AP News

Business Highlights


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New York struggles back 2 days after killer storm

NEW YORK (AP) — Flights resumed, but slowly. The New York Stock Exchange got back to business, but on generator power. And with the subways still down, great numbers of people walked across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan in a reverse of the exodus of 9/11.

Two days after Superstorm Sandy rampaged across the Northeast, killing at least 62 people, New York struggled Wednesday to find its way. Swaths of the city were still without power, and all of it was torn from its daily rhythms.

At luxury hotels and drugstores and Starbucks shops that bubbled back to life, people clustered around outlets and electrical strips, desperate to recharge their phones. In the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, a line of people filled pails with water from a fire hydrant. Two children used jack-o'-lantern trick-or-treat buckets.

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Big Apple improvises to reopen for business

NEW YORK (AP) — Two days after Superstorm Sandy brought business in New York City to a standstill, stores that lost power are again serving customers albeit by flashlight. Companies with closed offices are setting up shop in coffeehouses. And the owner of the Starlight Diner is borrowing bacon from his neighbors because the restaurant's cupboard is bare.

The world's financial center is struggling to get back to work as it deals with a subway system that's still crippled by the worst damage in its 108-year-history and power outages in major sections of the city. That's kept both employees and customers at bay. As a result, big multinational banks are in the same proverbial boat as corner bodegas: looking for creative ways to get their businesses back up and running.

New York City is home to roughly a million companies both big and small. While the impact of Sandy varies, the city's businesses face billions of dollars in damages and lost sales. So while reopening quickly is a priority, it can require resourcefulness and a smidge of creativity.

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US stocks mixed after historic 2-day close

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed mixed on Wednesday in their first session since Hurricane Sandy forced a historic two-day shutdown of trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10.75 points to 13,096.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose, but barely — up 0.22 of a point to 1,412.16.

Investors were nervous that a flood of orders after two days of pent-up demand from customers might lead to volatile trading. But stock prices barely budged at the opening, and stayed within a tight range throughout the day.

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Disney unlikely to change 'Star Wars' brand

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Naysayers would have you believe Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm can only mean one thing: Bambi and Mickey Mouse are sure to appear in future "Star Wars" movies taking up lightsabers against the dark side of the Force.

Not so, say experts who've watched Disney's recent acquisition strategy closely. If anything, The Walt Disney Co. has earned credibility with diehard fans by keeping its fingerprints off important film franchises like those produced by its Marvel Entertainment and Pixar divisions.

Though the Walt Disney Co. built its reputation on squeaky clean family entertainment, its brand today is multifaceted. Disney, of course, started as an animation studio in 1923 with characters such as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse. Over the years, the company ventured into live action movies, opened theme parks, launched a fleet of cruise ships and debuted shows on TV.

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Treasury says debt limit will be hit by late 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Treasury officials said Wednesday that they still expect the government will hit the current debt borrowing limit at the end of this year. But they said they can employ "extraordinary" measures that have been used in the past to keep the government functioning until sometime early next year.

Treasury Assistant Secretary Matthew Rutherford said that Treasury would employ the same types of procedures it has used previously to keep borrowing under the current debt limit of $16.39 trillion until Congress votes to increase the debt ceiling. The nation's debt currently stands $16.16 trillion.

The United States has never failed to meet its debt obligations although the last battle over raising the debt limit in August 2011 went right to the last minute before a compromise was reached between the Obama administration and Congress.

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Billionaires, shadowy groups fuel pricey election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Billionaires, anonymous donors and shadowy outside groups funneled enormous amounts of money into this year's federal elections, as the cost of the presidential campaign surged past $2 billion and is expected to set a record. Despite grumbling among watchdog groups and even candidates themselves, don't expect serious changes any time soon.

After a series of high-profile federal court rulings, the U.S. government's newly relaxed campaign-finance system allowed for unlimited contributions from corporations, labor groups and others; television advertisements from nonprofit groups that concealed who paid for them and the proliferation of at least 773 super political action committees.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney experienced both extremes from super PACs: Some attacked him mercilessly during the primary elections and others have supported Romney's campaign by purchasing ads assailing President Barack Obama.

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General Motors cuts Europe jobs as 3Q profit falls

DETROIT (AP) — Shares of General Motors surged Wednesday after the company announced big job cuts in Europe and reported third-quarter earnings that were far better than Wall Street expected.

The Detroit company said it has cut 2,300 jobs in Europe this year and wants to trim 300 more, part of a larger plan to reduce costs and raise revenue in the struggling region with new vehicles that are more appealing to buyers.

Despite the moves, General Motors Co.'s net profit fell 14 percent as European losses widened and North American earnings dropped due to falling pension income and higher warranty costs.

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MasterCard's income rises on international growth

MasterCard's net income rose strongly in the third quarter as its overseas business thrived, the company said Wednesday.

The payments company's business grew by virtually every measure. It processed 8.7 billion transactions, an increase of 24 percent over last year. Excluding the U.S., people spent 15 percent more money using MasterCard-branded cards on a local-currency basis. Americans spent about 7 percent more using MasterCard plastic.

The overall volume of purchases rose 12 percent on a local currency basis to $676 billion.

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PVH to buy Warnaco for $2.9 billion, gain Calvin control

PVH Corp., whose brands include Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has agreed to buy rival clothier The Warnaco Group Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $2.9 billion. The deal would create one of the world's largest clothing companies and cement PVH's control of the Calvin Klein clothing brand.

Warnaco already sells Calvin Klein jeans and underwear, the brand's two largest categories, under a license and also sells brands such as Speedo, Warner's and Olga.

The deal is the second big acquisition in three years for PVH, formerly known as Phillips Van Heusen. PVH acquired Tommy Hilfiger in 2010 for $3 billion.

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UBS chief: Other banks may need to downsize too

GENEVA (AP) — A day after UBS AG announced it was cutting up to 10,000 jobs by 2015, UBS chairman Axel Weber is warning that many of the Swiss banking giant's rivals may have to follow suit.

The Zurich-based bank is seeking to put scandals and losses behind it with a plan to downsize its investment banking unit and drop risky trading activities.

Its third-quarter net loss of 2.17 billion Swiss francs ($2.31 billion) was largely due to its investment banking unit, where new rules for increasing capital reserves reduce the amount of money for investing.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10.75 points to 13,096.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose, but barely — up 0.22 of a point to 1,412.16. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 10.72 points to 2,977.23.

Benchmark crude rose 39 cents to $86.07 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 22 cents to $108.86 per barrel in London.

Heating oil fell 2 cents to $3.05 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $2.64 per gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $3.86 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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