Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


Orders for long-lasting US factory goods plunge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell sharply last month as demand for commercial aircraft plummeted and businesses spent less on computers and electrical equipment.

Orders for durable goods plunged 7.3 percent in July, the Commerce Department said Monday. It's the steepest drop in nearly a year. Excluding the volatile transportation category, orders fell just 0.6 percent. Both declines followed three straight months of increases.

Core capital goods fell 3.3 percent. These are considered a good measure of businesses' confidence in the economy and include machinery, computers and heavy trucks, while excluding volatile aircraft and defense. The drop followed four straight months of gains.

The drop suggests the third quarter is off to a weaker start than some had hoped.


Treasury says US will hit debt limit in mid-Oct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is telling Congress that the U.S. government will hit its borrowing limit in mid-October and urged lawmakers to reach a budget deal before then.

Lew said in a letter to Speaker John Boehner that the government is running out of accounting maneuvers it has used to avoid hitting the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. He pressed Congress to raise the borrowing limit before then so Treasury can keep paying the government's bills.

Earlier this year, Congress temporarily suspended the borrowing limit so lawmakers could focus on other budget debates. Treasury has kept the government operating for several months through its bookkeeping maneuvers. A smaller deficit this year has also helped.


Penney's largest investor to sell entire stake

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney's largest investor and former board member, William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, is selling his nearly 18 percent stake in the company.

The move to sell 39.1 million shares of the company, announced in a regulatory filing, comes two weeks after Ackman resigned from J.C. Penney's board. That was part of a deal to resolve an unusually public battle between the activist investor and the struggling department store operator.

The planned sale comes as Penney is trying to recover from a botched up transformation plan that was spearheaded by its former CEO Ron Johnson and resulted in disastrous results.

The news sent shares down nearly 3 percent to $12.99 per share in after hours-trading after closing down 15 cents to $13.35 in the regular session.


Economists: Future deficits top US fiscal problem

NEW YORK (AP) — The biggest fiscal challenge facing the U.S. is the size of projected deficits in the 2020s and 2030s, according to a survey of business economists.

The National Association for Business Economics surveyed 220 of its members in July and August. The survey found that members were more concerned about the size of deficits in the next two decades than current deficits or deficits over the next 10 years: 43 percent of the economists named budget gaps in the 2020s and 2030s as the top fiscal challenge, compared with 37 percent who chose projected deficits over the next 10 years.

The policy survey found that no consensus on the best way to address those deficits.


China says economy stabilizing after long slowdown

BEIJING (AP) — China's government tried Monday to reassure companies and its public about the economy's health, saying growth is stabilizing after a lengthy decline and should hit the official target of 7.5 percent for the year.

The announcement by Sheng Laiyun, the chief spokesman for the Cabinet's statistics agency, was part of official efforts to defuse unease about the country's deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis. Sheng gave no updated data but cited previously released figures that showed industrial production and other parts of the economy improved in July.

Economic growth fell to 7.5 percent in the three months ending in June after declining steadily for 10 straight quarters. Sheng said it was the longest such slowdown since China's market-style reforms began three decades ago


Trump calls NY attorney general a 'political hack'

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Donald Trump on Monday defended his Trump University as a booming success for student entrepreneurs and blasted New York's attorney general, who called it a scam.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman shot back that Trump is making wild accusations, just like others who commit fraud and get caught.

Trump has held several TV interviews to further contest the lawsuit filed Saturday by Schneiderman, which alleges the real estate mogul helped run a phony university that promised to make students rich but instead steered them into expensive and mostly useless seminars.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 64.05 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 14,946.46 Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6.72 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,656.78. The Nasdaq composite was down a fraction of a point at 3,657.57.

U.S. benchmark crude for October delivery fell 50 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $105.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil fell 1.6 cents to $3.0835 per gallon. Natural gas rose 3.2 cents to $3.5530 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline fell 3.6 cents to $2.8345 per gallon.

Brent crude, which sets prices for imported oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 29 cents to $110.72 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.