BC-APFN-Business News Preview

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Among the stories Thursday from The Associated Press:



NAPLES, Italy — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi underlines the bank's willingness to ramp up its stimulus efforts with large-scale bond purchases if needed — but otherwise offers no new economic help at the bank's meeting. Draghi called the economic recovery in the 18 countries euro "weak, fragile, and uneven." Even so, he offered no new help, choosing instead to stress what the bank has already done, and repeated previous statements about the bank's willingness to do more. By David McHugh and Colleen Barry. SENT: 520 words, photos, glance.


— EUROPE-BUDGET CONTROL — European lawmakers grill the 28-nation bloc's incoming economy chief, Pierre Moscovici, because many fear he cannot be trusted to properly enforce rules limiting government deficits. SENT: 470 words, photos.


— FINANCIAL MARKETS — U.S. markets are mostly flat in early trading, follow a sell-off the day before, as U.S. investors had little reaction to comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who announced new economic stimulus measures for the continent. European markets fell. By Ken Sweet. SENT: 440 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.


HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears, sorely in need of cash, is selling most of its stake in its Canadian unit to raise as much as $380 million. The rights offering to shareholders for the majority of its 51 percent stake in Sears Canada Inc. will give the retailer some breathing room as it heads into the crucial holiday season. It's the last in a string of initiatives the company is undertaking to shore up finances. By Anne D'Innocenzio and Michelle Chapman. SENT: 630 words, photo.


HONG KONG — Shops in Hong Kong have closed and the local stock market has plunged but protesters are gambling their agitation for greater democracy will pay off by preserving institutions that made this former British colony a profitable asset to China. The impact on Hong Kong's key industries of finance and trade is limited so far. But economists warn Hong Kong's appeal to global companies might erode if they start to think protests will become more frequent — or if they end in a violent crackdown. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 840 words, photos.


— HONG KONG-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS-CYBER SPYING — The Chinese government might be using smartphone apps to spy on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a U.S. security firm says. Lacoon Mobile Security says the applications are disguised as tools created by activists, and that once downloaded, they give an outsider access to the phone's address book, call logs and other information. SENT: 340 words, photos.


— HONG KONG-PROTEST APP — Just as protesters in Egypt depended on Twitter three years ago, the latest digital tools have become required gear for tens of thousands of people demanding democratic reforms on the streets of Hong Kong. SENT: 270 words, photos.



WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits drops 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, as the total number of Americans collecting benefits dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years. The Labor Department says the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,250 to 294,750. By Josh Boak. SENT: 380 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories fall in August by the largest amount on record, but the drop is heavily weighed by an expected plunge in volatile aircraft orders. A key category that tracks business investment plans posted a small increase, offering an encouraging sign that factory production will sustain momentum in the second half of this year. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 500 words, photo.


CHICAGO — While Washington's attention was focused on a Secret Service scandal, President Barack Obama slipped away for an overnight trip to his family home in Chicago and a speech to assure voters he is still focused on the economy. Obama is delivering his afternoon economic address at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. By Nedra Pickler. SENT: 520 words, photo. UPCOMING: Will be updated from 2:15 p.m. speech.

— DUBAI-EMAAR — Shares in the owner of the Middle East's largest mall jump more than 12 percent in the first day of trading on the Dubai stock exchange after its initial public offering. SENT: 130 words.



WASHINGTON — The number of chronic safety violators among mine operators falls sharply in recent years, according to government figures. The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the number has dropped in response to reforms the agency has taken to rein in bad actors. The National Mining Association counters that the industry's own safety program deserves the credit. By Frederic J. Frommer. SENT: 580 words.


PARIS — The world's leading carmakers present their next best thing at the Paris Car Show, as the European auto industry — and the overall economy — tries to dig out of a prolonged slump. UPCOMING: Will be updated throughout the day, photos, video.


— PARIS MOTOR SHOW-FIAT — Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says fellow car bosses "are still reeling" from the profit warning that rival Ford announced on the eve of the biennial gathering in Paris. SENT: 140 words, photos.

— PARIS-MOTOR SHOW-RUSSIA — Troubles in Russia's once-booming car market linked to sanctions are dampening spirits at the Paris Motor Show. SENT: 290 words, photos.

— BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY-ACQUISITION —Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, owner of businesses ranging from the BNSF railroad to Dairy Queen, is buying the privately-owned auto dealership company Van Tuyl Group. Financial terms were not disclosed. SENT: 450 words.

— BUFFETT-COCA-COLA PAY PLAN — Investor Warren Buffett is praising the changes Coca-Cola made to its executive compensation plan after he and other investors criticized it. SENT: 150 words.

— KODAK-JOB CUTS — Eastman Kodak says it will cut 70 jobs at its Rochester-area operations as it transitions to a smaller company focused on commercial and packaging printing. SENT: 130 words.

— NETHERLANDS-PHILIPS — Royal Philips NV says it will book a $467 million (366 million-euro) charge in the third quarter after losing a patent lawsuit to smaller U.S. competitor Masimo Corp. SENT: 140 words.

— GERMANY-ALLIANZ-CEO — German insurer Allianz SE says board member Oliver Baete will take over as chief executive in May when current CEO Michael Diekmann steps down after more than a decade in charge. SENT: 140 words.



WASHINGTON — Although it's called "Open Payments," the government's new website doesn't make it easy to find out whether your doctor is getting freebies, travel or other financial benefits from drug companies and medical device manufacturers. This should be a clue: The website lacks a "Find Your Doctor" button. The Obama administration says consumers will start seeing some improvements later this month. By Ricardo Alonso-Zalvidar and Jack Gillum. SENT: 690 words, photo.

— SKOREA-SAMSUNG-CHINA-LAWSUIT — A Chinese supplier of Samsung Electronics Co. files a lawsuit accusing a New York City-based labor watchdog of spreading false rumors of child labor, but the labor group says it has evidence to back up its report. SENT: 320 words.

— FINLAND-ROVIO — Mobile game developer Rovio Entertainment Ltd. says it plans to cut some 16 percent of its workforce amid signs that its Angry Birds game is losing some of its luster. SENT: 140 words.


— GREECE-STOCK EXCHANGE-PARCEL — Greek police destroy a suspicious parcel sent to the Athens Stock Exchange that was stopped at the mailroom and did not disrupt trading. SENT: 100 words.

— BRITAIN-PAYDAY LENDING — Payday lender Wonga agrees to write off the debts of 330,000 people it admits shouldn't have gotten loans in the first place. SENT: 130 words.

— GREENLAND-POLITICS — Greenland calls for early elections next month after four government members quit and the prime minister went on leave amid a scandal involving the use of public funds. SENT: 150 words.



After delivering solid and consistent returns through the first half of the year, most types of mutual funds faltered in the third quarter. It wasn't a disaster — most of the declines were only modest — but it was a letdown for anyone who got accustomed to steady and widespread quarterly gains. Of the 105 mutual-fund categories that Morningstar tracks, 76 fell from July through September. Compare that with the prior quarter, when only six categories had losses, and those were mostly niche types of funds that few investors own. By Stan Choe. SENT: 840 words.