Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


As market sinks, investors brace for turbulence

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market had its worst day of the year Thursday, just 24 hours after recording its best.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 334 points as falling energy stocks and worries about the global economy sent investors fleeing out of the market. The blue-chip index rose 275 points the day before.

For three years, U.S. investors have enjoyed a stock market that has, for the most part, quietly and steadily moved higher. The pleasure cruise appears to be over. Market volatility is back and in a big way, market observers say.


Finance officials face global economy under threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Though braced by a resurgent United States, the global economy is under threat from other regions — from Europe and Latin America to China and Japan — where growth is stalling and prospects remain dim.

That's the bleak picture facing global finance officials who are meeting this week in Washington to consider policies to address the world's uneven growth.

Their meetings follow downbeat assessments of the global economy issued this week by the International Monetary Fund, the Brookings Institution and the Federal Reserve.


Europe, others weigh risks of West African flights

CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — Airlines flying directly to and from the West African countries stricken by Ebola could carry infected passengers without knowing, but barring a complete stop to travel, they have few options to reduce their risks.

Passengers are screened before boarding, but because the disease is hard to catch in the early stages, it's possible the tests might not catch infected individuals. And screening people on arrival, as the U.S. has said it will do, may not be much more effective.

That leaves European authorities focusing on quick response on the ground, such as high-tech hospitals near airports where infected passengers can be quarantined.

Still, travel bans aren't the way to go, says a top World Health Organization official.


Flavors fuel food industry, but remain a mystery

NEW YORK (AP) — They help give Coke its distinctive bite and Doritos its cheesy kick. But the artificial and natural flavors used to rev up the taste of processed foods remain a mystery to most Americans.

"Artificial and natural flavors" have become ubiquitous terms on food labels, helping create vivid tastes that would otherwise be lost in mass production.

As the science behind them advances, however, some are calling for greater transparency about their safety and ingredients.


Mexico's junk food taxes hitting Pepsi, Coke

NEW YORK (AP) — No wonder Coke and Pepsi are spending millions of dollars to fight proposed taxes on sugary drinks in California.

PepsiCo reported a higher quarterly profit Thursday as global sales rose, but one weak spot was Mexico. The company said snacks sales volume declined 3 percent, hurt by a new tax on junk foods.

Recent declines suffered by Pepsi and Coke in Mexico underscore why the beverage industry is fighting tax proposals on sugary drinks in in San Francisco and nearby Berkeley.

PepsiCo, which makes Frito-Lay chips, Gatorade and Tropicana, reported similar declines in its snacks business for the first half of the year, starting when the tax went into effect.


Symantec says it will split into 2 companies

NEW YORK (AP) — Security software maker Symantec is the latest company to announce plans to split itself into two.

The maker of Norton antivirus software said Thursday that it will separate into one business focused on security and the other on information management.

Symantec said that separating its businesses will create greater growth opportunities and more value for its shareholders.


Bernanke defends AIG bailout in court

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified in federal court Thursday that insurance giant American Group Inc. had to be rescued by the government in 2008 to avert global catastrophe.

Bernanke took the stand at a trial of a lawsuit brought by former AIG Chairman and CEO Maurice Greenberg, who is suing the government over its handling of AIG's bailout loan. Bernanke was one of the key decision makers on the bailout, which grew to nearly $185 billion in federal aid.

In early questioning, Bernanke kept his answers terse when asked about the potential damage an AIG collapse might inflict.


Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 287K

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, pushing the average number of applications in the past month to an eight-year low.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications fell 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 in the week ended Oct. 4. That is the fourth straight week that applications have been below 300,000, a clear sign of a job market on the mend.


Endo Intl to buy Auxilium in deal worth $2.6B

Ireland's Endo International is planning to buy Auxilium Pharmaceuticals in a sweetened cash-and-stock deal valued at $2.6 billion a few weeks after Auxilium rejected a lower bid. The Auxilium board embraced the latest offer but its shareholders get to vote on it.

Endo said Thursday that it will pay $33.25 in cash and stock for each Auxilium share. That represents a 55 percent premium to Auxilium's closing price on Sept. 16, the day Endo went public with its acquisition attempt.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average lost 334.97 points, or 2 percent, to 16,659.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 40.68 points, or 2.1 percent, to 1,928.21. The Nasdaq composite fell 90.26 points, or 2 percent, to 4,378.34.

Benchmark U.S. crude dropped $1.54, or 1.8 percent, to $85.77 in New York, a third straight decline of more than 1.5 percent. Brent crude, an international benchmark used to price oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.33 to $90.05 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline futures fell 4.35 cents to $2.275 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3.9 cents to $2.537 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 1 cent to $3.845 per 1,000 cubic feet.