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The Associated Press | July 16, 2013 06:28 PM EST | AP


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Health law's rule delay could hamper enforcement

WASHINGTON (AP) – There's a bit of a domino effect undercutting President Barack Obama's health care law.

Enforcement of the overhaul's central mandate – that individual Americans must have coverage – could be weakened by the Obama administration's recent delay of a requirement that larger employers provide medical insurance.

That's because the delayed rule also required companies to report health insurance details for employees. Without employers validating who's covered, a scofflaw could lie, and the government would have no easy way to check.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that it expects any impact to be minor, since most people will not risk telling the government a lie. Still, it's another incentive for uninsured people to ignore a new government requirement that for many will cost hundreds of dollars.

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Yahoo's 2Q earnings rise 46 percent, revenue sinks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Yahoo's second-quarter results didn't give investors a reason to celebrate the completion of CEO Marissa Mayer's first year running the Internet company.

The numbers released Tuesday showed Yahoo Inc.'s earnings are still rising, but they also highlighted the challenges facing the Sunnyvale, Calif., company as it loses ground to rivals Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. in the online advertising market that generates most of their revenue.

Wall Street took note of Yahoo's earnings gains. The company's stock rose 7 cents to $26.95 in after-hours trading after the report came out.

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Bad weather complicates Coca-Cola's struggles

NEW YORK (AP) – Coca-Cola is struggling to sell more of its products in the U.S., and it can't seem to catch a break.

The world's largest drinks maker on Tuesday blamed a confluence of factors including unusually bad weather for disappointing second-quarter results. It cited cold, wet conditions at home and flooding in parts of Europe for weak volume growth globally. Profit declined 4 percent.

The temporary setbacks clouded the underlying challenge the company faces in North America and other developed markets, where soda consumption has been declining for years amid criticism that sugary drinks fuel obesity.

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Goldman's profit doubles, but questions loom

NEW YORK (AP) – Goldman Sachs said Tuesday that its second-quarter profit doubled and revenue jumped 30 percent, helped by gains in stock and bond underwriting and the bank's own investments. But the hot topic for analysts who follow the bank was a set of impending capital rules and how they might affect the powerful New York investment bank.

Goldman's stock rose in pre-market trading after the bank released its earnings results with rosy headline numbers. But it dipped moments after the market opened, just as Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz faced a barrage of questions about the capital rules and other hard-to-predict factors that could affect the bank's future earnings, including how clients might react to rising interest rates.

Capital requirements have been the topic du jour as big financial companies have reported second-quarter earnings over the past few days. The consternation started last week, when U.S. regulators said they were considering requiring big U.S. banks to hold greater amounts of capital. Regulators in the U.S. and around the world have been raising capital requirements since the financial crisis, saying they will give banks a cushion in troubled times. Banks have protested, saying it will put them at a disadvantage to international peers, and constrain them from lending.

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Johnson & Johnson 2Q profit jumps on higher sales, lower charges

Johnson & Johnson's second-quarter profit more than doubled, due to lower charges and higher sales of medicines and some medical devices, but the world's most diverse maker of health products said it expects slower growth in the second half of the year.

It easily beat Wall Street expectations for the quarter and raised its 2013 profit forecast slightly.

J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., said sales growth is slowing and competition is increasing for its devices and prescription drugs. It's had to lower prices for some of those products due to pressure from government and other buyers, increasing competition and "soft" retail markets, as many consumers continue to pinch pennies amid lingering effects of the Great Recession.

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With cyberattacks advancing, banks gird for battle

It's a war game, Wall Street style.

Banks large and small are girding for an elaborate drill this week that will test how they would fare if hackers unleashed a powerful and coordinated attack against them.

The exercise is being called "Quantum Dawn 2," and if the name sounds like a video game, it's also meant to convey the seriousness of the threat.

Cyberattacks on the banking industry are growing more frequent and sophisticated and the list of assailants is ever-changing: crime bosses who want money, "hacktivists" who want to make political statements, foreign governments that want to spy on U.S. companies. A successful, widespread attack on the industry would shake confidence in the banking system, and the possibility has banks and regulators on edge.

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US consumer prices up 0.5 pct. in June on gas hike

WASHINGTON (AP) – Higher gasoline costs pushed a measure of U.S. consumer prices up in June. But the overall trend in inflation stayed tame.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index increased 0.5 percent in June from May. Two-thirds of the increase came from a 6.3 percent jump in gas prices, the largest since February.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core prices rose just 0.2 percent.

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US factories increase output in June for second month

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. factories cranked out more business equipment, home electronics and autos in June, boosting manufacturing output for the second straight month. The gains suggest factories may be starting to recover from a slow start this year.

The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that manufacturing production rose 0.3 percent in June from May. That followed a 0.2 percent gain the previous month. Still, the two consecutive gains barely offset production declines in March and April.

Overall industrial production, which includes factories, mines and utilities, also rose 0.3 percent in June. Mining output increased 0.8 percent, while utility output slid 0.1 percent.

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General Motors global sales up 4 percent, may gain on Toyota

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors' global sales grew almost 4 percent in the first half of the year, enough to fend off Volkswagen for second place and perhaps close the gap with sales leader Toyota.

GM said Tuesday that it sold 4.85 million cars and trucks worldwide from January through June. That puts GM on pace for sales of around 9.7 million for the year.

The Detroit automaker sold 9.3 million cars and trucks last year, about 450,000 less than Toyota Motor Corp. GM may have gained some ground on its Japanese rival this year by growing faster in the U.S., the world's second-biggest car market.

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AT&T introduces option for faster phone upgrades

NEW YORK (AP) – AT&T is making it easier for customers to upgrade their cellphones more often, as long as they're willing to pay more.

The country's second-largest cellphone carrier says it's introducing an option called AT&T Next on July 26. Instead of paying, for example, $200 up front to buy a smartphone, customers would pay monthly installments of $15 to $50 on top of their service plan, depending on the device.

The new plan is designed to satisfy customers who want the latest and greatest devices. The traditional two-year service contracts get in the way of annual upgrades. Last week competitor T-Mobile US Inc. introduced Jump, which provides device insurance and more frequent upgrades for $10 a month.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 32.41 points, 0.2 percent, to 15,451.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 6.24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,676.26. The Nasdaq composite dropped 8.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,598.50.

In London, Brent crude was down 6 cents to end at $108.02 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. Benchmark crude for August delivery fell 32 cents to finish at $106 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to finish at $3.13 a gallon. Heating oil gained 2 cents to end at $3.05 a gallon. Natural gas was flat at $3.68 per 1,000 cubic feet.