• Sales of US existing homes slip to a 20-month low

    Yesterday

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of existing U.S. homes slipped in March to their lowest level since July 2012 as rising prices and a tight supply of available homes discouraged many would-be buyers. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales edged down 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. It was the seventh drop in the past eight months. Sales rose in the Northeast and Midwest, suggesting that cold winter weather did not weigh as heavily on sales as in previous months. Freezing temperatures and snowstorms had contributed to lower sales in January and February. "Sales appear to be stabilizing following earlier weather-related disruptions," Joseph LaVorgna, an economist at Deutsche

  • Google challenges nonprofits on ideas to use Glass

    Yesterday

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Google has a challenge for U.S. nonprofits. On Tuesday, the tech giant is asking nonprofit groups to propose ideas for how to use the Web-connected eyewear Google Glass in their work. Five charities that propose the best ideas by May 20 will get a free pair of the glasses, a trip to Google for training and a $25,000 grant to help make their project a reality. Already, Google has been testing Glass with nonprofits in their field work. Conservationists at the Washington-based World Wildlife Fund have been using Google Glass for hands-free field research. In Nepal, a research officer has been using Google Glass to track, photograph and monitor rhinos to help protect them from poaching in areas that are

  • Unilever says it will use less plastic per bottle

    Yesterday

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Unilever PLC, the producer of countless disposable containers that clutter the landfills of the world, says it is adopting technology that will cut the amount of plastic it needs to use in each bottle by 15 percent. The technology, developed with Zotefoams PLC of Britain, injects tiny gas pockets into bottle walls, reducing the weight and amount of plastic used, without sacrificing robustness. Unilever is introducing the technique first in its Dove body wash bottles, which — over the 33 million sold in Europe in 2013 — would mean a savings of 275 tons of plastic.

  • US existing-home sales fell in March to lowest pace in 20 months; rising prices a factor

    Yesterday

    WASHINGTON (AP) — US existing-home sales fell in March to lowest pace in 20 months; rising prices a factor.

  • Tesla delivers first China cars, plans expansion

    Yesterday

    BEIJING (AP) — Tesla Motors Inc. delivered its first eight electric sedans to customers in China on Tuesday and CEO Elon Musk said the company will build a nationwide network of charging stations and service centers as fast as it can. Tesla probably will invest several hundred million dollars in charging infrastructure in China, Musk told reporters. He said it will open several hundred service centers. "My instructions to the team are to spend money as fast as they can spend it without wasting it," he said. The Palo Alto, California, company previously announced a $121,000 sticker price for its Model S in China. It said import taxes and shipping account for the difference with its U.S. price tag of $81,000.

  • Stocks edge higher as more earnings roll in

    Yesterday

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are moving higher in early trading as investors assess more corporate earnings. Netflix rose 7 percent after the online video streaming service said its first-quarter earnings soared. Botox maker Allergan surged 15 percent after Valeant Pharmaceuticals said that it had teamed up with activist investor Bill Ackman to make a bid for the company. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,874 in the first few minutes of trading Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,480. The Nasdaq composite rose 19 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,141. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.74 percent.

  • BNY Mellon reports higher 1Q earnings

    Yesterday

    NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of New York Mellon said it made a profit in the first quarter, thanks to rising financial markets and more money under management. Bank of New York Mellon Corp. reported net income of $661 million, or 57 cents per share, for the three months ending March 31. That's up from a loss of $266 million, or 23 cents per share, the year before. BNY Mellon is a trust bank, acting as a custodian and providing investment management and other services for institutions, corporations and the wealthy. During the first quarter, its assets under management climbed 14 percent to an all-time high of $1.62 trillion. The bank credited both stronger financial markets and funds from new business. BNY posted first-quarter

  • Travelers 1Q results rise, increases dividend

    Yesterday

    NEW YORK (AP) — Travelers' first-quarter net income improved thanks in part to higher underwriting gains and increased net investment income. The insurer said its results were hurt by higher catastrophe losses, which were mostly from winter storms. The results beat Wall Street forecasts, and its shares edged up in premarket trading. For the three months ended March 31, Travelers Cos. earned $1.05 billion, or $2.95 per share. That's up from $896 million, or $2.33 per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $2.16 per share. Revenue climbed 6 percent to $6.71 billion from $6.33 billion, beating Wall Street's forecast of $5.86 billion. Net written premiums — the industry term f

  • NC nuclear plant tests sirens after maintenance

    Yesterday

    NEW HILL, N.C. (AP) — Neighbors of a Duke Energy nuclear plant in suburban Raleigh will get a loud reminder of its presence. The alert sirens within a 10-mile radius of the Harris Nuclear Plant will be tested over the next few weeks starting on Tuesday. The sirens will be at full-volume for about five to ten seconds between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Since the sirens will be tested individually, there is no specific time when residents of Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Wake counties can expect to hear any of the sirens. The tests are conducted to make sure each siren works after annual maintenance is performed.

  • Coalition seeks answers on NY crude oil shipments

    Yesterday

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups and local residents is asking the state Department of Environmental Conservation to set a deadline for a crude oil shipper to provide more details on its Albany port operations. A letter sent to DEC Monday by Earthjustice, other environmental groups and Albany residents and officials seeks details on Global Companies' current and planned operations by May 3. The groups have raised safety concerns over increased shipments of North Dakota crude oil to coastal refineries by rail and Hudson River barge, after several devastating spills and derailments in other states and Canada last year.

  • Netflix poised to raise prices after strong 1Q

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is preparing a sequel unlikely to be a hit with its subscribers. The Internet video service is about to raise its prices for the first time in three years to help pay for more Internet video programming such as its popular political drama "House of Cards." The increase, to take place sometime before July, will hike prices by $1 or $2 per month for new customers. The company's nearly 36 million current subscribers will continue to pay $8 per month for at least the next year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a Monday interview. "When we look at the shows and movies that we will be able to get if we have a bigger budget, it's exciting," Hastings told The Associated Press. "We want to make the serv

  • PG&E pleads not guilty in fatal pipeline blast

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pleaded not guilty Monday to a dozen felony charges stemming from alleged safety violations in a deadly 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion that leveled a suburban neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. As survivors of the blast looked on, attorneys for California's largest utility entered the plea in federal court in San Francisco to 12 felony violations of federal pipeline safety laws. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero noted prosecutors' request to increase the maximum fine PG&E could face to more than $6 million, if the court decides the company somehow benefited financially or saved money as a result of criminal misconduct.

  • Tuesday Morning, ex-CEO settle suit over firing

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    DALLAS (AP) — Tuesday Morning Corp. and former CEO Kathleen Mason have agreed to settle a discrimination lawsuit that accused the retailer of firing the executive because she revealed she had breast cancer. Mason's attorney, Rogge Dunn, and Tuesday Morning, each said Monday that they had amicably resolved the matter, but did not disclose terms of the settlement. Court documents show that a Dallas County judge officially dismissed the lawsuit last Thursday. Mason sued the Dallas-based housewares and home decor company last May, claiming she was fired months after she told the board of her cancer. The company stood called the allegations meritless. Dunn said Monday that Mason's most recent checkup shows she

  • Apple offering free recycling of all used products

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is offering free recycling of all its used products and vowing to power all of its stores, offices and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services. The iPhone and iPad maker is detailing its efforts to cultivate a greener Apple Inc. in an environmental section on the company's website that debuted Monday. The site highlights the ways that the Cupertino, Calif., company is increasing its reliance on alternative power sources and sending less electronic junk to landfills. Apple had already been distributing gift cards at some of its 420 worldwide stores in exchange for iPhones and iPods still in good enough condition to be resold.

  • Okla. governor signs energy measure, other bills

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that encourages the development of traditional fuels as well as alternative forms of energy. The energy measure was among more than 30 bills Fallin signed Monday. Fallin issued an executive order to accompany her signing of the bill that says its intent is to protect Oklahoma consumers and encourage all forms of energy use. The bill was developed in conjunction with the Oklahoma First Energy Plan, which promotes traditional fossil fuels like oil and natural gas as well as alternative forms of energy that include wind- and solar-generated power.

  • Caterpillar CEO's compensation cut to $12 million

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    DALLAS (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. cut the value of its CEO's pay package by 32 percent to $12 million in 2013, a year when the heavy machinery maker saw its profits fall by a third. That's according to an Associated Press analysis of a company filing with regulators Monday. Chairman and CEO Douglas Oberhelman got a small raise in salary last year, but the more important parts of his compensation — cash incentives and stock options — fell. The AP analysis of Oberhelman's compensation considered salary, bonus, perks and the estimated value of stock and option grants that the company reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Powdered alcohols no longer have label approvals

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Don't expect powdered alcohol to hit store shelves anytime soon. A product called "Palcohol" gained widespread attention online in recent days after it was reported that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the powdered alcohol, including vodka and rum varieties. But a representative for the federal bureau, Tom Hogue, said in an email to The Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued in error. Hogue did not immediately respond to requests for further details, including how the error occurred. In an email message, Palcohol's parent company Lipsmark said "there seemed to be a discrepancy on our fill level, how much powder is in the bag." It said it will resubmit the labels for

  • Gates-funded student data group to shut down

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The student data processing organization inBloom will shut down in the coming months, its chief executive officer said Monday following criticism that led to the recent loss of the startup's last active client — New York state. "It wasn't an easy decision and the unavailability of this technology is a real missed opportunity for teachers and school districts seeking to improve student learning," a statement from CEO Iwan Streichenberger on the inBloom website said. Launched in 2013 with $100 million in financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corp., the nonprofit's goal was to give educators a data-based tool to personalize instruction.

  • Shale gas trucks crash in Pennsylvania

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A western Pennsylvania intersection was shut down after crash involving a tractor trailer carrying diesel fuel and two trucks carrying water for natural gas drilling operations. The crash happened at about 3 a.m. Sunday morning on Route 18 outside of the town of Washington. That's about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. Authorities say about 1,300 gallons of diesel and 400 gallons of brine water spilled onto the roadway, but emergency crews contained much of the damage. The Department of Environmental Protection says some of the fluids spilled into nearby Chartiers Creek. Two of the unidentified drivers were taken to area hospitals but the extent of their injuries wasn't announced.

  • Connecticut's nuclear plant can use warmer water

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's nuclear power plant won permission to use warmer water from Long Island Sound for cooling at one of its two units in Waterford, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Monday. The Millstone 2 plant may use water as warm as 80 degrees Fahrenheit, up from 75 degrees, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is considering a similar request for Millstone 3. Millstone 2 shut down for nearly two weeks in August 2012 because the water was warmer than the 75-degree limit. It was the first shutdown of a nuclear power plant on an open body of water. Water is used to cool key components of the plant and is discharged back into the Sound.