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Money & Markets

Health law reporting extension for employers

WASHINGTON - The Treasury Department on Monday gave employers an extension of critical reporting requirements, as it seeks to manage some of the most complicated parts of the federal health care law.Employers had previously faced deadlines in February and March to report 2015 health insurance ...

Healthy job market lifts consumer confidence

WASHINGTON - A stronger job market lifted consumer confidence in December, a business group said Tuesday. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 96.5 this month from November's revised 92.6. Americans were more optimistic about current conditions and about the future. "As 2015 ...

Fitbit likely a hot seller for Christmas

NEW YORK - It was a very merry Christmas for fitness-tracking device maker Fitbit.The company's app was the most downloaded on Apple's app store Christmas Day, a sign that many people couldn't wait to set up their Fitbit trackers after unwrapping them. It also suggests that Fitbit trackers were ...

Oil slump weighing on housing markets in Texas, North Dakota

There's a dark side to those delightfully low gas prices: Housing markets are slumping in communities that were recently flush from the U.S. shale oil fracking boom.Home sales are down sharply this year in North Dakota and the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa. Home sales have also slowed ...

‘Force Awakens’ fastest movie to $1 billion

LOS ANGELES - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has reached $1 billion at the box office, achieving the milestone with record-setting hyper speed. The Walt Disney Co. said "The Force Awakens" crossed the billion-dollar mark Sunday, accomplishing the feat in just 12 days. The previous movie to ...

Valeant CEO takes medical leave

NEW YORK - Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO J. Michael Pearson is taking a medical leave of absence after he was hospitalized with pneumonia last week. Shares of the troubled Canadian pharmaceutical company fell nearly 7 percent in premarket trading Monday. Valeant says three executives will take ...

Whole Foods to pay $500K to settle allegations

NEW YORK - Whole Foods said Monday it will pay New York City $500,000 to settle allegations it overcharged customers for prepackaged foods. The city's Department of Consumer Affairs said the settlement also requires Whole Foods Market Inc. to conduct quarterly audits to ensure products are ...

Defying Fed hike, 30-year mortgage rate slips to 3.96 pct.

WASHINGTON - What Fed rate hike?One week after the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates slightly from record lows, the average on a 30-year fixed mortgage went the other way: It dipped to 3.96 percent this week from 3.97 percent last week, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said ...

Chinese medicinal herbs provide niche market for US farmers

DELMAR, N.Y. - Expanding interest in traditional Chinese medicine in the United States is fostering a potentially lucrative new niche market for farmers who plant the varieties of herbs, flowers and trees sought by practitioners.While almost all practitioners still rely on imports from China, ...

Sale of ski resorts won’t happen by year’s end, trust says

PORTLAND, Maine - A real estate investment trust that's selling more than a dozen ski resorts from Maine to California won't meet its deadline of completing the transaction by year's end.CNL Lifestyle Properties, which is based in Orlando, Florida, has sold its senior housing portfolio, a dozen ...

2015 market winners, losers: Tech soars, old guard stumbles

NEW YORK - In a flat year overall for stocks, there was still plenty of excitement to be enjoyed - or endured - by 2015's biggest winners and losers.It was a year to make old guard companies shudder.New media companies like Netflix, which rose 142 percent to notch the biggest gain in the ...

Assignment raised suspicions about newspaper owner

LAS VEGAS - When several reporters for the largest newspaper in Las Vegas were taken off their beats and assigned to investigate three judges, the decision seemed strange because it came from the paper's owners, not a newsroom editor.The mystery deepened weeks later, when the public learned ...

Q&A: Dissecting criticisms of T-Mobile’s free video streams

NEW YORK - T-Mobile has introduced a program that lets most customers watch video without using up their data allotment.The free program, called Binge On, is available to those who have data plans of at least 3 gigabytes. T-Mobile also reduces video quality - even for customers who don't ...

Japan OKs record defense budget

TOKYO - Japan's Cabinet approved a record-high military spending plan Thursday, endorsing proposals to purchase pricey U.S. surveillance drones and F-35 fighter jets as Tokyo steps up cooperation with Washington amid China's increasingly assertive activity in regional seas.The 5.1 trillion yen ...

Russia’s Putin hosts Indian PM for talks

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks expected to focus on defense, nuclear and space cooperation.Modi began his visit on Wednesday when he had a private dinner with Putin.Speaking at the start of the talks in the Kremlin on Thursday, ...

Airlines prep for holiday crush: More flights, bigger planes

DALLAS - Airlines are shifting the timing of thousands of flights, even adding dozens of redeyes, as they try to avoid delays while hauling millions of passengers from now through the Christmas weekend.Success or failure could all depend on the weather and Mother Nature isn't making it easy on ...

8th US death due to Takata air bag explosion identified

WASHINGTON - A minor who was driving a car that crashed near Pittsburgh has been tentatively identified by the government as the eighth death in the U.S. due to an explosive air bag inflator made by auto parts maker Takata, federal transportation officials said Wednesday.The National Highway ...

Budweiser maker buying Breckenridge Brewery

DENVER - One of Colorado's largest and oldest craft breweries is promising beer lovers that nothing will change even though it's being bought by beer giant Anheuser-Busch, a brand many of them love to hate.Under a deal announced Tuesday, the maker of Budweiser said it was acquiring Breckenridge ...

Ky. settles with OxyContin maker for $24M

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The maker of OxyContin will pay Kentucky $24 million over the next eight years as part of the settlement of a long-running lawsuit that accused the company of misleading the public about the addictiveness of the powerful prescription drug. The state first filed the lawsuit ...

Expect less and buy antacid: 2016 investment forecasts

NEW YORK - Investing is becoming more of a grind. Expect it to stay that way.Analysts, mutual-fund managers and other forecasters are telling investors to expect lower returns from stocks and bonds in 2016 than in past years.They're also predicting more severe swings in prices. Remember that 10 ...