Business Highlights

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Columbus CEO


Lew: US retreat from global economic stage would be mistake

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Monday that Americans have reaped significant benefits from the international architecture put in place after World War II and the United States would be making a serious mistake to retreat from its global leadership role.

In a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, Lew sought to counter arguments being advanced by Republican presidential candidates that Americans are losing badly in competition with China and other countries.

Lew said that the United States needs to embrace new players on the global economic stage and make sure they meet the standards of the trading system that the country helped create.


Why you might soon text robots as often as your friends

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The robots are coming — to help run your life or sell you stuff — at an online texting service near you.

In coming months, users of Facebook's Messenger app, Microsoft's Skype and Canada's Kik can expect to find new automated assistants offering information and services at a variety of businesses.

These messaging "chatbots" are basically software that can conduct human-like conversation and do simple jobs once reserved for people. Google and other companies are reportedly working on similar ideas.


Canadian Pacific ends bid to buy Norfolk Southern

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A major railroad merger appears that much more unlikely after Canadian Pacific dropped its roughly $30 billion bid for Norfolk Southern Monday.

The ill-fated deal would have been the first to test tough rules for railroad mergers that were drafted in 2001. But Canadian Pacific's proposal faced strong opposition from Norfolk Southern, politicians and rail customers along the route and other railroads.

Canadian Pacific dropped the deal before the federal Surface Transportation Board could rule on its proposed structure. The Justice Department's opposition to the deal's structure, announced Friday, may have sealed the decision.


US, Goldman Sachs reach $5B settlement over risky mortgages

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Monday announced a roughly $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs over the sale of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

The government accused the bank of misleading investors about the quality of its loans.

The $5.06 billion deal resolves state and federal probes into the sale of shoddy mortgages in the run-up to the housing bubble and subsequent economic meltdown.

It requires the bank to pay a $2.39 billion civil penalty and an additional $1.8 billion in relief to underwater homeowners and distressed borrowers, along with $875 million in other claims.


Insurer UnitedHealth starts pruning ACA exchange business

The nation's biggest health insurer has decided to stop selling coverage on public insurance exchanges in two states for next year, but consumers shouldn't take this as an early warning that a mass exodus is brewing from a key element of the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion.

Analysts say these exchanges may be improving for insurers after a difficult start.

However, they also expect insurers to continue leaving some unprofitable markets as the coverage expansion heads toward its fourth year.


Researchers say new generation of ransomware emerging

An unusual strain of virus-like hacker software that exploits computer server vulnerabilities without requiring human interaction is a leading example of a new generation of "ransomware," according to a new report by Cisco Systems Inc.

Hackers use such software to target large-scale networks and hold data hostage in exchange for bigger payments. In such attacks, hackers target backup files and records, encrypting them to make them unreadable. To regain access, users without additional safe backups who don't want to lose critical files often pay the ransom, typically $10,000 to $15,000 for an entire network or hundreds of dollars for a single computer.


FDA approves drug for tough-to-treat type of leukemia

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug targeting a subset of leukemia patients with a genetic abnormality that makes the cancer harder to treat.

It approved sales of Venclexta for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who relapsed or weren't helped by a prior treatment and are missing the part of chromosome 17 that kills cancer cells. That allows the blood cancer to worsen.

Venclexta is manufactured by AbbVie Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois. AbbVie will market it overseas and will sell it in the U.S. together with Genentech, part of the Roche Group.


Puerto Rico unveils new restructuring deal as cash dwindles

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico on Monday released a new proposal to restructure part of its $70 billion debt to buy time to implement a fiscal growth plan as multimillion-dollar payments loom for a U.S. territory facing dwindling cash reserves.

Government officials said Puerto Rico could cut $12 billion to $16 billion from its debt load under the new deal. They said this would allow the government to keep providing essential services, pay back local vendors and suppliers, boost liquidity and fund retirement systems, among other things.


Valeant has told outgoing CEO to cooperate with Senate

Valeant Pharmaceuticals asked its CEO to cooperate with a Senate investigation into drug pricing after he failed to appear for a deposition.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging said last week that it planned to start legal proceedings against J. Michael Pearson, who is leaving Valeant after months of turmoil for the drugmaker. Pearson is still under subpoena to appear before the committee for an April 27 hearing. The committee is planning its third hearing since December on soaring drug prices.

Valeant said Monday that the board has requested Pearson's cooperation with a subpoena for deposition from the committee.


Tesla recalling 2,700 Model X SUVs for seat defect

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Motors Inc. is recalling 2,700 Model X SUVs after the automaker's own tests showed the third-row seats could snap forward in a crash.

The recall involves SUVs made before March 26 and sold in the U.S.

Tesla says the Model X passed 15 seat-strength tests before failing a 16th designed to meet more stringent European standards. The company has received no reports of seat failures from customers. But Tesla says customers shouldn't use the third row until it's repaired.


The Dow Jones industrial average lost 20.55 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,556.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.61 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,041.99. The Nasdaq composite index fell 17.29 points, or less than 0.4 percent, to 4,833.40.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 64 cents to close at $40.36 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 89 cents to $42.83 a barrel in London. In other energy commodities, heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.215 a gallon, wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $1.508 a gallon and natural gas fell 8 cents to $1.912 per thousand cubic feet.