BC-Business News Digest


Associated Press

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:30 AM

Business News at 5:30 p.m.

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Eds: All U.S. stock exchanges are shut down Monday and Tuesday because of Hurricane Sandy. A Wall Street story on the closings has moved. Due to the closings, there will not be any Money & Markets modules for Tuesday, Oct. 30. A limited set of modules will move Tuesday for Wednesday.



— Updates: OIL PRICES



WASHINGTON — Airlines canceled thousands of flights and stranded travelers. Insurers braced for damages of up to $5 billion. Retailers expected shrunken sales. Hurricane Sandy is causing disruptions for companies, travelers and consumers. But for the overall economy, damage from the storm is likely to be limited. And any economic growth lost to the storm in the short run will likely be restored once reconstruction begins, analysts say. By Economics Writers Christopher S. Rugaber and Martin Crutsinger.

AP Photo.


— SUPERSTORM-AIRLINES — Hurricane Sandy grounds thousands of flights in the U.S. northeast and upends travel plans across the globe, stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe. The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for both domestic and international flights. AP photo.

— SUPERSTORM-AIRLINES-GLANCE — How to handle a flight cancellation.

— SUPERSTORM-AMTRAK — Amtrak says it has canceled all service in the Northeast due to high winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Sandy.

— SMALLBIZ-SUPERSTORM— Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc on small businesses along the East Coast. In some cases businesses are forced to shut down completely. Other owners cancel meetings and presentations.


NEW YORK — As Hurricane Sandy inched closer to Manhattan, the lights of iconic trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange were ablaze but workers hard to find. The shutdown of trading is the first due to weather since Hurricane Gloria struck in 1985. And it will extend for a second day, a first since a massive snow storm in 1888. A look at the history of trading halts, what's behind the decision this time and the likely impact on markets in the days ahead. By Business Writer Bernard Condon.

AP Photos.


— WALL STREET-CLOSINGS-GLANCE — A look at New York Stock Exchange closings in the past.


The biggest refineries in the Northeast shut down or throttle back as Hurricane Sandy moves in. Oil prices fall as it appears the massive storm will reduce demand by keeping drivers off the road and shutting businesses. Experts say drivers could see a short-lived spike in gasoline prices before they resume falling in November. By Business Writer Joshua Freed.

AP Photo.


NEW YORK — Phone service often cuts out when it's needed the most — when disaster strikes. That applies to cellphones too, even though they seem independent of power and phone lines. Here are some tips for communicating with emergency services and loved ones as the Superstorm sweeps the Northeast. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.

AP Photo.


— STORM-TELECOMS — Phone companies on the eastern seaboard are preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy by topping up fuel for backup generators and lining up disaster recovery trailers to move into flooded areas after the storm passes. AP Photo.



Call it Frankenstorm, Stormpocalypse or simply Hurricane Sandy, the giant storm barreling up the East Coast is a favorite topic of conversation on social media from Facebook to Twitter. As people post updates to friends and family, relay serious emergency information and lighten the mood with humor, discussing natural disasters on social media is for many as much a part of the experience as stocking up on bread and batteries. By Barbara Ortutay.


— SUPERSTORM-MEDIA —The Weather Channel turns its feed on live on its website and on YouTube as it prepares for the most online visitors since a colossal blizzard blanketed the northeastern U.S. and Canada in February 2011. Newspapers such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal take down pay wall restrictions on their websites to help give out emergency information. By Ryan Nakashima.


— SUPERSTORM-INSURANCE — It's still too early to know how much damage Hurricane Sandy could cause, but initial estimates from financial analysts suggest that the insurance industry, which has more than $500 billion in capital, should be able to absorb the hit.

— STORM-EARNINGS — With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast, some companies, including Pfizer and Thomson Reuters, are postponing their quarterly earnings reports.



WASHINGTON — Whoever wins the U.S. presidential election will find it hard to manage the biggest economic threats he'll face. That's the cautionary message that emerges from the latest Associated Press Economy Survey. Europe's recession is expected to persist deep into the next presidential term, shrinking demand for U.S. exports and costing U.S. jobs. An even more urgent threat to the economy, the economists say, is Congress' failure so far to reach a budget deal to prevent tax increases and spending cuts from taking effect in January. With both crises, the next president will have only limited sway. By Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber.

AP Photos.



CHICAGO — On the eve of the 2012 elections, The Associated Press interviewed dozens of Americans to try to gauge the economic mood of the nation. People were asked about jobs, housing, gas prices, retirement and other issues. Among them were a Chicago couple: Adrienne Cragnotti, 46, and Mike Eiler, 41. She's a self-employed photographer; he's an unemployed former copy editor. Despite career setbacks and a declining living standard, Cragnotti and Eiler remain optimistic. By Business Writer Dave Carpenter.

AP photos.


NEW YORK — Microsoft is officially launching its new Windows Phone 8 software Monday, a few days after the company released Windows 8 for PCs and tablets. The software is intended to expand Microsoft's toehold in smartphones and could help allies like Nokia as it scrambles to compete with Apple and Samsung. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.


— GOOGLE-ANDROID GADGETS — Google is adding a few more gadgets to holiday shopping lists. The devices include the latest in Google's line of Nexus smartphones and a larger version of the 7-inch tablet that the company began selling in July under the Nexus brand.

— NOKIA-VERIZON WIRELESS — Verizon Wireless, the largest cellphone carrier in the U.S., will sell a Nokia phone for the first time in years, lending support to the embattled Finnish company's turnaround effort.


The head of Apple's store operations, John Browett, is leaving after just six months on the job. In addition, Scott Forstall, the long-serving head of its iPhone software development operations who was seen as a possible successor to CEO Tim Cook, is leaving. By Peter Svensson.


HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — It's a wildly popular website laden with unlicensed songs and Hollywood movies, a prime exhibit of the digital piracy that is strangling the music industry in Asia and eroding legitimate online sales around the world. But a few clicks inside the free-to-download bonanza that has pushed Vietnam's Zing.vn into the globe's top 550 websites reveal a surprising presence: The American government, which maintains a bustling social media account on the site. By Chris Brummitt.

AP Photos.



WASHINGTON — Americans increased their spending in September at twice the rate their income rose, a sign of confidence in the economy. The Commerce Department says consumer spending increased 0.8 percent in September. That followed a 0.5 percent gain in August and was the best showing since February. Personal income rose 0.4 percent, an improvement from a slight 0.1 percent gain in August and the best gain since March. Consumer spending is important because it drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.

AP Photos.


LONDON — The world's markets may believe that the worst of the financial crisis in Europe is over after three turbulent years, but those people who control the purse strings of the world's businesses are not breathing any easier. An annual survey of finance directors from global business consultancy BDO finds that the crisis over too much government debt in Europe remains one of their key concerns — so much so that Greece is considered a riskier place to invest and set up business in than war-torn Syria. By Pan Pylas.


— EUROPE-MONEY FUNDS — The big U.S. money market funds are loaning more to banks in the 17-country eurozone as fears ease over the continent's debt crisis.



DETROIT — Japanese brands take seven of the top 10 spots in Consumer Reports' annual reliability rankings, pushing aside their U.S. and European rivals. Toyota Motor Co.'s Scion, Lexus and Toyota brands took the top three spots and the Toyota Prius C, a subcompact hybrid, got the best overall score. Mazda, Subaru and Honda were close behind. By Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin




TOKYO — Toyota is shrugging off a sales plunge in China set off by a territorial dispute and says it is headed to a record year on the back of strong growth in the rest of Asia and the U.S. By Business Writer Yuri Kageyama.

AP Photo.


— JAPAN-EARNS-HONDA — Honda's quarterly profit surges 36 percent as Japanese automakers bounce back from last year's tsunami disaster, but the company lowers its annual forecast because of a sales plunge in China.


DETROIT — Chrysler nearly doubled its third-quarter profit as it continues to post big U.S. sales increases. The company says it made $381 million last quarter. That's up 80 percent from the $212 million it made a year earlier. By Auto Writer Tom Krisher.

— EARNS-TD AMERITRADE — TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit declined 13 percent as low interest rates and slower trading restricted the online brokerage's revenue

— UPS-HOLIDAY SHIPPING — UPS expects to deliver 527 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, surpassing last year's record high by 10 percent.

— EARNS-BURGER KING — Burger King says its third-quarter net income fell 83 percent as a stronger dollar hurt revenue, but adjusted results topped expectations.

— MENINGITIS OUTBREAK — Massachusetts shuts down another compounding pharmacy over sterility concerns after a surprise inspection prompted by the nationwide meningitis outbreak linked to a different company.

— CLEAN HARBORS-SAFETY-KLEEN — Clean Harbors is buying Safety-Kleen for $1.25 billion in cash as it looks to enter smaller markets and expand its waste treatment capabilities.



LONDON — Pearson PLC will merge its Penguin Books division with Random House, which is owned by German media company Bertelsmann, in an all-share deal that will create the world's largest publisher of consumer books. By Robert Barr.

AP Photo.


NEW YORK — During NBC's slow slide to near-irrelevancy in prime time over the past decade, a succession of entertainment executives sat in boardrooms plotting comeback moves that didn't work. It's still early, but NBC seems finally to have hit upon a plan that is moving things in the right direction. By Television Writer David Bauder.

AP Photo.


WASHINGTON — Costco, eBay, Google and the nation's top art museums are backing a Thai graduate student against book publishers, the movie and music industries and other manufacturers in a Supreme Court battle over copyright protections with important implications for consumers and multibillion dollar annual sales online and in discount stores. By Mark Sherman.

Eds: One-hour arguments scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. EDT.

— PAYPAL-LAYOFFS — EBay Inc.'s PayPal unit says it is cutting 325 full-time jobs in a move to streamline the business.



DEPOK, Indonesia — A 14-year-old Indonesian girl received a Facebook friend request from an older man she didn't know. She accepted it out of curiosity. This smooth-talking online friend ended up being a monster, kidnapping, raping and planning to sell her to a brothel. The recent case is just one of a growing number of incidents in Indonesia — eight reported this month alone — involving young girls being abducted and enslaved by men who approached them randomly on Facebook. By Margie Mason.

AP Photos.


PARIS — The 35-hour work week? Untouchable. The social safety net? Untrimmable. So how can France's Socialist government keep its promise to become more competitive in the global marketplace? Slowly and carefully, President Francois Hollande says. Many economists, though, say France could be running out of time. By Lori Hinnant.

AP Photos.


— FRANCE-GOOGLE TAX — French President Francois Hollande is considering a pushing for a new tax that would see search engines such as Google have to pay each time they use content from French media.

— EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insists Spain has no immediate need to ask for outside aid to help deal with its debts.

— GERMANY-ENERGY — An official says the share of electricity in Germany produced by renewable energy sources is expected to reach almost 50 percent by 2025.


Due to the closure of the U.S. stock exchanges because of Hurricane Sandy, there will not be any Money & Markets modules for Tuesday, Oct. 30.