Analysts to Apple: Bend your knee to Wall Street
NEW YORK (AP) — Apple needs to come down off its pedestal and start making nice with Wall Street, analysts said Thursday as investors hammered the company's stock.
The sell-off put Apple a hair's-breadth away from losing its status as the world's most valuable company. At Thursday's close, it was worth $423 billion, just 1.6 percent more than No. 2 Exxon Mobil Corp.
The plunge was set off by Apple's quarterly earnings report late Wednesday, which suggested the company's nearly decade-long growth run is slowing drastically.
The stock ended down $63.51 or 12 percent, at $450.50. It last traded that low a year ago.
Obama picks former prosecutor to head SEC
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sent his strongest signal yet Thursday that he wants the government to get tougher with Wall Street, appointing a former prosecutor to head the Securities and Exchange Commission for the first time in the agency's 79-year history.
Mary Jo White, former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, has an extensive record of prosecuting white-collar crime. She also won convictions in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 terrorist attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, and put crime boss John Gotti away.
If confirmed, she will have the job of enforcing complicated regulations written in response to the worst financial crisis since the Depression.
As layoffs keep dropping, hopes rise for job gains
WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers are laying off fewer workers, a trend that normally suggests hiring is picking up. The January jobs report next week will show whether employers have begun to hire more freely or are still waiting for the economy to strengthen.
The number of people seeking unemployment aid has reached a five-year low. Some employers, such as health care companies, restaurants and retailers, are hiring steadily. Yet overall job growth remains modest. And the unemployment rate is the same 7.8 percent it was when Barack Obama became president four years ago.
The economy isn't growing fast enough to accelerate hiring. Flat pay and high unemployment are holding back consumer spending, which rose at a meager annual rate of 1.6 percent in the July-September quarter.
Bangladesh fire victims' families wait for money
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — When fire ravaged a Bangladeshi garment factory, killing 112 workers, dozens of their families did not even have a body to bury because their loved ones' remains were burned beyond recognition. Two months later, the same families have yet to receive any of the compensation they were promised — not even their relatives' last paychecks.
An official with the country's powerful garment industry said DNA tests must first be conducted to confirm the losses of more than 50 families. He would not say why the families have not even received the wages their relatives had earned before the Nov. 24 blaze.
Many of the families desperately need money after losing their primary breadwinners in the fire at the Tazreen factory, which made clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney and other Western brands.
Congress charts new collision course over deficit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's sharp disagreements over taxes and spending are on a re-routed collision course, as Senate Democrats launch a plan that includes new taxes and House Republicans vow to speed up their plan to balance the federal budget with spending cuts alone.
The Republicans' new approach would require even deeper cuts in social programs than they pushed last year. Liberals denounced those earlier plans as severe and unfair, and they say the new version would be worse.
The new commitments by House and Senate members stem from the ongoing dispute over raising the federal debt ceiling. The House voted Wednesday to postpone any showdown over the borrowing limit for three months. The Democratic-led Senate plans to endorse the idea, which the White House also supports.
United Continental posts 4Q loss as traffic falls
Travelers avoided United Airlines last year, leaving it with a fourth-quarter loss as it continues to pay for its stumbles in absorbing Continental.
United Continental Holdings Inc. on Thursday reported a $620 million loss for the quarter as passenger traffic dropped 3.2 percent.
The loss was driven by $408 million in spending on the integration for things such as training and repainting airplanes. Superstorm Sandy hurt profits by $85 million, too.
Southwest's 4Q profit slips on higher costs
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday that fourth-quarter earnings fell by nearly half as costs rose for fuel, labor and maintenance.
The airline's revenue climbed slightly, however, as the average fare increased by almost $8 from a year ago. Continued...