Business Highlights

Business Highlights

Associated Press

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Not so fast cordcutters_cable's not going anywhere

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cord cutters rejoiced last week after HBO and CBS announced plans to sell stand-alone streaming services, a move that cable and satellite television providers have resisted for years. Customers tired of paying big fees for hundreds of channels they never watch just to have access to a few favorite shows might be expected to start cancelling cable service in droves. Get Netflix, throw in HBO, add a network here and there — why would anyone sign up now for cable?

Well, don't sound the death knell for cable companies yet.

Some would-be customers may balk when they see just how much paying a la carte actually costs. Stations that offer services a la carte will have to pay for marketing that the cable and satellite companies usually cover. Fewer eyeballs on live TV could mean less advertising revenue, since online ads are generally cheaper, and that will boost the network's cost of running the channel. And smooth streaming costs money.

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Apple reports record 39.3 million iPhone sales

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Excitement for Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models drove sales of a record 39.3 million iPhones in the last quarter, boosting the company's earnings and revenue well above expectations.

All told, the company sold $23.7 billion worth of iPhones, beating the $21.5 billion in sales expected by analysts polled by FactSet. Apple's signature smartphones are the company's biggest source of revenue and profit.

"We had a really, really good quarter," Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told The Associated Press. He also credited strong demand for the company's Mac computers and its online app store.

But the company didn't do as well with its iPad tablets. Apple said it sold 13 percent fewer iPad tablets than it did a year ago. That follows an industrywide decline in tablet sales. Still, the company reported even lower iPad sales than analysts had expected.

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US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

DETROIT (AP) -- A potential safety crisis over defective air bags widened Monday as the U.S. government issued an urgent plea to more than 4.7 million people to get their cars fixed.

The inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed in crashes.

Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem and there have been multiple injuries. They also say more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with the faulty air bags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned people whose cars have been recalled during the past two years for faulty air bag inflators to take them to dealers right away. The inflators are made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo-based supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts. So far, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles worldwide because of the problem.

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IBM 3Q disappoints as it sheds 'empty calories'

NEW YORK (AP) -- IBM disappointed investors Monday, reporting weak revenue growth again and a big charge to shed its costly chipmaking division as the tech giant tries to steer its business toward cloud computing and social-mobile services. Shares fell more than 7 percent as investors sold off sharply and the stock dragged the Dow 30 into the red.

Is it too late for IBM? Or can Big Blue weather the competition as it transforms its business for the cloud?

Remaking itself is something IBM has done many times through its long history. Starting more than a century ago in punch-card tabulators and time clocks, it grew to encompass the giant mainframe computers and Selectric typewriters of the 1960s and launched its revolutionary personal computer in the 1980s.

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Survey: Pay raises rarer despite strong US hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. businesses were much less likely to boost pay in the third quarter than in previous months, even as hiring remained healthy, a sign that wage gains may remain weak in the coming months.

A quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 24 percent of companies increased wages and salaries in the July-September quarter. That's down from 43 percent in the April-June quarter and the first drop after three straight increases.

Yet the firms still added jobs at a healthy pace, which usually pushes wages higher as employers compete for workers. A measure of hiring in the survey dipped in the third quarter but remained near a three-year high. The figures suggest that the number of people out of work remains high enough that companies aren't under any pressure to raise pay.

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Lorillard CEO to get $44M after Reynolds merger

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The CEO of Newport cigarette maker Lorillard Inc. is set to receive more than $44 million following the planned $25 billion merger with Reynolds American Inc., regulatory filings show.

Murray Kessler is one of several Lorillard executives to receive compensation if they're terminated after the deal closes, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The bulk of Kessler's $44.7 million compensation package would come in the form of a payout of stock awards worth $32.8 million. He'd also receive $10.6 million in cash, which amounts to three times his base salary and annual bonus, according to the filing late Friday.

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Ikea makes push for growth

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ikea, whose stadium-sized furniture stores draw shoppers from miles around, is making an online push.

The CEO of Ikea Group, the world's largest furniture chain, is pushing for sales growth, while making its ready-to-assemble furniture more accessible to shoppers increasingly buying online.

Peter Agnefjail, Ikea's president and CEO, told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday that he remains focused on reaching sales of 50 billion euros ($63.7 billion) by 2020, a goal set a couple of years ago. And he says he's not unnerved by the recent investor fears about another recession in Europe.

He plans to reach that goal by opening more stores, while making the locations more inviting and expanding its online business around the globe.

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Urgent-care clinics ill-equipped to treat Ebola

A new concern over the spread of Ebola surfaced recently when a Dallas County sheriff's deputy who searched the apartment of the first patient to die from the virus in the U.S. started feeling ill and went to an urgent-care center.

The clinics popping up rapidly across the nation aren't designed to treat serious illnesses and are ill-equipped to deal with suspected Ebola cases.

Doctors are urging patients to avoid smaller medical facilities and head to emergency rooms if they think they've been exposed to the virus that has put a focus on weak spots in the U.S. health care system.

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APNewsBreak: Colorado seeks ban on most edible pot

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado health officials want to ban many edible forms of marijuana, including brownies, cookies and most candies, limiting legal sales of pot-infused food to lozenges and some liquids.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told marijuana regulators that many forms of edible marijuana "are naturally attractive to children" and violate the law's "requirement to prevent the marketing of marijuana products to children."

The recommendation was obtained by The Associated Press in advance of a third and possibly final workgroup meeting Monday to draw up rules for identifiable markers or colors for edible marijuana products so they won't be confused with regular foods.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.26 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,399.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 17.25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,904.01. The Nasdaq composite gained 57.64 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,316.07.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 4 cents to close at $82.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 76 cents to close at $85.40 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 3.3 cents to close at $2.200 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.2 cents to close at $2.486 a gallon. Natural gas fell 9.6 cents to close at $3.670 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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