Tribune to acquire 19 TV stations for $2.73 billion
CHICAGO (AP) – Tribune Co. said Monday that it reached a deal to buy Local TV Holdings LLC's 19 TV stations for $2.73 billion in cash, significantly boosting its television business as it looks to sell its newspaper operations.
Tribune currently owns 23 TV stations and cable network WGN America, along with the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers. The deal will give it 42 stations, making the Chicago-based company one of the nation's top TV station owners. Tribune said it will be the No. 1 commercial TV station group in the country based on its broadcast reach into more than 50 million homes.
The deal reshapes the broadcast media landscape and follows two recent broadcast acquisition deals by companies whose roots are in newspapers. These companies are trying to acquire additional television stations at a time when the newspaper industry is faltering.
US stocks advance as stimulus concerns fade
NEW YORK (AP) – Investors have stopped worrying about the Federal Reserve. At least for now.
Stocks rose on Wall Street Monday as investors judged that the economy still isn't growing fast enough for the central bank to cut back on its stimulus program.
U.S. manufacturing grew modestly in June after a pickup in new orders and stronger production, according to a private survey. The Institute for Supply Management said its factory index increased to 50.9 in June from 49 in the previous month.
A big Medicaid gap looms in Obama health care law
WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly 2 in 3 uninsured low-income people who would qualify for subsidized coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law may be out of luck next year because their states have not expanded Medicaid.
An Associated Press analysis of figures from the Urban Institute finds a big coverage gap developing, with 9.7 million out of 15 million potentially eligible adults living in states that are refusing the expansion or are still undecided with time running short.
That a majority of the neediest people who could be helped by the law may instead remain uninsured is a predicament unforeseen by Obama and congressional Democrats who designed a sweeping extension of the social safety net. The law's historic promise of health insurance for nearly all U.S. residents would not be fulfilled as envisioned.
Student loan rates double without Congress' action
WASHINGTON (AP) – College students taking out new loans for the fall term will see interest rates twice what they were in the spring – unless Congress fulfills its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns after the July 4 holiday.
Subsidized Stafford loans, which account for roughly a quarter of all direct federal borrowing, went from 3.4 percent interest to 6.8 percent interest on Monday. Congress' Joint Economic Committee estimated the cost passed to students would be about $2,600.
Efforts to keep interest rates from doubling on new Stafford loans fell apart last week amid partisan wrangling in the Senate. Democratic senators and the White House predicted that a deal would be reached in Congress to bring the rates down again before students return to campus.
White House has coal country on the defensive
COLSTRIP, Mont. (AP) – After several years of taking a beating from the poor economy, new pollution rules and a flood of cheap natural gas, the coal industry was on the rebound this year as mining projects moved forward in the Western U.S. and demand for the fuel began to rise, especially in Asia.
But almost overnight, coal is back on the defensive, scrambling to stave off a dark future amid President Barack Obama's renewed push to rein in climate change.
The proposal, with its emphasis on cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants, would put facilities like the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip electricity plant in eastern Montana in regulators' cross hairs. That has profound spin-off implications for the massive strip mines that dot the surrounding arid landscape of the Powder River Basin and provide the bulk of the nation's coal.
US factory activity expands in June, jobs decline
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. manufacturing activity grew in June behind a pickup in new orders, exports and production. Better economic growth overseas is boosting U.S. exports and could help American factories rebound in the second half of the year.
The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of factory activity increased to 50.9 in June. That's up from 49 in May, which was the lowest reading in four years.
A reading above 50 suggests growth, while those below indicate contraction.
US construction spending up 0.5 percent in May
WASHINGTON (AP) – Spending on residential housing rose in May to the highest level in 4 1/2 years, helping to send overall construction spending higher despite a big drop in nonresidential activity.
Construction spending rose 0.5 percent in May compared with April when spending was up 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday.
Private residential construction rose 1.2 percent to the highest level since October 2008, further evidence of a rebound in housing. Spending on nonresidential projects fell 1.4 percent, dragged lower by declines in office building and the category that includes shopping centers.
Energy drinks go natural as market buzzes along
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Energy drinks are busting out of the convenience store cooler and into the health food aisle.
As energy drink sales soar like a caffeine-fueled rocket, more drinks are promoting organic ingredients, added juices, natural caffeine and so-called "clean" energy. A jolt from Rockstar not your speed? There's the "natural energy drink" Guru, and Steaz Energy, which according to the can is "good for the mind, body and soul." Or there's Runa's energy drink, made from something called Amazonian guayusa leaves.
Claims of cleaner caffeine boosts come as energy drinks find themselves under increasing scrutiny, particularly for their effects on children and adolescents. The word "organic" in front of "energy drink" might seem as incompatible as yoga pants with a backward tractor cap, but analysts say that as the market for energy drinks grows, it's diversifying.
Ex-KPMG partner pleads guilty in trading case
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A former partner at the giant accounting firm KPMG LLC pleaded guilty Monday to a securities fraud charge that authorities said involved providing insider information to a friend who plied him with cash, a Rolex watch and other luxury items.
Scott London entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to the felony count that carries a maximum 20-year prison term. He's scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21. His attorney could argue for a lesser sentence.
Prosecutors said London gave privileged information to friend and jewelry store owner Bryan Shaw over several years.
Shaw then used the information to trade in advance of announcements from KPMG clients such as Herbalife Ltd. and Skechers USA Inc., authorities said. He is estimated to have reaped more than $1 million in profits.
Disney board extends Iger's CEO and chairman post
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) – The Walt Disney Co.'s board wants Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger to stick around a bit longer.
The media conglomerate said Monday that the board extended Iger's tenure through June 30, 2016, when his contract is due to expire.
Disney noted that the terms of Iger's contract were not changed.
Prior arrangements had Iger, 62, remaining CEO until April 1, 2015, and then as executive chairman for another 15 months to help in the transition to Disney's next CEO.
The extension suggests Disney's board has yet to make a decision on Iger's successor.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 65.36 points, or 0.4 percent, to 14,974.96. The S&P 500 index rose 8.68 points, or 0.54 percent, to 1,614.96. The Nasdaq composite rose 31.24 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,434.49.
Benchmark crude for August delivery rose $1.43 to close at $97.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude gained 84 cents to end at $103 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Natural gas rose 1 cent to finish at $3.58 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil rose 1 cent to end at $2.87 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to finish at $2.74 per gallon.