BC-APFN-Business News Digest

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Here are AP Business News' latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST.

New & Developing:

—HP ENTERPRISE-STOCK, OBAMA-ECONOMY, HARVARD JOURNALISM PRIZE, FEDERAL RESERVE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

TOP STORIES:

ECONOMY — A robust February jobs report showcases a resilient U.S. economy just as fears of a new recession had begun to surface. Last month, U.S. employers sent a clear message of confidence. They added a healthy 242,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate held at a low 4.9 percent. By Josh Boak. SENT: 870 words, photo.

With: FINANCIAL MARKETS —Stocks wobble to the finish but salvage a four-day winning streak after the U.S. government says employers added more jobs than expected in February. By Marley Jay. SENT: 950 words, photo.

And: OBAMA-ECONOMY — Obama cheers economy as 'pretty darn great.' SENT: 250 words, photo, video.

FORD-F-150 INVESTIGATION — The U.S. government is investigating complaints that the brakes can fail on Ford's F-150 pickup truck, one of the most popular vehicles in the nation. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 500 words, photo.

MCCLENDON-BID-RIGGING — The death of Aubrey McClendon slows but shouldn't hamstring a broad federal investigation into whether companies colluded to fix land prices as they gobbled up vast acreage in hopes of finding new supplies of natural gas. By David Koenig and Tom Murphy. SENT: 900 words, photo.

HOTELS-DISAPPEARING AMENITIES — Hotels are going minimalist, stripping rooms of carpeting, bathtubs, desks and even dressers where travelers could once find worn copies of the Bible. Some guests miss those creature comforts but hotels say the look is modern and cheaper to maintain. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 800 words, photo.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

FEDERAL RESERVE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — The Federal Reserve has put forward new rules aimed at addressing one of the primary causes of the 2008 financial crisis — the financial exposures that the biggest banks had with each other. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 350 words by 5:30 p.m.

TRADE GAP — The U.S. trade deficit rose in January as American exports fell for a fourth straight month, the Commerce Department said. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 230 words.

INDUSTRY:

CLEANER AIRPLANE BATHROOMS — Boeing has filed a patent for a self-cleaning airplane lavatory that uses ultraviolet rays to disinfect the toilet seat, sink and countertop in just three seconds. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 280 words, photo.

Also: IRAN-BOEING — Iran has invited Boeing Co. to Tehran to negotiate a possible aircraft purchase, though Boeing says it would only be offering the country "fleet planning." By Amir Vahdat. SENT: 300 words.

MALAYSIA-MISSING PLANE-LAWSUITS — Families of 12 passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 sue the carrier and the government, ahead of a filing deadline next week on the second anniversary of the plane's disappearance. SENT: 300 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

AMAZON-ENCRYPTION — Amazon confirms it removed the ability to encrypt locally stored data on its Fire tablets, saying that customers weren't using the service. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 520 words, photo.

HP ENTERPRISE-STOCK — Hewlett Packard Enterprise's stock surges a day after the commercial technology vendor reported solid earnings in its first quarter as an independent company. By Brandon Bailey. SENT: 300 words.

HARVARD JOURNALISM PRIZE — Journalists from The Associated Press who uncovered extensive slave labor in the Thai seafood industry win an investigative reporting prize from Harvard University's Shorenstein Center. SENT: 130 words.

CHINA-CARTOONS FOR COMMUNISM — The new All-Media Service of China's staid official news agency believes the way into the attention span of TV drama-obsessed youth is with a cartoon character doing hip-hop dance moves and rapping about the Communist Party's mission. By Gerry Shih and Aritz Parra. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

BRITAIN-FACEBOOK TAX — Social media giant Facebook, which has been under fire in Britain for its tax arrangements, says it will stop routing its British sales through Ireland — a practice that had kept its U.K. tax bill extremely low. SENT: 200 words.

WTO-INDIA-US — India files a complaint to the World Trade Organization against the United States over its measures raising fees on some applicants for temporary work visas, mostly involving the tech sector. SENT: 250 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

FIJI-CYCLONE-ECONOMY — When Cyclone Winston tore through Fiji and killed 42 people, it also ripped a hole in the economy. It wiped out most of the sugar crop just before the harvest and is also likely to scare away tourists, which the country relies upon. By Nick Perry. SENT: 900 words, photos.

MONEY & MARKETS SUMMARY:

CENTERPIECE — Fitbit's fitness bands are outselling Apple's smartwatch, but analysts say give it time. In just three quarters, Apple has become the second-leading maker of wearable gadgets, behind Fitbit. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT — Staples says it expects sales to drop during the current quarter and said it plans to close 50 stores this year. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

HOW TO REACH US:

Business News Supervisor Richard Jacobsen (800-845-8450, ext. 1680). For photos (ext. 1900.) For graphics/interactives (ext. 7636.) Expanded AP content: http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and technical issues: customersupport@ap.org, or 877-836-9477. Questions about transmission of financial market listings, call 800-3AP-STOX.

The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about M&M content, contact Stan Choe (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096).