Business Roundup for Monday, February 10

A sign across the street from the New York Stock Exchange (John Moore/Getty Images)


NEW YORK (AP) —U.S. stocks are ending slightly higher as the market settles down after a two-day surge late last week. Hasbro rose almost 5 percent after the toy maker raised its dividend. Investors were looking ahead to the first public comments from Janet Yellen since she became the head of the Federal Reserve. Yellen will testify before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial was lower for most of the day Monday but turned slightly higher in late trading. The Dow closed up seven points, or 0.1 percent, at 15,801 Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,799. The Nasdaq composite rose 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148. Three stocks rose for every two that fell. Trading volume was slightly lower than usual.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Carl Icahn is backing off his campaign to pressure Apple's board of directors into spending $50 billion to buy back its own slumping stock. The activist investor outlined the about-face in a letter to Apple's shareholders, citing a recent flurry of stock repurchases as one of the reasons for his change of heart. He also said he is excited about CEO Tim Cook's pledge to release new products this year that will expand Apple's line-up beyond smartphones, tablets and personal computers.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The American Medical Association is backing a bill that would change the way Medicare pays doctors. The AMA's endorsement provides a boost for bipartisan legislation that would provide financial incentives to reward quality, cost-effective care and encourage doctors and other professionals to work in teams to keep patients as healthy as possible. The current payment system has proven unworkable, relying on automatic cuts to doctors to limit Medicare spending.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health experts are taking a second look at the heart safety of pain medications. At a two-day meeting, the Food and Drug Administration is examining the latest research on anti-inflammatory medicines and considering whether naproxen — the key ingredient in Bayer's Aleve and many other generic pain pills — carries a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than rival medications like ibuprofen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Incidents of pilots trying to land at the wrong airport are rare, but perhaps more regular that most realize. An Associated Press review of government safety records finds at least 150 flights since the early 1990s ran into such problems. San Jose, Calif., is a particular trouble spot, with half a dozen instances in which pilots prepared to land at Moffett Field, a joint civilian-military airport, instead of San Jose International Airport, about 10 miles to the southeast. One controller says it happens several times every winter in bad weather.

NEW YORK (AP) — Winter storms are hurting McDonald's. The world's biggest hamburger chain says bad weather caused sales to drop 3.3 percent at established U.S. locations last month. The decline is the latest disappointment for McDonald's, which has conceded that its kitchen operations have gotten overly complicated by the pace of new menu offerings.

NEW YORK (AP) — Google has passed Exxon to become the second most valuable U.S. company by market capitalization. FactSet data puts the Internet company's market capitalization at more than $395 billion. Google trails Apple Inc.'s market capitalization of more than $463 billion. Shares of Google Inc. have gained 66 percent since the beginning of last year.

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Yelp are up more than 4 percent in morning trading. The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets are reporting that the online review site and Yahoo are forming a partnership that would integrate Yelp's content into Yahoo's search engine.

SEATTLE (AP) — Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, rank as the most generous American philanthropists in 2013. The Chronicle of Philanthropy says Zuckerberg and Chan made a donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock, valued at more than $970 million, to a Silicon Valley nonprofit in December. That put the couple at the top of the magazine's annual list of 50 most generous Americans in 2013.

BEIJING (AP) — International stock markets are mostly higher today as investors looked ahead to Janet Yellen's first comments before Congress tomorrow as the new Federal Reserve chairwoman. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $99.50 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two straight weak job reports are raising doubts about economists' predictions of breakout growth in 2014. The global economy is showing signs of slowing again. Manufacturing has slumped. Fewer people are signing contracts to buy homes. And Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman have suggested that the economy might be in a semi-permanent funk.

SYDNEY (AP) — Toyota says it will stop making cars in Australia by the end of 2017, spelling a final blow to auto manufacturing in the country. Car companies say high production costs and tough competition have made the business unviable. Toyota's announcement, which will result in the loss of around 2,500 jobs, was widely anticipated, coming just two months after General Motors said it would end production in Australia by 2017. Ford announced in May that it would cease Australian production in 2016.

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan says quarterly profit rose 57 percent, driven by a weaker yen and strong sales in China and Japan. The Japanese automaker reported net profit today of 84.3 billion yen ($823 million) for the October-December third quarter. That was up from 53.8 billion yen a year earlier. It was a sharp improvement from the previous quarter, when profits rose 2 percent.

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