• US stocks end lower as energy stocks slump on earnings

    Updated: 30 min ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed modestly lower Friday as oil titans Exxon Mobil and Chevron led a slump in energy stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 56.12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,689.86. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,103.92. The Nasdaq composite closed little changed, down half a point to 5,128.28. It's was a see-saw week for the market, but all three major indexes closed higher by roughly 1 percent. Shares of Exxon Mobil and Chevron, the two largest publicly traded energy companies, fell roughly 5 percent each on Friday. Both companies posted major declines in their year-over-year profits largely due to the big drop in the price of oil.

  • News Guide: Super PAC backing Cruz gets $10 million donation

    Updated: 36 min ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly all of the contenders for president are encouraging their deep-pocketed donors to give not just to their campaigns, but to groups known as super PACs as well. Unlike campaigns, these outside groups aren't limited in how much money they can accept from individual donors. While they can't directly take orders from the candidates they're spending money to help elect, they still account for about $2 of every $3 raised so far in the 2016 race for president. Many super PACs must file their first fundraising reports with federal regulators by midnight Friday. The super PAC filings will detail how money was raised and spent from January to the end of June and include the names of donors.

  • Regulators close case questioning California reactor repairs

    Updated: 44 min ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal regulators have closed a case that questioned whether Southern California Edison violated government rules when it installed faulty equipment at the now-closed San Onofre nuclear power plant. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruling Thursday concluded the issue is no longer relevant since the coastal reactors, located between Los Angeles and San Diego, are retired. In 2012, the environmental group Friends of the Earth asked the agency to review if majority owner Edison misled the NRC when it replaced twin steam generators in a $670 million overhaul in 2009 and 2010. San Onofre was shut down in January 2012 after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of extensive damage to hundreds of t

  • State board fines Vermont Gas for silence on cost increase

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state Public Service Board on Friday announced it would fine Vermont Gas Systems $100,000 for its slowness in reporting the first of two big cost increases on its pipeline project to extend its system down the state's western side. Vermont's only supplier of piped natural gas announced 13 months ago its budget for the project had grown from $86.6 million to $121.6 million. The board later found the company had waited nearly six months before disclosing the need for that increase. Since then, the project cost has grown to $153.6 million. The board's order said by waiting to disclose the increase, "...

  • Greece's stock market to reopen as bailout talks progress

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's government announced that the Athens Stock Exchange will reopen Monday, a big step toward normalcy as talks with international creditors shifted into high gear. The exchange has been closed since June 29, when the government imposed capital controls to prevent a banking collapse. Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos signed the order Friday that also includes restrictions for Greece-based traders for an unspecified time period. A 60 euro limit on cash machines withdrawal will remain in place.

  • State sees no threat to rare species from coal mine's growth

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    GRANTSVILLE, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Department of the Environment says the growth of a coal mine near Grantsville is unlikely to threaten two rare aquatic species. The agency is proposing that Maryland Energy Resources be allowed to double the amount of treated mine drainage and stormwater discharged into the Casselman River from the Casselman Coal Mine. The river is believed to harbor two state-endangered species — the Eastern hellbender salamander and the stonecat catfish. The proposed limit of 290,000 gallons per day would apply to the current permit, which expires at the end of September. The mine could then seek a further increase. The operator wants to discharge up to 500,000 gallons per day.

  • Extended slump in oil taking toll on industry, economy

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — As drivers, shippers and airlines continue to enjoy lower fuel prices, the oil industry is responding to much lower profits with sharp cuts in spending and employment that are hurting economic growth. Low oil and gas prices are good for the overall economy because they reduce costs for consumers and business. U.S. economic growth was higher in the second quarter, and economists say that was partly fueled by consumers spending some of their savings on gasoline at stores and restaurants. But with oil prices down around 50 percent from last year, major oil companies are cutting back, offsetting some of this good news. For instance, Exxon Mobil said Friday it cut spending by $1.

  • AG: Dominion customers should get small refund

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Customers of Dominion Virginia Power won't be getting as large a potential refund or see a rate reduction they otherwise could have been entitled to because of actions by the General Assembly in the last two years, according to a witness hired by the Attorney General's office. Ralph Smith, an accountant hired by Attorney General Mark Herring to review Dominion's base rates, said in testimony filed Thursday that Dominion customers paid too much for electricity during 2013 and 2014 and should get a collective refund of $11.2 million. That refund, Smith noted, would have been at least $188.4 million if the General Assembly hadn't passed a 2014 law allowing Dominion to write off costs associated with a prop

  • Duke Energy finishes $1.2B power buyout of eastern NC cities

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy Corp. says it's competed a $1.2 billion deal to buy out dozens of eastern North Carolina cities that have struggled for years with bad investments in power plants. The country's largest electric company reported the buyout Friday to the Securities and Exchange Commission that gives it full ownership of four coal-fired and nuclear power plants. Charlotte-based Duke Energy is selling wholesale power back to the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency under a 30-year contract. The deal is expected to lower electricity bills in eastern North Carolina, where the towns had been unable to recruit businesses because of power costs 30 to 50 percent higher than nearby communities.

  • US oil and natural gas rig count down 2 to 874

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by two this week to 874. Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 664 rigs were seeking oil and 209 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,889 rigs were active. Among major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico gained three rigs, Louisiana gained two and North Dakota, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming each gained one. Kansas lost four rigs, Utah declined by three, Alaska and Pennsylvania each lost two and Colorado and West Virginia each declined by one. Arkansas, California and Oklahoma were unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981

  • Despite bombing, Islamic State is no weaker than a year ago

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After billions of dollars spent and more than 10,000 extremist fighters killed, the Islamic State group is fundamentally no weaker than it was when the U.S.-led bombing campaign began a year ago, American intelligence agencies have concluded. U.S. military commanders on the ground aren't disputing the assessment, but they point to an upcoming effort to clear the important Sunni city of Ramadi, which fell to the militants in May, as a crucial milestone. The battle for Ramadi, expected over the next few months, "promises to test the mettle" of Iraq's security forces, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Killea, who is helping run the U.S.-led coalition effort in Iraq, told reporters at the Pentagon in a video br

  • Hopes high wing flap will shed light on Flight 370 mystery

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    SAINT-ANDRE, Reunion (AP) — Under a microscope and expert eyes, the wing fragment that washed up on the beach of this volcanic island could yield clues not just to its path through the Indian Ocean, but also to what happened to the airplane it belonged to. Analysts at the French aviation laboratory where the scrap was headed Friday can glean details from metal stress to see what caused the flap to break off, spot explosive or other chemical traces, and study the sea life that made its home on the wing to pinpoint where it came from. French authorities have imposed extraordinary secrecy over the 2-meter (6-foot) long piece of wing, putting it under police protection in the hours before it left the island of Reunion.

  • Falling oil prices shrinks Chevron's profit by 90 percent

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Hurt by falling oil prices, Chevron said Friday that its second-quarter net income plunged 90 percent from the same period a year ago. Shares of Chevron Corp. fell nearly 4 percent in morning trading Friday. Chevron and other energy companies have been hurt by falling oil prices. Several, including Chevron and Exxon Mobil, have announced plans to trim their spending and cut back on drilling. Oil prices have dropped as production continues to increase in the U.S., outweighing demand. Also Friday, Exxon Mobil Corp. said its profit dropped by half in the second quarter on sharply lower oil and gas prices around the world. Chevron said it plans to cut costs to improve its financial results.

  • Demolition plan OK'd in southern Ohio uranium plant cleanup

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State and federal agencies have agreed on a plan for demolishing huge buildings and other facilities from a Cold War-era uranium plant in southern Ohio. It is the latest development in the lengthy decontamination and decommissioning process for the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, which was built in the 1950s and produced enriched uranium for defense and commercial uses until 2001. Its shutdown left old buildings, chemicals and radioactive areas that must be addressed. The demolition plan and recent approval of plans for waste removal and disposal at the site are considered big steps for the cleanup and potential redevelopment.

  • Higher wages a surprising success for Seattle restaurant

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — Menu prices are up 21 percent and you don't have to tip at Ivar's Salmon House on Seattle's Lake Union after the restaurant decided to institute the city's $15-an-hour minimum wage two years ahead of schedule. It is staff, not diners, who feel the real difference, with wages as much as 60 percent higher than before. One waitress is saving for accounting classes and finding it easier to take weekend vacations, while another server is using the added pay to cover increased rent. Seattle's law, adopted last year after a strong push from labor and grass-roots activists, bumped the city's minimum wage to $11 an hour beginning April 1, above Washington state's highest-in-the-nation $9.47.

  • Arctic-bound ship leaves Portland after oil drilling protest

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities used boats, personal watercraft, poles and their bare hands to remove protesters in kayaks and hanging from bridges who had tried to block a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker bound for an Arctic drilling operation. The Fennica left dry dock Thursday afternoon and made its way down the Willamette River toward the Pacific Ocean soon after authorities forced the demonstrators from the river and the St. Johns Bridge. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the Fennica was on its way to the Chukchi Sea where one of the energy giant's vessels started initial drilling operations Thursday night.

  • US stocks little changed as investors react to earnings

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are little changed at the open as investors assess the latest batch of company earnings reports. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell one points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,108 as of 9:41 a.m. Eastern time on Friday. The Nasdaq gained one point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 5,140. The Dow Jones industrial average gave up four points, less than 0.1 percent, to 17,741. Expedia jumped after the online travel company reported solid second quarter earnings. Bond prices rose after a report showed that U.S. wages and benefits grew in the spring at the slowest pace in 33 years. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.20 percent from 2.26 percent on Thursday.

  • Exxon profit falls by half but production rises

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. profit dropped by half in the second quarter on sharply lower oil and gas prices around the world, but the company's oil and gas production, which has been generally declining in recent years, surged. The company posted net income for the second quarter of $4.19 billion, down 52 percent from $8.78 billion in the second quarter of last year. It was Exxon's lowest quarterly profit since June of 2009, when the nation was in recession and oil and gas prices had plummeted. Exxon's revenue for the quarter of $74.11 billion, down 33 percent from last year, was also the company's lowest since 2009. On a per-share basis Exxon earned $1, down from $2.05 last year and less than the $1.

  • NY to give low-cost electricity to Amazon, Bausch & Lomb

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state is giving low-cost electricity to 15 businesses around the state as part of a program to use affordable power as an economic development tool. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced the newest winners of the ReCharge NY incentive on Thursday. The list of businesses includes Amazon LLC in New York City and Bausch & Lomb in Rochester. Other companies are in the Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier, long Island and western New York. ReCharge NY allows selected businesses to buy low-cost power from the New York Power Authority in exchange for commitments to expand or create more jobs. About half of the power is generated from hydroelectric plants.

  • Scientist: Oil slick likely from natural seafloor seepage

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Beaches along the Santa Barbara County coast remained open to swimmers, surfers and sunbathers Friday as the Coast Guard worked to determine whether an oil slick that materialized just offshore this week was simply the result of natural ocean-floor seepage. That's the conclusion Jordan Clark, professor of earth science and environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, suspects authorities will find when laboratory analyses of the slick come back, probably sometime early next week. The oil is floating in the Santa Barbara Channel above the Coal Oil Point seep field, a region Clark said is known for releasing methane and also about 100 barrels of liquid petroleum per day.