Posted: Jun 21, 2012 1:26 AM
Updated: Jun 21, 2012 1:26 AM
A tame close for stocks Wednesday
NEW YORK (AP) Stocks ended the Wednesday trading session little changed after the Federal Reserve announced its decision to extend a Treasury bond buying effort aimed at encouraging economic growth. The effort, called "Operation Twist", was to expire in 2 weeks. Now, it is to continue through December. The announcement was widely expected.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 13 points, 0.1 percent, at 12,824 Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell two points to 1,356. The Nasdaq gained a fraction of a point to close at 2,930.
Rising and falling stocks were evenly split. Volume was average at 3.8 billion shares.
Asia stocks down as Fed action deemed too little
BANGKOK (AP) Asian stock markets were mostly lower today as investors registered dismay at the path chosen by the Federal Reserve to try to invigorate the stalled U.S. recovery.
At the end of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, the Fed said it was extending a program called Operation Twist, under which the Fed swaps short-term bonds for longer-term ones to help keep long-term interest rates low.
But analysts said the program's extension might not provide much benefit. Businesses and consumers who aren't borrowing now aren't that likely to change their minds just because rates dropped a little more.
Benchmark crude oil was down nearly a dollar, remaining above $80 per barrel.
Jobless claims, home sales due today
WASHINGTON (AP) Weekly jobless claims are due today from the Labor Department. Also on today's economic calendar, the National Association Association of Realtors releases sales of previously-owned homes for May. In addition, the Conference Board releases the index of leading indicators.
Senate votes to retain sugar program
WASHINGTON (AP) A final Senate vote is expected today on a $500 billion bill to operate farm and food programs over the next five years.
The Senate voted yesterday not to tamper with the Depression-era program that protects U.S. sugar growers as it sped toward completion of the bill.
The sugar program, which controls supply levels, sets prices and limits imports, has long been a target of those who say the government supports agribusiness over the interests of consumers.
The sugar vote was one of the few remaining contentious issues as the Senate worked through some 73 amendments to the 1,000-page measure that establishes safety nets for farmers, authorizes conservation programs and funds the food stamp program.
The farm bill makes some substantial changes in farm policy, including eliminating direct payments to farmers even when they don't plant crops, and consolidating conservation programs.
Wal-Mart Mexico: new procedures to delay openings
MEXICO CITY (AP) Wal-Mart's Mexico subsidiary says its expansion plans for new stores will be delayed by 60 to 90 days because the company has instituted additional documentation procedures on real estate dealings.
The announcement follows a scandal about the company's alleged payments to middlemen to speed up the store-opening process, possibly through payments to local officials.
The company said it will spend $17.5 billion to open a total of 325 to 335 new stores in Mexico and Central America this year, representing an 8.1 percent annual expansion.
Before the scandal broke, the company had planned to open between 410 and 430 stores in various formats, ranging from small storefronts to large shopping centers.
Australian judge fines Apple more than $2.2 M
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) An Australian judge has fined Apple Inc. more than $2.2 million Thursday for misleading customers that its latest iPad was compatible with the next generation 4G broadband network.
Federal Court Justice Mordy Bromberg ruled the U.S. technology innovator misled the public for two months this year. He says Apple claims in its advertising implied that the "iPad with WiFi + 4G," could connect directly to the Long Term Evolution mobile data network operated in Australia by the nation's dominant telecommunications carrier, Telstra Corp. It could not.
Apple admitted to the misleading advertising.
Toyota stays lean to ride out strong yen and grow
TOKYO (AP) A senior executive says Toyota Motor Corp. has been hammered by the strong yen, putting extra pressure on the automaker to stay lean and come up with new innovations, but it is determined to ride out the challenge.
Toyota's executive vice president acknowledged competition was growing extremely tough with South Korean makers, which have the advantage of a weaker currency.
A strong yen reduces the value of overseas earnings for Japanese automakers, making it harder to offer products at cheaper prices abroad. The dollar has traded at 79-yen levels recently, down from about 100 yen in 2009.
Burger King shares rise on first day back to NYSE
NEW YORK (AP) The home of the Whopper debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.
Shares of Burger King Worldwide began trading as a public company Wednesday under the ticker symbol "BKW." Its shares closed up 3.5 percent at $15.01.
The world's No. 2 hamburger chain had last traded as a public company between 2006 and 2010 before it was purchased and taken private by investment firm 3G Capital.
As the fast-food market fails to grow aggressively at home, Burger King has focused on expansion overseas. The Miami-based company recently announced plans to open hundreds of new restaurants in Russia and 1,000 in China over the next several years. That's in addition to similar expansion plans for Brazil.
In the past year, 80 percent of new store openings were in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Burger King has more than 12,500 restaurants worldwide, compared with 33,000 for McDonald's Corp.
FDA panel unanimously backs Onyx cancer drug
WASHINGTON (AP) A federal panel of cancer specialists has unanimously recommended approval of an experimental drug from Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. for patients with advanced blood cancer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel voted 11-0, with one abstention, in favor of the drug (carfilzomib) as a treatment for patients with advanced forms of multiple myeloma that hasn't responded to other drugs.
The FDA is not required to follow the group's advice but often does. A final decision is expected by July 27.
FDA scientists raised safety concerns about the drug, including toxic side effects affecting the heart and lungs.
But FDA's panelists said the drug could be an important treatment for patients with few other options.
Over 50,000 people have multiple myeloma in the U.S., and about 20,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.
American Airlines pilots reject contract offer
DALLAS (AP) The pilots' union at American Airlines has rejected the company's latest contract offer. The move could clear the way for a judge to decide whether American can impose its own cost-cutting terms, including layoffs.
The union board voted 11-5 on Wednesday to reject the company's offer.
A federal bankruptcy judge is scheduled to rule tomorrow on whether American can break its current contracts with pilots and other union workers. The pilots' union wants a delay in that ruling.
American and parent AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in November.
INDIANA FINANCIER INDICTED
Jury convicts Ind. financier in $200M fraud scheme
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A federal jury has convicted an Indianapolis businessman accused of looting an Ohio-based finance company after buying it and bilking about 5,000 mostly elderly investors out of more than $200 million.
Jurors on Wednesday found Tim Durham guilty on all the wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy charges he faced. Durham could be sentenced to decades in prison.
His business partners, James F. Cochran and accountant Rick D. Snow, also were convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud, and some wire fraud counts.
Prosecutors said Durham and his partners pillaged Fair Finance to enrich themselves and their friends, and to help Durham's other struggling businesses.
Durham's defense attorney had argued that the men simply made bad business decisions in the midst of the bewildering economic crisis of 2008.
Starbucks to open its first Tazo tea shop
NEW YORK (AP) Tea anyone?
Starbucks Corp. is planning to open its first Tazo tea shop this fall, as it explores ways to grow beyond its trademark coffee shops.
The Seattle-based company says the store will open near its headquarters. It will include a tea bar where customers can blend their own tea mixes with the help of a store worker the company is calling a "tea partner."
The store will offer more than 80 varieties of loose-leaf tea, tea lattes and iced teas, as well as packaged chocolates, infused sugars and honeys. Pastries and other food will also be served, as in the company's coffee shops. It will not be branded with Starbucks' "green dot" logo.
It's just the latest move by Starbucks to expand beyond its 17,000 flagship cafes around the world. Earlier this year, for example, the company announced plans to open its first Evolution Fresh Inc. juice store.
There have been no announced plans for additional Tazo tea shops.