Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2016 5:53 PM

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Microsoft to buy networking site LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — In a surprise move, Microsoft said Monday that it is buying LinkedIn for about $26.2 billion, a deal that could bring subtle but significant changes for the professional network's more than 430 million members.

LinkedIn will remain an independent unit of Microsoft. It will keep its name, and current CEO Jeff Weiner will stay on and report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. LinkedIn lets members network with other professionals, upload their resumes, catch up on career advice and search for jobs.

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With economic view hazy, a wait-and-see Fed message expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's all about the data.

For months, the Federal Reserve has said that once economic data showed a consistently healthy economy, it would be time to resume raising interest rates. And for almost as long, the data has shown improvement and suggested that a rate hike was likely this summer.

That was then.

This month, when the government issued a surprisingly bleak hiring report for May, it suddenly raised doubts about the health of the job market. And it caused most Fed-watchers to put off their predictions for the next Fed rate hike into the fall.

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Airlines race to Cuba, overcoming major hurdles

HAVANA (AP) — Galo Beltran stands on the tarmac testing a hand-held baggage scanner. Each time a barcode is successfully read, he smiles.

The device, which is used to track luggage, is deployed at airports across the world. But until this moment, Beltran wasn't sure if it would work on Cuban cellular networks.

As satisfying as meeting that challenge was, there are hundreds more to be tackled as U.S. airlines prepare to resume their first regularly scheduled flights to Cuba in five decades. Collecting baggage fees in a country where most U.S. credit cards don't work, for instance. And solutions need to be found rapidly — airlines must start flights within three months of being granted a route by the U.S. government.

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Apple makes Siri smarter, rolls out software improvements

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is working to make its iPhone and other gadgets smarter, responding to competitors' recent moves by building more artificial intelligence into its Siri digital assistant, photos, maps and other online services.

The tech giant kicked off its annual software conference by announcing new software features for the Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well, while unveiling a new design for the Apple Music service. It's also extending Apple Pay to the web, so users can pay for purchases made on their Mac computers. Most of these new features won't arrive until this fall.

At a time when sales of its flagship iPhone are slowing, Apple seemed determined to show that it can make its gadgets indispensable, or at least as useful as its competitors' products.

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Orlando shooter worked for security firm tainted by blunders

LONDON (AP) — The security company that employed the shooter in the Orlando nightclub massacre has been tarred by a series of blunders and scandals that have raised questions about its competency and ethics.

London-based G4S acknowledged Monday that Omar Mateen, whose rampage left 49 people dead and more than 50 wounded, worked for the firm at a residential community in south Florida.

The ties to the man behind the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history is the latest dark cloud to loom over G4S. Concerns that the fallout from Mateen's attacks might make it more difficult for G4S to get security contracts contributed to a 5 percent decline in the company's stock Monday.

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High court rules against Puerto Rico in debt case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Puerto Rico can't restructure more than $20 billion in public debt as it tries to overcome a decade-long economic crisis.

The 5-2 ruling said that federal bankruptcy law bars Puerto Rico from enacting its own law to restructure the debt of its financially ailing public utilities. The decision means the U.S. territory must wait for Congress to pass debt-relief legislation that would address its fiscal woes.

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Drug trafficking allegations against FedEx head to trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two giants — the U.S. government and FedEx — are set to do battle in a federal court over the explosive claim that the shipping company knowingly delivered illegal prescription drugs such as Ambien from pill mills to dealers and addicts, some of whom died.

Fedex has denied the charges and says it only shipped what it believed were legal drugs from licensed pharmacies. Opening statements are scheduled to start Monday.

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Goldman Sachs dips toe into consumer banking

Goldman Sachs, known for financing mega-deals and servicing the ultra-wealthy, is now open to the general public. And its interest in the average American appears to be mutual as thousands of consumers have flocked to its new retail banking service.

The company bought GE Capital Bank's online deposit platform in a deal that closed in April.

GS Bank, as it is now known, remains fairly simple with an online-only format for establishing savings accounts and investing in CDs. But its rates are competitive — offering above 1 percent for online savings accounts when many others pay less.

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McDonald's to move into Oprah's old Chicago offices

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's is moving back to Chicago and into the old home of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The world's biggest hamburger chain said Monday that it signed a lease to move its corporate headquarters in 2018 from the leafy suburbs of Oak Brook, Illinois, to downtown Chicago. McDonald's was previously based in the city from 1955 to 1971.

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China auto sales growth accelerates in May to 5-month high

BEIJING (AP) — China's auto sales growth hit a five-month high in May, driven by the popularity of SUVs, an industry group said Monday.

Sales rose 11.3 percent over a year earlier to 1.8 million vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 9.8 percent to 2 million units.

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The Dow Jones industrial average lost 132.86 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,732.48. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 17.01 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,079.06 and the Nasdaq composite fell 46.11 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,848.44.

U.S. crude fell 19 cents to $48.88 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell 19 cents to $50.35 a barrel in London. Oil prices had reached 11-month highs in the last few days. In other energy commodities, heating oil was effectively unchanged at $1.515 a gallon, wholesale gasoline futures fell 2 cents to $1.536 a gallon and natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.585 per thousand cubic feet.