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Business Roundup for 1/8/14

Business roundup for Wednesday, January 8.

 A ''Now Hiring'' sign in Florida
A ”Now Hiring” sign in Florida (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market stumbled Wednesday as investors waited for the government’s jobs report later this week and the beginning of quarterly earnings releases from corporate America.

Traders put aside a positive report that showed private employers created more jobs in December than economists had expected. The market had a muted reaction to the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s mid-December policy meeting.

Wednesday’s declines extend what has been a muddled start to 2014. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are down a little less than 1 percent after five days of trading.

The tough start should be taken in context of last year’s exceptional performance, when the S&P 500 surged almost 30 percent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minutes of last month’s Federal Reserve meeting show some participants worried that financial markets might misread a move to modestly reduce its bond purchases as a step toward raising its key short-term interest rate. And some suggested maintaining the low rate until unemployment drops below 6 percent. In the end, the Fed announced it would reduce its bond purchases by $10 billion a month and keep its short-term rate low “well past” the time the unemployment rate dropped below 6.5 percent, as long as inflation stayed low.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the nation’s biggest business lobby is “determined to make 2014 the year that immigration reform is finally enacted.” Chamber President Tom Donohue says the group intends to “pull out all the stops” to pass an overhaul of immigration laws. In his annual “State of American Business” address, Donohue also said the chamber will seek to eliminate health care taxes and delay or do away with a mandate on businesses to provide health care to employees.

PARIS (AP) — Goodyear’s French division says it has filed a lawsuit over the “boss-napping” of two of its executives and workers’ occupation of a plant in northern France. The two managers taken captive by occupying workers were freed yesterday after police intervened, ending a two-day standoff. Goodyear Dunlop Tires France says it filed the lawsuit today in France because it can’t accept “actions that endanger people and goods.”

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Two websites that post mug shots will stop charging people to remove the photos under a settlement reached in a federal lawsuit in Ohio. The lawsuit involves three people who say the websites charge hundreds of dollars to remove the mug shots even if the charges are dropped. An attorney for BustedMugshots.com and MugshotsOnline.com says the sites will continue to operate and post arrest and criminal records but won’t charge to remove the images.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey shows U.S. businesses added the most jobs in a year last month, with a big gain in construction jobs. Payroll processor ADP says companies added 238,000 jobs in December, up slightly from the previous month. November’s figures were revised higher. Construction firms added 48,000 jobs in December, the most since 2006.

NEW YORK (AP) — One measure of retail sales shows a last-minute shopping surge helped holiday sales wrap up better than expected, though stores had to discount heavily to attract shoppers. ShopperTrak says combined sales for November and December rose 2.7 percent to $265.9 billion. That’s better than the data service’s forecast of 2.4 percent for the season but below the 3 percent gain seen in 2012. The number of customers in stores in November and December dropped 14.6 percent from last year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will announce five “Promise Zones” this week as part of his effort to focus on income inequality in the lead-up to his State of the Union address. Promise Zones are areas where the federal government provides tax incentives and grants to help communities tackle poverty. Obama first announced the initiative during last year’s State of the Union speech.

LONDON (AP) — Premium drinks company Diageo  has formed a new joint venture with rap star Sean “Diddy” Combs. The 50/50 partnership between Diageo and Combs Wine & Spirits allows the brand to take advantage of Diageo’s distribution network, together with Combs’ star power in marketing luxury brands. Diageo is also buying the prestige tequila brand DeLeon.

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors on Wall Street hope to keep a good thing going when the market opens. The stock market broke out of its start-of- year funk yesterday as the Standard and Poor’s 500 index had its first up day of 2014. The index rose 11 points to break a three-day losing streak. Health care and technology stocks rose the most. The Dow gained 105 points, while the Nasdaq composite rose 39 points. Futures point to positive opening territory today.

UNDATED (AP) — International stock markets mostly rose today, spurred by expectations of faster U.S. economic growth. A decline in the U.S. trade deficit for November has raised expectations that fourth quarter economic growth will be higher than 3 percent. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $94 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Among the economic reports due later this morning is one detailing private-sector employment figures from payroll processor ADP. Later on, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from December interest-rate meeting and it also will issue its study of onsumer credit data for November.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Unemployment in the eurozone remains at a record high but appears to have stabilized. Official figures show the rate in November remained at 12.1 percent for the eighth straight month. The figures also highlight a big disparity. While countries like Germany and Austria have unemployment rates around 5 percent, those at the forefront of Europe’s debt crisis, such as Greece and Spain, are in the 25 percent range.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s trade surplus widened to a near record in November. Official figures out today could potentially fuel critics’ concerns that the country is not spending enough to help out its struggling partners in the eurozone. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has for a while been criticized of relying too heavily on its exports and not importing enough to boost other eurozone economies.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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