BC-Business News Digest


Associated Press

Posted on August 3, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Business News at 5:30 p.m.

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy is steadily adding jobs — just not at a consistently strong pace. The 162,000 jobs that employers added in July were the fewest since March, and many were in lower-paying industries or only part time. The Federal Reserve may want to see more robust job growth before slowing its bond purchases, which have helped keep long-term borrowing rates low. The unemployment rate fell in July to 7.4 percent, though it remains well above the 5 percent to 6 percent typical of a healthy economy. By Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber.

AP photo.


— ECONOMY-DEMOGRAPHICS-GLANCE — Unemployment for black Americans down sharply in July; still among the highest for all groups.

— CONSUMER SPENDING — 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. AP photo.


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 Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun.

AP photos, video.


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


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.


WASHINGTON — A label that reads "gluten free" will now mean the same thing for all food, regardless of which kind you buy. After more than a six-year delay, the Food and Drug Administration sets a new standard for labels that will make shopping easier for consumers on gluten-restricted diets. By Mary Clare Jalonick.

AP photos.


ROUND ROCK, Texas — Just when it looked as if he might be vanquished, Dell CEO Michael Dell regains the advantage in the lengthy battle to buy the slumping personal computer maker that he founded nearly 30 years ago. He does it by persuading the company's board to accept a slightly better offer that adds a one-time dividend in exchange for a pivotal change in how shareholders will vote on the deal. By Michael Liedtke and Paul Weber.

AP photo.


— DELL-ACQUISITION-TWO PLANS — A closer look at two plans for Dell's future


NEW YORK — When Detroit filed for bankruptcy last month, many investors turned their attention to the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market. Does the largest municipal bankruptcy in history mean this sleepy, often overlooked area of the financial world is actually dangerous? Unless you happen to be a bond trader, it can be tough to cut through the jargon and heated claims surrounding the Detroit bankruptcy. To help, here's a look at the nuts and bolts of muni bonds: who owns them, how they're regulated, and just what they are, anyway. By Business Writers Matthew Craft and Christina Rexrode.



NEW YORK — A tepid jobs report barely dents a summer rally on the stock market. The Standard & Poor's 500 index ends the week 1 percent higher after breaking through 1,700 points for the first time Thursday. The index has risen for five of the last six weeks. The Dow Jones industrial average rises 0.6 percent and is on a streak of six weekly gains. By Markets Writer Steve Rothwell.

AP photo.

— OIL PRICES — The price of oil falls Friday after two days of big gains, as investors take profits following a report that showed job growth slowed in the U.S. last month.

— 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

— CHINA-CHICKEN DISPUTE — The U.S. is claiming victory in a long-standing dispute over chicken exports with China after the World Trade Organization largely rules in favor of the U.S. in a decision.



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 Business Writer 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 Business Writer David Koenig.

AP photo.

— EARNS-BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY — Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s second-quarter profit jumped 46 percent as Warren Buffett's company reported big paper gains on the value of its investments and derivative contracts.


— ATHLON ENERGY-IPO — Athlon Energy Inc.'s shares soar in its initial hours trading as a public company.



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.


NEW YORK — 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. By Business Writer Bree Fowler.

AP photo.

— CBS-TIME WARNER CABLE — Three million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas lose the CBS channel, as the cable provider says it is dropping the network in a dispute over fees.

— GANNETT-JOB CUTS — Gannett says that it is eliminating an unspecified number of jobs in its newspaper division.

— FACEBOOK-STOCK — Facebook's resurgent stock closes above IPO price of $38 for first time since market debut.

— YAHOO-ACQUISITION — Yahoo acquires Rockmelt, a Silicon Valley startup that built a Web browser tied to Facebook's social network.



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 Business Writer 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. AP photos.

— 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.


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S&P 500 crosses 1,700

The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed above 1,700 points for the first time Thursday to set an all-time high. The benchmark index is up nearly 20 percent this year and more than 150 percent since the start of the bull market on March 9, 2009.


Weight Watchers sets 52-wk low

Shares of Weight Watchers International fell to a 52-week low Friday. After the market closed Thursday, the company named a new CEO and reported that its second-quarter net income fell 16 percent.