Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 5:49 PM
Business Highlights


JPMorgan CEO says execs may have pay taken back

WASHINGTON (AP) _ JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told Congress on Wednesday that senior bank executives responsible for a $2 billion trading loss will probably have some of their pay taken back by the company.

Under bank policy, stock and bonuses can be recovered from executives for exercising bad judgment, Dimon told the Senate Banking Committee. The policy has never been invoked, he said, but he strongly suggested that it will be.

One of the most likely candidates is Ina Drew, JPMorgan's chief investment officer, who left the bank days after Dimon disclosed the loss on May 10. Drew oversaw the trading group responsible for the $2 billion loss.


`.Apple,' `.auto' among Internet suffixes proposed

NEW YORK (AP) _ Proposals for Internet addresses ending in ".pizza," ".space" and ".auto" are among the nearly 2,000 submitted as part of the largest expansion in the online address system.

Apple Inc., Sony Corp. and American Express Co. are among companies that are seeking names with their brands. Google Inc. and Inc. sought dozens of names, including ".app," and ".play." The wine company Gallo Vineyards Inc. wants ".barefoot."

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers announced the proposals for Internet suffixes, the ".com" part of an Internet address, in London on Wednesday. They now go through a review process that could take months or years.


EU Commission: Bloc needs long-term plan now

BRUSSELS (AP) _ The head of the European Union's executive body urged the region's leaders on Wednesday to show the world that they were ready to move closer together to resolve their debt crisis.

Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament that the continent is facing a "defining moment," and he said the only way to save the union was to make it stronger and tighter.

He spoke as concern increased that the group of the 17 countries that use the euro could soon fracture and that more countries might ask for a bailout.


Moody's cuts Spain's credit rating, citing rescue

The rating agency Moody's is cutting the Spanish government's credit rating, a direct result of the rescue package lined up by European leaders over the weekend.

Moody's lowered Spain's grade from A3 to Baa3, in an announcement made late Wednesday. That's still investment grade on Moody's scale, but it's just one notch above a junk rating.

The downgrade comes after European leaders announced a (EURO)100 billion ($125.64 billion) loan to Spain on Sunday. The loan is meant to help Spain shore up its hobbled banking system. But it will also increase the government's debt burden, Moody's said. That higher debt burden has pushed borrowing costs up to record highs this week.


Hopeful sign: Small manufacturers buy big machines

NEW YORK (AP) _ Small businesses that make machines and components for other manufacturers are seeing an upswing that could be a sign of things to come for the broader economy.

The industries fueling demand vary. In some cases business is coming from medical device makers that are expected to see more growth as baby boomers age and need more medical care. An uptick in orders is coming from oil and gas producers supplying energy to growing economies like China and India. And some are getting a pop in sales from aerospace manufacturers that are busy building fuel-efficient aircraft and engines.

As different as these manufacturers may be, they have two things in common: Their industries are expected to see continued growth and they are investing in expensive machinery that can cost millions of dollars.


US retail sales dropped 0.2 percent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Americans barely increased their spending at retail businesses in April and May, constrained by weak job creation and paltry wage increases.

A sharp drop in gas prices pulled down overall sales in both months by 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

But excluding volatile gas station sales, retail sales grew only modestly in May and dipped in April. The report could lead economists to lower their outlooks for April-June economic growth.


US wholesale prices fall by most in nearly 3 years

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A steep drop in gasoline costs drove down a measure of U.S. wholesale prices in May by the most since July 2009. But outside the food and energy categories, prices increased modestly.

The producer price index fell 1 percent in May, after dropping 0.2 percent in April, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Gasoline prices dropped nearly 9 percent, the most in almost three years. Food costs also fell.

The index measures price changes before they reach the consumer. Excluding food and energy, the so-called "core" index increased 0.2 percent, the same as in April.


US companies boosted stockpiles 0.4 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. companies increased their stockpiles at a faster rate in April, with only modest growth in sales.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that business stockpiles grew 0.4 percent in April, slightly more than March's pace of 0.3 percent.

Sales were up a modest 0.2 percent in April, matching the revised March increase. The government had initially reported that business sales rose a stronger 0.6 percent in March.


Dell planning more than $2 billion in cuts over 3 years

NEW YORK (AP) _ Computer maker Dell Inc. is planning to trim its expenses by more than $2 billion during the next three years as it tries into move into the more lucrative fields of technology.

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Dell outlined its cost-cutting plans Wednesday, a day after the company committed to paying the first quarterly dividend in its 28-year history. The quarterly dividend of 8 cents per share will cost Dell more than $560 million annually.

The bulk of the projected savings will come from Dell's sales group, where the company plans to wring out about $800 million in expenses. Another $600 million in cuts are envisioned in Dell's factories and other parts of its supply chain. The rest of the cost-cutting will be concentrated in service delivery ($400 million) and its general and administrative spending ($200 million).


Caterpillar OKs 13 percent increase in dividend

NEW YORK (AP) _ Caterpillar Inc. said Wednesday that its board has approved a 13 percent increase in the quarterly cash dividend. It marked the biggest percentage increase in the dividend since the financial crisis of 2008.

The board of the Peoria, Ill., manufacturer agreed to raise the quarterly cash dividend by 6 cents to 52 cents per share. It will be payable on Aug. 20 to stockholders of record at the close of business on July 20.

It was the biggest increase at Caterpillar since its board increased the quarterly dividend by 16.7 percent to 42 cents per share from 36 cents per share in August 2008.


Target boosts quarterly dividend by 20 percent

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Target Corp. said Wednesday that its board approved the increase of its quarterly dividend by 6 cents, or 20 percent, to 36 cents.

The Minneapolis-based discount chain will pay the dividend on Sept. 10 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 15.

Target Corp. has paid a dividend every quarter since going public in 1967.


By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 77.42 points to end at 12,496.38 after another day of volatile trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 9.30 points to 1,314.88, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 24.46 points to 2,818.61.

Benchmark crude lost 70 cents to finish at $82.62 per barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oil and to make gasoline in much of the U.S., fell a penny to end at $97.13.

In other trading, heating oil fell one cent to finish at $2.611 per gallon, wholesale gasoline rose less than a cent to end at $2.655 per gallon and natural gas fell 4.7 cents to finish at $2.185 per 1,000 cubic feet.