BUSINESS

BC-Business News Digest

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All times EDT.

Adds: FEMALE SEX PILL; EARNS-FIAT CHRYSLER US; LISTERIA-ICE CREAM; FITBIT-IPO FILING

Updates: CONSUMER BORROWING; BIRD FLU-DECOMPOSING BIRDS; LAWMAKER STOCK SALE, FINANCIAL MARKETS

TOP STORIES:

HAZY ECONOMY

WASHINGTON — When the government reports Friday on job growth during April, it could help clarify an increasingly nagging question: Just how strong is the U.S. economy? The picture has grown hazier. Economists foresee a solid jobs report. Yet weaknesses have emerged in key sectors of the economy. By Josh Boak. SENT: 800 words, photo.

CHINA-COUNTERFEITING, HFR

SHANGHAI — Some of China's largest state-owned banks serve as safe-havens for counterfeiters, used to process credit card payments for fakes and move dirty money around the globe. Tiffany & Co. and Gucci are suing the Bank of China and other Chinese banks to force them to hand over counterfeiters' data and seize their assets in China. But in an online boom in counterfeits, criminals are going global faster than law enforcement — and Chinese banks refuse to freeze their assets. By Erika Kinetz. SENT: 2,900 words. Eds: Hold for release for 9 p.m. A shorter version of 900 words will also move.

With:

CHINA-COUNTERFEITING-BY THE NUMBERS, HFR — Chinese banks have emerged as key players in the $1.8 trillion global counterfeiting industry. Here's a look by the numbers. SENT: 150 words. Eds: Hold for release for 9 p.m.

CHINA-STOCK MARKET FRENZY

BEIJING — China's leaders are trying to tap the brakes on a stock market boom that could run out of control and disrupt economic reform plans. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 850 words, photos.

SANDBERG-WORK AND LOSS

NEW YORK — Speculation surfacing around how Facebook COO and "Lean In" author Sheryl Sandberg will handle the sudden death of her husband, both personally and professionally, highlights a touchy subject: The high-profile tragedy brings up questions that many American workers may not be ready to ask until they have to — how do you balance work and life when there's a loss of a loved one? SENT: 900 words, photo.

With:

SANDBERG-WORK AND LOSS-GLANCE — Experts and those who have dealt with loss offer a few coping strategies. SENT: 400 words.

— SOCIAL MEDIA-GRIEF — Mobile devices have allowed people to post to social media platforms from virtually anywhere. But there may be one place where it's still not acceptable: funerals. SENT: 980 words, photo.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

WASHINGTON — Slightly more Americans apply for unemployment benefits last week. But even with the modest increase, the total number of people collecting jobless aid — pulled down steadily for months — fall to near 15-year lows. By Josh Boak. SENT: 380 words, photo.

CONSUMER BORROWING

WASHINGTON — Consumers increased their borrowing in March by the largest amount in nearly a year as borrowing on credit cards rebounded following two months of declines. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 350 words, photo.

MORTGAGE RATES

WASHINGTON — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up this week to the highest level since mid-March. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 270 words, photo, glance.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — Stocks rise moderately in relatively quiet trading, a contrast to the heavy selling that occurred a day earlier when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested that stock prices might be too high. By Ken Sweet. SENT: 600 words, photo.

ASIA-IMF-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Asian economies will lead world growth in 2015, expanding at a 5.6 percent pace that is level with last year, as recoveries in India and Japan help to offset the slowdown in China, the IMF says. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 500 words, photos.

EARNINGS:

ALIBABA-MOBILE GROWTH

NEW YORK — Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba reports revenue growth jumped 45 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter — driven by more active buyers and shoppers on mobile devices as the Chinese middle class snapped up goods on its platforms like Taobao and Tmall. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 500 words. Incorporates EARNS-ALIBABA.

EARNS-FANNIE MAE

WASHINGTON — Mortgage giant Fannie Mae says it had net income of $1.9 billion for the first quarter. That's sharply down from the same period a year ago due to lower fee income. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 350 words.

— EARNS-FIAT CHRYSLER US — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S., formerly Chrysler Group, posted a $2.58 billion first-quarter net profit that was boosted by a one-time change in its tax status. SENT: 250 words.

— JAPAN-EARNS-NINTENDO — Nintendo Co. reports a net profit of 41.8 billion yen ($350 million) for the fiscal year through March, a reversal from deep losses the previous year, as it reshapes its troubled business with a long-delayed foray into smartphone games. SENT: 540 words, photo.

— DUBAI-EMIRATES-EARNS — Emirates, the Middle East's biggest airline, says it overcame the effects of temporary runway closures at its Dubai base to pull in a $1.24 billion profit, a 40 percent gain driven by the rapid expansion of its business and helped by a drop in fuel prices. SENT: 700 words, photos.

With:

— DUBAI-OBIT-FLANAGAN — Emirates airline says Sir Maurice Flanagan, the first managing director of the carrier who helped it get off the ground three decades ago, has died. SENT: 130 words.

— SPAIN-EARNS-REPSOL — Spanish energy company Repsol says its first-quarter profit fell by 6 percent compared with the same period last year following a sharp drop in oil prices and interruptions in Libyan production. SENT: 130 words.

INDUSTRY:

ARCTIC OFFSHORE DRILLING-Q&A

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Seattle's mayor and environmentalists have vowed to block Royal Dutch Shell PLC from parking two Arctic offshore drilling rigs on Seattle's waterfront, an effort to thwart the new frontier in oil exploration and spark a national debate about fossil fuels and climate change. What's at stake? By Dan Joling. SENT: 620 words, photo.

With:

— ARCTIC OFFSHORE DRILLING — Royal Dutch Shell wants to park two massive Arctic oil drilling rigs in Seattle's waterfront — but the petroleum giant will have to get around protesters in kayaks and a mayor determined to take on climate changeSENT: 790 words, photos.

AMERCIAN AIRLINES-DREAMLINER

FORT WORTH, Texas — American joins the list of airlines flying the Boeing 787 jet, which it hopes will appeal to passengers and open new, profitable international routes. By David Koenig. SENT: 460 words.

BIRD FLU-DECOMPOSING BIRDS

DES MOINES, Iowa — Millions of dead chickens and turkeys lie in stinking, fly-swarmed piles near dozens of Iowa farms, casualties of a bird flu virus that's swept through the state's large poultry operations in the last month. By David Pitt. SENT: 695 words, photos.

OBAMA-TRADE

President Barack Obama has stirred a hornets' nest with plans to visit Nike's headquarters in Oregon to promote his trade agenda. Of Nike's slightly more than 1 million factory contract workers, more than nine of ten are in Asia, with the largest number in low-wage Vietnam. By Jim Kuhnhenn and Gosia Wozniacka. SENT: 910 words, photos.

— MCDONALD'S-KALE — McDonald's may be developing a taste for a new ingredient as it fights to reinvent itself: Kale. SENT: 200 words, photo.

With:

— MCDONALD'S-HAMBURGLAR — McDonald's is bringing Hamburglar, the burger thief, back to its advertising after a 13-year absence. SENT: 250 words, photo.

— HUDSON PCBS-5 THINGS — General Electric Co. is set to begin its sixth and final season of dredging the upper-Hudson River as part of an estimated $2 billion Superfund project. Here are five things to knowSENT: 380 words.

With:

— HUDSON PCBS — Crews are preparing to begin a sixth and final season of PCB dredging along the upper-Hudson River. SENT: 140 words.

— LISTERIA-ICE CREAM — Listeria bacteria was found in Blue Bell ice cream's Oklahoma plant as far back as March 2013. SENT: 115 words.

— LUMBER LIQUIDATORS-CHINA — Lumber Liquidators is suspending the sale of all laminate flooring made in China a week after disclosing that the Justice Department is seeking criminal charges against the specialty retailer in an investigation over imported products. SENT: 280 words.

— LAWMAKER STOCK SALE — Financial files obtained by The Associated Press show that multimillionaire and first-term Florida congressman Rep. Curt Clawson flipped shares in a solar company the same day he acquired them in an initial public offering, despite a federal law that generally prohibits members of Congress from participating in IPOs. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— DRUGS-COMPASSIONATE USE — Dying patients sometimes seek emergency access to experimental medicines, desperate for a last-chance treatment even if there's little proof it could help. Now drug giant Johnson & Johnson is taking an unusual step, turning to independent bioethicists for advice on when to say yes or no. SENT: 340 words, photo.

— FEMALE SEX PILL — The Food and Drug Administration will ask a group of outside medical experts next month to evaluate a much-debated experimental drug designed to boost sexual desire in women. SENT: 390 words.

— BODY CAMERAS-CLEVELAND CONTRACT — A contract to buy 1,500 police body cameras from Taser International and a five-year subscription to the company's video storage service will cost the city about $1 million more than officials previously disclosed, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press SENT: 680 words.

— SELF-SERVICE GAS — Oregon, which doesn't allow customers to pump their own gas, appears ready to at least let people driving through rural areas serve themselves because of concerns that travelers could get stranded in places where few gas stations are open after hours. SENT: 560 words, photos.

— GERMANY-SIEMENS-JOBS — Siemens, a German industrial giant with 340,000 employees, says it will cut another 4,500 jobs to streamline its business and improve profitability. SENT: 270 words.

— OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT-NORTH DAKOTA — A company official says a shipment of crude involved in an explosive train derailment in North Dakota had been treated to reduce its volatility. SENT: 560 words, photos, video.

— GOP-2016-RUBIO-ECONOMICS — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has offered the most detailed economic agenda to aid the middle class of anyone in the Republican race for president, an effort to fight worsening wage inequality between the rich and the rest. SENT: 850 words, photos.

— VOLKSWAGEN UNION — The United Auto Workers unveiled a proposal for creating a German-style works council at Volkswagen plant in Tennessee that is predicated on the automaker recognizing the union as its exclusive bargaining partner. SENT: 605 words, photo.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

GAMES-ESPORTS-MARKETERS

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — The next ally in competitive gaming's fight for mainstream awareness might be marketers. At an invite-only gathering at an exclusive seaside resort, representatives from companies like State Farm and McDonald's were looking to electronic sports to potentially capture new consumers. By Derrik J. Lang. SENT: 670 words, photos.

— FITBIT-IPO FILING — Fitness tracking device maker Fitbit files for $100M IPO; discloses $745M in revenue in 2014. SENT: 200 words.

— TESLA-ACQUISITION — Electric car maker Tesla Motors makes its first acquisition, adding a Michigan tool-and-die maker as it ramps up to build more models. SENT: 170 words.

— NSA-PHONE RECORDS-ACLU — The government's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records after the Sept. 11 terror attacks exceeds what Congress has allowed, a federal appeals court rules. By Larry Neumeister and Ken Dilanian. SENT: 830 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

FRANCE-NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

PARIS — Nuclear reactor builder Areva, the world's biggest, is at a crossroads, having to cut thousands of jobs to make up for huge financial losses. Here's a look at what has caused its decline — and that of the global nuclear industry. SENT: 530 words, photo.

GREECE-BAILOUT

BRUSSELS — France says talks between Greece and its bailout creditors are going the right way and hopes that Monday's eurozone meeting will see the sides narrow their differences enough to have a deal "within hand's grasp." By Raf Casert and Lorne Cook. SENT: 440 words, photo.

— HUNGARY-GERMANY — Hungary's prime minister tells German companies that the government plans to maintain special taxes on industries because they're needed to meet targets on the budget deficit and debt levels. SENT: 280 words, photo.

— SPAIN-DEFICIT FINE — European Union authorities use their increased financial oversight of national governments for the first time, recommending that Spain be fined almost 19 million euros ($21 million) for manipulating economic statistics. SENT: 230 words.

— GERMANY-ECONOMY — Factory orders in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, picked up in March after two consecutive declines thanks to higher domestic demand — but the improvement was smaller than economists expected. SENT: 130 words.

— ITALY-ECONOMY — Italy's statistics agency predicts that the eurozone's third largest economy will grow by 0.7 percent this year. SENT: 130 words.

— ITALY-ROME AIRPORT — An electrical short circuit is being investigated as the probable cause of a fire in the international terminal at Rome's Fiumicino airport that forced the cancellation of dozens of flights. SENT: 290 words, photos.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

OF MUTUAL INTEREST-ALTERNATIVE FUNDS, Q&A

NEW YORK — Alternative mutual funds are supposed to bring hedge-fund strategies to the masses, but there's still confusion about what they actually do. A Q&A with managers of the Gateway fund, one of the largest and oldest alternative funds. By Stan Choe. SENT: 800 words.

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CENTERPIECE

Top three

The bull market that began in 2009, this week became the third-longest bull run in the Standard & Poor's 500 index since 1929. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Whole Foods adds new chain

Whole Foods announces plans to open a new chain of stores aimed at attracting millennials with lower prices. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.