A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit accusing MasterCard, Visa and three major banks of illegally fixing ATM prices at the expense of consumers.
The federal appeals court in Washington ruled Tuesday that a group of consumers and independent ATM operators could pursue antitrust claims against the companies.
A federal district judge had thrown out the lawsuit in 2013 after finding that the plaintiffs failed to show conspiracy to overcharge consumers. But the appeals court said challengers could argue that the payment processors coordinated with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to adopt anticompetitive fees.
The lawsuit claims that the companies impose contract terms preventing independent ATM operators from charging less when consumers use debit cards that can tap cheaper processing networks.
— Associated Press
Comcast is rolling out upgrades to its Internet program for low-income consumers, doubling download speeds and, for the first time, targeting senior citizens under a Florida-based pilot project.
The $10-a-month program, Internet Essentials, will be getting a free speed bump from 5 megabits per second to 10 Mbps, which is fast enough to support multiple video streams simultaneously.
Comcast also is expanding access to Internet Essentials. To be eligible for the program, households need to have a child who qualifies for free or reduced-price school lunches, or who attends a school where 50 percent of the students qualified for meal subsidies. Previously that threshold was 70 percent.
Comcast’s pilot project in West Palm Beach will also give older Americans — who, according to the Pew Research Center, remain disproportionately unconnected from the Web — access to Internet Essentials.
About 500,000 households have signed up for the program, up from 350,000 a year ago.
— Brian Fung
● Freddie Mac on Tuesday reported second-quarter net income of $4.17 billion, a sharp increase from the $1.4 billion profit it reported in the same period a year earlier. The McLean, Va.-based company said it had profit of 8 cents per share. The secondary mortgage market operator posted revenue of $6.51 billion in the period. The company’s shares closed at $2.21. A year ago, they were trading at $4.05.
● Walt Disney revenue missed Wall Street expectations for the first time in eight quarters, sending its shares down more than 2 percent in after-hours trading.
Disney said operating income fell at its parks and resorts outside North America, hurt by lower attendance and occupied-room nights at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and higher operating costs at Disneyland Paris and the Hong Kong resort. Overall net income climbed to $2.48 billion, or $1.45 per share, from $2.25 billion, or $1.28 per share during the same quarter last year. Revenue rose to $13.10 billion from $12.47 billion.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.42 per share on revenue of $13.23 billion.
● Deere is recalling more than 2,000 lawn tractors because the brake arm can fail and cause a crash. There have been no reports of injuries, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday. The recall is for John Deere models D110, D125, D130, D140, D155, D160 and D170, with serial numbers beginning with 1GXD. They have been sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other stores since May. About 1,700 were sold in the United States and 370 in Canada. Deere said customers should stop using the tractors and contact the company for a free repair.
● CVS Health dropped Viagra, Pfizer’s erectile-dysfunction medication, from its list of coverage for drug insurance benefits, two years before the treatment is expected to face generic competition. Patients can get coverage for Eli Lilly’s Cialis instead, CVS said in a document detailing the drugs it is removing from the list starting Jan. 1. CVS, which acquired Caremark in 2007, is the second-biggest manager of pharmaceutical benefits on behalf of U.S. insurers and employers. Analysts estimate that Pfizer will get $1.7 billion in sales from Viagra next year. CVS didn’t say why it dropped coverage of the drug.
● Aetna’s second-quarter earnings jumped 33 percent, and the health insurer raised its 2015 forecast again after receiving a boost from a government business it plans to feed with a $35 billion acquisition. Aetna said Thursday that it gained members in its Medicare and Medicaid businesses, and higher underwriting margins or improved profitability helped balance a jump in operating costs during the quarter. The company now expects full-year operating earnings of at least $7.40 per share. For the second quarter, Aetna brought in $731.8 million, with adjusted results totaling $2.05 per share.
● Netflix, the company that places no limits on vacation, is taking its time-off policy a step further by offering unlimited parental leave. Employees who are new parents can take as much time off work as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption, Netflix said Tuesday in a blog post. They will be kept on the payroll and won’t be switched over to disability, the firm said.
●European Union regulators on Tuesday approved Pfizer’s $15.23 billion purchase of injectable-drug and infusion-device maker Hospira. The European Commission said Pfizer agreed to sell the European rights to the experimental biosimilar version of the immune-disorder drug Remicade and a few other products, including some chemotherapy drugs, in certain markets. The commission said it was concerned that the sale would have reduced competition for those drugs. Pfizer agreed to buy Hospira of Lake Forest, Ill., in February. The purchase will strengthen the New York company’s market position for biosimilars, which are cheaper versions of biologic drugs.
— From news services
● 8:15 a.m.: ADP unemployment report for July.
● 8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases international trade data for June.
● 10 a.m.: Institute for Supply Management releases its service-sector index for July.
● Earnings: Tesla.●
— From news services