BC-Business News Digest
Business News at 2 p.m.
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DALLAS — As much as American drivers appreciate paying a nickel or a dime less for fuel, airline CEOs love the savings even more. Profits are soaring at the biggest U.S. airlines, and a chunk of credit goes to lower fuel costs. The airlines are also benefiting from continued strong travel demand and higher fares. Following strong third-quarter earnings, executives report strong bookings for holiday travel and say they see no signs that Ebola is scaring away travelers. By David Koenig. SENT: 800 words, photos. Incorporates AMERICAN AIRLINES-RESULTS, EARNS-SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, UNITED CONTINENTAL-RESULTS, which all moved separately.
— FINANCIAL MARKETS — U.S. stocks rise sharply in afternoon trading, driven by encouraging earnings from companies including Caterpillar, 3M and General Motors. Investors were also encouraged by some positive manufacturing news out of Europe. SENT: 530 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.
WASHINGTON — With mortgage rates sliding for a fifth straight week, the possibility of locking in a rate below 4 percent is tempting for consumers and could unleash a wave of refinancing. It may even convince some Americans to buy their first home. Yet there are limits to how far the wave can extend. Many homeowners already re-financed last year. And the overall housing market remains hampered by tight mortgage credit, rising home prices and stagnating incomes. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 430 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 4 p.m.
NEW YORK — Looking for one of the holiday season's hot toys? Or maybe you just want a deal? Toy sellers are increasingly catering to the time-starved, budget conscious shopper and making it easier for them to find the deals or the hottest toys with new features on websites or improved layouts in the toy aisle. And you can expect more bargains than last year. By Anne D'Innocenzio. UPCOMING: 600 words by 2:30 p.m., photos.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Europe's biggest banks are facing a day of judgment as the European Central Bank prepares to unveil the results of a yearlong search through the dark corners of their finances. It's a step that comes none too soon for the struggling economy of the 18-country eurozone. The results due Sunday will seek to identify banks that are too weak to lend to businesses or make it through another recession — and force them to strengthen their finances. The hope is that healthier banks would offer loans at cheaper rates, helping the economy. First, however, there could be days of market volatility as any banks that fail the review scramble to raise money or need bailouts. By David McHugh. SENT: 780 words, photos.
— EUROPE-ECONOMY — A stronger than anticipated economic survey fails to inspire much optimism that the recovery in the 18-country eurozone and of France in particular would be anything but muted. SENT: 570 words.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits rises last week after falling to a 14-year low the previous week. Despite the increase, weekly applications remain at historically low levels that suggest hiring is gaining steam. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 350 words, photo.
WASHINGTON — A gauge designed to predict the economy's future health posts a solid increase in September after no gain in the previous month. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 270 words, photo.
AIR BAG RECALL
DETROIT — Two U.S. senators are calling on regulators to issue a nationwide recall of cars with faulty air bags made by Takata Corp., questioning why automakers have been allowed to limit recalls to only certain locations with high humidity. Air bag inflators made by Takata can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out in a crash. Safety advocates say the problem has caused four deaths and multiple injuries. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 520 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 4 p.m.
LONDON — The chairman of Tesco, the world's second-biggest retailer behind Walmart, announces his resignation amid an accounting scandal in which the company admitted it had overstated its projected profits. Richard Broadbent said he will step down once a successor is found while the company confirmed its financial troubles continued, with a 99 percent drop in first-half net income to 6 million pounds ($9.6 million). By Danica Kirka. SENT: 580 words, photo.
— COCA-COLA-PERSONNEL — Coca-Cola is naming a new chief marketing officer as the world's biggest soda maker works to boost flat soda sales. The Atlanta-based company says Marcos De Quinto, a company veteran, will replace Joe Tripodi starting Jan. 1. SENT: 330 words.
MIDTERM ELECTIONS-BALLOT MEASURES
WASHINGTON — Voters may not know it, but the millions of dollars paying for ads on ballot measures they will consider next month come from large companies and national advocacy groups. Many of the messages are tailored to defend or expand the business interests of companies such as Coca-Cola, Monsanto and ExxonMobil, yet few have their names in the ads. By Philip Elliot. SENT: 900 words, photos, glance.
— MIDTERM ELECTIONS-BALLOT MEASURES-SUMMARY
— RUSSIA-TOTAL CEO KILLED — The plane carrying a top French oil executive and a crew of three was already in the air when it grazed a snowplow, just failing to avoid the fatal crash, Russian crash investigators say. SENT: 500 words, photo.
— CHIQUITA-SAFRA-CUTRALE — Brazilian companies Cutrale and Safra said they are again raising their bid for banana producer Chiquita, to $681 million — a day before Chiquita shareholders are expected to vote on a combination with Irish fruit importer Fyffes. SENT: 230 words.
— DAMAGED PLANES — A Delta Air Lines plane clipped wings with a smaller jet as the two were preparing to take off from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Wednesday night. No one was injured in the incident. SENT: 220 words.
— PORTUGAL-TELECOM — A ban on the short-selling of Portugal Telecom shares helps the stock rebound following a plunge that analysts say leaves it vulnerable to a takeover bid. SENT: 130 words.
— HEALTH OVERHAUL-VERSION 2 —HealthCare.gov's simpler online application is being touted as a big win for consumers. But it can't be used by legal immigrants and naturalized U.S. citizens, who represent millions of potential new health insurance customers. SENT: 780 words, photo.
— HEALTH OVERHAUL-TAXPAYER INFORMATION — Federal investigators say the IRS and the states should improve how they protect the security of confidential tax information of people getting benefits under the 2010 health care law. SENT: 160 words.
DETROIT — Big profits from rising SUV and truck sales in North America helped General Motors nearly double its third-quarter net profit and more than offset its struggles in Europe and South America. The automaker posted net income of $1.38 billion, or 81 cents per share, from July through September. It was the first quarter this year without significant charges for recalls. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 410 words, photo. UPCOMING: Will be updated.
Amazon.com Inc. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 130 words after release, 500 words by 5:30 p.m., photo.
Microsoft Corp. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 130 words after release, 500 words by 5:30 p.m., photo.
— EARNS-SOUTHWEST AIRLINES — More passengers and lower fuel prices are pushing Southwest Airlines to record profits, and the airline expects an even bigger break at the gas pump this winter. SENT: 250 words, photo.
— EARNS-3M — Diversified manufacturer 3M's third-quarter net income rose 6 percent on higher revenue across all divisions. SENT: 230 words, photo.
— COMCAST-RESULTS — Comcast Corp.'s third-quarter net income jumps 50 percent in the third quarter, helped by a one-time tax settlement, growth in Internet subscribers and fewer defectors from its cable service. SENT: 410 words, photo.
— FINLAND-EARNS-NOKIA — Nokia appears to have turned around its fortunes after the sale of its ailing cellphone unit to Microsoft, reporting a third-quarter net profit of 747 million euros ($950 million), from a loss of 91 million euros a year earlier. Sales grew 13 percent. SENT: 520 words.
— EARNS-CATERPILLAR — Caterpillar's belt tightening pays off in the third quarter as the manufacturer easily beat Wall Street expectations and raised its outlook for the year. SENT: 300 words, photo.
— UNITED CONTINENTAL-RESULTS — United Airlines appears to be hitting its stride after struggling to make a 2010 merger pay off. The airline's formula is lower fuel prices and more revenue for every mile that passengers fly. SENT: 400 words, photo.
— AMERICAN AIRLINES-RESULTS — American Airlines Group repors third-quarter earnings of $942 million, topping Wall Street expectations. SENT: 300 words, photo.
— EARNS-UNION PACIFIC — Union Pacific delivers a 19 percent increase in its third-quarter profit as the railroad hauled 7 percent more freight and increased rates. SENT: 450 words, photo.
— SWITZERLAND-EARNS-CREDIT SUISSE — Credit Suisse's profits more than double in the third quarter as Switzerland's second-largest bank benefited from cost cutting, brisk business in emerging markets and the services it provides for wealthy clients. SENT: 310 words, photos.
— SKOREA-EARNS-HYUNDAI MOTOR — Hyundai Motor Co. says its profit sank nearly 30 percent for the July-September quarter, hurt by a stronger South Korean currency and weak sales growth in its home market. SENT: 370 words, photo.
— NETHERLANDS-UNILEVER — Unilever PLC, the maker of consumer products including Dove soaps, Lipton teas and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, says it saw price deflation in Europe's largest markets in the third quarter. SENT: 140 words.
— GERMANY-EARNS-DAIMLER — Automaker Daimler says its net earnings rose by nearly half in the third quarter as revenue rose 10 percent and the company booked a one-time gain from the sale of a stake in a maker of heavy-duty engines. SENT: 130 words.
— FRANCE-PERNOD RICARD — Pernod Ricard SA, maker of Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, returns to growth after Asian, Middle Eastern and African markets stemmed a monthslong slide, but sales in China continued to decline steeply. SENT: 130 words.
— FRANCE-KERING-SALES — Kering, the company Saint Laurent couture and Puma streetwear, says revenue grew 3.3 percent in the third quarter even as its Gucci brand continued to see sales slump. SENT: 140 words.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:
BEIJING — China may ban Facebook, but not its co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who delighted an audience of students in Beijing with a 30-minute chat in his recently learned Mandarin Chinese. There was no explicit discussion of China's ban on the social media site, which has been in place since 2009, though an indirect reference to it drew laughter during the question-and-answer session Wednesday at the prestigious Tsinghua University. By Didi Tang. SENT: 680 words, photos, video.
WARSAW — European Union leaders meeting in Brussels to set their new greenhouse gas emissions plan are facing staunch opposition from coal-reliant Poland and other East European countries who say their economies would suffer from the new target. Poland says it's ready to veto the plan that would oblige the bloc's 28 states to jointly cut their greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below the 1990 levels by the year 2030. By Monika Scislowska and Mike Corder. SENT: 690 words, photo.
NEW DELHI — After months of criticism for not moving aggressively enough on promises of an economic overhaul, India's new prime minister announces a string of policies designed to kick-start Asia's third-largest economy. By Muneeza Naqvi. SENT: 870 words, photo.
— CHINA-MANUFACTURING — A gauge of the health of China's manufacturing industry inches higher in October but factory output was at a five-month low in a sign of slowing domestic and foreign demand. SENT: 190 words.
— SPAIN-UNEMPLOYMENT — Spain's unemployment rate drops to 23.7 percent in the third quarter from 24.5 percent in the previous three-month period thanks to a recovering economy and a bumper summer tourism season. SENT: 130 words.
— SWEDEN-BUDGET — Sweden's left-leaning government proposes raising taxes and welfare benefits and boosting military spending in its first budget bill since taking office after last month's election. That would reverse many reforms by the previous center-right government, which had trimmed Sweden's famously high taxes. SENT: 130 words.
— GLOBAL CORRUPTION — An anti-corruption watchdog says that several of the Group of 20 global economic powers are making little or no effort to enforce rules barring multinational companies from paying bribes abroad, and only Canada has improved significantly in the past year. SENT: 130 words.
OF MUTUAL INTEREST-BOND FUND EXPECTATIONS
When stock markets around the world tumbled last week, bond mutual funds once again remained solid. So much money rushed into bonds in search of safety that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note at one point dropped below 2 percent. But it's important for anyone shifting money into bonds now to keep expectations in check. Yields are lower, risks are higher and it may be difficult for bonds to replicate what they've done so far this year. By Stan Choe. UPCOMING: 800 words by 4 p.m.
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The descent of energy company earnings has been quick. A recovery won't be, analysts say. The plummeting price of oil is dragging down profits in the energy sector, home to some of the strongest earnings growth just a few months ago. Analysts believe the weakness will persist. In the fourth quarter, the energy sector is expected to be the only one of the 10 sectors of the S&P 500 to report a decline in earnings. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.
Caterpillar raises outlook
Shares of Caterpillar rise as the heavy equipment manufacturer raised its earnings guidance for the year and reported better-than-expected earnings. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.
MONEY & MARKETS EXTRA
For the week ending Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
Shares of Home Depot, Lowe's and Sherwin Williams all hit an all-time high Wednesday. What's the outlook for these stocks given that many expect the growth in home improvement spending to begin to slow down? UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.