Business Highlights

Business Highlights

Associated Press


United States, 11 Pacific Rim countries reach trade deal

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Having hammered out an ambitious trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim countries, the Obama administration now faces a potentially tougher task: selling the deal to a skeptical Congress.

The countries reached a contentious trade pact Monday that cuts trade barriers, sets labor and environmental standards and protects multinational corporations' intellectual property after marathon negotiating sessions in Atlanta through the weekend.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is designed to encourage trade between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Together, the countries account for 40 percent of world economic output.


A multigenerational hit: Student debt traps parents and kids

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A college degree practically stamped Andres Aguirre's ticket to the middle class. Yet at age 40, he's still paying the price of admission.

After a decade of repayments, Aguirre still diverts $512 a month to loans and owes $20,000.

The expense requires his family to rent an apartment in Campbell, California, because buying a home in a decent school district would cost too much. His daughter has excelled in high school, but Aguirre has urged her to attend community college to avoid the debt that ensnared him.

America's crushing surge of student debt, now at $1.2 trillion, has bred a disturbing new phenomenon: School loans that span multiple generations within families.


VW pollution test site under scrutiny amid cheating scandal

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -- When Volkswagen opened its gleaming pollution testing center near the California coast, a top executive from the German automaker helped snip the blue ribbon and joined a tour of a lab so advanced that VW would brag the air inside was cleaner than in the surrounding strawberry fields.

Three years later, with VW admitting that it manipulated emissions results in 482,000 U.S. diesel vehicles to make them seem more environmentally friendly, questions are swirling around Volkswagen's only test center in North America. Was anyone at the facility complicit in the scheme? Or were VW's own testers unaware of the deception like so many others?


Twitter gives co-founder Jack Dorsey a 2nd chance as CEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Twitter is embracing Jack Dorsey as its CEO in hopes that its once-spurned co-founder can hatch a plan to expand the short messaging service's audience and end nearly a decade of financial losses.

The hiring revealed Monday in a regulatory filing ends Twitter's three-month search for a new leader. It marks Dorsey's second stint as CEO since he helped start the San Francisco company more than nine years ago with Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass.


Bernanke defending Fed actions to battle recession

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. economy is outperforming Europe at the moment because the Fed moved more quickly and aggressively to fight the 2008 financial crisis than Europe did.

Bernanke, writing an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, said that U.S. economic output is 8.9 percent higher than its previous peak before the recession. That is "an enormous difference" from the Eurozone, where output is only 0.8 percent higher than its previous peak.


US services growth slows in September as orders plunge

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Growth in the U.S. services sector slowed in September as sales fell and new orders plunged, evidence that stock market volatility may have hit consumer confidence and limited spending.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its services index fell to 56.9 last month from 59 in August, which was the second-highest reading in a decade. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

A measure of sales fell to 60.2, still a healthy reading, from 63.9. A gauge of new orders, however, dropped nearly 7 points to 56.7. That suggests sales growth may continue to cool in the coming months.


Data hack at 7 Trump hotels confirmed

NEW YORK (AP) -- Customer credit and debit card numbers may have been stolen at seven Trump hotels after its payment systems were hacked for over a year.

The Trump Hotel Collection said on its website that hackers gained access to its systems between May 2014 and June 2015 at the front desk of those hotels. Hotel restaurants and gift shops were also hacked.

The hotel operator said an independent forensic investigation has not found any evidence of customer's information being misused. The company is offering affected customers a year of free identity theft protection.


DuPont CEO Kullman retiring effective Oct. 16

DOVER, Del. (AP) -- The DuPont Co. has announced the sudden retirement of Ellen Kullman as chairwoman and CEO.

The company said Kullman, 59, will step down at the end of next week.

Edward Breen, a DuPont board member, will serve as Kullman's interim replacement.

DuPont also downgraded its operating earnings outlook on Monday, saying it now expects operating earnings per share for the full year of about $2.75, compared with prior guidance of $3.10.


BMS paying $14.6M to settle SEC charges on payments in China

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay $14.6 million to settle charges from U.S. regulators that its joint venture in China gave cash and other benefits to government health care providers to boost drug sales.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement of civil charges Monday with the company, one of the largest drugmakers in the world. Bristol-Myers Squibb, based in New York, makes and sells prescription and over-the-counter medicines worldwide.


American Apparel files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK (AP) -- American Apparel has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection almost a year after ousting founder Dov Charney, who is now locked in a contentious a legal fight with the retailer.

American Apparel cautioned in August that it didn't have enough financing to keep operating for the next year and that investors could suffer big losses on their investments.

American Apparel has lost money every year since 2010, with revenue wilting as competition from fast-fashion retailers has increased. The company is being sued by ex-CEO Charney, who was fired in December following allegations that he had violated its sexual harassment policy. Charney denies those charges.


Trian becomes one of top GE investors, buying $2.5B stake

NEW YORK (AP) -- Trian Fund Management is now one of General Electric's biggest shareholders after the firm led by activist investor Nelson Peltz placed its largest bet to date, about $2.5 billion, as it positions itself to play a role in the transformation of the industrial conglomerate.

General Electric Co. has refocused its trajectory on its industrial roots — making large, complicated equipment for other companies — and selling off its financial operations. That, in a large part, is due to stricter federal oversight by federal regulators in the wake of the financial crisis.


US, states announce settlement with BP over gulf oil spill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department and five states on Monday announced a $20 billion final settlement of claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal, once approved by a judge, would resolve all civil claims against BP and end five years of legal fighting over the 134 million-gallon spill. It also would bind the company to a massive cleanup project in the Gulf Coast area aimed at restoring wildlife, habitat and water quality.


Leaders who follow: What candidates' Twitter lists reveal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Jeb Bush follows Donald Trump on Twitter but that's a one-way street: Trump mainly follows people with a connection to himself. Ted Cruz's follow list is a big tea party, though he keeps an eye on President Barack Obama, too.

Marco Rubio seems open to following everyone under the sun — Democrats, fellow Republicans, insiders of every type and an odd assortment of outliers who offer advice on matters ranging from body-piercing to playing craps and getting out of debt.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 304.06 points, or 1.9 percent, to close at 16,776.43. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 35.69 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,987.05. The Nasdaq composite rose 73.49 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,781.26.

The price of oil rose Monday. U.S. crude gained 72 cents to close at $46.26 a barrel in New York. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.12 to close at $49.25 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 4.4 cents to close at $1.388 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2.8 cents to close at $1.548 a gallon. Natural gas fell 0.1 cents to close at $2.45 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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