrath submitted a bid last month after Sun-Times owner Wrapports announced it would enter into discussions with Tronc, which owns the rival Chicago Tribune, to acquire the paper. Experts called the resulting deal rare, particularly with labor union involvement. Sun-Times Publisher and Editor in Chief Jim Kirk says the newspaper will remain committed to "editorial independence" and "unbiased coverage."

___

DraftKings, FanDuel call off daily fantasy sports merger

BOSTON (AP) — The two top companies in daily fantasy sports are backing out of a proposed merger. The CEOs for DraftKings and FanDuel said Thursday that they were moving forward separately in the best interests of their customers, employees, and investors. The Federal Trade Commission opposed the merger last month, saying it would create a company controlling more than 90 percent of the U.S. market.

___

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 4.58 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,447.83. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20.95 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,553.09. The Nasdaq composite added 13.27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,274.44.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 59 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $46.08 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 68 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $48.42 per barrel in London. In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline inched up less than 1 cent to $1.53 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.49 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $2.96 per 1,000 cubic feet.