Stocks Slide Over Global Economy Concerns
Business Roundup for Monday, March 10.
NEW YORK (AP) — Discouraging economic news from Asia is sending stocks lower on Wall Street. China's exports slumped 18 percent in February and Japan lowered its economic growth estimate for the last three months of last year. The downbeat report from China is hurting several industry sectors heavily reliant on Chinese economic growth, particularly materials, energy and industrials.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's top economists say the nation is on track to make economic progress over the next two years. But The Council of Economic Advisers says it would do even better if Congress enacts the additional spending Obama proposed in his most recent budget. They predict the nation's economy would grow by 3.3 percent this year and 3.5 percent in 2015, and unemployment would drop to 6.4 percent next year and 6 percent in 2016. That's if Congress approves $56 billion in spending that is above the limits set in a bipartisan budget agreement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it's pulling the plug on proposed changes to the Medicare prescription program that ran into strong opposition on Capitol Hill. Among other changes, the regulation proposed to remove three classes of drugs from a special protected list that guarantees seniors access to a wide selection of critical medications. The three classes of drugs facing removal were antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ.
DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says his company is getting $381 million from selling takeoff and landing rights at New York's LaGuardia Airport and Reagan National Airport outside Washington. The U.S. Justice Department gave a higher figure of more than $425 million but Parker says, "That's their valuation, not ours." He says the government might have included the value of slots that American picked up at New York's Kennedy Airport.
DUBLIN (AP) — Fruit supply companies Chiquita of the United States and Fyffes of Ireland say they have agreed to merge to create the world's biggest banana supplier. The all-shares agreement means the two companies will become ChiquitaFyffes PLC, be traded on the New York Stock Exchange and be headquartered in Dublin. The two companies say the merger will create a banana behemoth that ships more than 160 million crates worldwide, about a quarter more than either of their main rivals, Dole and Del Monte. ChiquitaFyffes also would become the world's No. 3 distributor of pineapples and melons.
OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) — McDonald's says a key sales metric dropped 1.4 percent in the U.S. in February amid tough winter weather. Global sales at locations open at least 13 months dipped 0.3 percent. In the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific region, sales declined 2.6 percent mostly on softness in Japan as well as weakness in Australia and a shift in the timing of the Chinese New Year. Europe was a bright spot, with sales up 0.6 percent on a strong performance in the U.K. and growth in France.
NEW YORK (AP) — Sbarro says it's filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, in the struggling pizza chain's second trip through bankruptcy court in less than three years. The filing comes shortly after it closed 155 of its U.S. locations. It still has more than 800 locations worldwide. Sbarro had also filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2011 and emerged a few months later.
NEW YORK (AP) — American Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp. are ending an agreement that allowed travelers to add connections to their itinerary on each other's aircraft. The termination of the interline sales agreement is effective Monday. The companies also say they're ending a reciprocal frequent flyer program accrual agreement. Travelers won't earn miles or points when traveling on eligible routes run by the other airline beginning April 1.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Here's an online force that's growing: Black Twitter. It's a corner of the social media giant where an unabashedly black spin on life gets served up, 140 characters at a time. Sometimes Black Twitter turns activist, and when it does, things happen. Tweets helped scuttle a book deal for a juror who helped acquit Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Black Twitter also led to the demise of Zimmerman's attempt to star at celebrity boxing.
WASHINGTON (AP) — There are no government reports due out today. But tomorrow, the Commerce Department will report on January's wholesale trade inventories and the Labor Department will release its job openings and labor turnover survey for January.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan racked up a record current account deficit in January, and lowered its growth estimate for the October-December quarter today in the latest sign of hardships for the world's third-largest economy. Japan's current account deficit totaled 1.589 trillion yen ($15 billion), the biggest for January since comparable records began in 1985, according to the Finance Ministry.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) —Comcast Corp. will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in California and Florida theme parks, stepping outside its core business of telecommunications in an effort to boost revenue and profits. In a story published Sunday, The Philadelphia Inquirer said recent moves by the Philadelphia-based, cable-TV company represent a challenge to the Walt Disney Co.'s tourism business in Orlando. Comcast took over Universal Orlando Resorts as part of its NBCUniversal acquisition in 2011.
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