Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Aug 27, 2012 6:16 PM
Business Highlights

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HP, Dell: PC makers in desperate need of a reboot

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co. used to be known as a place where innovative thinkers flocked to work on great ideas that opened new frontiers in technology. These days, HP is looking behind the times.

Coming off a five-year stretch of miscalculations, HP is in such desperate need of a reboot that many investors have written off its chances of a comeback.

Consider this: Since Apple Inc. shifted the direction of computing with the release of the iPhone in June 2007, HP's market value has plunged by 60 percent to $35 billion. During that time, HP has spent more than $40 billion on dozens of acquisitions that have largely turned out to be duds.

Like HP, Dell missed the trends that have turned selling PCs into one of technology's least profitable and slowest growing niches. As a result, Dell's market value has also plummeted by 60 percent, to about $20 billion, since the iPhone's release.

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Apple lists 8 Samsung products it wants banned

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc. on Monday gave a federal judge a list of eight Samsung Electronics Co. products it wants pulled from shelves and banned from the U.S. market.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh asked for the list after a jury in San Jose last week slammed Samsung with a $1.05 billion verdict, finding that the South Korean technology giant had "willfully" copied Apple's iPhone and iPad in creating and marketing the products. Samsung plans an appeal.

The products Apple wants banished from the U.S. are all smartphones: Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 AT&T, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge and Galaxy Prevail.

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Airlines differ on Isaac rebooking policies

NEW YORK (AP) — When hurricanes, blizzards or other severe weather disrupt flights, some airlines are more accommodating than others in letting passengers rebook.

Tropical Storm Isaac is sweeping into the Gulf of Mexico and all the airlines with flights to and from the region this week are waiving their normal fees for passengers to rebook trips. So-called change fees can be as high as $150 on a domestic trip.

While it's nice that airlines aren't charging you to rebook, the time you have to take your trip depends on your carrier.

Some airlines give passengers nearly a year to fly again, while others require them to be on planes as soon as Friday.

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Most Americans say the rich don't pay enough taxes

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the income gap between rich and poor widens, a majority of Americans say the growing divide is bad for the country and believe that wealthy people are paying too little in taxes, according to a new survey.

The poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center points to a particular challenge for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose party's policies are viewed by a wide majority as favoring the rich over the middle class and poor.

The poll found that many Americans believe rich people to be intelligent and hardworking but also greedy and less honest than the average American. Nearly six in 10, or 58 percent, say the rich don't pay enough in taxes, while 26 percent believe the rich pay their fair share and 8 percent say they pay too much.

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Burger boom as fast food finds fans in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) — Baghdad's embattled residents can finally get their milkshakes, chili-cheese dogs and buckets of crispy fried chicken. Original recipe or extra spicy, of course.

A wave of new American-style restaurants is spreading across the Iraqi capital, enticing customers hungry for alternatives to traditional offerings like lamb kebabs and fire-roasted carp.

The fad is a sign that Iraqis, saddled with violence for years and still experiencing almost daily bombings and shootings, are prepared to move on and embrace ordinary pleasures — like stuffing their faces with pizza.

Iraqi entrepreneurs and investors from nearby countries, not big multinational chains, are driving the food craze. They see Iraq as an untapped market of increasingly adventurous eaters where competition is low and the potential returns are high.

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Tiffany lowers outlook as shoppers remain cautious

NEW YORK (AP) — Upscale jewelry chain Tiffany & Co. lowered its outlook for the year on Monday as the wealthy cut back on buying baubles in an uncertain economy.

Company shares rose more than 7 percent Monday, however, as revenue in established stores, a key measure for retailers, declined less than analysts had expected in the second quarter. Investors may also have been encouraged that Tiffany is planning stores in new cities despite its challenges.

The affluent had been spending more since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009, recovering faster than other people. But starting late last year, Tiffany's customers trimmed their spending on jewelry amid stock market volatility and growing worry about the debt crisis in Europe.

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Hertz, at long last, buying Dollar Thrifty

NEW YORK (AP) — Hertz is one-step closer to a prize it's wanted for a long time.

More than two years after its original bid, it agreed Sunday to buy Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. for about $2.3 billion, giving it more ways to attract travelers and expand its international presence. It will also give the company a leg up against competition from an increasing number of smaller competitors.

At $87.50 per share, the deal is worth far more than any of Hertz's previous bids and about 8 percent above Dollar Thrifty's closing price Friday.

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Best Buy's founder allowed to pursue buyout

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy Co. Inc. and its founder and former chairman Richard Schulze say they have an agreement that will allow Schulze to pursue his plan to try to buy the nation's largest consumer electronics chain.

Best Buy shares rose 3.2 percent to close at $17.87 Monday.

Best Buy said the agreement will allow Schulze to get access to confidential financial statements and allow him to form an investment group with private equity sponsors to make the bid. He already owns 20 percent of the company's stock.

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M&T buying Hudson City Bancorp in $3.7 billion deal

NEW YORK (AP) — M&T Bank Corp. is buying Hudson City Bancorp Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $3.7 billion that will broaden its reach in the eastern U.S. Hudson City's stock climbed nearly 16 percent Monday.

The buyout includes Hudson City's 135 branch offices located in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The combined company will have 870 branches located in states running from Connecticut to Virginia. M&T says there is very little overlap between its existing branches and those of Hudson City.

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IBM buys Kenexa for $1.3 billion in latest software deal

ARMONK, N.Y. (AP) — IBM is buying human resources management company Kenexa Corp. for about $1.3 billion, adding to its stable of cloud-based software.

The Monday announcement sent Kenexa's stock to the highest price since it began trading in mid-2005.

Kenexa's HR software is designed to help companies recruit workers and manage employees with the help of networking tools similar to those that connect people on Facebook and LinkedIn. The Wayne, Pa., company says it has more than 8,900 customers and employs about 2,800 workers. IBM plans to continue to support Kenexa's clients while also giving them access to IBM's offerings.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 33.30 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,124.67. The S&P 500 fell 0.69 point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,410.44. The Nasdaq composite rose 3.41 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,073.19.

Benchmark oil fell 68 cents to end the day at $95.47 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude dropped $1.33 to $112.26 on the ICE Futures exchange.

Wholesale gasoline prices rose 7.7 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $3.155 per gallon. Natural gas fell 5 cents to $2.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil rose less than a penny to $3.11 a gallon.