Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Jun 05, 2012 6:34 PM
Business Highlights


Disney to banish junk-food ads from kid shows

NEW YORK (AP) _ Disney says its programming will no longer be sponsored by junk food.

The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday that it will become the first major media company to ban such ads for its TV channels, radio stations and websites intended for children. That means kids watching Saturday morning children's shows on Disney's ABC network will no longer see ads for fast foods and sugary cereals that don't meet the company's nutrition standards.

The guidelines will not go into effect until 2015 because of existing advertising agreements.


Schools turn their noses up at `pink slime'

NEW YORK (AP) _ The nation's school districts are turning up their noses at "pink slime," the beef product that caused a public uproar earlier this year.

The Department of Agriculture says the vast majority of states participating in its National School Lunch Program have opted to order ground beef that doesn't contain the product known as lean finely textured beef.

Only three states _ Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota _ chose to order beef that may contain the filler.

The product has been used for decades and federal regulators say it's safe to eat. It nevertheless became the center of national attention after the nickname "pink slime" was quoted in a New York Times article on the safety of meat processing methods. The filler is made of fatty bits of beef that are heated and then treated with a puff of ammonia to kill bacteria.


Buffett's company discloses Lee Enterprises stake

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Billionaire Warren Buffett's company now owns about 3.2 percent of Lee Enterprises' stock, as Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s newspaper holdings continue to grow.

Buffett's Omaha-based company disclosed owning 1.66 million shares of Lee's stock on Tuesday after the Securities and Exchange Commission refused to let him keep the investment confidential.

The SEC often lets Buffett conceal investment moves while he's making them because so many investors try to copy him.


Fannie Mae names Mayopoulos as new CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Timothy Mayopoulos, the general counsel of Fannie Mae, will be the next CEO of the government-controlled mortgage giant.

Washington-based Fannie Mae says Mayopoulos, 53, will become president and chief executive on June 18. He replaces Michael J. Williams, who announced in January that he would step down after a successor was found.

The government rescued Fannie and smaller sibling Freddie Mac in September 2008 after the two companies absorbed huge losses on risky mortgages that threatened to topple them. Since then, a federal regulator has controlled the two companies' financial decisions.


US service companies expanded in May

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. service companies, which employ roughly 90 percent of the workforce, grew at a slightly faster pace in May. It marked the 29th straight month of expansion for the sector.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity edged up to 53.7 last month from an April reading of 53.5.

The May reading was slightly below the long-run average for the index of 53.9. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.


J&J to stop selling pelvic mesh tied to lawsuits

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Johnson & Johnson plans to stop selling surgical mesh implants used to treat women's health problems that have been linked to injuries and triggered hundreds of lawsuits.

The company sent a letter Monday to judges in New Jersey and West Virginia who are overseeing patient lawsuits against the company. J&J said it plans to phase out four mesh products over the next three to nine months.

The plastic mesh is used to strengthen the pelvic wall in cases of pelvic organ prolapse, in which the bladder or reproductive organs slip down into the vagina. About 75,000 women had prolapse surgery with mesh inserted through the vagina last year. A similar procedure using an incision in the abdomen is less common.

J&J said the mesh products are safe and that it is not recalling them.


Wynn says new Macau casino to cost $4 billion

MACAU (AP) _ U.S. casino magnate Steve Wynn plans to spend $4 billion building his long-awaited second Macau resort, shrugging off concerns Tuesday that the global economic malaise and China's slowdown will dent profits in the world's most lucrative gambling market.

The project, which got government approval in early May, will house 2,000 hotel rooms, 500 gambling tables, 10 restaurants, shops, spa, meeting rooms and a nightclub.

Visitors will be able to ride Austrian-built gondolas complete with air conditioning and piped-in music around an eight-acre lagoon.

The 6 million square foot development will be built on 51 acres of reclaimed land and will take up to four years to complete. It will be financed by cash and debt.


Sara Lee names meats company Hillshire Brands

NEW YORK (AP) _ Food company Sara Lee Corp., which is splitting into two businesses later this month, will name its North American company Hillshire Brands Co.

The business will include brands like Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean and Ball Park as well as frozen desserts and other bakery products, Sara Lee said Tuesday. The name comes from the Hillshire Farm brand, which Sara Lee purchased in 1971.

The other company to emerge from Sara Lee will be an international coffee and tea company called D.E. Master Blenders 1753, referring to one of its coffee brands, Douwe Egberts, which was founded in 1753.

A Russian Ham Sandwich
Derek Hunter

The two will become separate companies on June 28, after Sara Lee, based in Downers Grove, Ill., completes its split.


Google buys maker of Quickoffice mobile app

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google is escalating its rivalry with Microsoft with the purchase of Quickoffice, the maker of a widely used mobile application for working on documents created in Microsoft's programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.

The deal announced Tuesday gives Google Inc. a new weapon with which to challenge Microsoft Corp. as more people get work done on smartphones and tablet computers. Quickoffice makes those devices compatible with Microsoft Office even if the software suite isn't installed on them.

Although it makes virtually all of its money from online advertising, Google already has spent several years trying to siphon sales away from Microsoft by offering its own suite of Office-like programs that are accessible over the Internet. Some of these applications, called Google Docs, are free, while more sophisticated versions, called Google Apps, are sold in subscription packages costing $50 a year.


Spain premier calls for European Union bank unity plan

MADRID (AP) _ Spain's prime minister appealed Tuesday for European leaders to push toward greater fiscal unity _ a step that would allow Spain's troubled banks to get direct financial help _ while a top government official warned that the country's high borrowing costs meant it faced increasing trouble accessing credit markets.

Mariano Rajoy told lawmakers that Europe "needs to support those that are in difficulty."

European leaders are to hold a summit on June 28 on how to keep the 17-country eurozone from collapse. The European Commission and the European Central Bank are expected to present measures at the meeting for creating a "banking union" that would oversee banks and possibly offer bailouts directly, bypassing national governments.


By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.49 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,127.95. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed 7.32 points higher to 1,285.50. The Nasdaq composite index rose 18.10 points to 2,778.11.

Benchmark oil rose 31 cents to finish at $84.29 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, dropped 1 cent to end at $98.84 in London.

In other energy futures trading, heating oil rose less than a penny to end at $2.63 per gallon, gasoline rose 1.4 cents to finish at $2.68 per gallon and natural gas rose 3.1 cents to $2.45 per 1,000 cubic feet.