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Business News at 1:50 p.m.
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All times EDT.
STOCKS-SELL OR BUY?
NEW YORK — Is it time to cash out of stocks? The market has tripled in a little over five years, and with each record close, the temptation grows to take your winnings and flee. Plenty of experts think stocks are about to drop. But many others offer compelling arguments for the rally to continue for years. The bulls point to a strengthening economy that will help companies generate big profits. The bears argue that stocks already reflect years of future profit gains. They also worry that interest rates could rise soon, one of the surest ways to kill a rally. Here are the bull and bear cases in detail. By Bernard Condon. SENT: 1,360 words, photo. Abridged version also sent, 930 words.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia Airlines will cut 6,000 workers as part of a $1.9 billion overhaul to revive its damaged brand after being hit by double passenger jet disasters. The staff reduction represents about 30 percent of its current workforce of 20,000. A search for a new CEO is underway but there is no move to change the airline's name, which some branding experts said was necessary for a successful makeover. By Eileen Ng and Kelvin Chan. SENT: 700 words, photos, video, timeline.
GERMANY-MERKEL IN CONTROL
BERLIN — Ordinary Germans are spooked about the future. Businesses are starting to see black clouds on the horizon. And an economy that has been the envy of Europe is showing cracks, shrinking unexpectedly last quarter amid the conflict in Ukraine. It might seem like enough to put any leader into trouble. But Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity remains sky-high — with nobody in sight to touch her. By David Rising. AP Photos. SENT: 780 words.
— EUROPE-ECONOMY — Inflation in the 18 countries that use the euro sank to 0.3 percent in August, a worrying sign of economic weakness that is putting pressure on the European Central Bank to take drastic steps to save a stalling recovery. SENT: 550 words, photo.
Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez had just found out the Sooners would be facing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Shortly thereafter, his game prep began. On his cell phone. Film-room study has long had a crucial role in studying an opposing team, but it was tedious and often came with long hours in a dark room. Now, with a phone or tablet, players can search and scan video from almost anywhere. By Kurt Voigt. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
ON THE MONEY-MOBILE BANKING SERVICES
The latest banks fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, have created banks designed specifically for smartphones that let users track their spending on the go. Customers open a checking account, get a debit card and are able to make check deposits and pay their bills. What makes Moven and Simple different is their apps. Every time the debit card is swiped at a store, a notification is sent to the phone with how much was spent and how much money is left in the account. By Joseph Pisani. UPCOMING: 800 words by 3 p.m.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer spending falls in July, the Commerce Department says, with a drop in auto purchases accounting for most of the weakness. Income growth also slowed in July. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 650 words, photo.
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer sentiment ticks up in August, driven by greater optimism about jobs, rising incomes, and increasing wealth. Yet the increase largely occurred among higher-income groups. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 310 words, photo.
NEW YORK — U.S. financial markets inch higher in light trading, recouping small losses from earlier in the day. SENT: 470 words, photo. By Alex Veiga. UPCOMING: 450 words by 5 p.m.
— AUSTRALIA-EARNS-VIRGIN — Australia's second largest airline, Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd., loses $333 million in its last fiscal year as it battled competition from larger rival Qantas and took a hit from a now repealed carbon tax. SENT: 180 word
RUSSIA FUND SANCTIONS
WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama warns of stepped-up economic punishments against Russia for its military incursions inside Ukraine, U.S. sanctions have so far avoided one prominent financial institution: the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has partnered with brand-name American companies and whose advisers include top U.S. and European private equity executives. By Jeff Horwitz and Stephen Braun. SENT: 1,100 words, photo.
— EUROPE-UKRAINE — Several European Union foreign ministers accuse Russia of invading eastern Ukraine and say Moscow should be punished with more sanctions. SENT: 720 words, photos.
RICHMOND, Va. — Federal regulators are putting Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc.'s planned $25 billion takeover of rival Newport maker Lorillard Inc. under the microscope. The nation's second-biggest tobacco company said Friday that the Federal Trade Commission has asked for additional information as part of an antitrust review of the deal. By Michael Felberbaum. SENT: 510 words.
An experimental Ebola drug healed all 18 monkeys infected with the deadly virus in a study, boosting hopes that the treatment might help fight the outbreak raging through West Africa — once more of it can be made. The disease has now spread to a fifth African country — Senegal, where a university student who traveled there from Guinea was being treated. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione. SENT: 870 words, photo.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-TAX FORMS
WASHINGTON — The federal agency that had trouble launching a health insurance website last fall has a massive new project, and glitches on this one could delay tax refunds for many Americans. The Health and Human Services department must send new forms that are like W-2s for health care to nearly 5 million households. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. UPCOMING: 750 words by 3 p.m., photos.
— HERSHEY LOGO CHANGE — The Hershey Company is rolling out a new corporate logo that features a stylized version of one of its most famous chocolate products. SENT: 140 words, photo.
— BRITAIN-TESCO — Tesco shares drop sharply after Britain's largest retailer by revenue issued another profit warning and slashed its dividend to shareholders by 75 percent. The supermarket giant says market conditions remained challenging, cutting its forecast for 2014-2015 trading profits to between 2.4 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) and 2.5 billion pounds. Forecasts had been for 3.3 billion pounds. SENT: 130 words
— FIAT-CHRYSLER — U.S. investors should soon be able to buy stock in Chrysler for the first time in seven years. SENT: 170 words.
— VENICE FILM FESTIVAL-99 HOMES — Florida's realtors and tourism authorities will probably not be using the movie "99 Homes" in their promotional material. A portrait of a financial system stacked in favor of the winners, it's "Wall Street" for the subprime mortgage era, and the director says he wanted to show a different side to a state famous for "golf carts and retirees, Magic Kingdoms and castles." SENT: 470 words, photos.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:
QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador is planning to create the world's first government-issued digital currency, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, the U.S. dollar, which the government cannot control. The virtual currency, which Central Bank officials expect to start circulating in December, doesn't yet have a name and officials wouldn't disclose technical details, though they said it would not be like Bitcoin. SENT: 600 words, photo.
BEIJING — China's biggest property developer, Wanda Group, and Internet giants Baidu and Tencent unveil a new e-commerce venture in a challenge to industry leader Alibaba Group ahead of its U.S. stock offering. The three companies said they will integrate online and offline selling, with e-commerce services in Wanda's 107 shopping malls, as well as its hotels and resorts. They said they would invest 5 billion yuan ($814 million) to start. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 430 words.
— CHINA-TESLA-CHARGING STATIONS — Tesla Motors Co. and a state-owned Chinese phone carrier announce plans to build 400 charging stations for electric cars in a new bid to promote popular adoption of the technology in China. Plans call for China Unicom Ltd. to provide space for construction and basic services in 120 cities while Tesla operates the stations. SENT: 320 words.
TOKYO — Japan and India both have much to gain from a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and more than a dozen Indian steel, energy and IT tycoons that begins Saturday in the ancient capital of Kyoto. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 950 words, photos.
— JAPAN-ECONOMY — Japan's vital signs remain weak in July as wages fell further and household spending dropped, signaling continued weakness in the world's third-largest economy. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 540 words, photos.
RIO DE JANEIRO — It's the last thing President Dilma Rousseff's struggling re-election campaign needed: an economy heading into recession. But that's what the beleaguered leader is facing. Brazil's government says its GDP has dropped for a second straight quarter, hurt by soft consumption, a drop in foreign investment and limp industrial output partly blamed on the World Cup and all the days off it gave workers. By Brad Brooks. SENT: 250 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 2 p.m.
— GERMANY-PILOTS-STRIKE — Thousands of passengers are feeling the impact of a pilots strike in Germany after negotiations between the country's biggest airline Lufthansa and the union representing pilots collapsed over a long-running dispute regarding wages and early retirement benefits. Germanwings, a subsidiary of Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa, said up to 15,000 passengers were affected by Friday's strike. SENT: 130 words, photo.
— NICARAGUA-MINERS TRAPPED — Rescuers work to reach at least 24 miners trapped in a gold mine landslide in northern Nicaragua. SENT: 250 words, photo.
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Room to run?
The Standard & Poor's 500 traded above 2,000 for the first time in August. A look at news and market milestones from the past month. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.
Big Lots slides
Shares of Big Lots fell Friday after the company reported an increase in same store sales of 1.7 percent, which was just above the mid-point of the company's guidance of 1 percent to 3 percent. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.