Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2015 6:05 PM

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Euro falls near $1, but European goods remain pricey

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans hunting for a bargain on a new Beemer, bottle of Chateau Margaux or Hermes handbag thanks to the sliding euro should put away their gold cards. European luxury goods sold in the U.S. still carry luxurious price tags.

The European currency has fallen 10 percent against the dollar this year. In theory, car dealerships, department stores and other companies that sell goods from Europe could pass on the savings to their American customers, said Ira Kalish, chief global economist at Deloitte, the consulting and accounting firm.

So where are the bargains? There's no reason to think that prices for Italian shoes and French red wines will fall along with the euro, analysts said. Part of the reason is that most European consumer products sold in the U.S. aren't aimed at most consumers.

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Fast-growing Asian aviation confronts safety challenges

HONG KONG (AP) — For Asia's aviation industry, the growing pains have just begun.

A year of disasters, the disappearance of Flight 370 and financial turbulence highlight the challenges confronting the world's biggest air travel market, where governments, regulators and airlines are struggling to keep up after a decade of astonishing growth.

A U.N. agency's warning about airline safety in Thailand, one of the world's top tourist destinations, is just the latest sign of ferment in the industry.

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US service firms grew at slightly slower pace last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. service firms expanded at a slightly slower yet still healthy pace in March, an encouraging sign after multiple reports last week pointed to a slowing economy.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its services index slipped to 56.5 last month, from 56.9 in February. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.

A measure of sales fell last month and dragged down the overall index. But gauges of hiring and orders rose, evidence that services firms may see solid growth in the coming months.

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State posts details of $225M Exxon settlement on website

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Details of New Jersey's proposed $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil over pollution around refineries in Linden and Bayonne were posted online Monday, starting the clock on a legal process that will stretch into June and giving vocal opponents an opportunity to persuade a judge to kill the deal.

Details of the proposed deal struck last month between the attorney general and the Texas-based oil company were published on the Department of Environmental Protection's website.

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MLB ticket price average up 3.3 percent to nearly $29

CHICAGO (AP) — Major League Baseball's average ticket price rose 3.3 percent this season to $28.94, the steepest increase in six years.

Team Marketing Report said in its annual survey Monday the average is up 4.4 percent since 2013 after remaining flat in 2012.

Boston had the highest average at $52.34 after leaving prices the same. The New York Yankees also left their average unchanged at $51.55 after missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

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Judge enters sale order for Revel; deal to close Tuesday

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The tortured sale of Atlantic City's former Revel casino is expected to be finalized on Tuesday, a day after a bankruptcy judge formally authorized its sale on the fifth attempt.

Florida developer Glenn Straub's Polo North Country Club is buying the casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build, for $82 million, or about 4 cents on the dollar.

Judge Gloria Burns entered the final sale order Monday morning after verbally approving the deal last week. Straub's attorney, Craig Galle, told The Associated Press the deal will be finalized on Tuesday, which the contract allows.

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Southwest Airlines CEO gets 24 percent boost in compensation

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines Co. earned a record profit last year and the CEO benefited with a 24 percent increase in compensation, to $5 million.

Southwest detailed 2014 compensation for Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly in a regulatory filing Monday.

The bulk of Kelly's compensation came in stock awards, which the Dallas-based airline valued at $3 million when they were issued, up from $2.25 million in 2013. Kelly was paid a salary of $675,000 — unchanged from the previous two years — a bonus of $224,775 and incentive pay of $904,770.

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Lufthansa indicates not required to report Lubitz depression

BERLIN (AP) — Lufthansa indicated Monday that it was under no obligation to report to Germany's national aviation authority the fact that Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had suffered from depression before qualifying as a pilot several years ago.

Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper quoted the Federal Aviation Office as saying that it wasn't informed about Lubitz's previous depression before the March 24 crash of Flight 9525.

Investigators believe that Lubitz, 27, locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately flew the Airbus A320 into a French mountainside during the flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. All 150 people on board were killed.

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Dean: Rolling Stone story rife with bad journalism

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (AP) — Rolling Stone's "shock narrative" about a culture of sex assaults at the University of Virginia was rife with bad journalistic practice, and "Jackie," the student at the center of the story, is not to blame for the magazine's failures, Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll said Monday.

The magazine pledged to review its practices and removed the discredited article from its website, but publisher Jann S. Wenner said he won't fire anyone despite the leading journalism school's blistering critique of his magazine's reporting and editing failures.

Wenner said any failures were isolated and described Jackie as "a really expert fabulist storyteller" who managed to manipulate the magazine's journalism process.

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Viacom announces layoffs, $785M in expenses

NEW YORK (AP) — Media giant Viacom is announcing a round of layoffs and restructuring that will result in $785 million in special expenses to be booked in its recently ended quarter.

The charge will result from a mix of write-downs of underperforming TV shows and the abandonment of shows that it bought, as well as severance costs.

A Viacom spokesman declined to say how many people would be laid off.

After the one-time pretax charge, the company, which runs TV networks including Comedy Central, VH1 and MTV, expects to save about $350 million a year.

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Turkish prosecutor seeks to block social media

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey on Monday blocked access to social networking sites, including Twitter and YouTube, over photos showing a militant pointing a gun at a prosecutor who died last week in a failed hostage rescue operation. Access to Twitter was restored several hours later.

A spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a Turkish prosecutor had ordered Internet providers to block the sites. The request stemmed from postings of photos that showed militant Marxists pointing a gun at the prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who died in a shootout between police and the Marxists who were holding him hostage.

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Strikes proliferate in China as working class awakens

NANLANG TOWNSHIP, China (AP) — Timid by nature, Shi Jieying took a risk last month and joined fellow workers in a strike at her handbag factory, one of a surging number of such labor protests across China.

Riot police flooded into the factory compound, broke up the strike and hauled away dozens of workers. Terrified by the violence, Shi was hospitalized with heart trouble, but with a feeble voice from her sickbed expressed a newfound boldness.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 117.61 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,880.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 13.66 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 2,080.62. The Nasdaq composite picked up 30.38 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,917.32.

U.S. crude jumped $3, or 6.1 percent, to close at $52.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $3.17, or 5.8 percent, to close at $58.12 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 8.1 cents to close at $1.843 a gallon. Heating oil rose 8.2 cents to close at $1.764 a gallon. Natural gas fell 6.3 cents to close at $2.650 per 1,000 cubic feet.