Google modifies shopping search to comply with European Union regulations

Internet

Google tweaks search to comply with E.U.

Google is rolling out changes to how it shows shopping search results across Europe to try to avoid further fines from a seven-year antitrust probe.

Slapped with a record $2.8 billion penalty in June, the Alphabet unit was also ordered by the European Commission to stop its illegal conduct and offer equal treatment to rival price-comparison sites by Sept. 28.

Beginning Wednesday, Google is offering space in an ad panel at the top of its search page to shopping-search services that can bid via an online auction for a slot to show a photo and a link to a retailer. These slots are currently sold by the company’s own Google Shopping service to retailers. The Google Shopping unit will operate independently and must bid against rivals from its own revenue.

European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the E.U. will “actively monitor” how Google complies with the order.

— Bloomberg News

ECONOMY

Durable-goods orders rose in August

Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose a modest 1.7 percent in August, reflecting a rebound in the volatile aircraft sector. A gauge of business investment was up for a second month, giving hope that a revival in manufacturing is gaining strength.

Last month’s advance in orders for durable goods followed a 6.8 percent plunge in July, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Both months were heavily influenced by swings in orders for commercial aircraft, which surged 44.8 percent in August after having plunged 71.1 percent in July.

A closely watched category that serves as a proxy for business investment gained a 0.9 percent in August after rising 1.1 percent in July. Economists believe that U.S. factory output should continue rising in coming months, reflecting a rebound in the global economy.

— Associated Press

REGULATION

U.S. seeks to ease rules on smaller banks

U.S. banking regulators proposed a rule Wednesday aimed at loosening regulations on capital requirements for smaller banks as part of a broader effort to make it easier for less complex financial institutions to operate.

The proposal would generally only apply to banks with less than $250 billion in assets and $10 billion in foreign exposure, and would make a series of changes to how those banks treat capital for regulatory purposes.

The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency all backed the move to propose new rules and solicit public comment on them.

— Reuters

Also in Business

Delta Air Lines is letting passengers send mobile messages free during flights beginning Sunday. The airline said Wednesday that passengers will be able to send messages using iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The service will be offered through Delta’s WiFi service from broadband provider Gogo. A Delta spokeswoman said calls will still be banned, and so will SMS texts sent using cell networks, which are prohibited by federal rules.

The Securities and Exchange Commission suffered a defeat on Wednesday, as a judge said it failed to prove that private equity fund manager Lynn Tilton defrauded investors by hiding the poor performance of assets underlying three debt funds. SEC Administrative Law Judge Carol Fox Foelak dismissed the charges against Tilton, who founded New York-based Patriarch Partners and is known as the “Diva of Distressed” for taking over troubled companies.

Auto parts maker Delphi announced plans Wednesday to split itself into two companies early next year. After the spinoff, targeted to occur before April, one Delphi company, called Aptiv, will focus on electronic safety systems, autonomous cars and the electrical backbone of vehicles. The other will be named Delphi Technologies and will focus on combustion engine parts, software controls and electric vehicle components.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases second-quarter gross domestic product.

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims.

10 a.m.: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.

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