Business Highlights

AP News
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Posted: Jan 12, 2015 5:21 PM

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Energy sector leads a decline in US stocks as oil falls

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy companies are leading a decline on the stock market as crude oil continues to tumble.

The price of oil dropped another 5 percent Monday to $46 a barrel. That's far below its recent peak of more than $100 a barrel last June. The slump means much lower profits for energy companies, even though consumers benefit by paying less for gas.

The steep drop in oil prices over recent months has investors second-guessing expectations for the quarterly earnings season.

Monday marked the unofficial start to the fourth-quarter earnings season as Alcoa turned in its latest results after the closing bell. The aluminum producer reported stronger earnings and revenue than Wall Street expected, pushing the stock up in extended trading.

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What clues black boxes can offer in the AirAsia crash

NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators trying to figure out why AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea might now have the tools they need.

On Monday the flight's data recorder was pulled up from the bottom of the shallow sea. The cockpit voice recorder was also located but not yet surfaced.

It could take up to two weeks to analyze all the data on the so-called black boxes. Based on past crashes, the information retrieved could be vital. The two separate devices — actually orange boxes designed to survive extreme heat and pressure — should provide investigators with a second-by-second timeline of the plane's flight.

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Obama: With tech advances come privacy risks for US

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday proposed strengthening laws against identity theft by requiring notification when consumer information is hacked and protecting students' private data.

Obama also called for more free access to all consumer credit rating services. He applauded those companies for offering the service and called on more to do so.

The president said identity theft is a growing problem and that the age of technology and digital innovation has created enormous vulnerabilities for the U.S., citing the recent hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment as an example.

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Got help paying for health care? Watch your mailbox

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you're among the millions of consumers who got financial help for health insurance last year under President Barack Obama's law, better keep an eye on your mailbox.

The administration said Monday it has started sending out tax reporting forms necessary for your 2014 return. They are for people who got health insurance tax credits provided under the law.

Because this is the first time Americans will experience the complex connections between the health care law and taxes, there's concern that some people may not realize the new forms are important, and that they do need to open that envelope.

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AmerisourceBergen expands into animal health with $2.5B deal

AmerisourceBergen Corp. will stretch its reach into veterinary medicine by spending about $2.5 billion to acquire MWI Veterinary Supply.

The pharmaceutical distributor said Monday that it will pay $190 in cash for each share of MWI, a premium of 8 percent to the closing price of MWI shares on Friday. The deal value includes $76 million in MWI Veterinary Supply debt.

AmerisourceBergen distributes prescription drugs and also provides pharmaceutical consulting. MWI Veterinary Supply Inc., based in Boise, Idaho, sells animal health products in the United States and United Kingdom.

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Federal analysis: Arts, culture add $700B to US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Creative industries contribute more to the U.S. economy than previously thought, the government said Monday in its first official analysis of the arts and culture sector's economic value.

The report from the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows arts and culture contributed more than $698 billion to the economy — about 4.32 percent of U.S. goods and services. The study is based on 2012 data, the most recent figures available, and includes nonprofit, for-profit and government-funded programs.

Six industries account for the bulk of arts and culture production — broadcasting, movies and videos, publishing, retail sales, performing arts and advertising.

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2 stock exchanges paying $14M to settle SEC case on orders

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two securities exchanges will pay a total of $14 million to settle charges of giving inaccurate information to trading firms about their buy and sell orders.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Monday in the civil case with the EDGA and EDGX exchanges. The SEC said it was the largest penalty it had imposed on a U.S. stock exchange.

The exchanges shared information with some, but not all, trading firm members about their ranking of orders by price and other data. The information ultimately could have given an advantage to high-frequency firms and put other investors at a disadvantage.

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GM's new electric could upstage Tesla — and its own Volt

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors' introduction of an electric car that can go 200 miles on a single charge may create a showdown with Tesla and potentially upstage a car of its own.

GM on Monday unveiled the Chevrolet Bolt, a $30,000 concept car that will probably go on sale in about two years. The range will make it attractive to many buyers who would not consider a fully electric car for fear of running out of juice. The rollout also eclipsed GM's unveiling of a revamped Chevy Volt at the Detroit auto show.

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2 airlines were targets of attempt to steal customers' miles

DALLAS (AP) — Thieves have broken into customer accounts at American and United airlines and in some cases booked free trips or upgrades.

The airlines say the incidents happened in late December. American began notifying affected customers by email on Monday.

United Airlines said thieves booked trips or made mileage transactions on up to three dozen accounts. The airline said it would restore miles to anyone who had them stolen.

American Airlines said that about 10,000 accounts were affected. The company has learned of two cases in which somebody booked a free trip or upgrade without the account holder's knowledge.

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China arrests dozens for selling pork from diseased pigs

BEIJING (AP) — Police in China have arrested more than 110 people on suspicion of selling pork from diseased pigs in the country's latest food safety scandal.

The Public Security Ministry said Monday that more than 1,000 tons of contaminated pork and 48 tons of cooking oil produced from the meat have been seized in the operation that began last year. The suspects belonged to 11 different syndicates who purchased pigs that died of disease from farmers at cut-rate prices then illegally processed them into bacon, ham and oil.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average slid 96.53 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 17,640.84. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 16.55 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,028.26. The Nasdaq composite lost 39.36 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,664.71.

U.S. crude losing $2.29 to settle at $46.07 a barrel. Brent lost $2.68 to $47.43. Wholesale gasoline fell 4.8 cents to close at $1.275 a gallon. Heating oil fell 4.9 cents to close at $1.654 a gallon. Natural gas fell 15.1 cents to close at $2.795 per 1,000 cubic feet.