Sep 15, 2014 1:34 PM
Update on the latest business
The Associated Press
US stocks start week with slight decline
NEW YORK (AP) Stocks are mixed in midday trading on Wall Street as investors wait for the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting that starts tomorrow. The Fed is nearing the end of its bond-buying stimulus program, and investors will be looking for clues about when the central bank will start raising interest rates.
In Europe, investors fretted about Scotland's upcoming independence referendum, which could shake up U.K. financial markets.
A weak report on U.S. manufacturing also weighed on the stock market.
Molson Coors jumped 8 percent amid reports of merger activity among brewing companies.
US factory output drops 0.4 percent in August
WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. manufacturing output declined in August for the first time in seven months, reflecting a sharp fall in production at auto plants.
The Federal Reserve says output at manufacturing plants fell 0.4 percent in August after a 0.7 percent rise in July. Total industrial production was down 0.1 percent in August, also the first setback for the overall figure since January. Output was up in mining and utility production but these gains were not enough to offset the decline in manufacturing.
Output of motor vehicles and parts dropped 7.6 percent after a 9.3 percent increase in July. The reversal was not viewed as worrisome. The July figure was boosted because many plants did not shut down as they normally do to retool for new models. That made August look weaker.
Eurozone economic growth forecast cut
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) A major international organization has cut its growth forecast for the countries that use the euro and says the troubled currency union needs even more stimulus from the central bank and governments.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a think tank dealing with the world's developed countries, cut its forecast for the eurozone this year to 0.8 percent from 1.2 percent in its May assessment.
The Paris-based OECD also cut its growth forecasts for the U.S. and several other large economies.
The OECD said Monday the European Central Bank needs to do more to help growth in the eurozone, including large-scale bond purchases, to expand the amount of money in the financial system a move known as quantitative easing.
Detroit bankruptcy trial resumes after settlement
DETROIT (AP) The city of Detroit says it has ironed out details of a settlement with a major opponent in its bankruptcy case.
The disclosure was made Monday as a judge resumed the trial after a three-day break. The timeout allowed Detroit and bond insurer Syncora to finish a deal announced last week.
Another bond insurer, Financial Guaranty Insurance, says it needs more time to craft strategy after the Syncora settlement, but Judge Steven Rhodes declined to stop the trial.
The judge is hearing evidence to decide whether Detroit's overall bankruptcy plan is fair to creditors and feasible in the years ahead. The trial started Sept. 2.
Thousands of retirees would see a 4.5 percent cut in their pension.
GENERAL MOTORS-IGNITION SWITCH DEATHS
GM expert says 19 deaths eligible for compensation
DETROIT (AP) General Motors' compensation expert in cases involving faulty ignition switches has determined that 19 wrongful death claims are eligible for payments from the company.
Attorney Kenneth Feinberg has received 125 death claims due to the faulty switches in older-model small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt. He says in a report issued Monday that the rest remain under review or require further documentation.
GM hired Feinberg to compensate victims of crashes caused by the switches. GM has blamed the switches for at least 13 deaths, but lawmakers have put the death toll closer to 100.
Feinberg also has received 320 claims for compensation due to injuries. Of those, 12 have been deemed eligible for payments so far.
The switches can slip out of the run position, causing engines to stall.
Safety agency investigates Ford Fiesta latches
DETROIT (AP) U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that the doors won't latch properly on some Ford Fiesta subcompact cars.
The probe announced Monday by covers about 205,000 Fiestas from the 2011 through 2013 model years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 61 complaints about the doors. Some said the latches wouldn't catch. A dozen said a door opened while the cars were being driven. The agency says one person was hurt when a door rebounded after an attempt to close it.
Investigators will analyze how often the problem happens to see if a recall is needed.
Ford says owners with door latch problems should contact their dealer.
Apple iPhone 6 pre-order demand overwhelms supply
NEW YORK (AP) Apple says it had more than 4 million pre-orders of its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 24 hours, exceeding its initial pre-order supply.
The company says the phones will be delivered to customers starting Friday and throughout September, but many won't be delivered until October.
Phones will be available on a walk-in basis beginning Friday at Apple retail stores. Both phones will also be available beginning Friday from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and other carriers and other authorized Apple resellers.
The new phones were announced last week and have larger screens, faster performance, and come equipped with Apple Pay, a contactless payment service. They start at $199 at most wireless providers with a two-year contact.
Microsoft to buy Minecraft maker for $2.5 billion
NEW YORK (AP) Microsoft will acquire the maker of the popular game Minecraft for $2.5 billion.
The technology company said it will buy Stockholm-based game maker Mojang. Minecraft, which lets users build in and explore a virtual world, has been downloaded 100 million times on PC alone since its launch in 2009. It is the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system in the U.S.
The deal is expected to close in late 2014. Microsoft expects the acquisition to be break-even in fiscal 2015.
Microsoft is primarily known for business software like Word and Outlook. But this acquisition will help Microsoft expand its gaming division which also includes game franchises such as the "Halo" shooter game and "Forza" racing game.
LEAKY GAS WELLS
Study: Leaky wells, not fracking, taint water
WASHINGTON (AP) A new study says that the drilling procedure called fracking didn't cause much-publicized cases of tainted water, blaming contamination on leaky natural gas wells instead.
The study finds that eight hydraulically fractured wells in Pennsylvania and Texas leaked gas because the piping and cement seals in the wells themselves weren't working properly.
The process of pumping highly pressurized chemicals and water underground to get valuable natural gas trapped in shale has become highly charged as contamination complaints initially surged.
Ohio State University geochemist Thomas Darrah and colleagues used certain elements to trace where the leaks came from. He said finding them in the wells rather than the fracking process, means contamination is more preventable and fixable.
The study is published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
Gilead to license generic version of Sovaldi
UNDATED (AP) Gilead Sciences says it has reached a deal with several generic drugmakers to produce cheaper versions of its popular, expensive hepatitis C drug Sovaldi for use in developing countries.
Gilead says the India-based drugmakers will make a generic version of Sovaldi, also known as sofosbuvir, and another investigational drug for distribution in 91 countries.
Sovaldi hit the U.S. market late last year, and Gilead has taken criticism over the $1,000-per-pill price attached to the drug, which has been hailed as a breakthrough treatment. A full course of treatment can cost $84,000.
Gilead Sciences Inc. did not detail the price on the generic version of Sovaldi. The Indian companies will receive a technology transfer that helps them start production quickly. They also will pay sales royalties to Gilead.
Dubai's Atlantis resort to get $1.4B expansion
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Developers say they will build a $1.4 billion expanse of lavish suites and residences next to the famed Atlantis resort on Dubai's man-made palm-shaped island.
Investment Corporation of Dubai and Kerzner International Holdings, which will manage the 800-room hotel, announced the plans for The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences on Monday.
The Investment Corporation of Dubai is an investment arm of the Dubai government and has a 46 percent stake in Kerzner. Another state-owned Dubai firm, Istithmar World, owns an additional 25 percent in Kerzner.
Kerzner says the resort will also include 250 luxury residences. The architecture will be modern and feature sky-high gardens and private infinity pools overlooking the island.
Tourism is a major source for revenue for Dubai, which is preparing to host the World Expo in 2020.