Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Jul 16, 2012 6:25 PM
Business Highlights

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Google executive Mayer named Yahoo CEO, 5th in 5 years

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — Yahoo is hiring longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer to be its next CEO, the fifth in five years as the company struggles to rebound from financial woes and internal turmoil.

Mayer, who starts at Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday, was one of Google's earliest employees and was most recently responsible for its mapping, local and location services. Mayer, 37, began her career at Google in 1999 after getting her master's degree at Stanford, the same school that Google's co-founders attended.

Ross Levinsohn has been running the company on an interim basis and was thought to be the leading candidate after Hulu CEO Jason Kilar dropped out of consideration. Levinsohn filled in after Scott Thompson lost his job two months ago in a flap over misinformation on his official biography.

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US economy appears weaker as retail sales slump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The outlook for the U.S. economy appeared dimmer Monday after the government said that Americans spent less at retail businesses for a third straight month in June.

The report led some economists to downgrade their estimates for economic growth in the April-June quarter. Many now think the economy grew even less than in the first quarter of the year, when it expanded at a sluggish 1.9 percent annual rate.

Spending in June fell in nearly every major category — from autos, furniture and appliances to building, garden supplies and department stores. Overall, retail sales slid 0.5 percent from May to June, according to the Commerce Department.

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Turkish bank sale drags Citi's net down 12 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Citigroup's net income fell 12 percent in the second quarter partly due to a loss on the sale of its stake in a Turkish lender. Income of $2.9 billion was still better than analysts expected.

Citi is one of the largest international banks in the world and its results are often seen as a gauge of how the global economy is doing. Investors are particularly concerned about recent signs of a slowdown in China and India, two large markets for Citi. Citi's consumer banking business in Asia and Latin America declined by less than one percent.

Citi chief financial officer John Gerspach said the strength of the dollar versus other currencies had negative impact on the bank's overseas earnings.

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FDA approves first pill to help prevent HIV

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, the latest milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS.

The FDA approved Gilead Sciences' pill Truvada as a preventive measure for healthy people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity, such as those who have HIV-infected partners. The decision comes less than two weeks after the agency approved another landmark product: the first over-the-counter HIV test that can be developed at home.

The two developments are seen as the biggest steps in years toward curbing the spread of HIV cases in the U.S., which has held steady at about 50,000 new infections per year for the last 15 years. An estimated 1.2 million Americans have HIV, which develops into AIDS unless treated with antiviral drugs. And an estimated 240,000 HIV carriers are unaware that they are infected.

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Human Genome agrees to GlaxoSmithKline takeover

TRENTON. N.J. (AP) — U.K. drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has secured its takeover of longtime partner Human Genome Sciences after agreeing to pay more, a move to expand GSK's drug portfolio in crucial areas: biologic drugs and treatments for the hundreds of millions of people with diabetes and heart disease.

The two companies said Monday that GSK will pay $3.6 billion, or $14.25 per share, for the U.S. biotechnology company. Directors of both companies have approved the deal.

Human Genome Sciences, based in Rockville, Md., agreed to the acquisition following a prolonged battle in which it put up a "poison pill" defense. That would have diluted holdings if anyone attempted to acquire 15 percent or more of Human Genome stock without board approval.

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Consumer bureau to police credit reporting groups

NEW YORK (AP) — The companies that determine Americans' credit scores are about to come under the oversight of the nation's new consumer watchdog.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Monday that it will start supervising the 30 largest firms that make up 94 percent of the industry. That includes the three big credit reporting firms: Equifax Inc., Experian and TransUnion.

In remarks prepared for a speech Monday, Richard Cordray, the government agency's director, said that scorekeeping by credit bureaus requires scrutiny because it plays such a big role in Americans' financial lives.

The CFPB said its oversight may include on-sight examinations, and that it may require credit bureaus to file reports.

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Microsoft revamps Office for tablets, Internet

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — New versions of Microsoft's word processing, spreadsheet and email programs will sport touch-based controls and emphasize Internet storage to reflect an industry-wide shift away from the company's strengths in desktop and laptop computers.

The new offerings appear designed to help Microsoft retain an important source of revenue as more people access documents from mobile devices. The new Office suite also reflects the fact that people tend to work from multiple computers — perhaps a desktop in the office, a laptop at home, a tablet computer on a train and a smartphone at the doctor's office.

Like an upcoming redesign of Microsoft's Windows operating system, the new Office will respond to touch as well as commands delivered with a computer keyboard or mouse.

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Discount clothing retailer Daffy's to liquidate

NEW YORK (AP) — Daffy's Inc., which sells national fashion brands at up to 80 percent off, is going out of business, a victim of a fiercely competitive landscape that has already claimed rivals Syms and Filene's Basement as casualties.

The Secaucus, N.J.-based retailer will be winding down business at its 19 stores, including eight in Manhattan, six in New Jersey and one in Philadelphia, over the next several months.

About 1,300 employees will be affected. Daffy's said that all associates will remain employed and receive pay and benefits for at least 60 days.

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Your Baby Can Read company going out of business

NEW YORK (AP) — The company that persuaded hundreds of thousands of parents to buy Your Baby Can Read products is going out of business, citing the high cost of fighting complaints alleging its ads were false.

Your Baby Can LLC announced the decision on its website.

A complaint against the company was filed with the Federal Trade Commission in April 2011 by the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has led a series of campaigns against what critics call the "genius baby" industry. The advocacy group said Your Baby Can Read's claims of teaching infants to read were false and deceptive, and asked the FTC to halt the ads.

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Economists less bullish as early 2012 gains wither

DALLAS (AP) — Economists say the sales and profit gains of early this year are disappearing, and they are increasingly pessimistic about short-term growth.

They also are gloomy because of the potential impact in the U.S. from Europe's financial crisis, the possible expiration of the Bush tax cuts in December, and the prospect of major cuts in federal spending.

A survey by the National Association for Business Economics released Monday also found less evidence of hiring, confirming the trend in recent monthly jobs reports from the government.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 49.88 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,727.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.14 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,353.64. The Nasdaq composite index fell 11.52 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,896.94.

Benchmark U.S. crude on Monday rose $1.33 to end at $88.43 per barrel in New York, while Brent crude rose by $1.95 to finish at $103.37 per barrel in London.

In other futures trading, heating oil added 3.95 cents to end at $2.8277 per gallon, while wholesale gasoline rose by 3.86 cents to finish at $2.8547 per gallon. Natural gas fell by 7.3 cents to finish at $2.8010 per 1,000 cubic feet.