Update on the latest business


Associated Press

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 4:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:02 AM


Stocks post modest but broad gains on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is coming off a day of small gains sprinkled across industries. Still, the big indexes continued to trade near record highs.

Monday saw sharp increases for steelmakers, homebuilders, and airlines.

Homebuilders gained after Tri Pointe Homes said it would combine with Weyerhaeuser's home building business in a $2.7 billion deal. Last week homebuilders fell after the Federal Reserve said in a policy statement that the recovery in that sector has "slowed somewhat" in recent months.

Steelmakers rose after Goldman Sachs said the steel sector appears to be "heading to a sustainable recovery."

Airline stocks rose after reports that US Airways and American Airlines, which are seeking a merger, are in talks with the Justice Department to resolve antitrust concerns before a trial later this month. The news helped push Delta Air Lines to touch an all-time high of $27.78.

The Dow rose 23 points.


Asia stocks muted as China meeting, US data loom

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Asian stock markets were muted today as investors readied for U.S. economic news this week and a high-level policy meeting in China.

Benchmarks in Singapore and Australia gained while stocks in Hong Kong, China, South Korea and India fell. Tokyo was little changed.

China's leaders are scheduled to meet in Beijing from Nov. 9-12 to craft a new blueprint for the world's No. 2 economy as its state-led growth model runs out of oomph.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank has a meeting Thursday where it may foreshadow a further reduction to record low interest rates.

The advance estimate of U.S. third quarter economic growth is due the same day. U.S. October jobs figures are due on Friday

Benchmark crude oil for rose nearer to $95 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and fell against the yen.


EU forecast, US service sector index, more earnings due out today

WASHINGTON — A couple of economic reports are due out today, including one from Europe.

In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for October.

And In Brussels the European Commission is presenting its fall economic growth forecast for the 28-nation bloc as a whole, the 17-nation eurozone and all EU member states.

ING Groep NV, T-Mobile/Deutsch Telekom AG, HTC Corp., CVS Caremark Corp., Tesla Motors Inc. and BMW report quarterly eaarnings.


Proposed resolution reached in hedge fund SAC Capital's NY insider trading case

NEW YORK (AP) — The government says hedge fund giant SAC Capital Advisors will plead guilty to criminal fraud charges, stop investing money for others and pay $1.8 billion to resolve criminal and civil claims. That's said to be the largest financial penalty in history for insider trading.

The government said in a letter to judges presiding over Manhattan cases that the "proposed global resolution" of the criminal and civil cases against SAC Capital Advisors and related companies also includes an agreement that SAC will cease operating as an investment adviser and will not accept any additional funds from third-party investors.

The company will pay a $900 million fine and forfeit another $900 million to the federal government, though $616 million that SAC companies have already agreed to pay to settle parallel actions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will be deducted from the $1.8 billion.

Of the roughly $15 billion in assets that SAC managed as of earlier this year, about half belonged to its billionaire founder, Steven A. Cohen, and his employees. The rest was client money. Cohen wasn't named as a defendant in the case.


Lawmakers push to keep Obama's health care pledge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Little more than a week after millions of consumers received health care cancellation notices, lawmakers in both parties are pushing legislation to redeem President Barack Obama's pledge that anyone liking their coverage will be allowed to keep it under the nation's controversial new law.

The result is a stern new challenge for the White House as it struggles to fix website woes for the signup portal for those seeking to enroll under the law, and simultaneously copes with angry consumers who rightly or wrongly blame "Obamacare" for cancellation letters mailed by insurers.

A vote could come next week in the Republican-controlled House on legislation to let insurers continue selling individual policies that were in effect on Jan. 1, 2013, even if they fall short of coverage required by the law.


Google opens how-to shop with live video advice

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is opening a how-to shop that will sell expert advice on everything from cosmetics to the cosmos in live video sessions streamed on computers and smartphones.

The service, called Helpouts, will begin taking calls for help Tuesday. It will offer connections to more than 1,000 merchants, websites and health care specialists who cleared Google Inc.'s background checks.

For starters, Helpouts is offering to connect people with experts in eight different categories: art and music; computers and electronics; cooking; education and careers; fashion and beauty; fitness and nutrition; health; and home and garden.

The fees will be set by each expert, with 20 percent of the revenue going to Google for most video sessions. For now, the Mountain View, Calif., company isn't collecting a commission for health advice.


China warns local leaders to cut industry bloat

BEIJING (AP) — China's leaders have warned local officials to stop expanding industries such as steel and cement in which supply outstrips demand, in a sign previous orders to cut overcapacity were ignored.

A Cabinet statement Tuesday said planning officials held a video conference this week to tell local leaders to stop ignoring orders to reduce overcapacity.

Beijing has been trying since 2009 to cut back unneeded production capacity, which has triggered price-cutting wars that threaten the financial health of some industries. But lower-level leaders whose promotions depend on economic development have continued to support local industries.

The government newspaper China Daily quoted an official as saying on the video conference that local leaders who are caught ignoring orders to cut production capacity will be "heavily punished."


Gay rights bill clears first hurdle in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate could pass legislation by the end of the week that would ban workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting 61-30 to move ahead with the bill.

Hours before Monday's vote, President Barack Obama issued a fresh plea for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the first significant gay rights bill since Congress lifted the ban on gays serving openly in the military nearly three years ago.

The prospects of the proposal are dim in the House. Speaker John Boehner remains opposed to the bill, arguing that it will lead to frivolous lawsuits and undercut job creation.


NEW YORK (AP) — Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren has met with civil rights leaders to discuss racial profiling.

The Rev. Al Sharpton says the meeting was "brutally honest."

It follows an incident in which an actor on the HBO series "Treme" (treh-MAY') was detained by police after buying his mother a $1,350 Movado watch. Actor Robert Brown says he thinks he was stopped at Macy's flagship Manhattan store because he is black.

Macy's says the meeting "included a healthy exchange of information and ideas" and that it does not tolerate discrimination.


T-Mobile says free data offer applies to all

NEW YORK (AP) — T-Mobile says its offer of free data for tablet owners is just that — free.

The wireless carrier launched its free data for life offer on Thursday. The service is limited to 200 megabytes of high-speed data a month, or enough data to upload about 800 Instagram photos or listen to more than three hours of streaming music, according the company. But it is open to iPad owners or anyone else with a cellular-enabled tablet that works on T-Mobile's network, even if it's not a T-Mobile tablet.

But there was some confusion. A computer glitch resulted in some people being told that the service would actually cost $10 per month.

T-Mobile US Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said Monday that the glitch has since been fixed.

He said T-Mobile's idea is to get more people to try its data network in hopes that they will like it and eventually switch their cellular phone service over to the company or buy more data.


Wife of Jeff Bezos pans book about Amazon

NEW YORK (AP) — The wife of Jeff Bezos (BAY'-zohs) is giving a thumbs-down to a recent book about her husband's company, Amazon.com Inc.

MacKenzie Bezos posted a one-star review on the Amazon page for Brad Stone's "The Everything Store," which came out last month and has been received positively by critics and Amazon readers. Bezos wrote that the book was filled with inaccuracies and biased against her husband and Amazon. Spokeswoman Sarah Gelman of Seattle-based Amazon confirmed that the review was indeed written by MacKenzie Bezos.

Stone is a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek. As of Monday evening, his book ranked No. 109 on Amazon's best seller list. "The Everything Store" is being billed as a rare look inside a "corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy," a portrait Bezos is strongly disputing.