Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Apr 04, 2011 6:21 PM
Business Highlights


Banks, credit-card issuers warn of email breach

NEW YORK (AP) _ With the possible theft of millions of email addresses from an advertising company, several large companies have started warning customers to expect fraudulent emails that try to coax account login information from them.

Companies behind such brands as Chase, Citi and Best Buy said over the weekend that hackers may have learned their email addresses because of a security breach at a Dallas-based company called Epsilon that manages email communications.

The email addresses could be used to target spam. It's also a standard tactic among online fraudsters to send emails to random people, purporting to be from a large bank and asking them to login in at a site that looks like the bank's site. Instead, the fraudulent site captures their login information and uses it to access the real account.


Texas Instruments buying National Semiconductor

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Texas Instruments says it is buying fellow chipmaker National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion in cash in a move to expand its share of the market for analog chips, which are used in a wide range of electronics.

Texas Instruments Inc., based in Dallas, has agreed to pay $25 per share for Santa Clara, Calif.-based National Semiconductor Corp. That marks a 78 percent premium to that stock's closing stock price Monday before the deal was announced.


Pfizer selling Capsugel unit to KKR for $2.38B

NEW YORK (AP) _ Pfizer Inc. said Monday it will sell its Capsugel capsule-making business to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Robert & Co. for $2.38 billion in cash.

In October, Pfizer said it would review options for Capsugel and might sell the company. Pfizer, which is the world's biggest drugmaker, said it will use proceeds from the sale to buy back additional stock and may use some of the funds to make other investments or deals.


Geithner issues new warning on debt limit

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is telling lawmakers that the country is only weeks away from reaching the limit on the amount of money the government can borrow.

Geithner tells congressional leaders in a letter that the country will reach the current debt limit of $14.3 trillion no later than May 16. He says he has a few options that would delay a government default on its debt. But he warns that the most time he could buy is another eight weeks, or until around July 8.

Geithner says that the longer Congress delays raising the debt limit, the greater the risk that investors around the world will lose confidence in America's ability to meet its obligations.


NTSB: Cracks similar to those found in damaged Southwest Airlines jet found in 3 other planes

PHOENIX (AP) _ Three more Southwest Airlines jetliners have small, subsurface cracks that are similar to the ones suspected in the fuselage tear on another of its planes. Federal aviation officials are considering an order for other airlines to inspect their aircraft.

The 5-foot-long hole tore open Friday in the passenger cabin roof shortly after the Southwest plane carrying 118 people left Phoenix for Sacramento, Calif. It made a rapid descent, landing at a military base in Yuma, 150 miles southwest of Phoenix. No one was seriously hurt.

Since then, Southwest grounded 79 other Boeing 737-300s and began inspecting them. The grounding caused about 600 flight cancellations over the weekend and another 70 on Monday. Nineteen inspected aircraft showed no problems and will be returned to service.


Largest US dealer expects Japanese auto shortage

DETROIT (AP) _ Cars made by Japanese manufacturers will be in short supply in showrooms this spring and summer because of last month's earthquake and tsunami, the head of the largest U.S. dealership chain said Monday.

AutoNation Inc. CEO Mike Jackson said in an interview with The Associated Press that customers will first see shortages of vehicles made exclusively in Japan. Then parts shortages will slow down production of Japanese-brand cars assembled in North America.


Toyota: N. American plant closures likely in April

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that it's inevitable that the company will be forced to temporarily shut down all of its North American factories because of parts shortages due to the earthquake that hit Japan.

The temporary shutdowns are likely to take place later this month, affecting 25,000 workers, but no layoffs are expected, spokesman Mike Goss said. Just how long the shutdowns last or whether all 13 of Toyota's factories will be affected at the same time is unknown and depends on when parts production can restart in Japan, he said.


Sbarro filing for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection

MELVILLE, N.Y. (AP) _ Pizza and pasta chain Sbarro Inc. said Monday that it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it works to restructure.

The restaurant chain has suffered, like many restaurants, since consumers clamped down on spending in the recession. It didn't help that many of Sbarro's restaurants are located in retail malls, which shoppers steered clear of during the depths of the economic downturn. Rising food costs, particularly for cheese and flour, have added to its woes of late.

Sbarro is also strapped by debt it took on when private-equity firm MidOcean Partners bought it in January 2007.


Google plans to bid for Nortel patent portfolio

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Google Inc. plans to bid $900 million in cash for Nortel Networks' patent portfolio in a bankruptcy auction scheduled for June.

Nortel, the Canadian maker of telecommunications equipment and computer networking gear, has selected Google's offer as the "stalking horse bid" to serve as the starting point in the bidding process.

Ontario-based Nortel has been selling its operations piece by piece since it filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the U.S. in January 2009. Its patent portfolio includes about 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning a broad range of technology, including wireless, data networking and semiconductors.


Citi to start clearing smaller checks first

NEW YORK (AP) _ Citibank will soon start clearing customer checks in a way that minimizes the potential for multiple overdraft charges.

In an internal memo sent Monday, the bank said it will process checks starting with the smallest amounts first as of July 25. Most banks process larger checks first, a practice consumer advocates say increases the potential for multiple overdraft violations on checking accounts.

Customers are being notified of the change in statements this week.


McDonald's wants to fill 50K jobs on hiring day

McDonald's Corp. will hold its first national hiring day April 19 to fill 50,000 openings at its restaurants nationwide.

The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., says it is making a concerted effort to add staff as its business improves and as more of its restaurants stay open 24 hours a day.

McDonald's is hiring restaurant crew and management for full-time and part-time positions. The company's hiring goal translates to between three and four new hires per restaurant.


By The Associated Press

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,400.03. The S&P 500 index gained less than a point to 1,332.87. The Nasdaq composite lost less than a point to 2,789.19.

Benchmark crude for May delivery gained 53 cents to settle at $108.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At one point the contract rose as high as $108.78 per barrel, the highest price since September 2008. In London, Brent crude rose $2.25 to settle at $120.66 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

In other Nymex trading in May contracts, heating oil rose 3.69 cents to settle at $3.1714 a gallon and gasoline gained 1.75 cents to settle at $3.1688 a gallon. Natural gas futures lost 7.3 cents to settle at $4.289 per 1,000 cubic feet.