Stocks edge up following record day for the Dow
NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average is pushing farther into record territory.
A day after surging past its previous all-time high, the Dow closed up 42 points at 14,296 yesterday. On Tuesday, it gained 126 points to 14,253, clearing the previous record by 90 points. That record was set in October 2007, a year before the peak of the financial crisis.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up about 1 ½ points yesterday to close at 1,541. The Nasdaq composite slipped 2 points to close at 3,222.
Rising stocks outnumbered falling ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was average, 3.6 billion shares.
Asia markets suffer slight post-Dow hangover
BANGKOK (AP) — Japan's Nikkei 225 index topped 12,000 for the first time in more than four years today, but stock markets elsewhere in Asia flagged following Wall Street's eye-popping performance this week.
Investors shied away from stocks even though the Dow Jones industrial average reached a new high for a second day Wednesday and the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy grew in the first two months of the year.
Benchmark crude oil fell but remained above $90 per barrel. The dollar was unchanged against the euro and fell against the yen.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Business events scheduled for today
WASHINGTON — The Labor Department releases the weekly jobless claims today, along with its fourth-quarter productivity data.
Also, today the Commerce Department reports on international trade data for January; mortgage giant Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates; and the Federal Reserve reports its January consumer credit data.
UK's Cameron to dismiss calls for policy shift
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to reject calls for a shift in economic policy and vow to maintain a course of austerity despite calls for more stimulus and an embarrassing ratings-agency downgrade.
In a key speech on the economy today, Cameron will argue that the U.K. is beginning to see signs of progress thanks to his government's tough economic policy and that changing its approach risks plunging Britain "back into the abyss."
His remarks -- previewed in extracts released ahead of the speech -- come following a bruising set of economic developments in recent weeks.
Moody's Investor Service downgraded the U.K.'s credit rating last month, saying sluggish economic growth would hinder the government's ability to control rising debt levels and deal with any new financial shocks. Two other ratings agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor's, have Britain on negative outlook, signaling they too could lower the country's credit rating.
The Bank of England, too, has expressed growing concern over Britain's economy and came surprisingly close to backing another monetary stimulus in their last meeting. The central bank's next decision on interest rates comes today.
AP Interview: Toyota chief stresses safe growth
TOKYO (AP) — After four tumultuous years bookended by an unprecedented recall crisis and a return to the top of the global auto industry, Akio Toyoda is refashioning Toyota Motor Corp. into a leaner company that's more imbued with the venture spirit of founder Kiichiro Toyoda, his grandfather.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Toyota's president said he is putting new auto plants on hold for three years and reshaping the automaker's structure to give more autonomy to regional divisions and foreign executives.
During his four years at Toyota's helm, Toyoda has learned the hard way the costs of blindly pursuing growth, a strategy inherited from his predecessor that he ruefully acknowledges got him slammed by a cascade of recalls.
Japan nominates vice finance minister to lead ADB
TOKYO (AP) — Japan has nominated its deputy finance minister for international affairs, Takehiko Nakao, to become president of the Asian Development Bank.
The Finance Ministry proposed that Nakao succeed current ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda. He has been nominated Japan's next central bank governor and resigned as ADB president effective March 18.
Japan has held the presidency of the Manila, Philippines-based regional lender due to its status as the ADB's biggest donor. Kuroda's planned departure has raised speculation that China might seek a chance to lead the bank.
Finance Minister Taro Aso said Thursday that he believed Nakao, who mainly handles Japan's currency affairs, was the best qualified person for the job.
Aso said he expected the ADB president to be chosen on an "open, transparent and merit basis."
Time Warner spinning off Time Inc. magazines
NEW YORK (AP) — Time Warner Inc. says that it will split off its Time Inc. magazine unit into a separate, publicly traded company by the end of the year.
CEO Jeff Bewkes said Wednesday the decision to split off the magazine company behind publications such as Time, Sports Illustrated and People will give the parent company "strategic clarity" and enable it to focus on its TV networks, movies and TV production businesses.
He said the move would create value for shareholders, similar to the prior spin-offs of Time Warner Cable and AOL.
Meredith Corp., which had been talking with Time Warner about combining their magazines into one company, said it respected Time Warner's decision.
Johnson Controls weighs auto electronics unit sale
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Johnson Controls says it has hired bankers to explore selling its auto electronics business, but denies a report that it is trying to sell its auto interiors unit.
The Milwaukee company makes a variety of auto parts, batteries for cars and other products and building products such as heating and ventilation systems.
Its auto interiors division includes instrument panels and door and floor consoles. The auto electronics unit houses products such as infotainment systems and lighting controls.
The entire automotive experience segment, which also includes a unit that makes car seats, accounted for about half the company's sales in 2012. Auto batteries are manufactured by a separate power solutions division.
Reuters reported Wednesday that Johnson Controls was exploring selling its auto interiors unit, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter, so it could focus on more profitable businesses.
NY GAS DRILLING-MORATORIUM
NY Assembly passes its moratorium on 'fracking'
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's Assembly has voted to suspend until 2015 any action on allowing gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, which environmentalists fear threatens the public's health.
The Assembly vote on Wednesday follows a bill introduced Wednesday in the Senate, which would put off the decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for up to two years.
Each house wants to provide time for the Cuomo administration to consider state, federal, university and private sector studies. Key among them is a health review in Pennsylvania known as the Geisinger study that will compare data about residents near gas drilling wells before and after the process was allowed.
Cuomo has said he'll await recommendations from his health and environmental conservation departments. He has not set a deadline for that process.
Venezuela petro-allies nervous over Chavez's death
HAVANA (AP) — Cubans are afraid hard times could return to the island following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose billions of dollars of oil largesse helps the island's economy function.
Many people remember the so-called Special Period of the 1990s, when the Soviet Union's sudden collapse plunged Cuba into years of economic depression.
While Chavez's party remains in power in Venezuela, nothing is likely to change. But a victory by the opposition in a presidential election expected in the coming weeks could make a difference.
Cubans are not alone in having worries. More than a dozen other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have benefited to the tune of billions of dollars from the Petrocaribe pact that was created in 2005 with the goal of unifying the regional oil industry under Venezuelan leadership and countering U.S. influence.
FACEBOOK-BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Facebook adds University of Calif chief to board
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook says the chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, will join its board of directors.
She will be the second woman elected to the Menlo Park, Calif., company's board, joining Facebook's No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg. The company named Sandberg to the body last June after criticism that its directors were all men.
Before serving as chancellor, Desmond-Hellmann was an executive at biotechnology drugmaker Genentech, which markets some of the best-selling cancer drugs in the world. She is a doctor with a specialty in treating cancer.
Facebook Inc.'s board also includes Netflix Inc. chief Reed Hastings, entrepreneurs Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel, and Washington Post Co. CEO Donald Graham. Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerburg is chairman of the board.
Yahoo pays CEO $1.1M bonus for 5 months of work
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer received a $1.1 million bonus for her first five-and-half months running the Internet company.
The award disclosed Wednesday supplements Mayer's annual salary of $1 million and $56 million in long-term stock compensations that she received after Yahoo Inc. lured her away from Google Inc. to become its CEO last July. The amount included $14 million in stock to offset the loss of money that she would have received had she remained at Google.
The 37-year-old Mayer is eligible for an annual bonus of up to $2 million. Yahoo adjusted last year's bonus to reflect that Mayer spent less than half the year as CEO.
Yahoo shareholders are unlikely to quibble with Mayer's bonus. The company's stock has risen by 46 percent since Mayer became the boss.