BC-Business News Digest

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Associated Press

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 1:00 PM

Business News at 3:30 p.m.

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NEW THIS DIGEST:

— Adds: MACY'S-PENNEY-TRIAL, HUMANA-EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

— Updates: BUDGET BATTLE, EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

TOP STORIES:

GLOBAL AIRLINE CROSSROADS

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — For generations, international fliers have stopped over in London, Paris and Amsterdam. Now, they increasingly switch planes in Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi, making this region the new crossroads of global travel. The switch is driven by both the airports and three ambitious and rapidly expanding government-owned airlines — Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. The airlines are backed by governments that see aviation as the way to make their countries bigger players in the global economy. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

AP photos.

With:

— GLOBAL AIRLINE CROSSROADS-GLANCE — Airports in China, the Middle East are among the fastest growing since 2006.

BUFFETT STOCKS

Warren Buffet says stocks are a good investment, long-term government bonds are a dumb one, and ketchup is forever. The billionaire investor covers a range of topics in a CNBC interview, including his purchase of ketchup maker Heinz, the "meat axe" of automatic budget cuts, and what's going to happen when the Federal Reserve stops pumping money into the economy. By Business Writer Joshua Freed. Eds: Incorporates BC-US--Buffett-Newspapers and BC-US--Buffett-Fed

AP photo.

RESORTS WORLD-VEGAS

LAS VEGAS — An Asian conglomerate says it will break ground next year on a long-stalled project that could help revitalize a dilapidated section of the Las Vegas Strip. The Genting Group is buying the site where Boyd Gaming Corp.'s partially built Echelon project has gathered dust for four years. The "Resorts World Las Vegas" project will feature 3,500 hotel rooms, a convention center and a 4,000-seat theater. By Hannah Dreier.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

BUDGET BATTLE

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama presides over the first meeting of his new-look Cabinet in a sobering climate of forced fiscal belt-tightening, urging humane management of spending cuts for communities and families that are "going to be hurting." By Nedra Pickler.

AP photos, video.

With:

—BUDGET BATTLE-GLANCE — A look at how the cuts could affect government operations and you. AP photos, video.

— OBAMA-BUDGET CHIEF — Obama nominates Wal-Mart's Sylvia Burwell as next budget chief in midst of fiscal battles. AP photo.

— BUDGET BATTLE-AIR TRAVEL — Homeland Security secretary says there are already delays at two major U.S. airports in L.A. and Chicago due to government spending cuts.

— NABE-FISCAL POLICY — Business economists opposed automatic spending cuts, but support balanced deficit reduction.

FORBES-BILLIONAIRES

NEW YORK — Forbes magazine says Mexico's Carlos Slim remains the world's richest man for the fourth year in a row, while Warren Buffett drops out of the top three for the first time since 2000. And the ranking of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg drops 31 spots as his net worth declines by $4.2 billion.

With:

— FORBES-BILLIONAIRES-GLANCE

— FED-YELLEN — The No. 2 official at the Federal Reserve says she does not see any risks at the moment from the Federal Reserve's low-interest rate policies that would prompt her to urge that the policies be curtailed.

— MENENDEZ — New Jersey Democrat pushed legislation with incentives for natural gas vehicle conversions that would benefit the biggest political donor to his re-election, AP investigation shows. AP photos.

WALL STREET

NEW YORK — Stocks are little changed on Wall Street after the Chinese government announced new steps to cool the booming housing market in the world's second-largest economy. By AP Business Writer Steve Rothwell

AP photos.

— OIL PRICES — Oil drops below $90 a barrel for the first time this year, and pump prices dropped 3 cents over the weekend as drivers caught a break after two months of steep increases.

INDUSTRY:

OBAMA-CABINET

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signaled his willingness to tackle climate change with his pick of Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, one of three major appointments. A 25-year veteran of environmental policy and politics, McCarthy worked Obama's presidential rival, Mitt Romney, who tapped her to help draft state plans for curbing the pollution linked to global warming. By Dina Cappiello.

AP photos.

GENEVA MOTOR SHOW-CAR OF THE YEAR

GENEVA — The Volkswagen Golf has been named Europe's Car of the Year by automotive journalists from more than 20 countries. Introduced in 1974 and recently redesigned, the hatchback is the company's mass-market flagship — and a key element in its ambition to overtake Toyota as the world's biggest carmaker. The award is one of the most important in Europe and gives consumers an idea of what the experts think the car of the future is. By Colleen Barry.

AP photos.

MACY'S-PENNEY-TRIAL

NEW YORK — J.C. Penney, which also is struggling with big losses and steep sales declines, could face another challenge: empty shelves. New York State Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Oing tells Penney's attorneys that the chain took a risk by ordering towels, cookware and other products from the company that home diva Martha Stewart founded. In fact, Oing said he could force Penney to stop the products from heading to the shelves even as they come off the docks. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

— HUMANA-EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION — Health insurer Humana says it spent about $323,000 last year letting incoming CEO Bruce Broussard use company aircraft to commute to work.

— HESS-RETAIL — After pressure from a big shareholder, Hess says it will get rid of its gas stations and energy trading and marketing business, to focus more on exploration and production.

— MONSTER ENERGY-LAWSUIT — Monster Beverage is hitting back at a lawsuit alleging its energy drinks were responsible for the death of a 14-year-old Maryland girl, saying that no blood test was performed to confirm that the girl died of "caffeine toxicity."

— PRATT & WHITNEY-TESTING FRAUD — Jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney says it's uncovered fraudulent testing of engine parts, but that no recalls or other problems resulted.

— BRITAIN-EARNS-HSBC — HSBC's profit drops 17 percent in 2012 after the bank paid nearly $2 billion to settle a U.S. money-laundering case, but Asian businesses perform well. AP photos.

— SPAIN-IBERIA STRIKE — Spanish airline Iberia says some 1,300 flights will be canceled this week as workers begin a second round of strikes to protest job cuts.

— ELAN-TYSABRI DIVIDEND — Irish drugmaker Elan plans dividend tied to Tysabri royalties in counter to Royal Pharma bid.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

— EVERNOTE-HACKING — Online note-taking service Evernote has been hacked and is resetting all its 50 million users' passwords as a precaution.

INTERNATIONAL:

EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

BRUSSELS — European finance ministers push cash-strapped Cyprus into accepting an independent audit on the implementation of the country's policies aimed at combatting money-laundering to secure a bailout, officials say. By Don Melvin and Juergen Baetz.

AP photos.

With:

— SPAIN-FINANCIAL-CRISIS — Spain has a record five million people registered as unemployed as the country remains stuck in recession.

— LATVIA-EURO — Latvia formally applies to adopt the euro currency in 2014, which would make the Baltic state the bloc's 18th member.

— JAPAN-CENTRAL-BANK — Nominee to become Japan's central bank chief says inflation target his top priority.

— MYANMAR-ENERGY — Myanmar to open offshore oil and gas bids by April; violence could delay China pipeline.

— NEW ZEALAND-POWER COMPANY LISTING — New Zealand will sell 49 percent of a state-owned energy company and list the shares on the country's stock exchange as part of a plan to raise billions.

___

A sampling of Money & Markets modules is below. The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about Money & Markets content, please contact Trevor Delaney (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096). After 6 p.m., contact the AP Business News desk (800-845-8450, ext. 1680) for content questions; 1-800-3AP-STOX for technical support and 212-621-1905 for graphics help.

CENTERPIECE

The dividend trap

Dividend investors often set their sights on the highest yields. But therein lies a trap, experts say. The dividend yield is the amount of the annual dividend paid divided by the share price; so when the stock's price falls, its yield rises. Also, dividend yields don't indicate how expensive a stock is relative to the company's earnings.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Hess is getting out of gas stations

Hess announced several steps it's taking in order to become a pure play exploration and production company by 2014. Those moves include getting out of the gas station business, as well as its energy trading and marketing businesses.

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