SEC Drops Probe Into Exxon’s Climate Change Calculations

The Trump administration has dropped a two-year investigation into how Exxon Mobil Corp. factors climate-change regulations into how it calculates the value of its assets.

The Securities and Exchange Commission informed the energy giant in a letter that it would not recommend an enforcement action against the company at this time.

Exxon Mobil spokesman Scott Silvestri said on Friday that the company cooperated fully with the SEC inquiry. He says Exxon is confident its financial reporting meets all legal and accounting requirements.

The SEC letter says its decision should not be construed as an exoneration. The agency declined further comment.

Exxon faces separate investigations in New York and Massachusetts into whether it misled investors about climate change issues.

US Services Firms Saw Growth Slowdown in July

U.S. services companies grew at a slower pace in July as business activity and new orders slipped.

The Institute for Supply Management says that its services index fell to 55.7 last month compared to 59.1 in June. Readings greater than 50 signal an expanding economy.

The services sector, where most Americans are employed, has now grown for 102 straight months, or more than eight years.

The index was pulled down by sharp monthly decreases in business activity and news orders, both of which had been relatively high in June. The employment component of the index improved last month.

Kraft Reports 2Q Earnings of $756M

Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) on Friday reported second-quarter profit of $756 million.

The Pittsburgh-based company said it had net income of 62 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for asset impairment costs and restructuring costs, came to $1 per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 91 cents per share.

The maker of Oscar Mayer meats, Jell-O pudding and Velveeta cheese posted revenue of $6.69 billion in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $6.58 billion.

Kraft shares have fallen 24 percent since the beginning of the year.

Toyota Logs Record 1Q Profit, Cuts Full Year Sales Outlook

Toyota Motor Corp. has reported its quarterly profit climbed 7.2 percent, helped by strong sales in the U.S. and other overseas markets.

The maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models said Friday that its April-June net profit was 657.3 billion yen ($5.9 billion), up from 613.0 billion yen a year earlier. Sales rose 4.5 percent to a record 7.4 trillion yen ($66 billion).

With uncertainties prevailing over possible U.S. tariff increases, the company kept its profit forecast for the full year unchanged at 2.12 trillion yen ($66 billion).

Toyota has invested heavily in U.S. manufacturing facilities but higher tariffs would still sting.

Toyota again released its results before Tokyo’s markets closed instead of waiting for the end of trading as has been standard practice for decades.

Jury Tells Pork Giant to Pay $473.5M in Nuisance Lawsuit

A federal jury says the world’s largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks.

The jury decided Friday that Smithfield Foods owes 16 neighbors in the case stemming from nearby hog operations that raised its animals.

The case comes after two previous, related lawsuits rocked agribusiness in the country’s No. 2 pork-producing state. Juries in those two cases awarded damages of about $75 million intended to punish Smithfield, though those were required to be cut under a state law that limits punitive damages.

North Carolina legislators reacted by adopting new barriers against nuisance lawsuits that all but eliminate the right of neighbors to sue Smithfield Foods or any other agribusiness.

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