Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: May 24, 2016 5:18 PM

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Goodbye, empty nest: Millennials staying longer with parents

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time on record, living with parents is now the most common arrangement for people ages 18 to 34 in the U.S., an analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center has found.

And the proportion of older millennials — those ages 25 to 34 — who are living at home has reached its highest point on record.

It's the first time that living at home has outpaced living with a spouse for this age group since such record-keeping began in 1880.

The sharp shift reflects a long-running decline in marriage, amplified by the economic upheavals of the Great Recession.

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Fares are cheap; airlines don't want them to stay that way

DALLAS (AP) — Enjoy lower airfares while you can. Airlines are taking steps to push prices higher by next year.

Fliers can thank the steep plunge in oil prices since mid-2014 for the drop in prices. As they saved billions of dollars on jet fuel, both domestic and international carriers added supply — seats — faster than travel demand was growing.

Taking inflation into account, the average round trip within the U.S. in late 2015 was the lowest since 2010. But the major airlines have announced steps to rein in the oversupply, but such changes can't happen overnight, so fares will remain affordable for the peak travel season.

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Americans have disparate access to retirement plans

Americans who want to retire may face very unequal paths to get there depending on where they live.

Workplace retirement plans, such as 401(k) accounts, have become a critical retirement savings tool for most Americans. Yet about 40 percent of full-time private sector workers in the U.S. lack access to an employer-based retirement saving plan. And access varies drastically across the country and even within a state, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

It's an issue of growing importance on a local level as governments consider how they can help out.

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Coming soon to Twitter: More room to tweet

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter is making some big changes, at least in the context of 140 characters or fewer.

The social media service said Tuesday that in coming months, photos, videos and other media won't count toward Twitter's 140-character limit. Now, for example, when a user posts a photo, it counts for about 24 characters. That means slightly more wordy tweets are on the way.

The change is yet another attempt by the San Francisco company to make its messaging service easier to use, and to attract new users.

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Tech companies take the lead as US stocks surge

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks made their biggest gain since March on Tuesday as technology companies like Apple and Microsoft soared. Homebuilders also climbed after the government said sales of new homes reached an eight-year high last month.

Tech stocks made their biggest gain in almost three months, which erased their losses from earlier this year. Banks rose as interest rates continued to inch higher, which lets banks make more money on lending. Stocks have alternated between gains and losses in recent days following a four-week-long string of losses.

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US new-home sales jump to highest level in more than 8 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans ramped up their purchases of new homes in April to the highest level since January 2008, evidence of a strong start to the spring buying season.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new home sales jumped 16.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000, up from a revised total of 531,000 in March.

Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to buy new homes. That trend is driving home construction and helping support the economy.

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Best Buy offers weak profit view, says CFO stepping down

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy Co. on Tuesday offered a disappointing profit outlook for the current quarter, weighed in part by a recent earthquake in Japan that hurt the availability of some highly profitable products.

The nation's largest consumer electronics chain also said its chief financial officer, Sharon McCollam, is stepping down. She played a key role in the company's turnaround a few years ago.

The news sent Best Buy's stock down even as the company reported first-quarter profits that topped Wall Street projections.

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Monsanto rejects $62B Bayer bid, but still open to talks

NEW YORK (AP) — Monsanto rejected Bayer's $62 billion takeover bid, calling it "incomplete and financially inadequate."

However, the seed company suggested Tuesday that a higher bid might be accepted, saying that it remains open to talks.

Bayer, a German drug and chemicals company, made an all-cash bid that valued Monsanto's stock at $122 each. The company previously said that it planned to finance the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity, the latter to be raised largely by issuing new shares.

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Cuba to legalize small and medium-sized private businesses

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba announced Tuesday that it will legalize small- and medium-sized private businesses in a move that could significantly expand private enterprise in one of the world's last communist countries.

Cuban business owners and economic experts said they were hopeful the reform would allow private firms to import wholesale supplies and export products to other countries for the first time, removing a major obstacle to private business growth.

While the government offered no immediate further details, the new business categories appear to be the next stage in reforms initiated by President Raul Castro after he took over from his brother Fidel Castro in 2008.

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Toyota to invest in ride-hailing app Uber

NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota said Tuesday it is investing in Uber, making it the latest car company to put money in a ride-hailing app.

The Japanese company did not say how much the investment is worth. As part of the deal, Uber drivers can lease Toyota vehicles with money earned from their driving.

Investing in ride-hailing services can be a way for automakers to sell more cars. Earlier this year, General Motors Co. invested $500 million in Uber rival Lyft.

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The Dow Jones industrial average added 213.12 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,706.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 28.02 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,076.06. The Nasdaq composite index jumped 95.27 points, or 2 percent, to 4,861.06.

Benchmark U.S. crude picked up 54 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $48.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $48.61 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 1 cent to $1.65 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.49 a gallon. Natural gas fell 8 cents to $1.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.