Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


Fed will likely keep rates unchanged in face of global slump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. job market is healthy. The stock market is up. Home prices are rising. Yet as the Federal Reserve prepares to meet this week, it seems in no mood to resume raising interest rates from ultra-lows.

With the global economy struggling and U.S. inflation still below the Fed's target rate, many economists see little likelihood of a rate increase even before the second half of the year.

The outlook for the world economy was downgraded this month by the International Monetary Fund, which warned of the risk of another international recession. Any major global slump would, in turn, hinder U.S. growth.


USA Today owner Gannett bids for LA Times publisher Tribune

NEW YORK (AP) — Gannett wants to buy Tribune Publishing for more than $388 million, in a deal that would give the owner of USA Today control of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers. But Gannett said Monday that Tribune has refused to start "constructive discussions" since it first offered to buy its rival earlier this month.

Gannett wants Tribune so that it can expand its USA Today Network, which helps the company share stories more easily between USA Today and its smaller papers.


China auto show highlights luxurious SUVs in slowing market

BEIJING (AP) — Automakers are showcasing a new generation of luxurious SUVs at China's biggest auto show of the year as they battle for buyers in the country's cooling, crowded market.

Sales of SUVs, the popular option on China's rough roads, soared 52 percent last year, the only product segment that still is growing in the world's largest market. Sedan sales contracted by 5.3 percent and those of minivans plunged 17.5 percent.

The SUV boom is a financial lifeline to the industry but the flood of new models is also crowding the market.


US stocks slip as energy companies fall with oil prices

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks slipped in quiet trading Monday as energy companies dropped with the price of oil. Metals and chemicals companies also fell. Company earnings remain weak, and Xerox and drugmaker Perrigo tumbled after reporting disappointing results and cutting their forecasts for the year.

Stocks looked like they were headed for big losses in the morning, but recovered most of those losses over the last hours of trading. Investors traded less than usual as they looked through a weak group of company earnings and prepared for the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which will conclude Wednesday.


IMF expects $500B revenue loss for Mideast oil exporters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Oil exporting countries in the Middle East lost a staggering $390 billion in revenue due to lower oil prices last year, and should brace for even deeper losses of around $500 billion this year, the International Monetary Fund said Monday.

The fund had earlier predicted a smaller loss, but oil prices took a tumble and the drop in revenue amounted to $30 billion larger loss.

The IMF said Monday that these countries will see revenues from oil exports drop even more in 2016.


Valeant Pharma picks Perrigo leader to become next CEO

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has chosen Perrigo Co. Chairman and CEO Joseph C. Papa to become its new CEO, replacing J. Michael Pearson.

The embattled drugmaker said Monday that Papa will start early next month and also join the company's board. He has served as Perrigo Co. Plc CEO since 2006 and chairman of that company's board since 2007.

Valeant said last month that Pearson was leaving but would stay until his replacement is hired. Pearson has led the Canadian drugmaker since 2010, but his last year with the company has been particularly rocky.


Depomed gives Starboard chance for meeting to replace board

Depomed is taking another step to avoid the pain of a protracted fight with activist investor Starboard Value over control of the drugmaker.

The pharmaceutical company said Monday that its board has amended its shareholder rights plan, which allows Starboard to immediately submit its request for a special meeting. Starboard has said it wants that meeting so it can replace Depomed's board.

Starboard holds a nearly 10 percent stake in Depomed, which it targeted earlier this month for its latest boardroom coup attempt. It has accused the drugmaker's board members of being more concerned with enriching themselves than improving shareholder value.


US ends Honda probe for failing to report deaths, injuries

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government has closed an investigation into Honda's failure to report deaths and injuries, saying that the company has met all of its obligations.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Honda paid a $70 million fine and took steps needed to make sure similar failures don't happen again. The government fined Honda in December of 2014 in what then was the largest civil penalty levied against an automaker.

The company admitted in a consent order that it didn't report 1,729 complaints that its vehicles caused deaths and injuries, and that it didn't report warranty claims.


US new-home sales fall in March for third straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped back from buying new homes in March, the third straight monthly decline as sales plunged sharply in the Western states.

New-home sales slipped 1.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 511,000, the Commerce Department said Monday. That rate has steadily dropped from 519,000 in February and 521,000 in January. Sales plummeted 23.6 percent in the West, which has been prone to volatile swings in sales as one of the nation's priciest housing markets.


Dubai pushes the pedal to the metal on driverless cars

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Already home to the world's biggest skyscraper, Dubai has another tall order to fill: By 2030, its leader wants 25 percent of all trips on its roads to be done by driverless vehicles.

Monday's announcement by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum came without warning and with few details, as is sometimes the case with the many aspirations of the leadership of the United Arab Emirates.

The car-crazed city-state has over 1.5 million registered vehicles.


The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 26.51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,977.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.79 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,087.79. The Nasdaq composite index gave up 10.44 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,895.79.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.09, or 2.5 percent, to $42.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 63 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $44.48 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.51 a gallon. Heating oil lost 2 cents to $1.29 a gallon. Natural gas fell 8 cents to $2.06 per 1,000 cubic feet.