Money & Markets

Facebook glitch celebrates 46 years of friendship

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook's making some of its users feel a lot older than they really are. The social network sent automated messages Thursday inviting some users to celebrate "46 years of friendship on Facebook" with one or more of their online friends.That's odd, since Facebook only started ...

How to spend $5 trillion: A record-breaking year in deals

NEW YORK - Companies around the world spent a record $5.04 trillion on acquisitions in 2015, according to Dealogic, as slow worldwide economic growth and low interest rates pushed companies to combine forces.Dealogic, a financial data provider, says the value of global deals soared 37 percent ...

Apple agrees to pay $350 million in Italian tax case

ROME - Apple has agreed to pay Italy 318 million euros (about $350 million) in taxes for several past years, prosecutors said Wednesday, part of a broader European effort to make multinationals pay what they owe in each country where they do business.Italy has already brought several cases ...

Weight Watchers stock soars after Oprah ad airs

NEW YORK - Weight Watchers is getting another boost from Oprah Winfrey.The weight loss company's shares soared Wednesday as a TV commercial starring Winfrey began to air.The commercial shows past videos of Winfrey working out and referencing her struggle with weight, a frequent topic of her ...

Pep Boys agrees to be bought by Icahn for $1B

NEW YORK - Carl Icahn is acquiring Pep Boys for $1 billion, ending his weekslong bidding war with the Japanese tire company Bridgestone.The deal announced Wednesday is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.Icahn Enterprises offered $18.50 in cash for each share of Pep Boys, $1.50 ...

Stocks are ending 2015 mostly flat, capping volatile year

The U.S. stock market took investors for a wild ride in 2015, but in the end it was a trip to nowhere.Despite veering between record highs and the steepest dive in four years, the stock market is on track to end the year essentially flat. That means if you invested in a fund that tracks the ...

DuPont moves ahead on job cuts ahead of merger

DuPont will cut 1,700 jobs in its home state of Delaware and thousands more globally as it prepares for its merger with Dow Chemical. Dow and DuPont announced earlier this month that they would join to create a giant chemical producer that will eventually be split into three independent ...

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 ...