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Applications for US jobless aid rise to still-low 258,000

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:32:55 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, but applications are still at a low level that points to a healthy job market. Many businesses complain they are having trouble finding qualified workers to hire for their open jobs, which also makes layoffs less likely.



Applications for US unemployment benefits rise to still-low 258,000, a sign layoffs are low

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:31:10 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Applications for US unemployment benefits rise to still-low 258,000, a sign layoffs are low.



ABC News says 3 of its Twitter accounts were hacked

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:24:17 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC News says three of its Twitter accounts were hacked Thursday morning and sent out profanity-filled tweets to its millions of followers. The tweets have since been deleted and ABC News says it is "working on resolving the problem."



UK consumers spend more in Feb but underlying trend is down

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:09:01 UT

LONDON (AP) — Official figures show retail sales in Britain bounced back strongly in February but that the underlying picture remains gloomy as the country prepares to start two years of discussions to leave the European Union. Analysts say the underlying picture suggests that households are reining in spending ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May's upcoming triggering of the two-year Brexit process as well as rising inflation largely related to higher energy prices.



Stocks mixed ahead of US vote seen as Trump bellwether

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:39:12 UT

TOKYO (AP) — Global stocks were mixed Thursday, as investors awaited a vote in the U.S. Congress on health care legislation that is seen as a bellwether for President Donald Trump's ability to deliver on campaign promises of tax and regulatory reforms. Republican leaders in Congress were looking to Trump to help win over a crucial bloc of conservatives in supporting the American Health Care Act before a House of Representatives vote on Thursday. Earlier in the week, shares fell on doubts over the outlook for Trump's agenda of tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending. ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "The implications of the health care reform bill vote may be more pronounced when the results arrive and I would not be surprised to find the market using this vote as a proxy in their expectations for future policies to be passed," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.



Singapore prime minister in Vietnam to up trade, investment

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:13:28 UT

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam and Singapore signed several business agreements Thursday during a visit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong aimed at boosting the island state's investment and trade with the communist country. The two leaders discussed regional and security issues and in particular the South China Sea, Lee said, where issues should be resolved "in accordance with the international law including the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea ... and also on the freedom of navigation on the important artery of global commerce in the South China Sea."



South Korea to inject $2.6 bln into ailing shipyard Daewoo

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 05:22:58 UT

"The creditors failed to apply conservative estimates and better respond to the potential risks in Daewoo Shipbuilding such as the prolonged downturn in the shipbuilding industry and we are greatly sorry for that," said Lee Dong Geul, chairman of the state-owned Korea Development Bank, which took over the shipbuilder in 2000. Reaching agreement on the debt for equity swap may prove difficult: the company's shares were suspended from trading in July after it was found to have inflated profits and understated its costs. Giving up also would result in the waste of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money that the government has spent on Daewoo since the shipbuilder's former parent group collapsed in the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. Despite heavy job cuts, selling non-essential assets such as real estate and other restructuring efforts, Daewoo Shipbuilding reported an annual net loss of 2.7 trillion won in 2016, its fourth straight annual loss. The company has been cited as an example of moral hazard at a state-owned company after its former CEO and former chief financial officer were convicted of embezzlement and breach of trust.



Less-educated middle-age US whites dying younger than others

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:19:08 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Middle-age white Americans with limited education are increasingly dying younger, on average, than other middle-age U.S. adults, a trend driven by their dwindling economic opportunities, research by two Princeton University economists has found. The economists, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, argue in a paper released Thursday that the loss of steady middle-income jobs for those with high school degrees or less has triggered broad problems for this group. Case and Deaton's paper, issued by the Brookings Institution, follows up on research they released in 2015 that first documented a sharp increase in mortality among middle-aged whites. Since 1999, white men and women ages 45 through 54 have endured a sharp increase in "deaths of despair," Case and Deaton found in their earlier work. Even while the death rate for whites without a college degree is rising, the rate for whites who are college graduates is falling, Case and Deaton found. For those reasons, Case and Deaton discount the notion that government disability benefit programs are responsible for some of these problems by enabling more Americans to stop working.



Asian shares up as Wall Street steadies, with eye on US vote

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:58:18 UT

Investors are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Congress on health care legislation that is seen as a bellwether for the capacity of the administration of President Donald Trump to deliver on campaign promises for tax and regulatory reform. Earlier in the week, shares fell on doubts over the outlook for Trump's agenda of tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending. ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "The implications of the health care reform bill vote may be more pronounced when the results arrive and I would not be surprised to find the market using this vote as a proxy in their expectations for future policies to be passed," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. U.S. crude oil gained 34 cents to $48.38 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.



Trump's SEC pick, a lawyer for Goldman, to face skepticism

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:16:30 UT

Jay Clayton, a well-connected Wall Street lawyer who is President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, is sure to face sharp questions from Democrats at his confirmation hearing Thursday over his years of work for Goldman and other financial giants. Among the targets for critics is Clayton's blue-chip client list, brimming with Wall Street powerhouses and hedge funds as well as some corporations that have faced accusations of misconduct. Among them are Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian drug maker that is the target of at least 10 government investigations, including a congressional probe into drug prices, and Volkswagen, embroiled in a scandal over alleged emissions cheating. [...] with that work mostly done, Cox suggested, Clayton is likely to steer the SEC back to its more fundamental responsibilities, such as overseeing rules for raising capital and rethinking disclosure requirements to make them better suited to a company's size. [...] Republican lawmakers have been pushing the SEC to ease the rules for smaller companies to raise capital in the markets — an area related to Clayton's experience. With his vast experience in corporate mergers and public stock launches, Clayton, 50, has worked on many of the kinds of Wall Street deals the SEC regulates. Besides Goldman, he has represented Barclays, Deutsche Bank and UBS. Clayton's financial disclosure filing shows that other big corporate clients — including Ally Financial, Royal Bank of Canada, Volkswagen, British Airways, Priceline Group and Valeant.



Google's YouTube losing major advertisers upset with videos

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:54:26 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — AT&T, Verizon and several other major advertisers are suspending their marketing campaigns on Google's YouTube site after discovering their brands have been appearing alongside videos promoting terrorism and other unsavory subjects. YouTube's popularity stems from its massive and eclectic library of video, spanning everything from polished TV clips to raw diatribes posted by people bashing homosexuals. [...] Google can ensure this won't happen again, we are removing our ads from Google's non-search platforms. In its statement, Verizon said it decided to pull ads from YouTube to protect its website while it investigates the "weak links" among its digital advertising partners.



Hard times for Sears as retailer notes doubt about future

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:42:13 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears, a back-to-school shopping destination for generations of kids, has said that after years of losing money that there is "substantial doubt" it will be able to keep its doors open. Sears Holdings Corp. said late Tuesday it lost more than $2 billion last year, and its historical operating results indicated doubt about the future of the company that started in the 1880s as a mail-order catalog business. At a largely empty Sears store in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the available parking far outstripped the number of cars in the lot, 85-year-old Jack Walsh and his 82-year-old wife, Mary Ann, said they have shopped at Sears their entire lives, buying items from curtains and window treatments to tires and tools. Sears tried to soothe investors' fears, saying in a post on its site that it remains focused on "executing our transformation plan" and that news reports miss the full disclosure that it's highlighting actions to reduce risks. The company, which employs 140,000 people, announced in January said it would close 108 additional Kmart and 42 more Sears locations, and unveiled yet another restructuring plan in February aimed at cutting costs and reconfiguring debts to give itself more breathing room. Industry analysts have placed the staggering sums of money that Sears is losing beside the limited number of assets it has left to sell, and believe the storied retailer may have reached the point of no return. Excluding charges that can be listed as one-time events, the loss is $4.57 billion, says Ken Perkins, who heads the research firm Retail Metrics LLC, but how the losses are stacked no longer seem to matter. Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s storied catalog featured items from bicycles to sewing machines to houses, and could generate excitement throughout a household when it arrived.



'Living art' listed for $2.2M with Ballard Locks in backyard

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:15:46 UT

When it comes to making the best of an unfavorable situation, the owners of this beautiful home on the canal of the Ballard Locks really outdid themselves.




Starbucks CEO stands by pledge to hire refugees

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:10:13 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz presided over his last annual shareholder meeting as head of the company Wednesday by standing by its pledge to hire refugees and expanding on previously announced goals to hire veterans and at-risk youth. Schultz, who will remain executive chairman, defended the promise on refugees to a shareholder who criticized his willingness to have the company's reputation "take a beating" over it. Schultz, a Democrat, had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president last year, and didn't rule out running for office himself. Since he returned as chief executive in 2008, the company has expanded its footprint globally and seen sales growth at home.



Business Highlights

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:42:57 UT

Jay Clayton, a well-connected Wall Street lawyer who is President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, is sure to face sharp questions from Democrats in his Senate confirmation Thursday over his years of work for Goldman and other financial giants. WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Labor Department says he won't allow potential political pressure from the administration to influence his hiring decisions. Alexander Acosta tells a Senate committee he regrets that political tests played a role in employment practices used by a subordinate when Acosta headed the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — AT&T, Verizon and several other major advertisers are suspending their marketing campaigns on Google's YouTube site after discovering their brands have been appearing alongside videos promoting terrorism and other unsavory subjects. NEW YORK (AP) — As far as the indignities of modern air travel go, the latest ban on laptops and tablets on some international flights falls somewhere between taking off shoes at the security checkpoint and testing baby food and milk for bomb residue. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The president of Emirates, the Middle East's biggest airline, defended security measures at the carrier's Dubai hub on Wednesday and said the ban on personal electronics onboard U.S.-bound flights came without warning. CHICAGO (AP) — Workers dreaming of early retirement are getting the jitters as Washington debates replacing the Obama-era health care law with a system that could be a lot more expensive for many older Americans. JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Australian couple with roots in Alaska has bought radio stations in three states, marking the first time federal regulators have allowed full foreign ownership of U.S. radio stations.



For some airline passengers, new warnings bring new hurdles

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:50:05 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — As far as the indignities of modern air travel go, the latest ban on laptops and tablets on some international flights falls somewhere between taking off shoes at the security checkpoint and testing baby food and milk for bomb residue. "Why are only Middle Eastern airlines subject to this ban?" asked Kelsey Norman, a doctoral student who plans to fly home Friday to Los Angeles from Beirut — and expects to have to check her laptop, a Kindle tablet and her DSLR camera. New restrictions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security prohibit the transportation in carry-on baggage of laptop computers, tablets, Kindles, some gaming devices, cameras and other electronics larger than a smartphone. People can still bring with them to their seat items like smartphones, duffel bags, coats, small bottles of hand lotion, snacks, earplugs and other small items. Features can be limited for some apps; Microsoft's Office app, for instance, allows users to open only one document at a time. Last fall, Samsung asked users of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 to "power down and stop using the device" on planes. [...] he worries about laptop lithium-ion batteries — which have been blamed for past aircraft fires — stored in the plane's cargo hold.



How major US stock market indexes fared on Wednesday

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:42:27 UT

How major US stock market indexes fared on Wednesday After a shaky start, U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Wednesday as technology and industrial companies rose. The Nasdaq composite jumped 27.82 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,821.64.



Sears, Nike and US Bancorp stumble while FedEx, Duluth rise

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:29:12 UT

The retailer said in a regulatory filing that there is "substantial doubt" it will be able to remain in business. The shipping company's holiday-season results were mixed, but analysts expect its business to improve. Utility companies continued to do better than the rest of the market as investors snap up high-dividend stocks as bond yields fall.



Markets Right Now: After a bumpy start, stocks manage gains

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:10:01 UT

U.S. stocks shook off a shaky start and finished mostly higher as technology and industrial companies rose. Banks continued to fall along with bond yields, which forces interest rates on loans lower. Stocks are wavering between small gains and losses in midday trading as technology and industrial stocks rise but phone and energy companies fall. Energy companies fell along with another drop in the price of crude oil. Stocks are treading water in early trading as gains in high-dividend stocks are outweighed by drops in banks and other sectors. Sears Holdings plunged 9 percent in early trading Wednesday after the struggling retailer said it was doubtful it would be able to keep operating.



UN atomic chief: Iran inspections at risk without more money

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:52:24 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The inspections regime put in place to closely monitor Iran's nuclear activity is in jeopardy unless the U.S. and other nations contribute more money, the head of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday. Yukiya Amano, the agency's director general, said he used his visit to Washington to make the case for an increase to the Trump administration and to U.S. lawmakers who control the federal budget. Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to limits on its ability to enrich uranium and strict monitoring to ensure compliance, in exchange for easing of economic sanctions. Trump, during the presidential campaign, threatened to scuttle the deal or to renegotiate it, and as recently as this week said that "nobody" could figure out why President Barack Obama signed it.



17,000 AT&T workers in California and Nevada go on strike

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:47:11 UT

AT&T is asking technicians who install cable to also work outside maintaining phone and cable wires, which is a higher-paid job, said Sheila Bordeaux, who works in an AT&T call center and is an executive board member of the union local that covers Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Verizon agreed to add new call center jobs and promised raises but also adopted some cheaper health insurance plans.



AP Interview: Emirates defends security as laptop ban looms

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:13:00 UT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The president of Emirates, the Middle East's biggest airline, defended security measures at the carrier's Dubai hub on Wednesday and said the ban on personal electronics onboard U.S.-bound flights came without warning. Dubai was one of 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries affected by the new rule, which will force passengers to forego their tablets, laptops and other gadgets on direct flights to the U.S. Mobile phones and medical devices will be allowed onboard. Britain issued similar restrictions a few hours after U.S. officials announced theirs, though Dubai and Abu Dhabi - the two United Arab Emirates hubs on the U.S. list - were not included in the British ban. Many of the passengers it carries are not going to or from the Middle East, but transit through Dubai International Airport to points all over Emirates' far-flung global network. Emirates' success and that of smaller rivals Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has rattled big U.S. airlines, who accuse the Gulf carriers of receiving billions of dollars of unfair government subsidies. The airline boss said Emirates was stung by the Trump administration's executive order to restrict travel for passengers from seven Muslim-majority nations, with demand for the U.S. less robust than before.