AP News

Business Highlights


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Mr. Sexy Back tries to bring Myspace back

NEW YORK (AP) — Myspace, the once-mighty social network, is trying to stage yet another comeback with the help of Justin Timberlake. The new site, for which people can request an invitation, looks a bit like an entertainment-focused version of Pinterest, with a dash of Twitter and Facebook thrown in.

From the sound if it, Myspace wants to win the hearts and minds of tech-savvy hipsters. Founded in 2003 and initially a fast-rising star, Myspace attracted mostly teenagers and twentysomethings, offering them a place to express themselves online. It peaked in 2008 with some 76 million U.S. visitors in October. The site lost its footing as the fun of customizing profile pages began to bore its users and the site's heavy use of banner advertisements slowed the speed at which pages loaded. At the same time, people were already migrating to Facebook, which counted users 35 and older among its fastest-growing demographic.

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Greek riots, Spanish marches shatter market calm

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Europe's fragile financial calm was shattered Wednesday as investors worried that violent anti-austerity protests in Greece and Spain's debt troubles showed that the continent still cannot contain its financial crisis.

Police fired tear gas Wednesday at rioters hurling gasoline bombs and chunks of marble during Greece's largest anti-austerity demonstration in six months. The protests were part of a 24-hour general strike, the latest test for Greece's nearly four-month-old coalition government and the new spending cuts it plans to push through.

The brief but intense clashes by several hundred rioters among the 60,000 people protesting in Athens came a day after anti-austerity protests rocked the Spanish capital.

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New US home sales edged down 0.3 percent in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes in the United States dipped slightly in August from July but the median price of homes sold during the month rose by a record amount.

New-home sales edged down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 373,000 in August, a dip of 0.3 percent from July's revised rate of 374,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That had been the fastest pace since April 2010 when government tax credits were boosting sales.

Sales in August were up 27.7 percent from the pace a year ago. But even with that gain, new-home sales remain well below the annual pace of 700,000 that economists consider healthy.

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RadioShack CEO Gooch steps down

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — RadioShack said Wednesday that its CEO is leaving under an agreement with the board, the latest blow for the struggling electronics retailer.

RadioShack said James Gooch will step down immediately and is leaving its board of directors. Chief Financial Officer Dorvin Lively will serve as its interim CEO while it looks for a permanent replacement, the company said.

RadioShack has faced declining net income in the past two years. The chain's troubles are partly due to wider problems in the brick-and-mortar electronics industry and add fuel to the notion that selling consumer electronics in brick-and-mortar stores is becoming less and less viable. But RadioShack has also had company-specific problems. In its latest quarter, the company reported an unexpected $21 million loss, as its shift toward selling smartphones and their accessories was not enough to offset a decline in demand in other consumer electronics.

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RadioShack CEO Gooch steps down

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — RadioShack said Wednesday that its CEO is leaving under an agreement with the board, the latest blow for the struggling electronics retailer.

RadioShack said James Gooch will step down immediately and is leaving its board of directors. Chief Financial Officer Dorvin Lively will serve as its interim CEO while it looks for a permanent replacement, the company said.

RadioShack has faced declining net income in the past two years. The chain's troubles are partly due to wider problems in the brick-and-mortar electronics industry and add fuel to the notion that selling consumer electronics in brick-and-mortar stores is becoming less and less viable. But RadioShack has also had company-specific problems. In its latest quarter, the company reported an unexpected $21 million loss, as its shift toward selling smartphones and their accessories was not enough to offset a decline in demand in other consumer electronics.

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Barnes & Noble launches new Nook HD

NEW YORK (AP) — Barnes & Noble is rolling out two new versions of its Nook tablet with sleek new hardware and a sharper high-definition screen. The bookseller's move heightens the already intense tablet wars heading into the holiday season.

Barnes & Noble said Wednesday that its new Nook HD will come in two sizes, one with a 7-inch screen (measured diagonally), starting at $199, and one with a new 9-inch diagonal screen, called the Nook HD+, starting at $269.

In addition to the new HD screen and a lighter body, Barnes & Noble is also increasing the services the Nook offers, adding a video purchase and rental service, allowing users to maintain different "profiles" and making it easier to browse titles in its book and magazine stores.

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McDonald's asks, TV with that? New channel on menu

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The question of the moment at 700 pioneering McDonald's restaurants: You want TV with those fries?

Not just any television, but the custom-made M Channel, formulated and tested with the same attention to detail that made Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets cultural icons.

The channel's aim is to offer exclusive content to entertain customers. More ambitiously, it also intends to create promotional and sales opportunities for record companies and others who want to dive into McDonald's vast customer pool.

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American Greetings gets offer to go private

CLEVELAND (AP) — American Greetings Corp. said Wednesday that a group led by its CEO and chief operating officer wants to buy the company and take it private in a deal that values it at about $581 million.

The Cleveland-based greeting card company's shares jumped 15 percent on the news.

American Greetings, whose brands also include Carlton Cards, Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus, said its board received the proposal from Chief Executive Zev Weiss and his brother, President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Weiss, on Tuesday.

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US Bank, PNC latest to report website problems

NEW YORK (AP) — Two more major banks, U.S. Bank and PNC, have reported problems with their websites after a financial services security group warned about possible cyberattacks on banks.

A spokesman for U.S. Bank says some customers have experienced delays. He says the bank is working to fix the problem and is working with law enforcement. A spokesman for PNC says the bank is "taking appropriate measures."

The U.S. Bank spokesman says the issue appears to be related to problems at other banks in the past week. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America both had system problems last week, and Wells Fargo reported access problems with its site Tuesday.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44.04 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,413.51. The S&P 500 index fell 8.27, or 0.6 percent, to 1,433.32. The Nasdaq composite average fell 24.03 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,093.70.

Oil ended at $89.98, down $1.39, or 1.5 percent. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 41 cents to $110.04 per barrel in London.

Heating oil was flat at $3.1068 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline rose 11.4 cents to end at $3.08 per gallon. Natural gas gained 9.9 cents to $3.023 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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