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Business Highlights

The Associated Press


CEO issues new apology as details of passenger's past emerge

CHICAGO (AP) -- The man dragged from a full United Express flight by airport police in Chicago is a Kentucky physician who was convicted more than a decade ago of felony charges involving his prescribing of drugs and spent years trying to regain his medical license. But while the passenger's unflattering history quickly became the focus of attention, there's no indication that his past influenced how he was treated or that the airline or police were aware of his background. And it's unlikely that officials would have known anything about him other than basic information such as his name and address, if that. Meanwhile, the airline issued a more contrite apology Tuesday and pledged to conduct a review of the company's practices that led to the events at O'Hare Airport.


United faces public-relations fiasco over dragged passenger

CHICAGO (AP) -- After a man was dragged off a flight, United Airlines has become the butt of jokes online and on late-night TV. Travel and public-relations experts say United has fumbled the situation from the start, but it's impossible to know if the damage is temporary or lasting. Many travelers go for the cheapest fare, no matter what the name on the plane. And United frequent flyers won't easily give up their miles.


Gas prices will rise this summer but should remain low

NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. government says the average price of retail gasoline will rise to $2.46 a gallon this summer as oil prices bounce back. But prices at the pump will still remain below levels of just a few years ago. The Energy Information Administration says gas averaged $2.23 a gallon last summer. The hike reflects the 15 percent rise in oil prices over the last year. But oil remains far below its mid-2014 highs. The agency says it believes gas will rise to an average this year of $2.39 a gallon, up from $2.15 in 2016. That means the average U.S. household will spend about $200 more on gas.


US employers posted more jobs in February and quitting fell

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. employers posted more open positions in February, but the number of people getting hired and the number quitting jobs fell. The overall figures suggest that the job market remains healthy, although it has yet to take off during the early stages of the Trump presidency. The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings rose 2.1 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted 5.7 million. While more employers are seeking workers, hiring fell 2 percent compared to January to 5.3 million. Job openings have increased 3.2 percent over the past 12 months.


Slumping PC market shows a glimmer of hope in 1st quarter

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The long-suffering personal computer market may be finally recovering from the damage inflicted by the shift to smartphones and tablets, according to a report released Tuesday.

PC shipments in the first quarter rose by about 1 percent from last year, based on calculations from the research firm International Data Corp. The modest gain marks the first quarterly increase in five years, a stretch that has seen people increasingly turn to mobile devices for their computing needs.


Online coupon company RetailMeNot bought by Harland Clark

NEW YORK (AP) -- Direct mail and marketing services company Harland Clark Holdings Corp. is buying online coupon company RetailMeNot Inc. Harland Clark is paying $11.60 per share for RetailMeNot, a 50 percent premium on the Austin, Texas-based company's closing stock price of $7.75 on Monday. Given the number of RetailMeNot shares outstanding, the deal is valued at about $560 million. The companies listed the deal's equity value, which includes debt, the value of stock options and convertible securities, at $630 million.


Chinese auto sales weaken sharply in March after tax rise

BEIJING (AP) -- Growth in China's auto sales plunged in March as demand for SUVs weakened and purchases of sedans contracted, an industry group reported Tuesday. Sales of cars, minivans and SUVs in the biggest market by number of vehicles sold rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was down from 6.3 percent growth in the first two months of the year.


Toshiba's survival in doubt amid Westinghouse troubles

TOKYO (AP) -- Toshiba Corp., whose U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, raised doubts Tuesday about its ability to survive as a company. In an unaudited financial report, Toshiba projected a 1.01 trillion yen ($9.2 billion) loss for the fiscal year that ended in March, a figure that ballooned from the 390 billion yen loss forecast in February because of the troubles at Westinghouse. Four nuclear reactors Westinghouse is helping to build in South Carolina and Georgia are behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.


Outages increase as Puerto Rico company crumbles amid crisis

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Spoiled food. Damaged appliances. Shuttered businesses. A recent increase in power outages is taking a heavy toll on Puerto Rico as the U.S. territory's heavily indebted public power company struggles to modernize decades-old equipment that is crumbling amid a deep economic crisis. The frequent loss of power, coupled with rising power bills, is spooking potential investors. It has frustrated business owners who complain of lost revenue and forced homeowners to buy new appliances amid unexpected surges.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.38 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,353.78. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 6.72 points, or 0.03 percent, to 20,651.30. The Nasdaq composite index slid 14.15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,866.77.

Benchmark crude oil rose 32 cents to close at $53.40 a barrel in New York, its sixth gain in a row. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 25 cents to close at $56.23 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.76 a gallon. Heating oil also held steady at $1.65 a gallon. Natural gas slid 9 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $3.15 per 1,000 cubic feet.