Hiring gain sends stocks higher in early trading
NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow is slightly higher, but the broader indexes have been relatively flat today, despite news that business hiring surged in June.
Payroll processer ADP said U.S. businesses added 281,000 jobs last month, up from 179,000 in the previous month.
The report comes a day after good news on manufacturing drove the market to another all-time high.
Global investment specialist Ed Hyland at JPMorgan Private Bank sums it up this way: "The economy is on an upward trend and that bodes well for the stock market."
Constellation Brands, the owner of Corona and Negra Modelo beer, is up 3 percent after the company said its income soared in the latest quarter.
US factory orders slide 0.5 percent in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell in May, ending three months of gains.
The Commerce Department reports that orders fell 0.5 percent, pulled down by falling demand for military and transportation equipment.
Excluding military hardware, factory orders rose 0.2 percent in May from April. Orders for transportation equipment fell 2.9 percent.
Orders for durable goods, meant to last six months or more, fell 0.9 percent in May. Orders for nondurable goods slipped 0.2 percent.
U.S. factories have been busy. The Institute for Supply Management reported Tuesday that manufacturing expanded in June for the 13th straight month, though the pace of growth slowed from May.
Over the past year, factory orders were up 2.5 percent.
Survey: US companies added 281,000 jobs in June
WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey shows U.S. business hiring surged in June, a sign of stronger economic growth.
Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 281,000 jobs last month, up from 179,000 in the previous month.
The figure suggests the government's jobs report, to be released Thursday, could also show a significant gain from May's tally of 217,000 jobs. But the ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.
The improvement in the ADP figures occurred mostly in professional and business services, a category that includes many higher-paying jobs such as accountants and engineers, but also lower-paid temporary workers. That category gained 77,000 jobs.
Goods producers hired 51,000 workers in May, up from 31,000 the previous month.
Yellen sees little threat to financial stability
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says she doesn't see a need for the Fed to start raising interest rates to address the risk that extremely low rates could destabilize the financial system.
Yellen says she does see "pockets of increased risk-taking across the financial system." But she says those threats could be addressed by an increased use of regulatory tools. Many of those tools, such as higher capital standards for banks, were put in place in response to the 2008 financial crisis, which triggered the Great Recession.
In her remarks at a conference sponsored by the International Monetary Fund, Yellen disputes criticism that the Fed contributed to the 2008 crisis by keeping interest rates too low earlier in the decade.
For-profit college co. doesn't seal deal with feds
WASHINGTON (AP) — The troubled for-profit education company Corinthian Colleges Inc. and the Education Department have failed to meet a deadline to map out the future of the company's more than 100 campuses. But both sides are expressing optimism that a deal will soon be reached.
Corinthian owns Everest College, Heald College and WyoTech schools. It serves about 72,000 students in 26 states and Ontario, Canada.
Last month, the Education Department put Corinthian on heightened financial monitoring with a 21-day waiting period for federal funds. That came after Corinthian failed to comply with the department's requests to address concerns about Corinthian's practices. Those concerns included allegations of falsifying job placement data used in marketing claims to prospective students, and allegations of altered grades and attendance.
In June the company and the Education Department said they reached a memorandum of understanding that would allow the company to keep operating with federal funds. That was supposed to have been finalized by July 1.
Tyson moving forward with Hillshire deal
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — Tyson Foods Inc. has signed a definitive deal to purchase Hillshire Brands Co. for $7.75 billion, two days after the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs was let out of its agreement to buy Pinnacle Foods.
Chicago-based Hillshire agreed to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc. for $4.23 billion in May. But then Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride got into a bidding war for Hillshire, with Hillshire accepting Tyson's $63 per share offer last month. The deal with Tyson — which is valued by the companies at about $8.55 billion, including debt — was contingent on Hillshire walking away from its deal with Pinnacle.
Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson said Wednesday that it will pay the $163 million termination fee to Pinnacle.
Tyson's acquisition of Hillshire is expected to close by Sept. 27.
Kroger to buy vitamin seller Vitacost.com
NEW YORK (AP) — Supermarket chain Kroger is buying online vitamin seller Vitacost.com in a deal the company said is valued at $280 million.
Cincinnati-based Kroger said it will pay $8 per share in cash for Vitacost.com, a 27 percent premium of its closing price of $6.28 Tuesday. The total purchasing price includes stock warrants and options. Vitacost.com, which is based in Boca Raton, Florida, will operate as a subsidiary of Kroger.
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
New Ford CEO gets $5.25M pay package, plus options
DETROIT (AP) — New Ford CEO Mark Fields will get a pay package worth $5.25 million this year as he takes over for the retiring Alan Mulally.
But he'll get stock options that could drive that figure much higher. And the company will restore his use of a corporate jet to travel back and forth from his home near Miami.
Ford revealed Fields' compensation Wednesday in a regulatory filing.
He'll get a $1.75 million base salary, plus $3.5 million in incentive compensation. And the company is offering him options to buy more than 710,000 shares of stock at Tuesday's closing price of $17.21 per share.
Fields took over for Mulally on Tuesday. Even with the options, Fields has a long way to go to match Mulally's package of $23.2 million last year.
UK investigating Facebook over psych experiment
LONDON (AP) — British data protection authorities are investigating revelations that Facebook conducted a psychological experiment on its users.
The Information Commissioner's Office said in a statement Wednesday that it wants to learn more about the circumstances of the experiment carried out by two U.S. universities and the social network. The researchers manipulated the news feeds of about 700,000 randomly selected users to study the impact of "emotional contagion," or how emotional states are transferred to others.
The commissioner's office is working with authorities in Ireland, headquarters of Facebook's European operations. French authorities are also reviewing the matter.
The concern comes amid interest in Europe about beefing up data protection rules. The European Court of Justice last month ruled that Google must respond to user requests seeking to remove links to personal information.
Target asks customers to leave firearms at home
NEW YORK (AP) — Target is asking its customers to not bring firearms into its stores, even where it is allowed by law.
In a statement on the retailer's corporate blog, interim CEO John Mulligan said that Target wants a "safe and inviting" atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.
"Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create," he said.
Target Corp. made the announcement after questions arose in recent weeks about its policy on the "open carry" of firearms in its stores.
The Minneapolis company's stock added 53 cents to $58.90 in Wednesday morning trading.
AB InBev buys Czech 'Budweiser' brewer
PRAGUE (AP) — Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, has acquired a small Czech brewery, Samson, in an effort to strengthen its claim to the trademark name of Budweiser.
Currently, AB InBev is in a legal battle globally over the name with Budvar, another Czech brewer.
Budvar and Samson are based in the town of Ceske Budejovice, also known as Budweis, from which the traditional Budweiser beer is made.
AB InBev already owned the parent company of Samson, giving it the right to the name in the Czech Republic alongside Budvar. With the deal announced Wednesday, it will also take over Samson's production, possibly bolstering its legal position when claiming the right to the name in other countries.
Budvar, a state-owned company, said the deal would not affect its business or trademarks.
Lawsuit: Inmate tried to buy influence in prison
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A former driver for an imprisoned hedge-fund founder says he was asked to help funnel money from his former boss to other inmates at a federal prison in Massachusetts.
The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed June 20 by the driver, Peter Malaszuk, against Raj Rajaratnam (rahj rah-juh-RUHT'-nuhm) in U.S. District Court.
Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, is serving an 11-year sentence for insider trading at a minimum-security facility in Ayer, Massachusetts.
Malaszuk alleges Rajaratnam gave him names and contact information for the family members of inmates who were to receive money. He says the cash was meant to secure special treatment in prison for Rajaratnam.
Terence Lynam, Rajaratnam's attorney, says the allegations are false and part of an effort to extort money.