Steady US job gains likely foretell a new era: Higher rates
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new era of higher rates on home and car loans, steeper borrowing costs for businesses and the government — maybe even a bit more return for savers — is about to arrive.
That, at least, is the word from most economists. After another solid U.S. jobs report Friday, they say the Federal Reserve seems all but sure to raise its short-term interest rate next month after keeping it pinned near zero for nearly seven years.
Even with banks open, Greek firms paralyzed by restrictions
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Panagiotis Papadopoulos, the owner of a Greek company that builds and exports glass products like shower cabins, has been waiting three weeks to pay a supplier in Bulgaria.
It's not that he doesn't have the 45,000 euros ($49,000) or doesn't want to pay. It's that he first needs the approval of a committee run by the finance ministry in Athens.
Any business that wants to pay a foreign supplier needs this approval because the government is worried about money flowing out of the country due to its financial crisis. The process has created an administrative bottleneck that is causing huge pain for Greek companies already struggling through recession.
Cuba plans boating boom as US luxury ships head to Havana
HAVANA (AP) — A $3 million yacht left Key West this week with two barbeque grills, 250 channels of satellite TV and a just-in-case plan for rescuing stranded Cuban rafters encountered in the Florida Straits.
After four hours smooth sailing, the Still Water tied up at Havana's Hemingway Marina. The well-heeled passengers breakfasted on smoked salmon and pastries, then boarded an air-conditioned Cuban government bus for a day of touring the city.
The Cold War made the Florida Straits into a stage for nuclear showdown and a graveyard for thousands of Cuban rafters seeking better lives in the United States. Now, normalization of the long-tortured U.S.-Cuba relationship is transforming the 90 miles between the U.S. and Cuba back into a playground for hulking cruise ships and sleek luxury yachts.
Van, taxi latest NY lodging option for bold, cheap visitors
NEW YORK (AP) — There's no electricity, no running water, no bathroom.
But travelers to New York City bold enough to book a parked van for $22 a night through Airbnb do get a real bed and a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline from across the East River in Queens.
While parked vehicles make up a tiny fraction of the thousands of Airbnb private accommodation listings in New York City — just three vans, a converted yellow taxi and two campers — they provide an option for adventurous, budget-minded visitors seeking a place to rest their heads for far less than the $200-and-up most hotels charge.
US consumer borrowing hits another record in June
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer borrowing hit another record in June, good news for the American economy.
Americans piled on another $20.7 billion in debt in June, bringing total consumer borrowing to a record $3.42 trillion, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.
In June, borrowing in the category that includes auto and student loans rose by $15.2 billion. Borrowing in the category that includes credit cards rose by $5.5 billion.
The Fed's monthly report on credit does not cover home mortgages or other loans secured by real estate such as home equity loans.
Court sides against FDA in "off-label" drug promotion case
WASHINGTON (AP) — The maker of a prescription fish-oil pill won an early victory Friday against the Food and Drug Administration over its right to publicize unapproved uses of its drug.
The preliminary ruling in U.S. District Court could strengthen the pharmaceutical industry's ability to distribute information about drug uses that have not been cleared by the FDA. That issue has been contested for years by the FDA and the companies it regulates.
According to Friday's decision, Amarin has the First Amendment right to give doctors truthful information about non-approved indications of its drug Vascepa, which is used to lower a certain kind of fat.
Railroad safety: Few likely to meet deadline for technology
WASHINGTON (AP) — Only a handful of railroads are close to meeting a deadline this year to install safety technology that can prevent many crashes, including derailments due to excessive speed like the deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia in May, according to a government report released Friday.
Only three railroads have submitted safety plans to government, a necessary step before they can put the technology — positive train control, or PTC — into operation, the Federal Railroad Administration report said. They are BNSF Railway, the nation's second largest freight railroad, and two commuter railroads — Metrolink in the Los Angeles area, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in the Philadelphia area.
Verizon will drop phone contracts, end discounted phones
NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon, the nation's largest wireless provider, will stop offering phones at discounted prices when customers sign two-year service contracts.
The move was made in the name of simplification, but it could result in some customers paying more.
All wireless carriers have been trying to wean customers off subsidies, in which a $649 iPhone 6 goes for $200 with a two-year contract. Instead, carriers have been encouraging people to buy phones outright by paying the full retail price in monthly installments. A few carriers, namely Sprint, also offer leasing options for a lower monthly fee, but the customer doesn't get to keep and resell the phone without additional payments. Verizon is the second national carrier, after T-Mobile, to end subsidies entirely for new customers.
Coffee company layoffs hit rebuilding Vermont town hard
WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) — For years, the company now known as Keurig Green Mountain provided well-paying, stable employment in Vermont. That's about to change.
The company announced this week that the bulk of about 200 layoffs in the state would be in Waterbury, a town still rebuilding after the loss of about 1,100 jobs four years ago when Tropical Storm Irene flooded the state.
Settlement in suit over 'Back to the Future' car hits bump
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A settlement in a lawsuit over the car used in the 1985 film "Back to the Future" has hit a roadblock.
Last year, the widow of automaker John DeLorean sued a Texas company she said has been illegally using the DeLorean name for years. The DMC-12, known simply as "the DeLorean," was driven by Michael J. Fox in the movie and has since gained a cult following.
The two sides in the lawsuit reached a preliminary settlement in June that would pay an undisclosed amount of money to Sally DeLorean, who lives in New Jersey with her daughter. But her attorney wrote in a letter to the judge this week that the company's lawyers were trying to change the settlement at the last minute.
Airline technology firm Sabre investigating computer breach
DALLAS (AP) — A spate of recent computer-system breaches has spread into the travel industry, hitting a company that provides technology used for airline and hotel reservations.
Sabre Corp. said Friday that it is investigating a "cybersecurity incident" but isn't sure yet what if any information was stolen.
American Airlines, which uses Sabre, says it is investigating but has found no evidence of a breach. It has hired outside experts for assistance.
The developments were first reported by Bloomberg.
Several recent high-profile cyberattacks have put corporate technology experts on edge. The attacks have included one against the federal government's personnel office and another against insurance company Anthem Inc.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 46.37 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,373.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 5.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,077.57. The Nasdaq composite fell 12.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,043.54.
U.S. crude fell 79 cents to close at $43.87 a barrel in New York, nearing a six-year low of $43.46 set on March 17. For the week, crude fell 7 percent. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 91 cents Friday to close at $48.61 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.5 cents to close at $1.623 a gallon. Heating oil fell 0.6 cents to close at $1.544 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.5 cents to close at $2.798 per 1,000 cubic feet.