U.S. stock, bond and commodities trading are closed Friday, March 29 in observance of Good Friday. The AP Business desk is staffed and the BC-Business News Digest will move.
Among the stories for Friday from The Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — It's a good bet that aerial drones will one day be part of Americans' everyday lives, performing countless useful functions. They're a stark departure from the killing machines whose missiles incinerate terrorists. But industry officials say the civilian unmanned aircraft industry is in danger of being grounded before it can take off, in part because of an emerging public backlash based on fears the technology will be misused. Delays in issuing government safety regulations for drones are also hindering the industry. By Joan Lowy.
AP photos, video
FRANKFURT, GERMANY — This week's deal to rescue Cyprus and its banks from financial collapse has renewed fears about Europe's shaky financial system and where trouble might next appear. With many banks across Europe still struggling, there's a new sense that bank depositors and bondholders could take more losses. By David McHugh.
CYPRUS-LESSONS FROM 1974
LONDON — As it grapples with the prospect of years of economic pain, Cyprus will try to draw strength from its not-so-distant experience of invasion — and the fact that a whole generation knows what it means to rebuild from scratch. But it's a tough task. Any inspiration will be badly needed on the small east Mediterranean island nation of less than a million people, as even the most optimistic forecasters predict years of recession and sky-high unemployment. By Pan Pylas.
— CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Cyprus' president calls on the country to "share the burden" of solving its financial crisis as banks open for normal business for the second day, but with strict restrictions still in place on how much money their clients can access. AP photos
MARKETS & ECONOMY
WASHINGTON — Consumers earned more and spent more in February, helped by a stronger job market that is offsetting some of the drag from higher taxes. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.7 percent in February compared with January. It was the biggest gain in five months and followed a 0.4 percent rise in January. Americans were able to spend more because their income rose 1.1 percent last month. The gains in spending and income follow other signs of an economy gathering momentum. By Martin Crutsinger.
WASHINGTON — Reducing sulfur in gasoline and tightening emissions standards on cars beginning in 2017, as the Obama administration is proposing, would come with costs as well as rewards. The cost at the pump for cleaner air across the country could be less than a penny or as high as 9 cents a gallon, depending on who is providing the estimate. By Dina Cappiello.
Eds: Announcement expected midmorning. AP photo.
— STUDENT LOANS — Congressional inaction could end up costing college students an extra $5,000 on their new loans. AP photo
— STATE UNEMPLOYMENT — The government reports on state unemployment rates for February. Eds: Report due at 10 a.m.
— OBAMA — Obama to call for jobs plan with more private spending on public works during Florida trip. AP photo
— WORLD MARKETS — Asian stock markets were mostly higher as momentum carried over from yet another record high on Wall Street. Trading remained thin, however, as stock, bond and commodities markets were closed for Good Friday in the U.S. and Europe, along with large parts of Asia.
INSIDER TRADING ARREST
NEW YORK — Michael Steinberg, a portfolio manager for the hedge fund operator SAC Capital Advisors, has been arrested as part of a federal insider trading investigation. The FBI declined to specify the charges. At least four other people associated with the Stamford, Conn.-based firm have been arrested over the past four years. The SEC earlier this month said SAC would pay more than $614 million in what federal regulators called the largest insider trading settlement ever.
FOOD AND FARM-AMERICAN EDAMAME
MULBERRY, Ark. — A small but growing number of farmers are experimenting with an edible soybean as they look to capitalize on Americans' interest in adding non-meat proteins to their diets. The U.S. is one of the world's top soybean producers, but most beans grown here are used to make cooking oil and feed farm animals. They aren't eaten whole. Now, some farmers from Arkansas to Minnesota have started planting a type of soybean called edamame, a common ingredient in Asian foods and can be used in everything from salads to stir frys. By Jeannie Nuss.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA
SAN FRANCISCO — It's back. The virtual reality headset, the gizmo that was supposed to seamlessly transport wearers to three-dimensional virtual worlds, has made a remarkable return at this year's Game Developers Conference, an annual gathering of video game makers in San Francisco. By Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang.
— FACEBOOK-ANDROID EVENT — Facebook has invited journalists to the unveiling of what it calls its "new home on Android" next Thursday. There has been speculation that the company could launch a new phone, but it's more likely to unveil a new Android app or some other integration into Android phones.
AMSTERDAM — Two weeks ago, few people outside the Netherlands had heard of Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch politician instrumental in negotiating Cyprus' bailout. Now he's being criticized for shaking the confidence of financial markets. Here are some questions and answers about the man and the debate he's started. By Toby Sterling.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — With just hours to go before Argentina has to show its last cards in a billion-dollar debt showdown in the U.S. courts, President Cristina Fernandez seems to be keeping up her "we're going for more" motto. Her government is reportedly preparing a response that analysts say could lead the country into another catastrophic default. By Michael Warren.
SEOUL, South Korea — China, Japan and South Korea are inching ahead with talks for a free trade zone that would rival the European Union and North America in economic heft. Progress will be slow despite the achievement of setting aside their often acrimonious relations to begin negotiations. An agreement to start talks took 10 years. By Youkyung Lee.
— CHINA-FOREIGN BUSINESS — Foreign companies in China say they want the country's new leadership to act on pledges to reduce bureaucracy and remove investment barriers as the business climate gets tougher, according to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
— JAPAN-ECONOMY — Japan's jobless rate edges higher, industrial production falls slightly and consumer prices drop, underscoring the fragility of the recovery in the world's third-largest economy.
— IRAQ-EGYPT — Iraq rejects a request from Egypt for a $4 billion bond to be deposited in Egypt's central bank to bolster its faltering economy. Talks are ongoing for a smaller amount.
— JAPAN-NUCLEAR — The utility that operates Japan's crippled atomic plant says it deserved most of the blame for the country's nuclear crisis, in the company's strongest remarks about its own shortcomings.