BC-Business News Digest

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Business News at 1:30 p.m.

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All times ET.

TOP STORIES:

THE NEXT TWITTER

SAN FRANCISCO — Just as one technology innovation paves the way for the next big thing, technology IPOs move in cycles, too. Twitter's scintillating stock market debut punctuated a procession of highly anticipated coming-out parties during the past two-and-half years while whetting investors' appetite for a new generation of rapidly growing startups. The next wave includes trendy services such as AirBnB, Uber, Snapchat, Pinterest, Box, Dropbox, Scribd, Flipboard and King.com. Most of them are tailor made for using on smartphones and tablets, a crucial characteristic that helped fed the rabid demand for Twitter's stock despite its unprofitable history. By Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay. SENT 1,100 words.

BUDGET DEFICIT

WASHINGTON — The Treasury reports on the budget deficit for October. For the 2013 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the gap narrowed to $680 billion. It was the first time in five years that an annual deficit fell below $1 trillion. The deficit has fallen because higher taxes and an improved economy have generated more revenue, while steep federal spending cuts have lowered expenditures. By Christopher S. Rugaber. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 2 p.m.; 400 words by 3:30 p.m.

YELLEN

WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen is sure to face skepticism at a hearing Thursday on her nomination to lead the Federal Reserve from Republican senators who say the Fed's ultra-low rate policies may be inflating asset bubbles or ensuring high inflation in the future. As chairman, Yellen would be expected to stick to the low-rate policies pushed by Ben Bernanke, especially because she is a key architect of those programs. Even with some Republican opposition, Yellen is expected to win Senate confirmation. By Martin Crutsinger. UPCOMING: 850 words by 4 p.m.

TAKEOUT WARS

NEW YORK — There's a war over takeout. Eat24, GrubHub Seamless, Delivery.com and a growing list of smaller companies are changing the way people order food. Instead of collecting paper menus hungry souls now go online, click and order. The competition is fierce with the companies using social media, handing out coupons and even advertising on porn sites to stand out. It's become a game for bargain hunters who find ways to save on each order. For restaurants, it brings in new business, but there's also a downside: They also have to hand over as much as 20 percent of each order to the online food ordering companies. And with so many people switching to online ordering, many restaurant owners say they're forced to use the services to stay in the game. By Joseph Pisani and Bree Fowler. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 2 p.m.

Eds: SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK, which usually runs on Wednesday, will be replaced by TAKE OUT WARS. SMALL TALK returns next week.

With:

— TAKEOUT WARS -DELIVERY SERVICES — A quick look at emerging online delivery services trying to change the way people receive goods as varied as plant fertilizer, iPads, prepared meals and wine. Upcoming: 250 words by 2 p.m.

VENEZUELA-MADURO'S CRACKDOWN

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Nicolas Maduro's offensive against private businesses he blames for economic woes may finally be pushing Venezuela to a state-dominated economy, a decade after endorsing socialism. Measures such as slashing the prices of TV sets may boost for pro-government candidates in next month's municipal elections, but are likely to scare away what little private investment is left. By Joshua Goodman. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 1:30 p.m.

INDIA-AIRLINE DEALS

MUMBAI, India — India has become a hot ticket for international carriers since opening its airline industry to foreign investors last year. But the potential of a giant market where only a sliver of the population travel by plane also comes with a catch: airlines in India are vastly unprofitable thanks to sky-high costs and cut-throat competition. The foreign carriers are lured by a vista of seemingly limitless potential. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 950 words, photos.

ETHANOL-NEXT GENERATION

NEW YORK— The first trickle of fuel made from agriculture waste is finally winding its way into the nation's energy supply, after years of broken promises and hype promoting a next-generation fuel source without the air pollution of oil. But it is clear, even to the industry's allies, that the benefits remain, as ever, years away. By Jonathan Fahey. UPCOMING: 1100 words by 2:30 p.m., photos

With:

— ETHANOL-LOSING GRASSLAND — Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to corn fields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers. SENT: 1,120 words, photos, video.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

HEALTH OVERHAUL-PROBLEMS

WASHINGTON — Congressional investigators seek to pin blame on the White House for the rocky rollout of the health care law, as the government prepares to divulge some bad news of its own: health insurance enrollment numbers that are widely expected to be anemic. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Laurie Kellman. SENT: 900 words. UPCOMING: 900 words by 4 p.m., photos.

WALL STREET

NEW YORK — Stocks are mixed on Wall Street as investors weigh signs of an improving economy against the prospect of the Federal Reserve cutting back on its economic stimulus. . SENT: 600 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

— EXTENDED STAY AMERICA-IPO — Hotel operator Extended Stay America stock jumped in its first day as a publicly traded company. SENT 250 words.

OIL PRODUCTION

WASHINGTON — For the first month in nearly two decades, the U.S. in October extracted more oil from the ground than it imported from abroad, marking an important milestone for a nation seeking to wean itself off foreign oil. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 350 words.

With:

— OIL PRICES —Oil rises above $94 a barrel after a plunge the day before, when investors worried that U.S. crude supplies remain high and that the Federal Reserve could decide soon to reduce its economic stimulus program. SENT: 230 words. UPCOMING: 450 words by 3:30 p.m.

INDUSTRY:

LINCOLN-NEW SUV

GROSSE POINTE SHORES, Mich. — After a bumpy start to its reinvention as a luxury brand, Lincoln hopes to smooth things out with a graceful new SUV. The Lincoln MKC is the second of four new vehicles Ford Motor Co. is counting on to revive its luxury brand. It goes on sale in the U.S. next summer for a starting price of $33,995. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 660 words, photo.

CHINA-GM

BEIJING — General Motors Co. says it will move its international headquarters from Shanghai to Singapore, a trophy for the subtropical city-state that is aggressively promoting itself as a global business center. The move, which is slated for the second quarter of next year, would put GM's international head office closer to important markets without undermining its crucial Chinese business. SENT: 360 words, photo.

— GENERAL MOTORS-GOVERNMENT STAKE — Shares of GM rise on the prospect that it could be free of government ownership by year end. That could clear a path for the resumption of a dividend in 2014. SENT: 460 words.

ROOFTOP SOLAR

PHOENIX — Arizona's utility regulators are about to wade into a very public fight over rooftop solar power, and their decision could crimp solar's booming growth by making it less attractive for homeowners. By Bob Christie. SENT: 900 words.

— ECUADOR-CHEVRON — Ecuador's highest court has cut in half a landmark judgment against Chevron Corp. for oil contamination in the Amazon, putting the penalty at $8.8 billion. SENT: 130 words.

— BOEING-MACHINISTS — About 20,000 Boeing machinists in the Puget Sound area will vote on an eight-year contract extension the company says it needs to assemble the new 777X in Washington state. SENT: 380 words.

— INTERCONTINENTAL EXCHANGE-NYSE EURONEXT — IntercontinentalExchange closes on its acquisition of NYSE Euronext. ICE valued the deal for the parent of the New York Stock Exchange at about $11 billion based on the Nov. 1 closing price of its shares. SENT: 300 words, photos.

— LIBYA — Libya's official news agency says an oil refinery in the country's west has reopened, a day after disgruntled former rebels halted production and occupied the facility. SENT: 130 words.

— BRITAIN-BARCLAYS — British bank Barclays says Hector Sants, the senior manager hired to help it recover from a series of scandals, has decided to resign after suffering from stress and exhaustion. SENT: 140 words.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-MACY'S

NEW YORK — Macy's Inc. is reporting a stronger-than-expected profit for its latest quarter as the department store chain benefited from stronger sales. SENT: 550 words, photo.

EARNS-CISCO

NEW YORK — Cisco Systems Inc. reports quarterly results. UPCOMING: 130 words following release of report at 4 p.m., xxx words by xx p.m.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA

APPLE-SAMSUNG TRIAL

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Apple is demanding that Samsung Electronics pay it $380 million for copying vital iPhone and iPad features. An Apple attorney makes the demand during opening statements of a Silicon Valley patent trial. By Paul Elias. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 450 words by 3 p.m.

GOOGLE-MOTOROLA-CHEAPER PHONE

NEW YORK — Motorola says it wants to equip the world with the latest smartphone technology, at less than a third the price. The new Moto G phone starts at $179 in the U.S. without a contract requirement. That compares with $600 or more that people must pay for phones without traditional two-year service agreements. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 440 words.

DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-PLAYSTATION 4

Video-game fans who reserved Sony's PlayStation 4 several months ago won't have any regrets when it goes on sale in North America on Friday: The PS4 is a terrific game machine that will feel familiar to PlayStation 3 owners while delivering the flashier eye candy you'd expect from gaming's next generation. By Lou Kesten. SENT: 830 words.

NETFLIX-TV TUNE-UP

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix is reprogramming the way its Internet video subscription service appears on millions of television screens in an attempt to hook viewers for even longer periods. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke. SENT: 500 words, photo.

— UKRAINE-MEDIA — More than one-half of the editorial staff at the Ukrainian edition of Forbes has quit to protest what they say is censorship imposed by the new management. SENT: 140 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

JAPAN-BANKS-MOB LINKS

TOKYO — Japan's finance minister pledges to crack down on lenders that fail to sever links with organized crime as lawmakers grilled him over mob loans by banks and other financial institutions. Revelations that credit companies, banks and insurers failed to comply with laws against doing business with gangs and their associates has been an embarrassment for Japan, which has helped lead international efforts to prevent terrorism financing and other illicit transactions. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 760 words, photos.

NIGERIA-SWISS OIL FRAUD

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigerian lawmakers ordered an investigation into the country's oil business after an international financial watchdog group alleged that Swiss traders may be complicit in defrauding the Nigerian public. The Berne Declaration released a report last week accuses Swiss traders of being involved in "one of the most massive frauds that the African continent has experienced." By Heather Murdock. SENT: 840 words.

BRITAIN-ECONOMY

LONDON — Bank of England governor Mark Carney says unemployment in Britain is falling faster than anticipated, raising speculation in the markets that interest rates may start rising sooner than expected. Following figures showing unemployment dropped again, Carney says the British economy, Europe's third-largest, was showing clear signs of recovery. By Danica Kirka and Pan Pylas. SENT: 500 words.

— EUROPE-ECONOMY — Official figures show industrial output across the 17-country eurozone fell a monthly rate of 0.5 percent in September, a decline that may mean economic growth across the region came to a standstill in the third quarter of the year. The fall was larger than expected and means the sector weighed on third quarter growth. SENT: 330 words.

— EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — The European Union is launching a review of Germany's hard-charging export economy and whether its burgeoning trade surplus hampers the recovery of weaker countries. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— SPAIN-OIL DISASTER — A Spanish court has acquitted three people charged over the sinking of the Prestige oil tanker off Spain's northwestern coast 11 years ago that triggered one of Europe's biggest environmental catastrophes. SENT: 340 words, photos.

— GERMANY-ECONOMY — The German government's independent council of economic advisers warns against a proposal to introduce a national minimum wage, saying it could harm economic growth. SENT: 140 words.

— GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Greece's Finance Ministry says the crisis-hit country remains on target to balance its budget this year, helped by a recent recovery in tax revenues. SENT: 240 words, photos.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

ON THE MONEY-MEDICARE ADVANTAGE

Ominous warnings about Medicare Advantage plans have sounded for more than a year now. Health insurers say federal funding cuts to these privately run versions of Medicare will force them to whack plan benefits, hike premiums or leave some markets entirely as they continue to contend with rising health care costs. Plan changes are starting to crystallize for Medicare Advantage customers who are about a month into their annual open enrollment window. Here are some important issues to keep in mind if you're still shopping for coverage. By Tom Murphy. SENT: 840 words.

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CENTERPIECE

Acquiring strength

Revenue growth is back for big companies. Stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 index are in the midst of reporting their strongest revenue growth of the year, despite a global economy that remains in low gear. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Macy's hits all-time high

Macy's reported quarterly results that easily beat Wall Street expectations and its stock surged to a record high. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.