BC-APFN-Business News Preview

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Among the stories Thursday from The Associated Press:

TOP STORIES:

TIM COOK-COMES OUT

NEW YORK — Apple CEO Tim Cook says he's proud to be gay. The public declaration, in an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, makes Cook the highest-profile business CEO to come out. Cook said that while he never denied his sexuality, he never publicly acknowledged it, either. The executive said that for years he's been open with many people about his sexual orientation and that plenty of his Apple colleagues know he is gay. By Michelle Chapman. SENT: 500 words, photo.

ECONOMY-GDP

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at a solid annual rate of 3.5 percent in the July-September quarter, propelled by solid gains in business investment, export sales and the biggest jump in military spending in five years. The third quarter result, which was slightly better than economists expected, followed a 4.6 percent rebound in the second quarter, the Commerce Department reported. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 690 words, photos.

JAPAN-GREEN GLUT

TOKYO — Like other Japanese who were banking on this country's sweeping move toward clean energy, Junichi Oba is angry. Oba, a consultant, had hoped to supplement his future retirement income in a guilt-free way and invested $200,000 in a 50 kilowatt solar-panel facility, set up earlier this year in a former rice paddy near his home in southwestern Japan. But Kyushu Electric Power Co., the utility to which he must sell his electricity, has recently placed on hold all new applications for getting on its grid. Four other utilities have made the same announcement, throwing in doubt the future of Japan's up-to-now aggressive strategy on renewable energy. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

HAITI-TOURISM REVIVAL

COTES-DE-FER, Haiti — In any other Caribbean country, such a pristine stretch of shore would have been developed long ago. But in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the tranquil sandy beaches of the Cotes-de-Fer area is mostly uninhabited. Things may be changing radically, however. President Michel Martelly's administration wants to build Haiti's biggest tourism development here, hoping that foreign visitors can help spur an economic revival in the nation of 10 million, where most adults lack any kind of steady work and survive on less than $2 a day. By David McFadden. SENT: 750 words, photos.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rises slightly last week, but remains at historically low levels that signal a strengthening job market. Weekly applications increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, the Labor Department says. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 330 words, photo, glance.

YELLEN-ECONOMISTS DIVERSITY

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says she wants to raise awareness of the need for diversity among economists, with relatively few women and minorities still choosing to major in economics in college. Yellen, who is the first woman to head the central bank in its 100-year history, was speaking at a conference on diversity in the economics profession organized by the Fed and the American Economic Association. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 440 words, photos.

MORTGAGE RATES

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates arrest their five-week decline this week but the benchmark 30-year loan remained below 4 percent. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.98 percent from 3.92 percent last week. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 130 words, photo. UPCOMING: 350 words by 10:45 a.m.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are drifting in early trading Thursday as a parade of big companies turn in quarterly results. By Matthew Craft. SENT: 550 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

INDUSTRY:

WAL-MART-PRICE MATCH

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is considering matching online prices from competitors like Amazon.com, raising the stakes for the holiday shopping season. The strategy comes as Wal-Mart is trying to rev up sluggish sales in the U.S. but it could also erode profits. By Anne D'Innocenzio. SENT: 130 words.

FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES-GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT

WASHINGTON — For-profit colleges that don't produce graduates capable of paying off their student loans could soon face the wrath of the federal government. Schools with career-oriented programs that fail to comply with the new rule being announced by the Obama administration stand to lose access to federal student-aid programs. By Kimberly Hefling. SENT: 900 words.

CHINA-CREDIT CARDS

BEIJING — China says it will ease restrictions on credit cards in a move that might give Visa, Mastercard and other foreign competitors greater access to the Chinese market. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 350 words, photo.

— SHRIMP-MURKY LABELING — Consumers around the nation can't be sure what kind of shrimp they're buying if they simply look at the label or menu at supermarkets, grocers and restaurants, an advocacy group says. Oceana did a DNA-based survey of shrimp sold at outlets across the U.S. and said it found about 30 percent of 143 shrimp products bought from 111 vendors were not what the label said. SENT: 610 words, photo.

— STEINWAY & SONS-RELOCATION — Piano maker Steinway & Sons says it will move to a new Manhattan location next year. SENT: 140 words.

— TRANSPORTATION GRANTS — Just two months before next week's midterm elections, the Obama administration in September awarded the biggest share of almost $600 million in economic stimulus-based transportation grants to projects in districts with a Democratic congressman even though Republicans represent 34 more House districts across the country, an Associated Press analysis has found. SENT: 1,070 words, photo, glance.

— COWBOYS-OMNI — The Dallas Cowboys are partnering with Omni Hotels & Resorts to develop an upscale hotel where the team is building its new headquarters. SENT: 130 words, photo.

EARNINGS:

SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung Electronics Co. admitted erring in its smartphone strategy and vowed to overhaul its handset lineup after profit from those devices tumbled last quarter to the lowest in more than three years. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 850 words, photos.

EARNS-ALTRIA

RICHMOND, Va. — Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc.'s profit rose slightly the third quarter as higher prices helped to offset decline in the number of cigarettes it sold. The owner of the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, posted earnings Thursday of $1.397 billion, or 71 cents per share. That's down slightly from $1.396 billion, or 70 cents a share, in the year-ago period. By Michael Felberbaum. SENT: 420 words, photo.

— EARNS-MASTERCARD — MasterCard's third-quarter net income rises thanks to continued volume growth as Americans grow more confident about the economy and appear less hesitant to use credit cards. The performance beat Wall Street expectations and shares climbed more than 2 percent before the markets opened. SENT: 290 words, photo.

— GERMANY-EARNS-VOLKSWAGEN — Automaker Volkswagen AG says net profit jumped 56 percent in the third quarter as the company saw more sales growth in China and a slowly recovering European auto market. SENT: 330 words, photo.

— GERMANY-LUFTHANSA — German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG lowers its profit forecast for 2015 over concerns that the global economy may experience a downturn next year. SENT: 140 words.

— BRITAIN-BARCLAYS — Barclays, Britain's second biggest bank by assets, set aside 500 million pounds ($805 million) to cover possible penalties amid international probes into the alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets. SENT: 360 words.

— NETHERLANDS-EARNS-SHELL — Shell, Europe's largest oil producer, reports a dip in third quarter profit, but said it has yet to feel the full impact of the recent slide in oil prices. SENT: 530 words.

— CHINA-EARNS-BAIDU — Chinese search engine Baidu says its quarterly profit rose 27 percent as user traffic for its mobile operation surpassed passed its desktop computer-based search business. SENT: 240 words.

— ITALY-EARNS-ENI — Italian oil giant Eni says third-quarter net profit slumped 57 percent, reflecting a one-off boost from capital gain in the same period of 2013. SENT: 140 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

— CHINA-LENOVO-MOTOROLA — Lenovo Group announces the completion of its acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google in a move aimed at making the Chinese computer maker a global smartphone brand. SENT: 190 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

— GERMANY-ECONOMY — Germany's unemployment rate falls to 6.3 percent in October as the labor market in Europe's biggest economy continues to gain steam. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— SPAIN-ECONOMY — Spain's economy grows by 0.5 percent in the third quarter compared with the previous three months, its fifth consecutive quarterly growth. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: May be updated.

— UKRAINE-RUSSIA GAS — Talks to guarantee that Russian gas imports flow into rival Ukraine throughout the winter appeared to be an impasse because of doubts over payments from Kiev. SENT: 360 words, photos.