Update on the latest in business:


Associated Press

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 3:02 AM


Stocks end lower Friday after disappointing jobs report

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors will be looking to see if the stock market can turn around today after losing ground Friday on a disappointing March jobs report.

U.S. employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, according to the Labor Department's monthly survey. That's half the pace of the previous six months.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 41 points Friday, closing at 14,565.

In other trading, the S&P 500 fell nearly 7 points to 1,553.28. The index logged its worst week of year, falling 1 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 21 points to 3,203.


Airline passenger complaints surged in 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Private researchers who have analyzed federal data on airline performance say passengers are getting grumpier, and with good reason.

Carriers keep shrinking the size of seats in order to stuff more people into planes. Empty middle seats that might provide a little more room have vanished. And more people who have bought tickets are being turned away because flights are overbooked.

A report being released Monday says consumer complaints to the Transportation Department surged 20 percent last year even though airlines have been doing a better job by other measures, like on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage.

Dean Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University who has co-written the annual report for 23 years, says the airlines are approaching a point of diminishing returns for their practices.

Some use of larger planes hasn't been enough to make up for an overall reduction in flights.


Asia stocks muted on slack US jobs data; Nikkei up

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today amid concerns about tensions on the Korean Peninsula, bird flu in China and a disappointing U.S. jobs report, although the Nikkei piled on more gains as the yen's dramatic fall boosted the country's powerhouse export sector.

The Japanese yen has weakened sharply in the aftermath of a surprise decision Thursday by the Bank of Japan to overhaul its monetary policy, pledging to double the money supply to achieve a 2 percent inflation target within two years.

Benchmark crude oil rose to near $93 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro but gained against the yen.


Newspaper revenue fell 2 pct to $38.6B in 2012

The decline in revenue in the newspaper industry slowed last year.

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — The Newspaper Association of America reports total revenue in 2012 fell 2 percent to $38.6 billion from $39.5 billion in 2011, the slowest pace in six years. The association says publishers turned to new businesses and raised more money from online subscriptions.

Online subscriptions helped circulation revenue rise by 5 percent to $10.4 billion. It was the first gain since 2003.

The association's figures are projections based on a survey of 17 companies that represent about half of the industry's revenue. Publishers provided a detailed breakdown of their revenue on condition of anonymity.

For the first time, the NAA data incorporated new sources of revenue that virtually didn't exist for the industry a decade ago, including e-commerce, event hosting and providing advertising agency-like services to local companies.


Broadcasters worry about 'Zero TV' homes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One hot topic at the annual meeting of the nation's broadcasters this week will be the "Zero TV" crowd and how to lure them back to the light of their television screens.

In a growing age of multiple devices, some people have had it with TV, network schedules and $100-plus monthly bills.

A growing number of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV service, and don't even use an antenna to get free signals over the air. They're using the Internet, sometimes via cellphone connections. The "Zero TV" label comes from the Nielsen Co., because such folks they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home. There are 5 million today, up from 2 million in 2007.

Unless broadcasters can adapt to modern platforms, their revenue from Zero TV viewers will be zero.

The NAB show takes place in Las Vegas.


Business and economic reports due out this week.

UNDATED (AP) — Investors will be shifting some of their focus this week to earnings reports, including those from two big banks on Friday.

Today, Alcoa reports quarterly financial results.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department will report on February's wholesale trade inventories. Also, the Labor Department will release its job openings and labor turnover survey for February.

The Treasury Department reports the federal budget for March on Wednesday and the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its March interest-rate meeting.

On Thursday, there are some potential market-moving reports. The Labor Department releases the weekly jobless claims, and mortgage-giant Freddie Mac reports the weekly mortgage rates.

Also on Thursday, selected chain retailers release March sales comparisons.

Two big banks report quarterly financial results on Friday: JPMorgan Chase; and Wells Fargo.

Also on Friday, investors will get a look at the retail sales data for March from the Commerce Department as well as business inventories for February. And the Labor Department will release the Producer Price Index for March.


Obama budget drawing critics even before its release

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is scheduled to release his budget until Wednesday, but it's already being criticized by both his political adversaries and his allies.

In his weekly media address Saturday, Obama conceded it's not even his "ideal plan." But he says it offers "tough reforms" for benefit programs and does away with some tax breaks for the wealthy, and that mix can produce long-term deficit reduction without harming the economy.

Meanwhile, a top White House official says Republicans who adopt a "my way or the highway" approach are going lose in upcoming budget talks. Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told Sunday morning talk shows that Republican lawmakers should remember that their proposals were rejected last year when voters sided with Obama over GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

However Pfeiffer also says the president will work toward a compromise with Republicans if they're willing to talk. Obama is set to meet with GOP lawmakers on Wednesday night.

Pfeiffer spoke to ABC's "This Week" and "Fox News Sunday."


Questions raised about Greek bank merger

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A statement by the Bank of Greece has raised speculation that an expected merger between the National Bank of Greece (NBG), the country's largest, and EFG Eurobank may not happen.

The bank statement refers to the recapitalization of Greek banks, saying that it will be over by the end of April.

It says Greece's "four systemic banks" will proceed with their recapitalizations and that they will all call shareholder meetings to approve the move. The statement suggests the banks will act separately.

A finance ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity Sunday because he was not authorized to brief the media, says both NBG and Eurobank have told the Bank of Greece they cannot raise their part of the capital separately.

Bank officials were unavailable for comment.


Portugal's prime minister says deeper cuts coming

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's prime minister says his bailed-out country must make deeper cuts in public services to compensate for a court ruling that prohibited some tax increases.

Pedro Passos Coelho said in a televised address to the nation Sunday that Portuguese lives "will become more difficult," though he said he won't increase taxes.

He said a new crackdown on government spending will focus on social security, education, health services and state-run companies. That is likely to bring layoffs.

Portugal is struggling to repair its finances after it needed a 78 billion euro ($101 billion) bailout in 2011.

The Constitutional Court rejected pay cuts for government workers and pensioners, leaving the government just nine months to make up for the sudden shortfall in its estimated savings of 1.3 billion euros this year.


US gas prices drop 6 cents over past 2 weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped six cents over the past two weeks.

The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday says the price of a gallon of regular is $3.65. Midgrade costs an average of $3.82 a gallon, and premium is $3.96.

Diesel was down two pennies to $4.05 gallon.

Of the cities surveyed in the lower 48 states, Billings, Mont., has the nation's lowest average price for gas at $3.33. Chicago has the highest at $4.05.


End in sight for marathon pollution trial in NH

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Jurors in the longest state trial in New Hampshire's history will return to the courtroom after a nearly two-week hiatus to hear closing arguments in the state's groundwater contamination case against Exxon Mobil Corp.

Lawyers for the state want jurors to hold Exxon Mobil liable to the tune of $240 million to monitor and clean up wells and public water systems contaminated by the gasoline additive MTBE.

Lawyers for Exxon Mobil counter that MTBE was used to comply with federal Clean Air Act requirements to reduce smog. They also blame any lingering contamination on third parties not named in the state's decade-old lawsuit.

Each side will get three hours to make its case Monday.

Jurors won't begin their deliberations until Tuesday — after the judge instructs them on the law.


Fracking coalition upsets both greens and drillers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A new plan to strengthen standards for fracking is creating divisions among environmentalists and supporters of the oil and gas industry.

Some environmentalists say the plan is too soft and meaningless, while some in the industry complain it goes too far. Others say the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development threatens extremists on both sides of the fracking debate.

The center aims to work much like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal of approval on electrical appliances that meet its standards.

Drilling companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations. If they are found to be abiding by a list of 15 stringent measures, they will receive the center's blessing.

Participants include Shell, Chevron, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Clean Air Task Force, CONSOL Energy and PennFuture.

Other groups invited to join the center have declined or are waiting to decide.


Rhode Island's tallest building will soon go dark

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's tallest building will soon be its most visible symbol of the state's long economic decline.

The 26-story Art Deco-style building is losing its sole tenant this month. No one is moving in.

The building is the most distinctive feature on the Providence skyline, and it will no longer be fully illuminated at night, if at all.

It's a blow for the state, which had 9.4 percent unemployment in February and has had one of the worst jobless rates in the nation for years.

One real estate expert at Harvard Business School says the Superman building, known for its similarity to the Daily Planet headquarters in the old TV show, will become "the ultimate urban pothole."


Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer dies at 81

MIAMI (AP) — Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer, known in part for starting her own line of tropical print dresses by accident, has died. She was 81.

Gale Schiffman of Quattlebaum Funeral and Cremation Services in West Palm Beach says Pulitzer died Sunday. She did not know her cause of death.

Pulitzer's tropical print dresses became a sensation in the 1960s and eventually became a fashion classic.

Pulitzer got her start in fashion by spilling orange juice on her clothes. The Palm Beach socialite had a husband who owned orange groves, and after she opened a juice stand in 1959, she asked her seamstress to make dresses in colorful prints that would camouflage fruit stains.

The dresses hung on a pipe behind her and soon outsold her juice.


'Evil Dead' rises again with $26M box-office stake

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Resurrected demons and resurrected dinosaurs are helping to put some life back into the weekend box office.

Sunday studio estimates put the demonic horror remake "Evil Dead" at No. 1 with a $26 million debut.

In a tight fight for second-place were two holdovers, the animated comedy "The Croods" and the action flick "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," both with an estimated $21.1 million. Final numbers Monday will sort out which movie comes out ahead.

Steven Spielberg's 3-D debut of his dinosaur blockbuster "Jurassic Park" came in fourth with $18.2 million. That's on top of the $357.1 million domestic haul for "Jurassic Park" in its initial run in 1993.

Released by Sony's TriStar Pictures, "Evil Dead" added $4.5 million in 21 overseas markets, giving it a worldwide start of $30.5 million.