Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 15, 2014 at 4:47 pm •  Published: September 15, 2014

But even as customer interest grows, adding new employees to their team of 10 is a decision of last resort. For French business owners like them, the financial risk is too great and the government's promises to lighten the highest labor costs in the world and overhaul 3,000 pages of work rules are too remote.

President Francois Hollande's Socialist government has a plan to lower such payroll charges, cut red tape and make it easier to hire — but only if it can win a confidence vote on Tuesday.


Eurozone economic growth forecast cut

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A major international organization has cut its growth forecast for the countries that use the euro and says the troubled currency union needs even more stimulus from the central bank and governments.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a think tank dealing with the world's developed countries, cut its forecasts for the eurozone this year to 0.8 percent from 1.2 percent in its May assessment.

The Paris-based OECD also cut its growth forecasts for the U.S. and several other large economies but said the global economy overall was continuing a moderate if uneven recovery. The outlook for the U.S. was cut to 2.1 percent from 2.6 percent and for Japan to 0.9 percent from 1.2 percent. Italy, one of the more troubled economies in Europe, was downgraded from 0.5 percent to minus 0.4 percent.


Detroit bankruptcy trial resumes after settlement

DETROIT (AP) — A judge refused to extend a timeout Monday in Detroit's bankruptcy trial after a deal with a major creditor removed another opponent from the city's plan to exit the largest Chapter 9 case in U.S. history.

A bond insurer, Financial Guaranty Insurance, said it needs more time to craft trial strategy after another insurer ironed out a settlement with Detroit. But Judge Steven Rhodes said Financial Guaranty should have been prepared to lose an ally, and he resumed the trial with testimony from a pension actuary.

The trial was suspended last Wednesday so Detroit and Syncora could reach an agreement. Syncora is getting cash and long-term leases on a parking garage and the tunnel between Detroit and Canada, among other concessions.


Gilead to license generic version of Sovaldi

Gilead Sciences has reached a deal with several generic drugmakers to produce a cheaper version of its popular, $1,000-per-pill hepatitis C drug Sovaldi for use in developing countries.

Gilead said Monday that the India-based companies will make a generic version of Sovaldi, also known as sofosbuvir, and another investigational drug for distribution in 91 countries.

Sovaldi hit the U.S. market late last year and has been hailed as a breakthrough treatment. But Gilead has taken criticism over its cost, which can amount to $84,000 for a full course of treatment.

Hepatitis C is a liver-destroying virus carried by an estimated 3 million to 4 million Americans. Until late last year, the standard treatments required taking up to 12 pills a day, alongside antiviral drug injections that can cause flu-like symptoms. That approach cured only about 75 percent of patients.


Olive Garden defends breadstick policy

NEW YORK (AP) — Olive Garden is defending its practice of giving customers as many breadsticks as they want, saying the policy conveys "Italian generosity."

The remark is part of a response by the chain's parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., to a nearly 300-page criticism released by hedge fund Starboard Value last week. Starboard took Olive Garden and its management to task for a litany of issues, including its liberal distribution of breadsticks, its failure to salt the water used to boil its pasta and even the length of the asparagus it serves.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 43.63 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,031.14. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 1.41, or 0.1 percent, to 1,984.13. The Nasdaq composite fell 48.70 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,518.90.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 65 cents to $92.92 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international crude oils imported by many U.S. refineries, slipped 2 cents to $96.65. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.2 cents to $2.531 a gallon. Heating oil was flat at $2.74 a gallon. Natural gas rose 7.4 cents to $3.931 per 1,000 cubic feet.