Google agrees to E.U. shopping search rules

Google will comply with Europe’s demands that it change the way it runs its shopping search service, a rare instance of the Internet giant bowing to regulatory pressure to avoid more fines.

The Alphabet unit faced a Tuesday deadline to tell the European Union how it planned to follow an order to stop discriminating against rival shopping search services in the region. A Google spokeswoman said the company is sharing that plan with regulators before the deadline expires, but she declined to comment further.

The E.U. fined Google a record $2.7 billion in late June for breaking antitrust rules by skewing its general search results to unfairly favor its own shopping service over rival sites. The company had 60 days to propose how it would “stop its illegal content” and 90 days to make changes to how it displays shopping results when users search for products. Those changes need to be put in place by Sept. 28 to avert a risk that the E.U. could fine the company 5 percent of daily revenue for each day that it fails to comply.

“The obligation to comply is fully Google’s responsibility,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Google can challenge the fine and antitrust order to the E.U. courts, which can take years to reach a final decision. Google would have to comply with the order in the meantime.

— Bloomberg News

U.S. home prices jump in June

Home prices rose in 20 U.S. cities in June, reflecting a shortage of homes available for sale, according to S & P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data released Tuesday. Nationwide, values posted their largest advance in three years.

A persistent inventory shortage for previously owned homes is keeping prices elevated at a time that housing demand is being sustained by a strong job market and still-low mortgage rates. In the past few years, growth in property values has consistently outpaced wage gains and is holding back potential new entrants to the housing market.

Home prices in all 20 major cities increased from a year earlier, and all but six posted month-over-month gains, the report showed.

Seattle led the way in year-over-year price gains with a 13.4 percent increase, followed by Portland, Ore., at 8.2 percent.

— Bloomberg News

Consumer confidence higher in August

The Conference Board said Tuesday that consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions hit the highest level this month since July 2001. The business research group’s overall consumer confidence index, which takes into account Americans’ views of current conditions and their expectations for the next six months, rose to 122.9 in August from 120 in July.

Americans’ spirits have been lifted by a healthy job market. Employers added a robust 209,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent.

The Conference Board found that 34.5 percent of respondents saw business conditions as “good” — the highest percentage since January 2001. Similarly, 35.4 percent saw jobs as “plentiful,” the most since July 2001.

Economists pay close attention to the numbers because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

The maker of the Rubik’s Cube wants to stop a yo-yo maker from selling an alleged knockoff. Rubik’s Brand has sued Duncan Toys and the retailer Toys R Us to halt sales of a puzzle cube that Duncan calls “Quick Cube,” which Rubik’s said copies the world’s best-selling puzzle game. According to the complaint filed Monday night in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Duncan’s 3X3 cube “mimics the features and overall appearance” of the Rubik’s Cube. The suit said that this amounted to trademark infringement and unfair competition and that Toys R Us was also liable because of selling Duncan’s cubes.

Galvanize, a for-profit software coding school that has raised $63 million in venture funding, plans to lay off 11 percent of its workforce, the company said Tuesday. The five-year-old start-up said the downsizing will affect 37 people at its Denver headquarters, effective Friday. Galvanize has about 350 employees. The layoffs come as Galvanize shifts its focus to teaching online students and serving corporate clients, the company said in a statement.

Alibaba-backed Best Inc. on Tuesday raised its initial public offering size by one-third to $1 billion. The company founded by Johnny Chou, a former Greater China president of Alphabet’s Google, said it planned to list its American depositary shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BSTI.” Alibaba is Best’s biggest shareholder, with a 23.4 percent stake, followed by founder Chou, with 14.7 percent.

— From news reports


8:15 a.m.: Payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in August.

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