Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


JPMorgan says data breach affected 76M households

LOS ANGELES (AP) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. says that a recent cyberattack compromised customer information for about 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.

The New York-based bank said Thursday that customer information including names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses were stolen in the cyberattack.

However, JPMorgan says there's no evidence that the data breach included customers' account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers or dates of birth.

The lender says it has not any unusual customer fraud related to this data breach.

JPMorgan Chase, the nation's biggest bank by assets, has been working with law enforcement officials to investigate the cyberattack.


5 mysteries of US job market waiting to be solved

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just how healthy is the U.S. job market?

Despite steady hiring and falling unemployment, the question has provoked sharp debate and considerable uncertainty on the eve of the September jobs report.

Will millions without jobs who aren't looking for one eventually start looking?

Why aren't companies filling more of their openings?

Why can many people find only part-time work?

Much of the uncertainty flows from a big question: Does today's 6.1 percent unemployment rate, far below the 10 percent it hit in 2009, mean the job market is near full health? Or does the unemployment rate overstate the improvement?

The answers, whenever they come, could play a key role in when the Federal Reserve decides to finally raise interest rates.


Can a football stadium be as 'smart' as a phone?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — It's a tough challenge for the National Football League to entice fans off their comfy couches and into stadiums when ticket prices are almost as high as the sport's TV ratings.

The temptation to stay home goes beyond cost. Equipped with high-definition televisions, Wi-Fi and laptops, tablets and smartphones, fans at home can watch multiple games on Sunday while simultaneously checking their fantasy rosters and celebrating (or taunting) friends via text. So when the owners of the San Francisco 49ers drew up plans for the team's new $1.3 billion stadium, they tapped the ingenuity surrounding their Silicon Valley home.

The result? Levi's Stadium is home to the first mobile app designed to enhance every aspect of a fan's stadium experience, from steering fans to their parking spots to identifying the least-crowded restrooms.


Hong Kong protests hit city's role as finance hub

HONG KONG (AP) — 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.

In the latest blow, mainland authorities on Wednesday suspended group tours to Hong Kong, cutting a critical source of revenue to its growing travel industry.

Protests erupted after the communist Beijing government announced candidates in the first direct election of the territory's chief executive in 2017 would have to be approved by a panel dominated by business leaders allied with the mainland.


IMF head: Improved policies needed to boost growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund says that six years after the financial crisis, the world is still mired in a disappointing economic recovery and will only be able to regain momentum through improved government policies.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Thursday that the world has experienced a sub-par recovery that is "brittle, uneven and beset by risks." Those risks include potential escalation of the strife in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Policymakers must pursue reforms to break out of a prolonged period of mediocre growth, Lagarde said in a speech at Georgetown University to preview next week's meetings of the 188-nation IMF and its sister lending agency, the World Bank. She called for reforms of labor markets and increased spending on infrastructure.


Applications for US jobless benefits drop to 287K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, as the total number of beneficiaries dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years.

The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,250 to 294,750, the Labor Department said Thursday. Overall, 2.3 million people are receiving jobless aid. That's the fewest since June 2006, which predates the start of the Great Recession by 18 months.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The recent decline suggests that employers are keeping their workers, likely because they expect continued economic growth and may be contemplating more hires.

The steady decline in people applying for benefits began at the end of April, after brutal winter weather temporarily caused a halt to economic growth.


US factory orders posted record drop in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell in August by the largest amount on record, but the drop was 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.

Orders declined 10.1 percent in August after a record increase of 10.5 percent in July, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Both months were affected by swings in demand for commercial aircraft, which soared in July only to plummet in August.

Core capital goods, a category seen as a proxy for business investment, managed to rise a slight 0.4 percent in August after a 0.1 percent July dip.


Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.19 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key long-term U.S. mortgage rate dipped this week, the second drop after a large increase two weeks ago.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday the nationwide average for a 30-year loan slipped to 4.19 percent from 4.20 percent last week. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, was unchanged at 3.36 percent.

The 30-year rate is down from 4.53 percent at the start of the year. Rates have fallen even though the Federal Reserve has been trimming its monthly bond purchases, which are intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low. The purchases are set to end next month.

Mortgage rates often follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The 10-year note traded at 2.41 percent at midday Thursday, down sharply from 2.57 percent a week earlier.


Obama touts economic gains under his watch

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — President Barack Obama acknowledged his pivotal role in the midterm political campaign Thursday, arguing that the November congressional elections are a referendum on his economic policies and blaming Republicans for blocking his efforts to boost wages and create more jobs.

In a speech at Northwestern University that marked a shift in attention from foreign entanglements to domestic concerns, Obama laid claim to an economic recovery that he said has made steady progress, yet he conceded that many families have not benefited from lower unemployment, beefed-up corporate profits and a pumped-up stock market.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 3.66 points, or 0.02 percent, to 16,801.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.01 of a point to 1,946.17. The Nasdaq composite rose 8.11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,430.19.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 28 cents to close at $91.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 74 cents to close at $93.42 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 4.1 cents to close at $2.409 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.8 cent to close at $2.638 a gallon. Natural gas fell 9.1 cents to close at $3.932 per 1,000 cubic feet.