Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Published: July 2, 2013
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Tribune to acquire 19 TV stations for $2.73 billion

CHICAGO (AP) — Tribune Co. said Monday that it reached a deal to buy Local TV Holdings LLC's 19 TV stations for $2.73 billion in cash, significantly boosting its television business as it looks to sell its newspaper operations.

Tribune currently owns 23 TV stations and cable network WGN America, along with the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers. The deal will give it 42 stations, making the Chicago-based company one of the nation's top TV station owners. Tribune said it will be the No. 1 commercial TV station group in the country based on its broadcast reach into more than 50 million homes.

The deal reshapes the broadcast media landscape and follows two recent broadcast acquisition deals by companies whose roots are in newspapers. These companies are trying to acquire additional television stations at a time when the newspaper industry is faltering.

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US stocks advance as stimulus concerns fade

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors have stopped worrying about the Federal Reserve. At least for now.

Stocks rose on Wall Street Monday as investors judged that the economy still isn't growing fast enough for the central bank to cut back on its stimulus program.

U.S. manufacturing grew modestly in June after a pickup in new orders and stronger production, according to a private survey. The Institute for Supply Management said its factory index increased to 50.9 in June from 49 in the previous month.

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A big Medicaid gap looms in Obama health care law

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 2 in 3 uninsured low-income people who would qualify for subsidized coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law may be out of luck next year because their states have not expanded Medicaid.

An Associated Press analysis of figures from the Urban Institute finds a big coverage gap developing, with 9.7 million out of 15 million potentially eligible adults living in states that are refusing the expansion or are still undecided with time running short.

That a majority of the neediest people who could be helped by the law may instead remain uninsured is a predicament unforeseen by Obama and congressional Democrats who designed a sweeping extension of the social safety net. The law's historic promise of health insurance for nearly all U.S. residents would not be fulfilled as envisioned.

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Student loan rates double without Congress' action

WASHINGTON (AP) — College students taking out new loans for the fall term will see interest rates twice what they were in the spring — unless Congress fulfills its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns after the July 4 holiday.

Subsidized Stafford loans, which account for roughly a quarter of all direct federal borrowing, went from 3.4 percent interest to 6.8 percent interest on Monday. Congress' Joint Economic Committee estimated the cost passed to students would be about $2,600.

Efforts to keep interest rates from doubling on new Stafford loans fell apart last week amid partisan wrangling in the Senate. Democratic senators and the White House predicted that a deal would be reached in Congress to bring the rates down again before students return to campus.

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White House has coal country on the defensive

COLSTRIP, Mont. (AP) — After several years of taking a beating from the poor economy, new pollution rules and a flood of cheap natural gas, the coal industry was on the rebound this year as mining projects moved forward in the Western U.S. and demand for the fuel began to rise, especially in Asia.

But almost overnight, coal is back on the defensive, scrambling to stave off a dark future amid President Barack Obama's renewed push to rein in climate change.

The proposal, with its emphasis on cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants, would put facilities like the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip electricity plant in eastern Montana in regulators' cross hairs. That has profound spin-off implications for the massive strip mines that dot the surrounding arid landscape of the Powder River Basin and provide the bulk of the nation's coal.

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US factory activity expands in June, jobs decline

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing activity grew in June behind a pickup in new orders, exports and production. Better economic growth overseas is boosting U.S. exports and could help American factories rebound in the second half of the year.