Summer travel forecast: Better, but no blowout
NEW YORK (AP) -- This summer, high rollers are flying to lavish hot spots for their vacations. The rest of us are driving to less luxurious places like nearby campgrounds.
The good news: At some U.S. campgrounds these days you get live bands, air guitar contests and chocolate pudding slip 'n slides.
Americans' plans for summer travel mirror the current state of the economy. Rising home prices and a soaring stock market are encouraging those at the top of the income ladder to take more extravagant trips. But large segments of the population are staying close to home because wages are stagnant, rents are high and the end of the payroll tax holiday has shrunken their take-home pay.
AAA, one of the nation's largest leisure travel agencies, isn't expecting a resounding start to vacation season this Memorial Day. Citing the "up and down economy," AAA expects 31.2 million Americans to hit the road this weekend, virtually the same number as last year. Throw in planes, trains and buses, and the number of travelers will drop about 1 percent, AAA says.
Delta ups the ante in battle for NY travel market
NEW YORK (AP) -- Delta's formula for winning over New York travelers is simple: floor-to-ceiling windows, abundant power outlets and a burger joint with a cult-like following.
The airline opened a sprawling $1.4 billion terminal at Kennedy Airport Friday, a facility more suitable to the high-paying passengers it is trying to attract. The 346,000-square-foot concourse offers upscale food and shopping options, increased seating and sweeping views of the airport.
Netflix looks to hook subscribers with 'Arrested'
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Netflix is hoping this weekend's release of the resurrected TV series "Arrested Development" will draw more subscribers to its Internet video service.
The award-winning show about the dysfunctional Bluth family returns Sunday, seven years after Fox cancelled the series. The revival coincides with Netflix's own resounding comeback from a customer backlash over price increases and shareholders' worries about rising expenses. The adversity had raised doubts about the company's management and future.
Now, Netflix is winning back subscribers and investors with a bold attempt to establish its $8-per-month service as a home entertainment powerhouse that rivals the broadcast television networks and premium cable channels such as HBO.
Schumer urges look at security in Sprint deal
NEW YORK (AP) -- Sen. Charles Schumer urged regulators to "use extreme caution" when reviewing the proposed acquisition of No. 3 cell carrier Sprint Nextel by Japan's Softbank, saying the Japanese company's use of Chinese networking equipment could open up U.S. networks to snooping and hacking.
The New York Democrat sent letters Friday to the Treasury Department and Federal Communications Commission, both of which are reviewing Softbank Corp.'s offer to buy 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp. for $20.1 billion.
Satellite TV broadcaster Dish Network Corp. has a competing, $25.5 billion offer for all of Sprint, and has raised the security issue as one reason Sprint shareholders should prefer its bid.
US durable goods orders rise 3.3 percent in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in April, buoyed by more demand for aircraft and stronger business investment. The gains suggest economic growth may be holding steady this spring.
Orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose 3.3 percent last month from March, the Commerce Department said Friday. That followed a 5.9 decline in March.
A measure of business investment plans increased 1.2 percent. And the government revised the March figure to show a 0.9 percent gain, instead of a slight decrease.
China gives US regulators access to audit records
WASHINGTON (AP) -- China has agreed to give U.S. regulators access to audit records for Chinese companies whose shares trade on U.S. stock exchanges, a step forward in a long-running dispute.
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a watchdog agency for the accounting industry, announced the agreement with China on Friday.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused about a dozen Chinese companies of accounting fraud and has been investigating others. The SEC has said it had been hampered by the refusal of the Chinese government to permit the regulator to have access to the firms' accounting records.
Japan's ANA to resume Boeing 787 flights on Sunday
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's All Nippon Airways, the launch customer for Boeing's 787 "Dreamliner," will resume commercial flights of the aircraft on Sunday, just over four months after the jets were grounded due to smoldering batteries.
ANA said in a statement that it will run five commercial 787 flights in May, before regular, scheduled services begin on June 1. The first will be a commercial flight late Sunday from Chitose, on the northern island of Hokkaido, to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
Smoldering batteries on two 787s, one of them owned by ANA, prompted authorities to ground the planes in January. The failure of Boeing's newest, flashiest and most important plane embarrassed the company and its customers.
ANA said it has modified all 17 of its 787 aircraft and conducted 170 proving flights.
Barrick fined $16 million for Pascua-Lama violations
VALLENAR, Chile (AP) -- Chile's environmental regulator blocked Barrick Gold Corp.'s $8.5 billion Pascua-Lama project on Friday and imposed its maximum fine on the world's largest gold miner, citing "very serious" violations of its environmental permit as well as a failure by the company to accurately describe what it had done wrong.
After a four-month investigation, the Environmental Superintendent said all other construction work on Pascua-Lama must stop until Barrick builds the systems it promised to put in place beforehand for containing contaminated water.
The fines add up to 8 billion pesos — about $16 million — the highest possible under Chilean law.
News Corp. OKs poison pill, buyback before split
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- News Corp. said that its board of directors has approved plans to split its entertainment and publishing businesses into two separate companies. The company also adopted a shareholder-rights plan designed to prevent a hostile takeover in the volatile trading period after the split is complete.
The New York-based media conglomerate also said Friday that the target date for the split is June 28. The company holding its TV and movie properties will be 21st Century Fox. The new News Corp., a smaller entity, will be focused on newspapers and publishing. Both will be publicly traded, under separate ticker symbols.
The board also approved a program for the publishing business to buy back $500 million of shares after the split, providing a buttress to its share value.
The shareholders-rights plan, known as a poison pill, will make it expensive for any investor to buy more than 15 percent of the voting shares in either company for a year after the split.
Japan's Prime Minister Abe defends policies as markets settle
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's top leaders are defending the economic strategies championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, though the central bank chief acknowledged a need for better communication with financial markets, a day after Tokyo shares suffered their worst loss since the 2011 tsunami disaster.
Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda acknowledged Friday the need for careful handling of aggressive monetary policies aimed at breaking the world's third-largest economy free of deflation, or falling prices, that has hobbled growth by slowing investment and consumer spending.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 8.60 points to 15,303, a gain of 0.1 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 0.91 of a point to close at 1,649.60. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.27 of a point to 3,459.14.
Oil shed 10 cents to $94.15 a barrel. But four straight losses resulted in a weekly decline of $1.87 a barrel for the benchmark oil contract. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose 20 cents to $102.64 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $2.84 a gallon. Heating oil was flat at $2.86 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $4.24 per 1,000 cubic feet.