Business Highlights

Business Highlights

Associated Press

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More older Americans are being buried by housing debt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Al and Saundra Karp have found an unconventional way to raise money and help save their Miami-area home from foreclosure: They're lining up gigs for their family jazz band.

They enjoy performing. But it isn't exactly how Al, an 86-year-old Korean War vet, or Saundra, 76, had expected to spend their retirement.

Of all the financial threats facing Americans of retirement age — outliving savings, falling for scams, paying for long-term care — housing isn't supposed to be one. But after a home-price collapse, the worst recession since the 1930s and some calamitous decisions to turn homes into cash machines, millions of them are straining to make house payments.

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Next up for Wal-Mart pay raises: department managers

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart is raising starting wages for more than 100,000 U.S. department managers and workers in its deli and other specialized departments.

The moves mark the next wave of pay raises by the nation's largest private employer, which has been under pressure from labor-backed groups for the treatment of its workers. In February, it announced it was increasing minimum wages for entry-level and long-term hourly employees to at least $10 an hour by next February. That increase affected 500,000 of its 1.3 million U.S. workers.

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New Disney toys combine high-tech gadgets, old-school play

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Disney is launching a line of toys that combines high-tech wearable gadgets and old-school superhero role-playing to keep kids moving while engrossing them in sub-plots from "The Avengers," ''Star Wars" and "Frozen."

It's Disney's most ambitious game concept meshing real objects and virtual worlds since August 2013, when the family entertainment giant released its Disney Infinity video game that featured figurines and digital characters from "Pirates of the Caribbean," ''Toy Story" and other franchises.

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Sponsors say Blatter resignation one step in FIFA reform

NEW YORK (AP) -- Adidas, Coca-Cola and other top sponsors called the resignation of FIFA's president a welcome change, but said soccer's governing body still must work to regain fans' trust following a corruption scandal.

Sepp Blatter resigned Tuesday, just days after being re-elected to a fifth term as president. The soccer world was shaken after the U.S. issued indictments against 14 current or former soccer officials last week alleging corruption and fraud and the Swiss announced a criminal investigation into the votes awarding the World Cup tournaments to Russia in 2018 and to Qatar in 2022.

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US factory orders slump in April; 8th decline in 9 months

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. factory orders tumbled in April, a sign that manufacturers are struggling amid a stronger dollar and cheaper oil.

Orders fell 0.4 percent in April, marking the eighth decline in nine months, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The key category that tracks business investment plans — non-military capital goods excluding aircraft — slipped 0.3 percent. Orders for electronic products plunged 4 percent, while demand in the volatile aircraft category tailed off sharply.

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San Francisco leaders to vote on luxury condo moratorium

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Check out rental sites for San Francisco, especially the trendier parts: Well over $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom flat and nearly $5,000 for two bedrooms.

Finding a place to live has become so expensive and emotional that city supervisors are considering a 45-day moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission District, which has long been one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city.

The area, home to taquerias and corner markets, is now teeming with Silicon Valley workers and the pricey restaurants that cater to them.

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Concerns remain for 'Viagra for women' twice rejected by FDA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The makers of a pill intended to boost sexual desire in women will try again this week to persuade regulators that the drug warrants approval after two rejections.

But a new review released by the Food and Drug Administration shows government scientists still have concerns about whether the drug's benefits outweigh its risks. The FDA review highlights several safety issues with flibanserin, including low blood pressure and fainting spells. Those problems increased when patients combined the drug with alcohol and some other medications, according to the document.

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Copper thefts from the rails rise with price of the metal

NEW YORK (AP) -- Longtime New York City subway cops have seen copper thefts before, but last week's heist on a stretch of open-air tracks was particularly brazen: 500 feet of inch-thick cable stripped from the rails in the middle of the night.

The theft that shut down parts of the subway's biggest lines and snarled the commute for 100,000 people is only the latest example of a troubling trend on the nation's railways linked to the soaring price of copper.

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Ousted Men's Wearhouse founder returns with tailor service

NEW YORK (AP) -- Men's Wearhouse founder George Zimmer, who was ousted from the suit retailer two years ago, still wants you to "like the way you look."

But this time, you don't have to walk into a store to do so.

Zimmer launched zTailors this week, a company that sends clothing tailors to homes or offices. Booking a tailor to hem skirts or taper baggy shirts is done through the zTailors website or with a phone call. The company says it has hundreds of tailors in more than a dozen states and plans to be nationwide by the end of the summer.

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Ex-Domino's chief Brandon to take reins at Toys R Us

WAYNE, N.J. (AP) -- The chairman and CEO of Toys R Us is retiring and will be succeeded by an executive with experience in taking companies public.

The privately held toy retailer said Tuesday that David Brandon will take over from Antonio Urcelay on July 1. The 63-year-old Brandon is the former chairman and CEO of Domino's Pizza, and helped that company with its initial public offering. Brandon also served as president and CEO of Valassis Communications and assisted with its transition to a publicly traded company.

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Study: Minorities in retail get paid less, promoted less

WASHINGTON (AP) -- African-American and Latino cashiers, salespeople and first-line managers are paid less, are less likely to be promoted off the floor and more likely to be poorer than their white counterparts in the retail industry, a new study showed Tuesday.

The study, done by the NAACP and Demos, a public policy organization, found that in the major jobs held by retail workers, African-Americans are paid the least, followed by Hispanics. They also are less likely to get full time jobs instead of part time and are underrepresented in management positions.

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Groups sue agency to block Shell's Arctic offshore drilling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Ten environmental groups Tuesday sued a federal agency over its approval of a plan by Royal Dutch Shell PLC for exploratory petroleum drilling off Alaska's northwest coast.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last month signed off on Shell's exploratory drilling plan in the Chukchi Sea, which calls for two drill rigs and a support flotilla that includes spill-response vessels.

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Judge awards billions to Quebec smokers

MONTREAL (AP) -- A judge has awarded more than $15 billion Canadian (US$12 billion) to Quebec smokers in a case that pitted them against three giant tobacco companies. The case is believed to be the biggest class-action lawsuit ever seen in Canada.

Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan said in his decision released late Monday that by choosing not to inform health authorities or the public directly of what they knew, the companies chose profits over the health of their customers.

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A May to remember: US auto sales breeze past forecasts

DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. auto sales were stronger than expected in May, boosted by Memorial Day promotions and strong demand for new SUVs.

Sales rose 2 percent over last May to more than 1.64 million cars and trucks, their fastest pace since July 2005, according to Autodata Corp. Analysts had expected sales to fall slightly because of lower sales to rental car companies and other auto fleets.

Subaru led automakers with a 12 percent sales gain. General Motors' sales rose 3 percent, Fiat Chrysler was up 4 percent and Honda rose 1 percent.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 28.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,011.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,109.60. The Nasdaq composite lost 6.40 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,076.52.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.06 cents to close at $61.26 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, rose 61 cents to close at $65.49 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 2.3 cents to close at $2.065 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to close at $1.946 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4.9 cents to close at $2.698 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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