Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Aug 21, 2012 6:00 PM
Business Highlights

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Best Buy 2Q profit drops 90 percent, misses estimates

NEW YORK (AP) — The news just keeps getting worse at Best Buy each day.

To top off an already eventful several days for the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy Co. withdrew its full-year earnings guidance Tuesday after reporting a 90-percent drop in net income during the second quarter, dragged down by restructuring charges and weak sales.

The poor report comes a day after Best Buy named Hubert Joly, former CEO of the Carlson — parent company of Radisson and T.G.I. Friday — as its new CEO and president. It was expected that Best Buy would pick someone with retail experience, and Wall Street didn't respond well, sending Best Buy shares down 10 percent.

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AAA: 33 million Americans plan to travel over Labor Day

NEW YORK (AP) — A lot of Americans plan to hit the road this Labor Day weekend despite rising gas prices.

Thirty-three million people will travel 50 miles or more, a 2.9 percent increase from last year, according to AAA. That's the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007.

A gallon of gas now costs an average of $3.72. That's up about 40 cents from July 1, although still down 22 cents from the peak reached in early April. Experts say gas could rise to around $3.75 per gallon by the holiday weekend.

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Billionaire Soros takes piece of Manchester United

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire financier George Soros is getting in on the game, taking a minority stake in soccer club Manchester United.

Soros disclosed in a regulatory filing on Monday that he owns 7.85 percent of Manchester United's Class A shares. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission was made by Soros' hedge fund, Soros Fund Management LLC.

The 134-year-old English Premier League soccer club went public on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month.

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Holograms present celebs with new afterlife issues

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the late Tupac Shakur rose from the stage in the California desert earlier this year, it was not only a jaw-dropping resurrection, but the beginning of a new form of live entertainment.

Elvis Presley's estate announced it has authorized holograms of the King of Rock, Marilyn Monroe's estate has expressed interest and there's no shortage of other beloved stars whose fans would die to see them perform again.

Advances in digital artistry make it all possible, presenting celebrity estates with new commercial and creative opportunities, but also some ethical quandaries.

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Barnes & Noble sees 'Fifty Shades' of green

NEW YORK (AP) — Barnes & Noble's fiscal first quarter was a tale of modern and traditional. Tech-savvy readers snapped up its e-books and other digital content during the period, while traditionalists headed to its bookstores for the popular "Fifty Shades of Grey" series and other items.

The double dose of good news, coupled with cost-control efforts and lower expenses, helped the New York company's loss to narrow while its revenue rose.

Weak sales of its Nook e-readers and an unchanged full-year outlook may have given investors pause. Its shares fell nearly 4 percent.

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Feds, university test cars that can communicate

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — In a few weeks, about 2,800 cars, trucks and buses will start talking to each other on the streets of Ann Arbor, Mich., in a giant experiment that government officials are hoping will lead to safer roads.

Wireless devices will allow the vehicles to send signals to each other, warning their drivers of potential dangers such as stopped traffic or cars that might be blowing through a red light. They can even get traffic lights to turn green if no cars are coming the other way.

The Department of Transportation and the University of Michigan are hoping the yearlong, $25 million project will generate data that show the devices can cut down on traffic accidents. Officials say eventually it could lead to devices like that in every car. About 500 vehicles with the devices are now on the roads.

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USDA checking whether tainted beef entered food supply

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Federal regulators who shut down a central California slaughterhouse after receiving an animal welfare video were investigating Tuesday whether beef from sick cows reached the human food supply.

The video appears to show workers bungling the slaughter of cows struggling to walk and even stand. Under federal regulations, sick animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption.

The investigation will determine whether sick cows were slaughtered and whether meat products from the company should be recalled, said Justin DeJong, a spokesman for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.

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MetroPCS cuts price on unlimited-data plan

NEW YORK (AP) — MetroPCS, a cellphone company that targets low-income urban households, is cutting the price on its unlimited data service, going against the flow of the biggest phone companies.

People will be able to sign up for unlimited data, calls and texting for $55 a month, the company said Tuesday.

MetroPCS, the fifth-largest wireless provider, with 9.3 million subscribers, had been offering unlimited data for $70 per month and a plan with 2.5 gigabytes of data for $50 per month.

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Samsung to invest $4 billion in Austin plant

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics co. will spend $4 billion renovating its plant in the U.S. to increase production of advanced chips used in smartphones and tablet computers.

Samsung's announcement on Tuesday is its latest push into the lucrative logic chip business. In June, Samsung said it would spend nearly $2 billion to build a new production line in South Korea to ramp up mobile chips.

The South Korean company said mass production in its Austin, Texas, plant will start in the second half of next year. The U.S. plant also produces chips for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 68.06 points to 13,203.58, and the Nasdaq composite index lost 8.95 points to 3,067.26. The S&P 500 lost 4.96 points to close at 1,413.17.

Benchmark crude finished up 71 cents at $96.68 in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, rose 94 cents to $114.64 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline increased 3.44 cents to $3.0652 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3.12 cents to $3.1243 a gallon. Natural gas was flat at $2.775 per 1,000 cubic feet.