TODAY

– September 19, 2014

Stocks slip below records; FMC falls 


(AP) — Stocks fell for the first time in seven days, ending a run that had pushed the indexes to all-time highs, as investors assessed corporate news.

Chemical company FMC fell the most in the Standard & Poor's 500 index after cutting its earnings forecast for the second quarter due because its Agricultural Solutions unit performed worse than expected in the period. General Electric and Wisconsin Energy both dropped after announcing acquisitions.

The stock market has climbed steadily in the last two months amid signs that the economy has recovered its momentum after being disrupted by an unusually harsh winter. Stronger growth should translate into higher corporate profits.

"The market has had a good run and it needs to pause," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

The S&P 500 fell a fraction of a point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,962.61. The index closed at a record 1,962.87 on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 9.82 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,937.26. The Nasdaq composite index edged up 0.64 point, or less than 0.01 percent, to 4,368.68.

FMC dropped $3.65, or 4.9 percent, to $71.10 after the company lowered its earnings forecast for the second-quarter, saying that the impact of the cold winter had been much stronger than it had originally anticipated.

Investors were also watching deal news that produced both winners and losers.

General Electric dropped 29 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $26.68 after agreeing to acquire most of the power generation business belonging to Alstom, a French company. Wisconsin Energy fell $1.62, or 3.5 percent, to $45.27 after the company said that it was buying Integrys Energy for $5.8 billion.

Intergrys was among the winners. The company's stock jumped $7.40, or 12.1 percent, to $68.35 on the news.

Micros Systems also gained on deal news. The software company's stock rose $2.21, or 3.4 percent, to $67.98 after Oracle said it was buying the company for about $5.3 billion.

The stock market may be heading for a summer lull after its latest record-setting run, as investors wait for more confirmation that the economic outlook is improving, said Scott Wren, a senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors. The S&P 500 is up 6.2 percent for the year after trading mostly sideways for the first three months of the year.

"After the big run we've had over the past couple of months, a week or two of consolidation isn't anything out of the ordinary," said Wren.

In government bond trading, prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves in the opposite direction to its price, rose to 2.62 percent.

The price of oil fell 66 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $106.17 a barrel.

Among other stocks making big moves:

Lululemon rose $1.02, or 2.5 percent, to $41.25 after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company's founder was working with Goldman Sachs to shake up the yoga clothing company's board. Lululemon's stock is down 30 percent this year as the company works on improving its business since pulling one of its popular yoga pants from stores last spring because they were too sheer.

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Latest Local News

Written on 09/18/2014, 2:01 pm by MATTHEW CRAFT, AP Business Writer
(AP) — More encouraging economic news and friendly signals from the Federal Reserve cheered investors on Thursday, as the stock market climbed to another...
Written on 09/18/2014, 1:27 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — The number of jobs at U.S. airlines keeps growing — although slowly — as some of them post record profits. The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday that the nation's passenger airlines employed the equivalent of 386,243 full-time workers in July, up 1.3 percent from the same month last year. It was the eighth straight monthly gain over year-earlier numbers. The largest employer, United Airlines, cut its workforce 3.3 percent, while Delta, American, Southwest and US Airways added jobs. Two small, low-cost carriers, Spirit and Allegiant, had double-digit gains. Some regional airlines that operate shorter flights for major carriers cut jobs, including Envoy (American) and Endeavor (Delta), while others grew. The government counts two part-time employees as one full-time worker.
Written on 09/18/2014, 1:23 pm by JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press
(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown headed to the cradle of the Hollywood film industry Thursday to sign legislation that more than triples the state's tax credit to $330 million a year for films and TV shows produced in California. Brown said the increase from $100 million a year was needed to help prevent other states and countries from continuing to lure away film and TV production by offering their own lucrative incentives. The law will make key improvements in the state's Film and Television Tax Credit Program and put thousands of Californians to work, the Democratic governor said last month after brokering a deal with Republican and Democratic lawmakers to pass Assembly Bill 1839. The new law increases California's film and TV tax credit for five years and replaces what's been called a flawed and arbitrary lottery system for awarding credits. Under the new system, credits will be awarded based on the number of jobs a production creates and its overall positive impact on the state. Tax credits will also be allowed for bigger-budget productions than in the past." California is on the move and this is a very important part of that," Brown said Thursday before signing the bill. State Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said last month that in-state film production has dropped by nearly half during the past 15 years. This year, California approved 26 projects for tax credits out of the nearly 500 that applied. Those receiving credits included the film version of the HBO series "Entourage" by Warner Bros., "The Gambler" drama by Paramount, and television series such as "Pretty Little Liars" and "Franklin & Bash." Brown signed the bill at Hollywood's historic Chinese Theatre, where the handprints and footprints of stars are embedded in concrete. Long known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the historic cinema is now TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX.
Written on 09/18/2014, 1:14 pm by 
KEVIN BEGOS, Associated Press
(AP) — Chevron has become the first energy company to meet a new set of voluntary shale gas drilling standards that aim to go beyond existing state laws in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale announced Thursday. The center is a partnership between major energy companies, environmental groups and charitable foundations. Its certification process consisted of an independent review of Chevron documents and 22 of its production sites in the three states. The program is meant to work much like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal on electrical appliances. The review was conducted by Bureau Veritas, an international testing company that also handles the LEED review process for the U.S. Green Building Council. Nigel Hearne, president of Chevron's Appalachia operations, said that the 15 Sustainable Shale standards "will produce meaningful results" in reducing pollution and freshwater use, and that he hopes other energy companies join in the process. Chevron Corp. is based in San Ramon, California. The Sierra Club and other some environmental groups have harshly criticized the Sustainable Shale program, saying voluntary efforts are no substitute for tougher state and federal regulations. But one environmental group that worked on the project welcomed Chevron's announcement. Chevron's pledges to recycle drilling fluids, not use open waste pits and to reduce methane leaks address "very big" concerns for many people, said Davitt Woodwell, president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. Chevron also says it now discloses all of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process in the region. Woodwell said his group hopes other drilling companies take similar actions. The fracking process uses millions of gallons of high-pressure water mixed with sand and chemicals to break apart rock rich in oil and gas. That has led to a boom in production from the Appalachian Marcellus Shale formation and in other states, but also concerns about water and air pollution. When the Sustainable Shale project was announced in early 2012, some energy companies said they realized they needed to do more to reassure the public about the safety of fracking. Some environmentalists said they joined the Sustainable Shale project after coming to the conclusion that hundreds of billions of dollars in oil and gas is going to be extracted one way or another and that working with the industry is the quickest path to making the process safer. In addition to Chevron, other Sustainable Shale participants are Shell, EQT Corp., Consol Energy, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Clean Air Task Force. Paul O'Neill, former treasury secretary, and Christine Todd Whitman, a former New Jersey governor and Environmental Protection Agency administrator, also serve on the board of directors.
Written on 09/18/2014, 1:12 pm by 
ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
(AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it plans to hire 60,000 temporary holiday workers for the crucial holiday season, an increase of nearly 10 percent from last year. The world's largest retailer also emphasized that current workers who want more hours during the holidays will get priority. The retailer has been criticized by labor groups for low pay and intentionally keeping employees' hours low. Wal-Mart, which is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said the holiday hiring includes workers in stores and distribution centers. The discount retailer said a number of factors are driving the increase, including a focus on better customer service and the fact that it has about 200 more U.S. Wal-Mart stores than last year, bringing its total to about 4,300. "We monitor traffic patterns, and we want to make sure we have adequate staffing, said Kayla Whaling, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. About 25 percent of the seasonal workers will stay on in permanent roles, Wal-Mart said. Wal-Mart also noted that the retailer will have more registers open this year during the season compared with last year. It couldn't offer a figure. The news follows similar announcements from UPS, FedEx and Kohl's, which are also making more temporary hires this year. A retailer's hiring plans can indicate its expectations for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for 20 percent of the retail industry's annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
Written on 09/18/2014, 12:47 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson in an out-of-control Northern California wildfire that has driven nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday.Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, is suspected of starting the fire east of Sacramento on Saturday, authorities said at a news conference. By Thursday, the blaze had burned through 111 square miles as winds surged to 25 mph and continued to fuel its rapid expansion, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was 5 percent contained. "This fire is definitely eye-opening," Cal Fire spokeswoman Alyssa Smith said. The blaze has been fueled by heavy timber and grass that is extremely dry because of California's third straight year of drought. Many of the more than 2,000 threatened homes were in Pollock Pines, 60 miles east of Sacramento. Though the fire grew substantially late Wednesday, it burned mostly into wilderness land in the El Dorado National Forest away from the town, according to Cal Fire. The blaze was burning about 20 miles from the Desolation Wilderness, a popular hiking area south of Lake Tahoe. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Wednesday, freeing up funds for the two fires. Brown also had secured federal grants to fight each of them. Rain was possible in the area Thursday, though more gusty, erratic winds also were expected, and there was a chance of lightning. Meanwhile, farther north in the town of Weed, teams of firefighters went house-to-house Wednesday to survey damage by a wildfire that officials estimated had destroyed 110 homes and damaged another 90. The damage assessment was expected to continue Thursday. Four firefighters lost their homes. Two churches, a community center and the library also burned to the ground, while an elementary school and the city's last wood-products mill were damaged by flames that were pushed by 40-mph winds. Insurance companies worked to find places to live for the people who lost their homes. The cause of the blaze that rapidly swept across town was under investigation. It was 65 percent contained after burning 375 acres.
Written on 09/18/2014, 12:35 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has headed to the cradle of the Hollywood film industry to sign legislation that more than triples the state's annual tax credit to $330 million a year for films and TV shows produced in California.Brown says the increase is needed to help prevent other states and countries from hijacking film and TV production by offering their own lucrative incentives. Brown signed the bill Thursday at the former Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where handprints and footprints of stars from the eras of Humphrey Bogart to Robert De Niro are embedded in concrete. Under the new system, credit will be awarded based on the number of jobs a production creates and its overall positive impact on the state. The historic cinema is now called the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX.
Written on 09/18/2014, 11:03 am by KEN THOMAS, Associated Press
 (AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that voters need to turn pay inequity and women's economic security into a political movement in the November elections and beyond, pointing to an issue that could animate a future presidential campaign. Clinton, the Democratic former senator and first lady who is considering another presidential bid, said policy issues like raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women and providing families with access to quality, affordable child care need to be prominent in the upcoming elections. "When we can turn an issue into a political movement that demands people be responsive during the election season, it carries over," Clinton said. "These issues have to be in the life blood of this election and in any election." Clinton spoke at a forum sponsored by the Center for American Progress, which was formed more than a decade ago by veterans of her husband's administration, where she was joined by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Patty Murray of Washington and others. The panel was moderated by Neera Tanden, the center's president and Clinton's former policy adviser. Democrats are trying to persuade women to vote in the fall midterm elections as they work to keep their Senate majority. Female voters could hold the key in several competitive Senate races, including North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado, and Democrats are hoping female candidates in Kentucky and Georgia can help them win in Republican-leaning states. For Clinton, who could become the nation's first female president if she successfully seeks the White House in 2016, the round table discussion offered a window into what could become part of a future policy message. Clinton has long advocated on behalf of women and girls around the globe and promoted economic policies aimed at helping working mothers, such as extended leave for family and medical issues, raising the minimum wage and pay equity. Clinton said if the level of employment among women was raised to the same level as men, the nation's economy would benefit. Referencing the need to break the glass ceiling for women, she said the issue of economic security resonates with women and families across the nation. "The floor is collapsing. You talk about a glass ceiling — these women don't even have a secure floor under them," she said.
Written on 09/18/2014, 11:02 am by Associated Press
(AP) — The Obama administration says 7.3 million people have signed up for subsidized private health insurance under the health care law — down from 8 million reported earlier this year. Medicare Administrator Marilyn Tavenner (TAV'-eh-nur) updated the numbers at a hearing Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. As expected, the latest figures showed slippage. Insurers had said that about 10 percent of their new policyholders failed to seal the deal by paying their first month's premium. Tavenner, whose agency oversees HealthCare.gov, said the new count represents paying customers as of Aug. 15. She expects total enrollment to remain basically stable until the next open enrollment season starts Nov. 15. After a chaotic launch, the numbers are still positive for the administration. Enrollment is projected to grow next year.
Written on 09/18/2014, 11:00 am by MAE ANDERSON, AP Business Writer
(AP) — PepsiCo Inc.'s CEO Indra Nooyi has made a double-edged statement on the NFL's problems handling domestic violence, calling some players' behavior "repugnant" but saying that Commissioner Roger Goodell is "a man of integrity." The boss of the maker of Pepsi, Gatorade and Doritos, one of the league's biggest advertisers and sponsor of last year's Super Bowl halftime show, issued a statement late Wednesday that criticized the league but also expressed optimism that it can fix its problems. The league and its teams have come under fire over the past two weeks over how it is dealing with several players with domestic violence allegations against them. An investigation has been launched into whether Commissioner Roger Goodell knew about or saw a video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee earlier than he said. The praise from a woman CEO of one of the largest food-and-drink makers in the world could give Goodell a boost as he faces continued calls for his resignation. Manish Tripathi, assistant marketing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said Nooyi's support of Goodell was actually more risky than other sponsors' statements. "It's such a no-risk thing to come out against domestic violence, waving their finger but not pulling any money," he said. "What Pepsi did is a little more interesting, they waved the finger but supported Roger Goodell. ... If you're Roger Goodell, this is definitely helpful." Nooyi also decried the "repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL's acknowledged mishandling of these issues," in a statement late Wednesday. Most major sponsors have voiced disapproval, with Budweiser beer maker Anheuser-Busch, another one of the biggest, saying it was "increasingly concerned" about the situation. But despite the lip service, it would be difficult for a sponsor to actually give up on the NFL's power as a marketing machine. An average of 17.4 million people tune in during a regular season NFL game, about 65 percent men and 35 percent women, according to Nielsen. During the Super Bowl, that ratchets up to 111.5 million watchers. In addition to the support for Goodell, Nooyi praised the decision to hire three women executives to help shape its domestic violence policies. "The reality for Commissioner Goodell and the NFL is that they now have an opportunity to effect positive change with the situation presented to them," she said in a statement.

Latest State News

Written on 09/18/2014, 1:23 pm by JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press
(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown headed to the...
Written on 09/18/2014, 1:14 pm by 
KEVIN BEGOS, Associated Press
(AP) — Chevron has become the first...
Written on 09/18/2014, 12:47 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — A man has been arrested on...
Written on 09/18/2014, 12:35 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has headed to...

Latest National News

Written on 09/18/2014, 2:01 pm by MATTHEW CRAFT, AP Business Writer
(AP) — More encouraging economic news...
Written on 09/18/2014, 1:27 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — The number of jobs at U.S....
Written on 09/18/2014, 1:12 pm by 
ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
(AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it...
Written on 09/18/2014, 11:03 am by KEN THOMAS, Associated Press
 (AP) — Former Secretary of State...