BC-Business News Preview

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Among the stories Thursday from The Associated Press:

TOP STORIES:

ALIBABA IPO-TECH CHAMPIONS

BEIJING — Alibaba Group's U.S. stock offering is a wakeup call about an emerging wave of technology giants in China's state-dominated economy. Until now, Chinese companies that made a splash in global stock markets were state-owned banks and oil companies. But they are big by decree, not because they sell products customers want. By contrast, private sector tech champions such as Lenovo Group in personal computers and search engine Baidu Inc. survived bruising competition to rise to the top of their industries. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

With:

— ALIBABA IPO-INSIDERS — Control over Alibaba Group will stay in the hands of founder Jack Ma and other company veterans after the Chinese e-commerce giant goes public on the New York Stock Exchange in a record busting share sale. SENT: 950 words.

Also:

ALIBABA IPO-US INVASION

NEW YORK — Amazon and eBay should watch their backs. As Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba readies what could be the biggest initial public offering ever on the New York Stock Exchange, it is quietly hinting at plans to expand into the U.S. The company controls nearly 80 percent of all e-commerce in China, and chairman Jack Ma has ambitions that go beyond the country's borders. While the specifics of Alibaba's U.S. expansion are unclear, the company's recent stateside investments may offer clues. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 700 word, photo.

DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-APPLE IOS 8 SOFTWARE

NEW YORK — The scores of new features in Apple's software update for mobile devices can be boiled down to one word: unity. Many iPhone owners also have iPads and Mac computers, and family members are likely to have Apple devices, too. With the new iOS 8 software for iPhones and iPads, those devices start to act like one. Apps on devices begin to act in unison, too. The free update is available starting Wednesday. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 860 words, photo.

With:

— Digital Life-Review-Apple iOS 8 Software-Now or Later — Apple's iOS 8 software update for iPhones and iPads is worth getting — but not necessarily right away. SENT: 220 words.

EUROPE-ECONOMY

FRANKFURT, Germany — The European Central Bank launches a new stimulus program aimed at getting banks to lend more — but low demand for its super-cheap money shows the difficulty it faces in trying to revive a stalling economy. The central bank for the 18-country eurozone handed out 82.6 billion euros ($107 billion) in ultra-low interest loans to 255 banks. By David McHugh. SENT: 600 words, photo.

With:

— EUROPE-YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT — Some 200 companies pledge to create new work and training opportunities for Europe's young jobseekers, of which one out of four is unemployed. SENT: 380 words.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

WASHINGTON — The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits drops by a sharp 36,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 280,000, a sign that the job market is strengthening. By Josh Boak. SENT: 320 words, photo, glance.

HOME CONSTRUCTION

WASHINGTON — U.S. home construction plunges in August, led by steep decline in the volatile apartment category. But single-family house construction, a larger and more stable portion of the market, fell only modestly. By Josh Boak. SENT: 610 words, photo.

YELLEN

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the Great Recession showed that a large number of American families are "extraordinarily vulnerable" to financial setbacks because they have few assets to fall back on. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 430 words, photo.

MORTGAGE RATES

WASHINGTON — Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year loan jumped to 4.23 percent from 4.12 percent last week, marking their largest one-week gain this year. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 320 words, photo.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — The U.S. stock market headed up in early Thursday trading as investors received more encouraging news on the economy. SENT: 570 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

INDUSTRY:

GAS DRILLING-CHEVRON

PITTSBURGH — Chevron becomes the first energy company to meet a new set of voluntary shale gas drilling standards that aim to go beyond existing state laws in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale says. By Kevin Begos. SENT: 500 words.

SKOREA-HYUNDAI MOTOR-GANGNAM

SEOUL, South Korea — A consortium led by Hyundai Motor Co. offered more than $10 billion for land in Seoul's tony Gangnam district where it will build a new headquarters. The sky high price surprised shareholders who sent the automaker's shares down nearly 10 percent. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 400 words, photo.

— PEPSICO-NFL — Another major sponsor is speaking out on the NFL's handling of domestic violence cases, with PepsiCo Inc.'s CEO Indra Nooyi saying she is "deeply disturbed." SENT: 280 words.

— HOLIDAY HIRING — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it plans to hire 60,000 temporary holiday workers for the crucial holiday season, an increase of 10 percent from last year. SENT: 130 words.

— GERMANY-BAYER — German pharmaceuticals and chemicals company Bayer AG says it plans to spin off its polymer division with a separate stock listing. SENT: 160 words.

— EU-AIRLINE SURCHARGES — The European Union's highest court says airlines are allowed to charge passengers an extra fee for checking in luggage. SENT: 150 words.

— HORSE-POWERED FARMING — While most modern farmers work their fields accompanied by the rumble of a trusty tractor, sheep farmer Donn Hewes labors to the faint jingling of harnesses in rhythm with the hoofbeats of horses and mules. SENT: 650 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

— NEWS CORP-GOOGLE ANTITRUST — The media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch is joining the fray in Google's protracted European antitrust case, saying the technology company unfairly distorts competition. SENT: 140 words.

— OBAMA-SOLAR PANELS — The U.S. will train at least 50,000 veterans to become solar panel installers in the next six years, the White House says. It will launch this fall at one or more military bases. SENT: 230 words, photo.

— PHILIPPINES-CYBERSEX — Philippine authorities say they have arrested 43 suspected members of a syndicate that runs a lucrative online cybersex operation catering to clients worldwide. SENT: 130 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

BRITAIN-SCOTLAND

EDINBURGH, Scotland — Scots hold the fate of the United Kingdom in their hands as they vote in a referendum on becoming an independent state, deciding whether to unravel a marriage with England that built an empire but has increasingly been felt by many Scots as stifling and one-sided. The question on the ballot paper is simplicity itself: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Yet it has divided Scots during months of campaigning, and polls suggest the result is too close to call. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 700 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

— IRELAND-ECONOMY — Ireland's battered economy bounces back strongly in the second quarter, growing 1.5 percent from the quarter before and a very strong 7.7 percent from a year earlier. SENT: 500 words.

— GREECE-UNEMPLOYMENT — Greek unemployment drops considerably in the second quarter but still afflicts more than a quarter of the workforce, as the country struggles to climb out of a punishing six-year economic recession. SENT: 150 words.

— JAPAN-TRADE — Japan logs a 948.5 billion yen ($8.7 billion) trade deficit in August, the 26th straight month of red ink, as slack demand from China and the U.S. stymied exports. SENT: 430 words, photos.

— JAPAN-ENDANGERED-EELS — Japan agrees to cut purchases of eel fry from neighboring East Asian countries by 20 percent as part of moves to protect the endangered species. SENT: 220 words, photos.

— INDIA-CHINA — Indian and Chinese troops face off along their Himalayan border on Thursday as the countries' leaders held a rare meeting in New Delhi, promising to boost economic cooperation and substantially increase Chinese investment in India's infrastructure. SENT: 830 words, photos.

— ALBANIA-CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR — Albania's parliament fires the country's central bank governor, following his recent arrest after millions of dollars from the bank's reserves went missing. SENT: 140 words, photos.