US boom transforming global oil trade
NEW YORK (AP) — The surge in oil production in the U.S. and Canada and shrinking oil consumption in the developed world is transforming the global oil market.
The threat of chronic oil shortages is all but gone, U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil will continue to dwindle, and oil will increasingly flow to the developing economies of Asia, according to a five-year outlook published Tuesday by the International Energy Agency.
The report paints a picture of a world with plenty of oil to meet modestly growing demand. Where the oil is coming from, and where it is going, is changing dramatically, according to the IEA, an energy security and research organization based in Paris that serves 28 oil-importing countries, including the U.S.
Big 4 cellphone carriers unite on anti-texting ads
NEW YORK (AP) — The country's four biggest cellphone companies are set to launch their first joint advertising campaign against texting while driving, uniting behind AT&T's "It Can Wait" slogan to blanket TV and radio this summer.
AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile will be joined by 200 other organizations backing the multi-million dollar ad campaign.
The campaign is unusual not just because it unites rivals, but because it represents companies warning against the dangers of their own products. After initially fighting laws against cellphone use while driving, cellphone companies have begun to embrace the language of the federal government's campaign against cellphone use by drivers.
RIM unveils cheaper BlackBerry
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Research In Motion unveiled a lower-cost BlackBerry aimed at consumers in emerging markets on Tuesday, stepping up its efforts to regain market share lost to Apple's iPhone and Android devices powered by Google's software.
The lower-cost gadget, called the Q5, is the company's third smartphone to run the new BlackBerry 10 system. It will have a physical keyboard, something that sets RIM's devices apart from Apple's iPhone and most Android phones.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said the "slim, sleek" device will be available in red, black, white and pink. He announced the phone to a packed ballroom to open RIM's annual three-day conference in Orlando, Florida.
Hedge fund boss Loeb lobbies for breakup of Sony
TOKYO (AP) — The U.S. hedge fund manager renowned for shaking up Yahoo Inc. has set his sights on Sony Corp., proposing that the Japanese electronics giant spin off up to 20 percent of its movie, TV and music division and use the money to strengthen its ailing device manufacturing unit. Sony rejected the plan, but analysts latched onto the idea as a way for Sony to unlock hidden value.
Sony's U.S.-traded shares closed up $1.87, or 9.9 percent, at $20.76 on Tuesday after hitting a 52-week high of $22.22 earlier in the day.
In a Tuesday letter to Sony President Kazuo Hirai, first published in The New York Times, Third Point LLC CEO Daniel Loeb suggests Sony take 15 to 20 percent of the entertainment unit public by offering current Sony shareholders the opportunity to buy shares in it.
More major retailers sign Bangladesh safety pact
NEW YORK (AP) — Italian fashion brand Benetton, Spanish retailer Mango and British retailer Marks & Spencer have become the latest global retailers to agree to sign a one-of-a-kind pact to improve safety at Bangladesh factories following a building collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers in the country last month.
The move, announced by the three companies Tuesday, comes after H&M, a trendy Swedish fashion chain that is the largest clothing buyer in Bangladesh, said Monday that it would sign the same five-year legally binding factory safety contract.
Within hours, C&A of the Netherlands, British retailers Tesco and Primark, and Spain's Inditex, owner of Zara, followed.
Airlines collected record baggage fees in 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. airlines collected more than $6 billion in baggage and reservation change fees from passengers last year — the highest amount since the fees became common five years ago.
Passengers shouldn't expect a break anytime soon. Those fees — along with extra charges for boarding early or picking prime seats — have helped return the industry to profitability.
Airlines started charging for a first checked suitcase in 2008 and the fees have climbed since. Airlines typically charge $25 each way for the first checked bag, $35 for the second bag and then various extra amounts for overweight or oversized bags.
IG says lax management allowed tea party targeting
WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog is blaming ineffective management at the Internal Revenue Service for allowing agents to improperly target tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status.
In an upcoming report, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration says lax management allowed the practice to go on for 18 months. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the report ahead of its release.
The IRS on Friday apologized for targeting tea party and other conservative groups.
Small business owners slightly more upbeat
NEW YORK (AP) — Small business owners were a little more optimistic during April but are generally still cautious.
That's the finding of a survey released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB's Index of Small Business Optimism rose 2.6 points to 92.1 last month, erasing a drop of 1.3 during March. The index was compiled from the survey of 1,873 NFIB members.
The index has averaged 90.7 since the recession, reflecting concerns about the economy and the potential impact the health care law will have on small businesses when it's fully implemented Jan. 1. So the April gain doesn't reflect a big rebound in owners' sentiment.
CBO estimates 2013 deficit at $642 billion
WASHINGTON (AP) — The budget deficit for the current year is projected to come in well below what was estimated just a few months ago, according to a government study released Tuesday.
The Congressional Budget Office cites higher tax revenues and better-than-expected bailout repayments by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the key reasons for the improved outlook. The budget office now predicts a 2013 budget deficit of $642 billion, more than $200 billion below its February estimate. This year's shortfall would register at 4 percent of the economy, far less than the 10.1 percent experienced in 2009 when the government ran a record $1.4 trillion deficit.
Last year's deficit was $1.1 trillion, capping four consecutive trillion dollar-plus deficits during President Barack Obama's first term. Obama inherited an economy in recession, which stunted tax revenues for several years.
EU to shift bill for bank failures to creditors
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union governments want to shift the cost of rescuing troubled banks from taxpayers to the banks' creditors — including the holders of large deposits— as part the region's plan to shore up its shaky financial system.
Finance ministers from the 27-country bloc meeting in Brussels on Tuesday sought to hammer out the new rules on how to fund bank rescues but their discussions showed that they were still far apart from agreeing the technicalities underpinning the project to build a Europe-wide banking union. That plan is key to strengthening the financial sector and avoid a repeat of the crisis.
The bloc should move swiftly and get all elements of the banking union running by 2015, well before the initial deadline of 2018, added Dijsselbloem, who also chairs the meetings of the 17-country eurozone's finance ministers.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 123.57 points, or 0.8 percent, to 15,215.25. The S&P 500 index rose 16.57 points, or 1 percent, to 1,650.34. The Nasdaq composite index rose 23.82 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,462.61.
Benchmark oil for June delivery dropped 96 cents to close at $94.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, fell 22 cents to end at $102.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to finish at $2.84 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to end at $2.87 a gallon. Natural gas rose 10 cents to finish at $4.03 per 1,000 cubic feet.