Yahoo dumping 2,000 workers in latest purge
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Yahoo is laying off 2,000 employees as new CEO Scott Thompson eliminates jobs that don't fit into his plans for turning around the beleaguered Internet company.
The cuts announced Wednesday represent about 14 percent of the 14,100 workers employed by Yahoo.
Yahoo estimated it will save about $375 million annually after the layoffs are completed later this year. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company will absorb a pretax charge of $125 million to $145 million to account for severance payments. The charge will reduce Yahoo's earnings in the current quarter.
Stocks suffer worst loss in a month; Dow off 125
NEW YORK (AP) _ European debt flared again as a worry for Wall Street and drove stocks Wednesday to their worst loss in a month. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 125 points, and the price of gold plunged to its lowest level since January.
It was only the second time this year the Dow has recorded a triple-digit decline. The average gained 8 percent from January through March, its best first quarter since 1998, but has lost 1 percent already in April.
The Dow was down as much as 179 points earlier in the day. It recovered to close down 124.80 at 13,074.75. Only four of the 30 stocks that make up the average rose for the day.
Ham prices high heading into Easter holiday
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Ham will be the centerpiece of many Easter dinners this weekend, but the cost of that traditional main dish may make it harder for families to live high on the hog.
Ham prices have been higher than usual for the past two years because the cost of pig feed has gone up, and some major pork producers are spending millions to convert barns as they phase out cramped cages used to confine pregnant sows.
Ham has been selling wholesale for 75 to 80 cents per pound this spring, which is in line with last year's prices but well above the 55 cents per pound average for the previous five years.
US service firms grow at steady pace, boost hiring
WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. service companies expanded at a healthy pace last month and stepped up hiring, more evidence that the economy is growing and adding jobs.
The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity dropped to 56 in March. That's down from February's 57.3, which was a 12-month high. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Economists said the slight decline wasn't troubling because the reading was still at a healthy level that points to growth. And a measure of employment rose to near a six-year high reached in January.
US prescription spending again nearly flat
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. was nearly flat in 2011 at $320 billion, held down by senior citizens and others reducing use of medicines and other health care and by greater use of cheaper generic pills.
Last year, spending on prescription drugs rose just 0.5 percent after adjusting for inflation and population growth, according to data firm IMS Health. Without those adjustments, spending increased 3.7 percent last year. The volume of prescriptions filled fell about 1 percent.
That continues a trend of restrained spending that began in 2007, when prescription spending dipped 0.2 percent. Before then, IMS generally reported annual spending increases of several percent. But since the Great Recession started, prescription spending has fallen or risen only slightly each year except for 2009.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Dimon paid $23 million in 2011
NEW YORK (AP) _ An Associated Press analysis shows JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was paid $23 million last year, up 11 percent from the year before.
The largest U.S. bank by assets said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that Dimon's compensation included a salary of $1.4 million, a bonus of $4.5 million, stock awards worth $12 million and stock options worth $5 million.
Dimon also received about $143,000 for air and car travel and home security.
Monsanto profit driven by US, Latin America growth
NEW YORK (AP) _ Monsanto Co. said Wednesday that a strong and early U.S. seed selling season drove its fiscal second-quarter net income up 19 percent. The U.S. agricultural giant raised its earnings outlook for the full year.
Monsanto, which produces genetically engineered seeds and the herbicide Roundup, earned $1.21 billion, or $2.24 per share, in the quarter ended in February, compared with $1.02 billion, or $1.88 per share, a year earlier. Increased corn seed sales in Latin America also boosted results.
Revenue rose 15 percent to $4.75 billion from $4.13 billion.
The results topped analysts' expectations for a profit of $2.11 per share on revenue of $4.53 billion, according to FactSet. Monsanto shares fell 2.2 percent to $80 as the broader market declined. The shares are up more than 15 percent on the year.
Settlement in Dynegy subsidiary bankruptcy case
HOUSTON (AP) _ Utility company Dynegy Inc. said Wednesday that it reached an agreement with creditors that will allow the company to move forward with bankruptcy proceedings for one of its subsidiaries.
The agreement ends disputes over $2.5 billion in claims related to Dynegy Holdings LLC. The agreement will be filed as a settlement in the Dynegy Holdings Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, and must still be approved by the court and agreed to by other creditors who have not yet signed on to the deal. Dynegy Holdings LLC and four of its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 7, with a plan to restructure $4 billion in debt.
Dynegy CEO Robert Flexon said the settlement could end legal disputes that might have dragged on for years. He said the company is now on track to put the Dynegy Holdings Chapter 11 case behind it during the third quarter.
Paramount to add 500 films to YouTube rentals
NEW YORK (AP) _ YouTube and Paramount Pictures have reached a deal to make nearly 500 films available to rent online, even while their parent companies continue to feud over a $1 billion lawsuit.
The agreement announced Wednesday makes Paramount the fifth major Hollywood studio to join YouTube's online video store, a growing rental library that typically charges $2 to $4 per viewing. 20th Century Fox is now the only major studio holdout.
But Paramount seemed less likely to join given that its parent company, Viacom Inc., is still pursuing a 2006 lawsuit that seeks damages for alleged piracy by YouTube, which is owned by Google Inc. A federal judge in New York ruled in 2010 that YouTube hadn't broken U.S. laws governing digital piracy, but Viacom is appealing the decision.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 124.80 points to 13,074.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished down 14.42 at 1,398.96. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 45.48 to 3,068.09, its worst decline of the year and the sixth loss in seven days.
The price of benchmark U.S. oil fell $2.54, or 2.4 percent, to finish at $101.47 a barrel in New York. It hadn't closed below $102 per barrel since Feb. 15. In London, Brent crude fell by $2.52 to end at $122.34 per barrel at the ICE Futures exchange.
In other energy trading, heating oil fell by 6.66 cents to finish at $3.1609 per gallon and gasoline futures fell 6.18 cents to end at $3.3336 per gallon. Natural gas dropped 4.6 cents to finish at $2.141 per 1,000 cubic feet.