Friday, June 28, 2013 6:12 pm
By The Associated Press
Tiny Allegiant Air thrives on low costs, high fees
LAS VEGAS (AP) - There are no sure things in this city - with one exception: Allegiant Air.
While other U.S. airlines have struggled over the past decade from the ups and downs of the economy and the price of jet fuel, Allegiant has been profitable for 10 straight years.
The tiny airline focuses on a niche ignored by other airlines: It only flies from small cities to sunny vacation spots.
The Las Vegas-based airline charges extra to book flights online, or to use a credit card. Selecting a seat in advance costs $5 to $75 each way, depending on the length of a flight. Even a bottle of water costs $2.
RIM posts larger-than-expected loss, shares plunge
TORONTO (AP) - Shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion plunged nearly 30 percent Friday after the company posted a loss and warned of future losses despite releasing its make-or-break new smartphones this year.
RIM also announced that it will stop developing new versions of its slow-selling tablet computer called the Playbook.
Analysts were looking for insight into how phones running RIM's new Blackberry 10 operating system are selling. It wasn't good.
RIM said it sold 6.8 million phones overall versus 7.8 million last year. That includes older models. In wasn't until well into a conference call with analysts that RIM announced that 2.7 million of the devices sold in the quarter were Blackberry 10 models.
China's entrepreneurs brace for credit crunch
BEIJING (AP) - Like a boxer slimming down for a fight, Li Zhongjian is shrinking his 20-year-old business manufacturing cigarette lighters to brace for a credit crunch he sees looming over China's entrepreneurs.
Li's workforce in the southeastern city of Wenzhou has shrunk by half to 300 this year and he isn't replacing employees who leave. He said he used to borrow money but is preparing to do without credit that might no longer be available as regulators try to force Chinese banks to cool a lending boom they worry could race out of control.
A cash shortage that hit China's credit markets this month was the first shock wave from what analysts say could be Beijing's most drastic clampdown on credit in two decades. The central bank has called for tighter lending standards, which should reduce risk but is likely to reduce financing for a private sector that generates China's new jobs and wealth.
China will benefit in the long run from a safer financial system, but the short-term cost could be a painful squeeze on entrepreneurs. Some say a recovery that already was faltering could weaken further.
US consumer sentiment stays near 6-year high
WASHINGTON (AP) - A measure of U.S. consumer confidence stayed near a six-year high in June as higher home prices boosted household wealth. The survey shows Americans remain upbeat about the economy, despite wild gyrations in the stock market.
The University of Michigan said Friday that its final reading of consumer sentiment in June was 84.1. That's an improvement from a preliminary reading of 82.7 issued on June 14. And it is just slightly below May's final reading of 84.5, which was the highest since July 2007.
Rising household wealth was the main reason consumers stayed optimistic. Households with income above $75,000, those more likely to own homes and stocks, reported the biggest gain.
Sears, Penney sever ties with Paula Deen
NEW YORK (AP) - The exodus continues.
Sears, J.C. Penney and Walgreen said Friday that they're cutting ties with Paula Deen, adding to the growing list of companies severing their relationship following revelations that the Southern celebrity chef used racial slurs in the past.
Meanwhile, Paula Deen's upcoming cookbook, currently the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com, has been dropped by its publisher.
In a brief statement Friday, Ballantine Books announced it had cancelled publication of "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up." The book was scheduled for October.
Farmers warn of high milk prices without farm bill
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Dairy farmers expressed frustration this week with Congress' failure to pass a farm bill, saying the uncertainty made it hard to do business and some could go under without changes to the federal milk program.
Farmers also worried that if a current nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill expires with no action, a 64-year-old law will kick in, sending milk prices spiraling. While that might provide short-term profits, they say, it'd hurt them in the long run because no one wants to buy milk at $6 a gallon.
The U.S. House voted down a farm bill June 20, about a week after the Senate approved a different version. It was the second year in a row that the House failed to pass the every-five-years bill that sets funding for agriculture and food programs. Last year, it didn't even vote, prompting the passage in January of a slimmed-down extension of the 2008 law - largely to avoid milk prices sharply increasing.
Hospitals seek high-tech help for hand hygiene
RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) - Hospitals have fretted for years over how to make sure doctors, nurses and staff keep their hands clean, but with only limited success. Now, some are turning to technology - beepers, buzzers, lights and tracking systems that remind workers to sanitize, and chart those who don't.
Health experts say poor hand cleanliness is a factor in hospital-borne infections that kill tens of thousands of Americans each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that one of every 20 patients in U.S. hospitals gets a hospital-acquired infection each year.
Hospitals have tried varying ways to promote better hygiene. Signs are posted in restrooms. Some even employ monitors who keep tabs and single out offenders.
News Corp splits after Friday close
NEW YORK (AP) - News Corp. formally split in two after the market closed on Friday, with existing shareholders getting one share in the new publishing entity for every four shares they hold in the media company.
Since Wednesday last week, preliminary shares of both sides of the company have been trading as if the split already occurred. Any buyers of preliminary shares will receive them next Friday.
Preliminary publishing shares closed Friday at $15.25.
The recent trading valued the publishing division, to be named News Corp., at around $8.8 billion. That's about 12 percent of the entire company's value. It had a market capitalization of about $75.5 billion before the split.
The movie and TV division is being renamed Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. Its preliminary stock closed at $28.99 on Friday.
Ford recalls Explorer, Taurus, MKS to fix locks
DETROIT (AP) - Ford is recalling just over 13,000 Explorer, Taurus and Lincoln MKS cars and SUVs because the child safety locks may not work on the rear doors.
The recall affects 2013 model cars sold mainly in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Ford says the safety locks can be turned off when the doors are opened or closed. That could allow a door to be opened with the inside door handle and possibly hurt a child. The company says no injuries have been reported from the problem.
Judge: Hobby Lobby won't have to pay fines
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Hobby Lobby and a sister company will not be subject to $1.3 million in daily fines for failing to provide access to certain forms of birth control through its employees' health care plans, a judge ruled Friday.
U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton set a hearing for July 19 to address claims by the owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mardel Christian bookstore chains that their religious beliefs are so deeply rooted that providing every form of birth control would violate their conscience. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had said Thursday the companies were likely to prevail.
Until the hearing, the government cannot impose fines against Hobby Lobby or Mardel for failing to comply with all of the federal Affordable Care Act. The companies oppose birth-control methods that can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, such as an intrauterine device or the morning-after pill.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 114.89 points, or 0.8 percent, to 14,909.60. The S&P 500 stock index closed down 6.92 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,606.28. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.38 points, or 0.04 percent, to 3,403.25.
Benchmark oil for August delivery fell 49 cents to end at $96.56 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to set prices for oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, fell 66 cents to $102.16 a barrel.
Heating oil fell 1 cent to $2.88 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $2.75 a gallon.