Business Highlights

The Associated Press 0

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Supreme Court won’t stop NY’s Internet taxation

WASHINGTON (AP) — On perhaps the busiest online shopping day of the year, the Supreme Court refused to wade into a dispute over state sales taxes for purchases on websites like Amazon.com, an outcome likely to prompt more states to attempt to collect taxes on Internet sales.

Monday’s court action means “it might be the last Cyber Monday without sales tax,” said Joseph Henchman of the Washington-based Tax Foundation.

It’s all part of a furious battle — also including legislation in Congress — among Internet sellers, millions of buyers, aggrieved brick-and-mortar stores and states hungry for billions of dollars in extra tax revenue.

The high court turned away appeals from Amazon.com LLC and Overstock.com Inc. in their fight against a New York court decision forcing them to remit sales tax the same way in-state businesses do. This could hurt online shopping in that state, since one of the attractions of Internet purchasing is the lack of a state sales tax. That makes some items a little cheaper than they would be inside a store on the corner.

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Americans click for deals on Cyber Monday

NEW YORK (AP) — Power up and shop.

Millions of Americans took advantage of online deals ranging from free shipping to hundreds of dollars off electronics and half-price clothing Monday, which was expected to be the busiest online shopping day of the year.

The spending surge on so-called Cyber Monday came after a disappointing holiday weekend in stores. And it showed that Americans are increasingly comfortable buying items on tablets and smartphones.

Early results showed online shopping was up 18.7 per cent compared with the same time last year, according to figures by IBM Benchmark. Mobile traffic, which includes smartphones and tablets, accounted for 30 per cent of all online traffic.

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Hilton could raise $2.4 billion, 1 of year’s biggest IPOs

NEW YORK (AP) — Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. said Monday that it could raise as much as $2.37 billion, making it one of the year’s biggest IPOs.

The hotel operator said in a regulatory filing that the offering of 112.8 million shares is expected to price between $18 and $21 each. Hilton is offering about 64.1 million shares, and selling shareholders are offering 48.7 million shares. Selling additional shares to banks could put the IPO’s proceeds at as much as $2.72 billion.

The initial public offering comes as the hotel industry has started to recover over the past two years from its battering during the recession and as the IPO market heats up. Roughly 200 companies have gone public in 2013 as markets hit record highs.

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Amazon.com sees delivery drones as future

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is working on a way to get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less — via self-guided drone.

Consider it the modern version of a pizza delivery boy, minus the awkward teenager.

Amazon.com Inc. says it’s working on the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project but it will take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Administration to create the necessary rules and regulations.

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Pilot use of automation eyed in air crashes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pilots are becoming so reliant on computer systems that do most of the flying in today’s airliners that on the rare occasions when something goes wrong, they’re sometimes unprepared to take control, according to aviation safety experts and government and industry studies.

Increasing automation has been a tremendous safety boon to aviation, contributing to historically low accident rates in the U.S. and many parts of the world. But automation has changed the relationship between pilots and planes, presenting new challenges.

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US manufacturing grows at fastest in 2 1/2 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing grew in November at the fastest pace in 2 1/2 years as factories ramped up production, stepped up hiring and received orders at a healthy clip.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity rose to 57.3. That was up from 56.4 in October and was the highest since April 2011. A reading above 50 signals growth.

One component of the index, a measure of hiring, rose to its highest level in nearly 18 months. And a gauge of export orders reached its highest level in nearly two years. Overseas demand is benefiting from modest recoveries in Europe, Japan and China.

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US construction spending up 0.8 per cent in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. developers boosted construction spending in October at the fastest pace in more than four years, propelled by a surge in government projects. But spending on home construction and commercial projects both fell.

Overall construction spending increased 0.8 per cent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $908.4 billion, the Labor Department said Monday. That’s up from September, when spending fell 0.3 per cent.

The October pace was the best since May 2009 and was driven by a 3.9 per cent surge in public spending. Federal spending increased 10.9 per cent, suggesting the 16-day partial government shutdown had little impact on public projects.

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Dow Chemical looking to spin off, sell 40 plants

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Dow Chemical is looking to spin off or sell about 40 manufacturing plants from its business as it continues to move away from cyclical commodity products.

The company said Monday that it expects those deals to happen within the next one to two years. Almost 2,000 workers will be affected by the moves. The businesses generate up to $5 billion of total annual revenue.

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Forest Labs to cut 500 jobs in $500 million restructuring

NEW YORK (AP) — Forest Laboratories says it plans to cut about 500 jobs as part of a plan to trim $500 million in costs over the next two years.

The drugmaker also plans to buy back at least $400 million in company stock and agreed to pay $240 million for the U.S. marketing rights to Saphris, a Merck & Co. drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar mania.

The moves come less than three months after former Bausch & Lomb leader Brenton Saunders replaced longtime CEO Howard Solomon at the helm of Forest Laboratories Inc.

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BlackBerry head says company is ‘very much alive’

TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry’s interim chief executive said Monday that reports of the death of the company “are greatly exaggerated.”

Former Sybase CEO John Chen said in a letter to customers that BlackBerry is returning to its roots, refocusing on delivering devices and services to business users.

Chen was brought in as the interim chief executive and executive chair after talks to sell the company collapsed last month.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 77.64 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 16,008.77. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 4.91 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,800.90. The Nasdaq composite fell 14.63 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,045.26.

Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery rose $1.10, or 1.2 per cent, at $93.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, jumped $1.76 to $111.45 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Wholesale gasoline gained 2 cents to $2.68 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $3.05 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $3.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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