Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Oct 10, 2011 5:41 PM
Business Highlights


Netflix kills plan to split off DVD rentals

NEW YORK (AP) _ Netflix generates more head-scratching plot twists than a cheap B-movie.

On Monday, the company said it would reverse a previously announced decision to put its DVD-by-mail and Internet streaming services on separate websites, a plan that was widely derided by Netflix subscribers.

People will be able to use both services under one account and one password, CEO Reed Hastings said Monday in a blog post.

Netflix Inc., however, plans to stick to pricing plans introduced in June, which means subscribers are now paying separately for streaming service and mailed DVDs. That change amounted to a price increase for most subscribers.


2 Americans win Nobel Prize in economics

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) _ Christopher Sims and Thomas Sargent have no simple solutions to the global economic crisis. But the work that won them the Nobel Prize in economics Monday is guiding central bankers and policymakers in their search for answers.

The two Americans, both 68, were honored for their research in the 1970s and `80s on the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and government policy.

Sims is a professor at Princeton University. Sargent teaches at New York University and is a visiting professor at Princeton.

Among their achievements, the two Nobel laureates _ working separately for the most part over the years _ devised tools to analyze how changes in interest rates and taxes affect growth and inflation.

Their work doesn't provide prescriptions for policymakers to solve today's crises. Rather, their achievement has been to create mathematical models that central bankers and other leaders can use to devise policy proposals.


Stocks soar on European pledge to help banks

NEW YORK (AP) _ What bear market?

Stocks surged on the latest positive news out of Europe Monday, the fourth sharp increase in the last five days. It's a dramatic turnaround from last Tuesday, when the S&P 500 index nearly fell enough to meet the definition of a bear market. Since then the index has soared 8.7 percent.

Indexes soared in the U.S. and Europe after French and German leaders promised to strengthen European banks. The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 330 points, its largest one-day jump since Aug. 11. The euro rose against the dollar.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said they would finalize a "comprehensive response" to the debt crisis by the end of the month, including a plan to make sure European banks have adequate capital. Investors have been worried that European leaders weren't moving quickly enough to contain the fallout from a default by Greece's government.


ECB slows down government bond buying further

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ The European Central Bank bought only $3.1 billion in government bonds last week to keep pressure from the eurozone debt crisis off financially troubled governments.

The figures released Monday show the bank easing back on a controversial program that it wants to hand off to the eurozone's bailout fund as soon as it can.

The purchases were down from $5.2 billion the week before, and well off the $30 billion spent when the program was relaunched in August after being dormant for months.

The bank was cutting back on purchases as it readied different measures that are more in line with its preferred approach to Europe's government debt crisis. It is now aiming to support banks by offering them unlimited amounts of 12-month and 13-month credits that will help secure their finances into 2013.

The ECB has pushed liquidity _ lending large amounts of ready cash against collateral so that banks can operate day-to-day _ as its key response to the crisis.


Superior Energy buying Complete in $2.7 billion deal

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Superior Energy Services will buy Complete Production Services Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $2.7 billion, the company said Monday, giving it a broader reach in the oilfield services sector.

The buyout equates to 0.945 common shares of Superior and $7 in cash for each share that Complete stockholders own.

Superior shareholders will own about 52 percent of Superior's outstanding stock and Complete stockholders will own the remaining 48 percent.

The acquisition will allow Superior to offer more products and services such as hydraulic fracturing and well servicing.


BlackBerry reports problems in Europe, Middle East

LONDON (AP) _ Large numbers of BlackBerry users across Europe, the Middle East and Africa were cut off from Internet and messaging services, phone companies in the affected regions said Monday.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. gave few details beyond a brief statement saying that customers were "experiencing issues," but telecommunications companies in the Middle East and Europe laid the blame at the Canadian company's door.

Khaled Hegazy, Vodafone Egypt's spokesman, said "there is a problem with the servers in Canada which is affecting service" in the region.


Dr Pepper Ten: `No women allowed'

NEW YORK (AP) _ Dudes don't drink diet.

Or at least that's the idea behind Dr Pepper Ten, a 10-calorie soft drink Dr Pepper Snapple Group is rolling out on Monday with a macho ad campaign that proclaims "It's not for women." The soft drink was developed after the company's research found that men shy away from diet drinks that aren't perceived as "manly" enough.

To appeal to men, Dr Pepper made its Ten drink 180 degrees different than Diet Dr Pepper. It has calories and sugar unlike its diet counterpart. Instead of the dainty tan bubbles on the diet can, Ten will be wrapped in gunmetal grey packaging with silver bullets. And while Diet Dr Pepper's marketing is women-friendly, the ad campaign for Ten goes out of its way to eschew women.

For instance, there's a Dr Pepper Ten Facebook page for men only. And TV commercials are heavy on the machismo, including one spot that shows muscular men in the jungle battling snakes and bad guys.


After long wait, Facebook set to release iPad app

NEW YORK (AP) _ One of the big, enduring questions of the technology world: "When will iPad users get their very own Facebook app?"

That questioned was answered Monday, as Facebook said it was set to release an updated version of its iPhone application, one that's also designed to fill out the larger screen of the iPad.

The lack of an iPad app for the most popular social network in the world has confounded users, ever since Apple launched its tablet computer a year and a half ago. Third-party developers have made money selling their own apps that show Facebook pages.


By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 330.06 points, or 3 percent, to close at 11,433.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 39.43 or 3.4 percent, to 1,194.89. The Nasdaq composite index rose 86.70, or 3.4 percent, to 2,566.05.

Benchmark crude rose $2.43, or 3 percent, to end the day at $85.41 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price many international kinds of oil, rose $3.07 to finish at $108.95 in London.

In other energy trading, heating oil rose 4.51 cents to end at $2.9039 per gallon and gasoline futures rose 4.77 cents to finish at $2.6953 per gallon. Natural gas futures rose by 6 cents to end at $3.541 per 1,000 cubic feet.