AP News

Business Highlights


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Zuckerberg says Facebook has overcome hurdles

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, acknowledging concerns about his company's stock performance, said Tuesday that Facebook has survived troubles before.

He spoke to a standing-room-only audience at a tech conference in San Francisco in his first interview since the company's rocky initial public offering in May. Facebook Inc.'s stock has lost half its value since the IPO.

Zuckerberg said the drop "has obviously been disappointing," but he said it's a great time to "double down" on the company's future.

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Nielsen shows how people use TV differently

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of U.S. homes that don't get traditional television service continues to increase, but that doesn't mean they don't have TVs.

The Nielsen company said in a report issued on Tuesday that three-quarters of the estimated 5 million homes that don't get TV signals over the airways or through cable, satellite or telecommunications companies have televisions anyway.

Many of these homes are satisfied to use their TVs for games or get programming through DVDs or services like Netflix or Apple TV, said Dounia Turrill, senior vice president for client insights at Nielsen.

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Premiums for family health plans hit $15,745

WASHINGTON (AP) — Annual premiums for job-based family health insurance went up just 4 percent this year, but that's no comfort with the price tag approaching $16,000 and rising more than twice as fast as wages.

The annual survey released Tuesday by two major research groups served as a glaring reminder that the nation's problem of unaffordable medical care is anything but solved.

Premiums for a family plan are averaging $15,745, with employees paying more than $4,300 of that. And lower wage workers are paying more for skimpier coverage than their counterparts at upscale firms.

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Moody's set to downgrade US without budget deal

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government's debt rating could be heading for the "fiscal cliff" along with the federal budget.

Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday said it would likely cut its "Aaa" rating on U.S. government debt, probably by one notch, if budget negotiations fail.

If Congress and the White House don't reach a budget deal, about $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases will automatically kick in starting Jan. 2, a scenario that's been dubbed the "fiscal cliff," because it is likely to send the economy back into recession and drive up unemployment.

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US trade deficit grew slightly to $42 billion in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit grew to $42 billion in July, widened by fewer exports to Europe, India and Brazil that offset a steep decline in oil imports.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the trade deficit increased 0.2 percent from June's deficit of $41.9 billion.

U.S. exports fell 1 percent to $183.3 billion. Sales of autos, telecommunications equipment and heavy machinery all declined. Imports dropped 0.8 percent to $225.3 billion.

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Retail group says it opposes card fee settlement

NEW YORK (AP) — The National Retail Federation is opposing a proposed $7.25 billion settlement that Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and major banks have agreed to pay retailers for alleged fee fixing.

The retail trade association said Tuesday that its board has given approval for it to go to court to try to block the settlement. The NRF, which is not a party to the lawsuit that led to the settlement, says it is unsure whether outside groups will be allowed to intervene, or if the case qualifies as a class action.

The NRF says it believes the proposed settlement will not stop swipe fees from continuing to rise, which will hurt both retailers and shoppers, and that it will prevent any future legal challenges.

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McDonald's sales bounce back on value deals

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's said a key sales figure climbed 3.7 percent in August, as the fast-food chain emphasized the value of its menu offerings amid the challenging global economy.

The world's biggest hamburger chain said Tuesday that its breakfast menu and value items pushed up sales by 3 percent in the U.S. Last month, the figure had dipped 0.1 percent in the region after the company said its promotions failed to drive growth.

In Europe, which is McDonald's biggest market and accounts for 40 percent of its business, sales at restaurants open at least 13 months was up 3.1 percent on strength in the U.K., France and Russia. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said its sponsorship of the London Olympics helped lift results.

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Legg Mason CEO to step down, temporary CEO named

BALTIMORE (AP) — Legg Mason's chairman and CEO Mark Fetting, who led the money manager through the difficult years during and after the financial crisis, will step down Oct. 1.

The asset management company said Tuesday that Joseph Sullivan, Legg Mason Inc.'s head of global distribution, will become interim chief executive as it searches for a new CEO. The company's lead independent director, W. Allen Reed, will become non-executive chairman

Fetting will remain as a consultant to the Baltimore-based company through the end of the year. He became CEO in January 2008, a month after the Great Recession began, and was named chairman that December.

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YouTube offers new iPhone app to fill looming void

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — YouTube is being reprogrammed for the iPhone and iPad amid the latest fallout from the growing hostility between Apple and the video service's owner, Google.

The new format debuted Tuesday with the release of a new YouTube application that will introduce more advertising and more videos on Apple's trend-setting devices.

The changes are being made because Google Inc. and Apple Inc. didn't renew a five-year licensing agreement that established YouTube as one of the built-in applications in the operating system that runs the iPhone and iPad.

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US employers posted fewer open jobs in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted fewer jobs in July than in June, further evidence that hiring may stay weak in the coming months.

Job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.67 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That's down from June's 3.72 million job openings, which was revised lower.

The data follow Friday's disappointing employment report, which said the economy added only 96,000 jobs in August. That's below July's total of 141,000 and the average 226,000 a month added in the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but only because the number of people working or looking for work fell.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 69.07 points to close at 13,323.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.48 points to 1,433.56. The Nasdaq composite increased 0.51 of a point to 3,104.53.

Benchmark oil rose 63 cents to finish at $97.17 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, gained 59 cents to $115.40 per barrel.

Heating oil rose 1.89 cents to end at $3.1857 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline gained 1.95 cents to end at $3.0435 per gallon. Natural gas increased 18 cents, or 6.4 percent, to end at $2.992 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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