BUSINESS

BC-Business News Digest

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Business News at 1:45 p.m.

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All times EDT.

TOP STORIES:

BANK SETTLEMENTS

WASHINGTON — Four global banks agree to pay more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to rigging the world's currency market, the first time in more than two decades that major players in the financial industry have admitted to criminal wrongdoing on such a scale. By Ken Sweet and Eric Tucker. SENT: 600 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 4 p.m.

With:

— BANK SETTLEMENTS-Q&A — Why did a group of big banks get fined $5 billion? UPCOMING.

CHEAP OIL-HURTING ECONOMY

WASHINGTON — If there was one thing most economists agreed on at the start of the year, it was this: The plunge in oil prices would boost the economy. To the surprise of many, it hasn't worked out that way. So what did the experts get wrong? By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 1,050 words, photo.

TARGET-RESULTS

NEW YORK — Target is hitting the bulls-eye. The Minneapolis-based retailer reported a nearly 52 percent surge in its first-quarter profit on strong sales of fashion and baby products, evidence that its efforts to revamp its product selection are paying off. By Anne D'Innocenzio. SENT: 600 words, photo.

TAKATA AIR BAG RECALL-Q&A

DETROIT — After doubling to 34 million on Tuesday, the recall of air bags made by Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp. is now the largest in U.S. history. Some facts about the recall. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 690 words, photo.

EUROPE-DELAYED RECOVERY

FRANKFURT, Germany — Though the eurozone's economy is growing, it is not forecast to reach its pre-financial crisis size until 2016 — where as the US long ago passed break even and is 9 percent larger. A look at the main reasons. By David McHugh. SENT: 920 words, chunky text, photos.

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK

NEW YORK — Small businesses aren't in the dire straits they were four years ago, but presidential candidates aren't letting go of an issue they think will get them votes. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 760 words.

With:

— SMALLBIZ-ISSUES — A sample of the issues on small businesses' agenda for the 2016 presidential election. SENT: 630 words.

DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-BEYOND PREMIUM PHONES

NEW YORK — For those not satisfied with just a premium phone, Samsung and LG are offering two models best described as the Lamborghinis of smartphones. Here's what you get. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 640 words, photos.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

FED-MINUTES

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve releases minutes from its April 28-29, when it downgraded its view of the U.S. economy and offered no sign that a rate increase might be coming soon. By Martin Crutsinger. UPCOMING: 130 words after 2 p.m. release. 350 words by 2:45 p.m.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are barely moving in afternoon trading as investors weigh several earnings reports and await the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policymaking meeting. By Bernard Condon. SENT: 470 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

— SWITZERLAND-UBS-US PROBE — Swiss bank UBS says it is pleading guilty to wire fraud and is paying $545 million to settle U.S. cases of market manipulation. SENT: 140 words.

EARNINGS:

— JOHNSON & JOHNSON-PHARMACEUTICALS OUTLOOK — Johnson & Johnson is predicting big returns from its prescription drug business, both financially and medically, as it develops medicines meant to intervene earlier and prevent or reduce the damage from several conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. By Linda A. Johnson. SENT: 330 words. UPCOMING: 500 words by 3 p.m.

— EARNS-LOWE'S— Lowe's sees sales and profit rise in the first quarter as the housing market begins to thaw, but the performance was far from what Wall Street had expected and shares tumble 7 percent before the opening bell. SENT: 380 words, photo.

INDUSTRY:

MCDONALD'S SHAREHOLDERS-SALARIES

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Labor leaders and workers are expected to gather outside McDonald's Corp. shareholders meeting to drive home their demand for a $15-an-hour wage for fast-food workers. SENT: 280 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated from protest, expected to begin at 1 p.m.

PEANUT BUTTER-SALMONELLA INVESTIGATION

SAVANNAH, Ga. — ConAgra Foods agrees to pay $11.2 million to settle a federal criminal charge that the company shipped Peter Pan peanut butter tainted with salmonella from a plant in Georgia more than eight years ago, triggering a massive recall and food-safety investigation after more than 600 people got sick. By Russ Bynum. SENT: 490 words.

—BHP BILLITON-SEC SETTLEMENT — BHP Billiton agrees to pay $25 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it violated anti-bribery laws by paying for the travel packages of government officials during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. SENT: 150 words.

— FRACKING PERMITS-NORTH CAROLINA — A judge halts the approval of fracking operations in North Carolina until a higher court weighs in on the legality of the appointment of several boards that manage state resources and the environment. By Jonathan Drew. SENT: 650 words.

— CONGRESS-MEAT LABELING — A House committee votes to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 660 words, photo.

— DUBAI-EGYPT-PROPERTY — The property developer behind the record-breaking Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai says it will float shares in its Egyptian subsidiary to raise cash for ongoing and future projects in the North African nation. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— WAL-MART VETERANS — Wal-Mart says it is expanding its original plan to hire 100,000 veterans by 2018 to hire a total of 250,000 recently discharged veterans by 2020. SENT: 500 words, photo.

— BLUE BELL-LISTERIA — A man is suing Blue Bell, saying he contracted listeria-related meningitis after eating ice cream produced by the company in 2013. SENT: 150 words.

— PARENTING-BABY GEAR TRENDS — The New York Baby Show was a two-day extravaganza of experts, gadgets and services. Enjoy this sampling of advice on essentials and peek at products from show vendors and panelists. By Leanne Italie. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-WATER RIGHTS — Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta who have California's oldest water rights are proposing to voluntarily cut their use by 25 percent to avoid the possibility of even harsher restrictions by the state later this summer as the record drought continues. By Scott Smith. SENT: 500 words, photos.

— BEHIND THE WHEEL-2015 CHEVROLET SPARK EV — It took a price cut to generate a run on Chevrolet's 2015 Spark EV, with savvy car buyers realizing the lower price and federal electric vehicle tax credit can make for a super deal. By Ann M. Job. SENT: 760 words, photo, box.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

LUXEMBOURG-ALTICE-SUDDENLINK

NEW YORK — European cable and mobile phone operator Altice, controlled by founder Patrick Drahi, is fixing its lens on the U.S. market starting with a $9.1 billion deal for St. Louis-based Suddenlink. By Tali Arbel. SENT: 580 words, photo.

— SPOTIFY BRANCHES OUT — While saying that it still a music company at heart, Spotify says it is expanding is lineup to include podcasts, news radio and video streaming. SENT: 240 words.

— CHINA-HANERGY — The share price of a leading Chinese manufacturer of solar panels plunge by almost half and a second company warns it might face trouble paying its debts. SENT: 300 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

EUROPE-US-TRADE-TERRORISM

BRUSSELS — U.S. restrictions on access to documents and insistence on secrecy are undermining trust in trans-Atlantic trade talks and anti-terror data exchanges, the European Union's transparency watchdog says. By Lorne Cook. SENT: 500 words, photos.

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected 2.4 percent annual pace in the January-March quarter, suggesting a recovery is gaining traction despite persisting weakness in corporate and household spending. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 690 words, photos.

— GREECE-BAILOUT — Greece will not be able to repay a loan to the International Monetary Fund early next month unless a deal is reached with its creditors to unblock bailout funds, the governing party's parliament spokesman says. By Elena Becatoros. SENT: 590 words, photos.

— BRITAIN-ECONOMY — Bank of England policymakers vote unanimously to keep interest rates steady at their meeting this month, even as they hint that record low rates would have to be lifted eventually. SENT: 140 words.

— CYPRUS-BAILOUT — Bailed-out Cyprus' international creditors say they will help the country implement insolvency and foreclosure laws which they see as essential for banks to deal with their massive burden of bad loans. SENT: 150 words.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

ON THE MONEY-TESLA BATTERY

What do you really get for a $7,000 Tesla home battery? By Jonathan Fahey. UPCOMING: 800 words by 2 p.m.

A sampling of Money & Markets modules is below. The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about Money & Markets content, please contact Trevor Delaney (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096). After 6 p.m., contact the AP Business News desk (800-845-8450, ext. 1680) for content questions; 1-800-3AP-STOX for technical support and 212-621-1905 for graphics help.

CENTERPIECE

Not so merry

Harley-Davidson, Michael Kors and Xerox are among the stocks that have hit a 52-week low this month. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Etsy shares plunge

Etsy shares plunge after its first earnings report as a publicly traded company show a hefty quarterly loss. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.