Business Highlights

AP News
|
Posted: May 10, 2016 5:25 PM

___

Disney's movie business is again playing a starring role

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Magic Kingdom finally seems to be getting the hang of Hollywood magic.

Once dead last in the box office, this year, it's on pace for the No. 1 spot.

Disney's studio profits neared $2 billion last year and it is expected to rise. The momentum was evident Tuesday, when Disney reported $2.1 billion in net profit, boosted by a 27 percent gain in studio profits. Although the results missed market forecasts — partly due to poor performance of a soon-to-be shuttered video game business — CEO Bob Iger touted "our studio's unprecedented winning streak at the box office."

___

British exit risk casts shadow over EU's economic hopes

LONDON (AP) — Soon, the British will decide whether to leave the European Union and the other countries won't have say — even though it could be a threat to their collective economy and prosperity.

The vote for the so-called Brexit on June 23 would likely trigger turmoil in financial markets and uncertainty for businesses.

The broader fear is that the U.K.'s departure could prompt other countries to seek changes to their EU membership. And potentially it could usher in a new era of nationalism that undermines the EU's core purposes: the freedom to trade and move between countries.

___

Treasury calls for new regulations for online lenders

NEW YORK (AP) — The Treasury Department has called for additional oversight and some increased regulation of the online lending industry, the first time a government agency has weighed in on this quickly growing, but largely unregulated, part of the financial world.

In July 2015, the Treasury Department issued a request for information on the online lending industry and received 100 responses from companies, industry lobbyists, consumer advocates, lawmakers and others. While the Securities and Exchange Commission weighed in on the industry a few years ago, the SEC was looking only at the investors' point of view. This is the first time a regulator took a holistic view of the industry.

___

Panama Papers offshore companies data spurs anti-graft moves

TOKYO (AP) — The latest release of the names of thousands of offshore companies and other financial data of the rich and powerful is spurring renewed calls to counter corruption and tax evasion.

Japan said Tuesday that it plans to propose an action plan at the summit of the Group of Seven rich industrial economies, which is held later this month. India's tax authorities have sent notices to all its citizens listed in the database and would investigate. And these follows various moves by other countries to investigate or tighten oversight of such financial dealings stemming from what have been dubbed the "Panama Papers."

___

Study: Costs for most long-term care keep climbing

Long-term care grew more expensive again this year, with the cost of the priciest option — a private nursing home room — edging closer to $100,000 annually, according to a survey from Genworth Financial.

Americans also are paying more for other care options like home health aides and assisted living communities, while adult day care costs fell slightly compared to 2015, Genworth reported.

Private nursing home rooms now come with a median annual bill of $92,378, an increase of 1.2 percent from last year and nearly 19 percent since 2011. That's roughly twice the rate of overall inflation.

___

US stocks make biggest leap since March on China stimulus

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks surged to their biggest gain in two months on Tuesday after the Chinese government moved to stimulate the world's second-largest economy. That gave a big boost to energy, chemicals and machinery companies.

For months investors have worried about the state of China's economy, which is slowing down after a quarter-century of rapid growth. The prospect of greater sales to China lifted companies that make basic building materials, chemicals, building and mining equipment, and aircraft. The price of oil matched a six-month high and companies that drill for oil and refine it also rose. All 10 industrial sectors of the Standard & Poor's 500 index finished higher.

___

Allergan plans to buy back $10B in shares, posts 1Q profit

NEW YORK (AP) — Allergan will buy back up to $10 billion in stock following a swing to a first-quarter profit on a strong surge in sales of key drugs.

The share buyback plan is contingent on the sale of the drug developer's generics unit to Teva, which is expected to close by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the company is consolidating its executive team under current CEO Brent Saunders.

The quarter's key revenue driver was Botox, with global sales surging to $637.5 million from $84 million. The drug is approved to treat wrinkles, muscle spasms, and for bladder control.

___

Poll: Age, income factors in staying with single employer

CHICAGO (AP) — A new poll says more than 40 percent of America's baby boomers stayed with their employer for more than 20 years. But it's unlikely that their children or grandchildren will experience the same job tenure.

The survey of more than 1,000 Americans 50 and older by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 41 percent of those employed workers have spent two decades with the same company, including 18 percent who've stayed at least 30 years.

But it's a trend more common among the older baby boomers than younger ones, and traditional pensions appear to be one of the driving factors.

___

FDA to re-evaluate definition of 'healthy'

NEW YORK (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration will re-evaluate its definition of "healthy," which could eventually change how a range of foods are marketed.

In light of evolving research, the FDA said it believes "now is an opportune time to re-evaluate the regulations concerning nutrition content claims, generally, including the term 'healthy'."

The FDA currently allows use of the term "healthy" on packaging only when products meet certain nutrient criteria, which largely revolve around limited levels of fat, cholesterol and sodium. But any change in the term's regulatory definition could take years.

___

Supermarket operator Kroger to hire 14,000 employees

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger is holding a nationwide hiring event to fill 14,000 open jobs across all its supermarket chains, including Ralphs, Fred Meyer and Food 4 Less.

Candidates can apply online at jobs.kroger.com and show up to a store Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for an interview. Many of the openings are for part-time associates who bag groceries, stock shelves or ring up items at the cash register.

The company says the jobs are permanent.

___

Budweiser becomes "America." Drink up. Or not.

NEW YORK (AP) — Budweiser, now owned by Belgium's AB Inbev, will rename its beer "America" this summer and alter its labels with images and phrases affiliated with the republic.

The red, white and blue campaign is being launched into a very competitive market already foamy with craft beers, and upon a drinking public bracing itself for a presidential election likely to be unlike any before it.

"Budweiser has always strived to embody America in a bottle, and we're honored to salute this great nation where our beer has been passionately brewed for the past 140 years." said Ricardo Marques, vice president at Budweiser.

___

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 222.44 points, or 1.3 percent, to 17,928.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 advanced 25.70 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,084.39. The Nasdaq composite index jumped 59.67 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,809.88.

U.S. crude rose $1.22, or 2.8 percent, to $44.66 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, gained $1.89, or 4.3 percent, to $45.52 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 4 cents, or 3 percent, to $1.49 a gallon. Heating oil rose 5 cents, or 4 percent, to $1.34 a gallon. Natural gas rose 6 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $2.16 per 1,000 cubic feet.