Need to hit friends up for cash? There's an app for that

NEW YORK (AP) On a trip to Maine with four friends, Alexander Culbertson racked up $1,300 on gas, hotel rooms, food and drinks.

But instead of splitting all of the weekend's activities evenly throughout the trip, one person paid for everything. Then, later they all split the final bill using Venmo, an app that lets users pay with a tap and a text-like message.

Person-to-person mobile payment services like PayPal-owned Venmo are catching on as a way to bypass searching for an ATM or splitting a bill on multiple cards when the dinner check comes. And they're particularly popular among millennials, a generation that seems to have their own way of doing everything.


Agency posts thousands of complaints against banks, others

WASHINGTON (AP) The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released thousands of complaints Thursday from disgruntled customers of banks, credit card companies and other providers of financial services.

The bureau posted a database of the grievances on its website over vehement protests from the financial industry. The database contains 7,700 complaints filed online by people who agreed to air their complaints publicly.


Greek debt talks go into weekend as default deadline looms

BRUSSELS (AP) The bitter standoff between Greece and its international creditors was extended into the weekend, just days before Athens has to meet a crucial debt deadline which could decide whether it goes bankrupt and gets kicked out of the euro currency club.

A key meeting of eurozone finance ministers broke up without agreement on Greece's rescue package on Thursday, intensifying doubts about whether Athens can pay the International Monetary Fund a debt worth 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) on Tuesday.


McDonald's: Fewer Happy Meal orders opting for soda

NEW YORK (AP) McDonald's says fewer people are picking soda for Happy Meals after it stopped listing the drinks as an option on its menu boards.

The world's biggest hamburger chain said Thursday 48 percent of Happy Meals orders chose soda as a beverage in the U.S. after it was scrubbed from menus and marketing materials between July of last year and May. That's down from 56 percent in the year-ago period.


Stronger economy, cheap gas expected to spur holiday travel

NEW YORK (AP) A stronger economy, rising consumer confidence and cheap gasoline will likely have Americans traveling in big numbers this Independence Day.

An estimated 41.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend, up 0.7 percent from last year and the most since 2007, right before the recession, according to travel agency and car lobbying group AAA.


Tinder, Match.com looking for love on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) Match.com and Tinder are looking for a Wall Street hookup as their parent group prepares to establish them as a separate, publicly traded company.

IAC/InteractiveCorp, which is controlled by billionaire Barry Diller, has approved a proposal for an initial public offering.

Diller said Thursday that it's "healthy" to give companies "independence from a mother church."

He laid the groundwork for the IPO two years ago when he formed the Match Group, which also includes OKCupid, Chemistry.com and other dating sites and apps.


US consumers ramp up May spending; largest gain since 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. consumer spending surged in May with the biggest monthly increase in nearly six years a sign of stronger economic growth ahead.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that consumer spending rose 0.9 percent last month, up from a revised 0.1 percent increase in April. May spending registered the biggest gain since August 2009, when the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program fueled auto-buying.

The increased spending last month suggests that the positive impacts from solid hiring and cheaper gasoline are starting to ripple through the economy.


Applications for US jobless aid rise to still-low 271,000

WASHINGTON (AP) The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid rose slightly last week, but remained at a historically low level that signals an improving job market.

The Labor Department says applications rose 3,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 271,000. That's not far from the 15-year low reached in April of 262,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined to 273,750.


Average US rate on 30-year mortgage edges up to 4.02 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates were mixed this week, marking slight increases or declines but remaining close to high levels for the year.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 4.02 percent this week from 4 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.21 percent from 3.23 percent.

Mortgage rates have increased in recent weeks, in the midst of the spring home buying season, as the economy has shown signs of improvement.


Conservatives to the rescue: Obama's health care, trade wins

WASHINGTON (AP) Cracking the often-lamented partisanship of Washington, a Republican-led Congress and a conservative Supreme Court chief justice delivered back-to-back victories for President Barack Obama's ambitious trade and health care initiatives.

The Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, thus salvaging Obama's top domestic policy achievement. A day earlier, Republican leaders helped maneuver legislation that gives Obama greater power to negotiate international trade deals, and rescued a key item of his second-term agenda.


Takata CEO: Air bag defect still under investigation

TOKYO (AP) The CEO of Takata Corp., the Japanese air bag maker at the center of a defect scandal that has resulted in recalls of more than 33.8 million vehicles, appeared at a news conference Thursday for the first time since the problems emerged but shed little light on the underlying cause of the problems.

Earlier, Shigehisa Takada apologized to shareholders at their annual meeting. He then faced media questions, bowing in apology both before and after the news conference.


Obama health care law survives second Supreme Court fight

WASHINGTON (AP) The Supreme Court sent a clear message Thursday that President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is here to stay, rejecting a major challenge that would have imperiled the landmark law and health insurance for millions of Americans.

Whether you call it the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, or in the words of a dissenting justice, SCOTUScare, Obama's signature domestic achievement is, as the president himself put it, "reality."


Hospital stocks leap after Supreme Court backs overhaul

Investors in hospital stocks rejoiced Thursday after the Supreme Court upheld a key portion of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and eliminated the prospect of a sudden influx of uninsured patients seeking care.

Shares of big hospital operators like HCA Holdings Inc. and Tenet Healthcare Corp. surged after the court announced a decision that maintained in several states tax credits that play a key role in helping millions of Americans pay for health insurance.


Supreme Court upholds key tool for fighting housing bias

WASHINGTON (AP) A sharply divided Supreme Court on Thursday preserved a key tool used for more than four decades to fight housing discrimination, handing a surprising victory to the Obama administration and civil rights activists.

The justices ruled 5-4 that federal housing law allows people to challenge lending rules, zoning laws and other housing practices that have a harmful impact on minority groups, even if there is no proof that companies or government agencies intended to discriminate.


Google's new self-driving cars cruising Silicon Valley roads

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The latest models of Google's self-driving cars are now cruising the streets near the Internet company's Silicon Valley headquarters as an ambitious project to transform the way people get around shifts into its next phase.

This marks the first time that the pod-like, two seat vehicles have been allowed on public roads since Google unveiled the next generation of its self-driving fleet more than a year ago. The cars had previously been confined to a private track located on a former Air Force base located about 120 miles southeast of San Francisco.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 75.71 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,890.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6.27 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,102.31. The Nasdaq declined 10.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,112.19.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 57 cents to close at $59.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 29 cents to close at $63.20 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 1.9 cents to close at $2.037 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.4 cents to close at $1.862 a gallon. Natural gas rose 9.1 cents to close at $2.850 per 1,000 cubic feet.