BUSINESS NEWS AT A GLANCE
c.2013 New York Times News Service
GLOBAL STOCKS SLIDE ON U.S. BUDGET MOVES
Investors are worried that even a temporary U.S. government shutdown could put a damper on an already weak economic recovery. Stock markets fell worldwide Monday as political disagreements in Washington made a shutdown Monday night increasingly likely. The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was down about 0.5 percent in trading at midday. Leading indexes were down 2.1 percent in Japan, 1 percent in Germany and 1.3 percent in Italy. European stocks were under additional pressure because a growing political crisis in Italy is threatening the government there.
MEDICAL DEVICE INDUSTRY CAMPAIGNS AGAINST A NEW SALES TAX
Congressional critics of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law have described it as a “train wreck” and a “nightmare” so dire that they are willing to shut down the government to stop it. One way to avoid that, some members of the House of Representatives have said, is to repeal a part of the law that amounts to a sales tax on producers of medical devices. The Senate rejected the proposal Monday, but it could surface again. At issue is a 2.3 percent fee on medical devices sold in the United States, like heart implants and artificial joints.
FORD C-MAX HYBRID OWNERS GET REBATE FOR DISAPPOINTING MILEAGE
Ford Motor Co. has started mailing checks to owners of the C-Max Hybrid to compensate them after lowering its fuel economy rating. In August, Ford cut the 2013 C-Max Hybrid’s rating to 43 mpg in city and highway driving from 47 mpg. The announcement was made as the Environmental Protection Agency said it was re-evaluating the testing process for hybrids and electric vehicles in response to customer complaints that they were not achieving the fuel economy advertised on the auto stickers. Ford said it previously used its Fusion Hybrid as a standard measurement for all of its hybrids but will now test and label the C-Max Hybrid separately.
CNN DOCUMENTARY IS OFF; FILMMAKER BLAMES PRESSURE FROM CLINTONS
The ideas seemed simple enough: a documentary on CNN and an NBC mini-series that would capitalize on the popularity of one of the world’s most visible public figures. But nothing is simple when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Both sides of the political aisle registered objections to the projects, which would have explored the life of the former first lady and potential 2016 presidential candidate. Members of the news divisions at NBC and CNN publicly protested the decision by their networks to go ahead with them. On Monday, the networks said they were abandoning their projects.
NIELSEN DEAL FOR ARBITRON IS COMPLETE
Nielsen Holdings announced Monday that it had completed its $1.26 billion acquisition of the radio ratings company Arbitron, a deal that Nielsen says will allow it to monitor eight hours a day of the public’s media consumption across television, radio and a range of electronic devices. “Arbitron will allow us to analyze and understand an additional two hours of the United States consumer’s day while bringing us another opportunity to provide advertisers with metrics on the effectiveness of the mediums that they advertise on,” David L. Calhoun, Nielsen’s chief executive, said in a statement.
FAA PANEL WOULD EASE POLICY ON ELECTRONIC DEVICES ON PLANES
Airline passengers should be allowed to use their personal electronic devices to read, play games or enjoy movies and music, even when planes are on the ground or flying below 10,000 feet, according to recommendations an advisory panel sent to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday. But the panel said that restrictions should remain on sending text messages, browsing the Web or checking email after the plane’s doors have been closed. Passengers can do that only when the aircraft’s Wi-Fi network is turned on, typically above 10,000 feet. The use of cellphones to make voice calls, which was not part of the review, will still be prohibited throughout the flight.
PERRY CAPITAL CUTS STAKE IN J.C. PENNEY
The hedge fund Perry Capital pared its stake in J.C. Penney by nearly half as the troubled retailer announced plans last week to raise as much as $932 million in fresh capital. Perry Capital, based in New York, began to cut its stake Friday, coinciding with J.C. Penney’s disclosure of a planned sale of as much as 96.6 million new common shares. The company is shoring up its reserves as it undertakes a difficult turnaround. But the move dilutes the value of existing shareholders’ stakes. While Perry appears to have made a dash for the exit, several hedge funds and other investment firms have been adding to their holdings.
FRENCH SIGNAL FLEXIBILITY ON SUNDAY CLOSINGS
After years of resisting efforts to further liberalize store hours, France’s Socialist prime minister signaled Monday that Paris was prepared to discuss changes to labor laws that more than a century ago established Sunday as a mandatory day of rest for most workers. At a time of weak economic growth and high unemployment, a growing number of French retailers have begun to openly chafe at restrictions that since 1906 have barred merchants, with some exceptions, from keeping their doors open Sunday. But powerful labor unions — long a bastion of Socialist support — have traditionally opposed efforts to loosen the rules.