BC-APFN-Business News Digest

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Business News at 2 p.m.

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All times EST.

TOP STORIES:

FEDERAL RESERVE

WASHINGTON — For the Federal Reserve, patience may no longer be a virtue. Next week, the Fed is expected to drop "patient" in describing its approach to raising interest rates from record lows — a signal that a rate hike is coming as soon as June. Complicating its decision is a surging U.S. dollar, which is keeping inflation far below the Fed's target rate and posing a threat to U.S. corporate profits. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 840 words, photo.

HEALTHY COKES

NEW YORK — If a column in honor of heart health suggests a can of Coke as a snack, you might want to read the fine print. The world's biggest beverage maker, which struggles with declining soda consumption in the U.S., is working with fitness and nutrition experts who suggest its cola as a healthy treat. By Candice Choi. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM SXSW

AUSTIN, Texas — Top tech influencers pondered immortality and mind cloning. FireChat, an app that lets smartphone users connect via mobile chat even without a cellular connection, was another hot topic. Here's a look at the most notable trending topics Sunday at the tech jamboree. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 800 words, photo.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

WASHINGTON — Output at U.S. factories falls for a third straight month in February, driven by a big drop in production at auto plants. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 450 words, photo.

BUILDER SENTIMENT

WASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less confident in their sales prospects, even as their overall sales outlook remains favorable. By Alex Veiga. SENT: 400 words, photo.

EMPIRE STATE-SURVEY

WASHINGTON — Manufacturing activity in New York state expands at a slightly slower pace in March. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 170 words, photo.

FOREIGN HOLDINGS

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department reports on foreign holdings of U.S. debt for January. In December, foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose to a record level despite investors in China and Japan, the two biggest foreign owners of Treasury debt, cutting back on their holdings. By Martin Crutsinger. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of report at 4 p.m. 350 words by 4:45 p.m.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK —U.S. stocks rise, led by health care and utilities companies, rebounding after three weeks of losses. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 680 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m., photos.

INDUSTRY:

VALEANT-SALIX

Valeant raises its buying price for Salix Pharmaceuticals by more than $1 billion, forcing rival bidder Endo International out of the running. SENT: 560 words, photo.

MCDONALD'S-WORKER BURNS

NEW YORK — McDonald's workers in 19 cities filed complaints over burns from grease, a lack of protective equipment and other workplace hazards, according to labor organizers. By Candice Choi. SENT: 700 words, photo.

MASTER DISTILLER-DICKEL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A central figure in the public dispute between Jack Daniel's and George Dickel distilleries over the legal definition of Tennessee whiskey is leaving to head up a brand named after a legendary moonshiner. Popcorn Sutton Distilling says it has hired John Lunn as its master distiller. By Erik Schelzig. SENT: 580 words, photos.

— LIFE TIME FITNESS — Gym chain Life Time Fitness Inc. says it is selling itself to two private equity firms for more than $2.8 billion. SENT: 200 words.

— WILLIS TOWER-SALE — Blackstone is buying Chicago's Willis Tower, once called the Sears Tower, from 233 South Wacker LLC for an undisclosed amount. SENT: 190 words, photo.

— BOEING SOUTH CAROLINA-UNION — The machinists union asks for an election so about 2,500 Boeing production workers in South Carolina can decide whether they want union representation. SENT: 500 words.

— LIVE NATION-PEPSI — PepsiCo says its drinks would replace Coca-Cola's at 75 of Live Nation's venues as well as upcoming concerts in a new multiyear deal. SENT: 100 words.

— WET SEAL-VERSA — Versa Capital Management says that it is the winning bidder in the auction of troubled teen clothing retailer Wet Seal, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy two months ago. SENT: 270 words.

— EUROPE-CEMENT-MERGER — A deal to create the world's largest cement maker is put on hold after the board of Swiss company Holcim said it doesn't accept the terms of the merger with France's Lafarge. SENT: 200 words.

— MADISON SQUARE GARDEN-CEO — Madison Square Garden President and CEO Tad Smith resigns to take on the same roles at auction house Sotheby's. SENT: 320 words.

— CHEMICAL SPILL-WEST VIRGINIA — A former owner of Freedom Industries pleads guilty to federal Clean Water Act violations stemming from last year's chemical spill in Charleston. SENT: 550 words.

— HEALTH INSURANCE-UNINSURED — More than 16 million Americans have gained insurance coverage as a result of President Barack Obama's health care law, the administration said as the White House prepares to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the law's signing. SENT: 470 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

— CHINA-ARMS SALES — China has overtaken Germany to become the world's third-biggest arms exporter, although its 5 percent share remains small compared to the combined 58 percent of exports from the U.S. and Russia, a new study says. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 870 words, photo.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR PRIVACY ONLINE

SAN FRANCISCO — More than half of Americans are worried about the U.S. government's digital spies prying into their emails, texts, search requests and other online information, but few are trying to thwart the surveillance because they don't know how, according to a new Pew study. Here are five steps you can take to be more private online. By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 620 words, photo.

— FACEBOOK-COMMUNITY — Facebook clarifies its community standards policies in an effort to promote greater respect in how people interact with each other online. By Barbara Ortutay. UPCOMING: 300 words, photo.

MILLENNIALS-NEWS

CHICAGO — Young adults have a reputation for being connected to one another and disconnected from the news. But a survey has found that mobile devices and social networking are keeping them more engaged with the broader world than previously thought. By Martha Irvine. SENT: 940 words, photos.

With:

— MILLENNIALS-NEWS-METHOD

— IOC-EUROPE TV RIGHTS — The IOC is preparing to open the tender process for the sale of broadcast rights across Europe for the 2018 and 2020 Olympics. SENT: 130 words, photo.

INTERNATIONAL:

GREECE-ECONOMY

ATHENS, Greece — Greece has slipped back into deficit so far this year and faces a cash crunch in coming weeks, but the country nevertheless managed to pay a debt obligation to the International Monetary Fund, one of its main rescue creditors. By Derek Gatopoulos. SENT: 610 words, photos.

— ANDORRA-BANK INTERVENTION — A rush of withdrawals by clients of the Spanish unit of an Andorran bank accused of money laundering prompted government administrators to seek bankruptcy protection for the unit and the suspension of its operations, Spain's central bank says. SENT: 440 words, photos. UPCOMING: 500 words.

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CENTERPIECE

100 points? Whatever

Although it may have been a big deal years ago, a 100-point move for the Dow Jones industrial average means much less today. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Life Time Fitness going private

Life Time Fitness is selling itself to two private equity firms for more than $2.8 billion, in a deal that will turn the gym chain into a private company. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.