VIDEO STREAMING
Netflix raises prices
on U.S.-based plans

Netflix said Thursday that it’s raising the prices of its U.S.-based streaming plans — a move that could disappoint some fans even as it helps support the costly original programming that has made the service so popular in recent years.

The cost of the streaming video giant’s basic plan, at $8 a month, will remain unchanged. But its standard plan will now cost $11 a month, up from $10, and the premium tier will rise from $12 a month to $14. The prices are already in effect for new sign-ups and will be rolling out to existing customers this month, Netflix said.

“From time to time, Netflix plans and pricing are adjusted as we add more exclusive TV shows and movies, introduce new product features and improve the overall Netflix experience,” the company said in a statement.

Beyond its immediate effect on subscribers, the price increase foreshadows a future in which the streaming video market is dominated by a handful of players that have captured the majority of a family’s limited entertainment budget.

There’s some evidence that consumers are willing to pay for more than one streaming service, said Glenn Hower, a senior analyst at Parks Associates, a research firm. The question is whether there’s an upper limit to this number.

— Brian Fung

ECONOMY
Factory orders rose
1.2% in August

Orders at U.S. factories increased by 1.2 percent in August, driven by strong gains in aluminum and other metals, industrial machinery and autos.

The solid showing follows a steep drop of 3.3 percent in July, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Recent hurricanes didn’t affect the data, the department said.

The report suggests that U.S. manufacturing is benefiting from a stronger dollar and an improving global economy. Americans are buying more cars, in part to replace those destroyed by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Orders for metals rose 1.2 percent.

A category that serves as a proxy for business investment climbed a solid 1.1 percent after a 1.3 percent increase in July.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Yogurt maker Dannon cut ties with spokesman Cam Newton on Thursday over what the company called “sexist” comments the Carolina quarterback made to a reporter. A statement from spokesman Michael Neuwirth said the company was “shocked and disheartened” at Newton’s behavior and comments toward Jourdan Rodrigue, a Charlotte Observer reporter. When Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess’s route running Wednesday, Newton laughed and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.” In the statement Dannon said, “We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $42.4 billion in August, the lowest in 11 months, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The trade gap — the difference between exports and imports — was $43.6 billion in July. Exports were $195.3 billion, up from $194.5 billion in July, on higher shipments of cars, telecommunications equipment and pharmaceuticals. Imports slid to $237.7 billion from July’s $238.1 billion. The deficit in goods rose 26 percent with Mexico to $6.2 billion, and 4 percent with China to $34.9 billion.

A U.S. appeals court has thrown out a ban on sales of Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent. The ruling on Thursday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington is a setback for drugmaker Amgen, which claimed that Praluent infringed its patents. Amgen sells a similar cholesterol drug called Repatha. A federal judge in January issued an order barring sales of Praluent after Amgen prevailed in a patent trial.

— From news services

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases employment data for September.
10 a.m.:
Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for August.
3 p.m.:
Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for August.