'X-Men' and 'Alice' lead a tepid Memorial Day weekend box office

Business / Business News /

LOS ANGELES -- "X-Men: Apocalypse" disappointed and "Alice Through the Looking Glass" tanked over the Memorial Day weekend, resulting in a tepid holiday box office that, to paraphrase "Alice" author Lewis Carroll, was decidedly lacking in its muchness.

"X-Men" easily won the weekend, with an estimated four-day gross of $80 million in the U.S. ...Read more

Corporate America is not sold on Trump

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- Even as the Republican establishment and leading conservative groups are starting to warm to Donald Trump, a large and important segment of the Republican base has been conspicuously quiet: corporate America.

Wall Street and the nation's business community have historically been dependable backers of the Republican Party, whose ...Read more

Wall Street pushes Dodd-Frank changes in spending bill

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WASHINGTON –– A spending bill that funds agencies that oversee the financial industry will offer Congress one of its last opportunities to undercut President Barack Obama's financial overhaul before the November elections.

Financial interests are pushing for big changes, championed mostly by Republicans, to the Consumer Financial Protection...Read more

Rex Huppke: Study shows standing desks boost productivity

Business / Business News /

The modern work world is proving to be no friend to reclining enthusiasts.

First people eschewed comfy cushioning for ergonomically weird chair designs, then they started sitting on giant inflatable balls (terrible, and slightly dangerous, for napping) and now we're bombarded with news about how standing desks -- standing, I tell you! -- are ...Read more

Diane Stafford: Are you losing sleep because of work?

Business / Business News /

Yawning at work because you didn't get enough sleep? Waking at night worrying about work? Generally feeling under par after crazy-long work hours?

You're not alone. Surveys find at least half of American adults report insufficient sleep, and most of them realize it affects their work performance -- not to mention their relationships.

Several ...Read more

In online sales tax battle, states pin hopes on courts

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WASHINGTON -- Frustrated with federal inaction and worried about declining revenue as more Americans shop online, states are eyeing a South Dakota court case that could allow them to collect more in sales taxes from online purchases.

Many states have laws that require online retailers to collect sales taxes if they have a store, warehouse or ...Read more

Gail MarksJarvis: Despite new SEC rules, investors should see crowdfunding as gambling, not investing

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Just as news stories exposed concerns about the inner workings of LendingClub, the U.S. government has been opening the door for Americans from virtually any income level to dabble in the speculative world of crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding, you may recall, was born out of the financial crisis. At a time when trust in banks was low, new Internet ...Read more

Verizon, striking unions reach tentative agreement

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PHILADELPHIA -- Verizon Communications Inc. and its striking unions have reached a tentative agreement, U.S. Secretary of Thomas Perez said Friday.

The company and the unions -- the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -- are now putting the four-year agreement into writing, said Perez, who ...Read more

Why a Fed interest rate hike next month is looking increasingly likely

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WASHINGTON -- With the economy's prospects brightening after a bleak winter, Federal Reserve policymakers are increasingly signaling they are ready to nudge up a key interest rate next month.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen added to the speculation on Friday, saying that if the economy continued to improve as she expected, then it would be appropriate ...Read more

Federal assessment: Fracking off Calif. coast does not cause significant environmental impact

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SAN DIEGO -- An environmental assessment from two federal agencies released Friday determined that fracking off the coast of California causes no significant impact, thus lifting a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing that was instituted earlier this year.

"The comprehensive analysis shows that these practices, conducted according to permit ...Read more

Almost 100,000 in US now work for Chinese firms

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- In Miami, a luxury condo tower called One Thousand Museum, is rising over Biscayne Bay. Its contractor is a Chinese firm, the largest builder in the world.

In the tiny North Carolina town of Tar Heel, the Smithfield Foods Packing Co., the world's biggest slaughterhouse that often smells of pig manure, belongs to a giant Chinese ...Read more

Senator calls for investigation of OxyContin's manufacturer

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LOS ANGELES -- A U.S. senator on Friday called for federal investigations of OxyContin's manufacturer in response to a Los Angeles Times report that found the bestselling painkiller wears off early in many patients, exposing them to increased risk of addiction.

Sen. Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat whose state has been hit hard by ...Read more

Air Force says Boeing tanker program faces further delays

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SEATTLE -- The Air Force said Friday that Boeing's KC-46 tanker program, already late and over budget, faces a further serious delay of six months to the initial tanker deliveries -- and an additional nine months beyond that to achieve fully operational tankers.

Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, executive officer for the Air Force's tanker program, ...Read more

Scientific instrument firm Thermo Fisher to buy FEI for $4.2B

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SEATTLE -- Leading scientific instrument company Thermo Fisher Scientific announced Friday it will buy Hillsboro, Ore.-based FEI Co. for about $4.2 billion in cash.

FEI's stock price shot up more than 14 percent Friday to about $107.85 per share after the news was announced. Thermo Fisher will pay $107.50 per share for the company.

The deal is...Read more

Conn. bond commission approves $22 million package for world's largest hedge fund

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Connecticut State Bond Commission approved $22 million in grants and loans Friday for the world's largest hedge fund -- despite bipartisan complaints that the wealthy company doesn't need help at a time when state employees are being laid off.

The commission voted 7 -2 to award the package to Bridgewater Associates, a ...Read more

Shareholders approve $32 billion Baxalta-Shire merger

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CHICAGO -- Shareholders in Chicago-area drug company Baxalta and Irish firm Shire voted Friday to approve the $32 billion merger of the two firms.

The combined company, which will be run from Shire's Dublin headquarters, aims to be a world leader in treating hemophilia and other rare diseases, and will benefit from Ireland's lower corporate tax...Read more

Ulta stock surges on reported sales, earnings growth

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CHICAGO -- Ulta Beauty's first-quarter earnings, including the steepest sales growth the Chicago-area company has seen in a decade, looked attractive to Wall Street.

The beauty retailer's stock, which has risen nearly 51 percent over the past 12 months, hit $237.41 Friday morning, up about 11 percent from Thursday's close. Earnings were ...Read more

US economy grew more last quarter than initially thought, boosting chances of Fed rate hike

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WASHINGTON -- Economic growth at the start of the year wasn't as bad as initially estimated, boosting the chances that Federal Reserve policymakers will raise a key interest rate next month.

The nation's total economic output -- also known as gross domestic product -- increased at a 0.8 percent annual rate from January through March, the ...Read more

The Week Ahead: All's well for long-term investor OPEC

Business / Business News /

As any long-term investor knows, patience can pay, but it can be painful waiting.

Crude oil is close to a seven-month high as the world's biggest club of energy producers meets in the week ahead. On Thursday, oil ministers from OPEC's 13 member countries are scheduled to meet in Vienna to talk about oil production. The cartel is unlikely to ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Will Google's move banning payday loan ads be the end of such loans?

Business / Business News /

Google grabbed headlines by announcing a ban on payday loan ads starting July 13.

Quick-fix loans charging triple-digit rates seem to be viewed by Google and others now with the same social stigma as other dangerous products banned from advertising, such as cocaine, crystal meth and cigarettes.

So can the payday loan see any kind of redemption...Read more