BC-Business News Digest


Associated Press

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Business News at 5:30 p.m.

The supervisor is Richard Jacobsen (800-845-8450, ext. 1680). For photos, ext. 1900. For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.

If you have questions about transmission of financial market listings, please call 800-3AP-STOX.

A selection of top photos can be found at: http://bit.ly/APTopPhotos .

All times EDT.






NEW YORK — Apple is finally opening the doors to its bank vault, saying it will distribute $100 billion in cash to its shareholders over two years. The company will buy back $60 billion in shares — the largest buyback authorization in history. It is also raising its dividend by 15 percent. Investors have been clamoring for Apple to give them access to its cash hoard, which ended March at an unprecedented $145 billion. Apple's tight grip on its cash has been blamed for the steep decline in its stock price over the winter. News of the cash bonanza coincided with the company's release of a poor quarterly outlook for the three-month period that ends in June. Apple said it expects sales for the quarter to fall from the year before, which would be the first decline in many years. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.

AP photos.


NEW YORK — A day after flight delays plagued much of the U.S., air travel was smoother, but the government warns passengers that the situation could change by the hour as it furloughs thousands of air traffic controllers. Members of Congress urged the Federal Aviation Administration to put off the furloughs by 30 days and questioned whether the agency had considered other options to cut spending. Airlines fear the delays will hurt business that is already suffering because of reduced government travel. By Airlines Writers Scott Mayerowitz and Joshua Freed.

AP photos.


— FLIGHT DELAYS-CONGRESS — Lawmakers urge delay in control tower furloughs, reversal of plan to close towers.


NEW YORK — The stock market climbs following strong earnings across a range of U.S. industries. Markets are briefly shaken by a fake Twitter posting about the White House shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern time after The Associated Press' Twitter feed was hacked. By Business Writer Steve Rothwell.

AP photo.


WASHINGTON — Tax-free shopping on the Internet could be in jeopardy under a bill making its way through the Senate. The bill would empower states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives. By Stephen Ohlemacher.

AP photo.


WASHINGTON — Federal regulators let Boeing write the safety conditions for the problematic battery system in its beleaguered 787 Dreamliners, prescribe how to test it and carry out those tests itself, according to testimony and documents released at a hearing. By Joan Lowy.

AP photos.


— POLAND-BOEING-787 — Poland's national airline LOT says its Boeing 787s, which had been grounded for months due to battery problems, will resume flying in June and that it will seek compensation from the U.S. plane maker. AP photos.


DETROIT — U.S. traffic safety regulators propose stronger measures to stop drivers from being distracted by in-car touch screens. They want to further limit the number of times a driver can push the screen's buttons while a vehicle is moving. By Auto Writer Tom Krisher.


WASHINGTON — Parked around the airstrip at Joint Base San Antonio/Lackland are more than a dozen massive C-5A Galaxy transport planes. There is no money to fly them, repair them or put pilots in the cockpits, but Congress rejected the Air Force's bid to retire them. Idle aircraft and pricey ship deployments underscore the contradictions as Congress orders the Pentagon to slash hundreds of billions of dollars, even as lawmakers force the services to keep ships, aircraft, military bases, retiree benefits and other programs that defense leaders say they can't afford or won't be able to use. By Lolita C. Baldor.

AP photos.



WASHINGTON — U.S. sales of new homes rebounded in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000. The increase added to evidence of a sustained housing recovery at the start of the spring buying season. The Commerce Department says that sales of new homes increased 1.5 percent. The gain brought the level higher than February's pace of 411,000, though below January's 445,000 — the fastest pace since July 2008. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.

AP photo.


NEW YORK — The trustee in the MF Global Holdings bankruptcy case sues ex-CEO Jon Corzine and other former executives, alleging that they pushed the company into risky practices that ultimately led to its collapse. By Christina Rexrode and Marcy Gordon.

— BAUCUS-RETIREMENT — Democratic officials say Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, plans to retire. AP photo.


WASHINGTON — The richest Americans got richer during the first two years of the economic recovery while average net worth declined for the other 93 percent of U.S. households, a report released Tuesday says. By Pauline Jelinek.

— OIL PRICES — The price of oil falls slightly as a slowdown in China's manufacturing offset positive news on the U.S. housing sector.


ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new law putting companies on the hook for as much as three years of extended unemployment benefits. In most states, such an idea would be out of the question. But in Minnesota, it's just one in a raft of union-friendly bills moving through the Legislature, giving union workers the prospect of big victories even as their brethren are reeling elsewhere. By Brian Bakst.

AP photos.


WASHINGTON — Republicans are offering to bail out a financially strapped health overhaul program that helps people who can't get private insurance because of medical problems. A truce in the health care wars? Hardly. The GOP plan, headed for a vote Wednesday, would divert funds from another program under President Barack Obama's signature law, and that's unacceptable to Democrats. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar.



MINNEAPOLIS — Delta Air Lines got a little carried away with fare increases and had to adjust its pricing during the first quarter. It worked, and the airline posted its biggest profit for the January-March quarter since 2000. By Airlines Writer Joshua Freed.

AP photo.


Full planes were good to US Airways in the first quarter. The nation's fifth-largest airline posted a bigger adjusted profit as it carried more passengers, and collected more from them. By Airlines Writer Joshua Freed.

AP Photo.

— AUSTRALIA-VIRGIN-TIGER — Australia's competition regulator has approved the takeover by the nation's second-largest airline Virgin Australia of budget rival Tiger Airways Australia.


— EARNS-DISCOVER FINANCIAL— Discover Financial Services says its first-quarter net income rose 2 percent, boosted by loan growth. AP photo.

— EARNS-DUPONT— The DuPont Co. said its net income more than doubled in the first quarter on a gain from the sale of its performance coatings unit and strong continuing results in its agricultural unit. AP photo.

— EARNS-REYNOLDS AMERICAN — Reynolds American Inc.'s first-quarter profit jumped 88 percent as higher prices and lower expenses from a longstanding legal settlement offset a decline in cigarette sales. AP photos.

— EARNS-YUM BRANDS — KFC and Taco Bell parent Yum Brands Inc. reported a better-than-expected net income for its first quarter even as it struggled to overcome a controversy over its chicken suppliers in China. AP photo.

— EARNS-NORFOLK SOUTHERN — Norfolk Southern says its first-quarter profit improved 10 percent as an increase in railroad shipping volume and a land sale helped offset continued weak coal demand. AP photo.

— EARNS-AMGEN — Biotech giant Amgen Inc. says its first-quarter profit rose 21 percent on higher sales of drugs to treat arthritis and osteoporosis.

— FINLAND-EARNS-STORA ENSO — Hit by the declining paper market in Europe, Stora Enso reports a first-quarter net loss of 16 million euros ($21 million).


— FEDEX-DELIVERY OPTIONS— FedEx will let recipients leave detailed instructions for their driver or reschedule a delivery to their home. The company says it also will charge $5 to reschedule the delivery day or location and $10 to request a 2-hour delivery window.

— BRITAIN-SABMILLER — SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer, says it has made Alan Clark its CEO three months earlier than planned because the previous chief, Graham Mackay, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

— ARGENTINA-RALPH LAUREN-BRIBERY — Argentina wants the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to name names and provide proof that Ralph Lauren Corp. bribed customs officials to allow its products into the country.



AT&T Inc. says that it added a net 296,000 devices to its contract-based plans in the first quarter, but the gain was due entirely to tablets, which carry lower monthly fees. Excluding tablets, the carrier lost a net 69,000 devices from its contract-based plans, the first such loss. By Peter Svensson.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A social media editor who has worked for two of the nation's largest news-gathering organizations is scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday to face charges that he conspired with hackers to deface the website of the Los Angeles Times. Matthew Keys is expected to plead not guilty during the arraignment in Sacramento, his first court appearance since charges were filed last month. Developing from 5 p.m. hearing.

— TV ON THE INTERNET — Aereo, the television-over-the-Internet service that is threatening the broadcast and cable TV industries, is expanding to Boston on May 15.

— BLACKBERRY KEYBOARD — The maker of the BlackBerry expects its Q10, the new version of its phone with a physical keyboard, will be available in the U.S. by the end of May.



MUMBAI, India — Low costs put India's outsourcing companies at the heart of global business and created a multibillion-dollar industry that for years has skated over criticism it was eliminating white-collar jobs in rich nations. Now, the industry's fears of a backlash are being realized. Provisions in an overhaul of U.S. immigration law would close loopholes that allow outsourcing companies, Indian and American, to pay guest workers in the U.S. at rates often below wages for equivalently skilled Americans. By Kay Johnson.

AP photos.

— THAILAND-RETAIL DEAL — Thai convenience store giant CP All has made a $6.6 billion offer to buy discount-store operator Siam Makro in Asia's biggest takeover so far this year.

— JAPAN-ECONOMY— A leading international economic group says Japan's efforts to end two decades of stagnation are welcome changes that could spark a recovery, but rising national debt threatens its long-term growth and financial stability.

— CHINA-MANUFACTURING — A survey shows growth in China's manufacturing decelerated this month, adding to questions about the strength of the recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

— EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Germany's foreign minister is defending the policy of budget consolidation in a number of European countries despite a blunt warning from a top European Union official that the 27-nation bloc's austerity drive "has reached its limits." AP photo.

— SPAIN-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Spain's recession continued in the first three months of the year, with the economy shrinking by 0.5 percent, its seventh quarterly contraction, the Bank of Spain says. AP photos

— GERMANY-HOTEL TAX — Berlin's city government has decided to put a 5 percent tax on tourist hotel stays from this summer, part of efforts to shore up the German capital's finances.

— LATIN AMERICA-GROWTH — The United Nations says the economy of Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to grow a lower-than-expected 3.5 percent this year.


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.


Sticking with dividends

When is it time to sell high on a winning investment strategy? Dividend stocks have been strong for years and their returns have revved even higher in 2013. So is it time to sell your dividend-stock mutual funds and focus on the next trend? No, several strategists say.


Brinker profit rises 16 percent

These are challenging times for the casual dining industry. But Brinker International, the parent company of Chili's restaurants, says that lower costs helped boost its profit by 16 percent in its fiscal third-quarter.