US stocks plunge after bleak Chinese manufacturing report
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks plunged again Tuesday, continuing a rocky ride for Wall Street, after an economic report out of China rekindled fears that the world’s second-largest economy is slowing more than previously anticipated.
The sell-off adds to what has been a difficult few weeks for U.S. and international markets. U.S. stocks just closed out their worst month in more than three years. Tuesday’s drop also dashed hopes that, after some relatively calm trading Friday and Monday, the stock market’s wild swings were coming to an end.
Street stalls show shifting face of North Korean economy
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Street stalls that offer North Koreans a place to spend — or make — money on everything from snow cones to DVDs are flourishing in Pyongyang and other North Korean cities, modest but growing forms of private commerce in a country where capitalism is officially anathema.
In sharp contrast to the common but semi-clandestine activities of old women hawking loose cigarettes on city backstreets or farmers selling their produce in makeshift fruit stands along highways, the kiosks appear to have the support of some important backers and are both conspicuous and spreading fast.
Comcast teeing up new services targeted at millennials
NEW YORK (AP) — Comcast, which became a TV powerhouse by signing up Generation Xers, baby boomers and their parents, now is fighting for millennial eyeballs.
The TV giant is investing in online media outlets like BuzzFeed and Vox that attract young viewers. It’s setting up a streaming TV service for millennials who don’t watch a boob tube. And it’s developing a YouTube-like video app and website.
It’s the latest effort by the TV industry to attract younger customers at a time when ratings are sliding and more millennials are becoming “cord cutters” by ditching traditional cable entirely.
Tech Tips: Windows 10 privacy settings worth checking
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft’s new Windows 10 system offers more personalization than before, but it also collects more data than people might be used to on PCs, from contacts and appointments to their physical location and even Wi-Fi passwords.
The information is used by Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-activated digital assistant, and other new features that try to be helpful by remembering a user’s likes and habits. Apple and Google have developed similar services for smartphones in recent years. Microsoft’s new features are a big part of its strategy to make Windows more relevant in a world where people use multiple devices throughout the day.
US factory output up in August at slowest pace since May ’13
WASHINGTON (AP) — A strong dollar and China’s economic slowdown dragged growth at U.S. factories to the lowest level since May 2013.
The Institute for Supply Management reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index slid to 51.1 last month from 52.7 in July. It was the second straight drop; economists had been expecting the index to rebound modestly in August. Anything above 50 signals growth.
The report suggests that a strong dollar and slowing growth in China and other foreign markets may be taking a toll on U.S. manufacturers and perhaps the overall American economy. The rising dollar makes U.S. goods more expensive in foreign markets. Two surveys released Tuesday showed that Chinese manufacturers continue to struggle.
US construction spending reaches highest level in 7 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending in July climbed to its highest level in more than seven years, boosted by an increase in the building of houses, factories and power plants.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that construction spending rose 0.7 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.08 trillion, the highest level since May 2008. The report also revised up the June increase in construction spending to 0.7 per cent from 0.1 per cent previously.
US auto market remains bright spot as China pulls back
DETROIT (AP) — As China’s auto market recoils, the U.S. remains a bright spot as it rolls on toward its best performance in more than a decade.
China is still the No. 1 market, but sales there are slowing as the economy cools and cities impose car ownership limits to curb smog and congestion. At the same time, U.S. sales remain on pace to top 17 million this year for the first time since 2001.
It’s a reversal from six years ago, when U.S. vehicle sales plunged during the recession and China easily surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest car market. At least temporarily, automakers are left to rely on the U.S. — and a recovering Western Europe auto market — for sales growth.
Consumer panel: Airlines should disclose fees, seat size
WASHINGTON (AP) — Airlines should clearly disclose the cost of change and cancellation fees, as well as the size of the plane’s seats, before a passenger buys a ticket, a federal panel said Tuesday.
Hotels should also be required to include any mandatory fees in their room rates, the Transportation Department’s Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protections recommended.
Some hotels have begun adding mandatory resort and other fees to bills even though customers say they weren’t informed of them when they booked their rooms. The panel’s recommendation on hotels was directed to the Federal Trade Commission, which has been investigating such so called drip pricing.
ConocoPhillips plans to cut 10 per cent of its workforce
NEW YORK (AP) — Energy company ConocoPhillips, which has already cut 1,000 jobs this year, says it will eliminate around 1,810 more positions following a plunge that took oil prices to their lowest levels in years.
The company said Tuesday it is eliminating 10 per cent of its workforce. The biggest proportion of the job cuts will be in North America. ConocoPhillips plans to eliminate more than 500 jobs in Houston, where it is based.
In a statement, ConocoPhillips said it’s making the cuts because the energy industry is in a “dramatic downturn.”
Approaching health law tax is not just a levy on luxury
WASHINGTON (AP) — The last major piece of President Barack Obama’s health care law could raise costs for thrifty consumers as well as large corporations and union members when it takes effect in 2018.
The so-called Cadillac tax was meant to discourage extravagant coverage. Critics say it’s a tax on essentials, not luxuries. It’s getting attention now because employers plan ahead for major costs like health care.
With time, an increasing number of companies will be exposed to the tax, according to a recent study. The risk is that middle-class workers could see their job-based benefits diminished.
Amazon to let Prime members download videos
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is upping the ante in the streaming-video competition with downloadable videos.
The e-commerce powerhouse will now let members of its $99 annual Prime loyalty program download some shows and movies on its streaming video service to watch offline, or when there is no Internet connection available, for free.
To watch the content users can download the Amazon Video app for iOS or Android.
McDonald’s will launch all day breakfast on Oct. 6
NEW YORK (AP) — If you’re one of those people who hates missing the end of breakfast hours at McDonald’s, hang on just a little longer: the chain says its breakfast menu will be available all day starting Oct. 6.
Items like Egg McMuffins, hotcakes, sausage burritos, fruit ‘n yogurt parfaits, hash browns and biscuits will be available anytime, although the exact menu will vary in different markets.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 469.68 points, or 2.8 per cent, to 16,058.35. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 58.33 points, or 3 per cent, to 1,913.85. The Nasdaq composite lost 140.40 points, or 2.9 per cent, to 4,636.10.
U.S. crude fell $3.79 a barrel to close at $45.41 in New York. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $4.59 to close at $49.56 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 10.3 cents to close at $1.396 a gallon. Heating oil fell 12.3 cents to close at $1.578 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.3 cents to close at $2.702 per 1,000 cubic feet.