Dot-com deja vu: Nasdaq tops 5,000, approaching record high

NEW YORK (AP) The last time the Nasdaq was this high, Bill Clinton was president, your Internet connection was probably still dial-up and the iPod, iPhone and iPad didn't exist.

Fifteen years later the Nasdaq has again closed above 5,000 and is close to topping its record from the dot-com boom. The index has clawed back, riding a six-year bull market, and is now 40 points from its all-time closing high of 5,048.62 reached March 10, 2000.

But this isn't the Nasdaq of Pets.com and Webvan, when companies were valued on "cash burn rates" and "eyeballs."


What to expect from Costco's new deal with Visa and Citi

NEW YORK (AP) If you're shopping at Costco, you'll need a new credit card to pay for those family-sized packs of chicken breasts or toilet paper.

After only accepting American Express the last 16 years, the retailer is switching to Visa and will use Citigroup as its exclusive provider of co-branded credit cards.

Costco is a large and influential chain. It is the world's second-largest retailer by revenue, and has 671 locations around the world, including 474 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For an annual fee of $55 to $110, shoppers get access to groceries in bulk sizes, as well as appliances, jewelry, home goods and other products.


Construction picks back up, but it's a different gig now

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) As Florida's housing market tanked seven years ago, construction worker David Rager saw jobs dry up. So he left construction, along with 2.3 million others nationwide during the economic downturn, and got a job installing traffic signals and street lights.

Now Rager is back in construction, working with a crew on a custom-built home in Orlando, framing walls "and doing a little bit of everything." In the past four years, hundreds of thousands of workers have returned to construction, making it among the nation's fastest growing job sectors.

But returning workers such as Rager are finding a different business from the one they left. Apartment buildings are going up at a faster rate than single-family homes and fewer public buildings have been built lately, on account of government cuts. Not only are the projects different, they're in different places.


US consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, rose in Jan.

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. consumers spent less for a second consecutive month in January, but the weakness came from a big decline in gas prices. Excluding price changes, consumer spending was up in January and analysts expect strong income gains will fuel further solid increases in spending in the months ahead.

Consumer spending declined 0.2 percent in January following a 0.3 percent drop in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday. But the weakness in both months was heavily influenced by big declines in gas prices. Excluding price changes, consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in January and would have been down a smaller 0.1 percent in December.


US construction spending down 1.1 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. construction spending fell in January, reflecting weakness in spending on office buildings and other nonresidential projects and in government activity.

Construction spending fell 1.1 percent in January following a revised 0.8 percent increase in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

Spending on home construction rose 0.6 percent but spending on nonresidential projects dropped 1.6 percent, reflecting declines in hotels, office buildings and the category that covers shopping centers. Spending on government projects also declined in January, falling 2.8 percent.

Private economists had predicted a small overall gain in January.


US manufacturing slows as output and hiring weaken

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. factories expanded last month at their weakest pace in a year, with orders, hiring and production all growing more slowly.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index slipped to 52.9 in February from 53.5 in January. It was the fourth straight drop and the lowest reading since January 2014. Still, any reading above 50 signals expansion.

The ISM's measures of production and employment fell sharply, though they remained in expansionary territory. That suggests that factories are still adding jobs but at a slower pace than in January.


Buffett declines to clarify plan to eventually replace him

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Billionaire Warren Buffett didn't end the speculation about his eventual successor, but he reiterated Monday that Berkshire Hathaway's board has a plan in place.

Buffett addressed a variety of topics on CNBC after releasing his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders over the weekend.

Berkshire's Vice Chairman Charlie Munger spurred renewed interest in the replacement for the 84-year-old Buffett over the weekend because he singled out two candidates in his own letter to shareholders.

Munger said Berkshire's reinsurance chief Ajit Jain and the head of its utility company, Greg Abel, would both be excellent choices to replace Buffett.


New FDA official inherits raft of projects, challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) One of the nation's leading medical researchers joined the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, taking on the agency's No. 2 leadership job at a critical juncture for prescription drugs, medical devices and tobacco products.

Dr. Robert Califf comes to the job of FDA deputy commissioner after more than 30 years as a researcher and administrator at Duke University. But Califf, 63, is no stranger to FDA issues. For years he served on committees that advise the FDA on scientific and medical matters. And he was considered for the agency's top job at least twice, under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.


Dearth of jobs a barrier to post-bankruptcy Detroit's growth

DETROIT (AP) When Alison Norris couldn't find work in Detroit, she searched past the city limits, ending up with a part-time restaurant job that's 20 miles away but takes at least two hours to get to via separate city and suburban bus systems.

For many city residents with limited skills and education, Detroit is an employment desert, having lost tens of thousands of blue-collar jobs in manufacturing cutbacks and service jobs as the population dwindled. What's available to those without cars about 40 percent of Detroit's population, according to federal figures often are low-paying retail or sales positions far outside the city.


Bill Gates repeats at top of Forbes' list of billionaires

NEW YORK (AP) The world's richest person got even richer this year. And a basketball superstar-turned-owner made the list for the first time.

Forbes said Monday that Bill Gates's net worth rose to $79.2 billion in 2015 from $76 billion last year. That put him at the top of the magazine's list of the world's billionaires for the second consecutive year. The co-founder of Microsoft Corp. has topped the list for 16 of the last 21 years.

In second place is Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu, with a net worth of $77.1 billion. He had topped the list in 2013.


Morgan Stanley expects lawsuit from NY Attorney General

NEW YORK (AP) Morgan Stanley, which agreed to a $2.6 billion settlement with the federal government last week, says it expects to be sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over subprime mortgage bonds.

The investment bank says it was told about the lawsuit in January and that it will involve about 30 subprime securities. Morgan Stanley say the lawsuit will say that it misrepresented or omitted important information related to the loans, including Morgan Stanley's due diligence and the valuation of the loans in the bonds, as well as the properties securing them.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 155.93 points, or 0.9 percent, to 18,288.63. The S&P 500 closed up 12.89 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,117.39. The Nasdaq added 44.57 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,008.10.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 17 cents to close at $49.59 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $3.04 to close at $59.54 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 8.1 cents to close at $1.897 a gallon. Heating oil fell 8.7 cents to close at $1.887 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3.6 cents to close at $2.698 per 1,000 cubic feet.