BC-Business News Digest


Associated Press

Posted on May 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Business News at 5:30 p.m.

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NEW YORK — This summer, high rollers are flying to lavish vacation hot spots for their summer break. The rest of us are headed to places like a nearby campground. The good news: At some U.S. campgrounds these days you get live bands, air guitar contests and a chocolate pudding slip 'n slide. Americans' plans for summer travel mirror the current state of the economy. Rising home prices and a soaring stock market are encouraging those at the top of the income ladder to take more extravagant trips. But large segments of the population, their incomes stagnant, are staying close to home. For a travel industry still stinging from the Great Recession, that likely means another summer of steady, but slow, recovery. By Business Writers Scott Mayerowitz and Jon Fahey.

AP photos.


— SUMMER TRAVEL-GLANCE — How the price of gasoline on Memorial Day has changed over time.


NEW YORK — Delta Air Lines moves its operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport out of the Dark Ages with the opening on a $1.4 billion terminal expansion that will let it better compete for the lucrative New York travel market. With the opening of its Terminal 4 concourse, the airline will start demolishing its existing structure: a building opened in 1960 as Pan Am's Worldport with an iconic flying saucer-like roof. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

AP photos.


NEW YORK — Growth stocks, neglected at the start of the year, are starting to get love from investors again. The best returns in the S&P 500 index in the past month have been posted by technology and industrial company stocks. Utilities and consumer staples makers — safe-play stocks that have been investor favorites in the first three months of this year — have stalled. It's a change in tone in the rally that has pushed the stock market to record highs this year. By Markets Writer Steve Rothwell


SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix is counting on this weekend's release of the resurrected TV series "Arrested Development" will lock up more subscribers to its Internet video service. Sunday's return of an award-winning show that ended its original run seven years ago represents the latest step in Netflix's bold attempt to establish its service as a home entertainment powerhouse that rivals the broadcast television networks and premium cable channels such as HBO. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke.

AP photo.


NEW YORK — Sen. Charles Schumer is urging regulators to "use extreme caution" when reviewing the proposed acquisition of No. 3 cell carrier Sprint Nextel by Japan's Softbank. The Japanese company uses Chinese equipment, which Schumer said could open up U.S. networks to snooping and hacking. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.



WASHINGTON — U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in April, buoyed by more demand for aircraft and an increase in products that signal business investment. Orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose 3.3 percent last month from March, the Commerce Department says. That follows a 5.9 percent decline in March. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.

AP photo.

— CHINA COMPANIES-US-AGREEMENT — China agrees to give U.S. regulators access to audit records for Chinese companies whose shares trade on U.S. stock exchanges, a step forward in a long-running dispute.

— FRANCE-IMF CHIEF — After two days of intense questioning from French magistrates, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde says a court named her as a key witness in an investigation into a controversial payoff to an outspoken businessman that was arranged while she was France's finance minister — stopping short of charging her outright.


NEW YORK — Major stock indexes closed out their first weekly loss in a month in quiet trading Friday. By Business Writer Matthew Craft.

AP photo.

— OIL PRICES — The price of oil fell 2 percent this week to finish at $94.15 a barrel, as oil traders worried about global demand and shared the stock market's concerns about possible changes to the Federal Reserve economic stimulus program.


WASHINGTON — Some labor unions that enthusiastically backed President Barack Obama's health care overhaul are now frustrated and angry, fearful that it will jeopardize benefits for millions of their members. By Sam Hananel.

AP photos.



WASHINGTON — Government health officials are investigating cases involving patients who suffered complications after being injected with potentially contaminated medications made by a Tennessee specialty pharmacy. By Matthew Perrone.


MILWAUKEE — Agriculture remains one of the nation's most dangerous professions. While the deadly blast at a Texas fertilizer plant last month was a sharp reminder of the risks posed by agricultural chemicals, tractors, stored grain, animals and power lines are threats, too. To help rescuers reach people quickly and safely, a handful of Wisconsin farmers have been working with researchers and firefighters on an online program that maps farm hazards. By M.L. Johnson.

— JAPAN-BOEING 787 — Japan's All Nippon Airways, the launch customer for Boeing's 787 "Dreamliner," will resume commercial flights of the aircraft on Sunday, just over four months after the jets were grounded due to smoldering batteries.

— CHILE-BARRICK GOLD — Chile's environmental regulator has stopped construction and imposed sanctions on Barrick Gold Corp.'s $8.5 billion Pascua-Lama project, citing "serious violations" of its environmental permit.


— NEWS CORP-SPLIT— News Corp. says its board of directors has approved plans to split its entertainment and publishing businesses into two separate companies.



TOKYO — Japan's top leaders are defending the economic strategies championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, though the central bank chief acknowledged a need for better communication with financial markets, a day after Tokyo shares suffered their worst loss since the 2011 tsunami disaster. By Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach.

AP photo.


BERLIN — German business confidence rebounded this month in an unexpectedly strong showing that sends a hopeful signal for more robust growth in Europe's biggest economy, a closely watched survey found. The upturn followed two consecutive declines and beat economists' expectations of a very slight increase to 104.5. By Geir Moulson.

AP photos


PARIS — The French government is trying to woo executives and entrepreneurs, amid concerns that it has antagonized the businesses needed to reinvigorate the economy. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici announces that the government no longer plans to push for a law to cap executive salaries in the private sector. By Business Writer Sarah DiLorenzo.

AP photo.

— SPAIN-ROYAL FAMILY-CORRUPTION — Princess Cristina, the daughter of Spain's King Juan Carlos, is under investigation for possible tax fraud and money laundering, the latest blow to the Spanish royal family's reputation. AP photo.

— CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Cypriot authorities have lifted restrictions on money withdrawals and transfers for international clients of another two foreign banks active in the crisis-hit country.

— POLAND-ECONOMY — Government data show that Poland's jobless rate fell to 14 percent in April from 14.3 percent the month before, an improvement due largely to seasonal jobs that open up in the warmer months. The figure comes as other economic indicators show the once-vibrant economy facing a sharp downturn.

— SLOVENIA-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Slovenia's parliament has adopted a cap on public spending to try to convince investors that it will be able to avoid needing an international bailout.

— TAIWAN-ECONOMY — Taiwan has lowered its economic growth forecast for 2013 to a muted 2.4 percent as global demand for the island's electronics exports remained subdued

— INDIA-US-IRAN — A senior official praised India for reducing oil imports from Iran and said the U.S. government will decide soon on New Delhi's request to renew a waiver from sanctions on Tehran.

— JAPAN-MYANMAR — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is traveling to Myanmar on the first visit to the country by a Japanese leader in 36 years, as Tokyo bids to reassert its position as a top economic partner after decades of frosty relations with the previous military regime.

— SWITZERLAND-TAX EVASION — Switzerland's top negotiator in talks to resolve disputes over tax evasion with Europe and the U.S. is stepping down. The Finance Ministry said that Michael Ambuehl will leave his post at the end of August and go into academia.

— TURKEY-ALCOHOL BANS-Q&A— A look at legislation passed in Turkey's parliament early that would ban all alcohol advertising and tighten restrictions on the sale of such beverages, and how such a law could affect tourists and liquor companies in the mainly Muslim but secular country.


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Beyond sales

Not too long ago, the slightest whiff of positive housing news would propel homebuilding stocks higher. If a single homebuilder reported better-than-expected sales, the entire sector often would get a lift. But with economists and Wall Street growing increasingly convinced that the rebound in U.S. home sales is for real, rosy sales alone may not cut it anymore. Now, other factors beyond growth in new home orders — a precursor to completed home sales — are likely to move homebuilding stocks one way or the other, says Williams Financial Group analyst David Williams.


Retail's cloudy forecast

Cool temperatures are adding a chill to the financial outlooks of big retailers this year, compounding the challenge of getting Americans, who are still hesitant to spend freely, through the door.