Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2012 5:56 PM
Business Highlights

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Apple says more than 5 million iPhone 5s sold

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. said Monday that it sold more than 5 million units of the iPhone 5 in the three days since its launch, fewer than analysts had expected.

Apple shares fell $9.30, or 1.3 percent, to close at $690.79 on Monday. The shares hit an all-time high of $705.07 Friday as the phone went on sale in the U.S., Germany, France, Japan and five other countries.

The sales tally is a record for any phone, but it beats last year's iPhone 4S launch by only a small margin. Apple said then that it sold 4 million phones in the first three days.

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Apple supplier halts China factory after violence

BEIJING (AP) — The company that makes Apple's iPhones suspended production at a factory in China on Monday after a brawl by as many as 2,000 employees at a dormitory injured 40 people.

The fight, the cause of which is under investigation, erupted Sunday night at a privately managed dormitory near a Foxconn Technology Group factory in the northern city of Taiyuan, the company and Chinese police said. A police statement reported by the official Xinhua News Agency said 5,000 officers were dispatched to the scene.

The Taiwanese-owned company declined to say whether the factory is involved in iPhone production. It said the facility, which employs 79,000 people, will suspend work Monday and reopen Tuesday.

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Economists say US needs more taxes, spending cuts

NEW YORK (AP) — The best way to reduce the federal deficit is through a combination of higher taxes and spending cuts, according to a group of economists.

The 236 members of the National Association for Business Economics recently surveyed say the country needs more fiscal stimulus through 2013, but by 2014 it should be time to throttle back. The reason for the delay: the sluggish nature of the country's economic recovery.

A majority of the economists favor extending payroll tax cuts, current marginal income tax rates and current tax rates for dividends and capital gains for most or all taxpayers through 2013. Deep tax cuts that were passed under President George W. Bush expire at the end of December unless Congress takes action. At the center of debate: extending the cuts for everybody, or just households earning less than $250,000 a year.

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Kellogg wants China to wake up to its cereal

NEW YORK (AP) — Kellogg is hoping it can finally turn cereal into a breakfast staple in China.

The maker of Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles says that it formed a joint venture to expand the distribution of its cereals and snacks in the country as early as next year. The breakfast giant says the deal will tap the infrastructure and local expertise of Wilmar International, a Singapore-based agribusiness.

The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company also plans to use the deal to sell Pringles chips, which it acquired earlier this year to expand its international business.

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Feds order Discover to refund $200 million to cardholders

WASHINGTON (AP) — Discover Bank will pay millions to settle accusations by regulators that it pressured credit card customers to buy costly add-on services like payment protection and credit monitoring.

Discover, the sixth-biggest U.S. credit card issuer, will pay a $14 million fine and refund $200 million directly to more than 3.5 million customers, federal authorities said Monday.

The company's call-center workers enrolled customers in the programs without their consent, misled them about the benefits and left customers thinking the products were free, regulators said.

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Toyota plans expanded range of hybrids

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. is boosting its green vehicle lineup, with plans for 21 new hybrids in the next three years, a new electric car later this year and a fuel cell vehicle by 2015 in response to growing demand for fuel efficient and environmentally friendly driving.

Toyota said Monday it will offer an electric compact called eQ, based on its iQ model, in Japan and the U.S. in December though the number of the vehicles made will be extremely limited — about 100 for special fleet use, according to the company. The car, which will be called the iQ EV in the U.S, isl pricey at 3.6 million yen ($45,000) and has a limited cruise range of 100 kilometers (62 miles).

In the U.S., an electric version of the Rav-4 sport-utility model, which Toyota worked on with U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors, goes on sale this month.

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TiVo settles lawsuit against Verizon for $250.4 million

Verizon will pay TiVo Inc. at least $250.4 million to license its digital video recording technology and settle a patent lawsuit.

It is the third settlement that TiVo has garnered in recent patent cases. At the heart of the cases, TiVo has alleged that companies have copied its DVR technology. The company's string of settlements "bodes well for its future litigation," said Alan Gould, an analyst with Evercore, in a research note.

TiVo, based in Alviso, Calif., is set to go to trial in patent lawsuits over DVRs made by Google Inc.'s Motorola unit and Cisco Systems Inc. next year.

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Bank fees further erode free checking accounts

CHICAGO (AP) — Truly free checking accounts are becoming rarer as banks add more fees to boost their profits.

Only 39 percent of non-interest checking accounts are free to all customers, according to survey results released Monday by financial data publisher Bankrate.com. That's down from 45 percent last year and 76 percent in 2009.

Among other fees, the average monthly service fee on checking accounts is a record $5.48, up 25 percent from the Bankrate survey a year ago. Also, the average fee charged by an ATM operator to a non-customer rose 4 percent to a record $2.50, Bankrate said.

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Peanut butter recall expands beyond Trader Joe's

WASHINGTON (AP) — A California company is recalling 76 types of peanut butter and almond butter after one of its products was linked to a salmonella outbreak at Trader Joe's groceries.

Sunland Inc. recalled the products under multiple brand names after the Food and Drug Administration and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked 29 salmonella illnesses in 18 states to Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. Sunland manufactures and packages the Trader Joe's product.

A Sunland spokeswoman said the company recalled the other peanut and almond butters because they were manufactured with the same equipment as the Trader Joe's product. None of the other products have been linked to illnesses.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 20.55 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,558.92. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 3.26, or 0.2 percent, to 1,459.89. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 19.18 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,160.78.

Benchmark crude fell 96 cents, or 1 percent, to finish at $91.93 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices for other petroleum products dropped, too. In London, Brent crude dropped $1.61 at $109.81 on the ICE Futures exchange.

Natural gas fell 4.8 cents to settle at $2.837 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil fell 2.2 cents to $3.0987 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.49 cents to $2.9176 per gallon.