BC-Business News Digest
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SILICON VALLEY-HEALTH REGULATION
WASHINGTON — Contact lenses that measure diabetics' blood sugar, smartphone devices that detect irregular heartbeats — Silicon Valley is pouring billions into gadgets and apps designed to transform health care. But the giants of the tech world who have famously disrupted so many industries are now facing their own unexpected disruption: regulation. Before tech companies can turn America's smartphones into portable medical suites, they must meet the rigorous standards of the Food and Drug Administration, which has long served as gatekeeper to the health market for drug and medical device makers. By Matthew Perrone. SENT: 930 words, photos.
— SILICON VALLEY-HEALTH REGULATION-SIDEBAR — No Silicon Valley company better embodies the promise and the pitfalls of working in health care than DNA testing firm 23andMe. SENT: 460 words.
NEW YORK — Home Depot's data breach could wind up being the largest yet for a retailer. But the impact of the hacking also might be the smallest ever. There are four reasons Home Depot is better positioned to weather the fallout than Target, which suffered sales and profit declines after of a data breach last year compromised millions of debit and credit card accounts. By Anne D'Innocenzio. SENT: 700 words, photo.
NEW YORK — RadioShack says it may need to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization if it can't rework its debt or find another way to ease a cash crunch. The struggling retailer said in a regulatory filing that it is in talks with its lenders, bondholders, shareholders and landlords to fix its balance sheet, but if it can't, it will try to file a prepackaged bankruptcy. SENT: 500 words, photo.
FRANKFURT, Germany — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi made the first move in his grand plan to rescue the economic recovery. Now it's over to the governments of the 18 countries that use the euro. Eurozone finance ministers gather Friday and Saturday for the first time since the ECB president sketched out what has been dubbed "Draghinomics:" a three-pillared strategy including more stimulus from the central bank, added government spending and pro-business reforms to cut bureaucracy and make economies more productive. Problem is, Draghi as an unelected central banker only controls the monetary pillar, while governments hold sway over the other two. By David McHugh and Juergen Baetz. SENT: 720 words, photos.
BEIJING — China announces it will fine Audi $40.5 million and Chrysler $5.2 million in a sweeping anti-monopoly probe of the auto industry that has prompted complaints foreign businesses are being treated unfairly. Regulators have launched probes of global automakers, technology suppliers and other companies in an apparent effort to force down prices. Business groups say the secretive and abrupt way the investigations are conducted is alienating foreign companies. Regulators deny foreign companies are treated unfairly. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 860 words, photos.
— CHINA-AUTO SALES — China's auto sales growth decelerated further in August to 8.5 percent while sales of SUVs surged by nearly a third. SENT: 390 words.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, though the trend in benefit applications in the past month remained low. The Labor Department says that weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 315,000, the most since late June. Still, the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose just 750 to 304,000. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 360 words, photo, glance.
WASHINGTON — The federal government ran a lower budget deficit this August than a year ago, remaining on track to record the lowest deficit for the entire year since 2008. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 350 words by 2:45 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rise slightly this week but remain near their lows for the year. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year loan edged up to 4.12 percent from 4.10 percent last week, where it had stayed for three straight weeks. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 280 words, photo, glance.
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks edge lower as investors mull the outlook for interest rates, the latest sanctions against Russia and volatile energy prices. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 600 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.
— HONG KONG-CITIC-LAWSUIT — Hong Kong regulators say they're suing state-owned Chinese conglomerate Citic and its former chairman in a bid to compensate investors over a huge loss related to a bungled bet on Australia's currency. SENT: 330 words.
WASHINGTON — U.S. regulators are greenlighting a new weight-loss drug called Contrave, the third in a string of approvals for anti-obesity treatments. The pill, Contrave, is a combination of two drugs that are already approved, naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and narcotic dependence. Bupropion is an antidepressant also used to help people quit smoking. By Matthew Perrone. SENT: 800 words.
— EASTMAN CHEMICAL-TAMINCO — Eastman Chemical Co. is buying specialty chemical company Taminco for approximately $1.73 billion. Eastman will pay $26 per share, a 9 percent premium to Taminco Corp.'s Wednesday closing price of $23.88. The companies put the deal's total value at about $2.8 billion, which includes $1 billion in debt. SENT: 320 words.
— SOLO TRAIN CREWS — A railroad union has rejected a deal with BNSF that would have allowed one-person crews on as much as 60 percent of its tracks. The Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers union voted against the contract this week, according to a notice sent to members late Wednesday. SENT: 500 words, photo.
— SKI TITANS-SALE — One of Utah's largest ski areas will be sold to Vail Resorts Inc., resolving a legal battle between two ski titans and paving the way for the creation of what could be the country's largest resort. SENT: 400 words.
— TOYOTA-RECALL — Toyota is recalling about 130,000 Tundra full-size pickup trucks because a plastic trim piece can interfere with the side air bags. SENT: 130 words.
— GERMANY-SHIPPING MERGER — The European Union's antitrust authority says it is giving a conditional green light for the merger between shipping group Hapag-Lloyd AG of Germany and its Chilean rival Compania Sud Americana de Vapores. SENT: 140 words.
— EUROPE-MASTERCARD — The European Union's highest court throws out an appeal by MasterCard against a decision by the bloc's antitrust authority to scrap some of its fees charged to merchants. SENT: 130 words.
— ITALY-ENI-NIGERIA — Milan prosecutors place the CEO of Italian oil and gas company Eni under investigation over alleged bribes paid for a lucrative Nigerian oil concession. SENT: 120 words.
— DUKE ELLINGTON ROYALTIES — New York's highest court is set to hear arguments by jazz composer Duke Ellington's heirs to reinstate their lawsuit against publisher EMI seeking half the royalties from foreign sales of his music. By Michael Virtanen. UPCOMING: 130 words by 2 a.m., will be updated to 400 words by 4 p.m.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Critics say Nevada lawmakers are gambling with taxpayers' money, but they clearly were in the minority as legislators moved forward with an unprecedented package of up to $1.3 billion in incentives they hope to approve in the days ahead to bring Tesla Motors' $5 billion battery factory to the state. By Scott Sonner. SENT: 900 words, photos.
GAMES-THE WAITING GAME
ANAHEIM, Calif. — At this week's GameStop Expo, the video game retailer's annual consumer-centric event, attendees had the chance to test drive highly anticipated titles. However, it's probably the last time this year that gamers will be able to play those particular titles. Publishers often postpone release dates so developers had more time to tweak the titles. It's a frustrating trend that's prompting many players to bemoan the least fun game of all: The Waiting Game. By Derrik J. Lang. SENT: 660 words, photos.
— BRITAIN-BSKYB — The European Union's antitrust authority says it has approved the bid by Britain's BSkyB to create a multinational pay TV network by taking control of its sister companies in Italy and Germany. SENT: 140 words.
BRUSSELS — The European Union decides to slap new economic sanctions on Russia — including ones targeting the country's vital oil industry — for what it sees as Moscow's meddling in eastern Ukraine. The sanctions will further curb access to European capital markets for Russian banks and firms, limit exports of certain high-technology goods and target more officials with travel bans and asset freezes, the EU said in statement. By Juergen Baetz. SENT: 820 words, photos.
— EUROPE-RUSSIA-GAS — A spat has broken out between Poland and Russia over what Warsaw claims is a sharp drop in natural gas supplies. The move comes amid concerns Moscow is ready to use its energy exports as a political weapon over the crisis in Ukraine. SENT: 680 words.
— BRITAIN-SCOTLAND — In a blow to the Scottish independence campaign, three top financial groups, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, say they will move headquarters to England should Scots vote to break away from the United Kingdom. SENT: 740 words, photo.
— ARGENTINA-DEFAULT — Argentina's Congress approves a bill to restructure the country's debt and sidestep a U.S. ruling that recently pushed it into default. SENT: 140 words.
— CHINA-INFLATION — China's consumer inflation eased in August amid signs of cooling economic growth. SENT: 170 words.
— EUROPE-RUSSIA-GAS — Russian natural gas deliveries to Poland drop by 45 percent, the third day of decreases, heightening concerns that Moscow is piling on political pressure over the crisis in Ukraine. SENT: 260 words.
— PHILIPPINES-ECONOMY — The Philippine central bank raises key interest rates by a quarter percentage point for the second time in six weeks to stifle inflation. SENT: 160 words.
OF MUTUAL INTEREST-STOCK PICKERS LAG
Your mutual fund manager wishes you'd buy more fun things. Once again, the majority of funds run by stock pickers are struggling to keep up with broad market indexes. It's a trend that's gone on for years, and their recent underperformance may be due to a bias for the stocks of companies that sell coffee, airline tickets and other non-essentials to consumers. That, plus other trends around the mutual fund industry. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m.
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Less bang for buybacks?
The buyback boost may soon fade for stocks. For years, companies have used much of their cash to purchase their own stock and investors have seen the benefits. Stocks of companies with big buyback programs have generally done better than the rest of the market since 2008. But that outperformance peaked at the end of 2013 and has since diminished, according to Barclays Capital strategist Jonathan Glionna. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.
$1 billion contract
Alcoa has entered into a long-term contract with the aircraft manufacturer Boeing that the company said is worth more than $1 billion. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.
MONEY & MARKETS EXTRA
For the week ending Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014
What is General Electric? The company is making a push to restructure itself so that it will obtain 75 percent of its earnings from industrial businesses by 2016. Investors are hoping that move will re-energize the company's stock which has long been a laggard and is the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones industrial average so far this year. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.