Ford recalling
1.5 million Focuses

Ford is recalling nearly 1.5 million Focus compact cars in North America because a fuel system problem can cause the engines to stall without warning.

The recall covers cars from the 2012 through 2018 model years with two-liter, four-cylinder engines.

Ford said a valve in the fuel system can stick in the open position, causing too much vacuum, and an engine control computer may not detect the problem.

The recall came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received owner complaints. About 1.3 million of the recalled vehicles are in the United States.

Dealers will reprogram the computer with new software that will detect a stuck valve.

Ford said owners should keep the gas tank at least half full until repairs are made. It said it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem.

— Associated Press

Breach may have hit more customers

International Airlines Group said an investigation into the theft of customers’ data at its British Airways subsidiary showed hackers may have stolen the personal information of 185,000 more customers.

British Airways apologized in September after the credit card details of about 244,000 customers who made bookings between Aug. 21 and Sept. 5 were stolen in the attack on its website and app.

The airline said Thursday that it was notifying the holders of an additional 77,000 payment cards that the name, billing address, email address, card payment information, including card number, expiration date and security codes, had potentially been compromised, and a further 108,000 without the security code.

These customers had made reward bookings between April 21 and July 28 using a payment card.

— Reuters

U.K. fines Facebook over privacy scandal

British regulators slapped Facebook on Thursday with a fine of $644,000, the maximum possible, for failing to protect the privacy of users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

At the same time, European Union lawmakers demanded an audit of Facebook to better understand how it handles data.

Britain’s Information Commissioner Office found that between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed the personal data of users unfairly by giving app developers access to their data without informed consent. The information of about 87 million people was used without their knowledge.

The ICO said a subset of the data was later shared with other organizations, including the parent company of political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which counted President Trump’s 2016 election campaign among its clients.

Facebook said in a statement that it is reviewing the decision.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods slowed significantly in September, while a key category that tracks business investment fell for a second straight month. The Commerce Department said Thursday that demand for durable goods edged up a slight 0.8 percent in September, a sharp slowdown from a 4.6 percent jump in August. The swing was heavily influenced by the volatile aircraft category, which fell 17.5 percent in September after having surged 63.7 percent August. The category that serves as a proxy for business investment dipped 0.1 percent in September after falling 0.2 percent in August.

Pending home sales rose slightly in September, but contract signings are depressed from a year ago. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its pending home sales index increased 0.5 percent last month to 104.6. But over the past year, this metric declined one percent. Homebuying has slowed as mortgage rates have jumped in the past year. Completed sales of both existing and new homes plummeted in September.

United Parcel Service is unveiling an urban delivery test in Seattle that uses electric bicycles to carry packages in large preloaded boxes to save time and cut pollution, the company said. UPS partnered with Silver Eagle Manufacturing and Truck Trikes to design the cargo eBike, which has a battery-powered electric motor, for the test, which begins Nov. 5, UPS said. The bike hauls replaceable, 95 cubic-foot boxes that carry packages weighing up to 400 pounds, UPS said. The rider will pick up preloaded containers from a designated city parking spot and return them empty.

— From news services

Coming today

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