Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 30, 2014 at 5:03 pm •  Published: September 30, 2014
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Viagra ads target women for 1st time

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The maker of the world's top-selling erectile dysfunction drug on Tuesday will begin airing the first Viagra TV commercial that targets the less-obvious sufferers of the sexual condition: women.

In the new 60-second ad, a middle-aged woman reclining on a bed in a tropical setting addresses the problems couples encounter when a man is impotent.

Having a woman speak directly to men about impotence is a unique strategy for Pfizer Inc. The world's second-biggest drugmaker is looking for ways to boost sales of Viagra, Pfizer's No. 6 seller, at a time when it is encountering new competition.

Patents give a drug a monopoly, generally for 20 years. But when those patents expire, cheaper generic versions flood the market, often wiping out most of the brand-name drug's sales within a year.

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US home prices rise at slowest pace in 20 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices in July increased at the slowest pace in 20 months, reflecting sluggish sales and a greater supply of houses for sale.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 6.7 percent in July from 12 months earlier. That's down from an 8.1 percent gain in June and the smallest increase since November 2012.

Sales of existing homes have been weak for most of this year. They picked up over the summer but then fell in August and are 5.3 percent lower than a year ago.

The slowdown has occurred partly because investors are pulling back from the housing market. Meanwhile, many would-be buyers are unable to obtain a mortgage, particularly first-time buyers. Nineteen of the 20 cities in the index reported lower annual gains than in June. And a new broader index of nationwide home prices compiled by S&P rose just 5.6 percent.

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US consumer confidence slides in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence deteriorated in September after hitting the highest level in nearly seven years in August. But economists said the fall appears to be a temporary slip that shouldn't dampen consumer spending in the coming months.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its confidence index fell to 86.0, the lowest point since a May reading of 82.2. It was the first decline after four months of gains and followed a revised 93.4 in August, which had been the highest reading since October 2007, two months before the Great Recession officially began.

Economists had expected a slight decline in September after the index hit a nearly seven-year high, but the size of the drop surprised them. Some suggested that the result may have been influenced by heightened global tensions as the conflict against Middle East militants widens.

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Drug and device firms paid $3.5B to care providers

WASHINGTON (AP) — From research grants to travel junkets, drug and medical device companies paid doctors and leading hospitals billions of dollars last year, the government disclosed Tuesday in a new effort to spotlight potential ethical conflicts in medicine.

Industry spent nearly $3.5 billion on such payments in the five-month period from August through December 2013, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which released data on 4.4 million payments.

The massive trove of information named companies and many of the recipients. Also listed were types of payments, with details down to travel destinations. Some 546,000 clinicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals received payments. Some doctors had ownership stakes in companies.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 28.32 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,042.90. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 5.51 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,972.29. The Nasdaq composite slipped 12.46 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,493.39.

Benchmark U.S. crude plunged $3.41, or 3.6 percent, to settle at $91.16. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oils imported by U.S. refiners, dropped $2.53, or 2.6 percent, to $94.67 a barrel in London. Gasoline futures dropped 11 cents to $2.587 a gallon, heating oil fell 5.69 cents to $2.647 a gallon and natural gas slid 3.3 cents to $4.121 per 1,000 cubic feet.