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Russia’s Lavrov: West plotting to control Ukraine

Russia’s economy felt the sting of the Ukrainian crisis Friday after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating to near junk and Moscow hiked interest rates to keep its sliding ruble from fueling inflation.

The impact could get harder as the West threatens additional sanctions. Still, Russia is showing no signs of backing down, saying Friday that pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine’s southeast will lay down their arms only if the Ukrainian government clears out nationalist protesters in Kiev.

A fading middle-class perk: lower mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (AP) – For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates. Now, even that perk is fading away. Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

Rates for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage are averaging 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate. For “jumbo” mortgages – those above $417,000 in much of the country – the average is 4.47 percent.

This trend reflects the widening wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. Bankers now view jumbo borrowers as safer and shrewder bets even though conventional borrowers put less capital at risk.

Retailers get creative with Pinterest

NEW YORK (AP) – Target, Nordstrom and other big chains are pinning their hopes of attracting shoppers on social media.

Retailers increasingly are using Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to create collections of photos, articles, recipes and more as “pins”, to draw business to their own sites.

Target, the nation’s No. 2 discounter, is creating exclusive party-planning collections with top Pinterest users. Shoes, handbags and other popular items on Pinterest are being prominently displayed in Nordstrom stores with special tags. And Caribou created a coffee blend that was inspired by the coffee chain’s Pinterest fans.

HK bankers add to calls for democracy from Beijing

HONG KONG (AP) – A group of Hong Kong finance industry professionals are pledging to join an Occupy-style movement to protest growing influence from Beijing that they say is undermining the Asian financial hub’s economy.

The bankers, traders and stockbrokers who make up Hong Kong’s financial-worker class are notoriously apolitical. But the group, which currently numbers about 70 people, added their voices to wider calls for full democracy in an open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Worried that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being eroded, they urged China’s Communist leaders to stop interfering in the city’s administrative affairs. They also expressed fears about growing threats to the city’s freedom of speech and the press, rule of law and strong anti-corruption culture.

US consumer confidence jumps to 9-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March.

Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.

Americans were also slightly more optimistic about future hiring, the survey found, though the gains were slight.

Ford’s profit falls 39 percent in first quarter

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford Motor Co.’s worldwide sales rose in the first quarter, propelled by growing strength in Asia and Europe. But weakness in North America dragged down the company’s profit.

Its earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations, while revenue beat them.

Also Friday, CEO Alan Mulally said that there is no change in the plan for him to stay with the company at least through the end of this year.

In 2012, Ford named former North America chief Mark Fields as chief operating officer to handle day-to-day duties, and Fields became the heir apparent to take over for Mulally. Recent reports suggested that Mulally plans to leave the company sooner than expected and that Fields would become CEO.

Burger King’s profit rises on cost cuts

NEW YORK (AP) – Burger King reported a higher first-quarter profit on Friday as new restaurant openings overseas and lower costs offset weak sales in the U.S.

The Miami-based chain on Friday said sales at established U.S. locations edged up just 0.1 percent, dampened by bad weather.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts also reported underwhelming domestic sales for the first three months of the year, citing the severe weather. Chipotle and Starbucks, which charge higher prices, saw healthy sales gains under the same conditions.

UAW official nominated for seat on GM board

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors Co. could, for the first time, have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June.

The move is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade.

If elected at the company’s annual meeting in Detroit in June, Ashton would replace former GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the trust’s voice on the board. Girsky has been nominated to stay on with a different seat.

Nokia, Microsoft complete $7.5B cellphone deal

HELSINKI (AP) – Nokia says it has completed the 5.44 billion-euro ($7.5 billion) sale of its troubled cellphone and services division to Microsoft Corp., ending a chapter in the former world leading cellphone maker’s history.

The Friday closure of the deal follows delays in global regulatory approvals and ends the production of mobile phones by the Finnish company.

Nokia said the total transaction price would be “slightly higher” than originally thought because of adjustments made for net working capital and cash earnings. The deal was to have closed during the first quarter but was held up because of delays in approvals, including from China.

Where will calorie labels appear? Not just menus

WASHINGTON (AP) – Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. But will they be able to get that same clear information at grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters or airplanes?

The food industry is closely watching the Food and Drug Administration to see what establishments are included in the final menu labeling rules, which are expected this year. Nonrestaurant establishments have lobbied hard for exemption, and the rules have been delayed.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress earlier this month that writing the rules has been “much more challenging than expected.” The agency has sent the rules to the White House, meaning they could be released soon.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 16,361.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,863.40. The Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,075.56.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was down 0.9 cents at $3.04 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.9 cents to $2.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.

Business Highlights

KDWN

Russia’s Lavrov: West plotting to control Ukraine

Russia’s economy felt the sting of the Ukrainian crisis Friday after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating to near junk and Moscow hiked interest rates to keep its sliding ruble from fueling inflation.

The impact could get harder as the West threatens additional sanctions. Still, Russia is showing no signs of backing down, saying Friday that pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine’s southeast will lay down their arms only if the Ukrainian government clears out nationalist protesters in Kiev.

A fading middle-class perk: lower mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (AP) – For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates. Now, even that perk is fading away. Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

Rates for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage are averaging 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate. For “jumbo” mortgages – those above $417,000 in much of the country – the average is 4.47 percent.

This trend reflects the widening wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. Bankers now view jumbo borrowers as safer and shrewder bets even though conventional borrowers put less capital at risk.

Retailers get creative with Pinterest

NEW YORK (AP) – Target, Nordstrom and other big chains are pinning their hopes of attracting shoppers on social media.

Retailers increasingly are using Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to create collections of photos, articles, recipes and more as “pins”, to draw business to their own sites.

Target, the nation’s No. 2 discounter, is creating exclusive party-planning collections with top Pinterest users. Shoes, handbags and other popular items on Pinterest are being prominently displayed in Nordstrom stores with special tags. And Caribou created a coffee blend that was inspired by the coffee chain’s Pinterest fans.

HK bankers add to calls for democracy from Beijing

HONG KONG (AP) – A group of Hong Kong finance industry professionals are pledging to join an Occupy-style movement to protest growing influence from Beijing that they say is undermining the Asian financial hub’s economy.

The bankers, traders and stockbrokers who make up Hong Kong’s financial-worker class are notoriously apolitical. But the group, which currently numbers about 70 people, added their voices to wider calls for full democracy in an open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Worried that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being eroded, they urged China’s Communist leaders to stop interfering in the city’s administrative affairs. They also expressed fears about growing threats to the city’s freedom of speech and the press, rule of law and strong anti-corruption culture.

US consumer confidence jumps to 9-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March.

Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.

Americans were also slightly more optimistic about future hiring, the survey found, though the gains were slight.

Ford’s profit falls 39 percent in first quarter

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford Motor Co.’s worldwide sales rose in the first quarter, propelled by growing strength in Asia and Europe. But weakness in North America dragged down the company’s profit.

Its earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations, while revenue beat them.

Also Friday, CEO Alan Mulally said that there is no change in the plan for him to stay with the company at least through the end of this year.

In 2012, Ford named former North America chief Mark Fields as chief operating officer to handle day-to-day duties, and Fields became the heir apparent to take over for Mulally. Recent reports suggested that Mulally plans to leave the company sooner than expected and that Fields would become CEO.

Burger King’s profit rises on cost cuts

NEW YORK (AP) – Burger King reported a higher first-quarter profit on Friday as new restaurant openings overseas and lower costs offset weak sales in the U.S.

The Miami-based chain on Friday said sales at established U.S. locations edged up just 0.1 percent, dampened by bad weather.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts also reported underwhelming domestic sales for the first three months of the year, citing the severe weather. Chipotle and Starbucks, which charge higher prices, saw healthy sales gains under the same conditions.

UAW official nominated for seat on GM board

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors Co. could, for the first time, have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June.

The move is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade.

If elected at the company’s annual meeting in Detroit in June, Ashton would replace former GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the trust’s voice on the board. Girsky has been nominated to stay on with a different seat.

Nokia, Microsoft complete $7.5B cellphone deal

HELSINKI (AP) – Nokia says it has completed the 5.44 billion-euro ($7.5 billion) sale of its troubled cellphone and services division to Microsoft Corp., ending a chapter in the former world leading cellphone maker’s history.

The Friday closure of the deal follows delays in global regulatory approvals and ends the production of mobile phones by the Finnish company.

Nokia said the total transaction price would be “slightly higher” than originally thought because of adjustments made for net working capital and cash earnings. The deal was to have closed during the first quarter but was held up because of delays in approvals, including from China.

Where will calorie labels appear? Not just menus

WASHINGTON (AP) – Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. But will they be able to get that same clear information at grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters or airplanes?

The food industry is closely watching the Food and Drug Administration to see what establishments are included in the final menu labeling rules, which are expected this year. Nonrestaurant establishments have lobbied hard for exemption, and the rules have been delayed.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress earlier this month that writing the rules has been “much more challenging than expected.” The agency has sent the rules to the White House, meaning they could be released soon.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 16,361.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,863.40. The Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,075.56.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was down 0.9 cents at $3.04 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.9 cents to $2.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.

Business Highlights

KDWN

Russia’s Lavrov: West plotting to control Ukraine

Russia’s economy felt the sting of the Ukrainian crisis Friday after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating to near junk and Moscow hiked interest rates to keep its sliding ruble from fueling inflation.

The impact could get harder as the West threatens additional sanctions. Still, Russia is showing no signs of backing down, saying Friday that pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine’s southeast will lay down their arms only if the Ukrainian government clears out nationalist protesters in Kiev.

A fading middle-class perk: lower mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (AP) – For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates. Now, even that perk is fading away. Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

Rates for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage are averaging 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate. For “jumbo” mortgages – those above $417,000 in much of the country – the average is 4.47 percent.

This trend reflects the widening wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. Bankers now view jumbo borrowers as safer and shrewder bets even though conventional borrowers put less capital at risk.

Retailers get creative with Pinterest

NEW YORK (AP) – Target, Nordstrom and other big chains are pinning their hopes of attracting shoppers on social media.

Retailers increasingly are using Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to create collections of photos, articles, recipes and more as “pins”, to draw business to their own sites.

Target, the nation’s No. 2 discounter, is creating exclusive party-planning collections with top Pinterest users. Shoes, handbags and other popular items on Pinterest are being prominently displayed in Nordstrom stores with special tags. And Caribou created a coffee blend that was inspired by the coffee chain’s Pinterest fans.

HK bankers add to calls for democracy from Beijing

HONG KONG (AP) – A group of Hong Kong finance industry professionals are pledging to join an Occupy-style movement to protest growing influence from Beijing that they say is undermining the Asian financial hub’s economy.

The bankers, traders and stockbrokers who make up Hong Kong’s financial-worker class are notoriously apolitical. But the group, which currently numbers about 70 people, added their voices to wider calls for full democracy in an open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Worried that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being eroded, they urged China’s Communist leaders to stop interfering in the city’s administrative affairs. They also expressed fears about growing threats to the city’s freedom of speech and the press, rule of law and strong anti-corruption culture.

US consumer confidence jumps to 9-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March.

Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.

Americans were also slightly more optimistic about future hiring, the survey found, though the gains were slight.

Ford’s profit falls 39 percent in first quarter

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford Motor Co.’s worldwide sales rose in the first quarter, propelled by growing strength in Asia and Europe. But weakness in North America dragged down the company’s profit.

Its earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations, while revenue beat them.

Also Friday, CEO Alan Mulally said that there is no change in the plan for him to stay with the company at least through the end of this year.

In 2012, Ford named former North America chief Mark Fields as chief operating officer to handle day-to-day duties, and Fields became the heir apparent to take over for Mulally. Recent reports suggested that Mulally plans to leave the company sooner than expected and that Fields would become CEO.

Burger King’s profit rises on cost cuts

NEW YORK (AP) – Burger King reported a higher first-quarter profit on Friday as new restaurant openings overseas and lower costs offset weak sales in the U.S.

The Miami-based chain on Friday said sales at established U.S. locations edged up just 0.1 percent, dampened by bad weather.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts also reported underwhelming domestic sales for the first three months of the year, citing the severe weather. Chipotle and Starbucks, which charge higher prices, saw healthy sales gains under the same conditions.

UAW official nominated for seat on GM board

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors Co. could, for the first time, have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June.

The move is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade.

If elected at the company’s annual meeting in Detroit in June, Ashton would replace former GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the trust’s voice on the board. Girsky has been nominated to stay on with a different seat.

Nokia, Microsoft complete $7.5B cellphone deal

HELSINKI (AP) – Nokia says it has completed the 5.44 billion-euro ($7.5 billion) sale of its troubled cellphone and services division to Microsoft Corp., ending a chapter in the former world leading cellphone maker’s history.

The Friday closure of the deal follows delays in global regulatory approvals and ends the production of mobile phones by the Finnish company.

Nokia said the total transaction price would be “slightly higher” than originally thought because of adjustments made for net working capital and cash earnings. The deal was to have closed during the first quarter but was held up because of delays in approvals, including from China.

Where will calorie labels appear? Not just menus

WASHINGTON (AP) – Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. But will they be able to get that same clear information at grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters or airplanes?

The food industry is closely watching the Food and Drug Administration to see what establishments are included in the final menu labeling rules, which are expected this year. Nonrestaurant establishments have lobbied hard for exemption, and the rules have been delayed.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress earlier this month that writing the rules has been “much more challenging than expected.” The agency has sent the rules to the White House, meaning they could be released soon.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 16,361.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,863.40. The Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,075.56.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was down 0.9 cents at $3.04 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.9 cents to $2.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.

Business Highlights

KDWN

Russia’s Lavrov: West plotting to control Ukraine

Russia’s economy felt the sting of the Ukrainian crisis Friday after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating to near junk and Moscow hiked interest rates to keep its sliding ruble from fueling inflation.

The impact could get harder as the West threatens additional sanctions. Still, Russia is showing no signs of backing down, saying Friday that pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine’s southeast will lay down their arms only if the Ukrainian government clears out nationalist protesters in Kiev.

A fading middle-class perk: lower mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (AP) – For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates. Now, even that perk is fading away. Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

Rates for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage are averaging 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate. For “jumbo” mortgages – those above $417,000 in much of the country – the average is 4.47 percent.

This trend reflects the widening wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. Bankers now view jumbo borrowers as safer and shrewder bets even though conventional borrowers put less capital at risk.

Retailers get creative with Pinterest

NEW YORK (AP) – Target, Nordstrom and other big chains are pinning their hopes of attracting shoppers on social media.

Retailers increasingly are using Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to create collections of photos, articles, recipes and more as “pins”, to draw business to their own sites.

Target, the nation’s No. 2 discounter, is creating exclusive party-planning collections with top Pinterest users. Shoes, handbags and other popular items on Pinterest are being prominently displayed in Nordstrom stores with special tags. And Caribou created a coffee blend that was inspired by the coffee chain’s Pinterest fans.

HK bankers add to calls for democracy from Beijing

HONG KONG (AP) – A group of Hong Kong finance industry professionals are pledging to join an Occupy-style movement to protest growing influence from Beijing that they say is undermining the Asian financial hub’s economy.

The bankers, traders and stockbrokers who make up Hong Kong’s financial-worker class are notoriously apolitical. But the group, which currently numbers about 70 people, added their voices to wider calls for full democracy in an open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Worried that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being eroded, they urged China’s Communist leaders to stop interfering in the city’s administrative affairs. They also expressed fears about growing threats to the city’s freedom of speech and the press, rule of law and strong anti-corruption culture.

US consumer confidence jumps to 9-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March.

Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.

Americans were also slightly more optimistic about future hiring, the survey found, though the gains were slight.

Ford’s profit falls 39 percent in first quarter

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford Motor Co.’s worldwide sales rose in the first quarter, propelled by growing strength in Asia and Europe. But weakness in North America dragged down the company’s profit.

Its earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations, while revenue beat them.

Also Friday, CEO Alan Mulally said that there is no change in the plan for him to stay with the company at least through the end of this year.

In 2012, Ford named former North America chief Mark Fields as chief operating officer to handle day-to-day duties, and Fields became the heir apparent to take over for Mulally. Recent reports suggested that Mulally plans to leave the company sooner than expected and that Fields would become CEO.

Burger King’s profit rises on cost cuts

NEW YORK (AP) – Burger King reported a higher first-quarter profit on Friday as new restaurant openings overseas and lower costs offset weak sales in the U.S.

The Miami-based chain on Friday said sales at established U.S. locations edged up just 0.1 percent, dampened by bad weather.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts also reported underwhelming domestic sales for the first three months of the year, citing the severe weather. Chipotle and Starbucks, which charge higher prices, saw healthy sales gains under the same conditions.

UAW official nominated for seat on GM board

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors Co. could, for the first time, have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June.

The move is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade.

If elected at the company’s annual meeting in Detroit in June, Ashton would replace former GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the trust’s voice on the board. Girsky has been nominated to stay on with a different seat.

Nokia, Microsoft complete $7.5B cellphone deal

HELSINKI (AP) – Nokia says it has completed the 5.44 billion-euro ($7.5 billion) sale of its troubled cellphone and services division to Microsoft Corp., ending a chapter in the former world leading cellphone maker’s history.

The Friday closure of the deal follows delays in global regulatory approvals and ends the production of mobile phones by the Finnish company.

Nokia said the total transaction price would be “slightly higher” than originally thought because of adjustments made for net working capital and cash earnings. The deal was to have closed during the first quarter but was held up because of delays in approvals, including from China.

Where will calorie labels appear? Not just menus

WASHINGTON (AP) – Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. But will they be able to get that same clear information at grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters or airplanes?

The food industry is closely watching the Food and Drug Administration to see what establishments are included in the final menu labeling rules, which are expected this year. Nonrestaurant establishments have lobbied hard for exemption, and the rules have been delayed.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress earlier this month that writing the rules has been “much more challenging than expected.” The agency has sent the rules to the White House, meaning they could be released soon.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 16,361.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,863.40. The Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,075.56.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was down 0.9 cents at $3.04 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.9 cents to $2.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.

Business Highlights

KDWN

Russia’s Lavrov: West plotting to control Ukraine

Russia’s economy felt the sting of the Ukrainian crisis Friday after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating to near junk and Moscow hiked interest rates to keep its sliding ruble from fueling inflation.

The impact could get harder as the West threatens additional sanctions. Still, Russia is showing no signs of backing down, saying Friday that pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine’s southeast will lay down their arms only if the Ukrainian government clears out nationalist protesters in Kiev.

A fading middle-class perk: lower mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (AP) – For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates. Now, even that perk is fading away. Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

Rates for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage are averaging 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate. For “jumbo” mortgages – those above $417,000 in much of the country – the average is 4.47 percent.

This trend reflects the widening wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. Bankers now view jumbo borrowers as safer and shrewder bets even though conventional borrowers put less capital at risk.

Retailers get creative with Pinterest

NEW YORK (AP) – Target, Nordstrom and other big chains are pinning their hopes of attracting shoppers on social media.

Retailers increasingly are using Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to create collections of photos, articles, recipes and more as “pins”, to draw business to their own sites.

Target, the nation’s No. 2 discounter, is creating exclusive party-planning collections with top Pinterest users. Shoes, handbags and other popular items on Pinterest are being prominently displayed in Nordstrom stores with special tags. And Caribou created a coffee blend that was inspired by the coffee chain’s Pinterest fans.

HK bankers add to calls for democracy from Beijing

HONG KONG (AP) – A group of Hong Kong finance industry professionals are pledging to join an Occupy-style movement to protest growing influence from Beijing that they say is undermining the Asian financial hub’s economy.

The bankers, traders and stockbrokers who make up Hong Kong’s financial-worker class are notoriously apolitical. But the group, which currently numbers about 70 people, added their voices to wider calls for full democracy in an open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Worried that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being eroded, they urged China’s Communist leaders to stop interfering in the city’s administrative affairs. They also expressed fears about growing threats to the city’s freedom of speech and the press, rule of law and strong anti-corruption culture.

US consumer confidence jumps to 9-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March.

Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.

Americans were also slightly more optimistic about future hiring, the survey found, though the gains were slight.

Ford’s profit falls 39 percent in first quarter

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford Motor Co.’s worldwide sales rose in the first quarter, propelled by growing strength in Asia and Europe. But weakness in North America dragged down the company’s profit.

Its earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations, while revenue beat them.

Also Friday, CEO Alan Mulally said that there is no change in the plan for him to stay with the company at least through the end of this year.

In 2012, Ford named former North America chief Mark Fields as chief operating officer to handle day-to-day duties, and Fields became the heir apparent to take over for Mulally. Recent reports suggested that Mulally plans to leave the company sooner than expected and that Fields would become CEO.

Burger King’s profit rises on cost cuts

NEW YORK (AP) – Burger King reported a higher first-quarter profit on Friday as new restaurant openings overseas and lower costs offset weak sales in the U.S.

The Miami-based chain on Friday said sales at established U.S. locations edged up just 0.1 percent, dampened by bad weather.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts also reported underwhelming domestic sales for the first three months of the year, citing the severe weather. Chipotle and Starbucks, which charge higher prices, saw healthy sales gains under the same conditions.

UAW official nominated for seat on GM board

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors Co. could, for the first time, have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June.

The move is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade.

If elected at the company’s annual meeting in Detroit in June, Ashton would replace former GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the trust’s voice on the board. Girsky has been nominated to stay on with a different seat.

Nokia, Microsoft complete $7.5B cellphone deal

HELSINKI (AP) – Nokia says it has completed the 5.44 billion-euro ($7.5 billion) sale of its troubled cellphone and services division to Microsoft Corp., ending a chapter in the former world leading cellphone maker’s history.

The Friday closure of the deal follows delays in global regulatory approvals and ends the production of mobile phones by the Finnish company.

Nokia said the total transaction price would be “slightly higher” than originally thought because of adjustments made for net working capital and cash earnings. The deal was to have closed during the first quarter but was held up because of delays in approvals, including from China.

Where will calorie labels appear? Not just menus

WASHINGTON (AP) – Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. But will they be able to get that same clear information at grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters or airplanes?

The food industry is closely watching the Food and Drug Administration to see what establishments are included in the final menu labeling rules, which are expected this year. Nonrestaurant establishments have lobbied hard for exemption, and the rules have been delayed.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress earlier this month that writing the rules has been “much more challenging than expected.” The agency has sent the rules to the White House, meaning they could be released soon.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 16,361.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,863.40. The Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,075.56.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was down 0.9 cents at $3.04 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.9 cents to $2.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.

Business Highlights

KDWN

Russia’s Lavrov: West plotting to control Ukraine

Russia’s economy felt the sting of the Ukrainian crisis Friday after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating to near junk and Moscow hiked interest rates to keep its sliding ruble from fueling inflation.

The impact could get harder as the West threatens additional sanctions. Still, Russia is showing no signs of backing down, saying Friday that pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine’s southeast will lay down their arms only if the Ukrainian government clears out nationalist protesters in Kiev.

A fading middle-class perk: lower mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (AP) – For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates. Now, even that perk is fading away. Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

Rates for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage are averaging 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate. For “jumbo” mortgages – those above $417,000 in much of the country – the average is 4.47 percent.

This trend reflects the widening wealth gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. Bankers now view jumbo borrowers as safer and shrewder bets even though conventional borrowers put less capital at risk.

Retailers get creative with Pinterest

NEW YORK (AP) – Target, Nordstrom and other big chains are pinning their hopes of attracting shoppers on social media.

Retailers increasingly are using Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to create collections of photos, articles, recipes and more as “pins”, to draw business to their own sites.

Target, the nation’s No. 2 discounter, is creating exclusive party-planning collections with top Pinterest users. Shoes, handbags and other popular items on Pinterest are being prominently displayed in Nordstrom stores with special tags. And Caribou created a coffee blend that was inspired by the coffee chain’s Pinterest fans.

HK bankers add to calls for democracy from Beijing

HONG KONG (AP) – A group of Hong Kong finance industry professionals are pledging to join an Occupy-style movement to protest growing influence from Beijing that they say is undermining the Asian financial hub’s economy.

The bankers, traders and stockbrokers who make up Hong Kong’s financial-worker class are notoriously apolitical. But the group, which currently numbers about 70 people, added their voices to wider calls for full democracy in an open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping.

Worried that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being eroded, they urged China’s Communist leaders to stop interfering in the city’s administrative affairs. They also expressed fears about growing threats to the city’s freedom of speech and the press, rule of law and strong anti-corruption culture.

US consumer confidence jumps to 9-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March.

Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.

Americans were also slightly more optimistic about future hiring, the survey found, though the gains were slight.

Ford’s profit falls 39 percent in first quarter

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford Motor Co.’s worldwide sales rose in the first quarter, propelled by growing strength in Asia and Europe. But weakness in North America dragged down the company’s profit.

Its earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations, while revenue beat them.

Also Friday, CEO Alan Mulally said that there is no change in the plan for him to stay with the company at least through the end of this year.

In 2012, Ford named former North America chief Mark Fields as chief operating officer to handle day-to-day duties, and Fields became the heir apparent to take over for Mulally. Recent reports suggested that Mulally plans to leave the company sooner than expected and that Fields would become CEO.

Burger King’s profit rises on cost cuts

NEW YORK (AP) – Burger King reported a higher first-quarter profit on Friday as new restaurant openings overseas and lower costs offset weak sales in the U.S.

The Miami-based chain on Friday said sales at established U.S. locations edged up just 0.1 percent, dampened by bad weather.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts also reported underwhelming domestic sales for the first three months of the year, citing the severe weather. Chipotle and Starbucks, which charge higher prices, saw healthy sales gains under the same conditions.

UAW official nominated for seat on GM board

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors Co. could, for the first time, have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June.

The move is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade.

If elected at the company’s annual meeting in Detroit in June, Ashton would replace former GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the trust’s voice on the board. Girsky has been nominated to stay on with a different seat.

Nokia, Microsoft complete $7.5B cellphone deal

HELSINKI (AP) – Nokia says it has completed the 5.44 billion-euro ($7.5 billion) sale of its troubled cellphone and services division to Microsoft Corp., ending a chapter in the former world leading cellphone maker’s history.

The Friday closure of the deal follows delays in global regulatory approvals and ends the production of mobile phones by the Finnish company.

Nokia said the total transaction price would be “slightly higher” than originally thought because of adjustments made for net working capital and cash earnings. The deal was to have closed during the first quarter but was held up because of delays in approvals, including from China.

Where will calorie labels appear? Not just menus

WASHINGTON (AP) – Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. But will they be able to get that same clear information at grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters or airplanes?

The food industry is closely watching the Food and Drug Administration to see what establishments are included in the final menu labeling rules, which are expected this year. Nonrestaurant establishments have lobbied hard for exemption, and the rules have been delayed.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress earlier this month that writing the rules has been “much more challenging than expected.” The agency has sent the rules to the White House, meaning they could be released soon.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 16,361.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,863.40. The Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,075.56.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was down 0.9 cents at $3.04 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.9 cents to $2.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.

Business Highlights

KDWN

FDA eases into regulating e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government’s move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.

Proposed rules, issued Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, tread fairly lightly. They would ban sales to anyone under 18, add warning labels and require FDA approval for new products.

Some public health experts say a measured approach is the right one. They think that the devices, which heat a nicotine solution to produce an odorless vapor without the smoke and tar of burning tobacco, can help smokers quit. Still, some wonder whether e-cigarettes keep smokers addicted or hook new users and encourage them to move on to tobacco. And some warn that the FDA regulations could have unintended consequences.

US proposes pay-for-priority Internet standards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The nation’s top telecoms regulator is proposing to allow a pay-for-priority fast lane on the Internet for movies, music and other services to get to people’s homes.

Under the proposal, an access provider could demand that high-traffic services such as Netflix pay for preferential treatment. The proposal would include safeguards to make sure the arrangements don’t harm consumers or stifle competition and free speech.

Consumer advocates say the proposed system would inevitably allow deep-pocketed Internet giants like Netflix, Google and Facebook to maintain their edge over startups because they can pay to ensure snappier connections and clearer, uninterrupted video.

Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs

NEW YORK (AP) – Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they’ve been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs on the way.

U.S. industrial leaders such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar have been posting strong financial results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong. Economists say that means other large companies are investing in expensive equipment they need to grow their business.

Big manufacturers have cut costs, slimmed down their operations and accumulated cash since the financial crisis. Now, finally, the economies of the U.S. and Europe are showing steady progress, which makes their customers more confident and willing to spend.

GM says securities regulators are probing recall

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. securities regulators are looking into General Motors’ delayed recall of more than 2 million cars with a deadly ignition switch problem.

GM disclosed in a quarterly report Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has made inquiries about the recall. It also confirmed for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York and an unidentified state attorney general are conducting investigations. Congress and federal highway safety regulators also are investigating.

The SEC likely is probing whether GM failed to disclose the switch problem to investors quickly enough, said Peter Henning, a former SEC lawyer who now is a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For airlines not named United, it was a great 1Q

DALLAS (AP) – Even with the turbulence of severe winter storms and stubbornly high fuel prices, many of the major airlines are cruising and their stock prices are soaring.

Mergers have reduced competition and made it easier for the airlines to limit the supply of seats and raise average fares. Extra fees bring in billions more each year.

On Thursday, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines reported record profits for the first quarter, usually the weakest time of year for the airlines. That followed a rousing report from Delta Air Lines a day earlier. Still stuck on the tarmac: United Airlines. While rivals were making money, United lost another $609 million during the first three months of the year.

Amazon’s 1st quarter net income jumps

NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon’s first-quarter profit rose 18 percent as shoppers continued to flock to the online mega retailer to buy goods.

The results beat market expectations and shares rose in aftermarket trading Thursday

Amazon has long focused on spending the money it makes to grow its business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and even grocery delivery. While investors have largely given Amazon a pass for focusing on growth and investing rather than turning a strong profit, Amazon has been making some moves lately to strengthen its bottom line.

Starbucks profit climbs as US sales increase

NEW YORK (AP) – Starbucks reported a stronger quarterly profit on Thursday as customers in the U.S. continued shelling out more money at its cafes.

The Seattle-based chain said global sales at established locations rose 6 percent for its second fiscal quarter, including in the U.S., where it has more than 11,000 cafes. Operating margin also improved as a result of lower costs for ingredients, and the company raised its profit outlook for the year.

Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said that the domestic sales increase was the result of an uptick in customer visits, as well as people spending more on average when they visited.

Tesla’s Musk paid $70,000 in 2013

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was paid just under $70,000 in 2013. But he could be in line for much, much more.

According to a filing with regulators Thursday, Musk made a base salary of $33,280 in 2013 – the minimum he was required to make under California law. He got an additional $36,709 in company bonuses.

Tesla says Musk, the billionaire founder of PayPal and rocket-building company SpaceEx, only accepts $1 and returns the rest to the company.

Musk could someday rake in much more – under a compensation package approved in 2012, Musk was awarded options to buy nearly 5.3 million shares of Tesla stock at $31.17 each. The stock closed Thursday at $207.86, making those shares worth more than $1 billion.

FDA OKs first-ever DNA alternative to Pap smear

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health regulators have cleared a genetic test from Roche as a first-choice screening option for cervical cancer, a role previously reserved for the Pap smear, the decades-old mainstay of women’s health.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Roche’s test to detect the human Papillomavirus, or HPV, in women 25 and up. HPV causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Doctors already use such DNA-based tools as a follow-up to confirm Pap test results. But Thursday’s decision means Roche can now market its test as a stand-alone option for cervical cancer screening, ahead of the Pap test.

Currently no major medical guidelines recommend HPV testing alone for cervical cancer screening.

Tokyo court starts Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings

TOKYO (AP) – Bankruptcy proceedings began Thursday for the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, a move that was widely expected after the Tokyo District Court decided earlier this month that the company would not be able to resurrect itself.

An administrator will try to sell its assets, but many creditors, including those who had bitcoins with the exchange, might not get their money back.

After Mt. Gox went offline in February, its CEO, Mark Karpeles, said tens of thousands of bitcoins worth several hundred million dollars were unaccounted for. Under the bankruptcy proceedings, Karpeles’ liability will be investigated, Mt. Gox said in a statement.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 16,501.65, unchanged on the day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,878.61 and the Nasdaq composite rose 21.37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148.34.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery rose 50 cents to close at $101.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $3.09 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.01 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $4.705 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gained $1.22 to $110.33 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Business Highlights

KDWN

FDA eases into regulating e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government’s move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.

Proposed rules, issued Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, tread fairly lightly. They would ban sales to anyone under 18, add warning labels and require FDA approval for new products.

Some public health experts say a measured approach is the right one. They think that the devices, which heat a nicotine solution to produce an odorless vapor without the smoke and tar of burning tobacco, can help smokers quit. Still, some wonder whether e-cigarettes keep smokers addicted or hook new users and encourage them to move on to tobacco. And some warn that the FDA regulations could have unintended consequences.

US proposes pay-for-priority Internet standards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The nation’s top telecoms regulator is proposing to allow a pay-for-priority fast lane on the Internet for movies, music and other services to get to people’s homes.

Under the proposal, an access provider could demand that high-traffic services such as Netflix pay for preferential treatment. The proposal would include safeguards to make sure the arrangements don’t harm consumers or stifle competition and free speech.

Consumer advocates say the proposed system would inevitably allow deep-pocketed Internet giants like Netflix, Google and Facebook to maintain their edge over startups because they can pay to ensure snappier connections and clearer, uninterrupted video.

Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs

NEW YORK (AP) – Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they’ve been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs on the way.

U.S. industrial leaders such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar have been posting strong financial results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong. Economists say that means other large companies are investing in expensive equipment they need to grow their business.

Big manufacturers have cut costs, slimmed down their operations and accumulated cash since the financial crisis. Now, finally, the economies of the U.S. and Europe are showing steady progress, which makes their customers more confident and willing to spend.

GM says securities regulators are probing recall

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. securities regulators are looking into General Motors’ delayed recall of more than 2 million cars with a deadly ignition switch problem.

GM disclosed in a quarterly report Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has made inquiries about the recall. It also confirmed for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York and an unidentified state attorney general are conducting investigations. Congress and federal highway safety regulators also are investigating.

The SEC likely is probing whether GM failed to disclose the switch problem to investors quickly enough, said Peter Henning, a former SEC lawyer who now is a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For airlines not named United, it was a great 1Q

DALLAS (AP) – Even with the turbulence of severe winter storms and stubbornly high fuel prices, many of the major airlines are cruising and their stock prices are soaring.

Mergers have reduced competition and made it easier for the airlines to limit the supply of seats and raise average fares. Extra fees bring in billions more each year.

On Thursday, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines reported record profits for the first quarter, usually the weakest time of year for the airlines. That followed a rousing report from Delta Air Lines a day earlier. Still stuck on the tarmac: United Airlines. While rivals were making money, United lost another $609 million during the first three months of the year.

Amazon’s 1st quarter net income jumps

NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon’s first-quarter profit rose 18 percent as shoppers continued to flock to the online mega retailer to buy goods.

The results beat market expectations and shares rose in aftermarket trading Thursday

Amazon has long focused on spending the money it makes to grow its business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and even grocery delivery. While investors have largely given Amazon a pass for focusing on growth and investing rather than turning a strong profit, Amazon has been making some moves lately to strengthen its bottom line.

Starbucks profit climbs as US sales increase

NEW YORK (AP) – Starbucks reported a stronger quarterly profit on Thursday as customers in the U.S. continued shelling out more money at its cafes.

The Seattle-based chain said global sales at established locations rose 6 percent for its second fiscal quarter, including in the U.S., where it has more than 11,000 cafes. Operating margin also improved as a result of lower costs for ingredients, and the company raised its profit outlook for the year.

Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said that the domestic sales increase was the result of an uptick in customer visits, as well as people spending more on average when they visited.

Tesla’s Musk paid $70,000 in 2013

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was paid just under $70,000 in 2013. But he could be in line for much, much more.

According to a filing with regulators Thursday, Musk made a base salary of $33,280 in 2013 – the minimum he was required to make under California law. He got an additional $36,709 in company bonuses.

Tesla says Musk, the billionaire founder of PayPal and rocket-building company SpaceEx, only accepts $1 and returns the rest to the company.

Musk could someday rake in much more – under a compensation package approved in 2012, Musk was awarded options to buy nearly 5.3 million shares of Tesla stock at $31.17 each. The stock closed Thursday at $207.86, making those shares worth more than $1 billion.

FDA OKs first-ever DNA alternative to Pap smear

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health regulators have cleared a genetic test from Roche as a first-choice screening option for cervical cancer, a role previously reserved for the Pap smear, the decades-old mainstay of women’s health.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Roche’s test to detect the human Papillomavirus, or HPV, in women 25 and up. HPV causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Doctors already use such DNA-based tools as a follow-up to confirm Pap test results. But Thursday’s decision means Roche can now market its test as a stand-alone option for cervical cancer screening, ahead of the Pap test.

Currently no major medical guidelines recommend HPV testing alone for cervical cancer screening.

Tokyo court starts Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings

TOKYO (AP) – Bankruptcy proceedings began Thursday for the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, a move that was widely expected after the Tokyo District Court decided earlier this month that the company would not be able to resurrect itself.

An administrator will try to sell its assets, but many creditors, including those who had bitcoins with the exchange, might not get their money back.

After Mt. Gox went offline in February, its CEO, Mark Karpeles, said tens of thousands of bitcoins worth several hundred million dollars were unaccounted for. Under the bankruptcy proceedings, Karpeles’ liability will be investigated, Mt. Gox said in a statement.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 16,501.65, unchanged on the day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,878.61 and the Nasdaq composite rose 21.37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148.34.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery rose 50 cents to close at $101.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $3.09 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.01 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $4.705 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gained $1.22 to $110.33 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Business Highlights

KDWN

FDA eases into regulating e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government’s move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.

Proposed rules, issued Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, tread fairly lightly. They would ban sales to anyone under 18, add warning labels and require FDA approval for new products.

Some public health experts say a measured approach is the right one. They think that the devices, which heat a nicotine solution to produce an odorless vapor without the smoke and tar of burning tobacco, can help smokers quit. Still, some wonder whether e-cigarettes keep smokers addicted or hook new users and encourage them to move on to tobacco. And some warn that the FDA regulations could have unintended consequences.

US proposes pay-for-priority Internet standards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The nation’s top telecoms regulator is proposing to allow a pay-for-priority fast lane on the Internet for movies, music and other services to get to people’s homes.

Under the proposal, an access provider could demand that high-traffic services such as Netflix pay for preferential treatment. The proposal would include safeguards to make sure the arrangements don’t harm consumers or stifle competition and free speech.

Consumer advocates say the proposed system would inevitably allow deep-pocketed Internet giants like Netflix, Google and Facebook to maintain their edge over startups because they can pay to ensure snappier connections and clearer, uninterrupted video.

Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs

NEW YORK (AP) – Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they’ve been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs on the way.

U.S. industrial leaders such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar have been posting strong financial results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong. Economists say that means other large companies are investing in expensive equipment they need to grow their business.

Big manufacturers have cut costs, slimmed down their operations and accumulated cash since the financial crisis. Now, finally, the economies of the U.S. and Europe are showing steady progress, which makes their customers more confident and willing to spend.

GM says securities regulators are probing recall

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. securities regulators are looking into General Motors’ delayed recall of more than 2 million cars with a deadly ignition switch problem.

GM disclosed in a quarterly report Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has made inquiries about the recall. It also confirmed for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York and an unidentified state attorney general are conducting investigations. Congress and federal highway safety regulators also are investigating.

The SEC likely is probing whether GM failed to disclose the switch problem to investors quickly enough, said Peter Henning, a former SEC lawyer who now is a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For airlines not named United, it was a great 1Q

DALLAS (AP) – Even with the turbulence of severe winter storms and stubbornly high fuel prices, many of the major airlines are cruising and their stock prices are soaring.

Mergers have reduced competition and made it easier for the airlines to limit the supply of seats and raise average fares. Extra fees bring in billions more each year.

On Thursday, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines reported record profits for the first quarter, usually the weakest time of year for the airlines. That followed a rousing report from Delta Air Lines a day earlier. Still stuck on the tarmac: United Airlines. While rivals were making money, United lost another $609 million during the first three months of the year.

Amazon’s 1st quarter net income jumps

NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon’s first-quarter profit rose 18 percent as shoppers continued to flock to the online mega retailer to buy goods.

The results beat market expectations and shares rose in aftermarket trading Thursday

Amazon has long focused on spending the money it makes to grow its business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and even grocery delivery. While investors have largely given Amazon a pass for focusing on growth and investing rather than turning a strong profit, Amazon has been making some moves lately to strengthen its bottom line.

Starbucks profit climbs as US sales increase

NEW YORK (AP) – Starbucks reported a stronger quarterly profit on Thursday as customers in the U.S. continued shelling out more money at its cafes.

The Seattle-based chain said global sales at established locations rose 6 percent for its second fiscal quarter, including in the U.S., where it has more than 11,000 cafes. Operating margin also improved as a result of lower costs for ingredients, and the company raised its profit outlook for the year.

Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said that the domestic sales increase was the result of an uptick in customer visits, as well as people spending more on average when they visited.

Tesla’s Musk paid $70,000 in 2013

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was paid just under $70,000 in 2013. But he could be in line for much, much more.

According to a filing with regulators Thursday, Musk made a base salary of $33,280 in 2013 – the minimum he was required to make under California law. He got an additional $36,709 in company bonuses.

Tesla says Musk, the billionaire founder of PayPal and rocket-building company SpaceEx, only accepts $1 and returns the rest to the company.

Musk could someday rake in much more – under a compensation package approved in 2012, Musk was awarded options to buy nearly 5.3 million shares of Tesla stock at $31.17 each. The stock closed Thursday at $207.86, making those shares worth more than $1 billion.

FDA OKs first-ever DNA alternative to Pap smear

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health regulators have cleared a genetic test from Roche as a first-choice screening option for cervical cancer, a role previously reserved for the Pap smear, the decades-old mainstay of women’s health.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Roche’s test to detect the human Papillomavirus, or HPV, in women 25 and up. HPV causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Doctors already use such DNA-based tools as a follow-up to confirm Pap test results. But Thursday’s decision means Roche can now market its test as a stand-alone option for cervical cancer screening, ahead of the Pap test.

Currently no major medical guidelines recommend HPV testing alone for cervical cancer screening.

Tokyo court starts Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings

TOKYO (AP) – Bankruptcy proceedings began Thursday for the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, a move that was widely expected after the Tokyo District Court decided earlier this month that the company would not be able to resurrect itself.

An administrator will try to sell its assets, but many creditors, including those who had bitcoins with the exchange, might not get their money back.

After Mt. Gox went offline in February, its CEO, Mark Karpeles, said tens of thousands of bitcoins worth several hundred million dollars were unaccounted for. Under the bankruptcy proceedings, Karpeles’ liability will be investigated, Mt. Gox said in a statement.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 16,501.65, unchanged on the day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,878.61 and the Nasdaq composite rose 21.37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148.34.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery rose 50 cents to close at $101.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $3.09 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.01 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $4.705 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gained $1.22 to $110.33 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Business Highlights

KDWN

FDA eases into regulating e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government’s move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.

Proposed rules, issued Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, tread fairly lightly. They would ban sales to anyone under 18, add warning labels and require FDA approval for new products.

Some public health experts say a measured approach is the right one. They think that the devices, which heat a nicotine solution to produce an odorless vapor without the smoke and tar of burning tobacco, can help smokers quit. Still, some wonder whether e-cigarettes keep smokers addicted or hook new users and encourage them to move on to tobacco. And some warn that the FDA regulations could have unintended consequences.

US proposes pay-for-priority Internet standards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The nation’s top telecoms regulator is proposing to allow a pay-for-priority fast lane on the Internet for movies, music and other services to get to people’s homes.

Under the proposal, an access provider could demand that high-traffic services such as Netflix pay for preferential treatment. The proposal would include safeguards to make sure the arrangements don’t harm consumers or stifle competition and free speech.

Consumer advocates say the proposed system would inevitably allow deep-pocketed Internet giants like Netflix, Google and Facebook to maintain their edge over startups because they can pay to ensure snappier connections and clearer, uninterrupted video.

Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs

NEW YORK (AP) – Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they’ve been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs on the way.

U.S. industrial leaders such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar have been posting strong financial results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong. Economists say that means other large companies are investing in expensive equipment they need to grow their business.

Big manufacturers have cut costs, slimmed down their operations and accumulated cash since the financial crisis. Now, finally, the economies of the U.S. and Europe are showing steady progress, which makes their customers more confident and willing to spend.

GM says securities regulators are probing recall

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. securities regulators are looking into General Motors’ delayed recall of more than 2 million cars with a deadly ignition switch problem.

GM disclosed in a quarterly report Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has made inquiries about the recall. It also confirmed for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York and an unidentified state attorney general are conducting investigations. Congress and federal highway safety regulators also are investigating.

The SEC likely is probing whether GM failed to disclose the switch problem to investors quickly enough, said Peter Henning, a former SEC lawyer who now is a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For airlines not named United, it was a great 1Q

DALLAS (AP) – Even with the turbulence of severe winter storms and stubbornly high fuel prices, many of the major airlines are cruising and their stock prices are soaring.

Mergers have reduced competition and made it easier for the airlines to limit the supply of seats and raise average fares. Extra fees bring in billions more each year.

On Thursday, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines reported record profits for the first quarter, usually the weakest time of year for the airlines. That followed a rousing report from Delta Air Lines a day earlier. Still stuck on the tarmac: United Airlines. While rivals were making money, United lost another $609 million during the first three months of the year.

Amazon’s 1st quarter net income jumps

NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon’s first-quarter profit rose 18 percent as shoppers continued to flock to the online mega retailer to buy goods.

The results beat market expectations and shares rose in aftermarket trading Thursday

Amazon has long focused on spending the money it makes to grow its business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and even grocery delivery. While investors have largely given Amazon a pass for focusing on growth and investing rather than turning a strong profit, Amazon has been making some moves lately to strengthen its bottom line.

Starbucks profit climbs as US sales increase

NEW YORK (AP) – Starbucks reported a stronger quarterly profit on Thursday as customers in the U.S. continued shelling out more money at its cafes.

The Seattle-based chain said global sales at established locations rose 6 percent for its second fiscal quarter, including in the U.S., where it has more than 11,000 cafes. Operating margin also improved as a result of lower costs for ingredients, and the company raised its profit outlook for the year.

Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said that the domestic sales increase was the result of an uptick in customer visits, as well as people spending more on average when they visited.

Tesla’s Musk paid $70,000 in 2013

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was paid just under $70,000 in 2013. But he could be in line for much, much more.

According to a filing with regulators Thursday, Musk made a base salary of $33,280 in 2013 – the minimum he was required to make under California law. He got an additional $36,709 in company bonuses.

Tesla says Musk, the billionaire founder of PayPal and rocket-building company SpaceEx, only accepts $1 and returns the rest to the company.

Musk could someday rake in much more – under a compensation package approved in 2012, Musk was awarded options to buy nearly 5.3 million shares of Tesla stock at $31.17 each. The stock closed Thursday at $207.86, making those shares worth more than $1 billion.

FDA OKs first-ever DNA alternative to Pap smear

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health regulators have cleared a genetic test from Roche as a first-choice screening option for cervical cancer, a role previously reserved for the Pap smear, the decades-old mainstay of women’s health.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Roche’s test to detect the human Papillomavirus, or HPV, in women 25 and up. HPV causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Doctors already use such DNA-based tools as a follow-up to confirm Pap test results. But Thursday’s decision means Roche can now market its test as a stand-alone option for cervical cancer screening, ahead of the Pap test.

Currently no major medical guidelines recommend HPV testing alone for cervical cancer screening.

Tokyo court starts Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings

TOKYO (AP) – Bankruptcy proceedings began Thursday for the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, a move that was widely expected after the Tokyo District Court decided earlier this month that the company would not be able to resurrect itself.

An administrator will try to sell its assets, but many creditors, including those who had bitcoins with the exchange, might not get their money back.

After Mt. Gox went offline in February, its CEO, Mark Karpeles, said tens of thousands of bitcoins worth several hundred million dollars were unaccounted for. Under the bankruptcy proceedings, Karpeles’ liability will be investigated, Mt. Gox said in a statement.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 16,501.65, unchanged on the day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,878.61 and the Nasdaq composite rose 21.37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148.34.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery rose 50 cents to close at $101.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $3.09 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.01 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $4.705 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gained $1.22 to $110.33 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Business Highlights

KDWN

FDA eases into regulating e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government’s move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.

Proposed rules, issued Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, tread fairly lightly. They would ban sales to anyone under 18, add warning labels and require FDA approval for new products.

Some public health experts say a measured approach is the right one. They think that the devices, which heat a nicotine solution to produce an odorless vapor without the smoke and tar of burning tobacco, can help smokers quit. Still, some wonder whether e-cigarettes keep smokers addicted or hook new users and encourage them to move on to tobacco. And some warn that the FDA regulations could have unintended consequences.

US proposes pay-for-priority Internet standards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The nation’s top telecoms regulator is proposing to allow a pay-for-priority fast lane on the Internet for movies, music and other services to get to people’s homes.

Under the proposal, an access provider could demand that high-traffic services such as Netflix pay for preferential treatment. The proposal would include safeguards to make sure the arrangements don’t harm consumers or stifle competition and free speech.

Consumer advocates say the proposed system would inevitably allow deep-pocketed Internet giants like Netflix, Google and Facebook to maintain their edge over startups because they can pay to ensure snappier connections and clearer, uninterrupted video.

Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs

NEW YORK (AP) – Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they’ve been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs on the way.

U.S. industrial leaders such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar have been posting strong financial results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong. Economists say that means other large companies are investing in expensive equipment they need to grow their business.

Big manufacturers have cut costs, slimmed down their operations and accumulated cash since the financial crisis. Now, finally, the economies of the U.S. and Europe are showing steady progress, which makes their customers more confident and willing to spend.

GM says securities regulators are probing recall

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. securities regulators are looking into General Motors’ delayed recall of more than 2 million cars with a deadly ignition switch problem.

GM disclosed in a quarterly report Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has made inquiries about the recall. It also confirmed for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York and an unidentified state attorney general are conducting investigations. Congress and federal highway safety regulators also are investigating.

The SEC likely is probing whether GM failed to disclose the switch problem to investors quickly enough, said Peter Henning, a former SEC lawyer who now is a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For airlines not named United, it was a great 1Q

DALLAS (AP) – Even with the turbulence of severe winter storms and stubbornly high fuel prices, many of the major airlines are cruising and their stock prices are soaring.

Mergers have reduced competition and made it easier for the airlines to limit the supply of seats and raise average fares. Extra fees bring in billions more each year.

On Thursday, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines reported record profits for the first quarter, usually the weakest time of year for the airlines. That followed a rousing report from Delta Air Lines a day earlier. Still stuck on the tarmac: United Airlines. While rivals were making money, United lost another $609 million during the first three months of the year.

Amazon’s 1st quarter net income jumps

NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon’s first-quarter profit rose 18 percent as shoppers continued to flock to the online mega retailer to buy goods.

The results beat market expectations and shares rose in aftermarket trading Thursday

Amazon has long focused on spending the money it makes to grow its business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and even grocery delivery. While investors have largely given Amazon a pass for focusing on growth and investing rather than turning a strong profit, Amazon has been making some moves lately to strengthen its bottom line.

Starbucks profit climbs as US sales increase

NEW YORK (AP) – Starbucks reported a stronger quarterly profit on Thursday as customers in the U.S. continued shelling out more money at its cafes.

The Seattle-based chain said global sales at established locations rose 6 percent for its second fiscal quarter, including in the U.S., where it has more than 11,000 cafes. Operating margin also improved as a result of lower costs for ingredients, and the company raised its profit outlook for the year.

Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said that the domestic sales increase was the result of an uptick in customer visits, as well as people spending more on average when they visited.

Tesla’s Musk paid $70,000 in 2013

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was paid just under $70,000 in 2013. But he could be in line for much, much more.

According to a filing with regulators Thursday, Musk made a base salary of $33,280 in 2013 – the minimum he was required to make under California law. He got an additional $36,709 in company bonuses.

Tesla says Musk, the billionaire founder of PayPal and rocket-building company SpaceEx, only accepts $1 and returns the rest to the company.

Musk could someday rake in much more – under a compensation package approved in 2012, Musk was awarded options to buy nearly 5.3 million shares of Tesla stock at $31.17 each. The stock closed Thursday at $207.86, making those shares worth more than $1 billion.

FDA OKs first-ever DNA alternative to Pap smear

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health regulators have cleared a genetic test from Roche as a first-choice screening option for cervical cancer, a role previously reserved for the Pap smear, the decades-old mainstay of women’s health.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Roche’s test to detect the human Papillomavirus, or HPV, in women 25 and up. HPV causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Doctors already use such DNA-based tools as a follow-up to confirm Pap test results. But Thursday’s decision means Roche can now market its test as a stand-alone option for cervical cancer screening, ahead of the Pap test.

Currently no major medical guidelines recommend HPV testing alone for cervical cancer screening.

Tokyo court starts Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings

TOKYO (AP) – Bankruptcy proceedings began Thursday for the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, a move that was widely expected after the Tokyo District Court decided earlier this month that the company would not be able to resurrect itself.

An administrator will try to sell its assets, but many creditors, including those who had bitcoins with the exchange, might not get their money back.

After Mt. Gox went offline in February, its CEO, Mark Karpeles, said tens of thousands of bitcoins worth several hundred million dollars were unaccounted for. Under the bankruptcy proceedings, Karpeles’ liability will be investigated, Mt. Gox said in a statement.

By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 16,501.65, unchanged on the day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,878.61 and the Nasdaq composite rose 21.37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148.34.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery rose 50 cents to close at $101.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $3.09 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.01 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $4.705 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gained $1.22 to $110.33 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.