Boeing drags Dow down after Japan grounds 787s; other indexes mixed after banks post earnings
NEW YORK (AP) — Boeing dragged down the Dow yesterday, but investors will have more bank earnings reports to digest when the market opens today.
Boeing shares fell after Japan's two biggest airlines grounded all their Boeing 787s for safety checks. The Dow lost 24 points to close at 13,511.
The plane has been plagued by a series of problems this year, including a battery fire and fuel leaks.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose less than one point to 1,473, while the Nasdaq composite climbed seven points to 3,118.
Goldman Sachs jumped 4 percent after its earnings nearly tripled. Other banks fell.
Falling stocks outnumbered rising ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was relatively light at 3.1 billion shares.
FAA grounds Boeing 787s to address battery fires
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials say they are temporarily grounding Boeing's 787 Dreamliners until the risk of possible battery fires is addressed.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it will issue an emergency safety order requiring U.S. airlines to temporarily cease operating the 787, Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced plane.
The agency said it will work with Boeing and U.S. air carriers to develop a plan allowing 787s to "resume operations as quickly and safely as possible." United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier with 787s. It has six.
Only days ago, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared the plane safe.
But after an emergency landing in Japan early Wednesday, two Japanese airlines voluntarily grounded their 787s. Now, Air India has been ordered by the Indian government to ground its six Dreamliners as well.
The FAA order applies only to U.S. carriers, but aviation authorities in other countries usually follow the lead of the country where the manufacturer is based. Fifty Dreamliners have been delivered in the U.S. and around the world.
Oil falls to $94 on US supply report
BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil fell to $94 a barrel Thursday amid ample supplies as traders awaited the latest reading on growth in the Chinese economy.
Benchmark oil for February delivery was down 24 cents to $94 per barrel at early afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 96 cents to close at $94.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Big banks highlight earnings reports
WASHINGTON (AP) — More earnings reports from the nation's biggest banks highlight today's economic numbers.
Bank of America, Capital One and Citigroup are all expected to report their fourth quarter financial results. Intel and UnitedHealth are also due to report.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department provides its weekly report on applications for unemployment benefits and the Commerce Department releases housing starts for December.
Later this morning, Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.
Fewer US homes repossessed by banks in 2012
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lenders took possession of fewer U.S. homes in 2012 than a year earlier, as the pace of new homes entering the path to foreclosure slowed and banks increasingly opted to allow troubled borrowers to sell their homes for less than what they owed on their mortgage.
All told, banks repossessed 671,251 homes last year, down nearly 17 percent from 804,423 the year before, according to data released Thursday by foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc.
The trend, along with an annual decline in overall foreclosure activity, suggests that the country's foreclosure woes are easing, at least on a national level.
But RealtyTrac said half the states experienced higher levels of foreclosure activity last year and many are expected to continue seeing increases this year.
Business CEOs call for raising retirement age
WASHINGTON (AP) — An influential group of business executives is pushing a plan to increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.
The Business Roundtable's plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would also be smaller.
Medicare recipients would be able to enroll in the traditional program or in private plans that could adjust premiums based on age and health status.
The proposal puts the CEOs at odds with many groups that lobby on behalf of older Americans.
Charities worry new tax law will reduce donations
WASHINGTON (AP) — Charities and nonprofit organizations worry that new limits on tax deductions for high earners will hurt donations just as charitable giving is starting to rebound from the depths of the recession.
Experts doubt the new limits will have much impact on giving, but some major nonprofit organizations fear they're a sign that the charitable deduction is no longer sacrosanct on Capitol Hill, just as Congress is promising a broader effort later this year to overhaul the tax code.
The limits on deductions are part of the new tax law Congress passed on New Year's Day. They reduce the value of itemized deductions for individuals making more than $250,000 and married couples making more than $300,000. Nonprofit organizations are concerned the limits will reduce tax incentives for people to make donations.
United tries again to raise airfares
DALLAS (AP) — Fare watchers say that United Airlines is trying again to raise prices after a similar move failed earlier this month.
JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker and FareCompare.com CEO Rick Seaney said United raised prices Wednesday for travel within the U.S. by up to $20 per round trip.
United didn't immediately return messages for comment.
United tried to raise prices by up to $10 per round trip on Jan. 3 but rolled back the increase after other airlines kept their fares unchanged.
House to vote to continue federal pay freeze
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House next week will take up a Republican bill to overturn an order from President Barack Obama giving federal workers a 0.5 percent pay raise.
The legislation would continue a pay freeze for the federal government's 2 million employees that has been in effect for the past two years.
Republicans say that stopping the pay increase from going into effect when the current federal spending bill ends on March 27 would save taxpayers $11 billion over 10 years.
Obama on Dec. 27 issued an executive order extending the raise to all federal employees, including members of Congress. As part of the deal to prevent the government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff, Congress reversed the part of that order giving its own members a $900-per-year raise.
Cirque du soleil announces 400 layoffs
MONTREAL (AP) — The world-renowned Cirque du soleil circus troupe is laying off 400 people — most of them at its Montreal headquarters.
A company spokeswoman announced the layoffs on Wednesday after Cirque executives met with employees in Montreal.
Increased production costs and expenses are being blamed for the layoffs, which will begin by the end of the month.
The Cirque employs about 5,000 people worldwide, including 2,000 in Montreal.
It still has 19 productions being presented worldwide and is currently working on a new show that will open in May in Las Vegas.
Another touring production that will open in the spring of 2014 in Montreal is also in the works.
But four shows besides the 19 that are still on stage have closed recently.
SPACE STATION-INFLATABLE MODULE
Space station to get $18 million balloon-like room
LAS VEGAS (AP) — NASA is partnering with a commercial space company to test an inflatable room that can be compressed into a 7-foot tube for delivery to the International Space Station.
NASA engineer Glen Miller says that if the habitat proves durable during two years at the International Space Station, it could help lead to stations on the moon and missions to Mars.
Officials detailed the $17.8 million project Wednesday during a news conference at North Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace.
NASA is expected to install the 10-foot-diameter, blimp-like module by 2015.
If it's successful, Bigelow plans to begin selling inflatable space stations in 2016 to countries looking to increase their presence in space.
Miller says the new technology provides more room than existing options and is far cheaper.