BC-APFN-Business News Digest

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

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


TESLA-LOWER PRICED CAR — Tesla Motors unveils the Model 3, its first car in the $35,000 range. The Model 3 is the most serious test yet of 13-year-old Tesla's ability to go from a niche player to a full-fledged automaker. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 730 words, photos.

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK AUDITS — The sigh of relief a business owner heaves after filing an income tax return may be quickly followed by an unsettling thought: What if I'm audited? By Joyce Rosenberg. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

With: SMALLBIZ-AUDIT TIPS — Some tips for small business owners to help make an IRS audit a little less stressful. SENT: 260 words.

BEYOND VR-AUGMENTED REALITY — Everyone's talking about virtual reality these days, but an even bigger - and potentially trippier - alternative is also right around the corner: Augmented reality, which essentially beams interactive holograms into the real world. Among the most audacious AR attempts comes from the startup Meta, which aims to let you act like Tony Stark by manipulating holographic screens floating in space. By Mike Liedtke. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.


FINANCIAL MARKETS— Stocks are slightly higher in afternoon trading, marking a tranquil start to the last trading day of what has been a stormy first quarter. Health care stocks, which have suffered this year, are inching higher. The gains are adding to a strong March that wiped away steep losses from the start of the year. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS — More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but applications still stayed near historic lows that point to a stable job market. By Josh Boak. SENT: 300 words, photos.

MORTGAGE RATES — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates were unchanged to slightly higher this week after declining the previous week. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 290 words, photos.

EUROPE-ECONOMY — In spite of a modest improvement in inflation that had its roots in the services sector, consumer prices across the 19-country eurozone fell in the year to March for the second month running, official figures showed Thursday. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 350 words, photos.

GERMANY-ECONOMY — Germany's unemployment rate ticked down to 6.5 percent in March, a post-winter decline that's typical for the month. SENT: 100 words.

SPAIN-ECONOMY — The Spanish government says it failed to meet its budget deficit target last year despite a recovering economy. SENT: 140 words.


PAINKILLERS-PAY FOR DELAY — The Federal Trade Commission is accusing several drugmakers of violating antitrust laws with agreements that delayed availability of cheaper generic versions of two pain treatments and barred their original maker, Endo Pharmaceuticals, from selling its own authorized generics. By Linda A. Johnson. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 500 words by 2:30 p.m., photos.

CHINA-MCDONALD'S — McDonald's Corp. said Thursday it plans to open 1,500 new restaurants in China, South Korea and Hong Kong as it looks to faster-growing markets to help drive a global turnaround. SENT: 290 words, photos.

BRITAIN-STEEL CRISIS — The British government scrambled Thursday to save the country's struggling steel industry after Tata Steel announced plans to sell its U.K. plants, which employ almost 20,000 people. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 560 words, photos.

GE CAPITAL-TOO BIG TO FAIL — General Electric is asking the U.S. to drop the "too big to fail" tag for GE Capital. SENT: 500 words, photos.

FORD-VAN RECALL — Ford says it's recalling about 38,000 Transit vans in the U.S. and Canada because the side curtain air bags may not protect people properly in a crash. SENT: 110 words.

SKIM MILK DISPUTE — A federal judge agrees with the Florida Department of Agriculture that an all-natural creamery can't label its skim milk "skim milk" because it doesn't add vitamins to it. By Brendan Farrington. SENT:600 words.

KENYA-AIRLINE — Kenya's flagship airline, Kenya airways has announced it will retrench or redeploy 600 staff members in a cost cutting measure after the company experienced massive losses in the last couple of years. SENT: 100 words.


UNITED STATES-IRAN — The Obama administration may soon tell foreign governments and banks they can start using the dollar in some instances to facilitate business with Iran, officials told The Associated Press, describing an arcane tweak to U.S. financial rules that could prove significant for Tehran's sanctions-battered economy. By Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee. SENT: 930 words, photos.

QATAR-LABOR — Migrant laborers faced abuse that in some cases amounted to forced labor while working on a stadium that will host soccer matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a new report released by Amnesty International alleged Thursday. By Adam Schreck. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.

ARGENTINA-DEBT STANDOFF — After 13 hours of debate, Argentina's Senate voted early Thursday to overwhelmingly approve a deal with creditors in the U.S., putting an end to a years-long dispute that made the South American nation a hard place to do business and kept it from accessing desperately needed financing. SENT: 600 words.

GERMANY-DEBT — Germany's central bank says healthy economic growth helped the country reduce its debt by 24 billion euros ($27.1 billion) last year. SENT: 140 words.

QATAR-OIL — Qatar's oil minister says 12 countries have agreed so far to participate in a meeting it's hosting next month to discuss a freeze in oil output levels. SENT: 140 words.

JAPAN-NUCLEAR-ICE WALL — The operator of Japan's destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant switched on a giant refrigeration system on Thursday to create an unprecedented underground ice wall around its damaged reactors. Radioactive water has been flowing from the reactors, and other methods have failed to fully control it. The decontamination and decommissioning of the plant, damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, hinge of the success of the wall. Mary Yamaguchi. SENT: 450 words, photos.

ROMANIA-ENERGY — Romania's energy minister says there are more than 100,000 households in the country without electricity or gas or access to public transport. SENT: 130 words.

HUNGARY-CENTRAL BANK — Hungary's Constitutional Court has struck down a law meant to shield the central bank from scrutiny over the use of public funds. SENT: 250 words.


OF MUTUAL INTEREST-FIRST QUARTER FUNDS REVIEW — Investors made very little, if anything, from most mutual funds last quarter. Phew. A relatively flat quarter feels like a victory because investors were bracing for much worse earlier this year. By Stan Choe. UPCOMING: 900 words by 2 p.m.



McDonald's expands in China

McDonald's says it plans to open 1,500 restaurants in China, South Korea and Hong Kong as the fast-food chain tries to tap into fast-growing markets.


Bond market transparency

Wall Street watchdog Finra seeks greater price transparency for retail bond investors after finding some pay far more for similar transactions.


Business News Supervisor Dorothea Degen (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.