BC-APFN-Business News Digest

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Business News at 1:30 p.m.

The supervisor is Skip Wollenberg (800-845-8450, ext. 1680). For photos, ext. 1900. For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact or call 877-836-9477.

If you have questions about transmission of financial market listings, please call 800-3AP-STOX.

A selection of top photos can be found at: .

All times EDT.



NEW YORK — Milder temperatures should cut heating bills this winter, as few expect a return of the deep freeze that chilled much of the nation last year. Most residents will save money because they won't crank up the heat as much. Users of heating oil and propane will get an extra discount from lower fuel prices, according to the Energy Department's annual prediction of winter heating costs. By Jonathan Fahey. SENT: 220 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 2 p.m., photos.


SAN FRANCISCO — Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets aren't just changing the way we live and work. They are shaking up Silicon Valley's balance of power and splitting up businesses. Long-established companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and eBay Inc. are scrambling to regain their footing to better compete against mobile-savvy trendsetters like Apple and Google, as well as rising technology stars that have built businesses around "cloud computing." By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 890 words, photos.


NEW YORK —Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to eliminate health insurance coverage for some of its part-time U.S. employees in a move aimed at controlling rising health care costs of the nation's largest private employer. Wal-Mart says starting Jan. 1, it will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. The move affects 30,000 employees, or about 5 percent of Wal-Mart's total part-time workforce, but comes after the company already had scaled back the number of part-time workers who were eligible for health insurance coverage since 2011. By Anne D'Innocenzio. SENT: 620 words, photo.


BRUSSELS — The European Union is broadening its crackdown on multinationals' tax avoidance schemes, opening Tuesday an investigation into Amazon's practices on suspicion the online retailer is not paying its dues on profits made across the 28-nation bloc. The probe adds another high-profile name to the list of companies targeted by the EU, which is already investigating Apple Inc., coffee chain Starbucks and the financial arm of carmaker Fiat. By Juergen Baetz. SENT: 660 words, photos.


MILAN — Protesters who tried to scale the walls of the royal palace in Naples where the European Central Bank was meeting last week embodied the frustration of 26 million jobless Europeans. With the policymakers literally behind fortified walls, symbolically isolated from the stark realities of the economy, the 3,000 demonstrators outside expressed their anger at leaders' inability to create jobs. European Union leaders will try to show some solidarity when they meet Wednesday in Milan for a one-day summit on how to create jobs. Expectations are low, however. By Colleen Barry. SENT: 740 words, photos.



WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says the U.S. economy is strengthening, but he is concerned that other nations are not doing their part to boost global growth. Lew says the United States took decisive steps after the 2008 financial crisis to get its economy growing. But he says there has been a less determined response in other nations to their own economic problems. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 320 words.


WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund slightly lowers its outlook for global economic growth this year and next, mostly because of weaker expansions in Japan, Latin America and Europe. The IMF says the global economy will grow 3.3 percent this year, one-tenth of a point below what it forecast in July. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 670 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices increase in August, yet the pace of these gains continues to slow, helping to improve affordability for would-be buyers. Real estate data provider CoreLogic says prices rose 6.4 percent in August compared to the prior 12 months. That marks a decline from an annual gain of 6.8 percent in July. By Josh Boak. SENT: 410 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — U.S. employers advertise the most job openings in nearly 14 years during August, yet their pace of hiring fell compared to July. The number of available jobs rose 230,000 to 4.84 million during the month, the Labor Department says. Restaurants, hotels and health care providers drove much of the increase, which resulted in the most openings since January 2001. By Josh Boak. SENT: 470 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve release its August report on consumer borrowing. In July, U.S. consumers stepped up their borrowing, led by rising auto loans and higher credit card balances. By Martin Crutsinger. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 3 p.m. 350 words by 3:45 p.m.


ALBANY, N.Y. — The securities industry in New York City tallied $8.7 billion in profits during the first half of 2014, which was 13 percent lower than the same period last year as it continued to deal with the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, New York's comptroller says. The analysis shows that despite its profitability over the past five years, the industry continues to downsize in New York. By Michael Virtanen. SENT: 500 words.


NEW YORK — U.S. stocks slide on heightened concerns rose that global economic growth is slowing. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 520 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

— BRITAIN-MARKET FIXING — Britain's Serious Fraud Office says a senior executive from a U.K. bank has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud in a case of market-rigging. SENT: 120 words.


— EARNS-YUM BRANDS — Yum Brands reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 130 words after release, 400 words by 5 p.m.



NEW YORK — Americans are expected to spend at the highest rate in three years during what's traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year, according to the nation's largest retail industry trade group. But industry watchers say shoppers will need fat discounts, and there will be a huge divide in spending between the haves and have-nots. By Anne D'Innocenzio. SENT: 460 words, photos.


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A New Jersey bankruptcy judge begins hearing arguments over whether Atlantic City's former Revel Casino Hotel should be sold at a 95 percent discount. By Wayne Parry. SENT: 520 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated.



LAS VEGAS — Casinos are trying to figure out how to lure younger gamblers to slot machines. The key, they agree, is more skill-based, social games. But casinos also have to keep happy the players who spend the most on slots - older female gamblers. And they must be careful not to run afoul of rules that specify slots must be games of chance. By Kimberly Pierceall. UPCOMING: 550 words by 4 p.m.

— EBOLA-TRAVEL — One U.S. Coast Guard sector says it will contact ships that have recently been to Ebola-affected countries to ask whether passengers have symptoms of the virus before they are allowed into port. SENT: 330 words.

— SODASTREAM-SALES — SodaStream says it isn't winning over enough new customers in the U.S. and reported preliminary sales results that fell short of Wall Street expectations. SENT: 330 words.

— GAS DRILLING-RECORD FINE — Pennsylvania environmental regulators are pursuing a record $4.5 million fine against a gas driller over what they describe as a major case of pollution from a leaking waste pit. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

— STARBUCKS-COLLEGE TUITION — Starbucks says more than 1,000 of its workers have enrolled for an upcoming fall semester at Arizona State University to take advantage of a program that helps pay for their tuition. That's from about 4,000 workers who started the application process, 2,000 who completed it, and 1,800 who were accepted by the school, according to Starbucks. SENT: 480 words.



Mapping apps don't just help your morning commute, many offer options for walking, biking and public transit, too. A few even work offline — when you don't have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Here's how you can make better use of mapping apps. By Anick Jesdanun. UPCOMING: 400 words by 2 p.m., photos.


WASHINGTON — Just because you can talk to your car doesn't mean you should. Two new studies find that voice-activated smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems are so error-prone or complex that they require more concentration from drivers rather than less, according to studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 780 words, photos, glance.


NEW YORK — From April to September, from Boston to Seattle, people sat down night after night after night to watch their hometown baseball team more than everything else on television. In 11 metropolitan areas, local ballclubs made for the most popular window of prime-time TV over the course of the regular season: The average rating for games on their regional sports network outpaced the offerings of any other channel in the market from 7-11 p.m. By Rachel Cohen. SENT: 830 words, photos.

— AT&T-DATA BREACH — AT&T informs about 1,600 customers that a rogue employee had accessed account information that might have included Social Security numbers and other personal data. SENT: 140 words.

— INFOSYS-WHISTLEBLOWER — The whistleblower who helped trigger a federal investigation into visa practices by the global outsourcing tech firm Infosys is taking on his former company again in court, and this time he's naming top executives in his lawsuit. SENT: 440 words.

— FAKE FACEBOOK — The Justice Department says it is reviewing a woman's complaint that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent set up a fake Facebook account using her identity. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

— JAPAN-ROBOTS — A smartphone-controlled dinosaur, synchronized cheerleaders and a ping pong-playing spider are some of the robot technology showcased at the CEATEC Japan electronics exhibition. SENT: 390 words, photo.

— NOBEL-PHYSICS — Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura won the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough that spurred the development of LED technology used to light up computer screens and modern smartphones. SENT: 680 words, photos, video.



BERLIN — Concerns are growing that Germany's economy may not rebound as expected in the third quarter, weighing on the already-fragile eurozone, after data showed the biggest monthly drop in industrial production in five years. By David McHugh and Geir Moulson. SENT: 480 words, photo.


— GERMANY-TRANSPORT STRIKES — A union representing German train drivers calls members out on a nine-hour strike, starting a campaign of walkouts after members voted for strikes in a pay dispute. SENT: 140 words.

A sampling of Money & Markets modules is below. The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at For questions about Money & Markets content, please contact Trevor Delaney (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096). After 6 p.m., contact the AP Business News desk (800-845-8450, ext. 1680) for content questions; 1-800-3AP-STOX for technical support and 212-621-1905 for graphics help.


The healthiest returns

Health care stocks have smoked the rest of the market this year. Pharmaceutical companies, insurers and others in the sector have jumped 15.4 percent. That's the best performance of the 10 sectors that make up the Standard & Poor's 500 index, and it's more than double the index's gain. These no-load health care stock funds have low expenses and have been in the top of their category for both one-year and 10-year returns. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.


Green Mountain rises, SodaStream slumps

Shares of Keurig Green Mountain jumps to an all-time high as the stock of a potential rival, SodaStream International , sinks to an all-time low. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.