BC-Business News Preview


Associated Press

Posted on August 2, 2013 at 4:00 PM


Among the stories for Friday from The Associated Press:



WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 162,000 jobs in July, the fewest since March. The gains were enough to lower the unemployment rate to a 4½ -year low of 7.4 percent, a good sign in an otherwise lackluster report, from 7.6 percent in June. The Labor Department says the economy added 26,000 fewer jobs in May and June than previously estimated. Americans worked fewer hours. And their pay dipped. The figures suggest weak economic growth may be making businesses cautious about hiring. By Christopher S. Rugaber.

AP photo


WASHINGTON — With union membership on the decline, labor leaders are getting more creative — and some say more desperate — to boost sagging numbers and rebuild their waning clout. Unions are helping non-union fast food workers around the country hold strikes to protest low wages and poor working conditions. They are trying to organize home day care workers, university graduate students and even newly legalized marijuana dealers. These efforts have taken on greater urgency since the government reported earlier this year that union membership has declined to just 11.3 percent of the workforce — its lowest point in nearly a century. By Sam Hananel.

AP photo, graphic


Dell's board has agreed to an increased offer of $13.75 per share from founder Michael Dell that also adds a special dividend for shareholders. Shareholders of the struggling PC maker who own the stock as of Aug. 13 will now be eligible to vote at a Sept. 12 special meeting on the deal.


NEW YORK — With Google as its new owner, Motorola is introducing the Moto X, a phone notable for innovations in manufacturing, as part of an attempt to regain its stature. What's really special about the Moto X has nothing to do with making calls, checking Facebook or holding it in your hands. Rather, it breaks from the pack by allowing for a lot of customization. You can choose everything from the color of the power button to a personalized message on the back cover. It's made possible with phone assembly in the U.S., so custom phones can be shipped sooner than from overseas. By Anick Jesdanun.

AP photos, video


— DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-MOTOROLA MOTO X PHONE-CAPSULES — A summary of The Associated Press' recent phone reviews.



WASHINGTON — Consumers increased their spending in June at the fastest pace in four months even though their income growth slowed. Consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in June compared with May, when spending was up 0.2 percent, says the Commerce Department. It was the best gain since a 0.7 percent rise in February. The hope is that strong consumer spending will help boost a lackluster economy to faster growth in the second half of this year. But for that to happen, economists say income growth needs to accelerate. By Martin Crutsinger.

— FACTORY ORDERS — Orders placed with U.S. factories rose to a record high in June, boosted by strong demand for airplanes, machinery and autos. The Commerce Department says factory orders rose 1.5 percent in June compared with May, when orders had risen 3 percent. The gains pushed total orders to a record $496.7 billion. AP photo


WASHINGTON — Food stamps look ripe for the picking, politically speaking. Through five years and counting of economic distress, the food aid program has swollen up like a summer tomato. It grew to $78 billion last year, more than double its size when the recession began in late 2007. That makes it a juicy target for conservative Republicans seeking to trim spending and pare back government. But to many Democrats, food stamps are a major element of the country's commitment to help citizens struggling to meet basic needs. By Connie Cass and Mary Clare Jalonick.

AP photos, graphic


NEW YORK — Stocks fall in early trading after the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than forecast in July, blunting optimism that the economy is poised to pick up strength in the second half of the year. By Steve Rothwell.

AP photo

— OIL PRICES — Oil prices fall below $107 per barrel after two days of big gains.



TOKYO — Toyota says its profit in its fiscal first quarter nearly doubled from a year ago, and sets an ambitious, worldwide production goal that would break industry records if reached. By Yuri Kageyama.

AP photos


Chevron's quarterly profit is huge — $5.37 billion — but it's down 26 percent from last year on lower oil prices and maintenance work at some refineries. The results follow similar profit declines at Exxon Mobil and Shell, and they lag Wall Street expectations as well. By David Koenig.

AP photo.


OMAHA, Neb. — Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway will release its second-quarter financial report Friday after the market close. By Josh Funk.

AP photo



WASHINGTON — Consumers are going to know exactly what they are getting when they buy foods labeled "gluten free." The Food and Drug Administration is at last defining what a "gluten free" label on a food package really means after more than six years of consideration. Until now, manufacturers have been able to use their own discretion as to how much gluten they include. By Mary Clare Jalonick.



NEW YORK — The Justice Department and 33 state attorneys general want to force Apple to sign contracts with publishers that don't prevent Apple or other e-book stores from competing on price. A federal judge ruled last month that Apple colluded with publishers to raise e-book prices. The Cupertino, Calif., company has vowed to appeal the decision. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.


Viacom says its fiscal third-quarter net income rose 20 percent, boosted by higher affiliate fees at its cable TV channels and an increase in advertising revenue. The New York company, which owns MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, posts an adjusted profit that falls a penny short of Wall Street expectations, but its revenue comes in higher than expected.

AP photo



PARIS — Two weeks after a spurt of rioting in a far-flung Paris suburb, President Francois Hollande unveils a multi-billion dollar plan to help cure one of the nation's most persistent problems, the suburban housing projects with their volatile mix of unemployment, high immigration and, often, despair. The government is counting on state-sponsored jobs and improved lodging to help the millions of people, often immigrants who don't speak French, living in pockets of poverty that ring major cities. By Sylvie Corbet.

AP photos


BEIJING — Health care giant Johnson & Johnson has become the latest global company accused of misconduct in China after a court ordered it to pay damages to a local distributor in a lawsuit brought under an anti-monopoly law. The ruling by a Shanghai court expands use of the vaguely worded, 5-year-old anti-monopoly law and raises the possibility of action against other foreign companies. It comes amid Chinese investigations of possible bribery, price-fixing and other misconduct by global suppliers of milk, pharmaceuticals and other products. By Joe McDonald.

— SPAIN-FINANCIAL-CRISIS — The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain drops for a fifth consecutive month in July as the busy summer tourist season continues to create jobs.

— ISRAEL-CENTRAL BANK — Israel's new designated central bank chief drops out, following exit of previous candidate.

— GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Greece: Anti-austerity protesters take campaign to Acropolis site in Athens. AP photos

— AUSTRALIA-ECONOMY — Falling commodity prices, cooling Chinese demand contribute to bigger Australian deficit.



LONDON — Stephen Hester reports his last set of results for bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland as he prepares to hand over the reins to New Zealander Ross McEwan. The state-controlled bank records a first-half profit of 535 million pounds ($811 million), compared with last year's loss of 2.03 billion pounds. By Danica Kirka.

— BRITAIN-EARNS-IAG — International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, reports second-quarter profit of $168 million as restructuring at the Spanish company begins to take hold.

— GERMANY-EARNS-LUFTHANSA — German airline Lufthansa records a $270 million loss in the first six months of the year due to restructuring costs, fuel prices and slower business in Asia and the Middle East, but expects to meet its profit goal for the year.

— GERMANY-EARNS-ALLIANZ — German insurer Allianz's profit rises 27 percent in the second quarter, as its basic property insurance business improves and more funds flow into its asset management division.