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Business Roundup for 1/7/14

Business roundup for Tuesday, January 7.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes are higher today and appear on track to break a year-opening slump. Health care stocks are leading the gains. UnitedHealth Group has been as much as 4 percent higher, the biggest gain among the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average. The Dow was up more than 100 points in afternoon trading, while the S&P and the Nasdaq are also higher.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed has unexpectedly cleared an initial Senate hurdle. The vote was 60-37 to limit debate on the legislation, with a half-dozen Republicans siding with the Democrats. But Senate Republicans say they will work to change the measure so the $6.4 billion cost would not add to deficits. Senate Democratic leaders are indicating some willingness to consider such changes.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have ordered four companies that sell what the government says are bogus weight loss aids to return about $34 million to consumers. The makers of an additive called Sensa will return more than $26 million to settle charges of using deceptive advertising. The ads claimed that consumers could lose weight by simply sprinkling the powder on their food. Others hit in the action are LeanSpa, which promotes weight loss supplements through fake news websites, skin cream maker L’Occitane and HCG Diet Direct, which sells unproven hormones for weight loss.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Home video continues to be a growth market. A consortium of Hollywood studios and electronics makers reports spending on home video rose nearly 1 percent to $18.2 billion last year. It’s the second straight year of growth as higher spending on video streaming subscriptions and digital purchases offset a decline in DVD sales.

HERNDON, Va. (AP) — The head of the Airbus unit that handles business in North America is stepping down. Sean O’Keefe has run the unit since 2009, expanding the Europe-based company’s presence in the U.S., including building a factory in Alabama. O’Keefe was injured in a 2010 plane crash in Alaska that killed Sen. Ted Stevens and four other people. Airbus says the 57-year-old O’Keefe is stepping down March 1 “to fully address ongoing medical issues” resulting from his injuries.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices barely rose in November from the previous month. Year-over-year gains slowed, reflecting declines in sales in the fall. The Real estate data provider CoreLogic says prices increased just 0.1 percent in November from October. But prices have risen at a healthy 11.8 percent from a year ago.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in November to its lowest level in four years. It’s an encouraging sign for economic growth. Gains in energy production and stronger sales of American-made airplanes, autos and machinery lifted exports to an all-time high. The Commerce Department says the trade gap dropped 12.9 percent to $34.3 billion in November, the smallest monthly trade deficit since October 2009.

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle claims related to Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme. JPMorgan was Madoff’s primary bank in the later years of a fraud that spanned decades. Account statements for thousands of clients showing $60 billion in assets were bogus. And most of the roughly $17.5 billion in principal that was real, was gone. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term.

AMIENS, France (AP) — Two managers held captive for two days by angry workers at a Goodyear plant in northern France have been freed after police intervened. The director and the human resources chief at the plant in Amiens walked out of the factory today, minutes after two police officers entered the building. Goodyear has tried to sell or close the plant for five years, and the workers had demanded bigger severance packages as a condition of letting the managers go. Some were angry about the release and set fire to tires outside the plant.

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite a slow start for stocks in the new year, many analysts say it’s too early to declare an end to the market’s mostly upward trend. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index yesterday had its worst start to a year in almost a decade, closing lower for the third straight trading day. Futures point to a higher opening today.

UNDATED (AP) — Caution about China’s economic prospects and upcoming U.S. economic data kept Asian stock markets subdued today. European markets were also lackluster in early trading. Investors are awaiting economic events in the U.S. with Federal Reserve minutes due tomorrow and a monthly jobs report on Friday. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen. Benchmark crude oil rose nearer to $94 a barrel.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Returning for a new session, the Senate made history on its first day, confirming a woman to head the Federal Reserve for the first time in the institution’s 100-year history. The vote for Janet Yellen was 56-26, although several lawmakers missed the vote because of delayed flights to the nation’s capital.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic supporters of a three-month extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless say they’re confident they have enough votes to survive a procedural vote on the Senate floor. That vote is likely later today. It was postponed yesterday because minority Republicans complained that too many lawmakers would miss the vote because of flight delays.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Toyota has announced that a hydrogen-powered vehicle which emits only water vapor as exhaust will go on sale in the U.S. in 2015, a year earlier than it promised just two months ago. The Japanese automaker made the disclosure at the International CES, the technology industry’s annual gadget show. The shift came months after rival automakers Hyundai and Honda both said they’d start selling cars with that technology in the U.S. in 2015.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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