Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3-4 p.m. business stories under consideration at Oakland Press

Business at 3:30 p.m.

New this digest:

Dow may end in positive territory.

WASHINGTON — Shoppers won’t shop. Companies won’t hire. The government won’t spend on economic stimulus — it’s cutting instead. With no clear sign of what will invigorate growth, there is mounting fear on Wall Street that the U.S. risks sliding into a long-term economic stupor. The Dow Jones industrials were down again Wednesday, on track for their first nine-day losing streak since 1978. By Paul Wiseman.
BOSTON — The “relief rally” that many investors expected once Washington reached a debt ceiling deal proved to be an illusion. The stock market has declined for eight consecutive days, as the reality of disappointing economic news overshadowed the relief about the government’s narrow avoidance of a default. Signs of investor anxiety abound: Stocks are falling, gold prices rising, Treasury yields are down again. Investors are again pulling money out of stocks, and putting the proceeds back into safe investments like money-market mutual funds. By Mark Jewell.
NEW YORK — Stocks edge higher in late afternoon after being down for most of the day. That could avert a ninth straight day of losses for the Dow Jones industrial average, which would be the longest losing streak in more than 33 years. Markets have become increasingly volatile this week as worries about the economy deepen. By David K. Randall.
— OIL PRICES — Oil prices fAll below $92 a barrel as more signs of a slowing U.S. economy raised concerns about demand for everything from gasoline to natural gas used to cool homes.
WASHINGTON — Service businesses such as restaurants, hotels and financial companies experienced their weakest growth in 17 months in July. The report confirms other data that show the economy is struggling two years after the recession ended. By Chris Rugaber.
WASHINGTON — Businesses cut back on orders for airplanes, autos and heavy machinery in June, lowering demand for factory goods for the second time in three months. High energy prices and supply disruptions caused by Japan crisis slowed manufacturing this spring, along with the broader economy. By Martin Crutsinger.
— METRO UNEMPLOYMENT — Unemployment rose in more than 90 percent of U.S. cities in June, mirroring a national slowdown in hiring.
— CHINA-US-DEBT — China’s central bank governor urged Washington to handle its debt responsibly, warning that uncertainty in the market for Treasury debt might harm a global economic recovery.
CANTON, Mass. — Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., which reported flat earnings after becoming a public company a week earlier, said it plans to rejuvenate the struggling Baskin-Robbins brand in the U.S. and expand its Dunkin’ Donuts chain in Europe. By Christina Rexrode.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Consumer products maker Clorox says its fiscal fourth-quarter net income dipped 1 percent as rising commodity costs took a toll. The consumer product maker said it plans to raise prices again soon to compensate. By Christina Rexrode.
— BUDWEISER-CAN — Budweiser is giving its beer cans a new look, just in time for summer’s end as it tries to revive weak sales in the U.S.
— SINGAPORE-P&G-ECONOMY — Procter & Gamble Chief Executive Robert McDonald says his company is preparing for a period of little or no economic growth in developed countries. P&G is scheduled to announce its April-June earnings Friday.
GENEVA — Sky-high fuel prices have shrunk the profits of the world’s airlines, the industry’s main lobby group said. The International Air Transport Association expects $1.04 billion in profit for the second quarter of 2011, less than half of the $2.88 billion in profit posted in the same period last year. By John Heilprin.
NEW YORK — MasterCard’s second-quarter profit rose 33 percent, as cardholders used their plastic more during the spring months. The company said U.S. shoppers kept on using their cards in July even as uncertainty about the economy increased. By Eileen AJ Connelly.
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge hears arguments on whether to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a unit of Starr International, run by former AIG chairman Hank Greenberg, seeking to force China MediaExpress to turn over company records that Starr believes will show evidence of mismanagement and fraud. By Randall Chase. Developing from 2 p.m. hearing.
— AVIATION SHUTDOWN-OBAMA — President Barack Obama is imploring Congress to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration within days.
— CHRYSLER-FUEL ECONOMY — Carmakers will squeeze more miles out gasoline and diesel engines to meet the tougher fuel economy standards announced by the government last week, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says, and says electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles won’t be the answer.
LAS VEGAS — Hackers stole data from governments and U. S. corporations in an orchestrated series of global cyberattacks that lasted for more than five years, according to a report released today by a computer security firm. By Jordan Robertson and Barbara Ortutay.
LAS VEGAS — Sophisticated hacking attacks are often hard to trace. But a crack has emerged in tracing an intrusion that had compromised a widely used technology for preventing computer break-ins elsewhere, RSA’s SecurID devices. A computer security researcher uncovered a tantalizing clue suggesting that an operation in China is likely to blame. By Jordan Robertson.
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NEW YORK — Media conglomerate Time Warner says its second-quarter profit grew almost 14 percent, thanks to higher revenue from its TV channel business, video games and movies such as “The Hangover Part II.” By Ryan Nakashima.
NEW YORK — Comcast, the country’s largest cable TV company, is bucking the trend among cable companies by making more money from its TV subscribers. By Peter Svensson.
NEW YORK — Research In Motion unveiled five new BlackBerrys with touchscreens, as it hopes to revive the line’s dwindling appeal in the face of competition from the iPhone and Android smartphones. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.
Flat-panel TVs and PCs go great together — one is a humungous PC screen, the other gives the TV access to tons of online video. But putting a PC in the living room and controlling it from the couch has been daunting, particularly because PC makers haven’t shown much interest in making PCs for this purpose. Acer gives it a shot with the Revo, a slim, quiet model with a pop-out wireless keyboard. By Peter Svensson.
— HULU-ORIGINAL SHOWS — Hulu, the online video service that primarily shows reruns from major broadcasters, is getting into the business of original programming. In the first of several projects, the company teamed up with Morgan Spurlock, the documentary maker who criticized McDonald’s and fast-food lifestyles in “Super Size Me.”
— EARNS-ACTIVISION — Activision Blizzard Inc. reports quarterly financial results after the market close.
— EARNS-CENTURYLINK — CenturyLink’s second-quarter profit fell 78 percent as it had to write off more than expected of the value of Qwest, which it bought in April.
MILAN — Italy’s borrowing rates touched a new euro-era high as a global market sell-off reignited fears that the debt crisis will engulf the eurozone’s third-largest economy. Spain was also under the market spotlight. By Colleen Barry.
— JAPAN-TOYOTA — Toyota told its suppliers in Japan to prepare for ramped up production starting in 2012, signaling that the automaker is confident it’s back on a growth track.
— SWITZERLAND-INTEREST RATES — Switzerland’s central bank is taking steps to lower the franc’s exchange rate, saying the currency is “massively overvalued” and threatening the Swiss economy. Switzerland’s currency, along with gold, has risen sharply because it’s considered a safe haven from the debt and economic woes in Europe and America.
— PORTUGAL-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Portugal raised $1 billion in a short-term debt auction, and its borrowing rate dipped slightly, despite market fears that Spain or Italy may be next in line for a European bailout.
— EUROPE-ECONOMY — Retail sales in the 17 countries that use the euro rose by more than anticipated in June.
— ITALY-EARNS-UNICREDIT — UniCredit SpA, Italy’s largest bank, says second-quarter net profit more than tripled even though its earnings were hit by its exposure to Greek debt.
— JAPAN-KIRIN-BRAZIL — A $2.53 billion bid by Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co. for a controlling stake in Brazilian brewer Schincariol Group is failing to win over investors in either company.
— BRITAIN-STANDARD CHARTERED — Standard Chartered bank reported a first half profit and said it was successfully reaching out to burgeoning middle classes in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
NEW YORK — College is already expensive enough. Now the government’s 11th-hour agreement to raise the debt ceiling includes measures that could drive costs higher for students and families. Federal subsidies for lower-income graduate students are on the chopping block and interest rates on federal and private loans could tick upward. By Candice Choi.
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What happened?
You might have thought stocks would be up after the government avoided default on its debt and companies reported strong second-quarter earnings. But the Dow has fallen for nine straight days and the S&P 500 is down more than 3 percent this week. We’ll look at some of the reasons why.
RIM tries to recharge the BlackBerry
Research in Motion introduced five BlackBerries with touch screens, a strategy aimed at getting back customers who have defected to iPhone and Android smartphones.


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