• Vermont Yankee nuke reducing power production

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    VERNON, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has begun a gradual reduction of the electricity that it generates that will end with the plant shutting down in December. The so-called coast-down period typically occurs at the end of the plant's operating cycle as the nuclear fuel in the reactor is depleted. The state's only nuclear power plant has been generating electricity continually since the spring of 2013, a stretch of 500 days. Entergy Nuclear, Vermont Yankee's owner, made the decision last year to close the plant at the end of the current fueling cycle, December of this year.

  • Summit focuses on health cost innovations

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    BEDFORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire health care providers who have started getting paid for how well they do instead of how much they do said Tuesday they're optimistic about controlling costs and improving outcomes. Under an Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield program, providers get paid extra for "care coordination," the activity that takes place outside of a patient visit — for example, following up to make sure patients fill their prescriptions and understand how to take their medication. Other insurers, states and medical groups have launched similar programs aimed at containing costs without undermining care, and the federal health care overhaul law created "accountable care organizations" for Medicare, which aim to improve

  • Bill Barrett to sell some properties, pay debt

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Bill Barrett Corp. announced several deals on Tuesday that will net it about $568 million in cash and help lower its debt. The Denver-based oil and gas company said it is selling properties in the Powder River Basin, which is located in Montana and Wyoming, and the Piceance Basin in Colorado. Bill Barrett also said it will acquire some property in the Northeast Wattenberg area in Colorado as part of the deals. The company values the total transactions at $757 million. Shares of Bill Barrett rose nearly 12 percent in afternoon trading Tuesday. Some of the properties Bill Barrett is selling will be bought by oil and gas company Vanguard Natural Resources LLC.

  • Brookstone President and CEO Speltz resigns

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — James Speltz, the president and CEO of gadget retailer Brookstone, has resigned. Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Schwartz will serve as interim president and CEO. Speltz helped Brookstone emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June. That month a bankruptcy court judge approved its sale to Sailing Innovation for $135.7 million, not including the company's cash and assumed liabilities. Schwartz has been with the Merrimack, New Hampshire, company for 15 years. He has led the merchandising, product development and marketing teams for the past three years. Brookstone has 240 stores in malls and airports in the U.S. It also sells its goods on its website and in catalogs.

  • US stocks turn higher at midday

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are turning higher at midday with energy companies leading the gains. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,995 at 12:03 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 83 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,116. The Nasdaq rose 15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,534. Energy stocks rose the most among the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500, as oil prices jumped. Fed policy makers have started a two-day meeting and many investors expect the central bank to indicate that it is moving closer to raising its key interest rate as the economy continues to strengthen. The Fed has held the rate close to zero for more than five years, which has helped th

  • Ikea recalls swing because of breakage risk

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Ikea is recalling its Gunggung fabric swing because the suspension fitting that attaches the swing to its steel hooks could break, causing a fall that could injure a child. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Ikea is taking about 2,000 units off the market in the United States, and another 300 in Canada. The agency says there have been four reports of children who were hurt after the swing's fittings broke. In one incident a child suffered a fractured leg. There have been no reports of injuries in the U.S. The Gunggung swing is intended for children age three to seven, and it retails for $20 at Ikea stores and the company website. The product is made in Vietnam.

  • Northeast Utilities, Spectra to expand pipeline

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Northeast Utilities and Spectra Energy Corp. have announced plans to expand natural gas access to New England and end bottlenecks that have driven up prices when demand spikes in the winter. The companies said Tuesday the $3 billion project expanding a network of pipelines is expected to begin operating in November 2018. The project will rely on routes already used to minimize the impact of construction on communities, landowners and the environment. NU and Spectra say that in the past 15 years, natural gas-fired generation has grown from serving 15 percent of New England's annual electric requirements to about half. Gas demand for heating customers rose significantly last winter, leaving

  • US CEOs less optimistic about hiring, spending

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Optimism among chief executives at the largest U.S. companies fell in the July-September quarter after reaching a two-year high in the previous quarter. The Business Roundtable said Tuesday that its CEO outlook index fell to 86.4 in the third quarter, down from 95.4 in the April-June period. Fewer CEOs expect to hire in the next six months: Just 34 percent plan to add jobs, down from 43 percent. And only 39 percent plan to boost their capital spending, down from 44 percent. Nearly three-quarters of the chief executives expect higher sales, the same as in the second quarter. Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T Inc.

  • Clear Channel renamed iHeartMedia

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Clear Channel, the largest radio station operator in the U.S., says it has renamed itself iHeartMedia to reflect its transformation into a multi-platform media company that includes iHeartRadio, its digital radio service. The new company, which is privately held, owns 859 radio stations in more than 150 markets. IHeartRadio, meanwhile, has more than 90 million monthly unique visitors. It also owns part of Clear Channel Outdoor, an outdoor advertising company, and runs live music events. The name change reflects the company's shifting focus to its digital brand as it faces competition from popular music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. In June, CEO Bob Pittman said iHeartRadio makes "hundreds of m

  • Social Security resumes mailing benefit statements

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Social Security Administration has resumed mailing statements to workers letting them know the estimated benefits they will get when they retire, the agency announced Tuesday. Social Security began phasing out mailed statements to most workers in 2011 to save an estimated $70 million a year. Instead, the agency directed workers to track their future benefits online using a secure website. Congress, however, passed a bill last year requiring Social Security to resume mailing the statements. The agency said Tuesday that many workers will now start receiving paper statements in the mail every five years, starting a few months before their 25th birthday. Once workers reach 60 they will get them every

  • Alibaba risk: China's rise leaves out investors

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — American investors are clamoring to buy a stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is launching what may prove the biggest initial public stock offering ever. But history is stacked against them. China's explosive economic rise has delivered virtually nothing to most stock investors. When Chinese companies have listed stocks on American markets, their shares have lost an average 1 percent a year for the next three years, compared with an average 7 percent annual gain for other U.S. IPOs, according to research by Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida. Most Chinese stocks trade in China, of course. And those stocks have burned investors, too. From 1993 to 2013, when China

  • Capt. Citrus, face of Florida OJ, gets a makeover

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Captain Citrus was born in 2011 as a big, fat talking orange wearing a green cape. Now he's being transformed into a buff Marvel Comics superhero who will fight evil alongside the likes of Captain America. His first mission? Promote the benefits of orange juice in a country where carb-conscious dieters are increasingly turning away from even seemingly healthy beverages that nutritionists have slammed for having too much sugar. The Florida Department of Citrus revealed its made-over mascot Tuesday at a comic book store. The agency paid Marvel Comics $1 million to create the new character in hopes of bolstering orange juice's reputation as a healthy and wholesome drink.

  • NY probes short-term, high-interest secured loans

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York regulators have begun investigating short-term, high-interest loans secured by borrowers' homes or other real estate to determine if they violate state laws against predatory lending. The Department of Financial Services says Tuesday it has issued subpoenas for information from nine companies involved in so-called "hard money lending." Under the deals, a borrower's ability to repay typically is unexamined and loans may be structured with an expectation of foreclosing on property. Superintendent Ben Lawsky says such "loan to own" schemes are unconscionable. Regulators are investigating whether the companies intentionally set onerous terms with high interest rates, large upfront fees a

  • Coal miner killed in Carbon County accident

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    EAST CARBON, Utah (AP) — Authorities say a 46-year-old worker is dead after an accident at a Carbon County coal mine. East Carbon Police Chief Sam Leonard says officers were called to reports that a worker had been crushed at the West Ridge Mine a little before 2 a.m. Tuesday. Officials with UtahAmerican Energy confirmed that Price resident Alejandro Ramirez was killed. He had worked with the company for six years. The circumstances of Ramirez's death were under investigation. Leonard says no others were injured in the incident. UtahAmerican officials say it was the first serious accident in the West Ridge Mine's 15-year history.

  • Lilly, AstraZeneca team up on Alzheimer's drug

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Eli Lilly and Co. plans to pay up to $500 million to fellow drugmaker AstraZeneca as part of a collaboration to develop and sell a potential Alzheimer's disease treatment that is in the early stages of clinical testing. Lilly said Tuesday it will make an initial milestone payment of $50 million to AstraZeneca, which will handle manufacturing of the drug. Indianapolis-based Lilly will lead clinical development of the potential treatment, labeled AZD3293, while working with researchers from London-based AstraZeneca. The companies then will share global profits or losses if the drug is approved. Alzheimer's is a fatal disease and the most common form of dementia, a term for brain disorders that affect memor

  • Exploring 'graveyard of ships' near San Francisco

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    GULF OF THE FARALLONES NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY (AP) — Federal researchers are exploring several underwater sites where ships sank while navigating in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. Over the past week, a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used a remote-controlled underwater vehicle, equipped with sonar and video cameras, to examine and record the historic shipwrecks. The five-day expedition was part of a long-term archaeological survey of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which covers about 1,300 square miles of the Pacific Ocean off the Northern California coast.

  • US producer prices unchanged in August

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of prices that producers receive for their goods and services was unchanged in August, the latest sign that inflation is in check. Wholesale gas prices fell 1.4 percent last month and food costs dropped 0.5 percent, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Those declines offset higher prices for transportation and shipping services. The producer price index rose just 1.8 percent last month from a year earlier. The index measures price changes before they reach the consumer. Economists had expected that the producer price index had risen 0.1 percent in August from the previous month, according to a survey by FactSet.

  • PG&E officials leave posts over improper emails

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Emails showing California regulators and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. appearing to negotiate which judge would be assigned to hear one of the utility's rate cases led the state's top regulator to remove himself from two PG&E cases and four senior officials on both sides to resign. The emails released Monday show the commission ultimately assigned to the case a judge for whom PG&E had expressed a preference, rather than another judge who the utility said "has a history of being very hard on us.

  • Oligarch buys Russia's most popular social media

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — A media company owned by Kremlin-friendly oligarch Alisher Usmanov has splashed out $1.5 billion to gain full control of Russia's most popular social network, VKontakte, bringing an end to a months-long dispute that saw the original investors sue each other in court. London-listed Mail.Ru Group said in a statement Tuesday that it now owns the whole of VKontakte following its purchase of a 48 percent stake from investment fund United Capital Partners. Mail.Ru first invested in VKontakte in 2007 and since then has spent over $2.1 billion accumulating stock. VKontakte is Russia's most popular social network and has over 270 million accounts. Usmanov, who is reputed to be worth $18.

  • Humana board OKs $2 billion in share repurchases

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Humana's board of directors has replaced the health insurer's share buyback plan with a bigger authorization for $2 billion in repurchases. The Louisville, Kentucky, company said Tuesday that the new authorization expires Dec. 31, 2016. It replaces a $1 billion buyback plan, of which about $782 million was outstanding after the insurer bought back $118 million in shares in the third quarter. The company said it will buy back shares from time to time on the open market or in privately negotiated deals. Companies often say share repurchases help shareholders, because theoretically they cut down on the total number of shares and thus boost earnings per share.