Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Oct 22, 2010 6:13 PM
Business Highlights


Unemployment rate drops in 23 states in September

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nearly half of U.S. states reported drops in their unemployment rates last month, the best showing since June. But job creation was weak in most areas of the country.

Unemployment fell in 23 states and Washington, D.C., rose in 11 states and was unchanged in 16 during September, the Labor Department said Friday. The declines were nearly double the number reported by states in the previous month.

Still, little hiring took place last month. A survey of employers found that payrolls decreased in 34 states and increased in only 16 states and Washington, D.C.

The unemployment rate can fall even as job creation is slow if workers stop searching for jobs and drop out of the labor force. If they aren't looking for work, they aren't counted as unemployed.


Tribune Co. CEO resigns amid tales of raunchiness

CHICAGO (AP) _ Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels has resigned amid a backlash to reports of raunchy behavior at the media company.

Friday's resignation ends Michaels' 10-month reign as CEO. His departure lets the troubled media company focus on emerging from bankruptcy protection instead of dealing with the perception that its leader had fostered the sexist culture of a "frat house."

Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and 19 TV stations. It is preparing to file its latest plan to end a nearly two-year stint under bankruptcy protection.


Currencies center stage as G20 gets under way

GYEONGJU, South Korea (AP) _ The U.S. pressed emerging nations to set targets to reduce their vast trade surpluses with the West, a plan that could see their currencies rise, as a global finance summit fumbled for ways to reduce tensions that threaten to escalate into a trade war.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's proposals, outlined in a letter to the Group of 20 major developed and emerging nations, met with immediate resistance on the opening day of a two-day meeting of top finance officials. Japan's Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Friday called the idea of targets "unrealistic."

The gathering of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors in the South Korean city of Gyeongju comes just two weeks after their meeting in Washington failed to iron out currency differences that have led to fears of a trade war that could trigger another economic downturn.


Google tightening privacy leash on its employees

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google Inc. is tightening its privacy leash on employees in an effort to ensure they don't intrude on people while the Internet search leader collects and stores information about its users.

Besides promoting longtime employee Alma Whitten to be its director of privacy, Google said Friday that it will require all 23,000 of its employees to undergo privacy training. The company also is introducing more checks aimed at making sure workers are obeying the rules.

Google's tougher privacy measures appear to be a response to recent breaches that have raised questions about the company's internal controls and policies.


Stocks end mixed after trading in narrow range

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks ended on a mixed note Friday at the close of a busy week of earnings news. The Dow finished slightly down, while the broader Standard and Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq both ended with gains.

Stocks stayed within a narrow range as a recent rally built on strong earnings reports ran out of steam.

Friday's moves also appear to be held in check as investors turn their attention to a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Korea. The group is meeting as tensions grow over a brewing currency battle that could affect global trade.


HP selling Windows 7 tablet for business users

NEW YORK (AP) _ Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new tablet might look a little bit like Apple Inc.'s latest blockbuster gadget but it's no iPad killer.

HP, the world's largest computer maker, unveiled the Slate 500 on Thursday. It costs $79. Like the iPad,it has a gesture-sensitive touchscreen and no keyboard. But unlike the iPad, the device is aimed squarely at business users.

The Slate 500 runs Windows 7, the same Microsoft Corp. operating system found on modern PCs. It also has a webcam, memory card slot, ports to plug in headphones and a USB port for accessories such as a keyboards.


Verizon posts 25 pct profit drop for 3Q

NEW YORK (AP) _ Verizon Communications Inc., the country's largest wireless carrier, on Friday said its profit fell 25 percent in the third quarter, held back by a one-time charge for a pension settlement and the performance of its landline operations, which barely broke even.

The results show how Verizon has its feet in two worlds: that of the declining traditional phone company and the burgeoning, highly profitable cell phone company.

Verizon's landline business posted operating income of $19 million for the July to September quarter, compared to $4.9 billion on the wireless side.


FCC demands information from Cablevision, Fox

WASHINGTON (AP) _ With a contract dispute still keeping Fox programming off Cablevision systems, federal regulators are demanding information from both companies about the details of their negotiations.

Roughly 3 million Cablevision subscribers in the New York area have been cut off from baseball playoffs, "House" and other popular Fox shows since Fox pulled its programming a week ago in a battle over the fees that Cablevision pays.

With the blackout entering its second week, the Federal Communications Commission sent letters Friday to executives at Cablevision Systems Corp. and News Corp., which owns Fox. The FCC is asking the companies to describe how they are meeting a government mandate to negotiate in "good faith" and provide details about their efforts to reach a deal. The agency is also asking both companies to provide any evidence that the other side is not bargaining in good faith.


Honeywell 3Q earnings fall due to pension charge

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) _ A noncash pension charge pushed Honeywell International Inc.'s third-quarter earnings down 18 percent, but the company reported a strong revenue increase on sales of automotive turbochargers, general industrial products and commercial aviation equipment.

The technology and manufacturing company beat Wall Street estimates and it boosted its earnings forecast for the year.

Honeywell on Friday reported net income of $499 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with $608 million, or 80 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue for the quarter grew by 9 percent to $8.39 billion.


Caterpillar to buy German engine firm for $810M

Caterpillar's plans to acquire German engine maker, MWM Holding GmbH, should invigorate its engine division and help the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment continue to grow.

Caterpillar Inc. said Friday that it would pay private-equity firm 3i for 580 million euros, or about $810 million, in cash for MWM.

Caterpillar said the deal will help it significantly expand options for customers of its electric power division. MWM, which stands for Motoren-Werke Mannheim, specializes in combustion engines for natural gas, special gases and diesel.


By The Associated Press

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14.01, or 0.1 percent, to 11,132.56. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose 2.82, or 0.2 percent, to 1,183.08, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 19.72, or 0.8 percent, to 2,479.39. Each index finished the week with gains.

Benchmark crude for December delivery rose $1.13 to settle at $81.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex trading in November contracts, heating oil added 3.71 cents to settle at $2.2516 a gallon, gasoline gained 2.28 cents to settle at $2.0638 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3.6 cents to settle at $3.332 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude rose $1.13 to settle at $82.96 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.