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Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm •  Published: February 12, 2015
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American Express said Thursday that it hasn't been able to come to an agreement with Costco on renewal terms. The current agreement covers U.S. stores and dates back 16 years. It will end March 31, 2016.

The end of the partnership with Costco will hurt American Express earnings and revenue growth in 2015 and 2016. Costco is the world's second-largest retailer by revenue, and its deal with the card company accounted for 8 percent of American Express billed business last year.

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Kellogg's cereal sales fall again, hurt by Special K

NEW YORK (AP) — Special K can't seem to shake its outdated image among weight watchers.

Kellogg said Thursday its U.S. cereal unit suffered another sales decline in the fourth quarter, hurt by the performance of its top moneymaker, which over the years has branched out into an array of products including bars, crackers and chips.

During a conference call, Kellogg CEO John Bryant noted weight watchers are no longer as focused on "holding back calories" and instead want foods that make them feel good about themselves. That has hurt Special K.

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Applications for US jobless aid rose to 304,000 last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped last week, though it is still at relatively low levels pointing to healthy hiring.

Applications rose 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The four-week average, which smooths out some of the volatility, fell to 289,750. That is down 14 percent from a year ago.

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Cheaper gas lowers US retail sales; spending up elsewhere

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales fell sharply last month as gas prices plummeted and auto sales slowed. But excluding those volatile categories, Americans stepped up their spending a bit.

Retail sales dropped 0.8 percent in January, the Commerce Department said Thursday, following a 0.9 percent decline in December. The dollar value of gas station sales plunged 9.3 percent, the largest drop in six years. Auto dealer sales also fell for the second straight month after big gains in the fall.

Outside those categories, sales ticked up 0.2 percent after a flat reading in December.

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Johnson & Johnson projects aim to spot who'll get a disease

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Imagine being able to identify who is likely to develop a particular disease — and then stop the disorder before it starts.

That's the goal of three research projects launched by Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical research arm, Janssen Research & Development.

The projects, announced Thursday, aim to prevent illnesses — particularly ones related to aging and lifestyle — including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart disease and Type 1 diabetes.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 110.24 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,972.38. The S&P 500 index climbed 19.95 points, or 1 percent, to 2,088.48. The Nasdaq composite gained 56.43 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,857.61.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $2.37 to close at $51.21 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $2.39 to close at $57.05 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 5.2 cents to close at $1.596 a gallon. Heating oil rose 10 cents to close at $1.914 a gallon. Natural gas fell 8.4 cents to close at $2.713 per 1,000 cubic feet.