Bernanke: With US unemployment high, Fed can do more
JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming (AP) — Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a clear message Friday that the Federal Reserve will do more to help the still-struggling U.S. economy.
His remarks seemed to leave two questions: What exactly will the Fed do? And when?
Bernanke described the U.S. economy's health as "far from satisfactory" and noted that the unemployment rate, now 8.3 percent, hasn't declined since January.
He stopped short of committing the Fed to any specific move. But in his speech to an annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke said that even with interest rates already at super-lows, the Fed can do more.
American, US Airways one step closer to merger
NEW YORK (AP) — American Airlines and US Airways are one step closer to a potential merger.
The companies said Friday they have started confidential merger talks. But a deal is still far from reality.
Such a merger would put the combined airline on par with the world's largest — United Continental Holdings Inc. — and the slightly smaller Delta Air Lines. Its position as the No. 1 or No. 2 airline in the world, based on how many miles its passengers fly, would depend on how many routes anti-trust regulators force the combined airline to abandon.
Movie audiences find anti-Obama doc '2016'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It wasn't backed by any Hollywood movie studio. Reviews were mostly negative. It premiered in Houston, not Los Angeles or New York. And yet despite the unconventional release of "2016: Obama's America," the movie is now among the most successful political documentaries of all time — and it doesn't show signs of cooling down ahead of the presidential election.
The conservative film exploring the roots of President Barack Obama's political views surprised the film industry when it took in $6.5 million to land at No. 7 at last weekend's domestic box office ahead of three new releases: the Joseph Gordon-Levitt action flick "Premium Rush," the Kristen Bell comedy "Hit and Run" and the Ashley Greene horror film "The Apparition."
That makes "2016" the most successful conservative documentary of all time. It's also the sixth overall highest grossing political documentary behind four Michael Moore movies and former Vice President Al Gore's environmental film "An Inconvenient Truth." It all adds up to a remarkable triumph for an indie film that circumvented the liberal waters of Hollywood.
US factory orders rose 2.8 percent in July
WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. companies rose in July, reflecting a surge in demand for autos and commercial aircraft. But in a troubling sign of manufacturing weakness, a key orders category that tracks business investment plans fell by the largest amount in eight months.
Factory orders rose 2.8 percent in July, the biggest overall advance in a year, reflecting sizable gains in demand for motor vehicles and airplanes, the Commerce Department said Friday. But core capital goods orders, viewed as a good proxy for investment spending, plunged 4 percent, the fourth setback in the past five months.
The worry is that businesses have begun to scale back their plans to expand and modernize in the face of spreading economic weakness in Europe and such major U.S. export markets as China, Brazil and India.
Ford on track to beat Toyota with best-selling car
RAYONG, Thailand (AP) — The stylish and nimble Ford Focus is on track to unseat Toyota's aging Corolla to become the world's top-selling car, according to Ford.
The company says it sold 489,616 Focus sedans and hatchbacks globally in the first half of 2012, besting the Corolla by almost 27,000.
The Focus has several advantages, says Aaron Bragman, an automotive industry analyst for IHS Global Insight. It is newer, features better handling and styling, has superior technology and a much nicer interior than the Corolla.
What's for breakfast? Mountain Dew drinks
NEW YORK (AP) — Rise and shine. It's time for breakfast soda.
Taco Bell said Friday that it's adding Mtn Dew A.M — a mix of Mountain Dew soda and Tropicana orange juice — to its breakfast menu, which was rolled out earlier this year at select locations. Separately, the industry tracker Beverage Digest said that PepsiCo Inc. next year plans to introduce a drink made with juice, Mountain Dew Kickstart.
Mtn Dew A.M. is mixed in restaurants and only available at Taco Bell; Kickstart would be a packaged drink sold by PepsiCo.
Diet Pepsi formula getting a sweetener tweak
NEW YORK (AP) — Diet Pepsi is tweaking its formula to stay sweet a little longer.
PepsiCo Inc. is testing new artificial sweeteners that let the soda keep its taste for a longer period of time. The problem is that the current sweetener used in the soda — aspartame — loses its potency faster than high fructose corn syrup, the sweetener that's used in most regular sodas.
A person with knowledge of the situation says the company had considered importing versions of Diet Pepsi sold in other countries to the U.S. But now it's testing other sweetener mixes, with a new version set to come out as soon as next year.
By The Associated Press
The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up 90.13 points at 13,090.84. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed up by 7.10 points at 1,406.58. The Nasdaq rose 18.25 points to close at 3,066.96.
U.S benchmark crude rose $1.85 to end at $96.47 per barrel. Brent Crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refiners, rose $1.92 to $114.57 per barrel.
In other Nymex energy futures trading, heating oil rose 5 cents to $3.18 a gallon, while wholesale gasoline climbed 6 cents to $2.97 a gallon. Natural gas rose 5 cents $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.