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Business news in brief

September 7, 2017 at 2:07 a.m. | Updated September 7, 2017 at 2:07 a.m.

Wal-Mart sends Girls Who Code $250,000

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is giving $250,000 to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology-related professions.

The retailer revealed the contribution Wednesday during an event at its David Glass Technology Center in Bentonville. The event was attended by about 300 middle-school girls from nearby schools, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani.

Wal-Mart's gift will go toward the organization's goal of increasing the number of Girls Who Code chapters from 1,000 to 3,600 across the country this year. Girls Who Code hopes to reach 50,000 girls nationwide by the end of the 2017-18 school year, according to a news release.

Wal-Mart said it will play an active role at many of the Girls Who Code clubs through volunteer efforts. The company also said it will host student field trips to its technology offices.

"It's important for us to contribute and be good role models for the girls and give them an environment where they can thrive," said Fiona Tan, Wal-Mart's senior vice president for customer technology.

-- Robbie Neiswanger

Fed Vice Chairman Fischer leaving board

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer has resigned in a move to take effect on or around Oct. 13, after serving three years at the U.S. central bank.

Fischer, 73, was appointed to the Fed by President Barack Obama in 2014 to a term as vice chairman that would have expired next June. He cited "personal reasons" in a resignation letter Wednesday to President Donald Trump, released the same day by the central bank.

Fischer's exit gives Trump scope to remake the leadership of the Federal Reserve Board. Janet Yellen's term as chairman expires in February. Trump has said that a renomination of Yellen is under consideration, though the White House is also looking at other candidates.

Fischer is an elder statesman of American finance. He is a former vice chairman of Citigroup, the former first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and the former chief economist of the World Bank. He also served as governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005 to 2013. For more than 20 years, he was a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he influenced generations of economists, from former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.

-- Bloomberg News

Scandal-hit McDonald's Japan rebounds

McDonald's Japan is adding to its restaurant count for the first time in five years, highlighting a turnaround that prompted its U.S. parent to reverse a decision to sell a stake in the company.

McDonald's Holdings Co. Japan plans to open more restaurants than it will close in the second half of the year, said Chief Executive Officer Sarah Casanova, adding that she expects the trend in new stores to continue next year. That comes after the fast-food chain shuttered restaurants for years as it faced a series of food-contamination scandals in 2014 and 2015 that sent sales plummeting.

"We're seeing balanced growth," Casanova said in an interview Wednesday at the company's Tokyo headquarters. "There's more work to do and there's so much more potential in Japan."

McDonald's Japan raised its full-year profit outlook in August as it invests in remodeling restaurants and expansion.

The purveyor of chocolate French fries and Hawaiian Loco Moco burgers said it will open 10 new stores in Japan in the final half of the year while closing seven. The last time it had a net addition for a six-month period was in 2012, according to company data.

The count for all of 2017 will show a net reduction of 10 restaurants, McDonald's Japan said, leaving it with about 2,900 stores.

-- Bloomberg News

Facebook inflates its reach, analyst says

Facebook Inc. is claiming that its platform can reach more people than actually exist in the U.S., which could hurt its push to compete with traditional content providers for TV advertising budgets, Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser wrote in a note to clients.

According to Facebook's Ads Manager, the social media giant has potential access to 41 million 18 to 24 year-olds in the U.S., Wieser wrote. However, there are only 31 million people who fall within that age category, on the basis of U.S. Census data, he said. The gap, which also exists for other age ranges, doesn't seem to be well-known by ad agencies, Wieser said.

"Awareness of general measurement issues causes larger advertisers to require the use of third party measurement services, including Nielsen's DAR and ComScore's VCE, to provide the basis against which Facebook is paid," he said. Wieser has a sell rating on Facebook stock.

The latest finding pokes at Facebook's value proposition to advertisers: that it's essentially a directory of real people using their real names that the company can target in sophisticated ways.

-- Bloomberg News

Boeing sees China needing more planes

Boeing raised its 20-year forecast for aircraft demand in China as economic growth and an expanding middle class spur travel in the world's most-populous nation.

China will need 7,240 new planes valued at almost $1.1 trillion in the two decades through 2036, Boeing said Wednesday. That compares with its projections last September for 6,810 aircraft through 2035.

The upward revision for China comes despite rising trade tensions between the Asian nation and the U.S. and a volatile geopolitical environment in the Korean peninsula. China is "a critical market," where long-term economic growth, a recovering air-cargo market and the expansion of Chinese airlines support a more optimistic forecast this year, according to Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

China has become the world's biggest source of outbound travelers, prompting authorities to ramp up efforts to build new airports and expand existing ones, not only in top-tier cities such as Beijing, but also in regional economic centers such as Chengdu and Xi'an. China accounts for almost 11 percent of Boeing's revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

-- Bloomberg News

Business on 09/07/2017

Print Headline: Gap will shift focus to Old Navy, Athleta Boeing's China needs planes forecast rises Wal-Mart sends Girls Who Code $250,000 Fed Vice Chairman Fischer exits in month Scandal-hit McDonald's Japan re...

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