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Sep 15, 2014 3:26 AM

Update on the latest in business:

The Associated Press


Asian stocks tumble on disappointing China data

BEIJING (AP) Asian stocks tumbled today on weak Chinese economic data as investors looked ahead to a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and Scotland's independence referendum.

Weak data released on the weekend fueled concern China's economic slowdown is deepening. Industrial production and investment in infrastructure and manufacturing all slowed.

Members of the Fed's board are due to meet Tuesday and Wednesday and investors will be watching for any change in their guidance about the future direction for interest rates.

Scots vote Thursday on whether to leave the United Kingdom, and investors were on edge about the possible impact.

Wall Street opens the week hoping for a turnaround after finishing Friday on a sour note. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 11.91 points, or 0.6 percent, to end at 1,985.54 on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 61.49 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,987.51 The Nasdaq composite dropped 24.21 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,567.60.

The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $91 a barrel.


Business and economic reports due out today

WASHINGTON (AP) The Federal Reserve will release the industrial production numbers for August this morning.

Tomorrow, Fed policymakers will begin a two-day meeting to set interest rates.

Also on Tuesday, the Labor Department will release the Producer Price Index for August.


EU finance ministers discuss investment plan

MILAN (AP) European finance ministers are discussing proposals for leveraging private investments to re-launch the continent's moribund economy.

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan told reporters at a meeting Saturday of finance ministers from the 28 EU nations that most of the resources for the envisioned investment fund would come from private sources.

Padoan said the ministers were focusing on ways governments could leverage those investments. That could include incentives, regulatory simplification and better use of public money. Padoan said "it is up to governments to facilitate private investments."

European ministers are holding their first meeting since European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi outlined a three-pillared strategy to save the eurozone economy.

Saturday's session was focusing on a proposal for 300 billion euros ($388 billion) in investments to revive the economy.


China's industrial output slows to 6.9 percent

BEIJING (AP) China's factory output in August slowed to 6.9 percent from a year earlier amid waning export demand and a slump in real estate development that has undermined steel and cement production, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The growth rate for industrial production in August was down sharply from 9.0 percent in July.

In other data, fixed assets investment in non-rural areas of China rose 16.5 percent in the January-August period compared with the same period a year earlier.

Industrial production was slowing amid weaker exports to major markets in Japan, Europe and the United States and the saturation of China's domestic markets for vehicles and mobile phones after years of rapid growth, the bureau of statistics said.

The cooler summer months this year in eastern China, one of the country's most economically active areas, also helped cut the national electricity production by 2.2 percent in August, the first time power production decreased since 2009, the bureau said.


Slow Money invests in small food enterprises

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) Consumers who want to support local food and farms now have another way in addition to buying locally produced veggies, meats and cheeses. The so-called "Slow Money" network links entrepreneurs with investors who want to support a stronger local food system.

Since 2010, Slow Money networks and investment clubs around the country, including in Maine, Massachusetts, California, North Carolina, and in cities like Boston and New York, have made a total of $38 million in investments in 350 small food enterprises. Vermont and its vibrant local foods scene is about to launch its own network on Sept. 16.

Many of the Slow Money chapters organize events where food entrepreneurs put on presentations to investors. Then the interested investors deal directly with the businesses.


US wealth gap putting the squeeze on state revenue

WASHINGTON (AP) Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments.

The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report being released today by Standard & Poor's.

Even as income for the affluent has accelerated, it's barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double-whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue.

As the growth of tax revenue has slowed, states have faced tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets as required by law.

Credit analyst Gabriel Petek says rising income inequality is more than a social issue because it "presents a very significant set of challenges for the policymakers."

Income inequality isn't the only factor slowing state tax revenue. Online retailers account for a rising chunk of consumer spending. Yet they often manage to avoid sales taxes. Consumers are spending more on untaxed services, too.


In Vermont, a milestone in green-energy efforts

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) Vermont's largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources.

With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of a nearby hydroelectric project.

The Washington Electric Co-operative, which serves parts of northern and central Vermont, reached the goal earlier this year.

Some question the accounting methods used to make the claim because the utilities sell the rights to the renewable energy to other utilities. But the utilities then buy less expensive credits to offset the sale.


Trustee objects to parts of proposed Revel deal

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) A U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee is objecting to the proposed auction date for the Revel Casino Hotel and a $3 million breakup fee that would go to a Florida developer if he's outbid for the recently shuttered site.

The Press of Atlantic City reports trustee Roberta DeAngelis stated her opposition in a 12-page court document filed late Friday.

DeAngelis says the Sept. 23 deadline sought by the former casino owners doesn't provide sufficient time for parties to submit bids.

She also says the breakup fee isn't appropriate in the situation Revel Entertainment faces. Glenn Straub has offered $90 million cash for the property, and he would get the breakup fee if another bidder comes in at least $1 million higher than his offer.


'No Good Deed' defeats 'Guardians' at theaters

LOS ANGELES (AP) It took a murderous Idris Elba and a pair of dolphin buddies to defeat "Guardians of the Galaxy" at movie theaters.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the Sony thriller "No Good Deed," which stars Elba as an escaped convict, topped the box office with $24.5 million during its opening weekend. Warner Bros" feel-good film "Dolphin Tale 2" debuted in second place with $16.5 million, while "Guardians" slipped to third with $8 million in ticket sales. The Marvel space adventure held the No. 1 spot for four weeks.

Paramount's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" finished fourth with $4.8 million, followed by the Fox comedy "Let's Be Cops," which collected $4.3 million.

Fox Searchlight's crime drama starring Tom Hardy, "The Drop," opened in sixth place with $4.2 million.


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