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.

TOP STORIES

WOMEN-ONLY RIDES — Ride-hailing companies catering exclusively to women are cropping up and raising thorny legal questions, namely: Are they discriminatory? By Philip Marcelo. SENT: 820 words, photos.

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK-MINIMUM WAGE — In the aftermath of California and New York becoming the first states to raise the minimum wage to $15, some small businesses that employ hourly workers are rethinking how they can absorb the increase. By Joyce Rosenberg. SENT: 860 words, photos.

BANKS-REGULATORS-LIVING WILLS — Federal regulators say that five of the biggest banks in the U.S. have inadequate plans for unwinding operations in case of failure, potentially leaving them unable to cope with financial distress without another taxpayer bailout. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 960 words, photos.

AMAZON-NEW KINDLE — Amazon is betting that its newest Kindle's sleek frame and a cover that doubles as a rechargeable battery will be strong selling points to tempt loyal fans to shell out $290 for it. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 570 words, photos.

VERIZON-CONTRACT TALKS — About 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast walk off the job after little progress in negotiations since their contract expired nearly eight months ago. By Michael Balsamo. SENT: 720 words, photos.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

FINANCIAL MARKETS — U.S. stocks are rising in afternoon trading. Banks are making the biggest gains after JPMorgan Chase posted quarterly results that weren't as bad as analysts anticipated. Stocks in Europe and Asia jumped after China said exports rose for the first time in nine months. SENT: 150 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

CONGRESS-PUERTO RICO — Congress must act quickly to help Puerto Rico manage its $70 billion debt as multimillion-dollar payments to creditors loom, a House committee chairman says. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 810 words.

RETAIL SALES — U.S. retail sales fell last month as Americans cut back on their car purchases, the latest sign that consumers are reluctant to spend freely. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 470 words, photos.

PRODUCER PRICES — U.S. producer prices fell in March for the fifth time in the past eight months, reflecting a drop in food prices which offset the biggest increase in energy prices in 10 months. Even with the increase in energy, inflation remained at modest levels. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 380 words, photos.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES — The Commerce Department reports on business stockpiles in Februrary. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 240 words, photos.

FED-BEIGE BOOK — The Federal Reserve releases its latest 'Beige Book' survey of economic conditions. The Beige Book is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered along with other data when Fed policymakers meet later this month. By Martin Crutsinger. UPCOMING: 130 words after release of survey at 2 p.m. 350 words by 2:45 p.m.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-JPMORGAN CHASE — JPMorgan Chase says its first-quarter profit fell more than 8 percent from a year earlier, and future profit growth could be threatened after it failed a key regulatory test designed to prevent another financial crisis. By Ken Sweet. SENT: 610 words, photos.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

ON THE MONEY-YOUR MONEY FOR A PRICE — Banks are rolling out services that allow their customers to cash a check before it clears — for a fee, of course. Traditional banks have avoided offering the service, which is usually aimed at people with low income, but now they want to get in on a business that has come to be dominated by local check-cashing stores. By Ken Sweet. SENT: 720 words, photos.

INDUSTRY:

VALEANT-CONGRESSIONAL PROBE — The chief executive of embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals has agreed to be deposed by a Senate committee investigating soaring prescription medicine prices. Meanwhile, the Canadian drugmaker has received a notice of default from some bond holders. By Linda A. Johnson. SENT: 720 words, photos.

PEABODY ENERGY-BANKRUPTCY — Peabody Energy, the nation's largest coal miner, has filed for bankruptcy protection as a crosscurrent of environmental, technological and economic changes wreaks havoc across the industry. By Jim Salter. SENT: 700 words, photo, photos.

GERMANY-VOLKSWAGEN — Volkswagen said Wednesday that its top managers' bonuses will be cut significantly, citing the need to send a "signal" on executives' pay following the automaker's diesel emissions scandal. By Geir Moulson. SENT: 460 words, photos.

FAA BILL-AIRLINE PASSENGERS — Republican leaders are lauding an aviation policy bill before the Senate as the most passenger friendly in years, but there are limits to friendship. SENT: 610 words, photos.

DOG FOOD TRUCK — Stand on any block around lunchtime near Amazon.com's downtown Seattle headquarters and there are two common sights: people walking their dogs and people buying lunch at food trucks. Now, one truck is combining both by catering to humankind's best friend. By Manuel Valdes. SENT: 380 words, photos, video.

HEALTH & MEDICINE:

CANCER DRUGS PROJECT — A project to speed development of cancer-fighting drugs that harness the immune system has academic and drug industry researchers collaborating and sharing their findings like never before. By Linda A. Johnson. SENT: 720 words, photos.

PAINKILLERS-PAIN MEASURES — Critics of how prescription painkillers are administered in the U.S. are calling on health officials to phase out hospital procedures and questionnaires used to manage pain. By Matthew Perrone. SENT: 480 words, photos.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

WAL-MART-GROCERY PICKUP — Wal-Mart is expanding its service that allows customers to order groceries online and then pick them up outside their local store.

INTERNATIONAL:

CHINA-TRADE — Chinese exports rise for the first time in nine months, in a sign that the outlook may be improving for the world's No. 2 economy. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 300 words, photo.

EUROPE-ECONOMY — The eurozone's industrial sector looks set to be a major contributor to first quarter economic growth across the 19-country region even after official figures show its production fell by a monthly 0.8 percent in February. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 400 words.

BELGIUM-AIRPORT — Belgian air traffic controllers continued their wildcat strike for a second day on Wednesday, forcing the cancellation of flights at Brussels airport and angering the government as the nation struggles to recover from last month's suicide bombings. SENT: 220 words.

ARGENTINA-DEBT STANDOFF — A federal appeals court has cleared the way for Argentina to settle its debts and strengthen its ability to maneuver in worldwide markets. SENT: 510 words.

MONEY & MARKETS SUMMARY:

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Verizon workers strike

About 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast walked off the job Wednesday amid a contract dispute.

CENTERPIECE

Apartment market cools

Until recently, the apartment market looked scorching hot, with builders breaking ground on high-end rentals and rents rising faster than incomes. But all that construction has flooded major cities with new apartments, tamping down price growth.

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.