Business Highlights

Created: 10/07/2015 7:21 AM
By: By The Associated Press


For Volkswagen, costs of scandal will be piling up

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — For Volkswagen, the cost of its cheating on emissions tests in the U.S. is likely to run into the tens of billions of dollars and prematurely end its long-sought status as the world's biggest carmaker.

As well as fines from governments, Volkswagen faces the massive expense of recalling up to 11 million cars globally.

Already the company has set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover the fines and recalls — but it's a fair bet that's only the start. Some experts estimate the bill could ultimately be five times as large.


European data-sharing pact with US ruled invalid

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Facebook and thousands of other companies could find it vastly more complicated to do business in Europe after a court ruled that personal data sent to U.S. servers is potentially unsafe from government spying.

Some 4,500 companies have long been able to store users' personal data — everything from status updates and photos to personal information like bank details and home addresses — where they see fit, often in the U.S.

That could change after Europe's top court on Tuesday declared invalid a 15-year-old pact allowing the unfettered transfer of personal data outside the European Union's 28 countries.


Competition for Microsoft lineup, which targets high end

NEW YORK (AP) — The success of Microsoft's fall lineup of devices will ride on the company's ability to convince people who got free Windows 10 software upgrades this summer to spring for new devices — specifically, Windows devices.

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday unveiled a new laptop, a tablet, three phones and a fitness tracker meant to keep people tied to its array of online services. Many of the products have impressive hardware features, but they face heavy competition from Apple and Android products.


US forecast calls for lower heating bills this winter

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Some U.S. households can expect to save hundreds of dollars this winter with a drop in heating bills, thanks to a combination of lower energy prices and warmer weather across most of the country, the U.S. Energy Department predicted Tuesday.

The department's annual outlook calls for lower heating bills, with the biggest savings for those who use propane or oil to heat their homes. The government predicts a 25 percent drop for homes using heating oil and an 18 percent drop for homes using propane, compared to last winter.


IMF downgrades forecast for world, emerging market economies

LIMA, Peru (AP) — China's slowdown and tumbling commodity prices will push global economic growth this year to the lowest level since the recession year 2009, the International Monetary Fund predicted Tuesday.

In a report Tuesday in advance of the IMF-World Bank annual meetings here this week, the fund says the world economy will grow 3.1 percent this year, down from a July forecast of 3.3 percent and from 3.4 percent growth last year.


US trade deficit widens to $48.3 billion in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit jumped sharply in August as exports fell to the lowest level in nearly three years while imports increased, led by a surge in shipments of cellphones from China.

The deficit increased 15.6 percent to $48.3 billion, the biggest deficit since March, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Exports of goods and services dropped 2 percent to $185.1 billion, the lowest level since October 2012. Imports rose 1.2 percent to $233.4 billion.


NY comptroller: Wall Street profits hit $11.3B in 6 months

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The securities industry in New York City tallied $11.3 billion in profits during the first half of 2015, higher than in the past three years, while also adding jobs last year for the first time since 2011, the state comptroller reported Tuesday.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the analysis shows that despite current market volatility, Wall Street may be positioned for a good year overall. It had 174,000 jobs in August, having added 2,300 last year, and was on pace to add another 4,500 this year before recent market downturns.


PepsiCo boosted by smaller chip bags, non-soda drinks

PURCHASE, N.Y. (AP) — Smaller bags of potato chips and drinks that do not have Pepsi printed on them are helping push up PepsiCo's sales.

PepsiCo Inc. said Tuesday that snack volume in North America rose by 0.5 percent for the third quarter, while pricing pushed up sales for the division by 2 percent. The maker of Frito-Lay chips has been increasing options on sizes, offering Lay's potato chips in a bag that is two ounces smaller than the traditional 10-ounce bag.


Yum's stock plunges after KFC parent's slow China recovery

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Shares of Yum Brand plunged in late trading Tuesday after the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell cut its profit outlook for the year, citing a slower-than-expected comeback for its key China division.

The company said it now expects full-year earnings per share to rise in the low-single-digit percentages. It had previously forecast growth of at least 10 percent for the year, based on expectations at the time for a strong recovery by its stores in China, which have been hit by scares over food quality.


FDA's new anti-smoking campaign uses hip-hop to target youth

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government health officials are betting they can adapt the sounds, style and swagger of hip-hop culture to discourage young African Americans, Hispanics and other minority youths from using tobacco.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it will spend $128 million on the "Fresh Empire" campaign, which incorporates advertisements, local events and outreach to try and curb smoking among minority teenagers.

FDA officials say research shows young people who identify with hip-hop are more likely to use cigarettes and other tobacco products than their peers.


Express Scripts to cover pricey new cholesterol treatments

The nation's biggest pharmacy benefits manager has decided to cover two new drugs that lower artery-clogging cholesterol but raise concern over prices that can top $14,000 a year.

Express Scripts said Tuesday that it will pay for prescriptions of Amgen Inc.'s Repatha as well as Praluent from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. under a few conditions designed to control costs.

The decision comes as soaring drug prices draw criticism from patients, doctors and politicians, as well as insurers and employers that generally pay most of the prescription bill. Praluent and Repatha both stirred worry, in particular, because of their potential to be used by millions of patients.


Obama begins selling trade agreement to Congress, public

WASHINGTON (AP) — Negotiations over the complex trade deal took more than five years. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama began what may be a similarly difficult task — selling the Trans-Pacific Partnership to Congress and the American public.

Obama met with business and agricultural leaders at the Department of Agriculture. The site of the meeting reflects the urgency that farm groups have attached to the deal to remove tariffs and other trade barriers that would increase exports ranging from meat and poultry to grains and cotton.


UAW threatens strike in contract talks with Fiat Chrysler

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union is threatening to go on strike against Fiat Chrysler after its membership rejected a tentative contract deal with the company.

In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said Tuesday that it received a strike notice from the union, and that it continues to work toward reaching an agreement.

A letter to Fiat Chrysler that was posted on the UAW website Tuesday says the union is ending its contract with FCA at 11:59 p.m. EDT Wednesday.


Ex-UN General Assembly head among 6 held in bribery scheme

NEW YORK (AP) — A former president of the United Nations General Assembly turned the world body into a "platform for profit" by accepting over $1 million in bribes and a trip to New Orleans from a billionaire Chinese real estate mogul and other businesspeople to pave the way for lucrative investments, a prosecutor charged Tuesday.

John Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who served in the largely ceremonial post as head of the 193-nation assembly from September 2013 to September 2014, faces tax fraud charges in what authorities call a conspiracy with five others, including Francis Lorenzo, a deputy U.N. ambassador from the Dominican Republic who lives in the Bronx.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average added 13.76 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,790.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 7.13 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,979.92. The Nasdaq composite fell 32.90 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,748.36.

U.S. benchmark crude jumped $2.27, or 5 percent, to close at $48.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $2.67, or 5 percent, to $51.92 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 5.1 cents to close at $1.436 a gallon. Heating oil rose 6.3 cents to close at $1.612 a gallon. Natural gas rose 2 cents to close at $2.47 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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