Business Highlights

8/28/2015 3:15 PM
By Associated Press

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Calm on Wall Street: A turbulent week ends on a placid note

NEW YORK (AP) — Well, that was exciting.

Days after China threw the biggest scare into Wall Street in years, U.S. stocks have come surging back and ended the week Friday on a placid note that suggested the worst may be over for now.

Even so, investors are buckling their seat belts for more turbulence ahead.

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As markets drop, question is: will the Chinese still shop?

BICESTER, England (AP) — The designer outlet mall of Bicester Village is set in the English countryside near Oxford, but it might as well be in China.

Quiet Mandarin chatter fills the air. Most of the shoppers are Chinese — and so are half the sales assistants.

In the Burberry store, many try on the brand's signature trench coats, which go for at least 600 pounds ($925) after discounts. Some punch numbers into their smartphone calculators to work out the exchange rate; more take photos of the goods on offer, likely to message friends at home for a nod of approval.

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Fed vice chair in spotlight as markets seek rate hike clues

WASHINGTON (AP) — What once seemed a sure bet — that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in September — suddenly appears less certain following a wild week of stock market turbulence.

The market's ride and how the Fed will react provide the backdrop for the annual high-profile economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Fed Chair Janet Yellen decided to skip this year's meeting, so Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is commanding top attention, with investors eagerly parsing his every word.

Fischer's message: Incoming economic data and market developments over the next two weeks will play crucial roles in determining whether the Fed raises interest rates at its September meeting.

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Fast-food's new target: The snack attack

NEW YORK (AP) — Forget the Big Mac attack. Now is the time of the snack attack.

After years of slinging super-sized servings, some fast-food chains are starting to see the benefits of offering daintier bites. That includes mini-hot dogs, little chicken sandwiches and shakes that are smaller than a small.

It's all intended to entice people who are searching for a small treat between meals, a cheap bite or a little something extra at mealtime.

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What's in a billion? Facebook users hit milestone in 1 day

NEW YORK (AP) — A billion people logged in to Facebook on a single day this week, marking the first time that many members used the world's largest online social network in a 24-hour period. The number amounts to one-seventh of the Earth's population.

Monday's milestone was mostly symbolic for Facebook, which boasts nearly 1.5 billion users who log in at least once a month. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who founded the network in his Harvard dorm room 11 years ago, reflected on the occasion with a post.

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US consumer spending up moderate 0.3 percent in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers increased their spending moderately in July, as wages and salaries made their biggest jump in eight months.

Spending rose 0.3 percent in July, helped by purchases of big-ticket items such as cars, the Commerce Department reported Friday. June's result was revised up to a matching 0.3 percent gain.

Incomes increased 0.4 percent in July. The key category of wages and salaries rose 0.5 percent, the biggest advance since last November.

The report suggests that consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, got off to a good start in the third quarter as strong momentum from the second quarter rolled into July.

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Survey: Plunging stock prices hit US consumer sentiment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Plummeting stock prices have taken a toll on U.S. consumer confidence, though there are signs the setback may be temporary.

The University of Michigan says its consumer sentiment index fell to 91.9 this month from 93.1 in July. The index is still up 11.4 percent from a year ago.

The figures provide an early read of the impact on consumers from the 1,900 point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average over six days through Tuesday. Stock prices have since recovered some of those losses.

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Goodyear retiring blimps, rolling out new cigar-shaped craft

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fabled Goodyear Blimp, which has been seen floating over American sports events for generations, is retiring.

But that big, cigar-shaped dirigible will remain instantly recognizable with its blue-and-gold Goodyear logo emblazoned across the side. It just won't be, technically, a blimp.

From the ground it won't look much different from Goodyear's Spirit of America, which was deflated and disassembled earlier this month after a farewell flight across California.

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USDA to approve Simplot's genetically engineered potato

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a potato genetically engineered by Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine and that still damages crops around the world.

The USDA made the announcement Friday on its website.

The Russet Burbank variety the USDA approved is the second generation of Simplot's Innate potatoes and also includes the first generation's reduced bruising and a greater reduction in a chemical produced at high temperatures some studies have shown can cause cancer.

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Ashley Madison CEO steps down in wake of hacking

NEW YORK (AP) — The CEO of the company that runs adultery website Ashley Madison is stepping down in the wake of the massive breach of the company's computer systems and outing of millions of its members.

The abrupt departure of Noel Biderman, which came without the appointment of an interim replacement, could be another sign that the website's days may be numbered, experts say.

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Apple's music service losing key player as exec resigns

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple's online music subscription service is losing a key player as millions of listeners near the end of a free three-month trial period that has drawn mixed reviews.

Ian Rogers, part of a team acquired last year, is leaving Apple to take a job at an unidentified company in Europe. Apple confirmed Rogers' departure Friday without providing additional details.

Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats last year was driven in large part by the iPhone maker's desire to draw upon the musical chops of Rogers, longtime recording executive Jimmy Iovine and hip hop artist Dr. Dre. Both Iovine and Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, remain with Apple.

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US court reverses ruling that found NSA program illegal

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Friday ruled in favor of the Obama administration in a dispute over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone data on hundreds of millions of Americans.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a lower court ruling that said the program likely violates the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches.

The ruling means the government can continue collecting the data for the next few months, although the program is set to expire at the end of November under legislation that Congress passed to replace it. The appeals court sent the case back for a judge to determine what further details about the program the government must provide.

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Former PM Tsipras' popularity tanks ahead of Greek elections

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's former governing radical-left party is unlikely to win an outright majority in a crucial national election next month, and its lead over the opposition conservatives has narrowed, early opinion polls showed Friday.

The polls also found that former prime minister Alexis Tsipras' popularity has tanked in recent months to the lowest since his election in January.

The poll results, which indicate that the debt-crippled country might even need a second election before a government can be formed, came hours after a caretaker government was formed ahead of the Sept. 20 vote.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 11.76 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,643.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.21 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,988.87. The Nasdaq composite gained 15.62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,828.32.

U.S. crude jumped $2.66 to close at $45.22 a barrel in New York. Oil soared to its biggest one-day gain since March, 2009 on Thursday after a report showed that the U.S. economy grew more strongly than previously estimated in the second quarter. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $2.49 to close at $50.05 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 6.8 cents to close at $1.397 a gallon. Heating oil gained 8 cents to close at $1.576 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5.5 cents to close at $2.638 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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