Business Highlights

NEW YORK, N.Y. – ___

Exxon, Chevron set to boost production just as prices fall

Exxon Mobil has been working for years on a fleet of enormous new oil and gas projects designed to turn around what has been a slide in oil and gas production.

A record eight of these mega-projects came online last year, Exxon said Monday — just as oil prices were falling by more than half.

These enormous projects were conceived and started years ago, as prices were rising. Now they are starting to produce oil and gas at a time when the price of global crude has been eviscerated by rising supplies and weak growth in demand.


Super Bowl 49’s advertising winners and losers

If you’re talking about Super Bowl ads with co-workers on Monday, you’re not alone.

Advertisers tried to win over Americans during the game — some tried serious themes, while others went with humour. With 30-second ads costing $4.5 million for the chance to market their brand to 110-plus million Americans, advertisers were making a big bet.

And just like the game, there were winners and losers.


Death toll from GM ignition switches rises to at least 51

DETROIT (AP) — The families of 51 people who died in crashes caused by faulty ignition switches in small General Motors cars will get payments from a company fund, but others will have to wait months for decisions on thousands of new claims.

Compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg has also deemed 77 people injured in crashes as eligible for payments from the fund, which received at least 4,180 claims by a Saturday deadline, including more than 1,100 in the past week.

But attorneys, lawmakers and at least one family member say some were forced to settle with Feinberg rather than run the risk that they would not be able to sue GM because of its 2009 bankruptcy agreement.


Hey, (Not-As) Big Spender! Tech firms hint at more restraint

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Technology’s big-spending trio of Google, Facebook, and Amazon appear to be tightening their belts — at least a notch — in a concession to cost-conscious investors and a strong dollar that’s taking a bite out of their revenue.

Hints of restraint were sprinkled throughout the companies’ latest quarterly reports released last week. Expenses at all three are still expected to rise faster than revenue this year, but Google, Facebook and Amazon signalled that spending increases might not be as dramatic as expected.

The message boosted their stocks, which had been in Wall Street’s penalty box for the companies’ free-spending ways.


A guide to the debt standoff between Greece and the eurozone

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Greece wants a break from the terms of its eurozone bailout loans, saying they’re suffocating its economy.

Germany, the biggest backer of two bailouts worth 240 billion euros (currently $271 billion), says Athens must pay what it owes.

The two sides, debtor and creditor, are dug in and posturing.

Yet analysts think a negotiated compromise over the coming weeks is possible.


Founder Wilson resigns from Lululemon board

Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon who resigned as chairman last year after controversy about comments he made about customers’ body types, has stepped down from the yoga clothing company’s board.

Wilson established the Canadian company in 1998. It has grown to more than 250 stores and has a loyal customer base.

Lululemon has recently had its share of challenges, including complaints that some of its yoga pants, which can cost around $100, were see-through.

And Wilson upset some customers when he said some of the pants problems were related to customers’ body types. Following that incident, he agreed to step down as chairman but had remained a board member.


US consumer spending slips in December as auto sales weaken

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending slipped in December, as the pace of motor vehicle sales slowed and more Americans saved their money.

The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending fell 0.3 per cent in December, compared to a 0.5 per cent increase in November. Cheaper gasoline and fewer auto sales accounted for most of the decline.

Energy prices tumbled 5.2 per cent in December for the sixth straight monthly decline. The falling oil and gas costs caused consumer spending — before adjusting for price changes — to record the largest monthly decrease since September 2009.


Apple turning closed Arizona facility into data centre

PHOENIX (AP) — Apple said Monday it will invest $2 billion over 10 years to open a data centre in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will be the company’s fifth in the U.S. and serve as a control facility for its global networks.

The announcement comes four months after an earlier Apple plan for the 1.3 million-square-foot facility it bought in 2013 failed. The tech giant had a deal with Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced to use the plant to make sapphire glass for its products, but the company declared bankruptcy in October after production issues developed.

After the GT failure, Apple said it would work to find another use for the plant.


US factories grew last month at slowest pace in a year

WASHINGTON (AP) — US factories expanded last month at the slowest pace in a year, as orders, production, and hiring all declined.

The figures suggested manufacturing may not add much to growth in the first few months of 2015.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index fell to 53.5 in January from 55.1 in December. That is the third straight drop and lowest since January 2014. Still, any reading above 50 signals expansion.


Jeep recalls 228K Cherokees for air bag problem

DETROIT (AP) — Jeep is recalling more than 228,000 SUVs worldwide to fix a software problem that can cause side air bags to inflate for no reason.

The recall, which covers Jeep Cherokees from the 2014 and 2015 model years, is the latest in a recent string of auto industry troubles with air bags that include deployment without a crash and inflation with so much force that the air bags spew shrapnel at drivers or passengers.

Fiat Chrysler, which makes Jeeps, says there have been a small number of inadvertent air bag deployments in extreme manoeuvrs when drivers dramatically change the angle of travel.


Anadarko argues against $1B penalty in 2010 Gulf oil spill

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A trial to determine how much BP should pay in Clean Water Act penalties for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill — which could reach $13.7 billion — has ended in New Orleans, but a decision from the judge is not expected for months.

The trial closed Monday after two weeks of testimony and arguments by lawyers for the Justice Department, which is pushing for a high penalty, and BP, which wants a lower figure.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., a minority owner of the ill-fated well, was also part of the proceeding and is fighting the government’s push for more than $1 billion in penalties.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average added 196.09 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 17,361.04. The S&P 500 rose 25.86 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 2,020.85. The Nasdaq composite picked up 41.45 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4,676.69.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.33 to close at $49.57 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.76 to close at $54.75 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 6.6 cents to close at $1.545 a gallon. Heating oil rose 5.7 cents to close at $1.758 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.1 cents to close at $2.680 per 1,000 cubic feet.